I came across this great post yesterday written by Australian Sports Dietitian, Dietitian without Borders, entitled “Do You Need Protein Supplements?” – I tend to share posts like these on social media because they align with my views on supplement use. Overall I think most athletes and those that are active in “gym culture” tend to over-consume supplements–specifically protein supplements. There are so many products available these days, it’s overwhelming and mostly unnecessary, not to mention a waste of money, since many of these products claiming health benefits are way overpriced. The bottom line is that unless you have a hard time getting protein from actual food sources, you don’t really need supplements as long as you eat a varied, balanced diet. Another great article: “What Protein to Eat–And How”, is about protein sources for athletes written by a Dietitian for Outside Magazine. An article in Today’s Dietitian magazine called Ergogenic Aids — Competitive Edge or Hidden Danger? breaks down popular supplements such as whey protein, creatine, branched-chain amino acids (or BCAAs), and carnitine. As athletes, we want to fuel our body the best way possible and the best way we can do that is by eating a variety of nutritious, whole foods.
If you love your protein shakes, but want to try a whole-foods alternative, ditch the protein powder and add Greek yogurt. With nearly 20 grams of protein in 1 cup, it provides the protein necessary to build and repair muscle after intense exercise.
This smoothie is a nutritious alternative to a a protein shake made with your typical protein powder. Not only are you getting about 12 grams of protein as well as calcium from the Greek yogurt, you’ll get additional vitamins and minerals from the fruit. Mango is loaded with Vitamins C and A, while blueberries are loaded with antioxidants. Tart cherry juice, also high in the antioxidant known as anthocyanin (which give fruits like cherries their dark red color), is also shown to improve exercise recovery! Additionally, mangoes and blueberries contain fiber that promotes healthy digestion.
Disclaimer: I’m a Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice Ambassador! Tart cherry juice has been a staple of my diet for the past five years -I love it! Not only does it taste good, research shows that it actually does help improve exercise recovery. In fact, I wrote an entire research paper on it last year for my Food Science class.