My Favorite Protein Products and Supplements

Last week I talked about easy ways to get more protein. And like I said, I do believe in getting the majority of your protein from whole sources such as meat, eggs, yogurt, etc. However, working full time, being an athlete, and always on the go means that sometimes I need more-convenient and quick options to get my protein in. In this post, I want to review some of my favorite protein supplements–bars and powders–that I take. I know there a ton more out there that others take, so do your research and try out what works best for you.

Bars

These are my new absolute favorite bars!! I heard about them on instagram and bought myself the same pack that came with 4 flavors: cookies n’ cream, cookie dough, peanut butter chocolate chip, and trashcan cookie. I haven’t had the cookie dough yet (saving my assumed favorite for last), but the other 3 so far so STRAIGHT FIRE. They legit look and taste like cookie dough, relatively low sugars (9), and made from healthy ingredients. And because they have 90 mg of caffeine, they are the perfect pre-workout snack! I recently found them, but I am so glad I did because they hands down rose to the top.

I still love these bars and they are my next favorite. They don’t taste like protein bars (like some bars you know have that aftertaste you can tell what you’re eating) and their flavors are spot on delicious.I haven’t tried all the flavors, but I’ll rank the ones that I have right here from top to bottom: Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Peanut, Chocolate Brownie, Vanilla Almond. These bars are also low sugar (5 g) and have omega-3s which are healthy fats that the body needs–don’t worry you can’t taste them at all! The taste and texture are just perfect on these bars.

First, I want to say for the nutrition facts, each bar is different in fats and carbs so I just did an average for this post’s sake. You may have heard of RXBar because on the front of their wrappers it lists the ingredients and then No B.S. at the bottom, meaning exactly what you think. RXBar prides themselves on using all wholesome ingredients with no added sugar and no crap ingredients. I will say the texture of this bar is different from most, it’s chewier and less “bar-ish” which makes sense considering their ingredients. Again, I have not tried all the flavors especially since they just came out with 3 new ones, but I will rank the ones I have tried here from top to bottom: Maple Sea Salt, Blueberry, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Sea Salt, Peanut Butter (did not like at all). Definitely  give these bars a try!

Powders

I switched to this protein about 3 months ago after disliking what I was previously using (it wasn’t bad tasting overall, but not as many flavors and tasted bad just drinking with water). I had heard great things about PEScience Select Protein and wanted to test them out with their snickerdoodle flavor. Yes you read that right, SNICKERDOODLE!! It is now my favorite protein powder and I have it usually once a day because it is so good and versatile. It tastes delicious just mixed in water if you need a quick, on-the-go shake, but also in yogurt bowls, oatmeal, pancake mix, etc. I am so glad I tried PEScience out because I fell in love!! They also have tons of other flavors that I’ve heard are amazing and I want to try, but it is hard to give-up on my snickerdoodle, even for a short time. If you’ve been looking for a new protein powder, this is it!

This is a brand that lately that I have heard AMAZING things about from the people I follow on instagram. When they came out with their new Apollo Pure flavor, birthday cake cupcake, and after a stressful day at work, I decided to treat myself to buying a tub of it. And it did not disappoint. I put some in my pancake mix this morning and there are legit sprinkles in the protein powder!!! It tasted exactly like birthday cake cupcake and was freakin’ delicious. I have also heard it  makes amazing ice cream bowls and shakes, but have yet to try. They have other flavors that I have heard are to die for such as Cookies n’ Cream, Cinnamon Roll, and Vanilla Milkshake–and I can’t wait to try them.

 

Looking for more protein bars? Check out this site that reviews 150+ bars and highlights the top ones.

 

It’s Not a One-Size Fits All

Today I want to talk about a slightly more serious topic. This idea came to me after seeing someone on instagram post about their interaction with a friend the other day. Basically the other person told the girl I follow (who struggled with binge eating disorder) “you’ve always been skinny, so how could you have had binge eating?” Now this person wasn’t saying this to be rude, but rather out of a place of misunderstanding. Most people when they hear “eating disorder”, “anorexia”, “binge” they have this stereotype of how a person will look, feel, think, etc. That’s why I wanted to write this post: EDs are not a one-size fits all.

