Two things my husband consistently gives me a hard time about are eating protein and being dehydrated. While these don’t sound like hilarious topics, perhaps I have been a bit dramatic about them in the past. I NEVER drink enough water so I do say I am dehydrated more than your average person. In fact, if I ever write a memoir, it will mostly like be titled, “Dehydrated.”
I also have a bit of an issue, which after polling many husbands, I understand I am not alone, that when I get hungry, I can be a little, um, how do I say this nicely?, bitchy. In my defense, I completely admit when it is happening and I have evolved as a bitchy, hungry lady where I now know when it is coming on and I kindly inform my husband that if I don’t get food SOON, I will no longer be rational. I don’t even have to say a word though because the minute he hears the tone of my voice and the word “hungry” in the same sentence, he kicks it into gear and takes action on the situation. This has been going on long enough that I have learned how to not only handle the situation when it arrives but also to prevent it from happening. The key to prevention: protein!
I used to eat things like bagels and cream cheese for breakfast and think it was adequate. When I found myself eating my lunch before 10am, I began to wonder why. After much trial and error, I realized that I needed more protein in my diet. I started making a point of eating protein in every meal, especially for breakfast and it made a really big difference. Now my breakfasts consist of toast with peanut butter, oatmeal with walnuts, eggs and ham or one of my favorites, a fruit smoothie with whey protein powder.
The smoothie is really easy to make, simply blend the following ingredients:
1 cup skim milk
1 cup frozen berries
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 – 1 full banana
1 Tablespoon peanut butter (if I am watching my calories, I leave this out, but it really does make the smoothie even more delicious.)
This simple concoction keeps me going until lunch.
Earlier this year I discovered another great beverage with whey. It is called “Muscle Milk” and I use when I need my muscles to recover quickly, especially when I will be running two days in a row. It really seems to make a difference. I simply bring the Muscle Milk with me to where ever I am starting my run from and then within ten minutes of completing the workout, I down the chocolate-flavored, 150 calorie beverage and go on my merry way. An empty stomach that was growling on the run is suddenly satisfied and I can make it through stretching, an ab workout, a shower and whatever else I need to do before I am able to sit down for a meal without stopping to eat the carpet off the floor. Which, as a mother of two, very active, young children is SO HELPFUL!
A bit about the science behind why a protein drink such as Muscle Milk is needed after a run. In short, you need to replenish the fluids lost, carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of completing your run, so a drink that covers all three of these is the easiest way to do this. It’s easier still knowing that it tastes good. I have such a hard time gagging down bars and they don’t address the hydration need. Carbohydrates are needed to replace your glycogen stores and the protein combined with the carbohydrates and taken within 30 minutes of exercise doubles the insulin response resulting in more stored glycogen, which helps your muscles recover quickly. Consuming proteins also provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscles after intense, prolonged exercise (not that I can usually claim my workouts are intense and prolonged,) but you get the point…it’s a good thing. So see, my obsession with protein was warranted!
Just as I was preparing to write a post about protein and whey, the folks at NutritionFix.com wrote to me expressing their interest in sponsoring a post on protein supplements. Amongst their products I found many my family already uses including Muscle Milk, Kids Clif bars and Clif Shot Roks as well as other products I would like to try so I eagerly agreed to the sponsored post.