Is Too Much Protein Bad?

Is Too Much Protein Bad?With 2014 lurking just around the corner, I’m sure many of us will be looking into diets and exploring what foods we should eat to lose weight. I’ve written about this topic many times in the past, including a few blog posts about foods that will help you feel more full for a longer period of time. One way to achieve this is by eating protein.

A mistake that I once made that I’m sure many other people will make is to load up on protein. It makes sense, right? If protein fills you up, just drink a couple protein shakes mixed with fruits and veggies and you’ll be good for the day while keeping your calorie intake to a minimum. The one caveat is that you need to burn that protein.

Your body requires a certain amount of protein. Once you reach that limit, the excess is converted into energy. When you have a surplus of energy–meaning you’re not physically burning it off–the body converts it into fat. So if you plan on making a couple of smoothies each day loaded with protein powder, you need to exercise hard to make use of the protein. Any extra could potentially be turned into fat, making you gain weight rather than lose it.

So how much protein should you eat each day? About 50g to 100g of protein is the recommended daily amount of protein that you should be consuming. When choosing a protein powder, try looking for one that’s balanced with other ingredients, such as fiber. Manitoba Harvest makes a variety of hemp protein powders with different percentages of protein. Onnit also has Hemp Force protein powder which is balanced out with other nutritional ingredients that your body will use, so you’re not just loading up on protein and gaining weight as a result.

The Best Onnit Hemp Force Protein Powder Shake Recipe

The Best Onnit Hemp Force Protein Powder Shake RecipeI’ve done it, people. You can quit looking. I’ve come up with what could very well be the ultimate Onnit Hemp Force Protein Powder shake recipe. I’ve been doing something similar for a while now, but Onnit just released its new Walnut Almond Cashew Trilogy Butter and it has taken my shakes over the top. It literally does taste like a milkshake now, so calling it a shake is actually quite fitting, except this particular shake is good for you.

I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy in favor of rice or almond milk, and fortunately there are a wide range of options from a variety of brands. I choose either a vanilla or chocolate rice or almond milk, but always unsweetened. The stevia that’s added to the Hemp Force will add a bit of sweetness to the shake, but to be honest, I enjoy this milk substitute on its own and it tastes just fine, so there’s really no reason to choose the sweetened variety.

With a cup or two of rice or almond milk as a base, I add in my Hemp Force, and then add in a banana, either a half or a whole depending on how big of a shake I want to make that day. I enjoy the taste of banana anyways, but I use it in this recipe because it thickens up the drink and gives it the consistency of an actual milkshake made with ice cream. Finally, I add in generous tablespoon or two of the new Walnut Almond Cashew Trilogy Butter. You can use regular natural peanut butter instead, which is what I used to do.

I’ll review the Onnit Walnut Almond Cashew Trilogy Butter at a later date, but for now I’ll just say that its benefits over using regular ol’ peanut butter are numerous, especially when included in a drink designed for maximum protein. Not to mention it tastes tremendous, too. I actually prefer almonds over peanuts, so this works well for me.

So that’s it! Then you blend it all up in your Blendtec blender (of course!) for a delicious, chocolatey, nutty, bananay (is that a word?) drink that’s packed with protein and will give you a kick in the butt in the morning. It literally feels like a treat, not something that would be good for you. Below is the full recipe, and let me know in the comments if you have any Hemp Force recipes of your own that are good!

The Best Onnit Hemp Force Protein Powder Shake Recipe

How to Make Hemp Protein Powder

How to Make Hemp Protein PowderYesterday I wrote about making my own Onnit Hemp Force protein powder because I found many of the ingredients at a local bulk food store. While I didn’t find hemp protein powder in bulk, I did find hulled hemp seeds in bulk, which got me thinking. Could I buy some hulled hemp seeds, toss them in my Blendtec Designer 625 blender and make my own hemp protein powder?

Turns out that I can’t. At least not easily. Hemp protein powder isn’t made by simply blending up hemp seeds into an ultra fine powder. In fact, to make hemp protein powder, you have to first separate the hemp seeds from the shell. Next, the seeds are separated from its natural oil, leaving three products: the hemp shells, the hemp seeds, and the hemp oil. The seeds are then dried to remove moisture. Finally, the seeds are added back with the shells and ground into a fine powder, producing hemp protein powder.

Hulled hemp seeds are whole hemp seeds that have the outer shell removed. As a result, it would be impossible for me to replicate store-bought hemp protein powder using hulled hemp seeds. However, all is not lost. Turns out that the absence of the outer shell removes the fiber and the minerals. This means that the total protein count is higher when compared to an equal amount or serving of whole hemp seeds.

Confusing, right? To complicate things further, some people prefer using ground hulled hemp seeds over manufactured hemp protein powder because virtually all protein powders contain chemicals (more on this in a future blog post.) So what can be done is to grind up hulled hemp seeds into a fine powder and use that instead of hemp protein powder. The one caveat is that you have to double or triple the amount of powder that you use to equal the protein of a store-bought hemp protein powder. However, you can rest easy knowing that you’re using something completely natural that you made yourself, 100% free of chemicals.

What’s the Difference Between Cocoa Powder and Cacao Powder?

What's the Difference Between Cocoa Powder and Cacao Powder?The other day I was at a local bulk food store and noticed they had organic maca root powder available for sale, which instantly made me think of Onnit’s Hemp Force protein powder since that’s one of its main ingredients. Nearby I also saw pure cocoa powder with no additives, another ingredient in Hemp Force protein powder. Around the corner I came across some pre-packaged cacao powder which was priced much higher and came in a fancy bag touting how healthy it was. This got me wondering, what exactly is the difference between cocoa and cacao?

What I learned is that there really isn’t a difference, if any at all. In fact, only in English-speaking countries is there cocoa and cacao. All other languages only have one word for cocoa powder: cacao. It’s actually believed that the word cocoa came about due to a spelling mistake, and it happened to catch on because it was easier to pronounce.

So why does the word cacao seem to be popping up more and more lately? It’s more or less being used by companies as a marketing tool to show that their powder is more “pure” or “raw” compared to regular cocoa powder. However, according to the FDA, cocoa powder and cacao powder are different ways to label the same product. That being said, pure/raw cacao powder has the fat from the cacao butter removed, while cocoa powder may have some remaining.

To bring things back to where I started, I looked around the maca root powder and cocoa powder, trying to find a hemp protein powder. I figured if all the ingredients were in one store, I could make my own Hemp Force! Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. All I could find were hulled hemp seeds, which are much different from hemp protein powder (I’ll get into this in a later blog post). Looks like I’ll be sticking with Onnit’s Hemp Force protein powder…for now!