I regularly include three different types of food "powders" in my diet: plant-based protein powder, cacao/carob powder, a greens superfoods powder (specifically from Athletic Greens), and occasionally a drizzle of PB2 (powdered peanut butter), and I used to be totally against all three of those. While whole foods do take priority in my diet, I've learned that their powdered substitutes aren't necessarily something we should always shun. Here's why:
- Protein powder (I prefer plant-based): My nutritionist first recommended protein powder to me because, when I was going through my ED, I could squeeze in more calories and nutrients when they were all blended into an easily drinkable shake rather than separated on a plate. I continue to use it almost everyday because...
- high-protein smoothies/smoothie bowls are pretty much the only thing I crave after a workout and, by adding a scoop or two of protein powder, I can double or triple the amount of protein I consume. My favorite brands have somewhere between 12-15 grams per scoop.
- it gives me a head-start when it comes to protein intake. Without protein powder, I'd have trouble meeting my protein goal of about 70-80 grams per day, and the extra boost in the morning keeps me fuller all morning and throughout the day.
- Cacao/carob powder - CHOCOLATE :) let's be honest - we all love it, but the fat and sugar content even in a bar of the darkest kind is enough for almost an entire day. To keep my cravings satisfied, these are my favorite ways to use the two...
- adding a tablespoon or two to my smoothie bowls in the morning - it tastes like chocolate ice cream!
- on the mornings when I need a little extra help waking up, I use cacao powder, which has caffeine, to make hot chocolate.
- hint: click here for the difference between cacao and cocoa. Carob is cacao's caffeine-free best friend. Click here for more information.
- Greens superfood powder - First, let me say that this post is NOT sponsored in any way by Athletic Greens. I added a sample of their superfoods cocktail to my smoothie bowl and fell in love! This powder is full of vitamins and minerals many college students like myself struggle to afford/find/keep on hand on a regular basis, like spirulina, rosemary leaf extract, kelp whole plant powder, and a variety of others. Here's my go-to recipe...
- frozen bananas + fresh greens (spinach or kale) + plant-based protein powder + greens superfood cocktail + PB2 (optional)
- then add any other toppings you like! granola, shredded coconut, chia seeds, dates, etc.
- PB2 - I must admit, I thought this stuff was w e i r d when I saw my roommate spreading it on her toast ( and everything, for that matter) last year. Why not just eat the actual peanut butter? I thought. During my first few weeks of being vegan and trying different products like this, I researched PB2 and saw that it's much lower in fat than the traditional kind. While I don't typically find that particular fat - the healthy kind - a concern, I did still try some. So, what hooked me?
- easier to digest than traditional peanut butter - who doesn't love a chocolate peanut butter protein shake? I'm all for it, but I've always gotten stomachaches after drinking thick peanut butter like that. When I added PB2 instead, I found the shake much lighter, but still with all that to-die-for peanut butter flavor!
If you've read one of my This vs. That posts before, you know I never end by choosing one over the other, and this post is no different. Yes - I believe whole, plant-based foods should be the foundation of one's diet, but superfood powders can definitely find their place. They shouldn't replace the whole foods, as in using protein powder and greens superfoods powder at every meal, and a square or two of dark chocolate is worth the fat content here and there, but they are useful in obtaining vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients hard to find elsewhere.
Leave more suggestions for This vs. That posts below! And as always, thank you for reading :)