While there’s no magic pill for weight loss—a healthy diet can play a huge role in helping you to meet your weight loss goals. And whey protein powder may be an excellent tool in that regard. 

Some protein powders market themselves as a weight loss aid, but we recommend steering clear of those claims. Protein powders can help you maintain a healthy diet and support an active lifestyle, but they will not melt pounds off of your waist. Nothing will! Weight loss comes with hard work, commitment, and patience.

When looking for a whey protein powder—or any protein powder for that matter!—the fewer the ingredients, the better. Just like with all the food we eat, cleaner, fewer ingredients generally mean a healthier product that your body will recognize.

Whey protein powder is an excellent protein choice for several reasons, including its favorable amino acid profile, which is among the most bioavailable of all protein products.

For best results, try using your whey protein powder just after a workout. Whey is insulinogenic, which means it can cause an insulin spike, so taking it around your workout means it will be quickly digested and help to repair muscle mass, which can take the place of fat in the body.

Try mixing whey protein powder with solid foods like bananas and oats, which helps to slow the digestion and lessen the glucose response. Your muscles will still get all the benefits, but your sugar levels will be more stable. Plus, rounding out with solids like oats and bananas will also fill you full of fiber, and this can stave off hunger and keep you feeling full for longer.

Of course, staying hydrated is also key in weight loss efforts. Nothing replaces water throughout your day, but using whey protein powder in a smoothie may give you the protein boost along with crucial hydrating liquids.

Image: tanvir sajib

We showed you how easy it is to make a protein-rich oatmeal breakfast with whey powder, now, you can turn that goodness into a super simple cookie recipe!

Cookies have a bad rap (poor Cookie Monster). But they don’t have to be the sugar-laden Oreos of your youth. You can whip up these super simple cookies with just three healthy ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now: bananas, oats, and organic whey protein.

When possible, please make sure all of your ingredients are organic. Our mustHave whey protein powder is organic and made in small batches so we can ensure quality and flavor. If you don’t have access to organic whey protein, another organic protein powder will suffice, such as hemp or rice.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients 

2 medium-ripe bananas
1 cup rolled oats
1 large scoop of organic whey protein (about 1 tablespoon)

Optional: You can add in dried fruits, nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, even chocolate chips if you like to have a more textured cookie. Or if you like a bit more intense flavor, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, ginger, or nutmeg.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a cookie sheet.

Mash the peeled bananas in a bowl using a fork or potato masher. Add in the protein powder and mix well. If the bananas are a bit on the under ripe side, add in a few drops of water or milk. The consistency should be like an applesauce. Next, mix in the oats and any additional toppings you’re adding. 

Using a spoon, drop the dough onto the cookie sheet and press down lightly to flatten. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies appear golden brown in color. Let cool for ten minutes before serving.

 Image: GudlyF

This is the oatmeal recipe you’ve been waiting for. 

While oatmeal may seem like a quintessential winter breakfast, it’s actually ideal year-round. Oats are incredibly healthy—loaded with beta glucan, fiber and plant-strong protein.

Beta glucan, the polysaccharides (sugars) found in abundance in oats, hasbeen linked to numerous noteworthy health benefits, including protection against cancer and the ability to help fight off bacterial infections. They can help fight against high cholesterol, diabetes, and even HIV/AIDS.

Oats also contain a good amount of fiber—both soluble (absorbing water) and insoluble, which doesn’t get broken down by the body. This insoluble fiber is actually quite healthy for the digestive tract and can protect against hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, constipation, intestinal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease and colon cancer.

You’re ready for the recipe now, aren’t you?

Well hang on just a few minutes more.

This recipe also includes organic whey protein like our mustHave whey. Why do we add this? Not just because we love whey, but because it gives the oatmeal a creamy protein boost. Consider this oatmeal recipe a smoothie alternative, one that satisfies your protein needs but gives you something a little more, well, satisfying.

