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.


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

Citrus on the side!

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.


  • 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


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.


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

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!!


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.

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.


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!

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.


  • 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.

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


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:

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.


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.

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_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_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?

Posted on February 21, 2010, in Fun, Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. HEY GIRL!
    oh my gosh SO i made i protein cake today and put banana extract+cinnamon in it.. i thought to tell you asap bc IT WAS WONDERFUL!! like banana bread!! YUMM!
    your dinner looks AWESOME!! power combo fo sho!
    im about to order some cake batter muscle gauge protein powder-heard it was awesome!

  2. Thank you so much for the protein powder explanation and review. :-)

  3. Wow, bacon peanut butter?! I’m impressed with your creativity. But honestly, what wouldn’t taste good with nut butter ;)

    I love brown rice protein powder. Especially the Jay Robb Chocolate. I usually just stir it into yogurt but I want to try the protein cookie dough!

  4. Mmm, french toast, I never thought about using solely eggs whites before. I was considering using only the yolks simply because I have two left over from baking ;P

  5. Nice job on the protein review. Since I use my protein for my breakfast smoothie and no particular exercise reasons I buy whatever is the cheapest at Popeye’s Supplement……

    For your smoothies to stick with you longer you could add some fiber..oatmeal,psyllium husks,fruit,etc.

  6. I used protein powder when I was lifting weights. But now I rarely do. I think I get enough protein as is and I would rather get it from natural sources than in powder form. But it does taste decent and gets the job done quick and easy.

  7. I want to like protein powder, but I’m haven’t found any kind I like that much so far. I kinda lived off protein shakes (aka power + water) when I was on my bootcamp diet so I think I got scared off. Now, I just use whatever kind Mitch buys for post-workout smoothies on the weekends, I put in banana, pineapple, strawberries, and vanilla soymilk (spinach if I have it) so I can’t taste the powder too much. I’d love to add it to my oats but I just don’t like the taste enough, so for weekday breakfasts after I lift I just go for eggs. And there’s everything I bet you ever wanted to know about me and my fueling :-)

  8. Loooove this post and everything you had to say about it. You are spot on with your assessments. I only say that because of all the stuff my parents drilled in my brain the last few years. Agh.

    My daddy just ordered me some of my favorite protein powder actually! It literally is my crack. So good. (Contains sucralose which is a sad, sad story but tonight I had a scoop in pumpkin puree from the can for dinner, and OMG so good. I haven’t had it in like a month.)

    Its Beverly International Ultimate Muscle Protein (whey, isolate i believe) and mega good. SUPER fluff factor.

    Also, we used to buy Isopure in whey chocolate isolate. Pretty good too in smoothies and banana soft serve and whatnot.

    Deb needs to make me some fauxnola! I have to compare it to my stash of gra-nola. Your pictures are amazing in this post, btw. :)

  9. holy crap this was an amazing post susan!
    the 1 scoop peach-mango whey protein powder in your smoothie, holy hell that stuff sounds phenom! I cannot do whey protein. if i were to cheat and do it, major tummy issues for dayyyyys. not good. sigh.

    brown rice PP’s in either choco or vanilla by sun warrior or jay robb are what i use. I wish i could handle whey or even soy b/c the taste would be so much better, but the health issues for me come into play with allergies and then of course, all the dairy/soy arguments about why we shouldnt consume it, etc. I am not hardcore so it’s like whatever works for someone is fine by me :) life is short, enjoy it!

    all yourfood looks amazing. my god, youve been busy and i loved this protein report!

  10. I love my protein bars made from chocolate soya protein and vanilla hemp protein, I also have some plain sun warrior rice protein but its so expensive plus I really want to try the vanilla and choc flavors but its not allowed here as it has stevia in it, boo hoo! x x

  11. BACON nut butter?!?!?!? i am intrigued! oooo MAPLE BACON nut butter reminds me of dipping my bacon in syrup when i was a kid. you are such a risk taker and i like it. when it doesnt involve cottage cheese ;)

    i loved deb’s fauxnola!

    the potato salad looks awesome and i need to get up on some EM pizza action! reminds me of the old days!

    happy sunday! you are prob waking up and i am about to go to bed. haha

  12. Mmm, I haven’t had french toast in a long time, looks yummy!

    PB + Bacon, Carrots + Salsa, I’ll definitely trust you b/c I had weirder combos that have been 100% amazing!

    Thanks for the protein powder review, it found it really interesting. I’ve only ever bought 2 kinds before and didn’t really care for the taste at all. I’ve noted a few from your list now!

  13. Step class is my favorite!(favourite) ;) That’s how I can tell my Canadian friends!

    I use protein powder sometimes LOL!

    You’re correct, protein will NOT make you gain weight. Unless it’s fried in lard hee hee.

  14. I don’t use protein powder a lot but when I do I use Jay Robb Whey. It has great nutritionals AND tastes good which is a rarity. They are the only company (as far as I have found) that uses whey from rGBH free milk, no artificial sweeteners (stevia instead) and no artificial colors/preservatives.

  15. I’ve just found a protein powder that I like literally a week ago! It’s EAS 100% Whey. Right now I just mix it in with my oats, but I’m looking to try some new things.
    I’ve heard Jay Robb is good as well, so I’d love to try that!

