Blog Archives

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.

IMG_4025

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

Citrus on the side!

IMG_4028 
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.

IMG_4033 

  • 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

IMG_4039

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.

IMG_4048

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

IMG_4043 
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!!

IMG_4051

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.

IMG_4052 
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.

IMG_4060

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!

IMG_4062
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.

IMG_4064

  • 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.

IMG_4069 
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:

IMG_4072
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.

IMG_4073

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.

IMG_4074
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. 

IMG_4080

IMG_4081 IMG_4083

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.

IMG_4077

IMG_4078 IMG_4079
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?

Granola, Chocolate and Hummus, oh my!

Helloooo! As with most Sundays, I have a ton of food photos to share! And I’ve got a ton more food to prepare for my day tomorrow – so let’s get to it, shall we?

Woke up this morning and made my mom and I a waffle feast. 

IMG_3667
For three waffles:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 3 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

IMG_3671
For the topping I heated frozen strawberries in the microwave, then stirred in 1 tbsp maple syrup and a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt. I think the pictures speak for themselves – major yums!

I spent the morning lazing around. Sundays are meant to be lazy! By the time I’d gathered the energy to go to the gym, it was time for another snack.

IMG_3673

Almond butter + banana. Basically the same thing I eat everyday before I go to the gym. Never fails.

Then it was off to the gym for treadmill, upper body and abs.

Treadmill

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.5 0.0
5-6 5.5 0.0
6-7 6.0 0.0
7-8 6.5 0.0
8-9 7.0 0.0
9-10 5.5 0.5
10–11 6.0 0.5
11-12 6.5 0.5
12-13 7.0 0.5
13-14 5.5 1.0
14-15 6.0 1.0
15-16 6.5 1.0
16-17 7.0 1.0
17-18 5.5 1.5
18-19 6.0 1.5
19-20 6.5 1.5
20-21 7.0 1.5
21-22 5.5 2.0
22-23 6.0 2.0
23-24 6.5 2.0
24-25 7.0 2.0

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Romanian deadlift to row  50 lbs 8-12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Dumbbell incline bench press 20 lbs ea 8-12 2
Underhand grip lat pulldown 55 lbs 8-12 2
Dumbbell bench press  20 lbs ea 8-12 2
Wide-grip lat pulldown  55 lbs 8-12 2

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Barbell upright row  20 lbs 15 2
Barbell curl  20 lbs 15 2
Skull crusher  20 lbs 15 2

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Cable horizontal woodchop  35 lbs 12 2
Plank  bw 60 sec 2

Treadmill

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-1 3.0 0.0
1-3 3.5 0.0
3-4 8.5 0.0
4-6 3.5 1.0
6-7 8.5 1.0
7-9 3.5 0.0
9-10 9.0 0.0
10-12 3.5 1.0
12-13 9.0 1.0
13-15 3.5 0.0

I wore my new running shoes today and they were awesome :) Amazing how much the cushioning wears down in just six months, I could notice a huge difference!

I went straight to the grocery store after the gym, so I picked up a Bolthouse Farms vanilla chai tea and drank it right in the store as I shopped. I was ravenous!

It was way sweeter than I was expecting! Not bad for 20g protein, but awful at 42g sugar in 450 mL. Blech.

Came home and had some real food, including a new (to me) food!

IMG_3677

 Armstrong garden herbs cheddar cheese.

IMG_3681

I guess I can’t really call this a “cheesestring” as it’s not stringy. Cheese stick perhaps? Regardless, it was creamy, full-fat, treat :)

Then it was on to my weekly food prep!

First up: some of Deb’s Puffy Pimped Protein Faux-nola.

IMG_3687

It’s a lower-cal, higher protein version of regular granola. Subbing out puffed rice for some of the oatmeal. I followed the directions almost exactly and it turned out amazing. Seriously. Cooking down the maple syrup first, and then stirring in protein powder, gave it such an awesome flavour!! Once you’re done making coconut chia granola, go make this :)

In between stirring the granola, I got to work on Averie’s Vegan White Chocolate Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups. 

