Baking With Protein Powder: A Few Tips

January 31, 2013

I love protein powder, it’s a big part of my nutrition and has been such for years. Being a sportsman, I couldn’t picture a proper recovery - after the daily strenuous workouts I put myself through - without protein powder delivering the much needed aminoacids to my strained muscles.
At the beginning I would use protein powder only in smoothies. Over the last year or so I’ve learned new ways to incorporate protein powder in my diet that do not only involve a blender.
I discovered that baking with protein powder is quite fun indeed. Brownies, cookies, muffins, oatmeal, pancakes, etc. What a huge learning curve it has been so far.
First thing I realized is that protein powder resembles a lot to flour; in that it’s “grainy” and does react similarly in recipes. It’s dry, absorbs liquids and gives a likewise texture to baked goods.
However, protein powders can be quite different. Some mix very well in smoothies but coagulate when cooked. Some are flour-like but tend to form lumps when blended with liquids.
After many failed attempts and some deserved successes, I got some experience under my belt.
If you’re interested, here’s my two cents’ worth.




Working Out On An Empty Stomach Burns More Fat?

January 28, 2013

This question has been the subject of much debate in the fitness world for quite some time.
On one side some suggest that exercising on an empty stomach is more effective as it forces the body to use fat stores for fuel, resulting in a greater weight loss.
Conversely, others claim that exercising in a fasted state doesn’t offer any benefit and may even work against you. They point out that the body burns roughly the same amount of fat regardless of whether the stomach is full or empty; but, in addition, by exercising in a depleted state your body will also burn muscles for energy, not only fat.
So who’s right? Who’s wrong?
A newly published study has found that people can burn up to 20% more body fat by exercising in the morning on an empty stomach1. Have we finally reached an answer? Not so fast.
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Tofu Sliders With Guacamole

January 23, 2013

Tofu Sliders With Guacamole
Don’t you dare saying that tofu is blunt! I’m so fed up hearing people labeling that tofu as dull, boring, tasteless, useless. It’s none of these things.
Ok, tofu consumed raw it’s not exactly exciting taste-wise. I’m gonna give you that.
But don’t be too hasty mistreating tofu. It is quite a “trooper” and can help you creating many healthy dishes.
Its spongy texture (that many question) is in fact what allows tofu to absorb other foods's flavors. Tofu is also as a great binding agent, just as cheese: minus the fat and the calories.
I guess I could go on for hours trying to convince that tofu has swag, but if I prove it to you right away, I’ll probably save some breath.
So, here we go, let me introduce you to the ultimate tofu sliders: ta-da!

Tofu Sliders WIth Guacamole


15-Minute Chicken And Pea Sauce

January 18, 2013

Chicken and Pea Sauce


This recipe is delicious, nutritionally balanced and can be whipped up quickly. It’s perfect for busy people who want to eat healthy food but, at the same time, are eager to please the whole household.
I like to called it sauce because it is in fact a proper meat sauce that can be served over brown rice, whole grains, whole wheat pasta or if you’re on a paleo diet (or just want to cut on carbs) over cauliflower couscous (which is what I did here).
Truth is, sometimes I just it eat on its own. It’s that good and I can’t help myself.
To make it happen, all you need is some ground chicken and some of the most common veggies: onions, carrots, celery and peas. A glass of white wine or vegetable broth and in 15 minutes you’re good to go.
Chicken and Pea Sauce

Vegan Chocolate Cake

January 14, 2013

The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
There are times when you just want a slice of chocolate cake. Often those times are a Monday night, after a long day at work (and an exhausting but well worth workout), and rightfully deserve a simple recipe. One that can accommodate everybody: vegans and non-vegans.
That’s when this chocolate cake comes into play. You’ll throw it together in a matter of minutes. It's less trouble to make than it is to go out, find a vegan bakery and buy something.
A small slice goes the distance. It's intense, hardcore chocolatey with a mild (but rich) coconut aftertaste.
You know Mounds candy bar? The one with the coconut based center enrobed with dark chocolate? This cake reminds a bit that. Just better. A total crowd-pleaser.