And we can’t leave out the fruit! Berries are such a good fruit choice because they’re naturally low in sugars but also quite high in antioxidants, those free radical fighting nutrients that can keep us feeling (and looking) younger and healthier.

It’s almost a shame to relegate this just to breakfast. So, we won’t blame you if you feel the need to eat oatmeal for lunch or dinner too.

Makes one large or two small servings

Ingredients

1 cup rolled (not quick-cooking!) oats
1 cup milk or nondairy milk of choice
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries or blackberries
2 tablespoons whey protein powder
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, mix oats, salt, milk, and vanilla. Stir frequently while heating until oats absorb most of the liquid. Be careful not to scald the milk. When oats are thick and most of the liquid is gone, add protein powder and berries and reduce heat. Cover and let cook a few minutes more until the berries start to breakdown. Remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

 Image: vegan feast catering

 

Pregnant women get A LOT of advice – from the unsolicited horror stories about birth to style tips, nursing tips, and so much more. Not all of it’s useful--after all, no two pregnancies are ever alike. But there are some bona fide gems out there, like this one: Protein powders may become your BFF food choice, especially early in pregnancy.

Protein is key during pregnancy. Women need to up their intake by about 10-15 grams. But as many women know, especially in those first few months, hardly anything is appetizing. Even favorite foods bring with them an air of nausea. A heightened sense of smell can only exacerbate the loss of appetite. What’s a woman to do?

When the nausea strikes, many women turn to the BRAT diet – banana, rice, applesauce and toast. The bland foods don’t upset the stomach and they can help stave off that incessant hunger too. But if you’re worried that you’re not meeting your protein needs during pregnancy, protein powders can help, a lot.

For example, you can take that applesauce and banana—even the rice too!—and plop them into a blender with a mild protein powder such as organic whey protein like our mustHave protein powder. Add a milk of choice, maybe a touch of honey and – voila! – you now have a protein enhanced but still rather mild potable meal.

Once the nausea wears off (usually around the beginning of the fourth month), you may find your appetite has returned. You can amp up your protein smoothie with leafy greens, fruits and even nut or seed butter for even more protein.

Protein powders also come in handy towards the end of the pregnancy when you may have quite an appetite but with baby growing so big inside, not much room to eat decent sized meals.

And once the baby has arrived, especially if you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to need to maintain a higher calorie load throughout the day. Protein packed smoothies are easy to consume while nursing or if you’re too tired to prepare a full on meal.

 Image: Louise Vance

You don’t have to go full Paleo to get excited about the health benefits of protein. The fact is, protein is a critical part of every single diet, whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw, or low-carb.

Everyone needs protein and a significant amount of it every day, particularly if you’re a fitness enthusiast, expecting mother, or young child.

Fortunately, protein comes in all shapes, flavors, textures, and varieties. So no matter what your diet preferences are, there are protein sources that are just right. From beans to nuts, seeds, , avocados, and even leafy greens like kale, all contain healthy protein sources. Of course, so do animal products from eggs and fish to meats and dairy products. But what exactly does protein do for you?

Here are seven health benefits of protein:

  1. Healthy brain function. We associate protein with muscle mass and strong bodies, but it’s most useful in keeping our brains functioning and healthy.
  1. Aids in sleep. If you toss and turn all night, a lack of protein may be to blame. (Did you know it’s why warm milk before bed has been a longstanding home remedy?)
  1. It builds muscle. This is key whether you hit the gym on the reg or not. Muscles keep our bodies moving and working; we all need muscle mass and we all need protein to get it.
  1. It may help with weight loss goals. Weight loss is typically the result of several different factors working all together: staying active, staying hydrated, enough sleep. Making sure you have enough protein can help your body stay fueled for workouts and, as noted above, increase your muscle mass, which will hopefully edge out that excess fat. 
  1. For women, this one is especially important. Protein aids with bone density, a key factor in fighting off osteoporosis. It also helps in strong teeth that can resist decay. 
  1. Speeds healing. Nicks, cuts, or bruises that take forever to heal may be the result of not enough protein. Protein helps tissue and cartilage to heal faster. 
  1. A longer life? While there are many factors that play a role in one’s lifespan, ensuring enough protein is in your diet each day plays a crucial role in fighting off diseases that may shorten your life.

