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Choosing the Right Protein for Your Lifestyle Diet

Choosing the right protein for your lifestyle diet

Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian and Plant-based—popular lifestyle diets are based on one primary characteristic—the kind of protein in the diet.  More and more people are looking for ways to improve their health with a lifestyle diet. Diets restricting or eliminating animal products are trending. Instead of getting protein from animal sources, these diets include protein from plants, including nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. What separates each way of eating is the addition of other proteins.

Popular Lifestyle Diets

Vegan Lifestyle Diet

It is becoming increasingly popular to identify as a vegan. Following a vegan diet is the most restrictive regarding the protein in the diet. It excludes all meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy and eggs. Vegans often carry these restrictions into other areas of their lives. This popular lifestyle diet often stems from animal welfare and rights concerns. Many vegans won’t use products made of leather, contain animal products or are tested on animals. 

Many vegans and vegetarians alike include substitution foods in their diets. These foods are made to mimic the original food—often meat, poultry, and dairy products. These simulated

foods are often made with soy—a source of protein in the diet. Most of us are familiar with, or have heard of, soy-based products like tofu dogs and vegetarian “chicken.”  Other not-so-common vegan or vegetarian substitutions include almond “cheese” and vegan “eggs.” 

Whichever type of plant-based diet you follow, you must consider how you’re getting enough protein. Our bodies need protein from various healthy sources for optimal health. Amino acids are an essential component of this protein.

Vegetarian Lifestyle Diet

There are several types of vegetarian diets. The specific type of vegetarian depends on the protein in the diet.

Generally, a vegetarian diet may include eggs and dairy but excludes meat, poultry, seafood and fish. It can further differ from a plant-based diet regarding how much focus is placed on unprocessed whole plant foods. What’s more, there are several variations in this category of diet. For example, an Ovo-vegetarian excludes dairy.  A Lacto-vegetarian excludes eggs.

Pescatarian Lifestyle Diet

The pescatarian diet isn’t as popular as it once was. When you follow a pescatarian diet, your protein can come from fish, seafood, eggs and dairy, as well as plant-based protein. The exclusions are meat and poultry.

Plant-based Lifestyle Diet

A plant-based diet is a popular lifestyle diet that focuses on clean, natural eating with minimal processing. Plant foods comprise most of this diet—vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. But it’s not about being restrictive. People who eat a plant-based diet may still choose to eat small amounts of dairy, meat, poultry, fish and seafood.

difference between complete incomplete protein

Complete and Incomplete Protein

Protein is made up of smaller components called amino acids.  Twelve of these are manufactured by our bodies. Another nine, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from food

A complete protein is a protein that contains all nine of these essential amino acids. Animal proteins are complete proteins, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy. Incomplete proteins include plant-based sources such as peanuts, beans and whole grains. Two incomplete protein sources must be combined to become a complete protein.  Beans and rice or peanut butter on whole wheat bread are two examples.

Each type of protein source has its benefits. Different varieties of each protein source also have different nutritional values. For example, some types of fish are lean and low in calories; others have more fat and are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Dairy products contain calcium and vitamins; some (like yogurt) even contain probiotics.

If you choose to eat any variety of diet with restricted protein sources, you need to pay particular attention to how you’re getting your protein and other nutrients. Below is a list of several protein sources for each type of diet and their average protein content. Of course, many proteins can fall into multiple lists.

Protein Sources for Popular Lifestyle Diets

Protein for Vegan Diets

  • Tempeh (½ cup) 13g
  • Tofu (½ cup) 10g
  • Hemp seeds (1 oz.) 9g
  • Edamame (½ cup) 8g

Protein for Vegetarian Diets

  • Greek yogurt (5 oz.) 17g
  • Non-fat milk (8 oz.) 8g
  • Peanut butter (2 Tbsp.) 7g
  • Egg (one) 6g

Protein for Pescatarian Diets

  • Salmon  (3 oz.) 22g
  • Halibut (3 oz.) 21g
  • Shrimp (3 oz.) 18g
  • Crab (3 oz.) 18g

Protein for Plant-based Diets

  1. Lentils (½ cup) 9g
  2. Almonds (¼ cup) 8g
  3. Beans (½ cup) 8g
  4. Quinoa (⅓ cup) 6g

Adopting one of these lifestyle eating habits has many variables. Each contains healthy and not-so-healthy options. For example, shrimp may be healthy until it’s fried. Beans may be inherently healthy until they become refried beans.

