It’s now widely understood that we create many of our own health struggles through poor dietary choices and I’m not just referring to fast food consumption and the corresponding increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. We can actually give ourselves intolerances when we eat the same foods over and over. This is a fairly common occurrence among bodybuilders and other physique competitors who ignore certain symptoms while ingesting pounds of chicken breast, cans of tuna, and cartons of egg whites each day for years and years.
I’ve watched as clients have nearly choked on mucus within minutes of downing a whey or casein shake. Both are dairy proteins, most often derived from cow’s milk, which is one of the most allergenic foods on the planet. Though the prevalence of allergies has increased in recent years, it is still quite rare. But even if you don’t have an actual allergy to a food, you may have a sensitivity or intolerance. And though they aren’t life-threatening, they can be downright annoying. These low-level reactions can produce bloating, an increase in phlegm, headaches, and fatigue. Other possible issues include joint pain and rashes. If this sounds familiar then perhaps dairy proteins don’t suit your digestive system. It may not be necessary to cut them out completely but if you continue to consume foods that you’re sensitive to you can end up with chronic inflammation, which can actually damage the intestinal wall and lead to other, more serious health issues down the road.
While whey and casein have some unique benefits, there are other muscle-building, fat-burning, meal-replacing options for your post-workout and smoothie-making needs. Alternative protein sources that tend to be less problematic include goat milk whey, pea, and beef protein. You can also consider an amino acid supplement. Sometimes the solution is as simple as switching brands or opting for a different form of the protein. I’ve always felt better with raw, undenatured, whey concentrate from grass-fed cows than the more processed whey found in supplements geared towards meatheads and gym rats. The best approach, from both a physique and health standpoint, is to strive to take in a variety of protein sources, as each provides its own amino acid profile and a distinct array of other nutrients.