I made these quick muffins and recovery drink to have on hand after my intense MommiesRfit Bootcamp workouts and after my training runs. (As Tony says, “The recovery drinks, that’s why I do the workouts.”) The muffins are about 50% carbs and 20% protein, the drink 100% carbs, (49 g carbs, plus sodium,potassium, and vitamins). A serving of the drink and one muffin total just about 300 calories.
To celebrate what feels like the start of Summer in VA, I whipped this up in the blender after a balmy 85 degree morning in the sun. Yummy and refreshing, it gets a whipped froth on top from the canned coconut milk.
I’ve had clients and friends use this ‘recipe’ for their whole families; as a quick breakfast or yummy lunch on the run, for kids before games, active teens, sick elderly relatives etc. This is just a variation of our favorite, beneficial ingredients. You can read more about why I like this protein powder here.
There are so many types of Protein Powders on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide what is best for you. You want something easy to digest, as your body uses the amino acids in protein to continuously rebuild enzymes, tissue, hormones, and other important molecules. Did you know most protein powders are created using chemical extraction? Many protein powders have been mechanically separated, heated to high temperatures, and processed using chemicals like hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide which can damage the amino acids like immunoglobulins (antibodies), and glycomacropeptides (help calcium absorbtion & boost immune systems). Just like with any food, the closer to the original form it is, the healthier, more nutrient rich and cleaner burning it is for your body. Something that tastes great would be nice too, right? In this post I have reviewed and pooled information on some great products that will help make your protein powder choosing easy and tasty!
Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Chocolate
Sunwarrior makes awesome stuff. All their proteins have 98.2 assimilation rate and are about 83% protein. One scoop of the chocolate is 15g of protein, 80 calories, 1 g of fat, 5g of carbs and only 1g sugar. And it’s YUMMY! I love it in my Mocha-Flax shakes (below) or just mixed until creamy with 1/4 cup almond milk like a protein pudding (or heat for 10 seconds and its like a warm pudding mouse mmm). Ingredients: Whole brown rice protein (Bio-Fermented Raw Sprouted Whole GrainBrown Rice Protein), Cocoa, Pectin, Xantham gum (Natural Bio-Fermented Stabilizer), and Stevia (all natural plant-based sweetener).
“By using a unique natural wholistic bio-fermentation process and by combining the sprouted endosperm and the bran from raw sprouted whole grain brown rice, (the result of this amazing process is) a massive increase in Lysine and all 9 essential and non-essential amino acids forming a perfectly balanced amino acid profile. At 80% pure protein, Sunwarrior has created the highest and first raw complete vegan, hypo-allergenic superfood protein on the market. Not only does it taste superb but it blends exceptionally well and is easy to digest. In fact our protein is so easy to assimilate that it has 98% correlation rate to mother’s milk and a 98.2% digestion efficiency rating making it one of the highest digestibility and efficiency ratings of any other protein source. Sunwarrior Protein is also naturally rich in Vitamins and Minerals and contains high amounts of Antioxidants, Tocopherols, Tocotrienols and other essential nutrients — such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron and potassium. Using Sunwarrior Increases the efficacy and absorption of vitamins and minerals. There has been a direct correlation between the use of Sunwarrior Protein and the absorption of vitamins. Because Sunwarrior Protein is so digestible it can be easily assimilated by infants, the elderly and adults — The World Health Organization may be using Sunwarrior Protein in the future to feed malnourished individuals because of the hypoallergenic profile and superior absorption that Sunwarrior has been shown to have.There is currently a clinical trial which shows promise that Sunwarrior Protein aids in the absorption of vitamins in Aids patients. There has been a direct correlation between the use of Sunwarrior Protein and the absorption of vitamins in Aids patients where other proteins do not provide such synergistic affects during the intake. Weight Loss – Clinical studies in Japan have shown that by providing Rice Protein as a staple in a diet it can act as a weight control vehicle. This is especially because of superior absorption rates. Cholesterol – Clinical studies have shown promise that Sunwarrior has cholesterol lowering potential and the USDA is currently using Sunwarrior in trials to see if it may help control high blood pressure.”
Sunwarror is our favorite. So much so, that I joined their affiliate program. If you’d like to order some, you can find it here.
NutriBiotic kindly sent me a full size 22 oz. of their Nutritionally Balanced Drink Mix. “NutriBiotic’s naturally flavored Vegetarian Vanilla Bean ProZone is more than a supplement or “meal replacement” product. ProZone is formulated to contain the performance enhancing and healthy living balance of essential macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.” 1 serving has 14g protein, 184 calories, 6g fat, 19 carbs, and 12g sugar. Ingredients: Enzymatically processed rice protein from whole grain, sprouted brown rice; pure crystalline fructose; medium chain triglycerides; natural vanilla flavor; guar gum; and xanthan gum.
“If you are on a weight-loss program, you may use ProZone Nutritionally Balanced Drink Mixes to replace two meals and one snack each day. ProZone can help create and sustain optimum metabolic function, which helps your body produce the right ratio of insulin to glucagon, so you’ll burn excess calories, release stored body fat, build lean muscle, and lose excess pounds.”
