This may seem like a no-brainer, but as I was thinking about how to add protein to my smoothies without processed, chemical-filled, expensive protein powder, it dawned on me that yogurt is a perfect substitute for protein powder. Why didn’t I think of this before? Because I was brainwashed!
And yogurt is ridiculously cheaper. Perfect Fit, which is organic, costs over $1.30 per serving at its cheapest. A 32 oz tub of organic yogurt costs $4 which would be around 63 cents per serving. So-called health companies are tricking you into believing that their products are special and you need them, but as usual, whole foods can deliver the same benefits. Making a smoothie takes more effort than mixing a shake but you don’t truly “need” the entire smoothie production. You could just swallow a damn yogurt and get the same amount of protein. Chugging plain unflavored yogurt doesn’t sound any worse than chugging chalky, gritty ass protein powder.
Ditch your protein powders and buy organic, plain, no-sugar-added yogurt.
When I last left off, I told you about a clean, low calorie, but gross tasting protein shake (Perfect Fit). I’m happy to report that I finally found one that I like: Vega One.
A couple of months ago, they had a call for bloggers to apply for their blogger campaign, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to be obliged to write a positive review, especially after the not-so-Perfect Fit. Now I regret it! Whole Foods had it on sale for 40% off and I was curious, so after checking out the label, I went ahead and bought it. Since I’d be mostly mixing it with other ingredients, I bought the “natural” flavor.
At a quick glance, the label looks impressive:
- vegan! no dairy
- no GMOs
- 50% of vitamins and minerals
- 3 servings of greens
- omega 3’s
- 15g protein
- ingredients list includes protein from hemp/pea/brown rice, plus flax seeds, chia seeds, broccoli, kale, spinach!
It is around 140 calories per serving, which for me is a little bit high since I’m mixing it with other things but if you get a flavored kind and don’t add mixer, that’s pretty good.
For my first test, I made the exact same carrot juice smoothie as I did using the Perfect Fit powder – so that I could do a fair comparison, and because I already had a big bottle of carrot juice. The difference was huge. The Vega shake was smooth, not sandy like Perfect Fit. The sweetness is also very light, whereas the stevia in Perfect Fit feels like it coats my mouth and stays there forever. In fact, I think my favorite thing about the Vega shake is that the level is sweetness is just right. It seems natural, not like sugar substitute.
Next I tried to the mixing test to see how well it would mix without a blender. I put a scoop in a shaker bottle with a blender ball, added carrot juice and water, and shook it up. It definitely wasn’t as good as blending it with banana (that’s expected) but it was better than I expected. It was mostly smooth except a couple of crunchy bits, which is not as gross as it sounds. If you’ve ever added ground flax seeds or wheat germ to a smoothie, it was like that. I didn’t mind it. I had to keep shaking it up though because a lot of the green vegetable sediment would start to settle on the bottom. Definitely not a deal breaker.
For smoothies, I’ve only made the “carrot cake” smoothie using a half scoop of Vega, 1/2 cup of carrot juice, 1/2 banana, handful of spinach, and cinnamon. I think it clocks in at around 200 calories. Even after the 40% off, it was $24 for this 12-serving size. There is a larger size, which is 24 servings for $70 (reg)/$42 (sale). You get what you pay for though. We all know that high quality food costs more, and your supplements are no exception. I can justify buying it at this sale price, but at full price ($40 for 12 servings) I couldn’t do it. I guess I better go stock up while it’s on sale!
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t need protein shake or meal replacement shake (I am learning that they are two different things). Meal replacement shakes are filled with chemicals and fake ingredients, which I normally try to avoid. However, I have to go with what works for me. I’ve tried for years, but I just find it too hard to eat real food for breakfast on weekdays. I still do the instant oatmeal packets but without protein or fat, I get hungry. If I don’t plan ahead with my smoothie, I end up not eating until like 10 am and then I might cave and get something really cheesey and unhealthy. So shakes are my compromise. They keep me in line.
The first protein shake I tried was Whole Foods 365 brand. It was good for adding to my vegetable shakes, but it didn’t mix well by itself without a blender. It was also too sweet for my taste buds. Then I tried GNC Lean Shake 25, and I thought it was perfect. The Cookies & Cream flavor tastes delicious, mixes with a blender bottle, and actually keeps me full. I even brought packets of it when I traveled. Then I noticed that it gave me acne. Like, really bad. I hadn’t seen it that bad since high school. I think it may be because the protein comes from milk. As I finished up my tub of Lean Shake, I started hearing more about mixes with plant-based protein sources such as peas and brown rice.
A few months ago, I got sample packets of Perfect Fit Protein. Perfect Fit Protein powder is an invention of the Tone it Up girls, which has an entire subculture/movement/cult on its own. The protein powder looked good on the outside:
The nutrition info looks good, and the ingredients list was nice and clean. The protein comes from brown rice and it’s certified organic! First, I used two packets to make their “famous” protein powder pancake, which skinny chicks on Instagram fucking love. It was very gritty, even in pancake form, and I couldn’t get the overwhelmingly sweet aftertaste out of my mouth.
Next I tried it in drink form. I made their recipe for a Carrot Cake smoothie. Long story short: still disgusting. I had to chug it down. It was so gritty even though it was blended up with the banana. Gross. Do not buy this.
Good news: I bought a new protein powder and used it in the same exact smoothie recipe. It was sooo good! More on that tomorrow.
In my thorough research on the best running socks (not really that thorough), I heard people say that toe socks were great for reducing blisters. I think my friend Ettya (HI!) also said they helped with plantar fasciitis. When I saw these Injinji Toe Socks
on sale for $9.99 for a 3-pack, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying them out.
As you can see above, the socks I tried are “Original Weight” and “mini crew” height. They come in many other weights and heights. Considering these are marked PERFORMANCE, my first impression was that I was surprised at how thick they are. They seem about as thick as my everyday socks. The size small fit my small foot (women’s 6.5) ok, but the toes were a little long. It didn’t bother me though.
I took them for a short 3 mile jaunt and didn’t have any problems. It wasn’t any better or worse than any other sock, though I can wear just about any sock for 3 miles. I expected to feel weird or annoyed about having my toes separated but it didn’t feel that weird at all. I then tried them on a 6 mile run and when it was over, I had blisters on the inner arch of my foot. After that, I didn’t dare try wearing them for anything longer.
For now, I am sticking to my tried-and-true Nike Anti-Blister socks during long runs. I discovered that I really like to wear them after a long run. After running 13, 15, 17, and 20 miles, putting my feet into these felt so relieving. It was like my toes got a chance to spread out and breathe. My toes were like, “Ahhhh….” Lately, my post-run recovery outfit involves toe socks + compression calf sleeves.
I was surprised I saw any benefit at all from toe socks. So while I wasn’t a fan of the original weight socks, I saw enough benefit that I wouldn’t mind trying out the lightweight versions if I can find them on sale.