Why I Don’t Use Protein Powders…

When it comes to supplements, in general I believe less is more.

I would always rather eat whole, natural foods than a pill or a powder.

If your doctor is recommending a supplement because of a dietary deficiency (and it’s a doctor that you trust), it could be worth considering. But in most cases, these products are falsely advertised as a “quick fix” for a diet problem that could be corrected with real food.

The fitness world in particular is full of supplements that are unnecessary, and some are even harmful.

Most of the hype is around protein powders. Listen…I promise that you do NOT need to walk around the gym with a shaker cup full of protein mix in order to see progress.

Don’t get me wrong, protein is incredibly important.

It is found in every cell of the body and it is the main component of muscles, nerves, skin, hair, and nails. While protein is and should be a large part of our diet, taking it too far and overeating it could strain our kidneys leading to things like dehydration, kidney damage, and osteoporosis.

So why should you throw away that protein powder?

1. You probably don’t need it. Believe it or not, most people already get enough protein in their diets.

-The Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein for adults is 0.4 grams per pound of body weight. This means a 140-pound woman would need about 55 grams of protein per day, which equates to one medium-sized piece of chicken breast and 2 eggs.

-It’s worth noting that this recommended value is the minimum to prevent deficiency, so I would suggest more like .6 – .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This still wouldn’t be much more (add in another small piece of chicken breast).

2. It’s not sustainable. We should want to know how to eat REAL food in a way that works for our bodies. If you rely on supplements for nutrition and ignore the rest of your food labels, you’re probably missing a lot of nutrients in your diet.

3. These powders, in addition to all other supplements, are NOT regulated before entering the U.S. marketplace. Per the FDA website, “There are no provisions in the law for the FDA to ‘approve’ dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer.” That statement alone is scary, but the scarier part is that it’s easier for a dangerous product to enter the market than to be banned from it. To remove an unsafe product from the market, the FDA has to fully prove said product has caused illness or death. In other words, consumers will have to start having visible proof of bad side-effects before the product is reviewed for safety. To make things worse, the reports of these side-effects are only seen by the FDA if they are submitted by the manufacturers and distributors of the product.. So…yeah. No thanks. (If you don’t believe me, read this). Using these supplements once in awhile might not cause too much damage, but most people who use them have them at least once a day. In my opinion, ingesting a synthetic, non-regulated, potentially harmful compound every single day for months (or even years) seems insane, especially when there are so many whole food alternatives.

4. Protein powders are expensive! Some of the more popular brands cost over $100 for a month’s worth of servings (assuming 1 per day for 30 days). Chicken breast costs about $4/pound, so $100 equates to about 67 6-oz servings. Just another reason to go with real food….

5. You should know what you’re eating. Next time you pick up your protein powder, check the label and see how many of the ingredients you can actually pronounce. If it’s less than half, probably a better choice to get some meat, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, etc.


More to come on this….hop on my email list if you to hear it.

What does “know your body” actually mean?

This week we’re focusing on understanding our minds and bodies.

I broke the basics up into four different parts so they are easy to digest:

1. In my last post, I talked about knowing what your body is trying to tell you when it’s feeling sore. This is a common issue and most people don’t think about the causes or effects on the body.

2. If you’re on my email list, I sent you an email on Monday about WHY it is important for us to understand our unique bodies.

3. Today, I want to talk about HOW we can get to know our own bodies.

4. Tomorrow, I will finish off the week with an email about how we can better understand our own minds and our personalities. It may sound like a strange concept, but it leads to some surprising insights. (Make sure you sign up if you want to receive this email.)

So, how can we get to know our bodies better?

Recognizing and knowing your own body is easy, but it takes effort that most people don’t bother to exert. It requires slowing down a bit and spending a little extra time focusing on ourselves. Here are a few examples of what I mean…

  • Before you brush your teeth in the morning open your mouth and look around. See any spots, crooked teeth, mouth sores? I started paying more attention to my mouth after I had a dentist visit and they told me my gums were receding. I was embarrassed to admit that I had never even noticed. Now I look once a day because I will only be able to see a difference if I know how they looked yesterday, and the day before, and the week before that, etc.
  • What if you’re scrubbing your head in the shower and you notice a bump on your scalp- Is it a bug bite? Did you hit your head? Does it hurt to touch it?
  • Maybe you find a new mole and it looks different from your other birth marks. Mention it to your doctor. Little things like this might go unnoticed unless you point them out.
  • While you’re getting a manicure, you notice your nails are brittle or curving upwards. This could be a sign of anemia/iron-deficiency and you might need to change your diet.

In all these examples, the first step is just being aware of yourself. Staying healthy requires paying attention to your body and its cues.

Not everything that can be mindless should be.

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Why am I sore after my workout?

Have you ever tried a new exercise or pushed yourself a little harder than usual and the next day you wake up and can’t lift yourself out of bed?

This stiff pain is known as delay onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It usually starts the day after a new or difficult workout, and lasts for a couple of days. If your pain lasts longer than a few days, it’s likely more than just soreness and you should rest or see a doctor.

I personally love this feeling because it is proof that exercising and strength training make our bodies stronger. This stiff pain comes when the body works to repair the tiny little tears in our muscles caused by eccentric contractions (muscle lengthening under a load) in our workout. Once repaired, the muscle is stronger than it was before so if you did this workout again you would be much less sore, if at all.

You can prevent DOMS by doing a warm-up before starting your workout and making sure your exercise progression is gradual (for example, if you did a bicep curl with 10 pounds last week don’t jump all the way up to 20 this week).

If you do end up getting sore, I would recommend holding off on working that muscle until it is back to normal for a few reasons. You want to make sure it’s just soreness and not injury, and you also want to get the most out of your workout, which you won’t if your muscles are too sore to push.

Work on another muscle group until you’re back to normal. If your legs are sore, do an upper body workout or go for a swim. If your arms are sore, do a lower body workout or some cardio like running/cycling.

Soreness isn’t fun but it’s a good reminder that you worked hard and your muscles are growing!

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