We thought this was pretty tasty and blended fine. When I tasted the first time I had to re-read the label to reassure myself it really was all natural vanilla and sugar as it tasted so sweet…we now tend to mix in a quarter to a half scoop of plain Pea or Rice protein with this one to cut the sweetness.
Living Fuel graciously sent me their full-sized can of their Living Fuel, “A revolutionary Protein and Fiber Formula derived from healthy plant sources, with 21 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes”. I definitely think Living Fuel is on to something including their own natural sweetener blend and pro&prebiotics in all of their products (they also make the CocaChia bars and snack mix). A serving has 21g protein, 140 calories, 4g fat, 10g carbs, and 1g sugar. Ingredients: Enzymatically and Mechanically Extracted Protein from non-GMO Organic Brown Rice & non-GMO Yellow Pea Proprietary Complex, Stabilized Brown Rice Bran, Xylitol (from organic hardwood trees), Natural Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), Mannitol, Organic Vanilla Extract and Stevia Proprietary Complex.
This is a great product with healthful, naturally derived ingredients but must be mixed with something else (unlike the Sunwarrior which is great on its own) because of the flavor or lack thereof. Pea protein can tend to have a chalky mouth-feel and unpleasant play-dough smell and taste, so just mix it in the blender to make a fruit smoothie and you won’t notice!
This was one of the first vegan protein powders I bought and I still have some left…like I said above, unflavored Pea protein has a distinct taste and smell so I don’t use it by itself. I usually mix this one with the vanilla or put small amounts (1/4-1/2 scoop in bars, oatmeal etc.) It has 28g protein, 130 calories, 2g fat, 1 carb, and 0g sugar. Ingredient: 100% Pure Non-GMO Pea Protein Isolate[from yellow peas (Pisum sativum)]. Allergen-Free.
“Nuun is a portable sports drink mix that contains the necessary electrolytes to keep you properly hydrated without all the sugars like most sports drinks. It’s used by cyclists, triathletes, runners, hikers, yoga bods, just about anyone who’s active and wants to stay properly hydrated. Drop a Nuun in a bottle of water and you’re good to go.”
Nuun kindly sent me 5 different flavor tubes of their electrolyte drink tabs and 2 water bottles to review. The little recyclable plastic tubes they came in are the perfect size to slip in your purse or running/hiking pack. The tabs themselves remind me of large sweet tarts, natural pastel colored using B2 & beet juice and scented lightly with each flavor. They contain four essential electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium; and vitamin C & B2. Electrolytes are important for your muscles to contract correctly, so you don’t develop cramps or muscle fatigue. In our average day, most of us do not require added electrolytes. However, for strenuous workouts with much sweat loss lasting more than 2 hours an electrolyte like Nuun would be a good idea. You put one tab in 16 oz. of water, watch it fizz and drink.
We found that for our everyday tastes or tasks like working in the yard, usually half to a fourth a tab in a full bottle of water is a good amount. They even have a notch for breaking in half (think like on Rx pills). They have zero sugar, or carbs (great for my diabetic friends and their children), are under 8 calories and do help keep you hydrated. For workouts at the gym including lifting, Step classes, Yoga, running and Zumba, or working at the barn & riding for a few hours in 90-something degree weather I found a full tab was great. I noticed less muscle soreness and less cramping which I tend to get in my stomach, under the left rib-cage when I run. They also are good in portable hiking packs/bladders like Camelbacs because with no sugar and a clean (not gritty) texture they won’t clog or inhibit the growth of yucky things. They would be awesome for hiking/pack trips if you used chlorine tablets to clean your water too (now I would prefer our MSR Autoflow Gravity Filter, but that review is later: ).
The flavors I tried were Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon-Tea, Tropical, Tri-berry and Lemon-Lime. My favorite was the Strawberry Lemonade and Tri-berry flavors. My friend liked the Lemon-Lime best. They do not compare in taste to anything I have tried before, definitively not like a sickeningly sweet sports drink or flavored water like Propel. They have an almost effervescent taste and similar to a less sweet, watered down drink mix.
The only thing I’m not crazy about is some of the other ingredients including sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, and acesulfame. I think there are plenty of other natural ingredients (Stevia etc.) that could replace the extra overly processed ones.
Nuun does make “U Natural Hydration Tabs” for lower intensity or everyday activities which have more Vitamins and minerals added and less “other” ingredients:
Stevia Leaf Extract
Other ingredients: dextrose, citric acid, natural flavors, vegetable juice color, sesame oil.”
Overall, I think these are a good product, but I would challenge Nuun to work on modifying their ingredient list to less “other” ingredients and more natural, whole ones (similar to their “U Natural Tabs” minus the dextrose).
A tube costs about $6 and includes 12 tabs.
Let me know if you’ve tried them and if you notice a difference in your performance, less cramping etc. and what is your favorite flavor?