Red Velvet Protein Shake [Recipe] + Santa Speedo Run

I ran down the street in my underwear this weekend.

It was Christmas underwear…. which makes it totally acceptable…

Atlanta holds a Santa Speedo Run every year.  I’ve always been curious and had friends who’ve run… but this year curiosity killed the cat.  I paid money to run down Peachtree Street in my undies.  Thankfully, it was a pretty warm day and the “race” was only 1.5 miles.  And it was for charity!  It was a fun way to stay active and donate to a good cause on the holidays!

ATL Santa Speedo Run… 

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Halloween Wednesday

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

It’s the only holiday not masquerading as a religious or national holiday.

There’s something in the air this time of year.  It’s exciting – they weather is nice, people are energetic (it’s a massive relief from the Southern summer heat and humidity)… and who doesn’t like to pretend to be someone else?

The “yard art” along the Beltline is even dressed up for Halloween!

Beltline ghosts

The family dog, Honey, is also festive.  My little sister brought her by my office for a visit yesterday.  My socks matched her candy corn handkerchief.

Can you believe she’s 13?!  Cutest Corgi-Golden “puppy” ever.

Halloween Honey

… 

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Blueberry Cheesecake Protein Shake + WIAW

Water makes me pee.

As it should.

I drink a TON of water.  In addition to it being a standard part of any competitor’s diets, I live in the South and it’s August.  Cold water is like gold.  There are many benefits of drinking a lot of water – I did a post on it.

5 Benefits to Drinking Water

Someone commented on last Wednesday’s post asking how many times I got to the bathroom with all the water I drink.  I’m sure she was kidding… but I took the opportunity to count.

Yesterday I peed 15 times…. 

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Healthy Office Snacks + WIAW

My office is a bar.

A snack bar.  The brewery is next door.

Eating healthy on the job doesn’t have to be hard… or boring! I keep my office stocked with a few things that can accent any meal I bring (or buy, in an emergency).  

Healthy Eating on the Job
  • Flavor Shelf – red pepper flakes, cinnamon, NuNaturals cocoa syrup, nutritional yeast, coffee, and solo cups.  (The cups are my boss’ – I keep my Georgia Tech Tervis on hand.)
  • Water – I drink at least a gallon a day
  • Snack Basket – stuffed with Quest bars (got the boss hooked), roasted chickpeas, jerky, and EmergenC
  • Fridge – tupperware meals from home, mustard, more of the Oatmeal Cookie Protein Balls, and almond milk*
  • Other things I keep around: nut butter, hot sauce, rice cakes, and an “emergency” frozen meal.
*The coffee is a great pick-me-up treat when combined with the chocolate syrup, cinnamon, and almond milk!

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This WIAW is my version of fast food.  I meal prepped on Sunday.  Since I couldn’t stand very long on my blackened ankle, I knocked it out quick and easy. #twss

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

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3-Ingredient Lemon Baked Shrimp + WIAW

Shrimp is a relatively new love.

 

Not to be confused with being shrimpy.

I refused to eat fish until a couple of years ago.  Then I had a bite of swordfish (the steak of the sea – seriously) and it was all over.  It took  me still longer to move beyond fish and eat crab, shrimp, lobster, and mussels.

These days I can’t get enough shrimp.  Whole Foods sells it already deveined with the tails removed, which is perfect for me since I’m still slightly squeamish towards raw fish.  Raw chicken grosses me out too, but that’s another story.

Lemon Baked Shrimp

 

This is the easiest meal you’ll ever make. All you have to do is lay down the lemon, dump the shrimp out, and sprinkle it with seasoning.  You could probably make the entire thing without ever having touched a shrimp (which is awesome if you’re squeamish like I am).

When you eat this, you can also eat the lemon.  If you have a particularly sour one that might not be good, but they tend to be sweeter in the summer.  I loved it against the spicy Asian seasoning I used!

Recipe at the bottom. 

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This WIAW I’m back from Colorado but OUT of groceries.  Desperation has set in…

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

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Fridge Meditation + WIAW

My intentions are good.

 

Most of the time anyway.

