What to Look For In A Protein Powder

Choosing a Protein Powder

 

There are so many protein powders on the market that it can be confusing as to which one is best for you.  I have created a list of what to avoid and what you want in a protein powder along with some of my brands to choose from.

What to Avoid in a Protein Powder

I am glad when clients bring their products in with them so that I can see and read the label or if not, I ask them to take a picture of it and send it to me so I can look it up. You might be very surprised to find out that your protein powder has some hidden ingredients that are not good for you! Many of us make our purchase based off the front of the label. It is always important to read the back too!

Artificial Sugar: This is a big one.  Many people swear their protein powder is very healthy and yet I see sucralose on the label. Avoid artificial sugar at all costs. There is nothing good about it. It can lead to elevated blood sugar, sugar cravings, weight gain and much more.   But more importantly, is disrupts the gut microbiota!

Soy: ugh! Processed soy is not healthy for you.  Fermented soy is healthy if you can tolerate soy.  Many people unknowingly have a soy protein sensitivity. It is best to avoid it. There are many other healthier vegetarian options to meet your protein needs.  It can have estrogen mimicking properties and it can suppress thyroid function.  For more information on soy go to http://trufoodsnutrition.com/consuming-soy-and-its-dangers/

Casein: For many, just like soy, they have a casein sensitivity and are not aware of it. Also, many casein protein powders can contain toxic residue due to the extraction process. While many may disagree since casein is known to boost muscle growth in those who are working out.  Read Dr. Mercola’s article for more information on why he does not recommend a casein protein powder https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2016/09/30/casein-protein-supplements.aspx

If you really want casein for muscle building, I suggest find a place to purchase raw milk shares instead. 

What to Look for in Your Protein Powder

Natural Sugars: most protein powders will have something added to sweeten it up. Choose products that have monk fruit or stevia used as the sweetener. 

Grass fed/organic/pasture raised: if you are choosing a whey or bone broth protein powder, you want the label to say this.  You are what your food eats.  If you want chemicals and GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics in your protein powder than you can disregard this. 

Undenatured Whey: this means that the protein powder was not processed at a high heat. This is important because when it is processed at high heat, the bioactive compounds are destroyed.  Undenatured whey protein powder contains cysteines that will form glutathione, which is your master antioxidant and a powerful detoxifying agent in the body.  These cysteines are fragile so high heat can destroy them.  (Goat milk whey protein powder is a good option for those who are lactose intolerant) 

Non-GMO Verified for Plant based protein powders and/or Organic: Avoid plant based protein powders that do not have the Non- GMO seal on the package or ones that are not organic. Otherwise you will also be consuming all the pesticides and herbicides that have been sprayed on these plants as well. 

Brands to Choose

This is by no means a complete list as there are many high- quality brands on the market.  Just be sure to read the ingredients label. 

Whey Protein Powders

  • Raw Organic Whey (can get this on amazon)
  • ReserveAge Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • Naked Whey (nkdnutrition.com)
  • Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
  • Vital Proteins non- GMO collage whey protein powder
  • Tera’s Whey grass fed organic whey protein powder

 

Bone Broth Protein Powders/ Collagen Protein Powders

  • Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Protein Powder (vitalproteins.com)

Plant Based Blends

If you use a plant based protein powder, avoid soy and limit the amount of brown rice powders

  • Vega One Plant blends
  • Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein
  • Whole Foods 365 Brand Organic Pea Protein Powder
  • Garden of Life brand (they have many types and raw protein powders). The one caveat I have, is that many of their plant based products contain brown rice. Brown rice is high in arsenic.  Having some brown rice is not an issue but if you consume a vegetarian/vegan diet, your diet may be high in brown rice already.  (also, if you are gluten free and consume GF products you may also be consuming a high amount of arsenic) Read more on arsenic in your diet at http://trufoodsnutrition.com/increase-arsenic-gluten-free-diet/
  • Body Ecology Immune Protein powder (boydecology.com) Bonus: also fermented!

