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The Elusive Protein Powder

Helllooo! How is everyone doing? I had a very laid-back Saturday, my favourite kind :)

Started off at 7am (sleeping in!) with some egg-white french toast.

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I prefer french toast made with egg whites, but I still spread some almond butter on top for my fat ;)

Citrus on the side!

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I hung out in bed for a little bit, then went to BodyStep. Step class is probably the most fun I have working out all week. I don’t always feel motivated to work out on Saturdays after a long week, but I always look forward to that class, so it’s a good way to get me off my butt!

Came home mega sweaty and replenished with a protein smoothie.

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  • 1 scoop peach-mango whey protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 dates
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum

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This was soooo thick and creamy! Just like a thick milkshake – it was divine. Those gums are 100% worth the extra $$ if you like smoothies.

However, smoothies never stick with me for that long. Ninety minutes later I was hungry for lunch.

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Mini pizza off sorts – garlic tomato paste, Kirkland no-salt seasoning, sliced tomato, smoked mackerel, cheddar cheese on an english muffin.

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With carrots + salsa on the side. LOVE this combo! More than any other dipper for carrots. Try it if you haven’t yet!

I somehow found a spurt of energy today and cleaned a bunch and spent some time in the kitchen! First was a kitchen experiment that has been on my mind for a long time. I finally got the guts to do it, and boy am I glad I did!!

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Bacon Peanut Butter.

  • 1-2 cups dry roasted peanuts (I just dumped it in!)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • sprinkle kosher salt
  • 2-3 tbsp real bacon bits

I blended the peanuts until smooth first, then added the other ingredients. I had to try it immediately on some rye crackers.

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Okay, so I know this combo may weird some people out, but I promise you it’s REALLY good, and I would not purposely steer you wrong :P I didn’t add so much bacon that you can taste it. It just adds more depth to the salty peanut butter, and if you concentrate really hard you can taste a little smokiness.

I also whipped up another batch of Deb’s Protein Faux-nola.

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First, in a small saucepan, I brought to a low boil:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Once it boiled down a bit, I stirred in two scoops (60g) vanilla whey protein powder and one tablespoon cinnamon.

Then, I mixed it up in a big bowl with:

  • 3 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Spread out onto a baking sheet and put into a 325 F oven. I have no idea how long it cooked for, but I took it out every 5 minutes or so to stir it around, until it was browned and getting crunchy. Some of the bigger pieces may not seem crunchy when you first take them out of the oven, but they will be when it cools down!

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The big chunks are my favourite ;) The Grape Nuts added to the crunchy texture too.

I also made a potato salad of sorts earlier in the day that I let chill in the fridge so it was nice and cold for supper.

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  • 4 baby red potatoes
  • 1 block herbed tofu
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • few shakes Kirkland no-salt seasoning (it’s a garlic/oregano/veggie-type seasoning)
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 3 small pickles, chopped
  • 2 tbsp real bacon bits

I steamed the potatoes and tofu together first, then mixed everything together once they cooled.

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After tossing everything together, I felt that something was missing. So I channelled Mark, my mom’s boyfriend, who always says bacon makes anything taste better. I used up the rest of the bacon bits and he was right! Dee-licious! ;)

 

Q&A – The Elusive Protein Powder

 

Justine said:

What kind of protein powder do you use? I bought some chocolate Designer Whey to use for protein cookie dough, and it was hell of nasty.

simplypresent Said:

Question: I have heard mixed reviews about soy protein. What are your thoughts? – Em

I have a question for you.  I don’t really understand the whole protein powder thing.  I see so many recipes for Breakfast cookies and shakes that have protein powder in them.  I went to the local health food store and they have about 100 different ones to choose from.  (they are expensive as I am sure you have noticed…LOL)  What one(s) do you recommend?  Do you know the difference between Whey and Soy powders??  Do you recommend one over the other??
Help I am so confused…LOL.
thanks Stephanie
AKA
www.eatrunquilt.blogspot.com

 

It seems protein powder is a popular source of confusion :P I’m not sure if I’m the most informed person to give you the deal on protein powder, especially since I’m in Canada and have access to different brands. But I’ll give it a shot. Let’s call it a starting point, shall we? ;)

If you had told me two years ago that I would have to dedicate a whole cupboard to this:

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I wouldn’t have believed you :P

I thought protein powder and “Muscle Milk” were only consumed by jocks with no necks that grunt at the gym. Okay…douchebags.

But when I started lifting heavy weights, I did a lot of research that said protein can help muscle recovery. Back in those days I was a pescetarian and looking for more ways to get it in my diet. Specifically protein shakes, as they digest quickly and work to repair your muscles faster after a hard workout (remember! muscle is built during that recovery process!)

I went into GNC and was totally overwhelmed by the hundreds of expensive, giant canisters, so I instead went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest one I could find. Since then, I’ve tried to do a lot of experimenting to find what I like. For the most part, I prefer whey powder, which is a protein that comes from dairy. When searching for whey powders, you’ll likely find two kinds: whey isolate and whey concentrate. Isolate just contains more protein than concentrate, so it’s often more expensive. I either buy an isolate powder, or a mix of the two.

So I’ll show you what’s in my cupboard right now for protein powder. First is President’s Choice Whey Protein Isolate in chocolate flavour.

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When looking at the nutrition information, I always look at the serving size. I usually shoot for a powder that has 20-25g protein for 100-120 calories. This one may seem like a lot, but the serving size is 45g, when the standard is around 30g.

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The next one is from another Canadian company – PVL. I actually don’t care for their Whey Gourmet line, but the Naturelle vanilla bean flavour caught my eye because it’s sweetened with stevia. 

