Adding a daily protein boost to her vegan diet has transformed Elle's energy levels. This month she writes about how protein keeps her lean and healthy and helps curb sugar cravings. Plus, her favourite smoothie, with an unusual twist on an everyday ingredient

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Protein is essential for nearly all functions of the body, as I learned from my nutritionist Dr Simone Laubscher PhD. It’s vital for brain and organ function, muscle repair and a healthy immune system and because it doesn’t naturally occur in the body, it needs to be consumed.

Some types of protein provide structure to cells, other proteins support metabolic function and provide the energy we need in everyday life. I have learned that, on average, women need about 65g of protein a day. If I include clean protein at every meal it keeps me fuller for a lot longer. I eat a largely vegan diet and have a plant protein shake at breakfast as a protein boost or when my energy levels are low.

I opt for a plant-based source of protein ( Welleco Nourishing Protein ) that's not whey-based, so doesn’t contain hormones which can work against keeping the body lean. Taking a combination of organic brown rice and pea protein ensures that I get all nine essential amino acids necessary for recovery and muscle repair after exercising, which increases my endurance and energy. I have my shake either at breakfast or as a healthy snack mid-morning and I carry travel sachets  around in my bag.

A few years ago, I was feeling really run down, despite living what I thought was a healthy lifestyle and taking an array of synthetic supplements. I learned from Dr Laubscher that by reducing acid-forming foods and replacing them with nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits, the body can return to an alkaline state, rid itself of toxins and allow the digestive system and liver to rest and recuperate. For the body to work optimally, the pH of blood sits in a narrow range of between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline , and the body does everything it can to maintain this value. So, the message was quite simple: eat more plants, fewer animal foods and to help along the way, take an absorbable alkalising greens blend .

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While I could rely on genetics when I was younger, today I need to make conscious choices that support my body for optimum health, vitality and beauty from the inside out. I used to love everything chocolate. I’d eat cake quite a bit and was always craving carbs and sugar. But now adding plant-based Nourishing Protein  to my diet actually helps keep me feel fuller for longer which means I don’t crave snacks. Because it is made with Peruvian Chocolate I am still satisfying my love for chocolate!

What I love about Nourishing Plant Protein is that it’s protein and a supplement in one; I get a nutritional boost with vitamin C and B, pre- and probiotics and a good serving of organic plant-based protein in one hit. It has digestive enzymes to boost metabolic function for a leaner body and promote a healthy gut pH balance, which means a flatter stomach. Because it promotes a balanced alkaline body, it is great for keeping hormones in check and is beneficial for skin too. It has pomegranate for vitamin A ( retinol ) and its high antioxidant properties support healthy skin and combat the effects of ageing including pigmentation , fine lines and wrinkles.

I think it’s really important to maintain wellness year-round. Not because it looks good but it actually feels good, which is vital when you’ve got kids and a full life. It’s easy - I just enjoy the choices that I make and I really thrive on a plant-based diet.

My go-to summer high-protein breakfast when I’m craving something delicious but also nourishing is chocolate mousse. I make it with Super Elixir Greens  and Nourishing Protein  1/2 avocado, fresh spinach and filtered water (to see Elle demo the recipe click here ). It’s great for boosting energy and the probiotics support digestion and a healthy gut pH balance, which means I’m healthy on the inside and the outside.

For protein on the go, I’ll have this delicious chocolate smoothie.

Elle's Chocolate Protein Smoothie with frozen cauliflower and almonds

1 scoop Nourishing Plant Protein Peruvian Chocolate (33g)

1 cup almond milk (262g)

1/4 cup frozen cauliflower (27g)

1 tsp maca powder (5g)

4 ice cubes (110g)

10 almonds (12 g)

1 tsp. cinnamon (3 g)

Sea salt (pinch)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth and

creamy. Top with extra cinnamon, maca powder and coconut flakes if desired.

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