Whatever your approach to food--vegan, gluten free, omnivore, or vegetarian--protein is a key component to health. But all proteins are not created equal, and it’s time to get picky with the what’s and why’s of your protein sourcing.
First, read labels
Whether you’re picking up yogurt at the grocery store or considering a new protein powder, labels are important. Does it say “Certified Organic” or the mysterious “All Natural”? Are there artificial sweeteners? How many calories per serving? What does the ingredients list look like? A recent survey shows that Americans spend more time deciding what to watch on Netflix than reading food labels, but much of what we need to know about what is going into our bodies is right there on the box. The first step in learning the importance of clean protein is understanding where the information lies, and most of it can be found on the packaging. At Orgain we’re proud to display our Certifications, Nutrition Information, and Ingredients as often as possible.
If you’re going with animal proteins
There are two simple ways to make sure that you’re purchasing the best possible dairy-based protein sources, like milk, cheese, or whey. Look for either USDA Certified Organic and/or 100% New Zealand Sourced Grass Fed. Why did we choose New Zealand Grass Fed Whey? A 365 day per year grazing cycle allows for the cows to be in pesticide free pasture longer than anywhere in the U.S., improving the quality of the milk that whey is derived from, and quality of life for the cows. Additionally, no GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) foods are grown or produced in New Zealand, making New Zealand Grass Fed Whey the cleanest and clear choice.
If you’re a plant based protein person
A plant based diet has been shown to be better for the planet, so whether you’re taking small steps to incorporate more plants and fewer animal proteins into your life, or you’ve been vegan since diapers, thank you for doing your part to look out for the planet. There are additional ways to make sure you are taking better care of your body, too. Start by looking for the USDA Certified Organic certification symbol. This means that your plant based protein is “free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering.” We think that’s a great start for establishing a clean protein, but to take it further, consider if it is soy free. Ask, does this have added sugar? Is it 100% vegan? All of the answers to these questions can help you decipher if the product is, in fact, a clean protein product.
What else should I consider?
Don’t disregard the importance of taste and texture! Clean foods should also be enjoyable, so make sure your clean protein is also delicious protein. It’s also important to make sure that your primary protein sources have a complete amino acid profile, which basically means that you’re getting the nine essential amino acids necessary for healthy body and brain function.
How much protein do I need? Let’s ask Sierra!
“We all need different levels of protein based on our exact needs, weight, gender, age and level of activity. However, a general rule of thumb, take your bodyweight and multiply it by 0.36. That’s the amount of protein your body needs just to live and function properly. As you begin your training program, it’s best to increase your intake to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Depending on your training regimen and goals, you may need to take in even more.” -Sierra Nielsen, Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist