Anything you can get from protein powder… you can get from whole foods. And the truth is, whole foods will probably be in a much more nutrient-dense and satisfying form. But protein powders have a few things going for it – convenience, it’s easy to digest and it doesn’t taste like a piece of meat.
So, what exactly is wrong with protein powders?
- It is highly processed…. period. The whole idea of the Art of Undieting program is to eat real unprocessed whole food.
- The majority of protein powders have some sort of natural or artificial sweetener.
- The protein typically comes from food we eliminate during the first 4 weeks of the challenge like whey (dairy), casein (dairy), soy (legume), rice (grains) and pea (legumes).
- Many protein powders also contain toxic chemicals, chemical additives and preservatives, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils and more.
I get it, many people are training hard and using supplements to optimize their performance. However, for the first 4 weeks of the Art of Undieting challenge, please replace your favourite chocolate flavoured protein shake with real food. Anything you can get from protein powder, you can get from whole foods.
Are any protein powders allowed?
Certain protein powders come from food that is technically okay to have during the first 4 weeks of the challenge. If you have to go the protein powder route go for egg, collagen (I like this brand, it’s clean, effective and affordable), gelatin and hemp. All of these in its cleanest form without any of the above added to the powder. Always check those ingredients.
But please consider this. If you’re taking protein powder because you think it’s healthy or because you just need protein…… eat some real food. It’s just as effective, safer, and probably cheaper.
Set yourself up for success.
To successfully replace protein powder with real food, you’ll have to plan ahead and do a bit of meal prep. See the time you spend on this as an investment in your health, because that is exactly what it is.
For a pre-workout snack have a small portion of protein and fat.
- Hard-boiled egg on its own or topped with smashed avo.
- Egg frittata muffins (use whatever veggies you have at home, make a dozen and store in the freezer).
- Tuna / chicken and mayo (home-made mayo) on a seed cracker.
- Tuna / chicken and mayo salad. Combine your protein of choice, chopped tomato, cucumber and red onions and add a few spoons of home-made mayo.
- Seed cracker topped with nut butter or avo.
- A handful of nuts and a few bites of leftover protein (chicken, beef, fish etc) from last night’s dinner.
- Bone broth (real broth, not powder – available at most health shops).
For a post-workout snack have a small portion of protein and vegetables high in carbohydrates.
- Leftover meat & vegetables
- Sweet potato hash (Use carrots, butternut, beetroot and potatoes in this recipes – make lots and store in the freezer)
- Sweet potato blinis
- Tuna cakes
- Chicken sliders
- Raw carrots
- Bone broth (real broth, not powder – available at most health shops)
I know this is probably going to disrupt your routine, but it’s only for 4 weeks. Most people find that they can successfully reintroduce clean whey protein back into their diets at the reintroduction phase of the challenge. But to be honest, why do you want to do that if you can get everything you need from real food.