By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk
What is Whey?
Whey is a form of protein derived from dairy that is a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are ones that our body doesn’t produce by itself, so we need to get them from food sources. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, helping to renew cells, build muscles, restore and heal.
Benefits of Whey
In addition to being a complete protein, whey protein derived from grass-fed cows contains healthy essential fatty acids. It has high levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and obesity, yet most of us do not get enough of it. Whey contains the amino acid cysteine – a precursor for the production of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is a molecule in our body that neutralizes free radicals and is an essential nutrient for the body’s natural detoxing process. It also supports the body’s overall immune system.
Who is Whey Right For?
Whey is a great choice if you’re “spent”: worn out, exhausted, depleted or working out a lot. Here are some instances when whey is especially useful:
Whey contains the amino acid glutamine known for its gut healing benefits. If you have digestive issues and/or leaky gut, whey protein can be a great supplement for you.
Glutamine also has immune boosting properties and so it can play a crucial role in the healing plan for anyone with an auto-immune disease.
Whey is a high quality protein with essential fatty acids and is a powerful booster for anyone who’s depleted nutritionally or energetically. The body’s production of glutathione decreases with age, making it even more important to add a boost as we grow older.
Whey helps stabilize blood sugar and slows cortisol production making it an ideal supplement for anyone overcoming adrenal fatigue.
Whey protein has the right density to provide support for human muscles. It’s a great protein supplement for anyone looking to build some more muscle mass or who wants to support muscle recovery after working out. Whey protein is perfect as a post-workout shake!
I Am Lactose Intolerant. Can I Eat Whey?
Whey is one of the proteins found in dairy and can contain traces of lactose. However, the amount is generally miniscule and most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate whey well. And the same goes for casein, another protein found in dairy. There might be some traces of it in whey, but most people sensitive to casein can tolerate whey. If you are vegan or have a severe milk allergy or know that you are hypersensitive to lactose or casein, whey is probably not for you. Instead, good quality pea protein might be a good choice.
I highly recommend finding whey protein that is derived from grass-fed cows that fed on chemical free pastures! This contains more beneficial nutrients and is better for both you and the planet. Whey protein concentrate is less processed than whey protein isolate. For most people this is a great choice – a lot less processed and with more nutrients intact!
Of course, when choosing a whey protein, look out for any added ingredients and stay clear of added sugar, fructose or artificial sweeteners. No need for any of that!
The Be Well Recharge and Be Well Whey both contain whey protein that has been processed using only a low temperature drying and filtration process. This process maintains the fragile nutrients intact. High heat processing damages the enzymes, cysteine and other nutrients in the whey. It can even alter the protein to a point where it can cause intolerance in people who otherwise tolerate dairy well!
Here’s a favorite smoothie recipe with whey protein, avocado and blueberries:
Blueberry Avocado Smoothie, Serves 1
- 1 Recharge packet
- 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 cup coconut water, or 1/2 cup filtered water and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- Juice of half a lime
- 4 ice cubes
Sweeten to taste with either raw honey or xylitol. Blend in a blender until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite way to use whey?