Tag Archives: protein

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie

30 Oct

Disclaimer: I received free product from Nuzest USA to create recipes. All opinions are my own; I was not compensated for my time.

Last weekend, I ran half marathon #6. In fact, I ran a 5k AND a half marathon in the same weekend, completing the Haunted Hustle Spooky Duo in Madison, WI! The Halloween theme meant that participants dressed in all sorts of costumes, and the medals are Mexican Sugar Skull-themed.

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Two medals that match up, a cool tech shirt, and a 1/4 zip hoodie…which all GLOW IN THE DARK!

The 5k on Saturday had amazingly warm weather. It was around 77 and sunny, albeit windy. I had been training specifically to run a shorter distance the day before my long run days, so doing a 5k before the big race wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t push myself too hard, but still finished with a pretty good time. And of course, the finish line had a cold craft beer waiting for me!

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I ran the 5k as the TARDIS from Doctor Who!

After showering, I went out for (vegan) pizza and a beer – perfect carb-loading the night before the half marathon. Overnight, the temps outside dropped significantly, and rain rolled in on top of some high-speed winds. I woke up plenty early on race morning and was thankful for bringing a long-sleeve shirt to wear under my Darth Vader dress costume. I ate two of my vegan energy muffins and then headed back to the race start line.

The forecast said there’d be rain, wind, and cold temperatures for the entire day. Luckily, we could wait around and stretch indoors. But soon enough, we had to corral outside and start running. 13.1 miles is a far distance in nice weather. But in that crap, it felt a LOT further. The first 5 miles were good – I was on time and feeling pretty good. Miles 6-8 were extra difficult, as the rain and wind had picked up around then. I couldn’t feel my hands, I was soaking wet from head to toe, and I could hear the squeak of my water-logged shoes over the sound of my running music. It was hard. And then the water station at mile 9 came up, along with a Powerbar gel. I know we’re not supposed to eat anything new on a run that we haven’t tested out during training, but I was hungry and desperate – the snacks I had packed in my running belt just weren’t doing the trick. Thankfully, the gel helped rather than hindered me, and I was back in the game, as it were. The final three miles of the course were identical to the 5k course the day before, so I felt a sense of familiarity once I got that far. The rain was off and on, but I pushed through, drank water and Gatorade at all the stops, and finally finished.

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

All smiles as I crossed the finish line!

The best part? My parents came out to see me cross the finish line! I saw my mom first, in her yellow raincoat, snapping a bunch of pictures of me. My dad was just behind the finish line, waiting to greet me as I crossed. I had been smiling for most of the race, but seeing them (and the end) put an extra wide smile on my face! I finished, got my medal and a heat sheet wrapped around me, and was ushered inside where it was warm. Oh, and where there was another beer waiting for me 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Love my parents!

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

You can’t tell, but I’m SOAKING wet in this photo!

After taking a SUPER hot shower, and enjoying some coffee, my parents and I went out for a well-deserved lunch (and another beer for me), before heading back home.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I PR’d!!!! Yep, despite the awful weather, I beat my personal record, which was totally unexpected. Maybe the cold motivated me to go faster? I’ll have to test that theory this winter.

But until then, enjoy this high-protein beautifully green, creamy pumpkin pie smoothie. It’s a great way to refuel from a long run (or race!) and is much healthier than taking a fork to a pumpkin pie (though I won’t judge).

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Pumpkin Pie Green Protein Smoothie

Serves 1

  • 1 C cold water
  • 1/4 C nondairy milk
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree (not the sweetened kind)
  • 1 serving (2 scoops) Nuzest Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein powder
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp raw pepitas
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Blend until smooth and creamy in the jug of your blender. Use less water for a smoothie bowl, and add more water if you like to sip a thinner smoothie.

Don’t forget that you can take 15% off your next order of Nuzest USA products using my code “behealthy” at checkout! These protein powders really are clean and lean – they’re vegan, too, and taste amazing on their own, or blended into smoothies and baked goods!

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites

22 Oct

This weekend marks my sixth half marathon (!) in two years’ time. And this time, I’ve taken on the additional challenge of running a 5k the evening before. My training plan has incorporated shorter runs the day before my long runs, so I feel physically and mentally prepared for this. It’s a Halloween-themed run, and I’m sure I’ll see plenty of amazing costumes on the course. Stay tuned for a complete review and tons of pictures. Until then, I’ll be snacking on these Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites!

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

All of this running and racing has taught me to pay more attention to the health of my gut. The gut is responsible for digestion, which is insanely important for our health. Probiotics aid in this digestion, which requires the bacteria in our gut to be balanced. An unhealthy gut might result in a variety of unpleasant issues, such as constipation, indigestion, gas, and more (Global Healing Center).

