Saturday, 30 January 2010

I've Found a New Whey!

See what I did there!? ;)

Though, actually not found a new whey at all, just a new type of protein supplement.

Towards the end of 2009 I started 'using' my protein powders a lot less, I ditched my early morning shake and my pre-workout shake and was having it as a snack much less frequently, leaving only my post-work out shake (mostly). After reading a guest post on written by Gena from Choosing Raw about protein sources and digestable  foods - how quickly and easily foods pass through your digestive system - I started thinking a bit more about workout nutrition. Gena suggests that an important factor for athletic performance is "to eat foods that offer maximum nutrition while causing minimal bodily stress" (digestible!), the best types of food being vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy grains. She also suggests having dark, leafy greens, sprouts, sprouted legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy grains to get your protein intake. So, I started making myself a Green Monster (hazelnut & almond flavoured rice milk or almond milk blended with spinach, sometimes with banana and Spirulina) in the mornings for an energy boost (and an alternative to my porridge habit!) and another one before heading to the gym. I found I got on really well with these - with the protein shake I would find my self seriously flagging about halfway through, but with the Green Monster I had loads of energy and it lasted through my entire workout. So I decided I would phase out the whey protein supplements.

However, since the majority of my exercise is in the form ofweight training I still wanted to keep my protein intake reasonably high (I also find higer fats and proteins and lower carbs keep me feeling fuller for longer, less groggy and I lose weight more easaily). I kept taking the whey protein as I still had 2 quarter tubs left to work my way through, but I have been trying the odd sample of some different proteins and decided I would not be buying any more whey. Instead I want to go for something more natural and more easily digestible. I also plan to phase out dairy products as, without going into too much detail, I have been finding my body doesn't seem to be such a big fan of dairy!

I'm not suggesting whey is in any way "bad", it is a great source of protein! I'm just looking at other options. I have always struggled to cut out processed foods and when I slip I always go for processed and junk foods. Whey has always been the only processed food I would have on a regular basis as I felt it was worth it due to the benefits (good for muscle repair, more convenient and far cheaper than whipping out a chicken breast to snack on every time I wanted a protein boost and it helped keep me full and provided a better snack than a chocolate bar, it was also fun to experiment with - peanut butter cups, protein pancakes, smoothies, chocolate "mousse..."). But I have decided that I want to try a bit harder at cutting out processed foods in the hope that it will make me less likely to slip so I am going to try a more natural product for a while.

Following on from Gena's reccommendations I did a bit or googling research into other sources of protein - soy, hemp, vegetable and brown rice proteins. General opinion seems to be not to bother with the soy proteins - more difficult to digest, usually heavily processed and apparently high in allergens and soy blocks the absorption of meinerals, including calcium (I figure healthy bones are important for weight training!). Hemp protein contains proteins similar to those in the human body and is easily digested/absorbed by the body, but not the best for my requirements - great supplement but there are better alternatives to a whey protein. Rice protein - low temperature and chemical free processing, easily digestible and with a high absorption ratio - I think I like the sound of this one! Pea Proteins, which seem to receive similar praise to rice proteins, though pea protein and rice protein combined seems to be the winning supplement, where rice protein is low the pea protein is high and vice versa (the highs and lows are the different amino acids but I want go too technical!). And one more which I have been adding to my shakes for a while now - Spirulina! Spirulina has the highest levels of digestible protein and is higher in terms of complete protein than other natural sources (whey is only higher due to processing). Sadly spirulina is pretty expensive and tastes of the sea so it would be pretty difficult for me to get as much protein as I want by supplementing with spirulina!

I've been having the odd Spiru-tein shake lately, which after doing a bit of reading I now think perhaps isn't the best. It is great in terms of all the vitamins and minerals and it contains Spirulina and Chlorella (similar to Spirulina) and it has rice protein, pea protein and soy protein - if I want to cut out whey protein because it's processed, soy protein isn't going to be the best substitute! So I am going to order some Sun Warrior protein which is raw, vegan, natural, rice and vegetable protein. It's a fair bit more expensive than whey but i am hoping ti will be worth it. Plus I don't plan on taking it as often and continuing to fuel my workouts with fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies.

For more on types of protein have a read of this (note the site is selling rice and pea protein but the information seems consistent with what I have read elsewhere - some more on proteins here too), and for Gena's post on Raw Fitness Fueling go here

And while writing this I have just had the last of my whey - Bring on the Sun Warrior!


  1. Interested to hear how you get on with this! I use the myprotein stuff but I usually bake it into things or make into bars. I add it to my green monsters as well but I'm not sure if it makes much of a difference. I don't eat much meat these days (and no chicken!!) so I kind of force myself to put protein powder into things. I have to laugh at the way whey protein is so accepted in Clean Eating circles when surely it's extremely processed?!

    Not sure have you seen this site before They have a great selection of different supplement-y things. I haven't ordered any protein powders off them but I have bought things like maca and mesquite. Not even sure if the prices are great compared to other sites, but I just pounce on a site that ships internationally reasonably because sometimes living in Ireland you feel like you might as well be living in Outer Mongolia for shipping purposes!

    /Wonders why Outer Mongolia became the go to description for isolation...

  2. stelladoesblogging30 January 2010 at 15:18

    Yeah I always figured whey was so widely accepted in the same sort of way people follow the 80/20 rule, it never dawned on me that there would be non-processed alternatives and now I know I'm surprised they aren't more popular!

    I'll check out that site right now - mesquite and maca are on my most wanted list!
    I don't have many delivery issues here but you do get the odd company who class my postcode as being outwith the UK! How!?

  3. Lemme know too.

    I would be really quite interested in this!

  4. I ditched the whey a few months ago but went down the cheese/fage route which you wont be doing so good luck its hard! Am full of the cold and am currently sucking on tunes which are fullof E numbers and sweetners arggh!

  5. Crappy, this post has come at the perfect time since my post about "you are what you eat" the other day raised the question of my whey and how it fits in with my non-processed stance.

    Please let me know how you get on with the sun warrior, it is something I would definitely consider changing too if it's good stuff.

    I know it sounds crazy but it never occurred to me there would be a better alternative.

  6. Deise, I absolutely LOVE you for posting that site!

  7. stelladoesblogging3 February 2010 at 16:05

    Hope you are feeling better fat to lean! I hate colds :(

    Ivana and Jo, will definitely let you know! I'm actually trying to hang on really hard until pay day at the end of Feb as there's a few things I'd like to order so may as well do it all at once!

    Jo it never occurred to me either - I always felt it was kind of a necessary evil (well for you and I anyway - I don't think I could get enough protein for trainngi without help!)
    It was down to reading Gena's post that I realised the soy version existed!


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