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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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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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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

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Best Egg White Protein Powder

Best Egg White Protein PowderBest Egg White Protein Powder

Many people are introducing protein powders into their diets for various reasons. But when you think of protein powders, egg white protein powder is usually not the first type of protein powder most people think of.

In the past, bodybuilders were primarily the consumers of protein powders. They also were the ones adding eggs or egg whites to their protein shakes. That is no longer the case. As protein powders became more mainstream, and as more and more “average” people began looking for ways to add healthy, low-fat protein to their diets, a larger variety of protein powders have become available. Egg white protein powder is one of them, and it is gaining popularity.

One scoop of egg white protein powder can provide 4 times the amount of protein found in one whole egg and 6 times the amount of protein in one egg white.

How much protein does a woman need? See  for more info.

Who Should Use Egg White Protein Powder?

If you are looking for a convenient low fat and low-calorie protein source, egg white protein powder may be a good option. It can be added to milk, milk alternatives, green drinks, yogurt and more. It generally has a milder taste than other types of protein powders, such as whey or soy.

Because egg white protein is non-dairy, it can be used by individuals with lactose intolerance. Most egg white protein powders contain little carbohydrates, so they are a good option for dieters or those on a low carb or paleo diet too.

Best Egg White Protein Powder


Most varieties are soy free; however, some do contain soy lecithin.

Best Egg White Protein Powder

However, not all egg white protein powders are the same. Some low-quality products, especially those manufactured outside the U.S., may contain traces of antibiotics and hormones and also may put you at risk of being exposed Salmonella. Therefore, it is important to look for quality products produced in the USA. Still, some egg white protein powders contain added flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and other additives.

Best Egg White Protein Powder

Which egg white protein powder is the best?

Let’s take a look at 3 popular brands and see how they compare.

Jay Robb Egg White Protein PowderBest Egg White Protein Powder

Flavors: unflavored, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry

Unflavored Ingredients: Pure extracted egg white albumin and non-GMO sunflower lecithin.

Chocolate Ingredients: Egg albumin, xylitol, cocoa powder, natural flavor, xanthan gum, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, and stevia.

Strawberry Ingredients: Egg albumin, xylitol, natural flavor, xanthan gum, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, Reb-A stevia, citric acid, and red beet powder (color.)

Vanilla Ingredients: Egg albumin, xylitol, natural flavor, xanthan gum, non-GMO sunflower lecithin, and stevia.

The unflavored variety nutritional profile:

Serving size: 33 g

Calories: 115

Fat; 0

Sugar: 0

Protein: 24 g

The flavored varieties have 2 sugar alcohols and 120 calories.

This egg white protein powder is favored by many. It mixes well and has a mild taste.

Paleo Protein Egg White Powder

10 varieties: organic unflavored, unflavored, chocolate, blueberry tart, coconut cream, cinnamon roll, espresso, glazed donut, and vanilla.

The unflavored variety ingredients: Egg White Powder (from chickens not treated with hormones or antibiotics and non-GMO)  & Sunflower Lecithin

The unflavored variety nutritional profile:Best Egg White Protein Powder

Serving size: 30g

Calories: 100

Fat: 0

Sugar: 0

Protein: 25 g

The flavored varieties are sweetened with monk fruit and natural flavors. Some contain a probiotic. Most have 21 grams of protein.

This egg white protein powder is a favorite among those looking for a variety of flavors and have a preference for a sweeter taste. Although there are unflavored and organic unflavored choices. All use eggs from chickens not treated with hormones or antibiotics and non-GMO.

NOW Sports Eggwhite Protein

3 varieties: regular, vanilla creme and rich chocolate

The plain egg white variety nutritional profile:Best Egg White Protein Powder

Serving size: 20 g

Calories: 100

Fat; 0

Sugar: 1

Protein: 16 g

The plain egg white variety ingredients: Egg White Powder

The regular/plain variety is pure egg whites–nothing else.  It does not contain lecithin, as others do and has no added flavors. It gets frothier than other egg white protein powders and does not dissolve as easily.

The vanilla creme and rich chocolate flavors have added ingredients–making them dissolve better.

Vanilla creme ingredients: Egg White Powder (Instantized), Xylitol, Natural Vanilla Flavors, Better Stevia® [Organic Stevia Extract (Leaf)], Natural Citrus Flavor and Soy Lecithin (< 1%).

