Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Shake

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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

Protein French Toast

Cooking with protein is a hot button in the fitness industry. Always has been, always will be.

Some people are brave and can whip together a scoop or two of protein powder with some eggs and call it a pancake. I’ve tried that. It didn’t come out well! Fell flat and was more of a crunchy disk than anything. But hey, any way people are willing to get their macros, am I right?

I find the trick to cooking with protein is using a light hand, and trying not to deviate from the original recipe too much. Whey protein is not a flour. It doesn’t really have its own substance and won’t really add ‘bulk’ to any recipe. Rather, it will readily dissolve into liquids leaving you with a sort of flat concoction if you use too much. It really likes to absorb liquids. Thus, you have to add it into something it’ll readily dissolve in. Something you’re not afraid of tasting like that particular flavor of protein powder. Something with extra moisture added into the recipe in the way (or whey, heh) of oats, eggs, applesauce, peanut butter, bananas, or other ‘soft’ ingredients that will give it some texture.

French toast is an easy place to start, since it is simple and already uses milk and eggs 🙂
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Protein French Toast:

  • 2 slices fibre-rich bread (I prefer Squirrely or something extra dense like that)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 scoop (8 grams) protein powder (I used Isoflex)
  • (optional) 1 tbsp maple syrup, for topping
  1. Preheat a pan to medium on the stove.
  2. Whisk together egg, milk, and protein powder in a small dish. Pie plates are perfect for this. You can add some cinnamon or vanilla extract if you’d like extra flavor.
  3. Soak your bread in the mixture for about 20 seconds per side. Breads that are high in fibre make a good sponge!
  4. Give pan a good once-over with cooking spray (use a coconut-oil one if you can find it), and gently nestle your bread in there. Cook it for a couple minutes each side.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, berries, or anything else you fancy on top 🙂 caramelized bananas are my favourite when I have time to make them!

Nutritional info (without toppings): 324 calories, 10g fat (2g saturated), 190mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 45g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 9g sugar, and 24g protein

Berry Chocolate Protein Shake

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Everyone loves smoothies, am I right? 🙂

.. At least, everyone SHOULD love smoothies. With the near-endless selection of ingredients, there seems to be something for everyone.

Some people are fruit purists, others are brave enough to venture into savoury territory. Personally, I prefer protein powder and berries; and boy, am I fussy about my protein powder.

I made the mistake of buying a cheap vanilla whey protein the other day. The texture is nice and silky but whenever a company tries to put in that artificial ‘french vanilla’ scent or flavor, I just can’t stand it. It’s like some sort of Alice-repellent. I’m considering ordering a whole bunch of samples of vanilla protein online just to find one I like. Being fussy does have its expense.

One protein powder I HAVE been able to tolerate, and for many years, is the VEGA protein line.

Even if you’re not vegan (I was for 4 years, but began eating meat again after I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism), the combination of pea and hemp protein is very palatable. In fact, I prefer it to whey.

There are sample packs of the stuff just about everywhere; health food stores, grocery stores.. I love a good sample pack.

However, if alternative protein ain’t your thing, feel free to chuck a scoop of whey into this recipe. But while you’re at it, tell me your favourite protein in the comments. Maybe I’ll give it a try 🙂

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Berry Chocolate Protein Shake

  • 1 scoop Vega Choc-a-Lot instant smoothie
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I used lactose-free cow milk, but try using goat or nut if you’d like!)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp chocolate syrup (I use 25% reduced sugar. Regular would likely work, but you might need to reduce the amount so it’s not too sweet.)
  • 4 ice cubes
  1. Add ingredients to blender; liquid first, followed by protein powder, and then berries, syrup, and ice.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into your favourite cup (my to-go container kind of looks like a sippy cup, doesn’t it? haha) and enjoy!

Nutritional info using 2% milk and reduced-sugar syrup: 332 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated), 191mg sodium, 49g carbohydrates, 7.5g fiber, 36g sugar, and 18g protein