If you have a favorite healthy protein brand that is not on the list, please share as I will update the list!

 

 

Sources

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/10/do-you-secretly-suspect-that-something-is-wrong-with-your-protein-supplement.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1782728

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Your Liver and Detoxification What You Need to Know

Liver Detox: What You Need to Know 

 

The liver is the largest organ in your body.  A healthy liver can neutralize 99% of toxins on the first pass through. Yes, toxins can pass through the liver more than once.  If your liver becomes damaged the toxin levels can increase x10!

Your liver goes to work detoxing when you are asleep. If you have difficulty sleeping and wake up always around the same time at night it could mean that your liver is working harder than it should.  

Everyone talks about “doing a detox” or a “liver cleanse”.  Once you read this article you will realize that doing a short- term detox for the liver probably isn’t going to be very effective in the long run. Dietary changes and key nutrients are critical daily.  Your liver filters toxins that will end up as waste via the bowels or the urine but you also have other detox pathways that should be supported as well.  You need all of them to function properly. 

The Two Phases

A toxin is anything that creates harmful effects to your body.  Your liver disassembles toxins and does this in a two- stage process.  Most toxins are fat soluble and they need to be in a water- soluble state to be eliminated from the body.  It is important that both detox phases are working.  For instance, phase 1 may break these toxins down but if phase 2 cannot bind these toxins to other things to make then inert and then eliminate them then these broken-down toxins can be harmful. 

 Your liver’s two phases of detox can detox chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, heavy metals, food additives, toxins from the GI tract, drugs/medications, metabolic waste products and used hormones and neurotransmitters. As you can see some of these toxins are endogenous and others are exogenous.

What Can Impact the Liver Detox Pathways

  • Stress! This alone can shut down detoxification
  • Aging: Decreases detox enzymes
  • Meds such as benzodiazepines, antihistamines and stomach acid secretion blocking drugs inhibit phase 1.
  • Grapefruit juice inhibits phase 1. (some medications should not be taken with grapefruit juice for this reason)
  • Heavy alcohol use/abuse
  • Long term medication use
  • Standard American Diet-a diet filled with hormones, antibiotics, rancid oils, excess sugar etc..
  • toxins from water, cleaning products, skin care products, plastics 
  • lack of fiber in the diet 

Signs Your Liver Isn’t Working the Way It Should

 

  • Sensitivity to chemicals, tobacco smoke, perfume, cleaning products
  • Pain between shoulder blades
  • Stomach upsets when eat greasy foods
  • Greasy, shiny stool or see oily droplets with stool
  • Motion sickness, morning sickness
  • Light or pale colored stools
  • Headaches over the eyes
  • Gallbladder attacks
  • Bitter taste in mouth after meals
  • Sick easily after drinking wine
  • Easily hung over
  • Pain under right side of rib cage
  • Varicose veins, hemorrhoids
  • Artificial sugar consumption esp. NutraSweet/aspartame
  • Chronic Fatigue or fibromyalgia

Phase 1 of Liver Detoxification

  • Phase 1 is called the Cytochrome P450 pathway. This is made up of a group of over 50 detox enzymes that are induced when there is exposure to a toxin.
  • These enzymes will then convert these toxins from fat soluble to water soluble.
  • Issues can arise if you have either an over active or under active phase 1.
  • If your phase 1 is underactive, your risk of liver disease increases
  • Phase 1 will always create some free radicals.

Signs You Have an Under Active Phase 1

You have an intolerance to caffeine, perfumes or environmental chemicals. For instance, you can’t tolerate more than a cup of coffee or you feel jittery. You are sensitive to chemical and perfume smells and they may give you a headache, skin rash or affect your breathing.  Some people who smoke may not be as affected as those with an underactive phase 1. These people who smoke may have lung issues much sooner than those with a healthy phase 1. Part of this is due to genetics, but diet and lifestyle also play a large role.

These are signs that you may have a weak phase 1, meaning that you are not fully breaking down your toxins.  Those with an underactive phase 1 may also have issues detoxifying alcohol. 

Signs You Have an Over Active Phase 1

These are the people that tell you they can drink caffeine all day and are not affected. They may even have coffee right before bed and can still go right to sleep.  These people tend to have an over active phase 1 and an underactive phase 2.

 

Foods to Eat to Get a Sluggish Phase 1 Moving

  • Cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and cabbage.
  • Oranges, tangerines
  • Dill seed and caraway seed
  • Foods that contain B vitamins (or take a B complex), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron and magnesium
  • glutathione (best source is grass fed why protein powder) which is a potent antioxidant
  • SOD (Superoxide dismutase) an antioxidant enzyme in the body but you can also consume foods rich in copper, zinc, and manganese to help boost SOD. These foods include crimini mushrooms, steel cut oats, green beans, white basmati rice, asparagus, sesame seeds, strawberries, and pineapple.
  • Flavonoids-think eat a rainbow of colorful fruit and veggies

If your phase 1 is over active, you can use calendula and turmeric to slow it down. 

Phase 2 of Liver Detoxification

This phase joins the toxins into pairs with a compound for it to be excreted by the body.  What it joins with depends on the pathway of which there are 6.  The methylation pathway, sulfation pathway, glucuronidation pathway, glutathione pathway, acetylation pathway and the amino acid pathway. 

Typically when problems occur in phase 2, it is underactive and it is not common for this phase to be overactive.

1. Methylation Pathway

This pathway detoxes estrogens, some neurotransmitters, histamine and some toxic metals. 

To support this pathway, opt of a methylated B complex product, along with foods such as eggs, beans, fish, onions, garlic, grass fed dairy and grass fed organic meat, leafy greens.  Also include adequate amounts of protein and magnesium.  (Majority of people will need to supplement with magnesium)

Having a poor functioning methylation pathway can lead to degenerative diseases such as dementia, cancer and CVD.

2. Sulfation Pathway

This pathway detoxes bile acids, some neurotransmitters, some medications and chemicals and some hormones such as estrogens, testosterone, and thyroid hormone. 

To support this pathway, consume egg yolks, onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables and grass fed, organic dairy

3. Glucuronidation Pathway

This pathway detoxifies some common medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), morphine and diazepam (Valium) as well as food additives and some hormones.  Fluoride, aspirin and a medication called Probenecid (used for Gout) can suppress this pathway.

Support this pathway by adding in SAMe and calcium D-Glucarate

4. Glutathione Pathway (GSH)

GSH is a powerful antioxidant found in the mitochondria of every cell and is a powerful detox agent.  In the liver it conjugates up to 60% of the toxins in the bile. High toxin levels and/or extensive fasting can deplete your GSH levels.  If you are deficient in zinc, selenium, B2 or B6, this can inhibit this pathway.

GSH will help to detoxify the body from some medications, nicotine, bacterial toxins, toxic metals, ethyl alcohol and more. 

Add in grass fed whey protein powder, sulfur rich foods such as egg yolks, onion, garlic and cruciferous vegetables, and vitamin C rich foods such as peppers and citrus.     

5. Amino Acid Conjugation

This pathway detoxes aspirin, nicotinic acid, plant fatty acids and Benzoate.  This pathway can be inhibited by a low protein diet.  This pathway may function poorly if you have alcohol related liver issues, hypothyroidism, chronic arthritis, excessive chemical exposure, hepatitis, or carcinomas. 

Support this pathway by increasing the amount of protein you consume. Ideally sources that contain glycine, taurine, glutamate and arginine. Grass fed Whey or bone broth are good options to add in. 

6. Acetylation Pathway

This pathway detoxes sulfa drugs, other medications, serotonin, histamine, choline, caffeine and tyramine. 

This pathway is dependent upon Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B5.

