Jul 9, 2008

She: Powder mixes

So, this post will be a bit different from others we've had, but it is something we've both done a lot of research on as well: protein powders. If anyone finds it handy, I'll add one on energy bars, too. As it is, I'm up to a 4 mile run 3 times a week with some more cardio/weights mixed in other days, and Mark is biking long distances to work each day as well as his own cario/weights. A few years ago I started running, and diet became more important, and like a trooper Mark jumped on the bandwagon as well, to be my support buddy in it all. Of course, for a while it was really me huffing and puffing more than running, but I digress.

One of the things we read about was the "body for life" diet. They had meal shakes and all sorts of stuff. Of course, there were a TON of carbs and some sugar in the mix too, and when I did the math found out the calories from that one shake were more than erasing the calories I burned on my best workout. I needed about 20-30 grams of protein and didn't need the added carbs or other calories, as I was still eating "normal". To check out your calorie intake, try a site like WeightLossforAll Most exercise diets are geared towards men, who need more protein and whose bodies can handle a lot more carbs without storing it as fat. We started trying protein powders, looking for high protein instead of carbs or sugars, and one other important ingredient: taste.

Now, this might not be crucial for many others, but I have the gag reflexes of a five year old choking down canned lima beans. In short, if it doesn't taste good, I just don't do it. Silly, maybe, but true. It did cut the list down to a few: Beverly's Ultimate Muscle Protein, Cytosport's EvoPro lite, and BSN's Syntha-6. Now, before I go any further, something to look at is the source of the protein: is it whey, soy, egg, or casein? Different kinds of protein get stored/burned in your body differently. Since I was running and not body building, I was looking for a blend with casein and another source: I needed a quick restore plus something that would promote muscle regrowth for longer periods of time. Bodybuilding.com has a good description of each. Also, I found a TON of information specifically for women as well as links at a great fitness blog: Causic Musings. Make sure to look in her "fitness and health and her "fitness on a budget" subcategories. Some of her diets are scary, but the girl is buff and knows what she's doing! I also must add that most of these I mix with soy milk instead of regular milk or water, too, for the quick burst of carbs soy has. SOOO, back to taste.

All three of these taste well enough for me to chug, unlike some others where you can taste the sugar or a chalkiness to them. I always get vanilla, because just about any other flavor is very artificial tasting. Once Mark accidentally picked up a cookies/cream and I had a veeeery hard time with that stuff! Beverly tastes good and has a lot of good stuff in it, except it was more difficult to mix--it didn't want to blend at all and was harder to swallow because of it. EvoPro mixed better, and was my choice for a really long time, but Syntha6 is my new favorite. It mixes very easily, and though its sweet, it isn't sugary, but more like vanilla pudding. Nice. None of these are especially cheap. But I know a lot of new vegans who wonder why they bruise easily and lose muscle tone--you still need protein! You can get a lot of it thru nuts and such, but see if a soy, whey, or other protein can help you out. If wasn't exercising, I wouldn't need the superprotein stuff, but even then, check out the actual amount of protein on the carton--about 20g in a shake is normal, and in a bar, any less than 10g a serving isn't doing you much.

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