RK Tip of the Week|Why does your whey matter & what about hemp?

Posted on August 8, 2010


Protein powder isn’t just for body builders & heavy-duty athletes anymore. In fact, it’s highly likely you’ll see Grandma carrying home a big tub of protein for herself! Which is great – if she’s buying the best kind of protein for her needs!

Protein powder is a convenient food source for this oh-so-busy life we lead. In fact, ‘food’ does not get really any simpler than protein powder! How it works: You have a powder form of some form of protein – whey, hemp, pea, soy, egg & rice are some of the major ones you’d find on natural health food stores shelves. Each offers different positives & minuses.

The major minus of any one protein powder being if you have an allergy to one form of protein or if you’re looking for total protein grams to be highest, then you’d avoid some of the powders that are lower in total protein grams/calories. Some of the major positives are that for some of the protein powders like hemp & egg, they make up a “complete protein” – meaning they include all of the necessary amino acids your body needs (these are the building blocks you need for your muscles) where other protein powders do not – meaning you’d have to fill those other amino acids into your diet somewhere else.

The most common form of protein powder is whey. But did you know that the kind of whey you choose make a HUGE difference? Shopping at Global National Chains (ahem, they go by an acronym) means you’ll most likely pay a massive markup for a super-low quality product. What makes a whey protein powder high or low quality?

Think about where whey comes from – the milk of cows. If the cow that makes your protein is pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, is factory farmed – meaning it lives its’ life crammed into a pen with hundreds of other cows, all standing in their own manure, eating garbage (literally) as food – do you really think it’s going to produce a high-quality milk from which your whey comes from?

Absolutely not. It is proven that beef from pastured, organic cows has more nutrients than that from factory farmed cows. Pastured, organic cows also have more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) – a nutrient that has antioxidant & anti-cancer properties. In fact, the Journal of Animal Science found that meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals can produce 300-500% more CLA than those of cattle fed the usual diet of 50% hay and silage and 50% grain.

So if you’re not choosing a whey protein powder that has come from a hormone-free, pastured, organic cow – you’re getting a powder that came from a watery, minimal nutrient liquid produced by that cow. And if you’re going to spend the money for a protein powder – you really should make sure you’re getting something that is high quality!

And if you’re ready to branch out & try other forms of protein – I highly recommend hemp protein! No, not that kind of hemp – take that 7th grade mind of yours back to your adult body 😉 – as I stated above, hemp provides complete amino acids, meaning you’re getting more nutrients per scoop of powder. And if you are watching your total dairy intake, hemp is a good alternative to mix into the routine. Some will mix up into their own shake with just water, others will mix up with water but will be lighter so you can add them into a bigger smoothie with fruits if you like.

Most importantly, read your labels! If it doesn’t say that it came from an organic cow – it definitely did not. If it doesn’t list all the sources of where it came from – then you probably don’t want to know where it came from. And be open to trying something new like a pea or hemp protein powder! Here are 2 brands that I’ve tried & really like, and that are fairly priced.

MRM 100% All Natural Whey Protein Powder

Living Harvest Vanilla Spice Hemp Protein