Tag: protein

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shake Review

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Unique Product

In a conversation with our dear friend, Dolly, of the Kool Kosher Kitchen blog we became aware of special dietary needs of some people who can’t tolerate milk protein but need a protein drink. They are hard to find. Most are milk based. This one has no milk protein, it’s dairy-free and has NO SUGAR, which is a prerequisite for us to recommend any food.

Taste and Texture

This protein drink is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit. While stevia is not my first choice of a no calorie, no sugar sweetener, it works in this drink. This flavor has a strong dark chocolate flavor that blends with the taste of the stevia. This is reminiscent of the chocolate milk made with Hershey’s Cocoa and sugar that our Mothers made when we were children.

It is thick enough to  qualify as a “shake” and coats the glass when you turn it up. I’m really not a fan of the thin, watery protein drinks that are on the market right now. The thickness of this shake is more satisfying than those drinks. It’s smooth when you shake it well. Be sure to shake it vigorously for the smoothest texture.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition is where this product shines. It has 20 grams of plant based protein from pea protein and rice protein. I have come to really like pea protein. It is the protein in the Lenny and Larry’s Keto Cookie that we reviewed. It has a silky texture that is much more appealing to me than whey protein. While whey is an excellent protein, I personally do not like it. Most protein products have some sort of milk protein in them and since this one does not, it’s ideal for those of us who avoid dairy. It has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, 0 grams of sugar and 24 vitamins and minerals. It makes an excellent portable pick-me-up for only 130 calories! It will be a staple in my lunch bag at work.

Price and Availability

I got this 4-pack straight off the shelf at Walmart, in the pharmacy on the bottom shelf where the protein bars are found. It’s hard to find, nestled among the other protein products but it’s worth it if you want a dairy-free, sugar-free protein drink. This is not a substitute for a fast food milkshake. It tastes like real food and it’s a great mini-meal. A lot of these products have to be ordered from an internet site, so finding this one quickly on the shelf in Walmart was a big plus for me. You get four shakes for $7.27 which is a bargain for enough nutrition to get me through a couple of hours at work. If you are looking for readily available, high quality protein with no dairy and NO SUGAR at a good price, you might want to give Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shakes a try.

 

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Protein Made Easy

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Frequent Question

One of the most common questions that we are asked is, “How can I get more protein?” and sometimes when we look at their protein intake, we are shocked. Many people are simply not getting enough protein. Read David’s article, “Protein Supplements” to discover how much protein you need every day. Regardless of the type of diet that you eat, you must get a full profile of amino acids. If you prefer to get your protein from plant sources, some of the commonly available sources for plant based, complete protein are soy, buckwheat and quinoa.

Deficiency

Without enough protein you may develop skin, hair and nail problems. You are at an increased risk for broken bones and infections and the infections may be more severe. You may have trouble controlling your appetite and overeat trying to get the nutrients that you need. Low protein intake is also associated with fatty liver disease and may slow growth in children. If you are interested in building more fat-burning muscle, you must eat enough protein to build it and without enough protein you may be more prone to fluid retention. (1) For serious health enthusiasts, especially strength trainers and body builders, less muscle and more fluid retention are not what we want. Get your protein.

Convenience

A significant hindrance to adequate protein intake is convenience. Unfortunately, as David wrote in his recent article, Quit Shunning the Fat! , beginning in 1976, Americans have shied away from fats and erroneously added way too many simple carbs into our diet. As a result, there are thousands of quick, convenient, carbohydrate based convenience foods and Americans are quite likely to reach for those in a time crunch. With a little thought, you can break that habit and add protein to your day, a little at a time.

Nuts are an excellent source of quick protein. If portion control is a problem, buy pre-packaged, individual servings of your favorites. One ounce of almonds provides 6 grams of protein for 164 calories, 14 grams of healthy fat and only 2.6 grams of Net Carbs (6.1-3.5 grams of fiber). You can carry them with you anywhere. Just be careful to avoid those with added sugars. There are some that sound wonderful but if you read the label, you will find sugar. I stick with the ones that are roasted with sea salt alone.

