I've had a few emails recently asking whether protein powders are Paleo – and which ones I would recommend.
Of course, real food is always the best option, but I understand that there are times when a liquid protein “meal” is called for – particularly for people who are crossfitting or lifting weights, perhaps. A post workout meal seems to be the main time people use protein supplements, as they try to replenish the protein and glycogen that they used during their workout.
Real Food Post Workout Protein Options:
Fortunately, there are some quick ways to get a protein hit post workout. Try preparing in advance and taking along with you:
Whey Protein Powder
A popular form of protein supplement is whey protein. Whey is a by product of cheese making (as in curds and whey), so it is a naturally occurring protein, which contains the proteins beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and serum albumin. As whey is clearly dairy, is isn't Paleo, and as it is processed, isn't really Primal either. Whey protein is anti-atherogenic, quick to absorb and is supposed to help with increasing lean muscle mass.
Casein protein is another milk based protein, but is not as quick to absorb as whey protein.
Egg White Protein
Is another good choice and represents all amino acids
This is a common vegan protein powder, but is not absorbed as well as animal based protein powders.
Made from brown rice, this is another vegan protein. Could be a good option is allergic to dairy proteins.
This is becoming very popular as another vegetarian/ vegan option, but is also not as well absorbed at the dairy based powders.
Unfortunately, the dairy based protein powders can come from the milk of cows treated with hormones. If you've looked at the ingredients of many powders, you may have noticed artificial sweeteners soy products, and ingredients you can’t even pronounce – not remotely Paleo. For that reason the only protein powder I would recommend (if you feel the need to take one) would be Primal Fuel, from the Primal Blueprint. This is a whey protein, which contains by far the best natural ingredients of any powder I've looked at – and no soy, artificial flavourings or sweeteners.
Do you take protein supplements? I’d love to hear under what circumstances – and which ones you use.