I start off strong with an epic trip to the farmer’s market, intending to do a fantastic food prep that evening.  Then I opt to go out for Mexican and margaritas, telling myself it can wait one day.  The next day I did do a great food prep… but still ate a smoothie for dinner after a particularly hot workout.

There is also the problem of breakfast.  First thing every morning and last thing every evening, I spend a solid 5 minutes meditating.  By meditating, I mean staring into fridge.

5 min fridge

And I wonder why I can’t leave the house on time…

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This WIAW is was a valiant attempt and following my prep plan.  Except for breakfast.  And dinner.  And dessert.  But I killed it at work, which – let’s be real – is the whole reason I bother prepping.

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Read on for my normal (for me) eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

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Blend Your [Growing Naturals] Protein

My Blends are Strange.

 

But oh-so-good.

Today I am in Utah for the annual Blend Retreat!  I look forward to this retreat all year… and I feel especially lucky because I get to represent Growing Naturals again this year.  I wish I could share them with everyone (but scroll on down for a sweet freebie offer).  You should all come to Blend next year!  If you can’t be there this year, be sure to follow along on Twitter and Instagram for the live action.

Last year they were a huge hit with the other bloggin’ ladies, but here are a few reasons I personally love them:

Reasons I love Growing Naturals:

  1. Not chalky
  2. Great flavor (not fake-tasting)
  3. Super-clean (vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free!)
  4. Low in sodium, sugar, and carbs
  5. Their staff rocks – they are passionate about their product and committed to health!

 

Growing Naturals truly is my favorite protein to use. I love to use it in all the things!  It’s fantastic raw in smoothies like my favorite Mocha Beet Frapp and Carrot Cake Batter Shake, or baked into Plantain Ginger Bread.

Plantain Ginger Protein Bread

 

Rather than one of my own #strangebutgood creations this week, I wanted to feature some favorites from my Blends who use Growing Naturals!

My “original” Blend, Sarah, is the first blogger I met in real life.  We will miss her this year, but will celebrate her strangeness today with her Strawberry Pineapple Cilantro Smoothie:

Strawberry Pineapple Cilantro Smoothie

 

Strange creation #2 comes from a Blend who I basically invited myself to visit… having never met her… in Switzerland!

Lucie is one amazing woman.  I wish she could make it to Blend, but I guess coming from Europe would be a little pricey.  Instead, we should all make her Green Protein Pancakes in her honor! ;)

Green Protein Pancakes

 

Last (but certainly not least) is a Blend I will get to see tonight!  My brother from another mother, Lindsay!
This lady knows more about fueling with food and gut health than anyone I know.  I’m so glad she’s agree to share 3 strange but healthy recipes today!

Grain-Free Superfruit Bread

Superfruit Bread

Orange Dream Machine Smoothie

Orange Dream Machine Smoothie

 

Mexican Chocolate & Walnut Healthy Balls… errr… Bites

I have made these, only I subbed sunflower seeds for the walnuts.  They rocked my balls off.

Mexican Chocolate & Walnut Healthy Bites

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

If you’re not a blogger, you can still share your recipes on Instagram with the #strangebutgood hashtag.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



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Want to try Growing Naturals for yourself?  Sign up to be a Growing Groupie and enter discount code sprint2thetable at checkout for a free bottle of Simply Soapberry (their natural laundry detergent) and a free 1lb container of protein powder. Offer expires 09/06/2014.

What is your favorite protein powder recipe?  

What was the last recipe you tried from a Blend?  (Blend = Blogger + Friend)

 

Protein Lessons + WIAW

Learning lessons is a theme in my life lately.

 

Some I’d rather not learn, but that’s another story.

Despite having done this cleanse 3 times before, I’m learning a whole new lesson with this one.  It’s about protein.  I had NO idea how much energy and strength I was getting from all the protein I took in!  The first 10 days of the cleanse are meat-free.  It also eliminates common allergens, so I can’t even replace that protein with soy, dairy or eggs.

