This blog was written by our Smoothie and Juice Bar Manager, Rachel Cook.
Nourish your Body with Plant-Based Protein
I remember the first smoothie I ever had. My mom had been diagnosed with cancer and was looking to improve her health and strengthen her body. As a result, my whole family was being subjected to many juicing and smoothie experiments. My brother and mine’s first blended beverage consisted of strawberries, banana, orange juice, soy milk, flax seeds, and tofu. Yes-tofu! Maybe not the most appetizing smoothie ingredient but to be honest, you really couldn’t even taste it.
Years later, I look back fondly on all times my parents tried to sneak “weird” health foods into our meals. As an adult, I now realize my parents were on the right track. We can get so much nutrition just from plants. We don’t always have to rely on dairy and meat. There is so much more out there!
One place we can make a shift from animal to plant is in our smoothies. Plant-based protein powder can provide an array of disease-fighting phytonutrients and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Plus, plants are naturally lower in cholesterol and sodium. The plant-based protein powder we use at MOVE Wellness Studios has 18 grams of protein per serving which is around a third of your daily requirement.
Plant-based protein is usually much “cleaner” than whey protein. Specifically, it takes less processing to get it to its final state and it also has less additives. The ingredient list of plant-based protein powder is surprisingly familiar and filled whole-food ingredients such as pumpkin seed, flaxmeal, and hemp seed. Whey protein on the other hand, typically contains at least one form of artificial sweetener as well as stabilizers and gums to give it a silky, frothy texture.
So are you considering trying a plant-based protein? Here’s what to look for:
- One that contains a combination of different plant-based protein sources (I would recommend hemp, pea, pumpkin seed, and brown rice) so your body can get the widest array of nutrients possible. Think of it like a meal- you wouldn’t just eat a plate of romaine- you would add tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers too!
- No artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Always look for a minimal ingredients list- there shouldn’t be words you can’t pronounce or unfamiliar ingredients.
- Organic/Non GMO/Gluten and Dairy Free. This will keep you from ingesting harmful farming by-products as well as keep the powder as easy on your digestion as it can be. It also means you are trying to support farmers who have ethical practices about caring for our earth.
Remember, you don’t have to totally eliminate animal protein. Everyone’s choice on how and what to eat is personal. Just try to be mindful of the quantity and quality of food you are consuming and show your body some love by adding in more plants.
Don’t forget, you can always swing by our Smoothie and Juice Bar and we can whip you up a delicious, protein-filled smoothie!
“Arguably of even greater importance than the raw materials that foods do or do not supply is the ease at which they are digested, absorbed, assimilated, and eliminated. The less our food choices demand upon our digestive and metabolic capacity, the greater opportunity the body has available for recovery and regeneration after our training sessions.”
~ Dr. Rick Dina