Granted, there are signs that can point to an eating disorder, but just because someone is small doesn’t mean they have anorexia, or just because they’re  a healthy weight doesn’t mean they’ve  never struggled with an eating disorder before. And I think a lot of this comes from a place of people thinking that EDs are purely a  physical issue. While yes the physical toll is the most obvious and easiest to see, the bigger challenge is the mental aspect of the disease. No one sees this part as well, but it is there. Even if the person is a healthy weight or weight restored or back to their pre-ED weight in recovery, does not mean that the person’s mind is healed and restored.

When I first started my eating disordered thoughts, I was 155 (I am 5’10”). Not overweight by any means, but my mind thought so. I had an eating disorder at 145, at 140, even when I got to my lowest of 131 although I wasn’t skin and bones like you may see with some people, but I still had an ED. Physical is only part of it and someone’s looks don’t dictate necessarily what they have been through/are going through. Each person’s journey, battle, and recovery look different so you really have to get to know the person first. This was the main reason I wanted to write this post: to inform people–whether or not you have known or currently know someone struggling with an ED–that it’s not a stereotype look, not a one-size fits all journey, but rather an individualized physical and mental battle that will look different for everyone! Jen Brett has a great video on this–watch from 7:00-7:45.

The second reason I wanted to write this is geared towards those who currently are or have struggled with an ED and have had comments from someone. Maybe it was your friends or family, a relative, classmate or professor who said a comment similar to the one I started this post out with. Perhaps they said you didn’t look like you had an ED, you were a healthy weight, you were fine, etc. I want to tell you right now that those comments do not define you or what you have been through. Just because you may not look “typical ED” (or even if you do) does not mean that you haven’t fought those battles and dealt with those thoughts, emotions, actions, etc. that come with it.

I’ve had something similar happen to myself from someone who I won’t mention. But when I would talk about my eating disorder recovery, they would say “you’re eating and gaining weight, you never got that low nor looked skin and bones” in a way meaning that they didn’t understand how I could’ve had an eating disorder or talk about recovery in such a way. I’m not gonna lie, it hurt because I know what I have put myself through and what I’ve been through and put my mind and body through during my battle with orthorexia and currently recovery. If this has happened to you, don’t be discouraged and don’t get angry. Most likely this person is coming from a  place of not understanding and lack of knowledge, so use this time to inform them whether that be by talking to them, showing them videos or articles, etc. And understand that their comments don’t take anything away from you.

To wrap up, I just want to say that I am not trying to call anyone out or make you feel bad for what you may have said or done. Instead, I want to inform everyone of the truth behind the looks and feels of having an eating disorder because it really is a unique process and journey for everyone. The best thing anyone can do is be positive, keep an open mind, and be understanding of everyone because you never truly know their story or where they are coming from until you get to know them beyond the surface.

How to Know if You’re Ready to Succeed

I haven’t done a motivational monday type quote in a while, so here we are! First, I want to preface this with saying this: there is no one way path to success. Yes, there are multiple ways to succeed; however the general thought and idea in this quote can be greatly applied to everyone in any part of their life in which they wish to grow, achieve, and succeed.

I know I’ve talked about this idea on my blog before, but you really do have to fail in order to succeed. This is not saying you have to be a “failure” by any means. Just because  you have failed does not mean you are a failure; if this were the case the whole world would be populated with failures, every single corner and crack. I believe that the only true failures are those who give-up and neglect to see the beauty and opportunity in their own failure. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done so let me break it down.

When you try an idea or do something new and it doesn’t work, you haven’t failed–you’ve simply found out that you must try another way. Every failure you may encounter is just bringing you one step closer to that goal, that dream, that success story. If you look at every defeat or failure in this way, then you should no longer be afriad to try something new or start a new task, job, etc. because you know that it’s going to take you one of two ways–both paths leading to the same destination: ultimate success. Very rarely does anyone succeed the first time (if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again anyone?) it’s only after numerous trial-and-error that they find the path to reach success. This is the opportunity waiting to be found in failure.

Okay so now you know all this information, but knowing is only half the battle. Just like anything in life, simply knowing how to do something or information won’t do anything until you actually put it into action and do it. So the other half is accepting and applying this to your life. That will let you know if you’re ready to succeed or not. Just as the quote says if you aren’t willing to fail, you aren’t ready to succeed. And if you look back at what we just talked about, this makes sense.

