Why do I need protein?
Protein and Mood
We make our hormones from amino acids the bricks we need to make protein. So, eating protein in every meal helps you make the hormones you need including your happy hormone serotonin.
If you suffer from low mood just before your period or menstruation this may be due to a dip in your happy hormone called serotonin. We make serotonin from protein. If we don’t eat the right protein we can’t make it so it is important to include protein in every meal.
Science bit if you are interested
To be exact (you can ignore this bit if it’s too much information) we make serotonin from an amino acid called tryptophan. Amino acids are the bricks used to make protein. We cannot make tryptophan ourselves so if we don’t eat it we won’t be able to make our happy hormone which will affect mood.
Protein Supports Energy and Feeling Full
Protein takes time to break down, so it helps you feel fuller for longer
Avoid energy crashes and mood dips
Protein is complex to break down so, by including protein foods in each meal, you can avoid that sugar spike which lead to energy dips, anxiety, and mood swings. You can regulate your blood sugar levels without even trying.
HIIT and Staying Fit
Also if you love staying fit, doing HIIT, yoga, running, Les Mills classes or going out dancing, protein will help you to stay lean and define your muscles.
Protein supports nails and hair
85% of your hair is made from the protein keratin. Nails are made from a similar amount.
So, if you suffer from weak hair or nails you may benefit from increasing your dietary protein levels.
When and how much protein do I need?
How much protein do I need?
The minimum is estimated at between 0.75 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. However many of us need much more than this. .
Being active, being super active, recovering from illness, taking medication are examples of when you may benefit from more protein.
Everyone has individual needs
If you are someone who likes to calculate your food goals, 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight may be a good aim to set.
Start the day with protein
Do you need protein at breakfast?
Yes, it is important to have protein in every meal.
Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day to get adequate protein because most protein foods need to be cooked and we don’t have the time.
Easy Options with Protein Powder
Make it easy with protein powder
Adding a scoop of protein power to a smoothie or a heaped dessertspoon to a cereal is a simple, easy and clean way to guarantee you are getting protein.
If you have no time you can even add a scoop or protein powder to a smoothie in a café when you are meeting colleagues or friends
Why vegan over whey protein powder?
There are many reasons to choose vegan over whey protein:
- Because you are vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian
- To add in extra fibre to keep you fuller for longer
- Vegan proteins like hemp contain bonus nutrients and fats
- To make a sustainable choice by reducing the amount of dairy you eat
- To limit the amount of animal proteins you eat
- If you have a dairy allergy.
- However, if you are lactose intolerant you are usually ok with whey protein because it doesn’t contain lactose.
Which vegan protein to choose?
The main vegan protein source ingredients used are Pea, Hemp, Rice and Peanut. Others such as chia are used, they don’t have so much protein but are great in a mix
They all have an individual taste so one of the most important factors in choosing your protein powder is finding one you like the taste of.
Choose simple whole ingredients
If you don’t recognise the ingredient, it is better to avoid eating it!
Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, maca and cocao are bonus ingredients added to protein powders.
They all have individual benefits for you.
Ingredients Best Avoided
Do read the ingredients first. It is a good rule of thumb to avoid any with names you don’t understand. These include added fillers, binders, preservatives, and GMOs that might upset your tummy, cause bloating and irritation or raise your blood sugar levels.
Xanthan gum is a food thickener often added to brands. The gum may cause gut or nasal irritation for some people so be aware of this. It is made by fermenting a sugar taken from a carbohydrate such as wheat, corn, soy or dairy.
Sugar and Sweeteners
Unless you choose plain rice, pea or hemp protein powder most options will add a sweetener like sucralose, sugar, coconut sugar, erythritol or stevia.
Always check the amount of sugar in the product and avoid any with more than 5% sugar because you will be getting sugar in the smoothie or cereal anyway.
Stevia and coconut sugar will have less of an effect on your blood sugar levels as sugar and sucralose.
Sweet taste with no sugar
Inulin is a fibre that feeds your good bacteria. It tastes sweet without having any effect on your blood sugar level at all. Inulin is used in some protein powders to support your gut health and give you a sweet taste with no sugar spikes.
Is Inulin good for you?
Some people can’t tolerate inulin because it makes them bloat. Other people find it too sweet.
If you get on ok with inulin it is a great way to support your gut and get a sugary taste without a sugar rush.
Try a sample or single serving first to see if you like the taste. In my experience this is such an individual taste. Some of my clients have loved powders that others have hated. It’s about finding the right one for you.
My favourite brand is BodyMe they are local, organic, don’t use any fillers, are full of nurturing energy boosting bonus nutrients and taste good. I like their ‘maca and cinnamon’ alongside their turmeric and ginger spicy gold flavour.
Other excellent options that are careful about their ingredients include Nuzest (pea based, used by elite athletes, highest cost) Pulsin (best value with plain rice, pea or hemp), Motion Nutrition (dairy and vegan) and Revolution Foods.