Whey protein is one of the most popular post workout recovery supplements that people take. It provides you with a large amount protein per serving with a relatively small amount of calories (or a large amount if you are bulking). However whey protein comes from curds which is a dairy product making whey a less than ideal post workout protein source for people that are vegan or lactose-intolerant such as myself! Even some people that do not consider themselves lactose intolerant may feel an upset stomach because of the lactose that is in whey protein. Fortunately whey is not the only source of protein that you can use to help your muscles recover after a workout. Here are some great sources of protein that will help you recover from your workout and leave you feeling great:
A whole egg is a good source of protein but with the protein comes a high amount of fat and cholesterol. By taking the yoke out of the egg you can skip the fat, cholesterol, and calories while still getting a high amount of protein from the whites. Egg whites can be cooked in a pan over the stove or simply put in the microwave. To give your egg whites a little more flavor add vegetables, low sodium salsa or pepper.
Plain Greek Yogurt (Lactose Free)
Greek yogurt is a great source of lean protein and calcium with a relatively low amount of calories. On top of that it is also a great source of probiotics that help you to boost your immune system and help with your digestive system. Many yogurts advertise being fat-free however many of them have a significant amount of added sugar making them a less than ideal healthy choice. Be sure to pick a Greek yogurt that says “No added sugar” or simply check the nutrition facts on the label. With no added sugar plain Greek yogurt tends to be a bit plain tasting. To counter this throw some almonds in with it or maybe a touch of honey and you will have a tasty protein packed post workout snack.
Certain unsalted nuts are packed with nutrients and can be used as a fantastic post workout recovery food. Nuts are packed with protein for example almonds (my personal go to nut) have 6 grams of protein per 22 almonds. Other than protein nuts can provide you with Omega-3 fatty acids (good for your heart), fiber (helps to make you more feel more full than you actually are and keeps your bowel movements regular), and unsaturated fats (good fat that helps to lower bad cholesterol). So not only are you getting the protein that you need to recover from your workout you are also getting other nutrients to help keep you going.
Vegan Protein Powders
Instead of the protein coming from curds these powders are made from alternative sources of protein. The only one that I have tried was primarily made of organic raw sprout blend, which is a combination of different beans, seeds, and grains. It was very reassuring taking a supplement where I could pronounce all of the ingredients in it. This means that I was consuming a more natural source of protein as opposed to a processed type that is filled with chemicals. Vegan protein powders are very similar to regular whey protein powders. They are high in protein and relatively low in calories but without the lactose that bothers many people’s stomachs. This makes vegan protein powders the most ideal replacement for traditional whey protein. With all this being said there is one major downside to vegan protein powders and that is their taste. I found that there seemed to be a bitter chalky taste to it whereas whey protein actually tasted good. The taste was not unbearably bad however I would much prefer the rich chocolaty taste of most whey proteins. Like everything else with nutrition you are sacrificing taste for nutrition when you are taking vegan protein powder over whey protein powder.
Chicken is a protein powerhouse! Remove the skin and chicken breast is a great source of lean protein. Per 100 grams chicken has about 18 grams of protein with only 215 calories. It also provides you with vitamins A, B, and D, which are good for calcium absorption, eye sight and disease prevention. There are easy ways to serve chicken that will allow you to eat it while on the road. Try it in a salad, in a wrap, between two pieces of whole grain bread, or even seasoned and on its own. By eating chicken you will successfully be able to consume the necessary amount of protein that your body needs to recover while getting additional nutrients that you would not get from whey protein powder.
Whey is a great source of protein to help you recover from a workout but not if you are lactose intolerant. Not to worry though there is still hope for everyone whose stomach does not agree with lactose like me! Even though your body will not allow you to take a popular high protein supplement it does not mean that your post workout recovery does not have to suffer. There are plenty of natural replacements that you can take that will up your protein intake so that you can improve your physique and be ready to kill it at your next workout. Not being able to take whey should not weigh you down, get creative and stay active!