 

How do you know which pathway you should address?  The odds are you may have more than one pathway that is being inhibited. It is important to add in the needed supplements and consume a whole food, healthy diet.  There are supplements that contain herbs, vitamins and minerals that support both phase 1 and phase 2. 

Why Detoxification is So Important

Your body is constantly detoxifying and ridding itself of harmful substances.  Your health is so dependent upon the effectiveness of these detox pathways. Just one phase or one pathway not functioning properly can lead to health issues. 

And it can lead to not only physical health issues but mental health ones as well. Your body can accumulate toxins in your fatty tissues for years. This isn’t just that belly or hip fat, but also the fat in your brain and endocrine glands.  Toxin accumulation can lead to brain dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, exhausted adrenal glands, early menopause and premature aging. 

While the body is a detox machine with its various pathways, modern life can place a burden on these pathways causing a toxic overload where the body cannot keep up.  Our bodies were not made to handle the constant attack of toxins coming at us daily from our food, water, air, soil, body and household products. 

The liver is a very important detoxification organ, but remember that it is not the only detox system that you have.  Other pathways include the respiratory system, gastrointestinal systems, urinary, skin and lymphatic system. 

Try to reduce the burden placed upon your liver (and other detox pathways for that matter)d.  Avoid eating and drinking out of plastics and don’t ever microwave food in plastic. Also, don’t put plastic containers in the dishwasher, and instead wash these by hand.  Switch over to a filtration water system for your home and take water with you when you are out and about.  Read labels so that you can avoid many food additives, chemicals, dyes and artificial sugars.  Purchase organic as much as you can and opt for grass fed meats and dairy.  Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol. 

Because it can be expensive and difficult to know what supplements you need, I like a product called Detoxification Factors Phase 1 and Phase 2 by Integrative Therapeutics and this can be purchased via my online apothecary fullscript.com 

Bottom Line: You cannot avoid all the toxins that you are exposed to unless you want to live life  in a bubble, but you can reduce exposure by addressing the toxins you have control of. By getting adequate amounts of exercise and movement into your life, using relaxation and stress techniques, choosing safe products and eating a whole foods diet along with targeted supplementation, you will be supporting all your pathways by limiting the toxic burden placed upon them. 

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutics in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College. 

http://www.gilbertssyndrome.com/detoxification.php

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnme/2015/760689/

 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

 

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Garden Herbed Crust-less Quiche

Garden Herbed Crust-less Quiche

I used what vegetables and herbs that I had on hand. Feel free to use the ones you prefer in this recipe as it is very versatile.

This makes a great make-ahead recipe to use for weekday morning breakfast or take to work for lunch.

Gluten, soy and dairy free

crustless quiche 2

Ingredients

  • 1 t. avocado oil and 1 T. avocado oil separated
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 cups greens of your choice. (kale in spinach work well but I have made this with mixed dark greens and came out great)
  • Other veggies: here is what I used but play around with this: 1 c. sliced mushrooms, 4 mini bell peppers chopped, 4 broccolini stalks chopped.
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast (optional but gives it a protein and nutrient boost and has a cheesy taste)
  • Mixed Herbs: I used what I had in my garden and did not measure. Here is what I used.  Rosemary, basil, green onion, chives.  Feel free to use fresh or dried and add according to your taste.
  • s/p to taste.
  • ¾ c. milk alternative (I like pure coconut milk as most of the boxed milk alternatives on the store shelves are filled with so much added “stuff”. I don’t use cow dairy as large organic farms have been getting through loop holes and these big dairy organizations have found to not be following true organic practices.) 
  • 5 pasture raised eggs
  • Organic cheese (optional) I did not add any

Directions

  1. Grease a 9- inch pie dish with the 1 t. avocado oil. Set this aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat the 1 T. avocado oil in a large skillet. Add in the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in the peppers, mushrooms, broccolini and the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  Add in the leafy greens and sauté until they have wilted. 
  3. Add in the s/p and the fresh or dried herbs of choice
  4. Whisk the milk and the eggs together and cheese if using. Add in the nutritional yeast and stir. 
  5. Blend the veggie mixture with the milk and pour into the pie dish (to save one step, I measured out the milk in a large measuring cup and added in the eggs and yeast. Then I poured this and the veggie blend right into the pie dish and give it a good stir in the dish.)
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes (mine in a convection oven took 45) until top is lightly browned.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

 

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Natural Versus Organic Chicken and Which Should You Choose?