Plus, the other food choices in these diets are a big determining factor in how healthy they are. If you eat many processed, sugary, fried or “junk” foods, your diet won’t be healthy no matter what diet you follow.

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Beware of Sugar-Free and Low-Sugar Protein Powder


Just when we think we are making good choices for our body, eating less refined sugar, trying to eat healthier foods and drink more nutritional beverages, we find out that what we thought was healthy is actually harmful and dangerous for our health. It can be found in lots and lots of products we may consume with better health in mind. One of these products is sugar-free and low-sugar protein powder–even organic protein powders can be harmful. All because of this one ingredient— erythritol.

Low-Sugar Protein Powder

In recent years, erythritol, a sugar alcohol commonly used as a sugar substitute, has gained popularity as a “healthier” alternative for individuals looking to reduce their sugar intake. 

Thought to be a healthier alternative to sugar and the typical artificial sweeteners we try to avoid, new research shows erythritol is not as safe as we were led to believe. Even though we naturally have a small amount of erythritol in our bodies, a recent study has raised concerns about the potential impact of elevated erythritol levels on our cardiovascular health.

Erythritol in Protein Powders

Many sugar-free or low-sugar protein powders contain erythritol as a sweetener. Erythritol is favored for its low-calorie content and minimal impact on blood sugar levels, making it appealing to those of us looking to reduce our sugar intake. 

Studies show the amount of erythritol used in products like protein powders can significantly exceed natural levels, raising concerns about potential health risks.

Studies also find a significant association between elevated erythritol levels and the risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. Individuals with the highest erythritol levels were approximately twice as likely to experience these heart-related issues over a three-year follow-up period than those with lower erythritol levels.

What is Erythritol?

Erythritol belongs to a class of compounds known as sugar alcohols or polyols. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers erythritol safe for consumption as it is a naturally occurring compound. In its natural state, erythritol is present in certain fruits and fermented foods. However, the main concern arises from the quantities used in processed foods and products like low-sugar protein powder, which can far exceed the levels found in nature.

One concerning aspect of erythritol consumption is the dramatic increase in blood levels observed after consuming just one serving of certain processed food products, often marketed as “keto-friendly” or “low-carb.” In fact, the study found that consuming just one serving of a food or beverage containing erythritol could raise blood levels of erythritol up to 1,000 times. Additionally, the risk of blood clotting increased for several days after ingesting erythritol.

Read Protein Powder Labels

Explore protein powders without added sweeteners or opt for unsweetened varieties, like this plant-based protein, allowing you to control the sweetness by adding natural ingredients like fruits or honey. If you want a pre-sweetened protein powder to make a shake quick and easy, choose a protein powder that uses natural sweeteners or alternatives to erythritol, such as stevia, monk fruit extract, fruit, honey, or organic cane sugar. 

We can’t control everything, and we can’t know everything. We can’t control the ingredients manufacturers use in their products, like protein powder. But we can control what we consume. We can’t know everything about what’s healthy and not healthy. But we can keep informed and read labels carefully.

Choose your low-sugar protein powder wisely!

Protein 4 Women
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NEW! Rx Bar Chocolate Cinnamon Brownie—Review

NEW Limited Edition Chocolate Cinnamon Brownie Rx Bars

I am happy to announce that there is a new limited edition flavor of Rx Bars— Chocolate Cinnamon Brownie!

It’s always exciting when a new flavor of these delicious protein bars comes out.  This new flavor is sure to make your tastebuds smile.

Continue reading NEW! Rx Bar Chocolate Cinnamon Brownie—Review
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Natural Perfect Bar Protein Bar Review


If you’re looking for a delicious, indulgent protein bar or meal replacement, look no further.

Perfect Bar protein bars are my favorite protein bar…but although they are packed with healthy ingredients, they are not perfect.

Perfect Bar Protein Bars

I consider Perfect Bars an indulgent healthy and satisfying meal replacement. These bars have a texture and taste similar to a cookie with a lot more protein—12 or more grams. But with an average of 320 calories per bar and approximately 19g of fat, (3 of which is saturated) and 17g of sugar, they’re not for everyone.