 image: abodyftyh

The protein shake comes in many varieties, from the kind you buy pre-blended or made to order at a smoothie bar, to your favorite homemade protein shake recipe you keep perfecting and tweaking with seasonal fruits and veggies. But is the shake recipe as important as when you drink it?

According to experts, protein shakes do more than just satisfy your hunger—they deliver amino acids to your muscle cells, which kickstart your body’s process of muscle protein synthesis, which basically repairs the muscle proteins, helping to build bigger and stronger muscle mass. This is an important part of the workout recovery process, therefore, when you consume your protein shake really matters.

A macronutrient, protein does our busy bodies good when it’s always in our system. In other words: consume protein with every meal, even snacks.

When it comes to those protein shakes, the optimal time may actually vary depending on your most recent meal or physical activity. If, say, you haven’t eaten in a few hours, you run the risk of the body breaking down muscle to fuel a workout. So, this would be an optimal time for a pre-workout protein-rich shake or smoothie. Plain and simple, it will prevent muscle protein breakdown during your workout.

However, endurance athletes or those training more than an hour who have recently eaten (within the last 90 minutes), may want to boost with a protein shake again just before the workout. Long workouts will burn off that hour-ago meal pretty quickly, so give yourself a boost before—or even during—your extended workout.

If you adequately fueled with a well-rounded meal before your workout and aren’t planning to eat within the next 2-3 hours after, go for the protein shake then to keep the amino acids in your system and support the muscle protein synthesis.

image: jules:stonesoup

This is the gluten-free pizza crust recipe of your dreams. No, really. It’s made with wholesome ingredients without the gluten. And it’s got another gorgeously good for you benefit: It gets a boost of protein from organic whey protein powder. And, yes, it’s technically still pizza—the ooey, gooey kind you can get all giddy and drooly over.

We add our mustHave organic whey protein, which gives the crust a sweet and chewy texture, but you can use any whey protein powder or simply add more flour if you don’t want to add protein to your crust.

Ingredients

1¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup whey protein powder
4 tablespoons Psyllium husk powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
(Toppings of your choice)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

 Combine all of the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until blended.

Add the eggs and olive oil and mix until well combined. Add the boiling water and mix until dough thickens and start to stick together and forms a ball. Place the dough on a well-greased baking sheet.

Use a rolling pin or your hands to spread the dough into a 16-inch round.

Place the crust in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove crust from oven and brush with olive oil and return to oven. Turn the oven to broil and let the crust cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crust is crisp. Pay special attention to prevent it from burning.

Remove from oven (but leave oven on) and let cool a few minutes before adding your toppings. Return to oven and broil another 5-10 minutes until ready.

To make this pizza crust completely vegan: Swap whey protein with a vegan protein such as hemp or pea protein. Replace eggs with flax eggs – 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds soaked in ½ cup warm water. And replace cheese with nutritional yeast.

Image: veganbaking.net

Whey protein is one of the leading protein choices for athletes everywhere. When lean, strong muscles are the goal, whether it’s full-on cardio, weights, or some high intensity interval training, we all want to gain muscle, shred the fat, and feel our very best. But if we’re not properly balancing our workouts with protein, they can be excruciating and even fruitless.

We hear it time and again that we need to fuel our bodies both before—and after—every workout. While protein-rich carbs can get us through our workouts (think whole grains like oats), we really need our protein fix after our workout. Otherwise, we risk muscle fatigue or a failed post workout recovery. Why put yourself through the torture of a workout if you’re not going to properly gain every last morsel of benefit? No gym membership is worth that! 

