Today’s “big idea”: Turn Your Protein Shake Into A Super Shake
Here’s one of the secrets to good nutrition: Not all of your meals have to be food meals.
In fact, you can even replace one to two meals each day with easy to make, tasty little drinks we call Super Shakes.
Now, we know that there are tons of stores and juice bars springing up all over, offering smoothies. However, store bought and juice bar type shakes are usually barely better than fast food milk shakes. They’re typically sweetened heavily with sugar, loaded with poor protein sources, and missing many nutrients found in whole foods.
The Super Shake, on the other hand, is packed with good stuff like high-quality protein, fiber, good fats, antioxidants and more. Translation: Super Shakes are da bomb.
And that’s why we devoted an entire guide in PN V4 to the creation of Super Shakes. Indeed, in PN V4 we’ve got over 20 Super Shake combos created and battle-tested by the PN Team and members of the PN community. All nutritious. All delicious.
That’s right, Super Shakes don’t just stand in for whole foods when times are tough. They can actually be superior to most of the meals your neighbors are eating. They’re are quick, easy, and high quality. And you can use them as a snack, dessert, breakfast, etc. (Uh, the shakes, not your neighbors).
But you have to do them right. And that’s where this guide comes in.
Before you start experimenting with our step by step guide, here’s a question for you. Do you have a decent blender? If not, and you want to start making Super Shakes, you’re going to have to go get one. And remember, you get what you pay for.
That’s right, if your blender starts smoking when you add a few ice cubes, it’s time for a replacement, one that’s more powerful and ready for the task at hand. And while you’re at it, why not splurge and get a nice-looking one too. If you’re embarrassed by your blender and you keep it on the top shelf, tucked behind the cake pan, even with the best of intentions, you’re not going to use it.
For every-day use, I like the Magic Bullet. It’s only 50 bucks and it’s quite powerful. The only issue is that it’s small. So if you want bigger Super Shakes you’ll have to go bigger with your blender. In which case you might choose the Vita Mix. This is the Mercedes Benz of blenders. It’s pricey. But I’ve never seen another blender match its power and longevity.
Ok, so let’s assume you’ve got your blender out and it’s powerful enough to do the job. Now you can follow the step-by-step guide below for creating nutritious and tasty Super Shakes.
In our step-by-step guide we selected some of the fruits, vegetables, and proteins that seem to work best for our clients. However, our list isn’t exhaustive.
Feel free to branch out. For now, just go through each step and select an item (or two) from each column. Mix and match as you like. You’ll end up finding combinations you prefer the most.
Keep in mind too, not all of the steps below are mandatory. If you don’t a topper, you can leave it out. If you want extra veggies, go for it. If you are trying to keep your calories down, you can manipulate variables like portion sizes, and carb and fat amounts too.
Pick a liquid
Less liquid = thick shakes. More liquid = thin shakes. 6-12 oz is a good starting point.
Pick a protein powder
Some protein powders have thickeners added. This will increase the thickness of your shake. Find the protein supplement that you digest well and enjoy the taste of. 1-2 scoops should be sufficient (25-50 g).
Pick a veggie
Spinach is usually your best bet, as it is virtually flavorless in your Super Shake. Canned pumpkin is great too. It goes well with vanilla. When using beets, try roasting and removing the skin first. Beets go well with chocolate. If you add celery / cucumber, make sure to adjust the amount of liquid you add. Add 1-2 fists.
Pick a fruit
Bananas give an excellent consistency. Using half of a banana is usually enough. Dates are very sweet. Make sure to get rid of the pit first. Apples are great, simply remove the core and slice into wedges. You can use fresh or frozen fruit. Aim for 1-2 cupped handfuls.
Pick a healthy fat
Nuts and seeds give the shake an excellent consistency. 1-2 thumbs is usually enough.
Pick a topper / extra
A little goes a long way. Cinnamon is good with vanilla and pumpkin. Add oats if you need extra carbs, yogurt if you want more protein and a smoother consistency.
So, how about an example? Here’s one of my favorites.
There you have it, a template for creating awesome Super Shakes, every time.
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I certainly believe in moderation. However, as you strive towards your healthiest self and begin to refine your food choices, these are worth exploring. If you’re currently eating some of these give yourself a trial period away from these items to see how your body feels. You may be surprised — perhaps you will feel better–especially if you have an autoimmune disease, like me. You may notice clearer skin, less bloating, and a little more pep! I’ve added some additional suggestions to the list (in bold), mostly because of the effects I’ve noticed for myself in making these changes. I believe in YOU doing what works for YOU- Something you can sustain and feel good about. It takes time, effort, and trial and error, but the benefits are worth it!
A few reminders when preparing your next meal. Remember to think, prepare, and plan ahead to stay in the clear and eating clean. How do you feel when you eat well? What is your energy like?
Here are 10 foods to avoid — and suggestions for healthier substitutions:
1. Sugary drinks. This means soda pop, juices, sweetened tea and fruit-flavored punch drinks. Each 12-ounce can of pop has about 7 teaspoons of sugar and about 140 calories. Drink water instead–add lemon, switch that high sugar coffee to an Americano or drip.
2. Processed lunch meats. And this includes sausages, hot dogs and bacon. They’re high in fat and sodium — even those that say “lower” or “reduced.” Instead cook a little extra meat, chicken or fish to use in sandwiches. Beware of Tofu too–lots of sodium. Meatless has been great for me. Lean towards beans, lentils, quinoa, almond butters, etc. for protein.