I have a delicious, clean pea protein powder from Growing Naturals that accounts for most of my intake.  I also have some from quinoa, lentils, and seeds… but that’s really not much.  With the “rules” of the cleanse, I end up eating about half my normal amount of protein and twice the carbs.  Carbs give energy, right?  Notsomuch.  I’m tired.  I’m sleeping more and having to lift lighter.  Apparently carbs give energy when you have enough protein.

back/tri workout

I did get through my back and tri workout.  Fueled by dates and tahini, I took a moment to twerk in the empty squat rack for Arman and Lucie.  Refueled with a protein smoothie made with strawberries, raspberries, basil, coconut, and spinach.

 

Lesson two is hunger.  I’m a bottomless veggie pit.  I eat stacks of vegetables (and fruit), but they don’t have the same staying power that protein does.  Kudos to the vegan body builders out there… I have no idea how they do it!

Curious about protein?  Click here for a piece I wrote for Growing Naturals on the importance of protein before and after a workout.  And then check out these 30 High Protein Breakfasts from many of my FitFluential friends!

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This WIAW is the end of my first week on the 21 day cleanse.  I’m definitely in a good groove, but anxious to add some lean protein in on Friday!

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

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Strange But Good: Hemp Protein

Lately it seems all of my friends are moving to Colorado.

 

For reasons that are not hemp-related.

I want to move to Colorado too – not for the recent legalization, but for the healthy vibe people have and the amazing skiing.  In the meantime, I’ll gladly enjoy my hemp down here in Georgia thanks to Onnit.

Onnit sent over an awesome package of their hemp-based products for me to try out via a FitFluential campaign.  (FYI: hemp will not get you high and it won’t cause you to fail a drug test).  I received Onnit’s Hemp FORCE in Cocoa-Maca and Vanilla-Acai, the Walnut Almond Cashew & Macadamia Cacao Cherry Nut Butters, and a canister of Earth Grown Nutrients.

Onnit

 

I’d been lucky enough to meet a couple of the Onnit team members and try them out at the Blend Retreat last year.  Their Walnut Almond Cashew Nut Butter left a lasting impression (I may have absconded with a jar).

Needless to say, I didn’t waste anytime devouring opening that jar.  It was fabulous atop a #strangebutgood protein cake for breakfast!  This creation was based on the protein loaf Debbie linked up.

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My favorite was the Coca Maca.  I live for chocolate.  I mean… it’s all about the health benefits!  Cocoa in antioxidants and helps regulate blood sugar levels.  It’s even thought to relax sore muscles.  Many of you know about maca already; it helps boost the endocrine system and libido.

I’ve been using a scoop mixed with almond milk and a little cinnamon in healthy desserts.  I mix it together in a teeny bowl and microwave it for 10-12 seconds to make a hot, fudg-y topping.

This one was particularly good – sweet potato cubes, a diced Arctic Zero ice cream bar, and the aforementioned hot fudge.  Strange?  Yes.  Good?  Most definitely.

Sweet Potato Coco Maca Protein Bowl

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The Vanilla-Acai protein powder surprised me.  I’m normally not a big fan of fruity-protein powders but this one had a fantastic taste – not fake or processed.

I couldn’t resist making a #strangebutgood combo with it (recipe at the bottom).  It has tofu in it.  Don’t freak out.  If you’ve ever tried my Carrot Cake Batter Shake, you know that tofu makes for an amazingly thick ‘n creamy smoothie.  Besides texture, I added it here for the extra protein.  The only downside to this protein powder is that a serving is only 15g of protein.

Vanilla Acai Hemp Protein Smoothie (Bowl)

Vanilla Acai Protein Smoothie (Bowl)

 

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamx) and blend until smooth.

Transfer to a cup or bowl, top as desired, and enjoy!

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



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Don’t take my word for it – try it for yourself here using coupon code FitFood10 for 10% off any Onnit product!

Do you like hemp?  (The protein.  Don’t incriminate yourself. ;) )

What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten this week?

 

Sexy Food + WIAW

Food is sexy.

 

Food porn is a real thing.

But what about food costumes?  Forget the “traditional” sexy cat.  This article brought to light a new concept: sexy food Halloween costumes.

sexy sriracha costume

With costumes like this, sriracha has no need to invest in advertising!

