Every week I get asked numerous questions covering anything from my favourite pieces of training equipment, my own health care, my nutritional programme and some of my unique training methods that I use with my celebrity clients in London. I thought it would be a good addition to post about some of these here on my blog in this new section I have titled: The Can Do Review.

I’m going to start things off here with my take on Protein shakes…

 

Protein Powder. These days everyone seems to have it in their kitchen cupboard. 20 years ago only professional bodybuilders would start their morning with a protein shake– today protein powder is as much of a kitchen staple as fruit and veg.

The problem is I see so many people that haven’t followed a steady workout plan in years but still drink protein smoothies religiously, as though that would magically put more muscle on them!

The question I want to answer here is, are protein powders necessary or even healthy?

In this article, I want to address the common misconceptions about whey protein and why I believe hemp protein powder is much a better alternative for you.

Protein Shakes And Your Performance

Speak to most personal trainers and they will often be quite obsessive about  the amount of daily protein that you should aim to consume. A popular number is 46 grams per day for the ladies and 56 grams for men. But that is way too big of a generalisation. For most people the simple approach of consuming real foods and aiming to add a bit more protein to their diet has incredibly positive affects on their body composition.

Benefits of Protein Powders

So do protein powders actually work? well yes, especially when they have branched-chain amino acids which fuel muscle growth and improve performance exponentially. What is more, a higher protein intake helps maintain muscle strength even during times where the client is working out less meaning that getting back in shape after a holiday becomes much easier.

Finally, protein smoothies (as opposed to protein shakes) are an easy way to add other healthy foods into your diet, for instance green leafy vegetables.

The Dark Side Of Whey Protein

Whey protein cons

Although more protein is great for your body, not all protein powders are. Let’s start with something very basic:

What is whey?

I am sure 99% of gym rats don’t actually know the answer to this! Let me explain…

To make cheese, you add acid to the milk. This separates the solids (curd) from the liquid (whey). Most of the fat is left in the cheese, while whey contains the protein which normally helps the calf grow. You know what else helps the calf grow? Hormones.

The hormone balance is one of the most delicate and underestimated systems in your body. Throw that off and you are risking issues like extreme weight gain, mood swings, and horrendous skin problems to name a few.

Hormones are present in our milk and some of them pass into the whey as well. Most of them are peptides (a.k.a. small chains of amino acids) and they make it to the final product in very high concentrations. This can disrupt your hormones dramatically and completely negate any positive effects the powder might have.

More Problems With Whey

Sadly, the hormones aren’t the only problem with whey powders. They are also detrimental to your gut bacteria. Damaging this can cause chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for virtually all chronic diseases (cancer and heart disease included). If that long-term risk is not enough, gut health issues have also been linked to poor athletic performance. Yes, your workout supplement might actually be ruining your progress.

Don’t believe me?

Ask ANYONE that’s ever consumed a whey protein shake if they’ve encountered some flatulence issues or an upset stomach as a result!

To add insult to injury, the very proteins found in whey powder are not typical for the human body. Bovine milk (and whey) contains large globular proteins that are supposed to make the calf put on up to 80 lbs per month. When these same proteins enter the human body, they disrupt our entire system, causing an immune response, as well as unexpected consequences to our metabolism.

Finally, I am yet to meet a client that prefers plain protein powder to the chocolate-flavoured one. The artificial sweeteners in these products have been shown to increase inflammation, induce sugar cravings, and cause weight gain. And don’t even get me started on the flavour-enhancing agents.

Hemp Protein Powder To The Rescue

hemp protein powder

You want to increase your protein intake but now I’ve told you that whey powder does more harm than good.

A lot of people aren’t even aware that there is an alternative. Hemp protein powder is clean, natural, plant-based, and it contains all the amino acids you need.

Also, hemp is a sort of super plant. It’s one of those rare cultures that doesn’t need pesticides and fertilizers, and it isn’t ever genetically modified, either (it does pretty well on it’s own). You can use it to make textile, biofuel, materials for the automobile and construction industry. And, of course, you can eat it. Hemp seed are rich in proteins and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. They can be consumed on their own (and they have some amazing heart and liver health benefits) or processed into other products.

Benefits Of Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp seeds are processed into plant milk, which can then be turned into hemp protein powder. Here are all the amazing benefits it has (and why I always recommend it to my clients):

  • It’s a whole protein. Hemp contains all 21 amino acids, including the essential ones that your body can’t produce.
  • Hemp protein powder is rich in branched-chain amino acids. These fuel your muscles directly, with very little processing required.
  • Hemp is a safe and clean plant source – no GMOs or dangerous chemicals here.
  • The processing doesn’t involve harmful compounds like hexane that are often found in whey protein.
  • Hemp protein powder is easier to digest.
  • It doesn’t damage your gut flora.
  • The proteins found in hemp protein powder are ones your body is used to recognising and using. They will not cause an immune response.
  • There are no hormones in hemp protein powder. It doesn’t encourage inflammation but rather prevents it.
  • Hemp protein powder can be just as affordable as whey but with a much higher quality.

How To Choose And Use Hemp Protein Powder

I do have a favourite brand and product that I usually recommend. Remember that a protein powder is simply a supplement, though. Nothing can replace a diet rich in real, wholesome food. Try using hemp protein powder in nutrient-rich recipes, rather than just mix it with water. Some of my favourites are in porridge (with some oats or quinoa), green smoothies, or in a protein-packed omelette.

The Review:

Product: Purition Raw Vegan Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake

 

Suitable for: I honestly would recommend this to all of my clients. It is a very common theme for my female clients to consistently fall below their daily protein consumption requirements. As a post workout shake or as part of a breakfast smoothie this product solves that issue in the healthiest possible way. As a vegan source this product is also an excellent meal supplement for those not getting all essential amino acids in their diet.

Value for Money: At around £20 per kilo it’s certainly not cheap, but like most things in life you get what you pay for. You can find plenty of really cheap protein powders online but if you’ve taken the time to read the article above then you’ll now know that the low budget price also comes with high levels of animal hormones, sugar and artificial sweeteners that induce inflammation and cause sugar craving and weight gain!

This is the best protein supplement I have been able to find and I believe it represents a good value product.

My thoughts: It actually tastes very good and even better as part of a smoothie. There’s no chalky texture or strange after taste that you get with numerous protein shakes and it is a genuinely great source of nutrition. The price may put some people off, but what price do you put on your health?

The Can Do Review: 4/5

 

 

Hemp Powder Smoothie Recipe

Here is my trusty morning smoothie, featuring hemp powder and more healthy goodness:

2 tablespoons hemp protein powder

1 medium banana

1 cup of pineapple (skip it if you want to cut the carbs)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 cup of baby spinach (always buy organic)

A handful of berries (fresh or frozen depending on the season)

Liquid of choice (I love plain Greek yogurt for the good bacteria or almond milk)

If that is all you are going to be having for breakfast, add half a cup of soaked oats and a nut butter you like (my favourite is almond butter) for some extra energy. Enjoy!

 

I would love to hear your thoughts and personal recommendations, as well as any questions you might have. Share them in the comments and I will be sure to respond!

 

Cheers,

David