I am not a fan of protein powders – primarily because of taste, but also because it’s less of a whole, real food and more of a processed food than anything else. However, I do understand why some people drink them.
I categorize the “protein shake” drinkers under these three groups, but please don’t feel offended if you find yourself in a whole new category:
- The Busy
Folks that don’t have time to sit down, and prefer to drink their meal, with as much effort to get a balance of protein, nutrients, and complex carbohydrates.
- The Fitness Buff
Folks that are fitness oriented and want to replenish their bodies with nutrients as fast as they possibly can directly after a workout (or fuel-up before).
- The Novice
Folks that read that protein shakes are good for people that want to build muscle and lose fat, but don’t really know anything more beyond that. (Don’t worry it’s not your fault.)
If you fit into one of these categories, great. If you don’t, that’s great too. The goal of this post is to give you a quick overview of what a protein shake CAN do for you and how simple it is to make a quality drink at the appropriate portion, yourself.
Shakes/smoothies/nutrient drinks are usually prepared to replace a meal, which means there should be a mix of protein, fibrous carbohydrates, vitamins (nutrients), and some sort of hydrating liquid.
Shakes/smoothies/nutrient drinks are not bad, but because they are somewhat “broken down” for you (blended up into a liquid) – your body will digest it much quicker than say…blueberries and kale that you have to actually chew. So if your goal is to stay fuller-longer, it might be best to eat INSTEAD OF or WITH your nutrient-packed drink.
Shakes/smoothies/nutrient drinks CAN BE (not always) filled with lots of sugars (even fruit and dairy sugars). This may not be a good thing if your goal is fat loss, however, if you have an even balance of protein in there, it will help slow down the digestion process.
Shakes/smoothies/nutrient drinks taste best when you add in fresh ingredients (vs. buying the pre-made bottles). Be sure to experiment with numerous veggies and fruits until you find something you like, but don’t forget the protein.
An Easy Recipe
Here is a simple recipe that you can enjoy right after an amazing workout (or on a busy day). Remember, you don’t need much besides your body and the earth around you to get a good workout in. Walk it out, jump rope, sprint and time yourself, or just play with the kids or dog!
1 boiled egg
2 egg whites from boiled eggs
Juice from 1 lemon
¾ cup blueberries, frozen
1 cup water (or coconut water)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
- Blend it all together and enjoy.
- EGGS – a great, complete protein
- LEMON JUICE – cleanses the palette and hides the eggy taste
- FROZEN BLUEBERRIES – loaded with antioxidants, low in sugar, and chills the drink (without watering it down with ice)
- WATER / COCONUT WATER – re-hydrates the body
- CHIA SEEDS – loaded with fiber, omega-3 fats, and keeps the body hydrated