Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mama Essentials, Bonus Part 4


How did you like my three-part Mama Essentials series? After I posted Part 3, my friend Connie reminded me that I am obsessed with whey protein powder, and that I'd better add that.

This Mama Essential will definitely not be essential for every mama -- which is probably why I didn't think to include it the first time around. If you are a meat-eater or anyone else who consumes plenty of protein and has no particular dietary needs, carry on. However, I am a (95+ % of the time) vegetarian. Normally this is no problem; I've been one for decades and am well-versed in plant-based protein cooking and eating. But, you see, I have this alarming history of having my hair fall out -- do you remember? Yes, it seems anytime my head gets wind of extreme stress, weight loss, or nutrient deficiency, it begins to shed hair. And, people, I don't have very much hair to begin with! This is an emergency!

Last autumn when my hair began its next cycle of saying goodbye to this cruel world, I suspected it was protein-related. I'd seen the documentary film "Food, Inc." and had sworn off what little animal protein I was then consuming, I was running more than usual which involved missing dinner a few times a week, and had fallen into the busy-lazy habit of downing quick things like a bowl of cereal for dinner rather than assembling and heating up leftovers of whatever balanced meal I'd prepared for my family beforehand. I knew I wasn't paying attention to my protein intake, and was likely significantly deficient.

So I started adding a scoop of protein powder to my breakfast smoothies. (I use the whey kind; it's the most easily digestible and some say the purest and most concentrated form of protein supplement.) Each scoop provides about 25 grams of protein -- about half of what I should be getting in an entire day. It's low-sugar, low-fat, all-natural, and contains about 140 calories per serving. It comes in different flavors (I did chocolate for a long time but am a recent convert to vanilla). It blends right into smoothies, milk, etc., and I am convinced that it cured my hair loss at the time.

It also keeps you TOTALLY full until lunchtime -- 25 grams of protein will do that to you, ladies! So it's a boon for dieters or anyone who normally gets the munchies despite a cereal breakfast and finds herself eating cookies at 10 a.m.

Of course right now I am losing my hair yet again. It could be a bit of slacking on the protein smoothies, or it could be forces beyond protein-intake control (does my hair hate autumn?).

But that doesn't change the fact that this product has been awesome for my nutrition and my daily life. If you're light on the meat, too busy to cook, or nutritionally challenged, you might want to try it.

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