Protein, The girl next door.

Ah protein powder, the girl next-door  of the supplement world.  We love it, need it, and often don’t think twice about it. Quite honestly, protein gets the short end of the stick in the supplement world. I think protein powder should be cast in a leading role, but before I get carried away with too many cliches, lets talk about what protein actually is. 

Chemically speaking, proteins are complex molecules made up of  smaller molecules called amino acids.  Once the body breaks the protein down into amino acids, the amino acids perform different jobs throughout the body based on their size and complexity. Amino acids are responsible for the maintenance, growth and repair of muscles. Essentially, protein synthesis is what helps our bodies to properly form and function. So where do we get protein?

Animal protein is usually the first type of protein that comes to mind (chicken, beef, fish, pork etc.)  I’ll be honest, fried chicken is my favorite form of protein but I’m not doing myself any favors by battering and deep frying my protein. Let’s establish some “Protein Rules”. First Rule of Protein: Know What is in Your Protein. Be sure to look for high quality proteins in their natural form. Pay attention to the labels on your protein, they actually mean something.  Check out this handy guide from The US Department of Agriculture to decipher what those labels actually mean. If you’re looking for someone to take the guesswork out of it, check out our favorite quality protein dealer Stay Classy Meats For my vegan and vegetarian friends, be sure to pay attention to the labels on your favorite sources of protein too; not all foods are created equally. Look for protein options that are non-GMO; There are more foods that are genetically modified out there than you think. 

Now that we’ve got a general knowledge of what protein is and where to find it, how much do we need on a daily basis? This brings us to the Second Rule of Protein: Not Everyone Needs the Same Amount of Protein.The recommended daily amount of protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. Lets get mathy for a minute. For example, I’m 138 lbs. So 138 lbs X 0.36 gop = 49.68 grams of protein per day. This equation, however, does not take into account my age, height, gender, or activity level. For a little more personalization I went to this protein calculator to see if my results differed. After I put in my specifics,  the equation recommended 52 grams of protein per day. Not too far off! Use the equations above as guidelines and tweak as needed based on your personal goals.

Third Rule of Protein: Everyone can benefit from  protein.   No matter what your age or goal, protein can help you be your best you! Babies and children need protein to properly function and develop, adults need protein to continue to properly function, and the elderly need protein to maintain and replace diminishing  muscle mass.  Remember those molecules and amino acids from the beginning? The body naturally tells our cells what to do with them. The body also ages naturally and the saying is true: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Over time, actually around age 30-ish, muscle mass can start to diminish, its called age related Sarcopenia.  This is stereotypically the time in life that  body and muscles start to be neglected.  Sarcopenia doesn’t typically become a huge problem until after 65ish. Lack of muscle tends to lack of strength which can lead to falling, specifically in older age groups. Older folks are much more susceptible to other health problems (osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, etc.) that make a fall more detrimental than it would to a 30 or 40 year old. Start preparing your body now by putting your muscles to work and fuel it with some good Protein!

We’ve made it to the Final Rule of Protein: Don’t be afraid of protein powder. When fresh protein isn’t enough, supplements do exactly what they say they will; they supplement what is missing. Protein powder is highly beneficial and critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I know what you’re thinking, protein powder can be chalky and dare I say yucky.  But hear me out. There are plenty of different protein powder options on the market.The two most common types of  protein are  Whey protein  and Casein protein. Both are derived from milk protein but casein protein takes a bit longer to digest and disperse, more of a slow and steady flow. If lactose is a concern you can find egg, pea, hemp, brown rice and mixed plant proteins. Thanks to Pinterest ,there are plenty of recipes for cooking and baking with protein powder instead of the traditional shake. Check out our previous blog for a killer protein powder donut recipe. If you’re a protein powder master or just starting out, I would highly recommend trying the Xendurance protein powder. Its easy on the stomach, not chalky, packed with amino acids containing 2 types of whey and 2 types of casein protein and the best part; it’s super yummy. 

As the curtain closes on our transformed girl next door, remember the Four Rules of Protein:

  1. Know what’s in your protein

  2. Not Everyone needs the same amount of protein

  3. Everyone can benefit from protein

  4. Don’t be afraid of Protein Powder