When Whey Isn't The Way

Is everyone sick of whey and soy powder, yet? New forms of protein are widely available, from cricket to chia, making it easier than ever before to go vegetarian, paleo, or vegan while maintaining a protein intake fit for a body builder. Alternative protein powders enable people on rigid dietary plans to bulk up without compromising their beliefs or their eating habits.

Cricket Protein
If you can wrap your head around the thought of eating ground insects, you’re looking at one of the healthiest and most versatile forms of protein on the market. The easiest method of bringing cricket into your diet is to buy cricket flour, which can be easily incorporated into post-workout shakes and baked goods.

As an alternative, some companies such as EXO sell nutrition bars that contain 10 grams of protein each; some of the bars are even paleo-friendly. If you stick to a rigid paleo diet, cricket may be one of your best options for dialing up the protein in your regimen.

Beef Powder
The champion of paleo fitness enthusiasts, beef powder packs an insane punch of protein per serving. The taste is often difficult to subdue, so be prepared for slightly meaty notes to persist in whatever you’re baking or blending with this powder. If you’re willing to sacrifice taste for effectiveness, however, this is one of the best forms of protein available. In fact, many bodybuilders prefer it to whey.

Go for the chocolate flavor over any other, which in my experience masks the meaty undertones very well and gives a subtle salty-sweet flavor when combined with strawberries and almond milk in a smoothie.

Grain Protein
Having experimented with grain-based protein powders and nutrition shakes, I can personally attest to their effectiveness. Jammed with pea protein, flax seeds, hemp, chia, and dozens of other plant- and seed-based ingredients, these powders are a blessing for vegans and vegetarians, as well as anyone who wants a boost in daily vitamins.

A single serving of grain protein will often contain over 50 percent of your daily vitamin C and vitamin D intake. Grain proteins are a bit harder to disguise in shakes because they tend to be coarser than traditional protein powders, but that’s nothing a decent blender can’t correct.

Egg White Powder
Surprisingly, one scoop of egg white protein powder can often contain more protein than an entire egg, and this powder boasts more than its fair share of health benefits. For paleo eaters and ovo-lacto vegetarians, egg white powder is a really easy way to boost protein intake. This powder has a very smooth, fine texture, and in its basic flavor has a very mild taste that makes it a great choice for baking.

Note: As with any new dietary venture, be sure to research each specific brand of protein powder that you may be considering before you add them into your fitness plan. Make certain that the ingredients pose no health risk to you, that they come from environmentally and ethically sound sources, and that they don’t contain harmful fillers such as heavy metals and toxins.

Feature photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.