One of my favorite things to make when I have a lot of leftover protein macros to meet is PROTEIN FLUFF! Protein fluff has similar ingredients to a protein shake but is much more voluminous and filling. And when you are constantly STARVING despite eating over 2000 calories a day, you need to eat volume foods in order to help you stay full.
How is protein fluff different than a shake? Well the answer comes down to one little ingredient: xanthan gum! Xanthan gum is a powder that is used to add thickness and volume. It is sometimes used in shakes and drinks like frappucinos to keep them from separating. Xanthan gum is also gluten-free so you can use it if you are sensitive to gluten. Xanthan gum can be purchased at most grocery stores in the health or baking areas.
So now that we know what protein fluff is, let’s get down to how to make it!
1 Scoop Protein Powder (I used Cellucor Peanut Butter Marshmallow)
1 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
1 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
1 Cup of Ice
Add all ingredients to a blender.
Blend for several minutes. You will notice at first the fluff seems like a normal shake, but it will slowly start to thicken and expand.
Top with toppings of choice! I used peanut butter, a few dark chocolate chips and 2 mini oreos that I crushed up.
This recipe is highly customizable! You can change it up depending on the flavor of protein you use and the toppings you add. Sometimes I use cake batter protein with sprinkles, or mint chocolate protein with chocolate cookies and whipped cream!
If you would like to try some of the delicious protein flavors Cellucor offers such as Corfetti, Peanut Butter Marshmallow, Mint Chocolate, Red Velvet in your protein fluff, I still have a coupon code!
Pre-workouts seem to be a hot topic lately. I personally choose to use them on occasion when I am feeling tired and would otherwise struggle with a workout. I do not rely on them everyday, though.
The ingredients for each specific brand and blend are different (and not all of them contain caffeine or stimulants!) The specific blend of ingredients usually helps to maintain energy, focus and muscle endurance. Many also contain BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) which are absolutely necessary for muscle growth and used by muscles as fuel. Using BCAAs helps to decrease muscle breakdown during tough workouts. Finally, many pre-workout supplements include nitric oxide which can help reduce fatigue, increase oxygen to muscles, aid in quicker recovery and help with performance.
Usually just a half scoop will give me the drive to get through the workout and feel motivated. Whether you use them or not is a highly personal choice. Though they should definitely be used with caution. If you have never used one, you should start with a half scoop to assess tolerance. Avoid pre-workouts if you have any heart issues.
There are many pre-workouts on the market at this point. However two of the top competitors seem to be C4 and N.O.-Xplode. After receiving a sample of Cellucor’s C4 I decided to see how it lived up to the BSN N.O.-Xplode that I had been using.
Both products are on the Bodybuilding.com Top 10 Best Selling Pre-Workout list. Both are two of the more commonly used pre-workouts and are both sold in many locations.
The flavors that I tried were Blue Raspberry C4 and Fruit Punch N.O.-Xplode. ( I have also tried Watermelon N.O.-Xplode and I prefer the Fruit Punch). As much as I like my old favorite N.O.-Xplode, I have to say the taste of the C4 was better. C4 has a pretty true Blue Raspberry flavor with no aftertaste. Not too powerful. The taste of N.O.-Xplode is also quite good but can be slightly overwhelming.
Ease of Mixing
I hate to say it, but C4 definitely won on this one. It mixes quite a bit easier than the N.O.-Xplode. C4 dissolves quite quickly while N.O.-Xplode usually takes a few minutes of stirring and still sometimes leaves residue.
While this wouldn’t be something I would normally mention in a review, a few people I have talked to say they don’t like N.O.-Xplode because it foams up quite a bit and that takes a few minutes to go down. The foaming doesn’t bother me either way so that is not something that sways my vote.
In my opinion both work about the same. They both give me enough energy to get my workout done and to feel pumped. I have heard some people say they feel C4 is more powerful but I didn’t necessarily notice that.
However, after all was said and done, I have to say the Cellucor C4 definitely won my love. I am kind of in love with the Blue Raspberry taste and not getting little chunks of it that weren’t mixed made a huge difference to me.