“Natural” Chicken Versus Organic: How to Decide Which to Purchase

Use this as a guide to help you make the best decision for you and your family

chicken

  1. Organic chicken is obviously more expensive. If you cannot afford organic chicken, look for local farms. Many use organic practices but do not pay for the certification since they are small operations. If you eat a lot of meat and poultry, you may want to consider buying these foods organic due to the high GMO and antibiotic content. 
  2. No chicken in the US can be given hormones legally. This is all chicken, organic and non-organic. 
  3. Antibiotics are added to the feed of non-organic chicken’s b/c of the close quarters they live in and thus the risk of them spreading infection and disease. Have you ever seen how these chickens live and the inhumane environment they are in? Keep in mind “you are what you eat and you are what your food eats”.   Go to http://freefromharm.org/animalagriculture/chickens-facts-industry-doesnt-want-know/
  4. Because non-organic chickens are given antibiotics in the feed, this can lead to drug resistant bacteria which can become an issue when you have a bacterial infection and your antibiotic won’t work. This can also lead to drug resistant bacteria in the chicken.
  5. Organic chicken contains more omega 3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids). This is because of the vegetation/insects that they get to eat. A grain based diet is higher in omega 6 EFA’s which leads to systemic inflammation in your body. (we need omega 3’s and omega 6’s and we need to get them from food or supplementation but balance is important.)  Most people tend to get too many omega 6’s in the diet and too little in the way of omega 3’s-you want to reverse this ratio.
  6. Organic chicken gets to eat insects and vegetation. Organic chickens eat a diet of organic feed and due to access to pasture also get to eat bugs and insects. Chicken that is non-organic is typically fed a GMO grain based diet and does not get these other natural foods into their diet. This GMO grain based diet in turn can then affect your health when you consume these foods on a regular basis. 
  7. Natural: This word is essentially meaningless. Most meats qualify for this such as beef, poultry and eggs. It is a meaningless adjective that just means that the product is minimally processed and no artificial flavoring, color or preservatives are added AFTER slaughter.  (The harm is done when the chickens are alive by adding in GMO feed, antibiotics and in the case of beef, hormones). 
  8. Outdoor space: Organic chicken is required to have a space. Free range a meaningless term here as the chickens may just have outside access of a small slab of concrete.  Organic chicken must have pasture access.  More than likely your small local farmer is going to be able to provide more pasture access than the large organic famer.   Either way, this is better for the chicken and results in a less stressed and healthier bird.  The confined chickens do not have room to roam, do not get sunlight, fresh air, and are stressed due to the living conditions and treatment.  They are also often injured due to the over- crowded space.

 

 

 

Organic Chicken

Non-Organic Chicken

(aka “All Natural”)

Higher in Omega 3 EFA YES NO
Hormones added NO NO
GMO Grain based diet NO YES
Antibiotics in feed NO YES
Outdoor Space provided YES NO
Cost Costs more

(chicken per pound on average cost $2.69 to $4.99)

Costs less

(chicken per pound on average  $1.50 to $2.48)

 

 

Sources

http://infectoncontrol.tips/2015/11/18/6-factors-that-have-caused-antibiotic-resistance/

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/benefits-organic-freerange-chicken-79319.html

https://paleoleap.com/just-cows-pastured-pork-poultry/

https://consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/03/cost-of-organic-food/index.htm

 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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