Supplement Series # 4

Supplement Products I Use and Recommend

I have experimented with quite a lot of different supplement products. Again, what I recommend could be considered the equivalent of a meal. Like I mentioned earlier, these are the things I’m looking at when choosing a product.

  • Does it do what I want it to do, and does it have quality ingredients and the nutrients I’m looking for? Also, does it have minimal sugar and artificial colors & flavoring?
  • Cost—Basically I do not want to spend more money for something, if and when I can spend less for something equal in quality. For instance, some of the greens drinks are in the range of $75 a bottle. I spend half that for what I consider to be an equal product. The same can go for protein. Until I’m proven that my way of thinking is wrong, I’m sticking with this plan.
  •   Does it taste good?—The bottom line is if it taste real bad, most likely it is not going to be used.
  • Convenience – of the supplements I recommended, they are very convenient. They do make Ready to Drink shakes which are more convenient but they  are going to be more expensive.

Here are the specific products that I recommend, in no specific order.

Protein Powder—I’m going to be honest and say that this is one area that I am quite confused on. I have not bought into the claim that protein powder needs to be organic, cross filtered and cold pressed, etc. Many products want to make these types of claims and how their protein is different and better, and they will cost more than double. Until I’m convinced otherwise, I have stuck to a less expensive product that serves its purpose: gets me protein with the amino acids I need for muscle repair.

Protein powders come in many different flavors. Obviously it is about personal choice, but for me the flavor dictates what I will add to it. For example, for chocolate I may add peanut butter, milk, or a banana. Any fruit flavored powder, I may add frozen fruit, yogurt, ice, whole fruit drink—more like a smoothie.

MRM proteinMRM All Natural Whey—Chocolate, Vanilla, Mixed Berries, & Unflavored
This is my top choice for a protein powder as it is hormone, antibiotic and BSE free. It has no artificial sweeteners, and no artificial flavors. Because it is all natural, the downside is it simply does not taste as good as other protein products out there.

The 2 pound container is 35 servings with 18 grams of protein per serving, and is less than a dollar per serving.

Optimum Gold Standard 100%—12-15 different flavors—Optimum gold standardI believe this is the top selling protein powder on the market. That is probably due to the huge variety of flavors ranging from Mocha Cappuccino to Caramel Toffee Fudge, as well as it fairly inexpensive. It contains a high amount of amino acids per serving, and being a large company ensures they  maintain their standards. I recommend this protein if you want to pick from a variety of flavors. It is good quality, and very convenient as it mixes easily.

Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein—I would put this on the same level as the Optimum Gold above.

 

Meal Replacement Powders—An MRP is a more balanced meal in a shake. It will contain protein, carbs, and fat. In addition to getting that balance, I’m looking for a significant amount of fiber. That really makes for a solid MRP. These come in packets which can be convenient.

Mhp Macrobolic MRP—20 Pack – Chocolate, Vanilla—macrobolic mrpThis is a great balance: 350 calories, 32g protein, 39g carbs, and 7g fat, with 8g of fiber.

I like this because it is a good amount for teens, and you can basically cut it in half for kids. You do not need to add anything to these drinks. Just mix it with water and it’s a complete meal. These MRP’s will be thicker and heavier than protein shakes. You just may need to add more water to thin them down a little. That’s why I would recommend cutting them in half for smaller kids, otherwise they won’t eat for a long time after.

smoothie shake

 

Smoothie Drinks—Recently I have really started to drink a Smoothie. For one, my son likes them so that helps in getting him to drink one. I like them because they come in a mixed berry or tropical flavor, making the addition of fruit quite tasty. I also like them because they are vegetarian, meaning the protein is plant based. Just a nice change of pace from all the other stuff out there. They also contain a small amount of omega-3’s, high fiber and a lot of vitamins and minerals. Also they tend to be light so you’re not over-full. Just a win-win all around. These are the two Smoothie drinks I’ve used.  I generally add fruit, yogurt, and a little extra protein (or 2 scoops instead of 1).

vega smoothiesSix Star Instant Protein Smoothie—1 serving is 120 calories with 15g of protein, and 6g of fiber. You can buy this at Walmart for around 10 bucks (for 11 servings). It also contains a good amount of the nutrients from fruit and vegetables. I have only found it in the mixed berry flavor.

