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Eggs-ellent! Real (not lab created) Protein Options for your Smoothies!

Eggs-ellent! Real (not lab created) Protein Options for your Smoothies!

After Whole30 we try to keep a decent 80/20 balance of eating Whole30/Paleo and not.  One of the things I struggled with during the Whole30 process was waking up and eating.  It just was really hard for me.  I think it might be genentic because my kids get up and don’t want to eat until around 10am either.  However, I can manage a smoothie.  (I guess it’s actually the physical process of eating?)  So, I have greatly enjoyed bringing smoothies back!.  And, get your smoothie on!

If you are in the midst of your Whole30 remember smoothies are not allowed.  The reasons are explained very well in It Starts With Food, but the jist of it is that it interrupts your relationship with food because you don’t have to mindfully eat when you are drinking a smoothie.  Also, most people want to use protein powders and they are almost universally franken-food and will have non-compliant items in them.

I generally make a compliant smoothie and eat a hard boiled/ scrambled egg (or two) or some smoked salmon. This kind of smoothie will have at least two cups of spinach (my preffered vegetable), some fruit (usually berries or a banana), a splash of OJ, some water and/or coconut milk (to loosen it up and get those blades spinning), and flax or chia seeds (these are considered a fat in the Whole 30 world).  So, no protein in the smoothie.

I don’t mind eating the same thing everyday – it just makes thing easy.  However, I did want to explore other Whole30/ Paleo-ish smoothie options for protein because sometimes I don’t want to eat eggs. My baseline is two eggs.  The protein found in two large eggs is 12g. The best options are:

  • Dried Spirulina: 2-4 Tbsp. will get you about 12g of protein.  It is loved and adored as being a great natural source of iron, the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), vitamins B, C, D, A, & E, and has as much calcuim as a glass of milk (I’ve seen places saying 26 times the calcium in milk, but according to my math it’s about the same. There is about 300mg of calcium in an 8 oz. glass of milk and about 275mg in 8 oz. of dried Spriulina, according to wikipedia). The downside is it’s kind of pricey (but so are protein powders) and you do need to buy organic because cheaper sources can be contaminated or have nitrate addititives.  Also, it’s seaweed and will taste like it.  So, it may not be the taste you are going for.  Also, there are cautions about injesting it if you have PKU, take an anti-coagulation medicine, or have an autoimmune diease.  Currently, the Viva Labs brand is about $1.43 per ounce.
  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds: 5 Tbsp. will net you 12.5g of protien.  They are also a great source of zinc, iron, and magnesium.  You will also get 6.25g of fiber in those 5 Tbsp. Just remember they are still a nut and high in fat, so this certainly exceeds the recommended serving size of fats per meal and would make it inappropriate as a post-workout additive.  I have not used it but I did find Organic Pumpkin Seed Powder that is compliant (only Pumpkin Seeds in there!). It is currently $1.62 per ounce so you’ll have to decide if it’s worth your budget.  It may be easier than throwing pumpkin seeds in your blender.
  • Hemp Seeds: 3 Tbsp. have 11g of protein. They contain all essential amino acids, quite uncommon in protein sources from plants.  They also have many vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fiber. There are hemp protein powders avaialble. Sometimes you will see shelled hemp seeds (a.k.a. hemp hearts) these will have less fiber and minerals than regular unshelled hemp seeds, though unshelled will have a higher percentage of protein.  Currently, the Raw Food World brand is about $0.81 per ounce.
  • Chia Seeds: 4 Tbsp. have about 12g of protein.They have an abundance of fatty acids, but you may need to soak them to really get the most out of them before you eat them (because the phytic acids will bind to the minerals and not let you have them and you will literally be flushing them down the toilet).  They are, like Hemp seeds, also a complete protein.  However, they should be used in rotation as there is eveidence that chronic use can cause inflammation.  These may be best stored sealed in the refrigerator as they are prone to oxidation (or only buy what you can consume in a few months). Chia sees are a fairly affordable option, currently the Raw Food World brand is about $0.32 per ounce.
  • Powdered Egg White: Sooooo, it’s the awesomeness of egg with out having to crack or peel the shell. 3 Tbsp. is 12g of protein.  It adds no fat so you can regulate that yourself (which may get a bit tricky if you are using seeds or nuts for your protein). Cheaper than protein powder but may seem a bit pricey, it works out to be a little more expensive than a dozen large cage free, organic, pastured eggs (if you go down to the per egg vs. per 3 Tbsp. price…however, 3 Tbsps. is the same as 2 eggs, so that helps.  Currently, the NOW brand is about $1.42 per ounce.
  • Raw Egg: It’s the awesomeness of egg, while being an egg.  You don’t have to worry about what may have been added or manufactured in the same facility.  It’s just an egg.  Plus, you can sing “Eye of the Tiger” while you crack them.  The obvious downside would be the risk of salmonella, but if years of raw cookie dough have taught me anything, you’ll probably be okay (disclaimer: I’m not a doctor!).  To minimize your exposure use high quality organic eggs here’s a good article about why from CNN.  Also, wash the eggs with soapy water before consuming them, as salmonella is most likely to be on the shell due to contact with chicken feces. A dozen organic, pastured, blah, blah, blah eggs can run between $6-8 (but a lot cheaper at Costco) so you’re looking at about $1.33 for two in your smoothie.

So, that’s the best of the best for natural protein in your smoothie.  The main thing is you will need to watch for is fat and storage.  If you are wondering about Flax (because Chia and Hemp are often mentioned in conjunction with it, you would need about 8 Tbsp. to get 12g of protein and that seemed counterproductive.

Get your smoothie on!

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