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Eggs are often overlooked for being the rich protein source that they are. People shunned eggs for years, believing that they were unhealthy. Modern science has debunked that myth. You can boil them the night before and store them in the fridge or even whisk up a couple in the morning. Nothing is any faster than a scrambled egg. They contain 6 grams of protein each for a paltry 78 calories. They are quite the nutrition bargain.

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String cheese is everywhere these days. Apparently people are eating a lot of it if you look at the abundant supply in the grocery stores. One piece of Frigo Cheeseheads String Cheese has 6 grams of protein and 80 calories. I like to pair this with an apple so that the fiber in the apple binds with the protein in the cheese and it keeps me from being hungry a long time.

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Tuna is so convenient these days! The portable foil packs are the ultimate solution to “What’s for lunch?” I carry those packs in my backpack all the time, “Just In Case”. Add mayo, an apple and some dill relish if you like, for a nutritionally dense lunch that will satisfy you for hours. If you like sweet pickle relish, just add a little Splenda or whatever 0 sugar sweetener you like to the relish. It works. One of these packs has 70 calories and a whopping 17 grams of protein. I usually eat two for a protein punch!

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Full Fat PLAIN Greek Yogurt is a wonderful source of protein and fat-burning calcium. One cup of Cabot Greek Yogurt contains 310 calories and 16 grams of protein. I usually add to that protein with nuts. I like to add 0 sugar sweetener, nuts and Saigon cinnamon. It tastes like a Maple Nut Sundae. You can add whatever you like to this yogurt. The full-fat yogurt does not have that sour milk taste that is associated with yogurt. It’s neutral, so you can make it taste like whatever you like. I have been known to add Lemonade Flavor Crystal Light for a “Lemon Pie”.  Experiment with whatever flavor combinations that appeal to you. Sometimes I add peanut butter powder and sweetener for a peanut butter pie. Explore!

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Jerky is a great source of protein. Just be careful to avoid the ones with added sugars. It’s very high in protein, coming in at 9 grams per ounce. If you have trouble finding a 0 sugar variety, it’s pretty easy to make your own. David has published an excellent recipe for homemade jerky right here.

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Pumpkin Seeds are one of my favorite foods. I like the kernels, no husks or shells for me please. One ounce has 180 calories and 11 grams of protein. Sometimes I add these to my yogurt instead of nuts.

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I make protein shakes with unsweetened protein and 0 sugar sweetener and other add-ins. That is an option that you might like to explore. Choose whatever protein that appeals to you. I don’t like whey but you very well may like it a lot. It’s a rich source of good protein. I like pea or soy protein. Men, and some women with special health concerns, should avoid soy. Since it boosts estrogen, ask your doctor before using soy protein.

As you can see, there are many tasty options to sneak a little extra protein into your day. Meat, poultry, fish and seafood will always be your richest sources, but when those may not be readily available or convenient, reach for one of these or get creative! Read labels and seek out foods that you like that are rich in protein. You will be stronger for it.

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-deficiency-symptoms

Sweet Earth Seitan Review

First, you might be asking what in the world is Seitan. I had never heard of it until my youngest daughter Molly Ann recommended I give it a try. Seitan is a vegan substitute for meat made from wheat gluten and water and is often promoted as a high-protein, low-carb alternative to animal protein. It is made entirely out of hydrated gluten, the main protein found in wheat. You might also sometimes hear it referred to as wheat gluten, wheat meat, wheat protein or just gluten.

Seitan is produced by kneading wheat flour with water to develop sticky strands of gluten protein. The dough is then rinsed to wash away all of the starch. What remains is a sticky mass of pure gluten protein that can be seasoned, cooked and used in vegan or vegetarian dishes as a substitute for meat. Molly Ann makes her own Seitan at home and has shared a recipe with me that I need to try sometime soon.