Although they originally started with peanut butter, they have added almond butter and hazelnut butter and cashew butter to their line. Flavors like:

  • Dark chocolate almond
  • Chocolate hazelnut crisp
  • Bluberry cashew

Peanut varieties include:

  • Coconut peanut butter
  • Dark chocolate chip peanut butter
  • Chocolate mint

They even offer limited-edition flavors like:

  • Snickerdoodle
  • Pumpkin

Even though they’ve been around for years, it’s been hard to find them— similar to how RXBARS were first sold. And when you did find them, the flavor selection was minimal. But recently they are becoming more available and therefore more popular. Below are some key facts to consider to decide if Perfect Bars would make the perfect healthy indulgent you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Perfect Bar – Peanut Butter

perfect bar protein bar

Perfect Bar – Almond Butter

perfect bar brotein bar

Perfect Bar Pros:

  • Great taste
  • Natural and organic ingredients
  • More protien than most natural bars
  • Satisfying
  • Variety of flavors
  • Low glycemic index
  • Soy free
  • Whey free
  • Gluten free
  • No preservatives

Perfect Bar Cons

  • Requires refrigeration
  • Very hard while refrigerated
  • Messy if they get warm
  • High in calories
  • High in sugar
  • High in fat
  • High saturated fat in some flavors
  • Not vegan

Natural Perfect Bar Protein Bar— Summary

Because of their high fat and sugar content, I wouldn’t recommend them as a daily protein source. Yet, if you’re looking for a delicious meal replacement or treat that’s made with all-natural and organic ingredients and packed full of protein, try a few flavors of Perfect Bars. There are no other bars like them.

Your comments are welcome.
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What is Heart Rate Variability?

What is Heart Rate Variability

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the measurement of the intervals between your heartbeats. HRV varies by individual and tends to lower with age. It’s an extremely sensitive metric. It fluctuates greatly throughout the day and from one day to the next.

Heart Rate Variability

HRV is associated with the levels in the blood of C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein that is produced by the liver as a response to inflammation. High levels of CRP can indicate high levels of inflammation in your body, which is associated with a greater risk of hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So, it’s important to have high HRV.

Why Looking at HRV is Important?

HRV is an important metric when it comes to your overall health and well-being. Tracking your HRV can help you gain a better understanding of:

For example, if you’d like to see the effect of adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet has on your body, the impact will be noticeable in your heart rate variability trend. Conversely, if your daily routine and lifestyle are unchanged but your HRV is on a downward trend, it may be an indicator of increased stress or an oncoming illness.

Measuring HRV

There are numerous HRV monitors on the market. Some use a wrist strap, some use a finger sensor and others use a chest strap. The chest strap versions tend to be more accurate than the others. Most importantly, it’s important to be able to easily track your HRV. Using one that has an app makes it easy to track on your phone, for example. You want to look for a trusted brand, such as Polar or Garmin.

Since HRV varies by person, stating a “normal” range is difficult. Rather than looking at specific numbers, it’s more useful to follow your own trends. For example, if you’re taking steps to improve your fitness and overall health, over time you should see a gradual increase in your average heart rate variability—that means you’re on the right track!

Get Yours Here…


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RXBARS Reviews–Coffee Chocolate

RXBARS Reviews--Coffee ChocolateRXBARS Reviews–Coffee Chocolate

If you love coffee and chocolate, you have to try this RXBAR!

If you are not familiar with RXBARS, RXBARS are natural protein bars made with real food–including  egg whites, dates and nuts. One RXBAR (depending on flavor) has 12 grams of protein, 7- 10 grams of fat, 13-15 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fiber. They are free of dairy, gluten, soy and added sugar. You can read more about RXBARS here

The Coffee Chocolate RXBAR has a strong espresso flavor. Add the right amount of chocolate and you get a delicious, nutritious snack. Pair it with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and you will think  you are being overly indulgent.

RXBARS Reviews–Coffee Chocolate

For some reason, this flavor is seasonal. When you think of coffee, what seasons do you think of most? Fall, Winter, right? Well, not for the RXBAR folks. They think Spring and Summer is the only time for coffee! The Coffee Chocolate flavor is only available in the Spring and Summer. I even wrote to them last Winter, wondering why I could no longer find the Coffee Chocolate RXBARS. I was afraid they discontinued this flavor. I received a response saying that it is a seasonal flavor and not available at that time.  I am happy to see it’s back now and I just ordered my second box of 12. I got one of my friends hooked on them too and when I told her they were available, she promptly ordered a box for herself.

