Protein Packed Low Carb Pudding or Ice Cream

March 22 006As A Pudding

March 22 009

 

 

 

As Ice Cream

 

 

 

I am always looking for new and fun ways to include protein in my diet.  The snacks that you choose should always contain protein. Protein helps burn fat in several ways.  These include releasing glucagon (a hormone that helps burn fat), increasing the time you will feel full, maintaining blood sugar and energy levels, decreasing cravings, and helping to build muscle.  If you are not sensitive to dairy, this is a great recipe for you to try.  It is also great for people who do not eat meat.  It is very low in carbohydrates and fat.  It would be perfect for a snack.  A bonus is that is contains cocoa which stimulates pleasure centers in the brain!  Cocoa contains phenylethylamine (PEA) which helps you feel motivated, energized, and satisfied. Try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 4 tablespoons truvia or stevia
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (be sure to use the kind in a carton because it is pasteurized and safe to eat uncooked)

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender (I use the Ninja blender)
  • Process until smooth (you will have to scrape down the sides a few times)
  • To make a pudding, either eat right away or chill in refrigerator
  • To make an ice cream, freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer’s directions

This makes 2 servings that are about 145 calories each and almost entirely protein.

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Confessions of a Former Cardio Queen

March 22      I envision myself with this post standing up in front of a room full of people saying, “Hi.  My name is Natalie and I am a cardio addict.”.  (Much like an alcoholic or drug addict)  Now, I obviously do not believe a love of moderate intensity, long duration cardio is a serious problem like alcoholism or drug addiction.  But I do believe, from my personal experience and the scientific evidence, that choosing to perform long periods of aerobic activity on a regular basis has negative effects on a person’s body and is not effective for long-term fat loss.

My love for moderate intensity, long duration cardio began in high school when I started running cross-country.  My favorite cross-country practices were the long distant runs that were usually around 13 miles.  Then, fast forward to my senior year of high school when I came down with Mono and had to quit my high school soccer team.  That was when I joined a gym and began a love affair with the Stairmaster.  In my late teens and early twenties, I would often spend at least an hour on the Stairmaster a day and sometimes more.  I did not do it because I wanted to loose weight.  It was almost a form of meditation for me and I also liked the “runner’s high”.  During these years, I also started weight training.  This led to me competing in natural bodybuilding in my twenties and even more cardio to lean down for the shows.  I continued this routine of heavy lifting, long duration cardio, and hours in the gym until I began having children at the age of thirty.

At that time, things started changing.  Due to my children, I began having less time to spend in the gym.  But instead of decreasing the time I was spending with both lifting and cardio, I kept doing cardio and did very little weight training.  Also, I felt so poorly during my pregnancies that I did not feel up to the effort that resistance training required.  After each subsequent pregnancy, it became increasing difficult to return to resistance training.  So, by the time I had my third child, I was only doing moderate intensity cardio and for up to two hours a day.

This was also the point when this former cardio queen’s body began to respond in a negative manner to this exercise routine.  These are the major things that I noticed:

  • fluid retention (noticeable in my hands, feet, and calves)
  • increased episodes of illness with increased recovery time
  • nagging injuries and aches/pains
  • increased appetite and cravings
  • decreased fulfillment from the cardio and no longer getting a “runner’s high”

So, are you wondering what happened to me?  I did at the time, but now I understand that low to moderate intensity, long duration cardio elevated the levels of cortisol in my body.  Without the presence of certain other hormones (which will be discussed below), cortisol increases muscle loss in arms and legs, results in excess fat around the belly, results in water retention, and interrupts proper insulin usage.  The bottom line is that even though I was sweating buckets, I was retaining fluid.  I would wake up with swollen fingers and have swollen ankles and feet by the end of the day.  I also had a slower resting metabolism due to decreased muscle mass.  You may be wondering why it took so many years for this situation to develop.  There are two answers to this question.  First, the long-term effects of a cortisol dominant state often take years to develop and second, stress also increases cortisol levels.  When I first began my life as a cardio queen, I was in high school and did not have a lot of life stresses.  But as I got older, had children, worked, and started homeschooling; I definitely increased my stress levels exponentially.  This dramatic increase in stress further exasperated my cortisol issues.

So, how did I change things?  Approximately 2.5 years ago, I dropped the long duration cardio and switched to resistance circuit training and short duration, high intensity cardio.  I was spending at most 5 hours a week exercising (compared to up to 14 before) and within a short time, was noticeably leaner.  I also had more energy, less illness, and significantly less cravings.  I changed my routine for two reasons.  First, my old way of doing things was not working anymore and was making me miserable.  Second, I had learned about the hormonal affect exercise has.

Here is the scoop on hormones and exercise:

Earlier in the post, I explained the effect that excessive cortisol has on the body.  But in the presence of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, the result is extremely different.  The combination of these three hormones results in the blocking of muscle breakdown, release of belly fat, and enhanced fat burning.  The combination of high intensity interval training and resistance exercise causes a release of all of these three hormones and sets the stage for improved and sustainable body composition.

With all the knowledge that I have, you would think that I would never turn to long duration cardio again.  But I think I will always be a cardio queen at heart.  I have to check myself at times, especially at stressful times, to make sure I choose intellectually what form of exercise to perform, instead of choosing emotionally.  I only wish that I had learned all of this in my twenties, instead of my thirties!  But better late than never!

So, if anyone of you out there love to do your cardio but are no longer getting results, why don’t you change up your exercise choices and see what happens.  You can always go back to your old ways, but you will never know if something works better if you do not try it!

Apple Bake

   March 19 001     I am always looking for new, easy, fat loss recipes, and this one is a tasty one.  It is high in protein, uses a small amount of apple as a carb source, and has a serving of healthy fats.  This recipe would be great for breakfast or even a snack.  It can be eaten warm while it is puffy or at room temperature or cold (it settles when it cools, but is still really good).  You can leave the nuts out, but they do add a really nice crunch.  I bet you could even use a different fruit, such as blueberries or pears, if you wanted to.  The recipe is for a single serving but you could easily double, triple, or quadruple it and serve it to your family.  If you do this, I would still bake it in single serving sizes or the cooking time will vary.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 of a medium apple chopped
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (you can use the flavor of your choice, I used peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon stevia if desired

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a ramekin or loaf pan with cooking spray (You can use what ever shape you want. Just make sure there is at least 1.5 inches of space left at the top because the mixture puffs.)
  3. Mix egg whites, protein powder, cinnamon, and stevia in a bowl
  4. Add apples and nuts
  5. Pour into baking dish
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until done
  7. Eat warm, at room temperature, or cold

Makes one serving

Try it out and let me know what you think.

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