Vega Energizing Smoothie—Another good smoothie product but cost more than the one above. It does offer a small variety of flavors.

 

Greens Drink—These drinks have become very popular in the supplement industry as more and more people are realizing the importance of vegetables in their diet. In fact, if I were only allowed one supplement this would be the one. I just do not think you can get too much vegetables, or the nutrients in a plant based diet. These drinks are quite expensive, often up into the $75 range. I have found one that is almost half that price with 64 servings per bottle.

Veg GreensVegetable Greens—I love this stuff. It’s not pretty, but really does not have much taste at all. Occasionally I am able to sneak it into my boy’s drink without him noticing. It contains over 62 phytonutrients from super green foods, vegetables, plant enzymes, and essential fatty acids. It contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, and has no hidden ingredients. You can mix a scoop of this in any shake, or simply mix it with water or juice. I’m not saying it tastes good, but  it’s not that bad. For the picky kid, you have to hide the taste by mixing it with fruit, juice, or whatever. Bottom line: mix at least 1 scoop (half scoop for kids) to 2 or 3 drinks a day, and you will all the veggies you will need.

 

Additional Supplements / Food I recommend

omega 3-6-9Omega 3-6-9 Essential Fatty Acids – I don’t really recommend any particular product when it comes to essential fatty acids. This product comes in gel capsules, or liquid. I always prefer liquid because I can splash it in drinks or shakes and not taste it whatsoever. Also, I do not like to take pills. I don’t take them consistently. The purpose of this supplement, is basically to just ensure that you are receiving a high amount of your essential fatty acids. I do not believe that you can have too much, however you can be getting too little. Remember, these omega’s aid in brain development amongst young people. This product has become easy to find in local stores, however mostly in capsule form.

muscle milk oatsMuscle Milk n Oats – Very convenient way for stubborn breakfast eaters to get a high quality breakfast in. Just add hot water and stir. Provides 300 calories, 30g protein, 35g carbs, 6g fiber, and 6g fat. In my opinion these taste almost as good as regular oatmeal, yet have far more protein and can be whipped up in no time. These can also be eaten as a good healthy snack at any time during the day, and at less than $3 per serving it is pretty reasonable.

power peanut butterPower Peanut Butter – Young kids like peanut butter. It’s an excellent source of good fat and protein. I recommend finding as many ways to eat peanut butter: protein shakes, on pancakes or french toast, celery, and PB & J sandwiches. One of the problems with most peanut butter in the stores is it does contain extra sugar and other refined products. It’s not a deal breaker, but I still like to avoid that as much as possible. Power Butter is all natural, loaded with protein, and very high in fiber. You do not need to add huge scoops to get the nutrient value. I recommend a piece of whole toast with a small spread of power butter, for a snack or breakfast, and you would get a ton of protein, fiber, and essential fats. It does not taste as good as the Jiffy, but that is because it’s all natural. It is what it is.

 

Wrap Up

I don’t think it is at all necessary to use all these products. Like I said, natural food is the best way to go. But, I do believe that using some of these products is an excellent way to maintain a healthy diet. They are quick and convenient way to add healthy snacks, provide for a nutrient based breakfast for those without the time or desire to eat breakfast, and give yourself (and your digestive system) a break from eating food. Depending on what individually you need, many of these products are not necessary if you’re using another. For instance, the MRP’s for young athletes are a great balance. If they are drinking a shake per day, there is not as much a need for an omega oil, a protein shake, or even a smoothie. On the contrary, if a young athlete is drinking an MRP shake per day perhaps for breakfast, a smoothie shake with fruit is a nice alternative and change of pace for later in the day.

Because of these supplements that I use, it does allow for me to buy less groceries. The bottom line is that these products allow for me to get the additional protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and essential fatty acids that I may miss in eating regular foods, which due to just a hectic pace of life can sometimes make it difficult.

Supplement Series

1  To Take or Not to Take
2  Best Supplements for Athletic Performance
3  My Supplement Recommendations
4  Supplement Products That I Use and Recommend

Nutrient Timing for Optimal Performance
Post-Workout Supplementation