For the first 30 years of my life, I thought I had stomach aches.
I took prilosec, had a stock pile of tums at arms reach no matter where I went. I did cleanses, I fasted, I tried fad diets, but mostly I just ignored the fact that by the end of the day every day, my stomach hurt. Then, when I had my first baby, he had colic, and a friend of mine recommended I try cutting dairy out of my diet, because it might be affecting the baby (via breastfeeding, in case you've never been down that route).
Now let me tell you I was STRONGLY opposed to this idea. Dairy was SUCH a fundamental part of my diet, but, i was also strongly opposed to continuing to listen to a baby scream inches from my ear all night, so, I tried it.
Spoiler alert: It did not make any difference for my baby. He eventually just grew out of colic as many babies do and became an angel who can do no wrong (l.o.l.). But what happened to ME was CRAZY..... For the first time in my life. I wasn't reaching for tums, or bending over clutching my stomach randomly, or waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I didn't even have endless cramps, and I wasn't ahem... making embarrassing scents and bathroom runs... I could NOT believe it, had I been lactose Intolerant this whole time? And had NO idea!?
Well it turns out according to some research on the internet, that approximately 40% of adults don't produce enough of the enzyme necessary to break down lactose. Its way more common than you'd think.
Fast forward 6 years (please don't do that math I'm so old), I do crossfit and try my very hardest to be hopefully slightly above averagely fit, maybe :D. But, I struggle getting as much protein as has been recommended to me. ALSO though, I have genetically high blood pressure, and have to stay on a low fat diet, which makes eating enough protein SUPER difficult.
So, I wanted to find a protein powder which could supplement in that necessary protein without also summoning the daggers of hell into my gut, via the evil lactose demon.
And if you've been following along in my stories (check me out @ninatreemonkey - heeeeeey), you will know this has been an eventful process.
I started out with recommendations with friends, one of which was! dun dun dun dunnnnn
Huntington Beach, California
Alright, I had mixed feelings about these. I drank both with 6 oz of water and 1 drop of Double Helix Water. The whey protein Cinnamon French Toast is DELICIOUS. YUM. yum. But, it hurt my stomach. BOOOO. Within 20 minutes of drinking it I was bent over like I'd been stabbed in the gut. I tried it again the next day and same response. My boyfriend loves it though and is happily finishing it off. The Plantein vegan protein is flavor wise, ok....I'd say of all the vegan proteins I have tried recently it's the best of one. But ugh, it's still got that gritty texture that they all have which is just such a turn off for me. I could never have one as a daily drink, and fear it would just suffer a slow death in the back of the cupboard, waiting for its expiration date to free it to a life of trash. Also, I wouldn't say this flavor tastes anything like a cinnamon roll. More like, super watered down Horchata. If you have to have vegan tho I'd say this is definitely one of the best options out there. It mixes smooth and is totally drinkable. Matt said it made his throat itch though. I don't know why. Don't kill the messenger, man.
Next up my super lovely friend and wonderful health coach Ashleigh Todd recommends this local protein:
THE RIGHT WHEY - Natural Vanilla
Clean Fuel Nutrition - Kansas City, MO
Clean Fuel Nutrition: So this one is a Small family owned company in Kansas City, MO , which makes me very happy, as I am too. It's promoted as "an ultra-premium, all-natural, gluten-free, non-gmo 100% Whey Protein powder....comprised of 100% whey isolate combined with digestive enzymes for maximum BCAA uptake and absorption."
As with all the protein powders on this list I mixed it with 6 oz of cold water & 1 drop of Double Helix Water.
Here's what I thought:
Very light, has a tiny flavor of vanilla but no thickness and no mouth residue, would be a great protein for someone who doesn't want to feel like they are drinking a hefty shake. A Hefty shake is definitely not how this would ever be described. It is more like an airy snack. It's sweet but not traditionally sweet, like in the way that splenda is sweet but also not. The monk fruit is kinda strong. I think it would be a fantastic protein to use in protein oats, or recipes, as it's not overpowering or thick in any way. Good for people who are looking to get a shake in without feeling heavy or bloated after. Basically a no bells and whistles, clean protein.
I don't know that I would recommend it to anyone with sensitive systems though because it didn't KILL my stomach, but I could definitely feel a mild, dairy stabbing. Not the most of any on this list, but enough that I wouldn't purchase myself.
Next is the ALWAYS super promoted:
1st PHORM - St. Louis, MO
I will say I was FULLY expecting this protein to TRASH my stomach. I don't know why, I just viewed it as this big social media pyramid company. I guess just because I saw people talking about it so much, I just thought that's what it was. But, I was VERY surprised by how gentle the protein powder was. ALSO I was very surprised by how wonderful this company is. Seriously, the best customer service I've ever experienced. Give them all your money.
I did find the vanilla flavor a little bland. BUT you know, it is vanilla. It's a great texture, not too thick, not too light. Not too sweet, not too strong. Very vanilla. They claim that it's good for people with digestive issues and I would firmly agree! I had no stomach pains or cramping or bloating from this. The first day I did have a bit of a (ahem) cleanse... effect... BUT it was also after three days in a row of trying other protein powders and I think that was from the reaction to the previous. The next day when I drank it I was fine.
Would very much recommend and am looking forward to trying more flavors, as well as their vegan one. UPDATE: THE VEGAN WAS BAD. DO NOT TRY THE VEGAN ONE - RUN QUICKLY FROM THE BANANA BREAD VEGAN PROTEIN IT TASTES LIKE LICKING A SANDBOX.
Alright, onto another vegan one....yaaaaaaay.....
The flavor is ok. It kind of tastes like a melted Quest Bar, but chalkier?
And OMG its SO THICK. It says to mix with 12 ounces of water and boy is that true. I started with 8 oz and my drop of double helix, and it was like trying to swallow a blended up steak. Also, it strangely seems to retain heat? What? Is that a pea protein thing?....(lol) For real though, I kept adding ice to it and it was like it was impervious to ice. The ice would remain cold but everything around it was above room temperature.
Maybe this is a blender only protein? I do not know as I wasn't going to retrieve my blender from its home in the garage.
The protein is very hearty and filling. Too much so for me. It was honestly hard to finish. I did though, because I'm not a quitter, but I felt full half way through the glass. And I personally found it to be a little to heavy on the stevia. The stevia is strong with this one. The sweetness of it stays in your mouth loooong after finishing.
Anyways. It's ok. I guess. I would not purchase. I am so sorry ascent plant protein.
Next up we have the Big BRAND: Big brand on campus. Big man...
ISOPURE - Dutch Chocolate
I was surprised by this protein. I can see why its so popular. Flavor wise it's just fine. Nothing to write home to mom about, but also nothing you could ever complain about. I had no digestive issues with it. No bloating or heavy feeling. No stomach pain. And it tastes totally fine. It's light, has a good velvety mouthfeel, mixes well and is easy to drink.
It's lactose & gluten free and honestly I'd rate it very highly on the sensitive stomach protein rating system that I am making up as I go along. I guess all I could say about it poorly is that I would rather help out a small company, and that I want to try more flavors, but literally ALL the other flavors are sold out online. SAAAAD DAY. Guess I will try more 1st Phorm Instead.
Well that is all of PART ONE of my protein blog. Thanks for reading friends.
I have a lot more to try including some CRICKET PROTEIN POWDER! Cause that's apparently a thing that a human being thought was a good idea to create and sell to me.
To be continued.....
Nina Meyer is an artist and employee at Double Helix Water. She has two children and loves working out with her friends at Crossfit Believe.
You can also find her on instagram @ninatreemonkey