When I was younger, I never really thought about what is in protein or where my food came from or whether it was safe to eat. I didn’t think twice about what farmers fed their livestock or if they were treated with hormones. However, after teaching in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, I realized you really need to ask questions, read labels and do your due diligence when purchasing organic protein sources at your supermarket.
Out of all the nutrients in your diet, protein is essential. If you remember high school biology, protein is an important building block of your cells; it forms the foundation of your heart, lungs and DNA; replenishes your muscles; and drives essential biological processes such as cell growth and metabolism. We honestly could not exist without protein!!!
Your body also needs a lot of protein in order to carry out these essential biological processes and function properly. For the average person, this means consuming half of your body weight in protein every day in grams. If you are an athlete and trying to build lean muscle, you require even more protein per day. For example, if you weighed 150 pounds, you would need to consume 75 grams of protein per day.
Do You Eat Enough Protein?
Take this quiz:
- Feel tired even after you get a good night’s sleep?
- Ever feel gassy or bloated?
- Finding it hard to lose or gain weight?
- Experience muscle and/or joint discomfort?
- Have trouble concentrating or experience ‘brain fog’?
If you answered ‘yes’ to two or more of these questions, protein or lack thereof might be your problem.
Is All Protein Created Equal?
Have you ever wondered why you can purchase a hamburger or cheeseburger from a fast food joint for so cheap? There is a reason why some proteins are so cheap. What kind of protein are you consuming?
What is in Protein? Here are some facts:
- Most beef, chicken and pork we purchase from our supermarkets come from factory farms. The livestock on these farms are treated with hormones or steroids. These hormones or steroids makes them give birth faster and more often. As a result, these animals end up in crowded feedlots. To fend off disease, the livestock are inoculated with antibiotics which makes them live long enough so they can be slaughtered. The antibiotics given to livestock are almost identical to the antibiotics used to treat illness in humans. This antibiotic overload increases the chance that genetic mutations will produce resistant strains of bacteria and viruses against which medications will be useless.
- You are what they ate. Have you ever wondered what they are feeding the livestock on these farms? Cows are herbivores and designed to eat grass, but because grains are relatively cheap and easily obtainable, grains are commonly used to feed livestock. Livestock are also routinely fed by-product feed. This feed can include chewing gum, heat-treated garbage or other junk food.
- Most disturbing of all: The FDA does not require hormone use to be listed on labels and farms are not required to tell you what they feed their animals. The next time you are out shopping for protein take a look at the labels on the packages. What does raised without antibiotics, grass-fed or organic really mean?
According to a report by Reuters, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans” on its group one list along with tobacco and asbestos.
One of the biggest actions you can take to reduce your exposure to toxins and meet your body’s protein requirements is to change how you get your meats and proteins in the first place. Ask yourself the next time you are purchasing protein at the supermarket - What is in the protein? Where did it come from? Look for labels.
Here are some healthier alternatives:
- Grass-fed beef
- Organic lentils
- Wild-caught fish
- Free-range eggs
- Organic chicken
- Raw milk
- High-quality organic vegan pea/rice protein
What to look for when buying organic protein sources?
- Visit health food stores, farmers markets and grocery stores that carry certified organic meats, dairy, seafood and plant protein sources
- Organic raw dairy products from healthy grass-fed cows or goats. Look for products made with A2 Beta-Casein vs. A1. Kiefer, organic yogurt made with goat’s milk, and cheese made with organic raw milk.
- Meat – 100% grass-fed, antibiotic & growth hormone free, organic and non-GMO
- Eggs – pasture eggs and chickens fed an organic diet
- Buy local
Consider Supplementing Your Diet with a High-Quality Vegan Organic Protein Shake
Why do I recommend using a supplementary organic protein powder? Life today gets busy and some days it is hard to prepare a protein-rich meal. Smoothies with a good source of raw, organic protein are a great option. They are also great before and after a workout. After a workout, your body is able to absorb amino acids faster than at any other time (30 minutes after working out).
5 Pea Protein Benefits
I love pea protein especially when mixed with brown rice protein which gives you a complete amino acid profile. Pea protein is one of the most hypoallergenic of all protein powders because it does not contain any gluten or dairy. It is easy to digest and causes no bloating.
Aids in Weight Loss
- When you are hungry, your stomach secretes ghrelin which tells your brain that your stomach is empty
- Pea protein produces peptides that delay the emptying of your stomach and secretion of ghrelin
- Pea protein matches dairy-based proteins in its ability to help you feel full longer
Supports a Healthy Heart
- In 2009, Canadian scientists found that pea protein lowers high blood pressure
- A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that using plant-based proteins rather than animal-based proteins decreased the risk of coronary heart disease
- If you have heart issues, you should reduce the amount of inflammatory foods you eat
Increases Muscle Thickness
- In 2015, a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition proved pea protein increases muscle thickness just as well as dairy-based proteins
- Pea protein has high amounts of l-arginine which is an amino acid that helps build muscle
May Decrease Your Risk Of Kidney Disease
- The study conducted in Canada that proved pea protein lowers high blood pressure stated that pea protein consumption could actually delay or prevent the onset of chronic kidney disease
- Pea protein’s ability to regulate blood pressure poses a significant benefit since kidney disease is associated with increased blood pressure
Regulates Blood Sugar
- A study conducted by the University of Toronto’s Department of Nutritional Sciences tested the effects of pea protein on food intake, glucose levels and appetite in healthy young men
- While the addition of pea protein did not change food intake or appetite, the blood glucose levels of the subjects stayed lower than normal
The Best Organic Protein Powder
Miessence Complete Protein
I recommend this organic high-quality pea organic protein shake for several reasons:
- No gluten, wheat, egg, soy, dairy, whey, artificial flavours, sweeteners or preservatives
- Certified organic, sprouted and biofermented, raw protein
- High in protein, low carbohydrate, optimally balanced amino acid profile and easily digestible
- Made with certified organic bio-fermented pea protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic sacha inchi protein, non-gmo xanthan gum, and luo han fruit concentrate
- Only 123 mg of sodium
- No maltodextrin
- Only 5 ingredients!!!!
- No steroids or hormones or by-product feed
For more information on the best organic protein powder you can buy click here.
So remember what is in protein the next time you are out shopping for organic protein sources, visit your local health food store or farmers market that carries certified natural and organic meats, seafood, dairy and plant protein sources.