Sunday, August 24, 2014

Protein Shake One: Chocolate-Almond Protein Shake

Protein Shake Test One

So today, I finally got around to trying out my own type of protein shake. It was nothing particularly special but it was pretty yummy. I wrote down the ingredients and the measurements, which is very rare for me when I am creating my own recipes, so that I would be able to recreate it if I wanted. This one was super simple and just took a few minutes to make. It was less like a smoothie and a bit more like very thick chocolate milk. Now for the recipe!

Chocolate-Almond Protein Shake

Preparation and Blending Time: 5 minutes      Level of Healthy: Very          Taste: Yummy

1 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Almonds
1 Tbs. Chia Seeds
1 1/2 to 2 Tbs. Raw Coconut Oil (depending on how strong of this taste you prefer)
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 Tbs. Raw Honey (depending on the level of preferred sweetness)
2 Tbs. Cocoa Powder
1 Banana
1 Handful of Ice Cubes

Blend in a blender on high and until ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the desired texture. Serve while it is still cold for best taste and enjoy!!

Now for my results!

I made this as a kind of dinner for myself. It was yummy and pretty filling. It made between 12 and 18 ounces, and I gave a little glass to Mama and she said that she thought it was very good. For myself, I think the balance of all the ingredients took on the correct level of flavors which I prefer. For someone else, they may want it a tiny bit more sweet and perhaps not as strong a flavor of cocoa.
I think all the ingredients at beneficial to a certain extent. The two ingredients which I do not know the most about are the milk and cocoa powder. I need to research the cocoa powder and see what benefits it may have. With the milk I used whole milk which had not been homogenized and pasteurized at a lower temperature, slower. Ideally, the best cow’s milk one can get is raw milk. It has an incredible amount of enzymes and other properties which are super good for one’s body. However, often it can be hard to find a place to buy raw milk (in some States, one may only buy raw milk if that person owns a share of the cow from which the milk comes) and also expensive. There are two other kinds of milk which I have used and which both have benefits which I hope to eventually research and write on- these being coconut milk and almond milk. I know both of these, especially in their unsweetened form are packed with yummy essentials for the human body.

In conclusion, the protein shake which I made was very easy to make, excellent for one, and especially beneficial as a post-workout drink, and delicious. I hopefully will be able to share some more of the reasons why the ingredients included in this protein shake are so good for the athlete’s, and the overall human, body. I also hope to play around with some other ideas and different flavors in the next few weeks if and when I have the time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Protein Shakes Series: Beneficial Ingredient Raw Honey

Recently, I decided to look up the benefits of raw honey. As I was perusing a page, a few words caught my eye which instantly narrowed my search a little bit more. Those words were highlighted around athletes and raw honey. Now I do not claim to be a super athlete… In fact I am mediocre at best. But since I do run Cross Country and participate in Track and Field, as well as have a general interest in fitness and ways to improve it via exercise and healthy eating, I decided that it would be interesting to research the benefits of raw honey with athletics in mind. With this narrowed scope, I began looking for articles which targeted my subject of interest.

The result was that I was faced with an even more interesting idea. What if I could find a decent tasting protein shake that was truly good for someone’s health, and evaluate some of the benefiting ingredients? I hope to research and critique several ingredients, as well as try to make a delicious and healthy protein shake out of some of the ingredients which I pick to research and review.

Benefits of Raw Honey

One of the first ingredients I knew I wanted to include in a protein shake was raw honey. This was because after just a short search on the web, I was impressed by the many benefits of raw honey. To start with, I will give a brief run down on some of the benefits of raw honey:

*      Raw honey is beneficial to the immune system.
*      Raw honey is beneficial as a post-workout ingredient in a protein shake or after work out snack.
*      Raw honey is beneficial to fight oxidation as it has antioxidant properties in it.

These are just a few of the many benefits of raw honey. Now let’s discuss the way that some of these benefits work. According to several cites, raw honey helps support your immune system. Right after a workout, an athlete’s body becomes more vulnerable. It is important that it gets some aid in protecting itself, and raw honey, with its immune system boost, is a great way to aid one’s immune system after a strenuous workout. This goes hand and hand with raw honey’s high level of antioxidants. 