Pros:RXBARS Reviews–Coffee ChocolateRXBARS Reviews–Coffee Chocolate

  • Great taste
  • Natural ingredients
  • More protein than most natural bars
  • Satisfying


  • Consistency–very sticky–can get stuck in your teeth
  • Hard to bite into if they get cold
  • Messy if they get warm
  • Sugar: a bit high in sugar
  • Fat: a bit high in total fat and does contain some saturated fat (2.5 grams)
  • May be a bit overpowering if you don’t really love coffee
  • Seasonal–not available year round
  • Not as easy to find as some other flavors

RXBARS Reviews–Coffee Chocolate– Summary

If you love coffee and chocolate and are looking for a natural bar with more than a few grams of protein, the Coffee Chocolate RXBAR may be the ultimate bar. Don’t miss out! Give these bars a try.

Your comments are welcome.


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Difference Between Complete and Incomplete Proteins

difference between complete and incomplete proteinDifference Between Complete and Incomplete Proteins

Until about 15 years ago when I began seriously getting into the health and fitness industry, I thought protein is protein. And to be quite honest, preferring carbs, several days of the week I hardly ate any protein at all.

However, protein is very important to our bodiesOur bodies use protein to build and repair muscle tissue.

Now that I am a pescetarian, it’s even more important to pay close attention to the differences between complete and incomplete proteins to make sure I am getting enough complete protein in my diet. Vegetarians and vegans, in particular, need to know the difference between complete and incomplete protein and how to combine protein sources to make a complete protein. However, everyone should know the difference between complete and incomplete proteins to be able to make good nutritional choices. Continue reading Difference Between Complete and Incomplete Proteins

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Hemp Protein Powder Benefits and Risks

Hemp Protein Powder Benefits and RisksHemp Protein Powder Benefits and Risks

If you’re looking to increase your protein intake from a natural, plant based source, then hemp protein powder is definitely worth considering. Hemp protein powder is Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and has a low allergy risk.

Hemp Protein Powder Benefits and Risks

Hemp protein powder is made from hemp seeds, which provide many healthful benefits. Hemp protein powder contains 20 amino acids, including 9 essential amino acids that our bodies are unable to produce on their own. Hemp protein powder provides the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6- (including hard-to-get gamma linolenic acid (GLA)) in a healthy 3:1 ratio. What’s more, hemp protein powder also provides a healthy dose of antioxidants, minerals, fiber and chlorophyll.

Let’s take a look at some other nutritional values of hemp protein powder. Continue reading Hemp Protein Powder Benefits and Risks

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Best Protein Powder For Women

Best Protein Powder For WomenBest Protein Powder For Women

Choosing a protein powder can be confusing. There are so many different types and brands.

Many women have been afraid of protein powders–thinking they will start looking like a man! This myth stems from the fact that the traditional protein powders were made for men wanting to build muscle quickly and bulk up. Of course, these products do still exist and are very popular among bodybuilders and other athletes, but there are more and more varieties of protein powders available for the non-bodybuilding population–including us women.

There are a number of reasons women add protein powders to their diets, including:

Help build muscle

Help lose weight

Easy and quick way to consume more protein

Alternative to other protein sources

Let’s take a look at a few types of protein powders. Continue reading Best Protein Powder For Women

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Soy Nuts Nutrition

soy nut nutritionSoy Nuts Nutrition

Let me start by saying I love soy nuts–other soy products–not so much.

Soy nuts are roasted or baked soybeans. They can make a tasty snack that’s rich in healthy protein and other nutrients. Soy nuts are a very nutrient dense food. They pack lots of nutrients in a very small serving. Eating small amounts of soy nuts is a healthful and easy way to boost your daily intake of a variety of important nutrients–including protein.

Soy Nuts Nutrition

Nutrient Density

A 1/4 cup serving of dry-roasted soy nuts contains 194 calories.  One fourth cup is not a lot, but that ¼ cup contains concentrated protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Continue reading Soy Nuts Nutrition