Protein is essential. You know you need it, not only to build muscle, but to just survive on a daily basis. Protein is the cornerstone of the human body, supplying it with the essential amino acids to build, repair, and grow. It’s also required for immune function, basic metabolism, cellular communication, structure, and transportation of other molecules within the body.
So, as you can see, protein is the essence of life. And for many fitness-oriented folks, they place a premium on consuming enough protein each and every day. One of the favorite sources of dietary protein, especially for active folks, is dairy protein. It’s high in protein, rich in the muscle-building BCAA, and well documented to support lean mass gains as well as bolster immune function due to the presence of immune-enhancing peptides, including immunoglobulins and lactoferrins.[1,2,3]
But, dairy isn’t for everyone, and not just for one reason. As we just pointed out, there’s nothing “wrong” with dairy, it’s just that not everyone is wired the same, and for some reason or another (or a mixture of reasons), people need to find an alternative to dairy.
Common Reasons for Seeking Dairy Alternatives
- Inability to digest lactose, the primary sugar in milk- Some people are born without the ability to synthesize sufficient lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. This leads to difficulty with digesting dairy proteins.
- Milk allergy- Having a milk allergy is completely different from being lactose intolerant. Here, the body experiences an inflammatory reaction to the presence of dairy in their system. This is the most extreme case of needing a quality non-dairy alternative.
- Increase diversity of one’s diet- Oftentimes, it can become the “easy” thing to do to just chug milk, yogurt, or conventional dairy-based proteins to suit you protein needs for the day. But, we all can benefit from diversity in the diet, as no single food provides everything the body needs to function optimally. So, it helps to have some other protein source to keep things fresh, from time to time.
- Bloating & GI Upset- Some folks have a difficult time digesting dairy, and when they do consume it, they experience to mild GI upset, gassiness, or bloating. While it’s nothing serious, it’s far from what you really want to experience on a regular basis.
- Environmental concerns- Dairy production is a multi-tiered process involving the consumption of a considerable number of valuable resources as well as money. In an effort to be more “green”, people often seek to limit their dairy consumption, opting for other means to obtain their protein.
- Animal concerns- Livestock farming is under a bigger microscope these days than ever before, and with the advent of more and more food documentaries populating the airways, people are making the extra effort to source products that are more sustainable and animal-friendly.
- Live a plant-based lifestyle- In an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, fitness-forward folks are incorporating more and more plant-based meals into their day, to increase their intake of fruits and veggies, while also lowering their intake of dairy proteins like milk or cheese. But protein is still a priority for these people, and having a non-dairy alternative protein powder would be ideal.
- 100% Vegan- Another extreme case of needing non-dairy alternatives are vegans who have sworn off any and all animal products made with animals or from animals. Now, don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being vegan, or living a mostly vegetarian, plant-based diet, but just because you don’t want any dairy in your daily diet, doesn’t mean you’re ready to give up all the beneficial aspects meat has to offer.
Now, assuming you fall into one of these categories, what’s a protein-seeking individual left to do when scouring the market for proteins free of any dairy? Do you have to resort to the dry, earthy tasting plant-based proteins like pea, rice, or soy? And more importantly, do you really want to go vegan and forego all the pleasures that are steak, butter, bacon, and cheese?
Probably not, but until now, plant-based proteins were the only real alternative for those seeking a dairy-free protein powder, but there’s a few problems with plant proteins.
Plant Protein Problems
- Plant proteins are incomplete- The biggest problem with plant proteins is that they aren’t complete, meaning they lack one or more of the essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscle tissue. Compare this to dairy protein, which is a complete protein, and especially high in the muscle-building BCAA, and you start to see that plant protein is no replacement for dairy, but there’s other reasons that plant proteins aren’t the best choice...
- Plant proteins don’t mix well- Dairy proteins are renowned for their versatility and ease of mixing. A few shakes in your favorite shaker bottle, and you’re rewarded with a smooth, silky liquid that quenches your thirst and nourishes your muscle. Plant proteins are notorious for leaving gobs of undissolved powder on the sides of your shaker, forcing you to swirl and shake incessantly just to achieve minimal dissolving.
- Plant proteins taste terrible- Everyone would prefer to enjoy their food, and not be forced to choke it down. In this day and age, there’s no reason not to enjoy your protein supplement. But, plant proteins are notorious for tasting gritty, chalky, and earthy. If you enjoy the sensation of grass in your mouth, then have at it, but we’d prefer to enjoy our protein shakes.
Given all of these considerations, where are active individuals left to turn to fulfill their protein requirements while avoiding dairy?
MRE & MRE Lite -- The Every Man’s Protein Powder!
RedCon1 has developed two perfect protein alternatives to quench your thirst for non-dairy protein in MRE and MRE Lite. The two protein powders deliver all the high quality nutrition required for your active lifestyle without including any dairy or lactose whatsoever.
MRE a complete meal replacement powder. MRE literally stands for meal ready to eat and provides your body with the REAL FOOD it needs to not only survive the day, but THRIVE. Included in each serving of MRE are high quality protein sources like salmon, chicken, beef and egg along with nutrient-dense, slow digesting carbohydrates from rolled oats and sweet potatoes. MRE contains absolutely no dairy whatsoever while supplying everything a hard-charging, active body requires!
MRE Lite delivers the same great taste and whole food nutrition as our original MRE formula, but with considerably lower carbohydrates. MRE Lite is ideal for the athlete operating on a reduced carb load that’s dieting down, but doesn’t want to sacrifice quality or taste. Get lean, get mean, get your protein with MRE Lite!
- Daniel Rusu, Réjean Drouin, Yves Pouliot, Sylvie Gauthier, Patrice E. Poubelle; A Bovine Whey Protein Extract Stimulates Human Neutrophils to Generate Bioactive IL-1Ra through a NF-κB- and MAPK-Dependent Mechanism, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 140, Issue 2, 1 February 2010, Pages 382–391, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.109.109645
- Lothian, J. B., Grey, V., & Lands, L. C. (2006). Effect of whey protein to modulate immune response in children with atopic asthma. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 57(3–4), 204–211. http://doi.org/10.1080/09637480600738294
- Volek, J. S., Volk, B. M., Gomez, A. L., Kunces, L. J., Kupchak, B. R., Freidenreich, D. J., Kraemer, W. J. (2013). Whey protein supplementation during resistance training augments lean body mass. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(2), 122–135. http://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2013.793580