Should you use protein shakes, supplements, vitamins? It all depends on your body’s needs, your activities, and your goals. If you are not exercising, you may not have much of a need for anything other than a multi-vitamin.
Let’s start with the basics – VITAMINS
What most people should consider?
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin C
- Any other vitamin recommended by your doctor.
Foods that also can help
- Flax Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Chia Seeds
For anyone aiming to lose weight or healthy up your body, I highly recommend a daily serving of one of these seeds!
Of course other specific vitamins, like vitamin B, can be helpful. But I would defer these ideas to your doctor or at least have a blood test to get an accurate idea of current levels. There are some vitamins that when taken in excess can do more damage than help to your body.
PROTEIN: Protein is not actually something people need as a supplement. It’s a natural part of your diet. A diet with a healthy amount of protein will help your body use fat stores and process sugars better. It will aid in reducing hunger and cravings. If you are actively working out with resistance or strength training, protein is vital to repairing your muscles. Oftentimes people with a high protein diet appear leaner and are better at managing their diet.
- How much? Between 50-90% of your body weight in grams, exactly where you fall depends on the amount of physical activity you do. If you are actively stressing your muscles and working out 3-5 days/week, increase towards the higher percent. If I weigh 150 lbs. and aim for 80%, I would need to consume grams of protein.
- Did you know that before I went on a high protein diet, I was actually only consuming around 50g/day at 160 lbs. this clearly was not enough to sustain my energy.
- How to get it? With your food. Work on switching your eating patterns. Peanut butter with breakfast will give you a boost, snacks with nuts & seeds, lean meat, eggs for lunch, vegetables like spinach or peas.
- Jack Up Your Protein Intake — Here’s The Big List Of Top Protein Sources, Including The Best Options For Vegetarians
- If natural foods are not enough, then you might consider protein bars for a snack. There are good choices in the regular granola bars aisle or you may opt for a specialized bar with high protein in the supplements section. Bars can range from 3-20g of protein. Pay attention to fats, carbs/sugars, and ingredients.
- You might also consider a protein powder. Most protein powders are not bad for you. You must do your research to figure out which type of protein (milk) is better digested by your body. There are a variety of options and it is very daunting task to figure out in the grocery store.
- Look for whey protein isolate (grass fed) – easily digested, most bang for your buck
- Soy – good for lactose intolerance, vegans, can have hormonal effects on males
- Plant based protein – lactose intolerance, all natural
- Look for one with more nutrients and less ingredients.
- Look for one that has naturally added sugars, e.g. Stevia.
- Try a nature food store if you’re overwhelmed at the grocery store, sometimes you can pick up a small packet to try.
- Choosing a Protein Powder
- 15 New Ways to Use Protein Powder
- The Ultimate Guide to Protein Supplements
- A Girl’s Guide to Using Protein Powder
- The Protein Powder Buyer’s Guide-150 Popular Protein Powders Shaken Up and Graded
- If you increase your protein, track it. Do it in increments. If you are consuming too much protein, over 100% body weight, it’s not healthy. There are a select few people in the world whose bodies don’t tolerate the excess protein and it causes kidney issues. So, as always, when trying something new, pay attention to your body.
My body started leaning up within 2 months of incorporating more protein (and less sugar). I was able to cut out one snack a day. I started to increase my ability to perform strength training exercises for up to 30 mins. longer/session.
- BCAA – Branch Chain Amino Acids
The above two supplements are actually naturally occurring in our body. Unless you are an athlete or something similar, you do not need to worry about these supplements. You will also get them in your diet with regular food. Another option is to use a protein powder that already contains these acids.
- Pre/Post Workout
Here is a tricky subject. They’re not necessary.
Some of the pre/post workout formulas are natural ingredients with caffeine and extra electrolytes, which are helpful for people during an intense exercise session.
Look for: natural ingredients, natural sugars, and reasonable levels of stimulants. There are organic options.
Supplements are not regulated, which means there is a large range in what types of ingredients are used. Some contain unnatural ingredients or hormones.
Stay away from DMAA, ephedrine, synephrine/bitter orange.
- Muscle Pumping/Testostorone Powders
- “Diet” /Meal replacement supplements/Weight Loss Stimulants
I don’t know if any explanation is necessary, just don’t do it.
Personally, I believe that your body is going to respond better to natural sources of energy. It is my opinion that most of the above supplements do not appear necessary unless you are a super athlete. I use some good old caffeine for pre-workout energy. I use an all natural protein shake and protein bar for pre and post nutrition. I have come across some respected trainers that indicate use of BCAA or Creatinine may be helpful if you are actively working out 5-6 days/week, mostly in a weight room. I would also think it helpful to talk with a doctor, nutritionist, or trainer to understand if you actually need to be concerned about your levels. From what I have read, most people don’t.
Focus on getting enough vitamins and protein from healthy, natural foods. Add an over the counter vitamin or protein supplement where necessary. Don’t waste time on the rest, save it for the gym!
♥ BE HEALTHY ♥
♥ BE STRONG ♥
♥ BE YOU ♥