IMG_3693

Except I used totally non vegan ingredients ;) As with most of Averies’ recipes, this one is super simple. Just stir up some peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and agave nectar for the filling. Pour a little white chocolate into the cup, plop in your filling, then top it off!! Keep reading to hear the results of these bad boys.

Theeeen it was some Olive & Feta Hummus a la me ;)

IMG_3683

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3.5 oz feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper

All blended up in my food processor. This turned out great. I can’t wait to make tomorrow’s turkey sandwich with it.

Oh yes, and while all this was going on, I also roasted a chicken.

IMG_3698

With some roasted brussels sprouts and parsnips. One of my fave dinners!

And the best part – dessert!

IMG_3702

IMG_3705 
Ohheckyes, it was good. I was scared I didn’t sweeten the filling enough, but the white chocolate is so sweet it goes perfectly. The rest of these will be pawned off on my coworkers tomorrow, muhaha ;)

Okee doke, I hate to blog and run, but I have to go get ready if I intend to get up for spin class tomorrow! Have a great start to your week!!

 

Question of the Day: White, milk or dark chocolate? I’m dark chocolate all the way, but I lovelovelove white chocolate too :)

Things I Learned – January

Another month gone, another list of things I learned! If you’re curious here’s what I learned in…

July
September
October
November
2009

Now on to this month!

  • As much as I wish it could, my body is not built for 6 workouts a week. I need a rest day every three days or my body and immune system shut down. I know this. There is nothing wrong with working out 4-5 times a week. In fact, that is more than enough.
  • I am not as socially inept as I thought I was. Embracing my social awkwardness has actually allowed me to come out of my shell.
  • The only thing that could possibly make custard oats taste better is eating them out of a near-empty almond butter jar.

IMG_3429 IMG_3431

  • I do not have to be doing something productive with my time during all waking hours. Even more, I do not have to feel guilty about not constantly checking things off my to-do list.
  • Despite whatever opportunities arise in the future, I will not stay in my current city when my work contract is up. For the sake of my mental sanity, it is time for me to get out.
  • I am no longer allowed to bake or cook when I’m sick and full of mucus. It leads to things like kitchen fires and flat sweet bread.

IMG_3436

  • Protein bars take 5 minutes to make at home, and produce much tastier and healthier results
  • I like going to bed early and being awake early. Plain and simple. There’s no point in pretending I want to do any different.
  • Staying home all weekend because you don’t want to shovel is okay. Staying home from work because you don’t want to shovel is not.
  • Cottage cheese and feta are an awesome pairing, and make for a stellar pita-filler when I’m running low on other protein.

IMG_3440

  • The older I get, the more I appreciate my family. I am so lucky for the family I have.
  • I need more fat in my diet. My skin is in awful shape.
  • I really am not a 9-5, mon-fri person.
  • Sometimes, I just feel like snacking, and it’s okay if that means salt & pepper Popchips and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

IMG_3448 IMG_3449

  • My home is a reflection of my state of being. If I am unhappy, my living space becomes an unhappy place to be.
  • Lindt Fleur de Sel is officially the best chocolate there is.

IMG_3451

  • My living room can be an awesome place to work out.
  • I don’t need to be a grown up, I just need to be me.
  • Guar and xanthan gums are intimidating and require more experimenting with on my part.

IMG_3454

  • I don’t have it all figured out, and I probably never will. Maintaining my weight and eating habits will always require a conscious effort on my part.
  • Deb is a genius for inventing the hot chocolate smoothie.

IMG_3463

  • Just because a person turns 24, does not mean they have to give up eating marshmallow fluff and sprinkles.
  • Everyone needs to send their smoothie ‘stache photos to Janetha.

IMG_3477

  • Sometimes I need to dismiss my fear and embrace new relationships. Sometimes I need to work harder to restore old relationships. And sometimes I need to let go of relationships that just don’t work.

Your turn!! What did you learn this month??

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 487 other followers