If you would like to try Cellucor C4 for yourself, I have a coupon code for 25% off your order from www.Cellucor.com with code “CELLUCORFIT”
Halloween can be a tricky time to eat healthy. With candy absolutely everywhere and parties full of delicious treats it can be easy to not make the best food choices and to go overboard. To help you and your waist line get through these troubling times I put together a list of 21 great Halloween treats to bring to parties or make for the kids! I hope you enjoy!
What is IIFYM? What does it stand for? How does it work?
IIFYM stands for “If It Fits Your Macros”. It is a way of eating also known as “flexible dieting“. This means that technically, you can eat ANY food you want if it fits your macros.
What are macros? Macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and protein. ALL of which play important parts in our health. Diets that cut out one of these groups are usually hard to sustain, unhealthy and lead to failure. Why do we need ALL three?
Protein– We need protein to help preserve muscle! Whether you want to be a bodybuilder or a regular Joe, muscles burn a lot of calories. The more muscle you have the easier it is to lose weight.
Fat– Fats help us regulate our hormones. This is important for both men and women. People who do not get enough fat often notice negative changes in their skin, thinning hair, irregular periods, lack of sex drive, etc. Hormones also play a big part in weight loss!
Carbohydrates– Carboyhdrates give our muscles glycogen which helps us work out and have energy!
Many of you may wonder what the difference is between counting macros and counting calories? The answer there is simple. Body composition and balance. Counting macros ensures that you get enough of each group to preserve muscle, stay lean and have energy. Most people who only count calories do not eat enough protein which means gaining muscle will be harder. And the more muscle we have the easier it is to lose weight.
Though with IIFYM you can technically eat ANY foods you want and still lose weight, it is recommended for health purposes that at least 80% of your diet comes from WHOLE foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, etc . This ensures you get the essential vitamins and nutrients for your body.
For people that have done many other diets this may sound too good to be true. How can someone eat oreos and still have abs? It doesn’t quite make sense when you look everywhere and see “motivational” posters telling you to “eat clean” or “put down the cookie”.
I too used to have so many misconceptions about diet. When I first decided that I wanted to lose weight I was convinced carbs were the enemy. I did low carb for a while and was absolutely miserable. Yes I lost weight, but I had no energy and after restricting for so long it made me want to binge on carbs any chance I could!
After that I moved to clean eating. Eating clean is great, it encourages you to eat many healthy foods that are good for your body! However I took it a little too far. I got so obsessed with ONLY eating “clean” foods that it was extremely restrictive and there were very few items that I COULD eat. I didn’t want to go out to eat with my husband or friends and was so afraid of eating anything. I felt guilty if I had foods that were not “clean”. On the weekends I would have my cheat days where I would go NUTS over any and all foods that I had made myself cut out on the weekends. I was working SO hard during the week days but undoing it all during the weekends!!!
Around this time I heard about IIFYM. I was both intrigued and amazed. I didn’t understand how these people could eat oreos and pancakes and normal “unclean” foods and still look AMAZING. I started to do research and read everything I could about IIFYM and the benefits. I watched videos and talked to others on instagram who did it. I was frustrated with my lack of progress doing clean eating, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try!
So I went to http://www.iifym.com and looked up my macros. Macros (macro nutrients) are fat, carbohydrates and protein. IIFYM gives you certain numbers of each that you need to meet each day based on your weight, activity level and your goals.
At first I found this challenging to hit each number. Getting enough protein was my biggest struggle. Most people eat a LOT of carbs and even a lot of fats but most don’t eat enough protein. I will admit it was frustrating at first trying to figure out the numbers and make it all work. But it was SO rewarding to eat a dessert I wanted, go get a coffee, or have a nice dinner out with NO guilt because it FIT MY MACROS! I had planned for that treat and worked it in to my goals for the day.
Benefits I have noticed from IIFYM
Chronic insomnia was IMMEDIATELY cured
Energy went WAY up
Hormones were more balanced
Cravings and binging went down
Self esteem went up
No food related guilt
Amazing muscle gains
Hair became thicker and stronger
Blood test results for many issues came back healthy after being abnormal for a long time
I can eat much more than I used to and not gain weight
After doing it for almost a year now, I continue to love this way of eating. I can enjoy foods that I used to avoid (in moderation!). I feel healthy and balanced. Obviously how you eat is a personal choice but I am constantly being asked how I can eat what I do or eat as much as I do and stay in shape. I hope this helps to answer some of the questions.