  16. You’re awesome!! When we were working on holiday recipes at the peanut butter factory, I suggested a “holiday meal” flavor with powdered gravy, chopped beef jerkey, bacon bits, and dry scalloped potatoes. Needless to say, it didn’t happen ;-) hahaha

    Your bacon peanut butter sounds (and looks!!) really good though!! I bet it would be awesome on a deli sandwich. Sort’ve like bacon-mayo with a nut base instead.

  17. I’ve just gotten some and have actually looked at your site on ideas on what to do with it!

  18. woah! bacon peanut butter! now that’s something new!!!
    i really like Jay Robb protein powder, and I recently discovered Click protein powder which i love! it has espresso in it, and i like to make it warm! tastes just like a mocha latte!

  19. oh great post on protein powders! i love to see what other people use :) i’ve been using biochem lately both their berries & their vanilla but i think my fav so far has been eas vanilla. biochem is good though.

    the gums totally make smoothies amazing :)

  20. bacon peanut butter?! who knew that could be tasty? I’ve tried the Vosges bacon flavored chocolate and hated it. I spit it out after taking a tiny bite, yuck! Maybe i’ll enjoy your bacon combo recipe better. I do love me some bacon!

  21. I don’t use protein powder too much right now…just because I got kind of sick of it after using it a lot in my competition prep. But my favorite brand is All the Whey. Cooks well, adds to things like oats well, and makes good shakes. :)

  22. That peanut butter sounds awesome- you can make an Elvis sandwich with the PB and banana! There is a company that makes a bacon/maple/banana PB- here: Dark chocolate curry sounds interesting…lol.

    I did a lot of research before buying my first protein powder and ended up with whey. I wasn’t sure how much I would be using it, so was wary of bringing too much soy into my diet and the hemp didn’t appeal. Whey is fastest absorbed by muscles, as far as I know- my favourite one is a chocolate whey I got in NY. Tastes like nutella! I don’t do smoothing/shakes, but it’s really good for breakfast cookies. I tried making the cookie dough but didn’t recheck the recipe and just added 1-2tbsp water to 1 scoop mix. NASTY! I was using powder in oats for a long time, but I am 99% sure that it DID cause weight gain for me- which makes no sense because I was consuming the same amount of calories and other sources of protein have never done this, but I have noticed it during a few periods when my powder consumption was high. So now I have a 100 serving tub and am scared to use it.

  23. Bacon PB – you rock! Next up is homemade baconaiise, right?

    If I had the $$$, I think Jay Robb PP is the best stuff out there. I just make sure I get low sugar, but no artificial sweetener stuff.

  24. Carrots and salsa – welcome to the dark side! I totally OD’d on that combo, got orange hands, and had to find something else. Enter the bell pepper/mushroom combo with salsa! Bacon PB? Sounds interesting!!

    I do love Jay Robb but I just bought Aria because it was the cheapest and I didn’t know if I’d be a fan of protein powder. It’s not bad though!

  25. I’m the same way with shakes.. they make me stuffed for about 30 minutes and then I’m hungry again!

    I looked at the ingredients on that Iso Femme brand one time (at least I think it was that brand) and I saw “colostrum” listed in the ingredients.. without going into details colostrum is the first thing that’s excreted from your breasts when you breast feed! Could that be in that??? I was kind of confused to say the least! LOL

  26. protein powder queen in da house!

    i don’t really use protein powder that often, but when i do, it is usually whey protein and i try to strive for brands that are as natural as possible. i do like the spirutein pea/soy/rice blend proteins too.

    hope you had a marvelous weekend – happy sunday girl :)

  27. OMG bacon peanut butter looks incredible.

    My fave protein powders are Jay Robb Whey Protein, or sometimes I will use Designer Whey, thats what I used in the US. I have not bought PP here in Canada though, not sure if you can find them here??

    I LOVE pp because it fills me up so well! I eat LESS when I use protein powder. My favourite ways are in oats, breakfast cookies and smoothies!


  28. I had the same breakfast this day! yumm.

    thanks for the protein info! I finally bought some (because you told me to, mostly :) ), just the local Wegmans brand whey, and I really like it! I really like the looks of the PVA whey, I was looking for something I could make on my way out of the gym, since I have a little bit of a drive home before I can make myself some recovery-anything. Gotta keep those muscles happy!

  29. I use North Coast Naturals 100% Iso Protein in Chocolate.

    Your pig-nut butter combination sounds interesting. and I’d definitely try it, were it offered to me. Don’t know if I’ll be whipping up a batch anytime soon.

  30. OMG late to the partay- no internet for days and I’m soooo behind. Will earmark this to come back and read later…just wanted to say…YAYAY glad you like the fauxnola!! :-D

  31. Awesome article and awesome recipe’s…definetly food porn!

    I too will be posting about protein powders and why it is important.

    Thanks for your post

  32. My preference is for a blended protein powder and it provides a sustained release just like real foods. Our bodies weren’t designed to have 30g of whey protein dumped into the bloodstream within 30minutes. Our systems just can’t absorb protein that quickly, so much of it is wasted. With blended powders you have a mixture of fast and slow release proteins. This gives the body time to digest and absorb all the nutrition providing much better recovery and adaptation from exercise.

    Stevia is a good sweetener. There are some good products out there that are very low in carbs… they are the ones to go for. It can still be a challenge to find something using stevia but I guess it depends where you live and what suppliers service your area. I’ve found a couple but I still have to hunt around for it.

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