Are You Eating Too Much Fake Protein?

Over a year ago I stopped buying Orgain brand protein powder from Costco due to the warnings from Dr. Mercola about heavy metals contaminating their protein powder. As much as I liked having a quick protein powder to toss into fresh raw milk yogurt, I knew that heavy metals can be associated with conditions like dementia and Alzheimers later in life. Not something I want to deal with if I can avoid it.

Maybe you’ve noticed how protein is showing up everywhere.

Supermarkets now offer a variety of protein-rich foods that you wouldn’t expect, like Quest brand protein cheesy crackers and iced protein coffee. But is all this protein coming at a cost? Many people understand the need for protein as an essential nutrient for a healthy body. Parents like you and I want the best for our kids, so opting for something protein-rich seems like a good idea.

The problem is that we’ve become so obsessed with specific nutrients that are good for us that we forget to eat them in their natural context.

Instead of eating pasture-raised eggs or grass-fed steak, we eat protein crackers or a quick scoop of protein in a bowl of yogurt. Are we losing the appreciation for real food in its natural state — properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole foods? Slick marketing isn’t helping. But people like you and I know better than to reduce nutrition to a set of isolated nutrients. Macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbohydrates are necessary but should accompany micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and various compounds used to fuel our bodies. >> Isolated protein in beverages, snacks, and food should never replace high-quality protein from grass-fed and pastured animals. 

1. Nutrients should always be consumed in a real food context. A list of real foods that provide a rich source of protein with nutrients to accompany it include,

  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Grass-fed beef steak, roasts, and ground beef
  • Pasture-raised pork including bacon, chops, and ham
  • Wild-caught fish including salmon
  • Raw greek yogurt
  • and more

2. If we were to live on protein powder, we’d be missing a big part of what powers our body. For example, raw milk contains whey protein but also provides a constantly changing array of beneficial probiotics that aid in digestion and healing our gut. By consuming raw milk as a part of a real food diet we provide our body with protein as well as carbohydrates and fats that help keep us full and energized. This is not to say you can never add some protein powder to your raw milk smoothie. The point is that you should always use real food as a foundation for nourishing your body and let occasional supplemental forms take a back seat to whole food forms of protein.

3. If you’re a fitness enthusiast looking to maintain ideal body condition, you’re going to need a diet high in protein. Don’t forget to make sure you’ve met your body’s baseline needs for protein through real foods before supplementing. Diets such as the carnivore diet are high in protein and are based almost exclusively on high-protein real foods like grass-fed meats. This reduces your dependence on “fake” protein supplements that don’t have the benefit of being accompanied by other supportive nutrients.

As you can see, protein is important but we shouldn’t ignore the source of the protein we consume. By sourcing quality protein like poultry, pork, eggs, and beef from a local farmer, you’ll not only gain the benefit of real food protein in your diet but also a better understanding of the need for a holistic view of life and how God designed the real food to nourish us.

What are your favorite real-food protein sources?

Do you use protein supplements as a regular part of your diet? If so, which ones and why?

Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Written by:

Peter Bartlett

Peter Bartlett is the Dairy Director at Bartlett Farms and editor of The Learning Center. His passion is to help families make diet and lifestyle changes so they can live healthy and fulfilling lives in our modern world.


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