The serving size is much smaller than most egg white protein powders, making the protein lower. However, the label lists 1 gram of sugar. There is no sugar added to the plain egg white powder. It contains only egg whites, so I don’t know where this is coming from. The other brands do not list any sugar.

Which egg white protein powder is the best?

The one that fits best with what you want and don’t want.

The unflavored variety of these 3 popular egg white protein powder brands:  Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder, Paleo Protein Egg White Powder and NOW Sports Eggwhite Protein, are very similar.

The Paleo Protein Egg White Powder does have an organic product, which is perfect if you want organic and don’t mind adding your own flavoring.

If you want plain, pure egg white powder with nothing added, the regular, plain NOW Sports Eggwhite Protein is the way to go.

In terms of flavors, it depends on what is most important to you and what you want to avoid. The flavored varieties contain different types of sweeteners and other added ingredients. By far, Paleo Protein Egg White Powder has the most flavors to choose from.

Best Egg White Protein Powder

Which egg white protein powder do you think is the best?

I’d love to hear your opinions!


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Peanut Butter Powder Protein—Too Good to be True?

Peanut Butter Powder Protein

Peanut Butter Powder Protein

Too Good to be True?

Many people love peanut butter–myself included. In fact every year, Americans eat three 16 oz jars of peanut butter per person each year. That may not seem like a lot, but one 16 oz. jar of peanut butter contains 14 servings, that adds up to 42 servings per person. (Since not every single person eats peanut butter, some of us are eating a lot more.

The fact that peanut butter is so versatile gives us the opportunity to eat it in many different ways–peanut butter cookies, peanut butter smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches–with jelly, bananas, marshmallow fluff… (I love peanut butter and pickle sandwiches–strange I know, but my mom introduced me to them when I was a child and I have eaten them ever since!), peanut butter and apples, peanut butter and celery…

I eat peanut butter on toast at least once per week. My husband eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during his daily commute.

The problem with peanut butter is that it has a lot of calories and a lot of fat–yes it’s primarily the healthy type of fat, but it’s fat nonetheless. One serving of the peanut butter I usually eat has 16 grams of fat–that’s 25% of the recommended daily allowance.  Plus, many peanut butters have sugars, oils, and other ingredients that are not healthy (or needed)  such as Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils, Molasses, Corn Syrup Solids, Agave Syrup, Mono and Diglycerides, Maltodextrin… Continue reading Peanut Butter Powder Protein—Too Good to be True?

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17 Healthy High Protein Foods List

17 Healthy High Protein Foods List

17 Healthy High Protein Foods List

Whether you are on a Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, or High Protein Diet, your body needs protein from a variety of healthy protein sources for optimal health.

Protein is made up of smaller components called amino acids, 12 of these are manufactured by our bodies. Another 9, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from food. A complete protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Animal proteins, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy are complete proteins. Only a few plant-based proteins are complete proteins. Incomplete proteins, such as peanuts, dried beans and whole grains. To become a complete protein, 2 of these incomplete proteins need to be combined.

Each type of protein source has its own benefits. Different varieties of each protein source also have different nutritional values. For example, some types of fish are very lean and low in calories and others have more fat and are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

There is also a difference between organic and non-organic dairy products. The government regulation on organic farming causes organic farms to produce organic dairy products with different, and better, nutritional qualities than conventional dairy products. Organic dairy products contain significantly higher protein, ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid), omega-3 fatty acid and a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio than conventional dairy products.

In regard to legumes and grains, dried is much preferred over canned–especially due to the high sodium content in canned foods.

Many fitness professionals consider protein powders (and bars) to be the best thing ever. As a Fitness Professional and Wellness Coach, with a focus on nutrition as well as fitness, I believe some powders and bars can be healthy. However, most are not, so I am not including any in this 17 Healthy High Protein Foods List. If you are interested in a healthy “protein” bar, you can read my review on one HERE.

I have broken down the 17 Healthy High Protein Foods List into 5 categories: Dairy, Fish, Meat, Poultry, and Plant Based Protein. I have also included one or more of the nutritional benefits of each of the individual proteins. Continue reading 17 Healthy High Protein Foods List