3. White bread. Choose whole grain for more fiber. Don’t be fooled by the color of the bread — it has nothing to do with it being whole grain. Look for the term “whole” on the label. If you can virtually eliminate breads, even better.
4. Whole milk. Skip dairy products with “whole” on the packages. Look for “low-fat” instead. Better yet, give Almond Milk a try!
5. Canned or instant soup. They’re pricey and loaded with salt — even the lower sodium versions. Make your own.
6. Junk food snacks. Chips, crackers and “doodles.” If they’re in your kitchen they’ll end up in your mouth. They may be labeled “low-fat” or “trans fat-free,” but they still have plenty of salt and calories. Fruits and Veggies make GREAT SNACKS!
7. Stick spreads. Butter and margarine in stick form are saturated fats — and stick margarine can have trans fat. Try trans-fat free tub spreads. Or better yet break the spread habit.
8. White rice. Go for brown or wild rice. Replacing white rice with brown rice or other whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat and barley, can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
9. Yogurt — unless it’s plain. Avoid ones that are loaded with fat and sugar. Choose plain, low-fat yogurt and add your own fruit. Seriously- check the label and avoid those with sugar substitutes too. Are there any ok yogurts? I feel very similar towards cereals too.
10. Processed cheese. “Cheese food,” “cheese spread” and “cheese product” usually mean lots of fat and salt — and in some instances no cheese! Go for the real thing, but remember that moderation is key.
Happy and healthy eating!
I came across this great post from Dr. Steven Masley and thought I’d share.
JUNE 6, 2014
By: Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP
I attended an awesome meeting this past week in San Francisco. This nutrition conference was hosted by the Institute of Function Medicine-my 21st annual meeting with this organization over the last 23 years. Even my wife, Nicole, attended, which was lovely for me as I usually have to attend these medical meetings alone and great for her clinical knowledge, too.
They had an incredible debate/presentation comparing a Mediterranean diet, a Paleo diet, and Vegetarian diet. The best part of this discussion was that the moderator pushed them to find what they could all agree on, and I love the results.
Here is what they all agreed on:
1. Everyone should have at least 30% of their calorie intake from vegetables and fruits, especially those with a low glycemic load.
1. Since produce is so low in calories, this means 50% of the food we eat should come from vegetables and fruits. (Low glycemic load examples include beans, berries, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and beets.
2. Everyone should have at least 1-2 handfuls of nuts daily; nuts and seeds are great for our health.
3. If you eat animal protein, it should be clean animal protein.
4. If you eat seafood, it should be wild caught fish. Examples of clean animal protein are organic, free-range poultry, and grass-fed, grass-finished beef—clearly not hormone, antibiotic, and pesticide enriched animal protein produced in many commercial factories.
5. For the sake of the planet, it is also better to eat low on the food chain, such as rabbit and poultry over beef and pork.
6. Nobody should be eating low fat. But fats need to come from healthy sources—hormone and pesticide free.
7. Everyone should avoid high glycemic load foods that have been processed, such as bread, crackers, rice and potato products, and anything made with flour.
8. And with the best of eating, we still need a supplement to get our key nutrients, like vitamin D, omega 3 fats, and other key nutrients.
Here is where they disagreed. They didn’t find common ground on sources and quantities of protein, or regarding beans and whole grains:
For legumes, the Paleo plan recommended none, as they have a few compounds that block nutrient absorption. The trouble with this is that beans are super high in nutrients and fiber, and blood test findings have noted that consuming beans has powerful and beneficial effects. The vegetarian and Mediterranean diet proponents truly made the point that we would benefit from eating beans daily. So yes, beans should stay on the menu
For whole grains, the Paleo plan recommended none, because of their glycemic load (blood sugar jump). Both the vegetarian and Mediterranean diet proponents accepted small quantities of whole grains, but not nearly as much as consumed by most Americans today. Everyone agreed that if you have a gluten intolerance, you need to totally avoid all gluten products (wheat, rye, barley).
For protein, no surprises here:
1. With Paleo, 30% of the diet comes from animal protein.
2. With Mediterranean, no fixed amount of protein, but it comes from a mixture of lean animal protein and beans.
3. With Vegetarian, more beans, soy, and protein powders.
They all agreed that the most challenging part is that many, if not most Americans trying to following these diets, are doing it wrong.
1. The Paleo followers are poisoning themselves with dirty protein and animal fat—eating commercial sources loaded with hormones and chemicals, and they are clearly not getting the 5-7 cups of vegetables and fruits daily required to benefit from this type of eating plan.
2. The Mediterranean followers are eating far too much bread and pasta. If you are a farmer and physically active 6-8 hours per day, clearly you need more calories, and whole grains, even in the form of flour, can provide these nutrients. But for most people struggling to exercise for 7-10 hours per week, they can’t handle this high glycemic (sugar) load.
3. The Vegetarian followers are eating too many refined carbs and processed foods. To benefit, they need to stick to unprocessed food. They also have to ensure they get their protein from beans, soy, and protein powders, omega-3 fats from seaweed or a supplement, and enough vitamin B 12.
The bottom line is all these eating plans can lead to optimal health, but only if followed properly. You just have to find which diet you can follow best!
I wish you the best of health!
Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP
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