Should You Use Protein Powder?
This blog is meant to present the options, weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately help you decide on whether or not to use protein powder in your diet.
I’ve been using protein powders since I was 16. I told my parents that I needed protein powder because I wanted to build muscle. Most people (including my father, the doctor) told me that I didn’t need protein powder as long as I was eating enough real food. He’s right, for the most part. As long as your diet contains an adequate amount of protein containing complete profile amino acids, you don’t need protein powder. So why use protein power at all?
The answer is convenience. We want two things out of our protein shakes:
1) Minimal preparation time
2) Capitalization of our workouts by getting the right amino acids to help build muscle.
The Quality of Your Protein Matters
Most protein shakes are available in the form of whey protein, or protein powder derived from the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese. But let me ask you a question: Do you ever consider the nutrition of the cows from which the whey protein is derived in terms of quality level of the protein powder? Most health-conscious people will choose the grass-fed or organic option whenever they find it available in the grocery store (if they can afford it), but I’m willing to bet that a disproportionate amount of people who purchase protein powders don’t make the same distinction.
The truth is that it really makes no difference if you’re having whey protein or you’re having a New York strip – in both cases, you should be concerned about the environment in which the source of this food product (the cow) was raised. A cow that is raised with a poor diet, in an unhealthy environment and given hormones and antibiotics will not produce milk of the same quality of a cow raised to produce certified organic milk and beef.
Why I Switched to Plant Protein: The Drawbacks
It is specifically for this realization that I personally stopped using whey protein years ago. The more I learned about nutrition and the more negative experiences of whey protein that I was exposed to, the more I questioned why I even used whey protein in the first place. I missed out on some post-meal protein, which effectively neutralized any gains that I made from my workouts, but at least I wasn’t putting crappy nutrition into my body. I even stopped eating cheese, yogurt, and some other dairy products because I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to the sources of each of these foods.
A few months ago, I started using a plant-based protein powder. The label said that it’s just as good as whey protein powder! But I knew that a plant-based protein powder would never be as effective in supporting muscle growth as an animal-based protein does. (And as a result, I was not getting the best recovery fuel that I could to help rebuild the muscle I lost following my workouts, meaning that I was missing out on some of the gains of my workout!)
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Finally! A Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein Powder Worth My Money
I did not even consider using another whey protein powder until I ran into the My Natural Force stand at the Paleo(f)x conference in Austin, Texas. It was the end of the day, and I was exhausted from taking physical fitness tests, listening to lectures, and meeting as many people as possible. I saw the sign, realized I needed some protein because I had just completed as many deadlifts at my own bodyweight as possible (I weight 165 pounds, and I busted out 56 reps), and then took a sample. Yum. “What is this?” I asked. When I learned that the product was whey-protein, I was a little turned off. “Ah… yeah I try to avoid dairy products,” I told the guy running the booth. But the guy who was running the booth wasn’t just an intern or locally-hired temporary help. I was speaking with the CEO and the founder of Natural Force, Justin Quinn.
It was then that I learned why exactly Justin founded Natural Force in the first place. He too felt betrayed by the supplement industry upon learning just how irresponsible they had been when creating their protein powders and other supplements, and the disregard they had for their customers in selling them products of poor quality from cows that were fed crap (sometimes cows are literally fed garbage in order to save money on feed). No wonder people complain of stomach issues and gut problems when they use whey protein powders! He told me his story, how he and his friend founded a supplement company because they were frustrated with the supplements available to us. They realized that the products we were using contradicted their principles of good nutrition with fillers, artificial flavors, and ingredients our bodies just didn’t need. So they created a brand founded on the integrity of their ingredients, with a mission “to tap Mother Nature’s bounty of raw superfoods to provide you with the highest quality training supplements ever created.”
I’m now using their organic grass-fed whey protein powder. I mix it with water, bananas, and whatever else I feel like adding. I use Natural Force Organic Whey because I trust that I will quickly get the amino acids that my body needs after a workout without having to spend a lot of time preparing a full meal, and without compromising on the level of quality of fuel that I am putting into my body.
Discounts For The Best Whey Protein Around!
Here’s the good news for you: Justin and the Natural Force team have made me a featured athlete of Natural Force, and they are offering a 5% discount on any whey protein product to the Man Flow Yoga community, using the code “MANFLOW5”, and a 10% discount on all other supplements with the code “MANFLOW10”.
Remember, if you have the time to prepare a proper post-workout meal with protein containing full profile amino acids, then you’ll never need a protein powder. But, if there are times when you don’t have the time to make a full meal, and you still want to get the benefits of a high quality meal (and not miss out on the gains you made in your workout), then Natural Force Organic Whey is something that you’ll want to add to your pantry.
Check out my page on Natural Force here. Be sure to check out the rest of their products as well!
About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.
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