If you’re curious I suggest doing a Google search of “IIFYM transformations”. You will be amazed.
I don’t know about where anyone else lives, but here in Alaska it feels like fall. The leaves are already changing to gorgeous colors and the weather has cooled off. The weather makes me crave all of the delicious foods that go along with fall. One of which is apple cobbler! I love cobbler but it can tend to have a lot of carbs and sugar depending on how it is prepared. So I set out to make a healthier and SUPER quick version.
For the topping I would normally think to use oatmeal, but since I have been loving these Smart Bars and they are made of oatmeal anyway, they were the logical solution!
1 Detour Smart Bar (Apple or Blueberry flavor)
1/2 apple (any kind)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp stevia
Whipped cream or greek frozen yogurt for topping (optional)
Cut up apple into small cubes.
Add to small ramekin and top with cinnamon and stevia.
Crumble Smart Bar on top of apple mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Or microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Overnight Oats are one of my favorite things to make. They are SO easy to prepare and take on the go. I like to put them in cute jars to add to the appeal. I know I have made a few recipes for them in the past but now that fall is here I will be sharing some recipes that are perfect for the autumn season!
Apples and apple pie instantly remind me of fall. They are fresh, juicy and in season. So what better way to start your day than with some HEALTHY apple pie?
Here’s how to make it.
1/3 Cup Oats (NOT INSTANT)
1 TBSP Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1 TBSP Vanilla
1/2 TBSP (or more!) Cinnamon
1/2-1 cup Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla or apple cinnamon)
In a bowl, mix oats, milk and chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla (you can add stevia if desired).
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, layer the oats with your yogurt. If you do plain yogurt you can add additional stevia to sweeten if desired.
Cut up your apple half into cubes. Microwave in a mug for about 30 seconds. Or you can just leave the pieces raw if you like them crunchy rather than soft.
Add apples to oat mixture.
Top with additional cinnamon if desired. You can also add cinnamon granola if you have enough carb macros in your plan.
After quite a long time now of eating healthy, I have tried many recipes for protein pancakes. I have become somewhat of a connoisseur if you will. Some are definitely better than others. I have found that many of the recipes can be dry to the point I can barely swallow them. Others just taste bland and boring. While yet another negative aspect is that many of them take quite a long time to put everything together. Then you have to cook them on low and it can take quite a while before they are ready. That is fine if you are not in a hurry, however on days you are in a rush they usually aren’t going to cut it.
So when I heard about ProCakes premixed protein pancake mix, I was intrigued. With this mix you only have to add milk and an egg. I was a little skeptical at first because of many of my previous experiences but I am pretty open to new things so I decided to give them a shot. I was offered a sample of this mix from ProCakes to try and review (unpaid) so what did I have to lose?
The mix calls for 1 egg and 1/3 cup milk. I mixed the ProCakes mixture with an egg and subbed almond milk. I bet you could probably use just egg whites too if you wanted to cut out some of the fat. As far as cooking they were quite easy to cook compared to many recipes. They were a breeze to flip and didn’t burn easily like many other recipes I have made (though I did burn mine a bit because I was trying to multitask while cooking and left them alone way too long 😦 )
In a few minutes, I had protein pancakes that were ready to eat! I have to say I was very impressed with this mix. The taste was amazing with a light, buttery type flavor. The texture was light and fluffy and not too dense at all. The taste of these was very comparable to “regular” pancakes. It was quite a surprise! I added some blueberries to one of mine as well to see how that would work and it turned out perfectly (some recipes get weird when you add fruit!).
Also, for my Celiac friends, these pancakes are GLUTEN FREE!!!
Did I mention these have no added sugar? NICE!
Overall I was highly impressed with these pancakes and would definitely get them again. If you would like to try some for yourself, the website is: http://www.procakes.com/
*I was sent this sample from ProCakes to give an honest review. I was not paid to endorse the product.