Then we have bacon.  Whats sexier than a salty piece of meat?

sexy bacon costume

 

Sure, they’re good for a laugh… but would you really wear one of these costumes?  I guess a lot of people would.  If they didn’t make money, no one would sell them!

GiGi clearly thinks salad qualifies as sexy. (← hilarious video!)

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This WIAW I am 10 days from my next figure competition!  My food may not be sexy in the traditional sense of the word, but it tasted pretty good! :)

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else delicious creations!

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Breakfast:

As usual, I started the day I with my Aminos and ACV morning cocktail I swear it’s more energizing than coffee.

My breakfast was a new effort to have a quick hot meal in the morning.  I normally make my oats the old-fashioned way in a pot, but I decided to try a (partial) overnight protein-right creation.  Overnight oats, microwaved in the morning with egg whites.  

It worked really well!  Even better was the almost-empty Nuttzo jar I transferred it to.  Easy to eat in the car and even more decadently delicious when I reached the hot, creamy, nutty butter at the bottom.  Food porn at its best!

Peanut Coffee Overnight Oats

Peanut-Coffee Oats in a Jar

  • 1/4 C rolled oats
  • 1/2 C coffee (I used peanut butter mocha flavor)
  • 1 T peanut flour*
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Stevia or other sweetener, to taste
  • 1/2 C egg whites
  • Almost-empty nut butter jar (optional, but highly recommended)

 

In a small bowl mix oatmeal and spices.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, add egg whites and microwave to cook.  I cooked mine in 3 30 second intervals, removing to stir each time so eggs blended in rather than scrambled

Pour into a jar, if using, and top as desired.  I used strawberries.

 *Peanut flour from iHerb. Use discount code USO924 for $5-10 off your order!

 

Mid-Morning Snack:

I have a serious addiction to my Chocolate Beet Protein Shake.  Perfect post workout cool down, topped with rice cakes.

Protein shakes are great to make in advance and freeze to take to-go during the week.  I pop it in the microwave on defrost of about a minute and a half and it’s the perfect spoon-eating consistency.

chocolate beet protein shake

 

Lunch:

I’ve been craving red meat lately, so I bought super lean ground beef and mixed it with pico de gallo to make burgers.

Eaten atop an arugula and cucumber salad with a side of cassava (yuca) chips.  ZooPals ears make for the perfect sexy chip holders. 

burger and yuca chips

 

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

I tried another new fish from the farmer’s market this week: perch.  It’s pretty commonly found (I think), but I’ve never chosen it before.  I love its richness, but perch is a small fish so there were quite a few teeny bones.  At least I didn’t have to floss…

The veggies were a pre-roasted mix of carrots, purple sweet potato, asparagus, zucchini, and garlic.  Eating the rainbow is sexy, no?

perch and veggies

 

Dinner:

Dinner was a quick saute of white asparagus, turban squashsugar peas, and sage in lemon juice, coconut oil, and paprika, along with baked chicken (made during Sunday food prep) and some unpictured almonds.

chicken and veggies

 

Dessert:

No more diary before my competition means no more Greek yogurt bowl desserts.  And no more peanut butter (goodbye, Nuttzo).

This isn’t going to stop me from having dessert though!  I made a Banana-Peanut Butter Mugcake using peanut flour and banana.  I topped it with cocoa powder sauce.  What’s sexier than a peanut butter, banana, and chocolate ménage à trois?

Banana Peanut Butter Mugcake

Banana Peanut Butter Mugcake

  • 2 T peanut flour (or peanut butter)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp no sodium baking powder
  • 1/2 small banana, mashed (~50g)
  • 1 T unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 T egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • ~4-5 drops NuNaturals vanilla liquid stevia
  • Optional: cocoa powder sauce

 

Place dry ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Add banana and wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

Transfer to a large, greased (I use PAM) coffee mug and microwave for ~1 min.

Tip the cake out onto a plate and top as desired.  My cake was topped with cocoa powder sauce (cocoa + cinnamon + stevia + water), cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes.

Makes 1 cake.

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Don’t forget to enter the thinkThin protein bar giveaway – contest ends at midnight!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Do you prep breakfast in advance?  What is your favorite?