In the packaging, the Seitan did not look the least bit appetizing to me, but I decided to go ahead and take one for the team and press on with trying it for a review.

As you can see, the Seitan looks more appealing once it is out of the package. However, I will tell you right now it smells exactly like stale beer in the bottom of a bottle that has set on a table for a couple days. The smell reminded me of a closed bar room  minus the odor of cigarette smoke that has permeated everything inside. After a good sniff, I just knew without a shadow of doubt this product was going to taste exactly like stale beer. How could something that smelled so strong not taste the same?

I began heating the Seitan in a sauce pan with a little bit of olive oil so I could get a sample before mixing in other ingredients. What I found was the product actually had a meat like texture, and the flavor was very neutral. If I was to say there was any flavor at all, it was slightly nutty, very slightly though. And, thank God, the stale beer smell went away as I was heating it.

After I was satisfied that I could proceed with cooking with the Seitan, I added black beans, picante sauce, habanero hot sauce and chili powder and then let it simmer for a few minutes. Molly Ann was right, the Seitan had absorbed the flavors of the foods it was mixed into. The Seitan made this bowl of beans a heartier meal than if it had been beans only. The texture seemed even more like meat as a part of this bean dish. It was truly satisfying and filling. I can see possibilities using Seitan in some of my future meals.

Ingredients:

Water, Vital Wheat Gluten, Soy Sauce, Wheat, Salt, Alcohol, Nutritional Yeast, Ginger, Rice Bran Oil, Rice vinegar, Kombu

Nutrition for 2.5 ounce serving:

Seitan is made entirely out of gluten, the main protein in wheat, so it is a good protein option for vegetarians and vegans, however, it is not good for those who are gluten sensitive. The exact amount of protein in seitan varies, depending on whether other proteins like soy or legume flours were added during production.

A 3-ounce serving usually contains between 15 and 21 grams of protein, which is roughly equivalent to proteins we find in fish, chicken, and beef. But you need to know that while Seitan is high in protein, it does not provide a full profile of amino acids. It is missing lysine which your body’s needs to to build proteins. Lysine plays a critical role in supporting our immune system and promoting the production of enzymes and hormones. Diabetics, athletes, and people with health conditions like herpes simplex virus can benefit from consuming extra amounts of Lysine. Our bodies cannot produce Lysine, so it is essential to include foods rich in lysine in our diets.

While Seitan may be nutritious food choice, it is still a highly processed food. Seitan does not exist in nature, it is a man made product.  Although seitan is a processed food, it is not high in calories, sugar or fat. Because of this, it should not contribute to obesity like other ultra-processed foods. People who consume a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, can likely include seitan in their diets without much worry. Because store bought brands may be high in sodium, those who already consume high amounts of processed foods may want to consider whether seitan would be a good addition to their diets.

Protein Supplements

(The above pictures are not an endorsement of any type or brand of protein)

I often follow different social media sights which are focused on weight loss, nutrition and fitness. A common theme which comes up daily is the consumption of protein supplements and whether they are good for you or not, and are they even necessary if you have healthy dietary habits. To this, I will say it all depends. Your need for, or lack thereof, is all dependent upon what you are trying to accomplish with your own personal health initiative. Everyone requires protein in their diet, how much is all dependent on your level of activity. Are you a couch potato who wants to lose weight? Or, are you an endurance athlete or strength trainer who needs more than the average person who lives a sedentary lifestyle? And then you also need to consider your sources of protein. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you might consider some sort of supplementation if you not consuming enough protein from your vegetable sources such as you would get from soy, nuts, legumes, and quinoa for examples.

The catalyst for this piece came from something I read the other day on a weight loss social media forum where one of the really popular commentators went on a spiel about how he hates that protein bars are touted as being a healthy part of a weight loss diet. He is entitled to his own opinion, even if he is wrong, but literally there a few thousand people who hang on his every word in regards to weight loss. I personally feel that if you are going to put yourself out on a limb as some type of expert guru, then you should know better than to preach a one size fits all message to the masses who are attempting to lose weight and live healthier lives. And if you are going to put yourself upon a pedestal to be followed, then you had damn well better be correct in what you are preaching to people who know less than you.