Furthermore, the microbiome that is the gut is thought to affect our brains: how we think and feel. “Recent studies have found that autistic people’s microbiome differs significantly from control groups.” “Gut bacteria can influence anxiety and depression.” Prebiotics have been shown to “lower levels of a key stress hormone, cortisol, and in a test involving a series of words flashed quickly on a screen, [subjects] focused more on positive information and less on negative.” Probiotic eaters “reacted more calmly to images than the control group,” which scientists think “changed the makeup of the subjects’ gut microbes, and that this led to the production of compounds that modified brain chemistry.” (The Atlantic)

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Finally, “it’s not yet clear how the microbiome alters the brain. Most researchers agree that microbes probably influence the brain via multiple mechanisms. Scientists have found that gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA, all of which play a key role in mood (many antidepressants increase levels of these same compounds). Certain organisms also affect how people metabolize these compounds, effectively regulating the amount that circulates in the blood and brain. Gut bacteria may also generate other neuroactive chemicals, including one called butyrate, that have been linked to reduced anxiety and depression. Cryan and others have also shown that some microbes can activate the vagus nerve, the main line of communication between the gut and the brain. In addition, the microbiome is intertwined with the immune system, which itself influences mood and behavior.” (The Atlantic)

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Now we know how the gut works, and why it’s so important to maintain a healthy gut! Consuming probiotic foods are one way to aid gut health, but these should be paired with prebiotic foods, to ensure the most effective absorption of nutrients. This is because “probiotics are living organisms, while prebiotics are indigestible fibers that provide nourishment for the probiotics—much like fertilizer for a garden” (Hyperbiotics).

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Still with me? Let’s get to the recipe 🙂 One form of a probiotic is fermented foods. Tempeh is a delicious, high-protein fermented soy product that can be eaten raw or cooked. Chocolate is also a fermented food (watch Michael Pollan’s series “Cooked” for an amazing look into the fermentation of chocolate). Bananas, almonds, and coconut are examples of prebiotic foods, and thus pair incredibly well with tempeh and chocolate.

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Tempeh slices ready for chocolate!

I KNOW how weird it sounds to think of tempeh in a sweet application. But TRUST ME, it’s amazing. On its own, tempeh has a wonderful nutty flavor to it. And what’s better than chocolate and banana and nuts?! Dairy-free, semi-sweet or dark chocolate is a simple way to keep these healthy bites vegan, and you should be sure to use chocolate that’s not loaded with sugar (I’m talking to you, milk chocolate).

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan chocolate chips were on sale, so I stocked up!

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites

Makes 12 bites

  • 1/2 block plain tempeh
  • 1 just-ripe banana
  • 6 oz semi-sweet vegan chocolate (chips or a baking block are fine – I used Chatfield’s vegan semi-sweet chips)
  • 12 raw almonds
  • 1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper; set aside.

Cut a block of tempeh into two equal pieces. Save one half for another meal. Then, slice the second half into two thin sheets. Cut each into 6 pieces, so you have 12 total, equal pieces; they should be about one-square inch in size. Set aside.

Peel the banana and slice into even pieces, about as thick as the tempeh squares. You want them to match up fairly well for easy stacking.

In a glass bowl, slowly microwave the chocolate until completely melted. Be sure to stir will every 30-60 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate.

Now for the assembly! Begin by dabbing a little melted chocolate onto one side of the tempeh squares and press a banana coin on top (yes, these are different shapes, but the mismatched look is totally in). Then, spread a little chocolate onto the parchment paper. Place a tempeh-banana stack on the chocolate and spoon more chocolate on top, and spread it down to cover the sides as best you can. Top with an almond and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

Repeat the chocolate-covering process with the remaining tempeh-banana stacks.

Place the sheet pan in the fridge and let set for an hour. Transfer the Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Eat them cold or let them set out on a counter for 10 minutes before enjoying for a softer treat. I would NOT recommend freezing these, because the frozen tempeh needs to thaw, but this will cause the banana to loose its shape and weep out its juices.

Chocolate-Covered Probiotic Protein Bites | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com


Strawberry Banana Beet Juice Protein Smoothie

16 May

Disclaimer: I received free product from Nuzest USA to create recipes with. All opinions are my own; I was not compensated for my time.

Nothing says springtime like fresh berries! That’s why, when I saw beautifully ripe strawberries at the store for stupid cheap, I knew I’d be a fool if I didn’t stock up. But the problem with buying ripe-at-the-moment fruit is that it’s going to go bad soon. And no one can eat four containers of strawberries in a few days (ok, maybe you can, but that’ll be about all you eat!).

Instead, I took the freezer route. Just like when I buy a huge bag of overripe bananas, I washed, hulled and halved these lovely strawberries and laid them out on parchment-lined baking sheets to freeze. Just a few hours in the freezer and they were rock-solid, after which I transferred them to freezer-safe zipper-top bags.

AD: Strawberry Banana Beet Juice Protein Smoothie | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Now THAT is how to prep for the ultimate protein smoothie! This concoction is a simple one, made of frozen bananas and berries, prepared beet juice, Nuzest Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein powder, hemp seeds, coconut, and pepitas for a fat boost.

The result? A dreamy, creamy, dark pink smoothie that’s bursting with fresh fruit flavor, lots of protein, stamina-improving beet juice, and the right ratio of carbs:fat:protein:fiber to get you through the day.

Don’t forget that you can take 15% off your next order of Nuzest USA products using my code “behealthy” at checkout! These protein powders really are clean and lean – they’re vegan, too, and taste amazing on their own, or blended into smoothies and baked goods!

Strawberry Banana Beet Protein Smoothie

Makes 1 big smoothie, or two smaller servings

Blend together all ingredients until completely smooth. I find it helps to use the “ice crush” setting first, to break down the frozen fruit. Add more cold water as necessary, until desired smoothie consistency is reached.

If you prefer to eat your smoothie with a spoon, omit the water and add just a splash of non-dairy milk to blend it up.

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