Updated: Jun 2
I am often asked what my favorite protein powder is for post workouts. And while I’ve found people to have very mixed opinions about it, my all-time favorite still remains whey protein. Undenatured whey protein isolate that is (which I’ll expand my reasons for that more later), doused with excess amounts of raw cacao, coconut oil and other added goodies. Somehow my mouth loves the texture and the cacao feeds my chocolate addiction.
Whey protein is a constituent of cow’s milk. The protein in raw cow’s milk is approximately 80% casein and 20% whey. Whey originated as a by-product of cheese production, in which it is the liquid that separates from the casein solids. Its benefits were discovered in the 1970’s and has been used ever since as a source of easily digestible dietary protein.
After an intense workout, your digestive tract does not function as efficiently. This is because it is highly vascular, and requires a significant amount of blood to do its job. But after a workout, much of your blood is in the muscles that just finished training which leaves little blood available to help digest food eaten after a workout. For this reason, you need to choose a highly digestible form of foods, avoiding fats and high fiber foods right after a workout as this slows digestion.
Undenatured whey protein isolate is bio-active, and contains nutrients within its structure that the body can readily utilize. Compared to all other protein sources, it contains the highest Biological Value (BV), a scale used to determine how quickly and readily your body can use the protein. This is extremely important after a workout when your cells need nutrients in the protein to begin recovery and rebuilding. Whey protein isolate has a rating of 154, compared to an egg which has 100 and soy which rates at 49. Many skeptics discount whey because it is derived from cow’s milk which isn’t always ideal for certain diets or allergy restrictions, but keep in mind, it is virtually lactose and casein-free. While trace amounts can still be present, whey can be easily used by lactose-intolerant people. I do not recommend it for anyone with autoimmunity however.
During an intense workout, your body generates many by-products that need to be cleared from your system to ensure adequate recovery, over-all immunity and long term health. During the process of athletic activity, the amount of free radicals within your cells increases dramatically and can cause damage if your cells do not contain antioxidants to come clean up the mess. Antioxidants are like street sweepers, coming in to rid the body of anything that can cause cellular damage. To an athlete, cellular damage can mean decreased endurance, compromised performance, and long term health implications.
The benefits of whey for an athlete go far beyond the grams of protein it contains. Because undenatured whey, unlike most commercial processed forms, maintains its bioactivity and delivers cysteine rich proteins that they body readily utilizes as precursors to make glutathione. Glutathione is the body’s most abundant and important antioxidant, made from the amino acids glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. It is critical for cellular detoxification.
“Glutathione is present in nearly all living cells, and without it they can’t survive. Glutathione has major effects on health at the molecular, cellular and organ levels.” Ward Dean, MD, leading nutritional scientist.
One of the most important things you can do is to give thoughtful consideration to how you properly refuel post-workout. Undenatured whey is a quick and easy way to improve recovery times and enhance body levels of glutathione by supplying the cells with crucial molecules necessary for glutathione production.
My favorite recipe:
Chocolate Post-Workout Power Smoothie
-8 ounces of almond or coconut milk (or water!)
-2 scoops Biotics Research Undenatured Whey Protein Isolate
- 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp matcha green tea powder
- 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder (for the chocoholics out there!)
HOW DO YOU FUEL?