What is protein?
Back in the day, everything used to be marketed as “low fat” but now it all seems to be “high protein” and “zero sugar”.
So what is protein? And why do we need it?
Protein is a macro nutrient along with carbohydrates and fat. Our body gets protein from the food we eat and uses it to build and repair muscle tissues. Protein also helps with regulating our hormones and keeping our hair and nails healthy.
Foods high in protein include tofu, beans, tempeh, nuts, seeds, seitan (and of course meat and fish if you are not vegan).
Who should be using protein shakes?
If you regularly do exercise, it would be a great idea to supplement with protein shakes as they will help you recover from your workout.
A lot of people believe that shakes are only for bodybuilders and that they will grow super big muscles if they start downing the shakes! I wish this was true haha (I am trying to grow big muscles) but ultimately protein shakes are just an easy and quick way to get your protein hit and are suitable for everyone.
I would recommend shakes to anyone who is trying to lose weight, anyone short on time or anyone trying to improve their health and wellbeing. I do not advise replacing “real food” with shakes, they are just great to have alongside your normal meals!
As vegans, we are constantly asked where we get our protein from. The average person actually needs less protein than we think and if you eat a balanced healthy plant based diet, there is no reason why you should not have enough protein!
Top benefits of protein shakes
Protein can help control your appetite as it releases hormones that keep you feeling fuller for longer. This is great if you are trying to lose weight. I always start my day with a protein shake to keep me full at work until lunch and I try to include a source of protein in every meal to stop me feeling hungry.
If you are trying to build muscle or boost your strength, protein will help your muscles to repair quicker. Our bodies do not store protein and it is needed for your muscles to grow. I always have a shake straight after my workout as it is quick and convenient and I can take it to the gym with me.
When we turn 30 we reach our maximum point of bone tissue and our bones stop regenerating. Unfortunately in the UK osteoporosis (loss of bone density) is very common. It has been proven that there is a link between protein and calcium in our body and it can help keep our bones strong.
Protein requires less insulin to be metabolised compared to carbohydrates therefore it does not send your blood sugar levels through the roof. It means including protein in your diet can protect you from diabetes. In effect this also means having more protein in your diet can help reduce cravings as your blood sugar levels will be more balanced.
Having protein in your diet is essential to help your hormones balance properly. When your hormones are all in tune it means you will feel happier, less anxious and more relaxed. Protein will also help you to sleep better.
Protein is needed for your brain to function properly; it helps to build neurotransmitters to help with your memory and focus.
The immune system is made up are various immune cells that are involved in detecting, fighting and destroying foreign pathogens (such as bacterial and viral cells). Protein is required for the synthesis of these immune cells, and is needed in greater amounts when the body is fighting an infection. Ensuring adequate protein is particularly important in winter, when we are exposed to higher number pathogens.
Protein is used by the body to synthesize enzymes, including the digestive enzymes that are required for breaking down and digesting the food we eat. A lack of digestive enzymes can lead to symptoms of bloating, reflux and abdominal pain and can affect nutrient absorption. Protein is needed to maintain overall gut health.
Our hair, skin and nails are made up of protein. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and is responsible for keeping our skin strong and elastic. If protein is deficient in the diet, the body will utilise protein for the most important functions, and will neglect less important structures such as the hair. Studies have shown that protein can modulate hair growth and strength, which is why it is often present in hair products.
A bag of protein can cost less than 50p per serving, it will last for ages and can be ready instantly!
For the past year I have used Raw Sport supplements and I was super lucky to have been offered a sponsorship deal after my competition where I do earn commission on the products I sell. I truly believe in their products because of their amazing ingredients (they contain no artificial sweeteners like some shakes do). You can use code #foxy15 or discount on their website and they sell samples too. I would totally recommend Toffee Fudge and Banana flavour!
That being said I would like to give you the low down on all shakes; I have probably tried every shake on the market so feel free to ask me any questions or read my blog post on my fave shakes below.
I love to mix my shake with 200ml of plant based milk and TONS of ice so its nice and thick like a milkshake ❤
I often use my protein powder to bake with and here are my favourite recipes below:
Chocolate salty bites
Vegan French Toast
Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Cake
4 Macro friendly recipes