Hi guys! Happy Hump Day!
In reference to my post earlier in the week focusing on what to eat before & after a workout, (in case you missed it, here's the link) I figured I'd share with you guys my recent favorite recovery shake and pose a discussion that may indeed cause you to think about your stance on protein powders!
I typically enjoy this baby after a tougher workout as it's super nutrient packed, filling, and an awesome refreshment to get me ready for the day ahead. Although you know I'm mostly plant-based, I have been experimenting with different protein powders as I typically find myself cringing at most regarding its flavor profile, ingredient list, and/or texture. So far, my favorite plant-based powder is still Philosophie's as it's very high quality, and contains super food ingredients without any artificial sugars. However, I did want to see if I could find one that had more protein per serving (I am an active lady!), and didn't drastically alter the flavor or color of the rest of my smoothie. As there's also always a lot of talk about whey in the workout world, I figured I'd do a little research give it a test.
My friends, let me introduce you to SFH, aka Stronger Faster Healthier Brand.
Let me start off by saying that no, this is not vegan protein alternative (as it's whey-based), so if you're following a completely plant-based diet, then simply disregard my review of this product below and skip right to the recipe. You can still follow the recipe, and simply use your own plant-based powder in place of sfh. :)
I stumbled upon this brand while at Whole Foods about a month back. To be honest, I was a bit wary to grab a milk or whey based supplement, as most dairy these days comes from a pretty terrible source and I wasn't sure how my stomach was going to react. Seeing that SFH sources its whey strictly from grass-fed cows and contained no sugar or additives put me a little more at ease, so off to home I went and whizzed up a shake.
After taking that first sip, I wouldn't be lying if I told you something along the line of, "So this is why all these dudes at the gym are raving about whey protein?!" crossed my mind. Seriously, this shit was delicious. Was this too good to be true? After hopping on my Mac and doing some research on the brand, here’s what I found:
SFH focuses on it’s use of free-range cows, claiming that it’s a higher source of protein content and does not partake in the usage of antibiotics or hormones. Although this claim is likely going to result in a better quality whey than from conventional cows, the truth is that we still don't really know, as the term "free range" is only regulated by the USDA for poultry. Unfortunately, there is little regulation on most health claims or labels out today, which always poses the question of whether the price we pay for what we consider to be ‘good quality’ is actually worth it. For instance, an organically labeled animal product may mean that it was produced without the use of hormones or antibiotics and fed organic feed, however it does not account for the welfare of the animal, which means it was likely raised in the same inhumane ways as a conventional animal. In a perfect world, your best bet is to know your local farmer for anything that you want to ensure is good quality and was raised in a humane manner. Or perhaps just follow a plant-based diet…. but that’s a whole other topic we won’t get into today for time’s sake :)
Regardless, as I have been using and enjoying this product for it's other health aspects, I figured I’d highlight some of its strengths for those that do not follow a strictly plant based diet and/or are open to incorporating whey into their smoothies.
- the brand is soy, artificial and sugar free.
- SFH focuses on avoiding soy, as most come from a GMO source and is a common allergen. They avoid sugar for obvious reasons, and pride themselves in not utilizing anything artificial, which I can get down with.
- the nutrient profile is pretty darn good.
- a calorie is not a calorie (aka a calorie from an Oreo is not processed the same as a calorie from an apple), however if we are 'counting' here, each calorie composed within a serving is strictly coming from high quality protein; each scoop contains just 120 calories and 24g protein.
- the taste and texture is really amazing.
- most, if not all protein powders I've tried in the past are either super gritty or chalky, or have a sickeningly sweet after taste that makes me cringe. This protein powder blends super well with anything and tastes like ice cream for the most part. I'd call that a win.
So with all being said, choose your protein based on your health values, stance on animal welfare, and tolerance to dairy. Dairy is generally fairly hard to digest, so if you notice increased gas, unfavorable changes in your elimination cycle, and/or skin issues, it may be best to avoid dairy in general. If you do use animal products, please still read labels and make conscious choices as best as you can. Organic, free range, or pasture-raised is still better than conventional, and products that don't use weird chemicals or ingredients are much better for us than those that do. Most of all, please make plants the forefront of your diet. This will not only benefit you, but also our environment and the world we live in!
What types of protein powders have you guys tried and/or currently used? Thoughts behind each? I'd love to pose a discussion! Please write in the comment section below if you so choose :)
SFH Green Recovery Shake
1 scoop sfh vanilla protein powder
1 C. unsweetened almond milk
handful of ice cubes
1/2 frozen banana
1-2 handfuls of organic spinach
Directions: Toss all ingredients into a blender, and blend on high for at least 20-30 seconds. Serve and enjoy immediately.