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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, March 14, 2014

The Scoop on Protein Powder

I wrote about the importance of dietary protein in my last post.  The recommended daily requirement for protein is 0.7g to 1 g per pound of lean body weight.  Unfortunately, many do not get enough protein on a daily basis.  During weight loss (calorie deficit), protein is needed to minimize the loss of lean muscle.  During maintenance mode (calorie intake at TDEE), protein is needed to maintain and support lean muscle.  During bulking (calorie surplus), extra protein is needed to help repair muscle from body building and develop lean muscle.  The problem becomes getting enough protein in your diet which may be difficult. 

I would need almost 34 pieces of bacon to reach my daily requirement of 90 g protein in a day.  That 90 g of protein alone would be 360 calories but when total calories in that bacon are considered it would amount to a whopping 1,700 calories leaving very little room for any further calories from other sources without going into a calorie surplus leading to weight gain.  Clearly, I cannot boost my protein intake in that manner.  A very useful product for helping meet the protein requirements is protein powder.

protein powder
Protein powder is not a new product.  It is found in many processed foods in the form of milk solids.  Powdered instant milk and powdered cheese are also forms of protein powder.  In fact, powdered instant milk has 24 g of protein in 1 cup!  Protein powder as used by the fitness crowd is more condensed with as much as 25 g of protein in about 1/4 c.  In addition to protein concentrate, this protein powder usually contains natural and/or artificial flavours, sugars, sodium and micronutrients. 

It is important to read the label as protein powders differ in caloric value, and additives.  Protein powder is either animal (eg. whey, casein, egg) or vegetable (eg. soy, hemp, pea, brown rice) base or a combination of both.  If you have a milk allergy, are lactose intolerant or are vegan, whey and casein based protein powders or a protein powder with either whey or casein as an ingredient should not be used.  Whey protein is quickly absorbed by the body making it ideal for muscle recovery in the first 20 minutes after a workout.  This is especially important if you are doing a lot of cardio.  Of note, cardio is muscle wasting and cortisol inducing making it undesirable for weight loss.  Casein protein is absorbed slowly by the body.  It is best used to prevent catabolysis while fasting during sleep.  Hemp protein powder is not a complete protein source so look for one that includes other plant-based proteins in addition to hemp protein.  Soy protein can be problematic for females.  A small amount of soy occasionally is fine but soy should not be consumed on a daily basis.  If you want to enjoy a protein shake on a daily basis, choose a protein powder that is soy-free.  Of the protein powders pictured, only the Vega Sport is soy-free.

Protein powder is a must have product to include in your emergency preparedness supplies.  It is also a good product to help meet your daily protein requirement.  The most common use is as a protein shake but protein powder can be used as an ingredient to increase the protein content in foods like baked goods, smoothies, and so much more.  It can also be used to make homemade protein bars that are tastier and less expensive than the pre-packaged bars.  While some enjoy a protein shake daily, I prefer to reserve the use of protein powder for those days when I know my protein intake from food is lower than I would like it to be.

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