When you first decide to go paleo, food choices can be a tricky business. What, exactly, is acceptable?
Sometimes, you'll come across some very general rules like: “Avoid processed foods.” And while this is just generally good dietary practice, it tends to raise some more questions. After all, lots of foods are technically “processed.” Just cooking a food is a type of processing.
Thanks to this confusion, people often don't know what to think of protein powders. Are there paleo protein powders available? Which protein powders would or wouldn't be okay for the Palaeolithic eater?
First, you need to consider where the potential paleo protein powder is coming from. Is the source food paleo? In general, any milk or egg protein would be allowable. This would include whey and casein or any blend of the two.
However, the most common vegan options like soy, pea, rice and hemp proteins are a little more controversial. While some things, like soy and rice are not usually considered paleo, pea protein would present a little more of a puzzle.
Why? Because peas are acceptable in their natural state. Some of the stricter paleo proponents, though, feel like the plant has to be too heavily processed to extract all that protein. And, they contend, that processing makes it non-paleo.
This is a personal choice that you're going to need to consider. Some high-quality pea protein powders, like the one offered by Naked Nutrition, are minimally processed without the use of chemicals.
Really, you'll have to make this decision when it comes to milk proteins as well. While whey concentrate can be made by just heating up some milk, other variants requiring considerably more processing. Whey isolate is exposed to more heat and chemicals, for example, to remove most of the fat and sugar and increase the percentage of protein. Hydrolysates are exposed to enzymes so that they're actually slightly digested before you even get your hands on them.
So, even if the source protein seems acceptable, you may not be comfortable with the level of processing that it goes through.
Even if you find a protein source that is paleo-friendly, you're going need to look at the ingredients to be sure.
Many protein powders, which are labelled as “whey” for example, are also loaded with soy and sunflower and safflower and lots of other non-paleo components. You're also very likely to encounter artificial sweeteners, preservatives and ant-caking agents in most protein powders. These additives are decidedly un-paleo.
Instead, you're going to need to a protein powder that – like everything in the Naked Nutrition line of products – contains as few ingredients as possible.
Naked Nutrition is proud to say that all of our protein powders have only all-natural, organic ingredients. In fact, most of our products only contain one ingredient: the protein source.