Oxidants can be, according to one cite, harmful. These can cause issues with body cells and are believed to even aid in helping degenerative diseases wreak havoc on a body. Foods with higher levels of antioxidants, such as raw honey, can help to control the amount of oxidants in an athlete’s body (Veg-It). 

Now, one of the final benefits which I will discuss is how raw honey can help to repair and build muscles after a hard workout. According to Healthy Living in the article “What Does Honey Do for You After You Work Out,” within the first half hour to 45 minutes after a workout it is very beneficial and important to refuel an athlete’s body with protein which can help to build and repair muscles after they have been worked. While an athlete’s body is in this stage of the post-workout, called the anabolic stage, a strategic combination of proteins AND carbohydrates can aid in providing the most complete recovery for a body (Healthy Living). Raw honey can be used as a useful carbohydrate and is especially beneficial when combined with protein.

Honey can also help to keep an athlete's blood sugar at a normal level. This especially seems to be true in sports which require a lot of endurance - such as cross country. However, there does still need to be moderation in the amount of honey intake. Those who are diabetic or have similar issues may want to be more careful with the levels of raw honey they consume. One should also make sure to review the source which they choose to buy from to ensure that the raw honey is completely safe, as there are some concerns about what flowers and nectar are used by bees to produce certain honeys. And of course, those who are allergic or have reactions to raw honey need to be careful as well.

After reviewing the benefits and disadvantages of raw honey, the conclusion which I reached is that for athletes who are not allergic, have no health complications, and wisely consume moderate measures of raw honey, can benefit in some degree from enjoying tasty treats which include raw honey as one of the ingredients.

I am not claiming to be professional in to any degree. The posts which I write are simply me enjoying researching topics which I find interesting. Always conduct your own research and consult more knowledgeable resources.


Information on raw honey and post-workout benefits for an athlete: 

Studies done which support raw honey and its power to help athletes:

Benefits of Raw Honey:

Some pros and cons of Raw Honey:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

As Summer Closes...

Summer break is beginning to come to an end. I can feel it in even the air. The days are warm, and afternoon thunderstorms frequent, typical for this time of year. But occasionally I can feel autumn on the breeze. Its rather odd that you can just feel the seasons beginning to change but really, when I feel that chilled, end of summer breeze it brings back the memories of chilly mornings, warmer afternoons....

But it is still hot and sunny most days and we have not had a frost yet. This is rather good because the garden Mama and I planted is getting very large. We planted, very late this year, a small experimental garden... That is, it was small. I cannot believe how large the pumpkins have grown. They spiral towards the other plants, their long extensions reaching out to cover the soil. The corn, too, is growing tall and has put out tassels. The tomatoes, beans, carrots, lettuce and onions all are growing well too... and along the western fringe of the garden's fence, the wild flowers are beginning to blossom, while at the northern end of the garden, our row of sunflowers are bursting up towards the sky... I just love watching the plants grow.

Another sign of the closing of summer is the beginning of sports. My little brother and I have both started our sports... He is playing football and I am running cross country. Cross country has started very well. Our team is small and close, which makes it a lot of fun. This year everyone is positive and ready to run. I really enjoy that and the positivity helps to keep me on track when I begin to grow grumpy with working out. Though the workouts often feel endless and hard, it is so satisfying to be able to look back and see what you have accomplished. I have a long ways to improve before our first meet but I feel like this season is coming along well. Looking forward to what lies ahead on this crazy path!!
This year I will hopefully continue to pursue my degree in nutrition by college/highschool courses at our local community college. I hope to take Spanish 1, Statistics, a computer applications course, and Literature 1, which are all necessary to eventually get a Bachelors in Science. I am most excited about Spanish as I have wanted for a pretty long time to learn it but have never been disciplined to teach myself. At home I want to continue to try do some Home Economics and learn different stuff along the realm of nutrition. Nutrition is always super fascinating!
This next year has so many exciting prospects and I am very excited to move into this next part of the path which I am journeying on. But one thing which I must always remind myself is to always glorify God in all that I do. This is very hard sometimes. But I must remember, the work which He started in me, He will also perfect!
"And whatever you do in word of deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."