Balancing Protein Shakes for a Healthy Lifestyle
By Laura D. Field – Potpourri of Health ~ May 26, 2014
When protein shakes and powders first came on the market, many were drawn to their promotional claims to help decrease body fat while promoting weight loss. Protein powders have changed slightly over time, where not only are they now made with various protein options, they also have better flavors. For various reasons, not only those with vigorous exercise routines, many are seeking protein shakes and powders as a nutritional supplement.
My own interest in protein powders came about when I realized that there were days that I was not getting enough protein. My only dilemma was in trying to find a source that did not have casein milk protein as well as high in calories. I still struggle with the effects of whey protein (found in milk) in my diet, yet since I do not drink protein shakes frequently, I plan them accordingly. In the meantime I continue my search for a vegan protein powder that I can use.
I currently use Aria Women’s Protein powder, which has whey and soy. I personally am not opposed to soy products and actually enjoy many of them, yet due to their high calorie content I tend to limit them. But, in a protein shake, soy provides a healthy protein that can be used by our bodies. In addition, “Along with being the only plant based complete protein, soy has many other cancer fighting characteristics, including being a good source of calcium, acting as a phytoestrogen and promoting anti-angiogenesis.” (Dalzell, 2015)
What about the average person who simply wants to obtain a balance in their lifestyle goal of obtaining a healthy weight utilizing exercise and eating proportionally? Do protein shakes really fit into the picture of health?
Personally I think they are a great occasional “fill-in”, for days such as where one might be traveling or spending hours in the yard working and too tired to cook. But, for me, they are not something I would consider an everyday “need”. If one eats a well balanced diet of food throughout the day, then one should be getting sufficient protein, even those of us who might prefer more fruit and veggies than others.
One can obtain protein from a variety of plant based foods, such as nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnuts), peas (chick, split, soy), lentils, beans (pinto, navy, black, kidney), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), quinoa, oats and many others. I listed many of which I eat, as there are other grains that are not tolerable on my gluten, milk & egg free diet.
Protein shakes have the ability to fill you and provide you with a power-punch of protein. One can easily get into the habit of enjoying and relying on them, yet they can miss out on the many nutritional benefits of a balanced healthy, whole-food diet. Protein shakes are a nice alternate to a missed meal, yet not as a “snack” for in between, as they are high in calories.
If you opt to use protein shakes to replace all your meals, as an effort in losing weigh, be mindful of that fact that too much protein can be taxing on your kidneys. One of the protein shakes I make is so delicious that it is an enjoyable meal replacement option. With that in mind, one can find it difficult to resume a normal, healthy diet with balanced nutrition along with your established exercise routine, as your body (and taste buds) have acclimated to the continued use of shakes when consuming them for all your meals.
If you are one who wants to incorporate protein shakes to your already established balance diet, be mindful of the high calorie content, which if you are not replacing a meal, you could actually sabotage your attempts at effectively losing weight. It is important to remember that if your goal is to lose weight, one needs to burn more calories than they consume.
Malnutrition is a concern for those who do not consume sufficient protein. This can be the result of disease that prevents one from being able to tolerate a variety of textures and flavors. Under proper health care supervision, one is able to acquire adequate amounts of protein through the use of these protein shakes.
As with all things in life, how we choose to eat is a personal one. In our family, we might enjoy a protein shake possibly once a week, generally less often, as we enjoy having the ability to have variation of nutrition at our meals. But for those who workout daily at the gym, once a day might be more in line with their needs. Every body type, style of living, choice of foods, determines the individual need for protein.
Chose to be healthy and team up with a healthcare provider that supports your desire to live well,
Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
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Dalzell K., PhD, RD, LD. CancerCenter.com. Retrieved June 5, 2015 www.cancercenter.com/community/nutritional-support/all-about-protein
Zeratsky K, R.D., L.D. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved June 5, 2015 from www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/protein-shakes/faq-20058335
Cosby, YumUniversity. Retrieved June 5, 2015 http://yumuniverse.com/plant-based-protein-information-chart/