For those of us who hit the gym regularly, we’re all too well familiar with protein powders. Whey, hemp, soy and other diverse types we blend up in our Magic Bullet after a sweat session. As mentioned in previous articles, food can provide as much of the natural protein, fats and vitamins as we need for bodily functions. This includes joint integrity and muscle strength, length and tone. While the mainstream media has set the image of protein shakes as a necessity for every workout, that’s not all the while true.
Not only is protein powder ridiculously expensive, but it’s chock-full of unspeakable ingredients and has been overly processed. Eating clean and active living doesn’t give protein powders a free pass into our bodies, and while extensive research hasn’t yet been conducted, protein powders can possibly have detrimental effects on our bodies in the long-run. Users should especially keep an eye out on soy, as it can and has wreaked havoc on the hormones and well-being of men and women alike.
Here are some fantastic natural substitutes for powders in your post-workout meals and smoothies:
Dairy and tofu: while dairy is a no-no for vegans, people with hormonal disbalances and those with allergens, tofu is a good replacement. However, both have numerous benefits on the body. Adding softened tofu to a smoothie will give a boost of complete protein into your diet, while dairy such as milk and yoghurt add a delicious and nutritious base. Yoghurt is also a probiotic, which can smoothen out the gastrointestinal tract and prevent bloating.
Cottage cheese: a solid substitute for protein – in particular, casein protein, which is famous for suppressing the overall appetite of dieters. For a healthier option, choose full-fat cottage cheese and add 2 tablespoons into any smoothie, both sweet and savory. For a low-calorie alternative, low-fat is great too.
Chia seeds (pictured): softened when blended with fruit or milk, chia seeds are full of fiber, omega-3 and are a fantastic natural probiotic to help ease digestion and bowel movements. Just add 2 tablespoons, blend and serve!
Peanut and nut butters: 1 ½ tablespoon of any nut butter or even tahini will suffice as a reliable source of fat, protein and add a delicious underlying taste for a post-workout drink. Look for organic brands with less added sugar, and higher calories from fat and protein, to get the best out of them.
Hard-boiled eggs: while it’s no fun to eat cold, hard eggs after a workout, the benefits are certainly worth it. Season the eggs with Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a hint of cilantro, and combine them with avocadoes for a nutritious boost.
Oats: preferably eaten raw to get the complete benefits, oats have been clinically proven to fight diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, and are a decent source of carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Toss in 3 tablespoons of organic, raw oats and blend with your favorite ingredients and a dash of cinnamon for a traditional taste.