I wanted to see what you thought about using protein powders during pregnancy and postpartum (while I breastfeed). Will it effect my milk supply? Will it harm the baby or have any negative effects on me while I’m pregnant? I really appreciate it! ~Julie
I have been getting a lot of inquiries about this lately!!! The post I wrote about protein bars is very similar to my feelings about protein powders. We have to be extra aware and careful what we put in our bodies during pregnancy. It doesn’t stop there either; if you are breastfeeding, the baby is still effected by diet, and so is milk supply. So what’s a mama to do?
Unfortunately, there’s really no right answer because our bodies react so differently to just about everything. I’ve had girlfriends say it actually increased their milk production, and others that say it decreased it! Talk about either side of the spectrum! The best thing you can do is to listen to your body and how it reacts to it. You’ll know. Your baby will know. Babies are pretty transparent and if they’re not getting enough they’ll cry and even start dropping weight fairly quickly.
Depending on which protein powder you use, some contain ingredients that can alter hormone levels and other ones that help to promote weightloss–neither of which we want to mess with during this time in our lives! Again, everyone reacts differently and I know for a fact women have protein powder every day with ingredients like maca and sacha inchi and go on to have amazing, healthy pregnancies and babies. Those are great ingredients, don’t get me wrong, but they can have other effects on the body. So if you’re a sensitive person (like me!), I’d be more cautious about it and listen closely how your body reacts to them.
One protein powder I personally recommend without thinking twice is pure, organic hemp protein. Whether it’s in powder form or the hearts/seeds, hemp is such a great way to up your protein intake in a healthy, plant-based way. Hemp is a complete protein, meaning it contains every essential amino acid (it provides about 5 grams of protein per 1-tablespoon!). Hemp protein is also a good source of essential fatty acids, which, like essential amino acids, the body does not produce on its own and we must get from our diet. Be warned: plain organic hemp protein powder has a very earthy taste! There are chocolate and vanilla varieties available but I’ve never tried those myself so I can’t personally vouch for the taste! What I love most are the organic hemp hearts. I like the crunch and nutty flavor they have. Whether I’m adding them on top of my favorite smoothie bowl, or sprinkling some on avocado toast, a salad, or over a bowl of fruit, it’s such a great way to easily add protein and healthy fats to a meal.
There are a lot of great protein options on the market, but that has been my personal choice and preference because I always seem to find something in there I’m not a big fan of. If there are ingredients listed on the label such as “natural flavors” or uses agave as a sweetener (not a fan!), I pass. But what about all those awesome super foods we’re missing out on that are in so many protein powder blends? It’s safe to say we don’t get the same quality nutrients from our food like we used to. Pollution, pesticides, cooking methods, food traveling far distances to make it to us, the light exposure sitting on the shelves in the store all contribute to the loss of nutrients in our produce before it makes it into our body. Taking supplements is a good way to give ourselves a little “insurance” if you will on the nutrients we miss out on. Food is always superior, but our food doesn’t always cut it. Superfood powders definitely come in handy and can be a great addition to any smoothie. Some of my favorites are Amazing Grass, Barlean’s, and Tonic Alchemy.
Ready to start using hemp?! Here’s a good recipe to start you off. Try these matcha hemp energy balls–so good on the run and pre/post working out! Hubby loves them too. Bonus.
I do love giving advice, using my own experiences and of those I know, but above all always consult your doctor if you have concerns and follow your intuition when it comes to your health!
Sound off in the comments and tell me what have your experiences have been with protein powders?