I used to be a big protein powder junky but ever since my battle with internal infections and the need for some proper gut healing, I needed to make a change and part ways with my old friend. There are a few problems I have with most protein powders on the market today.
1) many protein powders are very heavily processed, to the point where it is nowhere near it’s natural form. The body will see something like this as a foreign substance–not a real food–and likely have difficulty digesting it.
2) many protein powders are based off of low quality whey, i.e. DAIRY, which a large part of the population has a difficult time digesting.
3) many protein powders contain soy, which is linked to countless negative health effects and hormonal disruption.
4) many protein powders are filled with “extras” like artificial colors, dyes, and sweeteners. Again, these are foreign objects that the body will not recognize as real food.
I do not think that ALL proteins are bad. I do not think all dairy is bad either; in fact, I think raw grass fed dairy from a local farm can be a source of great nutrition. The problem with dairy is that many people, whether they know it or not, have damaged guts and dairy (ESPECIALLY regular, commercially bought) can just cause further distress. Our guts can be damaged from a number of things, including stress, infections, parasites, low-quality food and drink, alcohol, and even normal daily wear. I personally am still undergoing healing of my digestive track and unfortunately can not have dairy without feeling ill. This could change over time, as I let my body continue to heal without the presence of any irritants.
I will admit it; I like the laziness of protein powder. However, I like to always point out that one should really focus on getting most of their intake from real food that involves biting, chewing, and swallowing, which cues your body to start the chemical digestion of your food. But sometimes you need something just a little bit easier, I get it. There are of some vegan protein powders that I do like, but my current favorite way to get a dairy-free boost of protein, along with many other positive health effects, is one you may not have heard of before…
GREAT LAKES GELATIN
What is gelatin? Gelatin is a natural protein collagen derived from the skin, bones, and joints of animals. Don’t worry though, it is flavorless. Remember Jello as a kid? Exact same thing, except I recommend buying from a high quality source, such as Great Lakes Gelatin, which only uses gelatin from grass fed animals. I buy mine from Amazon.
Gelatin has no shortage of health benefits, but here are some of my favorites:
- strengthened bones and joints
- reduced inflammation in body
- balancing effect of hormones
- heals the lining of the digestive track, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from food
- supports/boosts metabolism
- reduces wrinkles and cellulite (collagen in gelatin keeps skin tight and firm)
- helps with general hair, skin, and nail health
- its amino acids aide in muscle growth
How to use gelatin?
They are a few different kinds of gelatin you can get. The red bottle (beef gelatin) will gel when mixed with liquid, so it is great have for making fun treats, like gummies or marshmallows. They are tons of fun recipes and variations on the web.
The green bottle (called collagen hydrolysate) is what I use for more simpler applications, like adding to a protein shake. It is water-soluble, meaning you don’t have to worry about it gelling. I typically add 2 tbsp to a shake, which provides about 12 grams of quality protein. Here is my current favorite shake:
Gut Healing Shake
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk
- 2 tbsp gelatin, green bottle
- 1-2 tbsp of melted coconut oil, coconut butter, or coconut cream (cream from the top of full-fat canned coconut milk)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen diced mango (or other frozen fruit)
- 1 scoop barleans chocolate silk greens powder (or a tbsp cacao/cocoa powder plus some stevia or honey)
- 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder
- dash of salt (getting enough salt in conjunction with fluids is very important)
- 3-4 ice cubes
As any of you who follow me on instagram may know, I have a fun desert treat involving gelatin that I make frequently. I actually use the red bottle for this, though either one would work.
Healing Brownie Batter
- 1 heaping tbsp room temp coconut oil
- 1 heaping tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- 1 heaping tbsp great lakes gelatin
- 1 heaping tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 tbsp l-glutamine powder (optional, but also great for healing of the digestive track)
- pinch of salt
- optional extracts such as vanilla or peppermint
Mash everything together well and savor. It’s rich, chocolatey, and full of beneficial health foods. My kind of desert!
It’s safe to say I LOVE gelatin and it has become one of my favorite supplements. An even better source of gelatin is homemade bone broth, which my instagram readers may have already seen, too. :) I will give my easy directions on that soon!
Aside from gelatin, I will occasionally use a vegan protein powder and there are a few that I like:
1) Shakeology Chocolate Vegan (delicious, though I think it is extremely overpriced)
2) Perfect Fit Brown Rice Protein
3) Sun Warrior Brown Rice Protein
4) Garden of Life Raw Protein
For someone who does well with whey protein, my absolute favorite protein powder is:
Raw Organic Whey. It is made from grass-fed animals and has zero fillers or added ingredients. It makes the BEST shake. So creamy and clean tasting.
So that is my take on protein supplementation for now! Thoughts? Comment below!