Friday Favorites: Protein Shakes!

About two years ago, I became a vegetarian.  I was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy by a nephrologist who said point blank she did not have the experience to care for me and for my illness.  She said that she had not treated anyone my age with this kidney disease.  “People live their lives with this associating it with other ailments.  We usually diagnose IgA when someone is in kidney failure.”

Kidney failure.  I left her office repeating those two words and completely set on keeping my body functioning so that I could avoid a future of dialysis and doctors. I began to do some research.  First off, I wanted to find a reputable nephrologist more suited to my situation.  Secondly, I needed to find ways that I could manage this autoimmune disease as naturally as possible.  It took me months before I found a doctor I could trust, but only a few weeks before I came to a quick conclusion: cut out all animal protein. I did not research enough, though, and spent a year and a half making nonstop green smoothies and feeling tired, thin, and bloated.

Once I landed my new nephrologist and became pregnant with Kellen, I realized that this lifestyle did not fit me or my body.  Yes, I experienced fewer episodes of IgA, but I didn’t feel all that well on the day-to-day.  I experienced migraines and IBS, issues I’ve had my whole life, but in more severe ways than I had before.  I also felt especially weak within the first trimester of my pregnancy.  Suddenly, I wanted a hamburger.  I craved chicken. I salivated over steak.  I talked to my doctor and together we decided that vegetarianism or even pescaterianism wasn’t working for me.  Once I began eating more protein, my body felt stronger and more functional, my headaches and IBS episodes subsided, and I felt less tired–well, as “less tired” as a pregnant mom of a 4 year old and 2 year old can feel in the heat of the summer.

Adding protein back into my diet, at first, only meant the following: eating meat or poultry at dinner.  I was still eating boxed cereal or Dunkin Donuts muffins for breakfast, peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch, and countless carbs, fruits, and Craisins for snacks. So yes, I felt better, but I still didn’t feel well–I just didn’t quite realize.  Towards the end of December, over a month after Kellen was born and a few weeks before I embarked on my first fitness bootcamp, I gave a morning shake with protein powder a try and, slowly but surely, I noticed a change.  The most immediate change was that by having including protein in my breakfast, I felt fuller longer and snacked less.  This definitely assisted in my post-baby weight loss, but that is a small win.  The big win is that this began to change my habits.  I started researching the importance of protein and the importance of clean eating and these two actions have led to months of health, energy, and fitness.

cafe latte

Enjoying a protein shake daily can benefit you, like it has benefited me while helping me reach my macronutrient goals each day.  I was hesitant at first.  I’m sure you are as well. I was not easily sold on the cost or on the ingredients, but I did my research and spoke to so many customers that I finally gave Shakeology a try.  Shakeology is loaded with dense nutrition and super foods and contains so many vitamins and minerals, it replaces my multivitamin. I feel energized from the first sip and feel full for hours.  I am nursing, so I do not use this as a meal replacement, though many people do and with great results.  Instead, I drink my shake as one of two breakfasts or as a post-workout boost.  What do I mean?  I typically wake up at 4:45, do my workout for the day, and then get the family ready for school.  I make my shake then and sip it as I drive to the school where I teach.  When I have my prep period later that morning, I’ll enjoy some overnight oats, but I am not nearly as ravenous for that as I was prior to drinking my shakes. When I workout after school or in the evening, I usually have my ShakeO immediately after.

I want to share with you my top 10 favorite protein shake recipes.  Feel free to give them a try and to make whatever tweaks are necessary for your dietary concerns or needs.  I do use unsweetened almond milk in every shake, but you can easily sub-out the milk of your choice, water, or even coconut water. I also blend mine in my Nutibullet for about 45-60 seconds each.  You can use a blender, a Vitamix, whatever!  Adjust the consistency with as much or as little ice as you’d like.  The more ice, the thicker your shake will be.  You can also make these at home and enjoy at lunch at work and expect it to remain delicious.  I’ve done this many times!

Try a few and let me know your experiences. 🙂  Leave your favorite recipe in the comments.

  1. The Go-To: This is my classic recipe.  I would drink this every day if I could, but sometimes I am down an ingredient or just force myself to try something else.
  • 1 scope Cafe Latte Shakeology
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut or almond butter (or hazelnut chocolate spread when I’m feeling so inclined!)
  • 5 ice cubes

girl scout

2. The Girl Scout: I recently discovered this one while scrolling through some old Shakeology posts. Oh my heavens.  This is a Thin Mint in liquid form.  You will LOVE this one. I promise.

  • 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 banana, frozen and slightly thawed
  • ½ cup spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ⅛ tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 5 ice cubes

3. The Healthy Mickey D’s: This one is very similar to the Girl Scout, and just as tasty.  This ruled my March.  It is bshamrockasically a McDonald’s Shamrock shake without the guilt, with lots of super foods, and with a green color that does not come from food coloring.

  • 1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 banana, frozen and slightly thawed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ⅛ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ¼ avocado (optional)

4. The Beach Babe: I do not have a taste for alcohol (though I love red wine, Blue Moon, and Corona!), but this shake tastes like it could have rum in it and all would be okay with the world!

  • 1 scoop tropical strawberry vegan Shakeology
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 5 ice cubes
  • ⅛ tsp coconut extract (optional–or use coconut water instead!)

5. The Healthy Starbucks: I am a basic PSL girl.  It’s true.  I love brown boots and sweaters and sipping on my Starbucks with my aviators on.  This is a worthy replacement–for equal cost, fewer calories, and countless health benefits.

  • 1 scoop Cafe Latte Shakeology
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup all-natural pumpkin puree
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp all-natural maple syrup
  • ¼ cup raw pecans
  • 5 ice cubes

6. The Swirl: This was inspired by my girl Autumn Calabrese.  If she drinks it, yeah, I’ll drink it.

  • ½ scoop vanilla Shakeology
  • ½ scoop chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup spinach
  • 5 ice cubes

7. The PB&J: This can be made many different ways, or even with vanilla powder and fresh/frozen berries.  Here is my favorite way:

  • 1 scoop strawberry Shakeology
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  • 5 ice cubes

8. The Chocolate-Covered Strawberry: This was Valentine’s Day inspired and has made it’s way into my regular rotation ever since. choc straw

  • 1 scoop vegan chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (for a milkshake feel, fresh berries work, too!)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural chocolate hazelnut spread (It was Valentine’s Day! This is optional.)
  • 5 ice cubes

9. The Blueberry Frap: This seems like an odd one, but it is delicious.  To be real for a minute, though, do check yourself in the mirror after drinking this one.  I find blueberries in my shakes mean blueberries in my teeth!

  • 1 scoop Cafe Latte Shakeology
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 ice cubes

10. The Birthday Cake: I already said I am a basic girl.  That means I am required to like birthday cake flavored things as well–not just pumpkin spice. 😉  This one is a treat.  Enjoy it on your birthday or on the birthday of someone you know, which might mean rather frequently!

  • 1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sugar-free pudding mix (flavor of your choice)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • Blend, then top with a dash of sprinkles. Why not?

If you are interested in Shakeology, there are many flavors–as you can tell by the recipes–and many options for making your shake your own.  Shakeology comes in one-month supplies of either 30 scoops in a bag or 24-packets in a box, and you can mix and match flavors.  If you aren’t sure which flavor works for you, you can try the 7-day sample pack: one of each flavor for $35, plus tax and shipping.  Follow the links for your healthiest, most yummiest meals of the day!  Or, fill in the contact form below with any of your questions, and I will respond in no time with more insights.





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4 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Protein Shakes!

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