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The biggest downfall of flavoured protein powder is that they’re typically artificially sweetened (it’s how they keep the calories and carbohydrates low). This can be a problem if you’re trying to stay away from artificial sweeteners, or if things like sucralose give you stomach problems.

Finally, I have the source of today’s smoothie, Thermo-Lean Iso-Lean in Peach Mango flavour.

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I find the ISO Lean stuff to be a little too “fake sweet” for me, so this one has been in my cupboard for a while. Okay for a treat sometimes though!

Ironically, I don’t have any of my favourite powders on hand right now, but I’ll show them to you anyway. I always need to have a chocolate and vanilla on hand, and Iso Femme is a brand that is both tasty with good nutritionals.

This powder also makes the best breakfast cookies!

My other favourite kind is from PVL, the Whey Cooler.

This stuff is neat because you mix it with 32 oz water and tastes similar to kool-aid or gatorade.

It really is an awesome thirst quencher! And 20g protein for just 80 calories. 

Now, besides whey powder, I’ve only ever tried hemp protein and soy protein. Hemp is not so great, as it’s “earthy” tasting. But hey, some people dig that. Soy protein is actually not too bad. I’ve only ever bought Bob’s Red Mill unflavoured soy protein powder. I really liked it for cooking and baking, but not so much for smoothies. It was also a really fine powder, so it didn’t harden well in no-bake cookies and bars, it just got chalky.

I know protein powder seems like a lot of money at first, but just remember that it will last you weeks! Think of it like your car – the $30+ you spend on gas is like an investment because it keeps your car running for several days. Well protein powder is an investment that will keep your body running for several days!

Last but least, I feel like I should add protein powder will not make you gain weight!!! I helped my friend pick out protein powder last weekend and she was worried it would make her put on pounds when she is trying to lose some. But it’s just a matter of calories in, calories out. Replace the calories of something you’re already eating with the calories in a protein shake and it won’t make a difference.

Hope that helps!

Question of the Day: Do you use protein powder? What kind? Favourite thing to do with it?

Making Dates

I love you guys. Commenters, lurkers, friends and family. The support I get from everyone is unreal. In the end, my struggles are trivial, in that I am so lucky to have so many people behind me. THANK YOU.

Okay, lets not ramble tonight. Let’s get down to business.

I stayed up too late watching Teen Mom last night. I love that show. Thankfully, today was my rest day, so I had lots of time this morning to stumble around in my pre-coffee daze. This also included a breakfast of epic proportions.

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I blame Holly for this. She got the idea of french toast in my head!

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I tried something a little different today and toasted the bread first, then dredged it in egg whites and pumpkin pie spice. I personally did not care for it. It made it crunchy, and I prefer a dense and egg-y french toast.

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I’ve been on a grape kick lately. They’re super sugary and my sweet tooth loves it!

Work was pretty slow today. One of those days spent waiting for people to return my e-mails and phone calls. After work though, I went to a lecture featuring Nik Nanos. Canadian political junkies may know him as the leading pollster in the country. Some excellent  political discussion followed :)

Came home to my supa-spicy leftovers from yesterday. I put the meatless ground round/black bean combo on top of some cooked veggies today.

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This time with steamed green beans, red potatoes and brussel sprouts. Topped with salsa, of course ;)

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This was so. much. food. I couldn’t finish it all. Cooked veggies are way more filling than raw ones. I also feel like I’m about 8 months along with a black bean fibre baby.

 

Making Dates

No, not those kinds of dates… Not yet – sheesh! :P

I found out today that my personal training course has officially been moved to March, followed by my exam April 16. Eeee!! Excitement!! I was originally supposed to do a three-day course in Moncton (on top of my online and textbook course-work). But the instructor fell ill and had to cancel. So now I’ll be travelling to Saint John for two weekends in March instead. Seeing as my current contract at the university is up April 30, this timeline works perfectly for me! Hopefully I’ll be certified and good to go by the time I finish my contract. It also gives me extra time to study. Cause lets face it, my current schedule is a lot more strenuous than my Starbucks one was ;)

I’m also looking into RPM spin class training. I still have to hear back on this one, I’m not entirely sure when and where they’re offering it yet. I like the idea of teaching spin class, I know I could challenge people and have a good time. But I’m also a very shy person who tends to clam up in front of big crowds. So I think I’ll just do the training and take it from there. If anything, it will be fun and look fab on my resume :)

And fiiiiinally – I’m starting to make decisions about this coming race season! You may recall that I set three race goals in my Goals For the New Year. In 2010 I want to  compete in a half marathon, compete in a duathlon and bike a metric century.

It’s kinda hard to plan out all my races, because I don’t know where I’ll be living after this spring yet. But here’s the tentative schedule:

Sunday, April 11thFredericton Lincoln 5k

Sunday May 9th – Fredericton Marathon – 10k

Sunday June 6th – Moncton Subaru Duathlon – 5k run, 20k bike, 2k run

You may also recall that I originally planned on doing my half marathon in May as part of the Fredericton Marathon. But I’ve decided to do the 10k portion of the race instead, and put my half marathon off until late summer/early fall. This is mostly because I don’t want to spend the winter months training on a treadmill or in the cold when I could be spending these months weight training. It will also be a lot more fun to train for a half marathon in nice weather :)

Of course, who knows when or where this half marathon will be – I haven’t a clue where I’ll end up yet! As for the metric century, I’m having a tough time finding road bike races in this area. But this isn’t something I necessarily want to do as a race, I really just want to get the mileage under my wheels :)

 

So there ya go, consider yourself updated! ;)

 

Question of the Day: Do you plan on doing any races in the upcoming season? I got a lot of people say they want to do marathons and triathlons in my last post. Even if you’re not ready for a big one, a few smaller races are still a good start!

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