What is protein?

In a nutshell, protein is one of three macronutrients our body’s require for health. Protein, carbohydrates and fats. For a better understanding of protein;

Proteins are large molecules that our cells need to function properly. They consist of amino acids. The structure and function of our bodies depend on proteins. The regulation of the body’s cells, tissues and organs cannot happen without them. Proteins are long chains of amnio acids that form the basis of all life. They are like machines that make all living things, whether viruses, bacteria, butterflies, jellyfish, pants or human function. The human body consists of around 100 trillion cells. Each cell has thousands of different proteins. Together, these proteins cause each cell to do it’s job. (1)

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are organic componds that combine to form proteins. Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life. When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. The human body uses amino acids to make proteins to help the body break down food, grow, repair body tissue and to perform many other body functions.

Amino acids can be used as a source of energy for the body, and are classified into three groups:

  • Essential amino acids. The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleutine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
  • Nonessential amino acids. Nonessential means that our bodies produce an amino acid, even if we do not get it from a food we eat. Nonessential amino acids include: alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.
  • Conditional amino acids. Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress. They include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.

(2)

Essential amino acids cannot be be made by the body and must come from food. Must come from food is a key point in regards to the essential amino acids. Herein lies my problem with a weight loss social media superstar making blanket, one size fits all statements in regards to protein bars and other protein supplements. One size does not fit all you fool. Even if this individual is truly making an attempt at being helpful, he is not accomplishing it. Protein supplements may not all be equal in their utility, but for the most part, they are not some kind of “Frankenfood” as some would have you believe. Protein supplements are indeed a food source and can be comprised of whey, soy, rice, pea and other protein sources. If by combining actual protein food ingredients with other flavorings equates a “Frankenfood”, then every other multiple ingredient food source can also damn well be referred to as a “Frankenfood”. This thinking is absolutely absurd.

Protein supplements are just that: they are supplemental to your diet. There are many reasons why one might supplement their protein intake, here are a few:

  1. If you are a strength and or an endurance athlete, you might want to supplement your protein intake in order to ensure your body is receiving an adequate amount to build, repair, or maintain your lean muscle mass. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes. Older non-athletes need .9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
  2. If you are on a weight loss plan, you need to keep your protein levels up in order to maintain your lean muscle mass and as a means to keep your appetite more satiated than it would be from carbohydrates, with an emphasis on simple carbs as they are the biggest culprit in driving those kinds of cravings often referred to as being “hangry”, that type of craving where you can find yourself sitting on the kitchen floor with a can of cake frosting and a spoon, going at it like it is your last supper. Odds are, if you are or have ever been an obese individual who stress ate, you secretly know exactly about this kind of binging.
  3. If you are a vegan or vegetarian who might also be a picky eater, then supplementation might be for you. While soy and quinoa will provide you with a complete protein profile for good health, you have to eat enough to cover your body’s needs If you are not consuming soy, quinoa or any other sources of protein to ensure you receive all of the nine essential amino acids, you are going to wreck your health. If you have your children on a vegan or vegetarian diet, then you really have to be mindful their needs are being fulflled. A protein bar or shake can fill in the gaps for you, and there are plenty of vegan friendly supplements available to you.

While essential amino acids are not stored in your body for later use, you do not have to eat essential amino acids at every meal. You can provide your body’s needs simply by getting a balance of them over the whole day, every day. Know that diets based on a single plant item will not be adequate, but it is also not necessary to pair proteins such as beans with rice at a single meal. Just ensure you are consuming all that you require in balance through the day. Supplementing is an individual choice to be made on your needs. Some people require no supplementation, some benefit greatly from protein shakes and bars.

