Why I’ve switched to vegan protein

When I switched to brown rice/pea protein I nearly vomited at the taste. And to think that some vegan advocates can describe such a taste as earthy, as if to make it sound somewhat inviting. While it takes preparation time to make my new pre-gym vegan shake, I’ve found it all to be worth it and I’m sticking to it. So why did I even bother with the switch? Trust me, it’s not because I’ve turned into a ranting vegan.

I do kind of miss the convenience of my dairy protein (WPI). Before I used to head to the gym, I simply measured out a spoonful into a protein shaker, added some water, threw in the ball whisk and away I went. These days it takes only a few more minutes to prepare my shake, but that’s a lot for a busy girl itching to get into the gym!

So it all began when I was researching for a client’s health article on hormonal issues cacaorecently. I stumbled across a pretty disturbing study. I get the whole thing about how humans are the only ones drinking milk from another species, and how it’s a pretty crappy life to be continually milked, and to have your offspring continually snatched from you. However, with my other non-meat eating habits, I feel not too bad about continuing to consume dairy. Until I found that study.

Dairy and milk products contain 70% of animal estrogen.  That is the figure that made me stop in my tracks and think, do I really want that high level of weird hormones floating around in my system? Some other concerns from that same study include:

  • Increasing body of evidence indicating possible effect of dairy food’s estrogens in tumour provoking or initiation and such evidence being a great concern
  • Intensive veterinary drugs, especially growth promoting hormones utilized in veterinary medicine results in an increase of the residues in milk and other dairy foods.

Basically, steroid hormones are incredibly potent in dairy and leaves profound biological effects in humans, even at low doses. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my cheese and dairy products. Mostly my cheese though. But over the last month I’ve found myself veering away from most dairy products simply for health reasons, which drives my decision to pick up a dairy-free option instead.

Hormones affect so many processes in your body

You’ve probably heard of mood as being most closely linked to hormones, especially withswitch to vegan protein all the jokes about “oh she’s just being hormonal” around a women’s time of the month. But did you know that your hormones also affect multiple other processes in the body including:

  • Metabolism
  • Fertility
  • Development of brain tissue
  • Immunity
  • Body temperate
  • Digestion

Therefore, any interruption in your levels of hormones at even subtle levels, may have profound effects on how any of the above processes are carried out. Hormones are after all, our chemical messengers, so I wonder what they would be sending out when animal estrogens are thrown into the mix?

To me it’s no surprise that hormonal issues are becoming increasingly common in both men and women. I can think of a handful of friends that are battling with infertility or thyroid complications.

Dairy industry giants

You might wonder why you don’t hear about these kind of studies too often? Unless you’re working directly in a role where you’re exposed to medical research, you probably will never hear word of the negative implications of dairy. That’s because the global net worth of the dairy industry was recorded at 335.8 billion USD in 2014.

Why I chose brown rice/pea combo protein

In avoiding my use of a WPI protein, I wanted to make sure I was going to find a non-dairy substitute that was fairly fast absorbing, and also provided a strong nutritional content and amino acid profile. After reading an article on Bodybuilding.com here I was convinced to give brown rice/pea protein a go.

In reading the article, you’ll note that while one of the proteins on its own might lack in a particular amino acid, the other protein will have its back and make up for that shortfall. While it’s not digested as fast as WPI, the author points out that it falls between the absorption levels of WPI (fast absorbing) and casein (super slow absorbing) and I’m pretty happy with that.

Getting past that earthy taste

You’ll never find me describing the rice/pea combo protein as earthy. It is simply revolting and you’ll likely struggle to down a glass, unless you have some major issues with your taste buds! I experimented with a few different recipes and found this one to be pretty damn delicious.

Recipe

  • One 30g scoop of pure rice/pea protein (24g protein)
  • Half banana
  • One TBS natural peanut butter
  • 1 heaped tsp of raw cacao
  • One squirt of honey
  • Half cup of coconut milk or other nut milk
  • Half cup of water

Blend together in a blender until combined.

Last of all, make sure you’re purchasing a 100% pure protein. Your body doesn’t need all that synthetic crap in it, and there’s simply no need for artificial sweeteners when you’re making a tasty recipe out of the protein powder anyway.

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One food additive you need to avoid

One aspect of our modern day lives that I’m incredibly passionate about is learning exactly what’s contained in our everyday foods. We’re simply not eating the way that our grandparents or even parents were eating. Food giants are answering to our ever increasing demand for foods with a greater shelf life, and that are ultra-convenient to our busy lives.  Sure they deserve a pat on the back for their loyalty to our requests, but the downside is that your health is suffering much more than you realise. I’ve learnt an incredible amount of knowledge on additives and preservatives through my health writing, and here’s one additive you certainty want to avoid.

So many supermarkets are recognizing our concern for products that contain unknown chemical ingredients, that many food companies will now splash “additive and preservative free” all over their front packets. Unfortunately, that’s often very far from the truth.

Annatto, or 160B is used to create smooth texture in food products like ice cream, additives and preservativesmargarine and salad dressings. Sure, it comes from natural sources, which allows those food companies to use the slogan additive and preservative free. That’s because annatto is sourced from the achiote shrub seed, however it’s anything but good for your health.

Various health complications

You’ve got to wonder just how many modern day diseases are linked to additives and preservatives in our food? Sure one Magnum ice cream won’t kill you. And that’s not what I’m getting at. Rather, you have to consider how many sources of the foods that you consume in one day, contribute to your overall intake of particular additives and preservatives.

Each country has their own regulatory body to say just how much of an additive oradditives in food preservative is considered to be safe for consumption in each food item. The problem is that that’s only for one food product, yet those same additives or preservatives are scattered across multiple food sources. Consume five food products throughout the day, with that same safe level of an additive and you’re looking at some big repercussions to your health.  Just Google “annatto and IBS” to reveal how many adults suffer from irritable bowel syndrome thanks to this nasty chemical.

Run to your same staple foods for years, or even a lifetime, add into the mix toxic pesticides, cleaning products, pollution and chemical body products, and you can see why cancer and other diseases are rampant as the chemical burden is just too overwhelming to your body. Your body simply does not recognize many of the foreign chemicals.

Behavioural disturbances in children

Luckily the Food Intolerance Network has been set up in Australia, to allow parents to share their experience with annatto, and how it affects their children’s behaviour. Timefood additives and time again, reports have been made on disturbing behaviour such as head banging and absolute rages in young children. Unfortunately, links would be very rarely made between that behaviour, and the food they are given each day. Instead, they are likely to be sent to a child psychologist and prescribed some heavy medication.

Annatto is just one of the many additives to be avoided in food products. Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. To me it’s about going back to the basics, without making food boring of course. Setting small goals is a great way to reach your target of clean eating. Start to flip the packet over and read what’s actually in your food, and even challenge yourself to go additive and preservative free for a week or two. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of your pre-existing medical conditions started to dissipate.