Shake it ’til you make it
My dad loved to lift weights; he was of the generation heavily swayed by body builder Joe Weider’s sand-in-the-face advertisements, and he often went on weird diets to help him build muscle.
Brewer’s yeast, other disturbingly smelly powders, and egg yolks were part of this occasional bulking-up cycle, which completely turned me off to liquid diets forever. Or so I thought.
About three years ago, I read Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again. One part of the book resonated with me: Breakfast never seemed to last long enough, but how do you make time to prepare a hearty meal to start the day?
Authors Dr. Frank Lipman and Mollie Doyle suggest having a protein shake each morning in order to give you enough energy to get you through to lunch and to avoid the sugar crash that often comes before. This crash before lunch has always been a problem for me; I remember being a 112-lb. high school kid starving by second period, and although I’m no longer close to 112 lbs., the late-morning hungries have never gone away.
I decided to try the shakes, though the mention of protein powder made me think of my dad’s weight-lifting days and his disturbing raw egg with brewer’s yeast concoctions.
I went to my favorite grocery store and purchased a whey protein powder and some Barlean’s Greens. The shakes were a bit weird at first. They tasted a little earthy – in fact, they tasted like grass with a hint of dirt. I tried a few recipes and began to feel less hungry and grouchy midmorning. It took a bit of experimenting and a lot of honey, but I finally started to enjoy the shakes.
Shakes can be fast, creative, pragmatic, fun, simple, complicated, and occasionally disastrous.
I don’t follow recipes very often, but there are plenty out there. Once you’ve tried a few, it’s like making spaghetti sauce: A little bit of this, a little of that, and viola - you’ve got it. Try the Magic Bullet, Vega, or Vitamix websites for recipe inspiration.
My favorite protein shake is a bad one; a bit high in calories, but yummy delicious every time. Take your favorite chocolate drink powder (I just tried the Vega, and it’s fantastic), put it in your blender with a little ice, skim milk or almond milk, add a big dollop of peanut butter, and drop in some banana if there is any room left in the blender cup. This is a monkey’s dream of a shake, and it counts for me as a whole meal!
Give it a whirl, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Shameless library plug: Want more info on whether or not shakes and shake mixes can add something to your diet? Do some research on a consumer health database via your local public library or academic library.