This is Allie from Pimp My Protein Shake. I was thrilled when Susan asked me to guest star on Workouts For Home.
I hate to be a name dropper, but I’m best buds with super hero celebrity macronutrient… Protein.
Since this is Workouts For Home, what better place to talk about this “Ultimate” Food Group? While energy providing complex carbohydrates and cell nourishing healthy fats are great too, protein’s where it’s at.
Why Reach For Protein?
- Protein is satiety producing. It makes you feel longer and less likely to get your hand stuck in the vending machine reaching for Skittles at 3 pm.
- Protein is thermogenic. It uses more energy to process than carbs or fats. Think of it as a compulsive spender. We want that spender to put us into caloric debt! (Although I probably spend about 4,500 calories per day just daydreaming about carbs… doesn’t that increase my metabolic rate?)
- Protein can displace the calories in your diet from carbs or fats, promoting better body composition. Incorporating protein rich whole foods into your diet works well for long term fat loss by displacing empty calories or simply too many calories.
- Protein helps build muscle. We’re not talking big biceps or even bigger thighs, we’re talking lean body mass which keeps things high and tight and burning calories, even at rest. (Take THAT gravity!)
Sounds like an infomercial, doesn’t it? Protein even helps you lose weight, while you sleep! Protein sounds too good to be true. So what’s the problem here?
A “big” problem here in North America is that we may be material girls, but we live in a refined carbohydrate world.
Women tend to reach for foods that are high in carbs and fat more than protein (ahem, Krispy Kreme, cough, cough.). Or who wouldn’t rather have a frosty sprinkled covered frozen yogurt (high carb sugar bomb) more than a chicken breast with steamed vegetables?
Even healthy foods may not be giving you the results you’re after. A banana topped with almond butter isn’t as good a choice as lowfat cottage cheese topped with almonds for burning stubborn fat off those lunch lady arms.
The good news is that lean protein doesn’t need to be boring. Think of protein as Indiana Jones – boring archeology professor by day, smokin’ hot adventurer by night.
Great Protein Sources
- lean red meat: try a light and lean beef stroganoff loaded with sauteed mushrooms with rich tasting 2% Greek yogurt instead of full fat sour cream.
- tuna/Alaskan salmon: try a wasabi and light mayo tuna salad wrapped in a sheet of nori.
- chicken breast: try a marinated and moist chicken breast, pan seared and served over over a bed of greens with a dijon dressing.
- yogurt (especially strained Greek style yogurt): try a stevia sweetened mousse mixed with natural cocoa powder for breakfast, a snack or dessert. Or try Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia and topped with toasted walnuts and plump blackberries for your afternoon snack instead of a box of crackers.
- cottage cheese: don’t like the texture? Puree it in a food processor with stevia and vanilla extract for a delicious pudding.
- tofu and edamame: natural soy protein is always a better bet than processed soy powders. Enjoy tofu in stir fries or silken tofu pureed like a pudding.
- protein powder (hemp, rice, pea, casein, whey or milk blends): perfect for smoothies or mixing into low glycemic pancakes.
- beans: chock full of fiber and flavor.
So start displacing some calories in your diet. In simple terms, it means swapping ice cream-laden milk shakes for natural protein shakes. And please don’t buy the gross pre-made bodybuilder brands in the aseptic containers, make your own.
So no matter how you get your protein on, just get in. And to help you on your way, here’s a recipe for a delicious Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie.
Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie Recipe
- 1 serving protein powder (this is the brand Susan recommends)
- Liquid (Choose your base liquid: Water/Milk/Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze)
- 2 TB low fat cottage cheese or fat free cream cheese
- About 5 large frozen strawberries
- 1-2 tablespoons lite sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Stevia, or other sweetener to taste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or to taste
- Ice cubes
- 1 TB ground golden flaxseed
- Optional: Pinch guar gum and xanthan gum (to help thicken)
- Optional: 1 Teaspoon Maca Powder, adds a graham cracker flavor, plus loads of good stuff!
- Add liquid first and then remaining ingredients.
Tips & Variations:
- Freeze milk/almond milk in ice cube trays. Pop those bad boys in the blender instead of boring old ice for an ice cream thick treat.
- Add a chunk of silken tofu to add awesome thickness and creaminess
Lots of great information in this blog post today. Really start focusing on ways that you can swap some of the refined carbs, such as bread and pasta, for healthier protein options, such as fish, grass fed beef, and plain greek yogurt.
And if you want to give Allie’s protein shake a try then I recommend using this protein powder. It’s the one I personally use.