Exactly. 

That’s why so many fitness experts turn to whey protein. While normal dairy protein (casein) can take seven hours to be absorbed by the body, whey protein powder can be absorbed in 20-30 minutes. That’s quite a difference! And that short window allows your muscles to gain all the benefits of the whey protein, which can drastically speed your muscle recovery and help you to see those results. Fast. 

But all whey protein powders aren’t equal. In fact, most of them are quite awful—sourced from conventional dairy products that can be loaded with antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetically modified livestock feed (corn and soy). Organic whey protein powder, like our own mustHave protein is small-batch produced, coming from farmers we know and trust. We quality test every batch of protein to make sure it meets our high standards for quality and flavor. And you can taste the difference—no chemical taste, just a natural sweetness and creamy goodness.

For best results, mix a whey protein with a fast-absorbing carbohydrate (such as a banana or other fruit) in a 2:1 ratio.

Image: Lorena Cupcake 

 

 

There’s something about weekend mornings that just screams pancakes. They’re so fun and yummy and indulgent. They remind us the weekend is really here and we can sit back, relax, and eat until our pants pop. But with those luscious pancakes comes the guilt of empty calories. Not any more!

This pancake recipe is loaded with good-for-you added protein that will help your body to feel stronger after that heavy breakfast. It’s also a great way to help make sure kids get enough protein in their diet too.

We use our own mustHave organic whey protein powder in this recipe, but you can sub-in and protein powder of your choosing. However, a protein like whey is ideal because it also lends a light and creamy flavor and texture. Some protein powders can be chalky and not all that delicious. So make sure you’re comfortable with the flavor profile of your protein powder.

This recipe also uses buckwheat flour, which is naturally gluten-free. It makes for a very fluffy and delicious pancake, but you can also use traditional unbleached four or whole wheat.

Makes about 12 pancakes

Ingredients

2 cups buckwheat flour
2 scoops organic protein powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seed soaked in ¼ cup warm water for 5-10 minutes
1 teaspoon baking powder
21/2 cups nondairy milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus more for cooking
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions

In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients and stir well. In a separate bowl mix together flax seeds, vanilla, oil and milk. Mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until uniform. Add more milk if needed.

Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium-high. Pour in enough oil to cover completely but not so much that puddles of oil form (you can also coat with a cooking spray oil).

Ladle out ¼ cup rounds of batter and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Then flip gently with a spatula and cook 2-3 minutes on other side.

Garnish with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Image: britt and the bees 

If you spent a lot of time on the couch in your teens and twenties instead of exercising, it may spell trouble later in life with cognitive function, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finds new research.

As we age, we tend to get more concerned about our health, often adopting regular fitness routines by our thirties or forties. But what about those blissful days of our youth? Can we really afford to waste them lazing away?

New research suggests no. “Even early and mid-adulthood may be critical periods for promotion of physical activity” in order to help keep our brains sharp well into old age said lead researcher Tina Hoang in a news release from the Alzheimer’s Association.

While previous research points to the benefits of exercise later in life to ward off mental decline and dementia-related to Alzheimer’s disease, this new research says the effects of exercise in early adulthood later in life aren’t as well understood.

The new research looked at more than 3,200 adults between the ages of 18 to 30, specifically their activity levels and their television viewing habits over a 25-year period.

The researchers found that people who had long-term low physical activity and those who had long-term high television viewing patterns scored worse on the cognitive tests than those who were more active and viewed television less frequently.

While the researchers say they couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, the did note that “sedentary behaviors, like TV viewing, could be especially relevant for future generations of adults due to the growing use of screen-based technologies.” And, Hoang added that, “because research indicates that Alzheimer’s and other dementias develop over several decades, increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior beginning in early adulthood may have a significant public health impact.”

Experts say the results aren’t surprising and that developing physical fitness habits at an early age can ensure healthier habits well into adulthood.

Image: rebeccahidalgo

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