Moving is very time-consuming! I work all day at work, then all evening unpacking. I clearly needed a nudge, and my friend Tim sent me one. He said:
Every time I leave the gym I am confronted by the strategically placed cases of “protein powders” and “diet drinks/snacks/etc.” Thoughts on these things and how useful they are or are not?
So, my standard disclaimer in effect (I am not a doctor or nutritionist), here are my thoughts:
I think they’re a huge money-maker for the gym or whoever is selling them, but most people don’t need them. They taste like crap, and they’re chock-full of unnecessary calories and other things (arsenic, cadmium and lead, anyone?). Questionable content aside, that stuff is designed for competitive bodybuilders, the key part of that phrase being “builders” – it’s designed to bulk up people who are spending hours lifting weights so for the most part it’s high-volume protein calories. That’s the opposite of what I want.
Several years ago I asked my doctor about protein supplements like you see at the gym and he said, “Are you a competitive bodybuilder?” I said no, I just lift weights a few times a week. He said, “You don’t need that stuff, just keep eating a healthy balanced diet like you already do.” So instead of choking down yucky-tasting supplements, I eat broiled salmon and asparagus, or stir-fried chicken and snow peas – delicious!
I consider body-builder supplements to be the same as another of my pet topics – vitamins. I don’t take them. Not at all, because they are meant to correct a deficiency of diet, and my diet is very healthy already. I asked my nutritionist about vitamins when I was losing weight and she said, “If you eat a balanced diet made up of a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, you don’t need vitamins, you’re already getting the nutrients you need.” She further explained that humans are made to get what they need from the food they eat, so if you’re eating in an evolutionarily valid way (foods your body recognizes as food – things that grew in the ground) then your body is getting it’s needs met. And finally, because even objective sources have to admit that there are no standards guaranteeing that anything you find in the bottle is what is listed on the label, I find it generally easier and less hassle to just eat my nutrients in tasty food.
This is not to say that my mind won’t change as I age – I’m 37 now and there may be a time when science finds a real, solid basis for things like glucosamine and chondroitin for improving joint function, but for now I’m in the best shape of my life, and vitamins and supplements aren’t warranted.