I began a very focused workout schedule last summer. Instead of losing weight-I’ve opting for building muscle. I always feel that as you age weight loss looks different and weight looks a little awkwardly distributed throughout the body. (You know-chins,guts and extra thigh junk). In my quest to build muscle besides consistently lifting weights and kettle bells I’m also paying attention to what I eat to achieve results. Almost every article I’ve read and every health food expert I consulted recommended I try whey protein powders.
Although whey protein is the fast and widely easily available muscle-building ingredient it might not be the best for everyone. There are a few things I noticed when ingesting whey protein. 1) Full all the time, no room for food. Protein makes you full and gives you energy to complete an arduous workout. By following the daily intake recommended on the package-I had no need to eat. I’m not sure if this is good. I’d have to workout much more than an hour a day to speed up my metabolism. Also-who wants to feel that full all the time? Whatever you ingest should be fuel not weigh you down.
2) Acne breakouts. Within a few days of taking whey protein, I started breaking out. Shoulders, back and face. I’m lactose intolerant and I’d discovered years ago that excessive dairy causes acne for me. I keep dairy products to an extreme minimum. Cheese,milk,ice cream are very low on my daily dietary menu.I opt for dark leafy greens (not kale) but spinach, broccolini, rapini,okra, green beans,greek yogourt to get the calcium I need.
What I found out was that ‘whey’ in whey protein isolate is a by-product or separated component from milk. Whey is high in protein but its effects don’t ‘sit well’ in my stomach.
I needed something protein-rich pre-workout that’s light but substantial and tasty. So I went into my 2 favourite health food spots (Nutrition House and Healthy Planet) to look for plant-based protein powders. I saw a few made with chlorophyll, green vegetables or spirulina but I was really interested in Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Pro Fibre Powder. Believe or not I found a small container of Manitoba Harvest powder at Marshall’s for $11.99! Although it’s not too high on the scale for protein at only 10g per tbsp, it goes down really well and I have a tremendous amount of energy to handle my workouts without feeling bloated, sluggish and full forever. Each serving you make in an 8-12 ounce smoothie needs 4 scoops.
I tried the Green Smoothie challenge twice last year and along with all the kale, spinach avocados I used-I threw in scoops of Hemp Powder.Working out has helped my iron (anemia) and I’m taking iron capsules on occasion now since I’ve started using this powder. With 52% (13g) of iron ‘things’ can get a little backed up and the hemp powder with fibre helps with that!
Let’s take a look at Hemp: It’s related to Cannabis. I don’t use Wikipedia often but it says this: is a commonly used term for high-growing varieties of the Cannabis plant and its products, which include fiber, oil, and seed. Hemp is refined into products such as hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, and fuel. The Body Shop has an amazing range of Hemp products from hand wash, to hand and foot creams to oil for cuticules and for eczema patches. It’s a versatile product and its not Marijuana!
After using the Hemp powder I noticed I had more energy during and after my workout. My metabolism picked up so much so I’d split a smoothie in two parts. My acne flare ups disappeared and my overall skin health improved. I put on 8.5 pounds of solid muscle in 6 months and looked leaner than I did before I started weight training.Using Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein proved beneficial because I got a good portion of my daily protein intake before my workout and I didn’t need to continue rationing out the amount of protein all day with too much animal protein.
After seeing the benefits of the powder I inquired a little more and found Raw Shelled Hemp Hearts. When I first tried them they only sold their ‘natural’ Hemp Hearts but they’ve since introduced the ‘organic’ Hemp Hearts product. So what are Hemp Hearts? They are a shelled seed super food derived from the industrial hemp plant. They look like tiny split peas are whitish-grey in texture and have a very nutty flavour. Kinda like sunflower seeds! Hemps seeds contains more protein than milk, meat or eggs and that’s pretty dope. (No farting here!)
I started using the hemp seeds in my Greek yogourt, oatmeal, breakfast cereals,smoothies, salad and pancakes. I started ‘breading’ my fish or chicken with ground hemp and all of that tastes good!!! All these methods helped me increase my protein intake without depending on crazy amounts of animal protein. I also use chia seeds, sunflower seeds, flax and cranberries on almost everything! They are Canadian which is awesome and one of the founders Mike Fata has a great story to tell about how Hemp has changes his life. http://www.manitobaharvest.com