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Monday, May 29, 2017

Personal Protein Powder Recipes (and Meal Strategy)

I like replacing a solid food meal with a protein shake on work days.  It doesn't really cut down on calories much (if at all!) because I like my almond butter... but it does make preparing food for my 12 hour days a lot less miserable and a lot more easy.

At first I'd drink them for breakfast, but in the end I settled on drinking them for lunch while eating a small breakfast either leftovers or fruit earlier.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  First, it just feels better for some reason, like I feel the right level of hunger at the right time instead of going through spikes of intense hunger pangs followed by feeling totally stuffed.    But more importantly, it makes it easy for me to consume my calories before my lunch break, so I can use that time to go for a half-hour walk (and Pokémon hunt) or, if the weather sucks or I'm not feeling it that day, write.

So my daily meal strategy (at least for a work day) is to eat leftovers for breakfast, a shake for lunch,

Since protein shakes by themselves aren't great, I've created and worked with a lot of recipes to make them more interesting.  What follows are some of my favorites.  The protein powder I use is Primal Fuel by Mark Sisson's Primal Kitchen, but most of these will work with any protein powder found in vanilla or chocolate.  Unless otherwise specified, just put them in a blender bottle and shake.  Below the actual recipes are some add-ins you can use to increase the nutritional value, textural appeal, or taste.



Also, I make all of these ahead of time by around a day.  Even the hot ones made with coffee or tea are cold when I drink them.



Cherry Almond
2 scoops vanilla powder and applicable amount of cold water
13 cherries (chopped, crushed, or blended)
2 tablespoons almond butter
a half teaspoon almond extract
a half teaspoon vanilla extract
I chop the cherries, but this would be better machine blended if I weren't as dedicated to not having to clean a blender)



Chai Tea
2 scoops vanilla powder and applicable amount of hot water
1 chai tea bag
a pinch each ground cinnamon, cardamom, and clove
I make the water into tea using my personal water heater and put all the tea in the blender bottle; don't just put the teabag in unless you want a mess.



Mocha
2 scoops chocolate powder and applicable amount of water
coffee grounds
cacao powder
Convert the water into coffee in a coffee maker.  I add crushed ice or put in the fridge.



Pumpkin Pie
2 scoops vanilla powder and applicable amount of cold water
1/4 - 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
a teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Almond (or Peanut) Butter Cup
2 scoops chocolate powder and applicable amount of cold water
2-3 tablespoons almond (or peanut) butter

Things to Add for Health (or Flavor)
The following ingredients can really be added to any of these shakes to troubleshoot particular nutritional or flavor issues you might be having.
  • Replace the water with coconut water for a potassium boost.
  • Replace some or all the water with whole milk if it's too watery and you can tolerate it.
  • Add ground flaxseeds or chia seeds for an omega-3 boost and textural change.
  • Add some stevia extract if you really can't handle the lack of sweetness, or xylitol for the same plus some added dental benefits.
  • Add a teaspoon or so ground dulse or kelp for added iodine and potassium.