Today we have another guest post by Kristen Suzanne of Kristen’s Raw. Overall I like to have my diet consist of whole foods, but I do have a place in my diet for raw vegan (soy-free) protein powders. Here is what Kristen has to say about the issue…
Protein powders get mixed reviews from people. There are some people who don’t care for protein powders because they say they’re a “fractionated food” (i.e., not a whole food). There are other people, however, like me, who are grateful they exist. Some raw peeps love them because they want more protein in their diets to support their intense exercise regime (such as my husband, Greg, and Robert Cheeke vegan bodybuilder). Other people, like me, love them when pregnant or breastfeeding for that easy extra protein. But, that’s not the only reason I like them…
When I’m eating an all raw diet (breastfeeding, pregnant, or not), I find that there are times that I want something to eat that is not high carb or high fat. A lot of raw foods are either one of those two options. Sure, I could gnaw on some plain romaine or cucumbers, but it’s not going to really fill me up or fill this unique need I’m describing. I’m talking about those times that I feel a need for something substantial and filling, but that is not high fat (there goes nuts) or high carb (sorry, fruit). I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced that when eating all raw, but it’s something that happens to me from time to time. So, how do I handle it? I drink a protein shake. And, it’s exactly what I need!
Now, I realize that some people just have a hard time getting into protein drinks, even if they are interested, because of the chalkiness or the flavor. And, for those times that I mentioned above where I wanted something that was not high fat or high carb…. a protein shake that was simply water and protein powder was just what I needed. That probably isn’t appealing to many. But you know what? I actually love it. I’m over the chalkiness (of course, I’ve been drinking protein shakes for some 20 years now because they were a big part of my bodybuilding regimen). I’m used to them, have been for a long time. But then something more profound happened… now I even crave the stuff sometimes. I know, weird, huh? Craving a (plain) protein shake? Just the powder and water shaken up? Yes! Once I realized that it indeed filled a physical need for me, it mentally satisfied me. It also filled me up, which is great for people watching calories. It gave me the perfect solution to keeping my diet raw without eating more carbs or fat when that wasn’t what my body was calling for.
A smart trick is finding a protein powder that you like. I did a comprehensive review on protein powders here (be sure to check it out!). I also wrote about my husband’s Protein Grenades to give you some more ideas. I find that the protein powder I love and rely on the most now is Sun Warrior’s Chocolate protein powder. It seems they’ve improved their protein powder just recently and it tastes even better. :)
If you’re one of those people who can’t imagine drinking just protein powder mixed with water, try some of the following suggestions to see if they help:
1) Blend the powder with water and ice or…
2) Shake the powder up with really cold water. I find that when the shake is really cold, I enjoy it more. If the water from your tap isn’t cold enough, and you don’t want to use ice, then make the shake in advance and put it in your refrigerator to get cold before drinking it.
3) Add pizazz to it. I love adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to mine. Sometimes I add nutmeg, too. Raw vanilla powder is fun, as are other flavors like almond extract or orange extract. (The other day I used peppermint extract!) Add cayenne and give your circulation a boost! Get creative and diversify so they’re not always the same… you can even get extra wild and add garam masala or fenugreek or curry powder. This will keep it exciting.
4) Add extra water. My whole family drinks Sun Warrior’s Chocolate (mom, husband, my brother, and myself). My mom likes hers with more water and she enjoys each sip of it as she takes her time drinking it. I tend to make mine thicker and drink it faster.
5) Mix it with raw coconut water or raw almond milk for variety.
Before I realized that protein shakes were a perfect solution, I used to sit there and think, “I’m hungry. No, I don’t want a bunch of nuts. No, I don’t feel like sugar from fruits. No, I need something more than a huge bowl of plain romaine. I think cooked black beans or lentils would do the trick but I want to keep it raw right now. Hmmm….” That’s when I decided to just drink a protein shake one night because I was out of options. Well, it worked. I was full and satisfied. I was excited because it was a way for me to stick to the raw diet and be happy without filling up on foods I wasn’t in the mood for.
Do you drink protein powders? If so, what are your favorites and what is your regimen?
Photo courtesy of Kristen Suzanne