Although I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian there is no part of my diet that is short on protein. From peanut butter and nuts to cottage cheese, cheese, eggs, milk, vegetarian meats, tofu, beans, lentils, whey protein and greek/low fat yogurt...I sure do love my protein. Considering that my diet is primarily plant-based, I enjoy rounding out my meals and snacks with high fiber carbohydrates (ex. whole grains) as well as healthy fats and good sources of vegetarian protein. One of the essential proteins in my diet (as well as for Karel) is whey protein. There is always a container of whey protein in my kitchen. Even if I am not training intensely in the off-season (or high volume during the week), whey protein is an excellent complete protein to help me meet my daily protein needs and when necessary, quickly repair after workouts. Considering that I have used whey protein since college, I am thrilled with the amount of scientific research done on whey protein in relation to the elderly, individuals with burns and debilitating health conditions and most of all, in athletes seeking body composition changes and performance gains.
I recommend Hammer whey protein as well as Body Fortress. I typically travel with Hammer Whey (or Recoverite) but because Karel and myself go through whey protein as quickly as we go through skim milk, I can easily run up to Wal-Mart or Target to pick up Body Fortress Whey protein (I like vanilla, Karel likes strawberry or chocolate) whenever we are running out. I also buy our Glutamine and Creatine powder at Wal-mart (Body Fortress).
I hope you enjoy my latest article from the FREE Iron Girl newsletter. Be sure to mark December 31st, 2010 on your calendar. The 2011 Iron Girl event series will open registration. I can't wait to see what events are featured for 2011!!!
The Quality Protein
A well-balanced diet is essential for women like you who live a healthy lifestyle; you need the proper nutrients to support your activity level. Unfortunately, busy schedules, travel, intense exercise routines or personal/religious dietary preferences can make it difficult to strike the right balance.
Nutrition is important for longevity, your Iron Girl exercise routine and weight control. The foundation of any long-term dietary routine should include the best type of quality macronutrients, rather than radical, short-term dietary practices or unhealthy eating habits.
Not all protein is alike (ex. plant-based protein vs. animal protein) and some proteins contain more essential amino acids than others, so the quality of your protein should be considered as you create a balanced diet rich in proper nutrients.
Whey Protein has a high amino acid profile, and if consumed immediately after exercise, it will support tissue and protein synthesis (1). Additionally, when it comes to glycogen re-synthesis and replenishing stored carbohydrates for future workouts, whey protein (combined with carbohydrates) is an optimal recovery drink to reduce post-exercise soreness and expedite recovery (2).
Whey is the best source of naturally occurring branched chain amino acids, which are taken up directly by skeletal muscle, not the liver, and endurance athletes are encouraged to supplement with whey during their exercise routine. Mixing these amino acids with a properly concentrated maltodextrin sport drink, athletes will not only combat fatigue, but also enhance their mental awareness (3).
This protein contains glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, and non-denatured whey protein is highly recommended in the daily diet. It's also a natural source of the amino acid cysteine - the main factor in the production of glutathione, and there may be a link between whey supplements, cancer prevention and protection during aging (4).
When shopping for the most pure and concentrated form of whey protein, find an affordable 100 percent whey protein with 'whey protein isolate' as the primary ingredient. Whey concentrate contain anywhere between 30 and 90 percent whey protein, and as the percentage of whey protein concentrate decreases, the amount of lactose and fat increases. Regardless of athletic aspirations or weight-loss goals, whey protein is an excellent low-fat, lactose-free, vegetarian protein for individuals wanting to improve body composition, physical performance and aspire to achieve a healthy and balanced quality diet.
Peanut Butter Apple Whey Smoothie
1 cup diced red apple
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
½ cup skim or soy milk
½ cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice or nutmeg
6-8 ice cubes
-Put ingredients in blender. Blend until creamy like a milkshake. (Note: you may need to add more water to meet your consistency needs or to break up ice cubes. You can substitute the apple for a banana or you can replace honey for the peanut butter. Be creative!
1) Hoffman, J.R. and Falvo, M.J. Protein-which is best? J. Sports Sci and Med. 2004;3:118-130.
2) Jentijens, R. and Jeukendrup, A. Determinants of post-exercise glycogen synthesis during short-term recovery. Sports Med. 2003;33:117-44.
3) Portier, H., Chatard, J.C., Filaire, E., et al. Effects of branched-chain amino acids supplementation on physiological and psychological performance during an offshore sailing race. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 2008;104:787-94.
4) Parodi, P.W. A role for milk proteins and their peptides in cancer prevention. Curr. Pharm. Des. 2007;13:813-28.
Marni holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and holds a certification by the American Dietetic Association in Adult Weight Management. Marni is a Level-1 USAT Coach and is currently a dietetic intern, becoming a Registered Dietitian (anticipated finish, May 2011). She is a 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship finisher and recently qualified for the 2011 Ironman World Championships by placing 4th in her age group (25-29) at 2010 Ironman Wisconsin. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes monthly to IronGirl.com and Beginnertriathlete.com.
Any questions, Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit