Apr, 24, 2012
My Two Best Shake Recipes, and How to Pick a Great Protein
One of the most important things about your workout is how you refuel. In Yoga Boot Camp, because we’re working out first thing, your post-camp shake is also breakfast.
You get huge benefits from starting off your day with a shake for a number of reasons:
1) By starting off your day with a nutrient-rich protein shake for breakfast, you are less likely to consume as many calories during the day because you balance your blood sugar first thing.
In fact, you could consume half as many calories in the day just by making this one change. On the other hand, if you start off your day with cereal, toast, bagel, muffin and such, it actually can make you eat way more during the day because you’re on a blood sugar roller coaster ride. Having a nutritional breakfast with plenty of protein is also a very good way to help regulate insulin levels, and many people have said this has helped them reduce diabetes concerns.
2) Having a protein shake after working out helps you build muscle and burn fat.
If you don’t replenish after working out, your body can actually begin to process your muscle for food! Talk about sabotaging your exercise. After you’ve worked hard, your body wants protein and sugar. My favorite shakes combine fruit for sugar and high-quality protein that is specifically designed to burn fat and build lean muscle. More on that in a minute.
3) Protein shakes are an excellent way to get highly absorbable nutrients into your body in a hurry.
They are convenient, can be super tasty if you get the right protein, and provide a balanced meal that is lower in calories than most breakfasts. Depending on what you put in the shake, this could actually be the most delicious way to have a very healthy meal.
Here are my two favourite shake recipes, and variations:
#1 Green Smoothie:
I have a green smoothie every single day. It is an excellent way to get green leafy veggies into your body in a way that is easily assimilated by your system. They also taste amazing! If the green color freaks you out a bit, start small. Just add one leaf of lettuce, or a small handful of spinach to start. Then slowly add more…
Blend the following:
- 1 cup pure water
- ½ cup to 1 cup green leafy veggies (romaine lettuce is a good place to start because it’s sweet, however you can add anything from lettuce to spinach, kale, collards, chard, cilantro, nettles, and any other green leafy veggies you like)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (my go-to fruit is frozen berries and half a banana, but you can use nearly any fruit. Pear, peach, and mango are especially good.)
- 1 serving protein (I generally use the SunWarrior Blend)
- Superfoods (optional) I often add a teaspoon of alfalfa, olive leaf powder, super greens (e3 Live, blue-green algae, spirulina, etc.), and a small amount of kelp powder for trace minerals and thyroid support (kelp is rich in iodine).
Tip: If the green smoothie tastes too ‘green’ for you, add more banana. If your blender isn’t all that powerful, stick to lettuces and spinach rather than collards and kale – they’re easier to liquefy.
#2 Chocolate Banana YUM!
Blend the following:
- 1 cup pure water OR ½ cup water and ½ cup almond milk (add more liquid if you want it less thick)
- 1 frozen banana (I peel and freeze ripe bananas. It’s easiest if you break them into smaller sections before you freeze them. This way you can also do half a banana for less calories, or to make the shake as a snack.)
- 1 serving protein (I generally use Vi-Shape or Life’s Basics for this one.)
- 1 serving Amazing Grass Chocolate Greens Superfood (Available at Nature’s Fare or on iHerb.com for a discount.)
Tip: If I’m not having the chocolate shake after a hard workout I often put a scoop of hemp hearts in it. Though your body doesn’t really want fat after an intense workout, if you’re having this shake as a second meal or snack (or after yoga), the hemp hearts are rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, which is very important for overall health. (Cost-co sometimes has hemp hearts at a discount.)
How to Pick a Great Protein:
I’ve got to say, I’ve tried a lot of different protein shakes. Some are amazing, and others taste (and feel) horrible.
So, I thought I’d share my own observations with you, and perhaps help you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past. There are also some things you want to watch out for in low-quality shakes and proteins.
Top 4 things to STAY AWAY from in protein shakes:
- Any high-fructose corn syrup or similar sweetener
- Aspartame (actually breaks down in your body as formaldehyde! Be sure to stay away from diet sodas and other beverages that include this sweetener.)
- Genetically Modified foods, especially soy. Most soy, corn, wheat, and canola is genetically modified unless otherwise specified or organic. NON-GMO soy is okay, and depending on how it’s processed can be a high quality source of protein. However, stay away from any genetically modified soy as it has been linked to infertility and other issues. Look for non-GMO foods so you’re sure they’re safe: nature knows best!
- Cheap proteins sold in Walmart, Cost-co, or other discount stores. Now, Cost-co sometimes has some great finds, but for the most part their supplement section consists of low-grade brands. This is food we’re talking about here, so be sure to get high quality protein, and apply that rule to any other food and supplements you put in your body.
Proteins I recommend, use, and love:
So, now that you know what not to get, and have some ideas for delicious shakes (truly, the recipes are endless – I just gave you my go-to shakes that I constantly have and love), now let’s look at some high-quality proteins that taste great!
Remember, it’s a very good idea to rotate your protein mix, even if you’re just going between the rice and blend versions of SunWarrior. This helps your body not develop resistance to one specific kind.
After years of trying different proteins, here are the ones I recommend:
#1 SunWarrior Sprouted Rice Protein and #2 the SunWarrior Blend
If you’re vegan or want a high quality vegetarian source of protein, SunWarrior is an excellent choice – our personal favourite. Casey loves the Rice protein, and I prefer the Warrior Blend.
- The Warrior Blend is a synergistic blend of Pea, Cranberry, and Hemp protein.
- This is a RAW protein, so it’s super clean!
- The rice protein is sprouted, and both formulas are raw and therefore complete with enzymes.
- It is the least chalky of all the rice proteins we’ve tried, and the Warrior Blend tastes great!
We retail this protein because it was very hard to find in Canada, until Nature’s Fare started carrying it last month, however our prices are still lower than theirs (love that store though!) If you live in the states, you can order it online. For those of you who are local, your best bet is to ask me for some, as we keep our prices as low as we can. Chocolate and Vanilla flavours are available – and I’ve got samples!
#3 ViSalus Vi-Shape Shake Mix
This is a great protein to use as a “bridge,” which means, if you generally don’t drink protein shakes or eat super healthy, having a protein shake that tastes this good makes it much easier to transition!
Here are some things we like about this protein:
- It’s formulated by top doctors and scientists specifically to burn fat, build lean muscle, and support optimal health.
- It combines two types of lactose-free whey with non-GMO soy. They call it TriSorb protein, and it’s an excellent source because it’s so highly absorbable.
- The non-GMO soy is processed to remove the isoflavones, which carry phyto-estrogens. This is important to know because often people want to stay away from soy because it has been reputed to cause hormone issues (especially genetically modified soy). By removing the isoflavones, this makes the soy safe and highly beneficial to the body.
- It includes fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- It tastes amazing! I love adding this to shakes that would otherwise be bitter (superfood green smoothies) or when I don’t want to put fruit in a shake (almond butter frozen yum!)
The Vi-Shape is part of the 90 Day Challenge, which is the most popular and effective nutrition plan we’ve found. Check out the article below, or ask me about the 90 Day Challenge and I’ll hook you up with a sample of this super delicious, high-quality protein.
Click here to read more about the 90 Day Challenge program.
#4 Life’s Basics Chocolate Plant Protein
I order this online, and it’s pretty darn good in a chocolate banana shake. It’s a good idea to rotate any food, so I use this to switch up my proteins.
- Plant based protein
- Contains rice, pea, hemp, chia
I haven’t seen this locally either, and order it online.
#5 NOW Pea protein
Okay, this one I actually use in soup! I often make a veggie soup without much protein, so adding a scoop of this thickens up the soup and makes it taste great. This is another one that I order online, but I think I’ve seen it at Nature’s Fare as well.
- Straight up Pea protein. Nothing else in it. Great for cooking. Don’t put this in your shake – it won’t taste good.
Whatever your choice of protein, be sure you find one that you like (as in your taste buds and body both like it). And then experiment with your favorite shakes to replenish after your workout!
What’s your favourite shake recipe? Leave a comment and let me know! I love hearing new ideas and trying great shakes!
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