Failure is the path to growth, for along the way you learn from each mistake/defeat, and grow stronger, and overcome continuing towards achieving your goals. So if you aren’t ready or willing to fail, you won’t ever get on the path to success. But more than that, I think, that if you aren’t willing (whether physically, emotionally, mentally) to make mistakes or fail a few times, then you actually aren’t ready to handle and take on the path to success or what success will bring. You have to want to succeed more than any feel of failure, doubt, defeat, etc., and when you’re willing to face those failures, then you’re ready to succeed.

What if I’m not ready or willing to fail? Honestly, that’s okay and it takes a lot to even admit that to yourself. You won’t be ready to succeed at everything at every point in your life, there will many different stages of your life.  I’ll admit it: there are parts of my life right now that I thought I wanted to succeed and I still do, but after reading this quote I realize that I am not ready to. There are areas that I am still terrified to fail in and I’m not sure I’m ready to full-on tackle the willingness to fail, so I now realize I am not ready to succeed yet. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to succeed or won’t ever, it just means I have bigger things to work on right now. And that’s okay!! If you do feel like this, instead work on figuring out the reasons why you’re not willing to fail, and combatting those. Work on overcoming the fear and accepting the failure, so that you can succeed. And one day you will.

If you want to succeed bad enough, you will eventually realize and accept and be willing to fail so that you can find the right path and achieve success. It’s not a quick-fix, a short journey, or an easy process, but even if I am not ready to fail yet, I sure as heck am not ready to give-up either. And that’s what I think is important. Even if you aren’t ready to succeed by failing yet, if you aren’t ready to give up on what you want, that means you are willing to work, fight, and battle for it every day. That means that one day you will be willing to fail and ready to succeed.

How I Plan My Meals

While I usually do lots of posts on the topic of meal prep, today I’m flipping it and writing about my before-the-prep work: meal planning! I’ll be going over my general thought process with an example to help readers get an idea. HOWEVER, it is important to understand that there are so many different ways to plan and prep your meals. This works for me, but make sure you find and do what works for you–trial and error process.

I used to write out a chart with every meal of every day of the week planned and written out. I would easily spend an hour stressing out about what to plan and make for the week–trust me it was not fun. I’m not saying write out your plan is bad, it’s actually a great thing especially if you’re new or have trouble planning and sticking to plans. However, with my obsessive control during my ED and even now in recovery I took it over the top. Now, I still plan out my meals however I think of it out in my mind, and create my list from there. 1) It’s much easier this way and 2) I eat more random bowls or plates of food thrown together rather than actual meals. I’ll still cook 1 maybe 2 meals a week such as spaghetti squash, pasta, or stir fry; however, most of my lunch and dinners consist of random bowls with the different components I’ve prepped.

The first way I go about it is to think ahead to my week and decide if there are any meals I won’t be preparing. This may be I feel like going out, going home so I won’t need to cook, or another event such as an intern BBQ or lunch meeting at work. So let’s say that I have an intern BBQ Sunday lunch and am going out Friday for dinner to treat myself; that’s 12 meals I still need for the week. From there, I break that into meals and the different components I want. I’ll decide on zucchini and broccoli for my veggies in my bowls, turkey lunch meat for lunch (5 days), ground chicken for dinners (4 nights), etc. Typically ground meats come in 16 oz packages creating, for me, 4 meals. Then, I’ll leave 2-3 meals open per week because I’ll make eggs, protein pancakes, oatmeal, etc. as I feel it that night.

I’ll do the same breaking out my carbs, healthy fats, etc. I typically just estimate how much I’ll need (3 large sweet potatoes for 5 days) or buy potatoes in bulk, boxes of rice, bread, etc. I’ll also add other veggies in such as bell peppers, tomatoes, or spinach to add on the top of bowls or put in my eggs as well as fruit and other snacks. From here, I’ll make my grocery list. This is very important. Creating a list and sticking to it ensures that you have enough food for the week and that you don’t over indulge and splurge on other items you don’t need, not on your list.

With meal planning, you can be as strict or specific as you want or as free as well. I would recommend doing some sort of planning to create a shopping list and to make sure that you have plans for dinner. This will help you resist eating out or grabbing fast food so often, and stick to your healthy lifestyle. For meal prep examples, ideas, types, etc. search “meal prep” on the blog!!