Since making the decision to dramatically reduce my sugar intake back in August 2013, most low-sugar swaps have become second nature to me: I pick up 85 or 90% dark chocolate instead of Dairy Milk, eat far too much 100% nut butter (current favourites are Meridian and MyProtein‘s) and make my own stir fry sauces from spices and tamari.
I now rarely eat even natural sugars (including higher sugar fruits) except after workouts, which means the banana- and date-packed snacks and desert recipes which fill ‘healthy lifestyle’ cookbooks and blogs are an indulgence, rather than daily option, for me. I’m also yet to be won over by any sugar substitutes – being a devout reader of Laura Thomas’ Happy Sugar Habits blog gave me a great critique of the numerous natural and artificial sweeteners available! – besides the ongoing health debates, my tastebuds have now changed so much that I usually find them sickly sweet.
Filling my plates with vegetables and using vanilla and coconut oil to flavour recipes, I haven’t felt restricted at all but the one area I have struggled with is protein powder. I lift weights four times a week so have a higher protein requirement than the national guidelines, and love to use whey and casein protein powders as flour substitutes in baking and raw recipes.
Choosing to avoid sweeteners of all kinds left me with just one option, MyProtein’s unflavoured whey and casein powders as even the most saintly companies’ ‘natural’/’Paleo’ flavoured powders contained stevia or other processed sweeteners. This hasn’t been a big problem for me – MyProtein’s protein is great quality, the cheapest on the market and fantastic for sweet or savoury recipes, but I’ve never liked the inclusion of soy lecithin as an emulsifying agent and as my interest in food sustainability has grown I’ve felt the need to reconsider my choice.
I’ve reduced the amount of meat (particularly beef) that I consume, drink dairy-free milks and follow the Paleo principles of buying grass-fed butter and beef, so my protein powders stuck out as a potentially problematic part of my diet. Having tried – and hated! – some non-dairy protein powders I still hadn’t found a solution, which is why I was so excited to discover The Organic Protein Company via Twitter last month.
The company’s whey protein is the only 100% milk protein powder (completely free from fillers and emulsifiers!) available in the UK, and is produced by cows who roam outside on organic pastures. Not only does this mean the whey protein contains more nutrients and omega 3 than average milk protein, but the cows are also never given routine antibiotics, hormones or fed on artificially fertilised or GM grass.
The company very kindly got in touch after seeing my extremely excited response on Twitter, and sent me some protein samples which I’ve used to make sugar & sweetener-free mocha and peanut protein balls. I’ll share the recipes and a full review with you very soon, but wanted to give a little insight into my healthy eating philosophy and excitement in the meantime!
I’d love to hear what your life-changing ‘wonder products’ are – did you find them immediately when you changed your eating habits, or are you still discovering new favourites?