I am a huge advocate of protein smoothies first thing in the morning and encourage you to make it part of your nutrition plan. Here I will go over some of the benefits of protein smoothies, some sample recipes, as well as how to pick the right protein powder for you.
The benefits of protein smoothies are numerous:
- They balance your blood sugar after a night of fasting and provides prolonged energy (versus simply eating carbohydrates for breakfast which will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash again, leaving you tired and hungry at 11am).
- They take the stress off your adrenals as the adrenals then do not have to go into action to keep blood sugar balanced throughout the day.
- They give a wide variety of ideal nutrients – fats, proteins and carbohydrates
- They promote weight loss as you provide fuel for the fire of your metabolism to burn all day.
Drink a protein smoothie within one hour of waking up!!!
The smoothie can either be a basic smoothie, which means it is just water or almond milk, and protein powder. This is your choice if you want to have breakfast as well. It will be less filling than the deluxe smoothie and will allow you to eat your regular breakfast an hour or so later.
- Water or almond milk
- Protein powder
The deluxe smoothie is your breakfast. There are so many benefits to this smoothie, it is satisfying, tasty and is perhaps the single best addition you can make to your diet.
- 1 cup of almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk.
- 1 scoop protein powder of your choice (within guidelines described below)
- 1 tablespoon flax oil (or Barleans Omega Swirl which is flax oil in a strawberry-banana flavored, non-oily form – delicious!)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds; Barlean’s also has a Flax-Chia-Coconut blend which is amazing!
- Optional: greens powder such as NanoGreens
- Optional: fresh or frozen fruit (I love the frozen Acai pouches – they’re unsweetened and packaged in single servings which is perfect for this use).
- Optional: 1 drop of your favorite essential oil – orange, peppermint, cinnamon for example, or get brave and add 1 drop of Protective Blend to support your immune system!
The almond or rice milk are low allergen and have less sugar than using fruit juice as a base. The protein powder is for the energy benefits and regulating blood sugar. The flax oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (take along with 2 grams of fish oil in liquid or gelcap form daily). The ground flax seed is great for fiber, and for providing lignans, which have anti-cancer properties and keep the bowel healthy.
Most people will be able to add some fresh or frozen fruit such as mango or berries to their smoothie. If Candida is an issue, you may want to skip that part. But the protein powders are usually tasty enough by themselves to make a good smoothie. Many people also like to add a greens powder such as NanoGreens to their smoothie to give an extra source of concentrated vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
I believe that protein powders can be a good way of getting additional protein in the diet, especially in smoothies. As with everything, however, there are good ones and bad ones.
The things to look for when selecting a protein powder are –
(1) Source of the protein – people with dairy sensitivity will not be able to eat whey protein. Whey is a protein isolate of dairy – some people tolerate it fine because the protein has been extracted and it typically no longer contains the casein that can be so allergy-causing. Others may be sensitive even to the whey. Food sensitivity testing will make this clear.
Other protein powder sources include egg white protein, soy protein, rice protein and hemp protein. Food allergy testing helps to determine which proteins work well for your body and which do not. If in doubt, I recommend rice protein as being readily available in stores with a low allergy potential, or pea protein which you may have to order online.
(2) The sweetener used – most protein powders have some kind of flavoring and/or sweetener. Select ones that use stevia as their sweetener. Artificially sweetened protein powders can do more harm than good – they contain chemicals which are carcinogenic (cancer causing) and will impede the detoxification mechanisms of your body. Naturally sweetened protein powders can be high in sugar, albeit natural sugars, which may be a problem for people who are trying to prevent or overcome Candida problems.
(3) Non-genetically modified – some protein powders contain elements that have been genetically modified, such as soy beans in soy protein powder. I believe we will learn more in future years about the negative impact of genetically modified foods (GMO) on our DNA and our health. Suffice it to say that GMO foods are increasingly common, have financial gain as their impetus, not individual’s health, and have disastrous consequences for mankind.
My Favorite Protein Powders
TrimShake (please contact me for info!) – this is a doTERRA product and comes in vanilla or chocolate. It is a mix of whey protein, egg white and potato protein, and is sweetened with stevia. It also contains fiber and other special ingredients called SolaTrim and Essentratrim that help maintain healthy blood sugar regulation, as well as help manage appetite and cravings. It is part of their Slim and Sassy line for healthy weight balance. This is what I use every morning in my home – Valentina gets to pick the flavor each day and she loves them both! Often I’ll just use almond milk, TrimShake and flax oil and it’ll easily get me through til lunchtime.
BioPharma NanoPro – one of the purest whey protein powders on the market, it is non-GMO, comes from the milk of cows not treated with growth hormones, is sweetened with stevia, and also contains the immune building and detoxifying nutrients colostrum and reduced glutathione. This is more a medical food than a plain protein powder, and is good for supporting the immune system.
Jay Robb – this brand is available in leading health food stores and is a good basic protein powder; all their flavors are sweetened with stevia, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and they come in whey and egg white. Jay Robb has all the usual flavors – vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, along with unflavored, and some other unusual flavors such as Pina Colada and Dreamsickle!
Pea Protein Isolate (by Biotics) – this is a pea-based protein. This low-allergen protein powder is good for people who are so reactive to different foods that they must constantly be rotating their diet, or for those who are intolerant to rice as well as whey and soy. It actually tastes pretty good – it’s gluten and dairy free, and non-GMO.
Metagenics Medical Foods – this supplement company makes protein powders that have medicinal properties due to the other ingredients they add to them. Ultra InflammX has properties that modulate inflammation in the body, especially in the digestive tract. Ultra Clear Plus pH is a detoxification remedy that also promotes alkalinity. It can be used as the foundation for an intensive 28 day detoxification program. UltraMeal and UltraMeal Plus help to regulate body composition and are good for those battling overweight, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. These are definitely more in the medical food category than the straight protein powder category, but I have seen them work wonders for those with chronic digestive issues and chronic disease/ inflammation.
If you have a favorite smoothie recipe or smoothie addition, feel free to let me know and I can share it with others! And if you would like information about TrimShake and the Slim and Sassy product line for healthy weight balance, contact me here and I would be happy to share that with you.
Valentina and I drink protein smoothies every single day and we love them. They’re healthy, give me good energy and I love having the big protein boost first thing in the morning. You can be really creative as to what you put it in, but even if you keep it simple, the benefits of protein smoothies are many!