In closing, if you are involved in a weight loss/management social media forum, please do not just take the word of a popular superstar as being the Holy Grail. They may tell you what you want to hear and not what you need to hear. These superstars may be correct, they could be absolutely wrong. Do yourself a favor and investigate what you read from others. Investigate me, you have a duty upon yourself to even ensure that I am correct in my advice. Know also that if when you question a so called expert and they get mad at you for not taking their word, they are full of crap and have no good answers for your questions. One who is truly knowledgeable will encouage you to challenge them in a respectful manner. One who takes offense when being questioned cares more about their fragile ego than they do about your health and well being.

(1) Medical News Today

(2) medlineplus.gov

Other reference: Food and Nutrition Board, and Institute of Medicine of The National Academies.

The Building Blocks for Good Health

Our Pleasure

Happily, we are frequently asked about food choices and weight loss strategies. It gives me great joy that you consider us a source of information on this topic because it’s our passion. These strategies are not new information but since they are David’s Way and I know that some of you may not scour the blog looking for this information, I thought that I would recap the program for you.

No Added Sugar, High Protein, Low Carb, Activity

After being at my Weight Watchers goal for a couple of years, I was still on medications for anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure. I knew that something was wrong. After asking for David’s help and following his Methodology for just a few weeks, I was able to come off of all of the medications and began to drop weight. I removed all added sugar, and replaced it with our sugar free recipes. They are really, really good. Actually, they are The Bomb! I embraced a high protein, low carb lifestyle. As I lost 20#, I also began adding muscle with strength training. I removed sources of stress from my life and began a journey of recreating myself. A year later, life is good. I work a high stress, full time job in nursing, blog, hike and weight train…and that’s about it. I have made my world small.

Sleep

Rest is essential. My sleep was immediately better, now the only thing required to sleep is to be still, and that’s not always necessary. Removing sugar from my life and strength training rectified the anxiety that contributed to insomnia. I was happy to be able to stop taking anti-anxiety medication. This is not always the case for everyone and I am not advising you to stop any medications without your doctor’s advice. This is simply my story.

Stop Stressing

Lowering the stress in your life will fix a lot of problems. I took some rather drastic steps to do that and I would do it all again tomorrow. After my home was destroyed by a cluster of tornadoes, living in a motel for a while and moving three times, changing jobs two times and one divorce, I am stronger than I’ve ever been, at 62. Stress can kill you, Baby. Gain control of stress or it will gain control of you, and if it is the one in control, you’re going down.

True Self Love

There is always room to up our game. I never stop trying to improve. As we age it’s necessary to become fanatical about self care or the reality is that we’ll go to hell in a hand basket with medications, pain, depression and low self esteem close on our heels. That’s just not my cup of tea. We have choices and we better make good ones if we want to live well. While there are health problems that befall us that we have little control over, there are more that are directly linked to the decisions that we make every day. There is a self love movement which is good as long as we realize that by loving ourselves, we continually spiral upward, improving ourselves. To accept mediocrity is not loving ourselves. Self love is self care.

Write It Down

I believe that the most critical element for maximum health is to forego sugar. Keeping a food diary is a very close second, or it may be tied for first place. Both of these are critical to thriving. If we keep a food diary, we will make progress in all areas because we will fix our diet first and then be better able to make other necessary changes.

David has taught me to keep good records of my workouts also. Since I am a power builder in strength training, I have to keep meticulous records of my weights and reps. I have learned that it’s also critical to keep records of my state of mind while lifting, my calories consumed and my hours of sleep. Along with my calories, I have to know how many grams of protein and carbohydrates I have eaten in order to be ready to lift heavy. This is the first time that I have had to make sure that I eat enough. Since we don’t eat sugar, I seldom get hungry and never have cravings. This is a very pleasant change from always being afraid of eating too much!

Don’t Quit

We promote a healthy lifestyle, not a short term “diet”. If you think you’ve fallen, get up and go again! You no more quit a lifestyle than you quit life itself. If you fall ten times, get up eleven. You will get to your destination if you continue your journey.