10 June 2010

Protein Power!

~*~*This post is linked up at "Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday" click on over to see what other Food Renegades are up to!~*~*

Whenever people find out that I’m “into health food” I inevitably get asked if I include protein powder in my smoothies. In short, the answer is no, although I do drink a protein shake daily. Protein is very important to a healthy, whole foods diet. As Sally Fallon points out, in my favorite book:

“Proteins are the building blocks of the animal kingdom. The human body assembles and utilizes about 50,000 different proteins to form organs, nerves, muscles and flesh. Enzymes- the managers and catalysts of all our biochemical processes- are specialized proteins. So are antibodies.
All proteins are combination of just 22 amino acids, eight of which are “essential” nutrients for humans, meaning that the human body cannot make them. When essential amino acids are present in the diet, the body can usually build the other “nonessential” amino acids; but if just one essential amino acid is low or missing, the body is unable to synthesize the other proteins it needs, even when overall protein intake is high. Of particular importance to the health of the brain and nervous system are the sulphur- containing amino acids- methionine, cysteine and cystine- found most plentifully in eggs and meat.

…Inadequate protein intake leads to loss of myocardial muscle and may therefore contribute to coronary heart disease. However, protein cannot be adequately utilized without dietary fats. That is why protein and fats occur together in eggs, milk, fish and meats. A high protein, lowfat diet can cause many problems including too rapid growth and depletion of vitamin A and vitamin D reserves.”

That is a very condensed, simplistic version of why quality proteins are important in our diets (that excerpt comes from a seven page chapter on the importance of proteins, alone. Get the book. Really, you should.). Did you notice I mentioned quality proteins? Aha! I do not consider synthetic protein shakes or soy based protein powder to be of a high quality. They aren’t whole foods & they are heavily processed. No thank you!! (more on soy later)

I make my own raw, whole foods version of a protein shake and its amazing! I love it and the kids love it. It's my go to drink before each and every workout. These shakes keep me satisfied and sustained during a two hour workout in the pool and they leave me feeling healthy and strong for hours afterwards.
  • 2 raw egg yolks (from pastured chickens, ONLY)
  • 1 big pinch of pink Himalayan Salt
  • 2 T agave nectar (or equivalent of your favorite non processed sweetener)**
  • 2 cups raw, whole milk
  • Either a handful of frozen strawberries, 2 tsp of vanilla extract or 2 tsp of organic cacao powder

**Agave nectar is not technically a nonprocessed sweetener. I only use it in making milkshakes. I plan to experiment more with stevia, maple syrup and local, raw honey. Stay tuned.**

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