Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Shake

chocolateshake

Here’s yet another concoction I’ve come up with in the past few days having to do with protein. I know what you guys are thinking, “What’s with all the protein, man?!”

Well, to be honest, I was diagnosed with a heart infection right before I started this blog. The pinnacle of health, right? Why should you be following someone’s health blog when they have/had a heart infection?

It wasn’t my fault, I swear. I just happened to get a fever when I was camping last August and it went a little too deep for comfort. Probably started with strep bacteria because my throat was mighty sore at the time. Believe it or not, heart infections are actually somewhat common in people my age (I am 23). I felt a little bit of chest pain starting in October … nothing major, just a bit of burning. Kind of like acid reflux but a bit to the left. Went to the doctor in January when it wouldn’t go away, and BOOM, pericarditis.

Did you know that your body usually goes for muscle first if you’re an active or dieting individual? I mean, active enough that carbs don’t even have a chance. What muscle does the body like to choose, of all things? The heart muscle. And because my habit of staying healthy includes running 3 miles a day and eating in moderation, I figured it would be best to up the protein just in case my body decides to have a little snack on my ticker.

I’ve also been taking 600mg of advil a day, a bit of potassium citrate every other day (about 1/4 tsp pharmaceutical grade powder, roughly 600mg), and 200mg magnesium citrate every other night. Electrolytes are important when the heart is involved. I can also afford to eat a bit of salt because I have a low resting blood pressure.

However, if you ever get something wrong with your heart, I highly, highly suggest you go see a doctor. That’s not something to be screwing around with. The only reason I am is because I was directed to take that much advil a day, and my test results came back completely normal, so it’s likely just a very mild infection. Even my thyroid was normal, which is unusual, because it’s autoimmune (I know, I’m sooo healthy, right? That one is hereditary, though!). Only 1 in 3 people experience spontaneous thyroid remission. I guess I have good gambling odds.

Anyhoo, in order to force more protein into myself (my macros are about 35% fat/ 35% carbs/ 30% protein right now, it is recommended that active individuals looking to burn fat/maintain muscle eat between 20 – 40% fat, 20 – 40% carbs, and 30 – 50% protein), I’ve been tinkering around with a bunch of recipes involving protein powder. I even just had a whole stash mailed to me from bodybuilding.ca so I can find the best vanilla flavour ever (even though I did find a pretty good one from Superstore in the meantime, the Vanilla Whey Isolate – PC brand). But I’m not sure what to do with vanilla (yet!), so on with the chocolate!
chocolateshake2(Look, it’s my blue sippy-cup again! Boy do I love that thing. You can get a whole set — orange, purple, and blue — from Costco, for about $20.)

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Shake

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • sugar or sweetener to taste (I used just a few drops of stevia)
  1. Place everything in the blender; almond milk first, followed by sweetener, protein and cocoa powder, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ice on the top.
  2. Blend for a minute or two.
  3. Pour and serve.
  4. Mmmm.

Nutritional Info using unsweetened almond milk, 2% cottage cheese, regular cream cheese, and Isoflex: 267 calories, 9.5g fat (4g saturated), 450mg sodium, 9.5g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, and 38g protein

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Spinach and Almond Pesto

This was my first time making pesto, believe it or not. I saw some recipes, had a craving, and just kind of went for it.
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However, because I am a total pesto noob, I decided to combine 2 recipes for a custom, slightly more ‘gentle’ version. Thus, using half basil and half spinach :). If you know someone who is unsure whether they like pesto or not because they’ve only had it as a garnish, then this would be the pesto for them. You can replace the almonds with just pecans, or the pecans with just almonds if you want. Make sure you roast your nuts! It’s not the same without roasting. Roasting nuts is easy .. just pop them in the oven or toaster oven at 350*F for about 10 minutes, more or less (8-12) depending on how hot your oven runs. As soon as you can smell them, take them out.

The recipe can also be easily doubled. As is, it makes about a 2/3 cup of pesto; which is perfect to flavor a regular, ~400 gram box of pasta.

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(sorry about the poor photo quality btw .. just got a new camera for Christmas and it unfortunately does not work with Photoshop for retouching yet, and our apartment lighting is horribly yellow 😦 )

Spinach and Almond Pesto:

(makes about 4 servings – 2 heaping tbsp each)

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grana padano (or other fresh parmesan cheese), grated
  • 1/8 of a lemon, squeezed (can also use about 1 tsp of lemon juice)
  • 3 tbsp almonds, roasted
  • 1 tbsp pecans
  • dash of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or high-power blender; oil first, followed by greens, cheese, nuts, spices, and lemon.
  2. Process for about 1 minute.

Note: The finished product should be slightly grainy, a bit more coarse than almond flour.

Nutritional Info (1/4 recipe / about 2 heaping tbsp): 188 calories, 19g fat (3g saturated), 3g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g protein