This high protein chocolate milkshake is a delicious treat to satisfy your sweet cravings with 35+ grams of protein per serving!
A few years ago, you never would have found me adding whey protein to a smoothie or milkshake. Over the past decade, I have been vegan, then vegetarian, and dairy-free. Like many of my friends in the health and wellness field, I was at one time convinced that eating an entirely plant-based diet was the key to health and longevity.
However, recently I have embraced balance over restriction – enjoying all animal proteins, including dairy. Why the switch in mindset? While I was vegetarian and vegan, I struggled with iron deficiency. I tried supplementing with many different forms of iron but always had low energy. While dairy-free, I struggled with digestion and bloating – having added many different plant-based milks and dairy-free alternatives to my diet that were causing me more harm than good. Eventually, I decided to ditch these labels, and focus on eating food that I love cooking (and grew up enjoying)!
In this post, I'll share more about the benefits of whey protein, and why consuming enough high-quality protein is important.
The Benefits of Whey
- Source of Banched-Chain Amino Acids - BCAAs include leucine, valine, and isoleucine. These three essential amino acids are abundant in whey protein and essential for muscle growth and repair. Whey is considered a high-quality protein due to its amino acid profile and the ratio of these essential amino acids.
- Abundant in Cysteine - this amino acid is essential for glutathione synthesis. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is critical for healthy immune function!
- Satiating - whey is a great source of protein (24 g - 30 g per scoop), which is the most satiating macronutrient. Protein suppresses the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Adding more protein to your diet is a great way to maintain or achieve a healthy weight.
Why Protein Is Important
The essential amino acids found in dietary proteins are crucial for synthesizing new proteins that build and replace muscle in the body. Ensuring you get adequate protein is vital for numerous physiological functions, extending beyond muscle building. Dietary protein plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy weight, supporting the immune system, regulating metabolism and energy levels, and contributing to the health of your hair, skin, and nails. It's a key player in overall well-being.
As we age, the inevitable loss of muscle mass and strength occurs due to a reduced ability to synthesize and repair muscle protein. Higher protein diets are gaining popularity not just for bodybuilders but as a practical approach to preserving lean muscle mass, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, facilitating weight loss, and preventing weight regain.
Are You Consuming Enough Protein?
The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein stands at 0.8 g/kg of body weight per day or 10 - 35% of your daily calorie intake. For a person weighing between 120 -130 lbs, this translates to a mere 43 - 46 g of protein per day, while for those between 140 - 160 lbs, it amounts to only 50 - 57 g of protein per day.
Recent research highlights that optimizing the quantity and quality of dietary protein at each meal may effectively counteract age-related declines in muscle-protein synthesis (sarcopenia). (1) Specifically, the Branched-Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) leucine is vital for promoting muscle protein synthesis in amounts exceeding 2.4 - 2.8 g per meal.(2) Consequently, a proposed protein threshold of approximately 30g of protein per meal, or 1.2 - 1.6 g of protein per kg of body weight (~25-30% of daily calorie intake as protein), has emerged for optimal muscle protein synthesis in older adults. (3)
meal ideas with 30 g protein
- 6-ounce (170g) grilled chicken breast
- 6-ounce (170g) baked or grilled salmon fillet
- A cup of Greek yogurt (approximately 20g of protein) layered with nuts, seeds, and berries
- A 3-egg omelet with cheese and vegetables
- A stir-fry made with 1 cup of firm tofu (about 20g of protein) and a variety of vegetables
- A serving of lean ground beef (about 4 ounces or 113g)
- A 5-ounce (142g) cooked pork tenderloin
- A bowl with 1.5 cups of cottage cheese topped with mixed berries
- A High Protein Chocolate Milkshake, such as the recipe shared in this post!
Whey Protein - look for a high-quality grass-fed whey protein containing 24 - 30 g protein per scoop.
Milk - adds an additional boost of protein at 9 g / cup (plus creamy texture to this yummy shake)!
Hemp seeds - contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin E, and fiber!
Cocoa powder - because who doesn't love chocolate?! Cocoa powder is a great source of magnesium and polyphenols.
Maca - is a superfood powder that helps to boost energy while balancing mood and potentially reducing PMS symptoms.
Aim for ~30 g of protein per meal, or 1.2 - 1.6 g/kg per day!
Yes, it is possible to meet your protein needs with a plant-based diet by including a variety of protein-rich plant foods. However, you may need to be more intentional about combining different plant sources to ensure you get all essential amino acids.
Learn More About Protein and Longevity:
- Protein for muscle and metabolism: when and how much? With Dr Donald Layman PhD
- Max Lugavere: The Problem W/ Plant-Based Diets, How to Prevent Disease, The US Food Industry, and The Importance of Protein
- How to Get More Protein in Your Diet with Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
High Protein Chocolate Milkshake
- High speed blender
- 1 Banana frozen
- 1 scoop Whey protine powder (24 g protein) vanilla or chocolate
- 1 cup Milk (9 g protein)
- 1 tablespoon Cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon Hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon Peanut butter (4 g protein) or almond butter
- 1 tablespoon Flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon Maca
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Sip, and enjoy