Right out of the oven

Think Like A Bumblebee, Train Like A Horse

January 12, 2013

To most of you the name Joe Friel probably doesn’t ring any bell. It’s ok, that’s what I’m here for.
Joe is a world-class endurance coach and author of the notorious book “The Triathlete’s Training Bible”.
In the triathlon community his training methods are highly regarded and consistently implemented. He’s some sort of triathlon coach-semi-god.
His training advice focuses on strengthening the body as well as the mind.
In this respect, Joe uses a powerful message to get his athletes to stay focused and believe in themselves during the long training season: “Think like a bumblebee, train like a horse!”.
This message, as simple (and maybe silly) as it sounds, is instead very powerful and could work for anyone, not just endurance athletes.

Think like a bumblebee, train like a horse


Vegan Russian Salad

January 10, 2013

Vegan Russian Salad
A Russian salad is not that different from a good old American potato salad. It’s made with potatoes, carrots and green peas dressed with mayo.
Similarly to potato salad, there are thousands different recipes for Russian salad (which, by the way, goes also by the name of Olivier salad).
I interviewed some of my Russian/Eastern European friends and every single one had his/her secret family recipe. The differences can be quite dramatic. Which is very confusing.
The main variations include pickles, beets, turnip or apples. The dressing can also change. Some replace mayo with sour cream or yogurt or a combination of the two.
In this Russian salad “mayhem”, I decided to create my own version. So I went vegan. Just to try to stand out from the crowd.


Carrots, Apples, Potatoes, Dill

The 2013 Ranking Of Best Diets

January 9, 2013

We love rankings in the U.S., don’t we? It’s not only about music charts, box office or sports. We also like to rank universities, hospitals, restaurants, bars, law firms, etc.
We always want to know who’s the best at doing something. It has something to do with our inner competitive nature but also with some sort of latent insecurity we have. A ranking brings order to chaos. It makes us feel safe.
So it was only a matter of time before somebody would put their hands in the “diet world” and provide us with an official ranking.
Needless to say it, the almighty experts at U.S. News “took the bullet” and delivered a comprehensive evaluation of 29 different diet plans for 2013.

Best Diets and Worst Diets


Brown Rice Artichoke Risotto With Berbere

January 7, 2013

Brown Rice Risotto with Berbere
I recently discovered berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend. It’s made of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, korarima, rue, white and black pepper and fenugreek.
Berbere has a deep red color, a fragrant aroma and tastes so (so) [so] {so} ⁅so⁆ ❲so❳ good.
Plus, it’s not that hard to find: Whole Foods carries it and I’m sure any spice/specialty store sell it as well. If you’re looking to add new flavors to your meals you should definitely give it a try.



Berbere

Tea: OverSteep To Increase Health Benefits

This is not a post explaining how to prepare tea properly. It’s not my job, I’m not qualified to do it, and if I’ll do it, I’ll probably end up giving the worst advice possible.
However, if you’re an avid tea drinker (like myself) who enjoys this beverage daily - with no respect whatsoever for the legit ways to brew it - you might want to hear me out.


Oversteeping cup of tea


Top Four Reasons Why Diets Fail

January 6, 2013

Losing weight is one of the top resolutions made every year, yet few achieve successful weight-loss and maintenance. Why almost all get sidetracked? According to researchers at Loyola University dieting is a skill that requires practice and good instruction. Chances are that you’re going to fall over and feel frustrated, but if you stick to the original plan you’ll eventually succeed; and the more you do it, the easier it will get.
Researchers have also identified what they believe are the top four reasons why dieters fail.

Top Four Reasons Why Diets Fail

Vegan Pistachio Almond Thins

January 1, 2013

Vegan Pistachio Almond Thins
I have this thing for pistachios. I don’t even know how to define it. Love? No, it’s more than just love. Obsession? Kind of, not exactly on point though.
Let’s put it this way: if pistachios were a girl I would probably become a crazy stalker. Watching through binoculars, stealing mail, sending notes, following everywhere, calling work and making trouble, etc. You know, all those creepy things stalkers do.
Luckily (for my own sake) pistachios are "just" a nut that can be bought almost in every shop. No stalking necessary.