GUEST POST // Eating Vegan in Amsterdam

Eating Vegan in Amsterdam, By Darian Galloway.

Amsterdam… what a beautiful city. Clean, amazing food, endless shopping and sightseeing a plenty! We follow Darian as she shows us what are the tastiest Vegan spots in Amsterdam!


VEGABOND

On my first day of arriving in Amsterdam, I visited a small cafe/shop called Vegabond, if you love quirky little cafes, then you will not want to leave this place. The first thing I noticed was the vintage decor, relaxed atmosphere and welcoming staff. They have a variety of vegan meals, snacks and desserts and they even have a shop inside where you can buy lots of goodies including: vegan foods, sweets, snacks, chocolate, gifts, cookery books, natural beauty products and vegan protein powders. I visited this cafe 3 times out of the 4 days I was staying in Amsterdam; I couldn’t get enough of the vegan treats!

If you are looking for a light lunch, with amazing desserts, I would definitely pop into Vegabond. Out of the 3 times I visited Vegabond, I ate a selection of different tasty foods including: Spelt sandwich made up of spelt bread with handmade cashew ‘ricotta’, pesto, cherry tomatoes and rucola, Fresh wrap with home-made hummus, sun-dried tomato, spinach and cucumber.


And (the best part) the dessert selection they had to choose from! I consumed many a doughnut, in strawberry, chocolate, oreo and caramelised apple flavours. Not to mention the amazing cake variety they had to choose from too; I tried Raw Snickers and Gluten-free brownie with hazelnuts… honestly I could not possibly pick my favourite as I loved them all.



MOAZ

Another place was Moaz, which had the best falafel pitta EVER! After spending a full day shopping and sightseeing, I definitely worked up an appetite… walking down the high streets I stumbled across this little vegetarian food shop on a street corner. It was booming with people enjoying the food and a lively busy crowd is always a good sign when deciding where to eat. So, I stepped inside, joined the queue and opted for the falafel pitta bread. (You could choose between the regular size or the small… of course I chose the regular… the bigger the better.)

You had the option of white or brown pitta, they filled it with falafel and hummus and then the control was in your hands, they handed you the pitta, where you could fill it with all sorts of sides such as: vegetables, salads, sauces, cous cous, and olives… oh and the best grilled peppers ever!

Of course my pitta bread was jam packed, if I am given the control to fill my plate, then the food has got to be over flowing. The service was quick, the staff were friendly, all customers were happy and I was definitely full. Honestly, this was one of the best falafels I have ever tasted.

I was really satisfied with the amount of food I had, but you had the option of adding a side of chips too. There were other options on the menu where you could choose from falafel salads, meal deals and smaller portion options for snacks or young children.

You could also choose from freshly squeezed juices, coffee or water. The prices were fair and you received a lot of food for the money paid.



ALBERT HEINZ

As we was staying in an Air BnB, we had our own little kitchen with cooking facilities and utensils. So in between meals or for breakfast before stepping out into the city again, I relied on snacks from the local supermarkets/shops and Albert Heinz was one of our favourites. As a vegan, finding a good selection of suitable food is hard but this is a great supermarket which has a huge selection of fresh food, meals, fresh juices, snacks, cereals and frozen goods. The prices were reasonable, staff were very friendly and helpful and not to mention…their falafel wraps were amazing, I consumed one every single day I stayed in Amsterdam.


SLA

On my last day staying in Haarlem, we had to leave our BNB at 12:00pm and the flight was not due until late afternoon. We decided to venture around Haarlem, visit the shops and locate some tasty vegan food. SLA caught my eye and was open on a Monday… I noticed on Monday’s quite a few food places are actually shut in, so be careful when planning your days out in Amsterdam.

There is a great selection of different foods on the menu, raw fresh vegan foods and there are non-vegan options too. I chose the white bean falafel bowl. My boyfriend chose their Moroccan Chickpea Soup, which they serve cold with freshly made delicious oat bread… do not knock cold soup until you try it, honestly it is so refreshing.



The food was fresh, tasty, wholesome and nutritious… I felt amazing after eating it. I finished the meal with a dessert (obviously). Dessert > Starter any day! I chose the raw cacao chia cake which really inspired me to create my own selection of raw desserts. Although the cake was small, it is definitely deceiving as it was so rich, you would not need a larger portion and that is coming from Miss Greedy Piggy over here.



VEGAN ICE-CREAM

I finished the trip with one last sweet treat… Near the airport there was a vegan ice cream van, they had a great selection of ice creams which included cookie dough, granola jam, honeycomb, chocolate mint, turmeric and chocolate. They served it in a tub or in a vegan ice cream cone and there were many toppings for the ice cream. You wouldn’t have ever guessed this ice cream was dairy free and it made me want to buy an ice cream maker and make a life-time supply of dairy free ice cream… serious heaven.


So to summarise, after consuming lots of amazing food in Amsterdam, I would definitely visit again and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves food, shopping, sightseeing and plenty of walking/bike rides to visit as soon as possible!


Muscle Bakery tip: Want to keep on a lower cal diet but still eat delicious food in Amsterdam? Stick to loads of leafy greens and veggies! Don’t miss out on dessert either, just skip on the bread and extras, have cake instead! Plus, Amsterdam is filled with lots of walking and cycling so you will no doubt burn it all off anyway 🙂


I am a 22 year old vegan foodie with a keen interest in baking (and maybe eating and force-feeding my treats to everyone)… sharing is caring! Instead of permanently driving those around me insane with my loved topic of conversation, I decided to create a blog to showcase all my recipes, food reviews and vegan lifestyle tips.

Ive always had an interest in fitness and healthy eating, starting my foodie mission by searching the net for healthy recipe ideas. Initially, with simple bakes such as flapjacks, overnight oats, etc.  But, once i adopted a vegan lifestyle, my interest peaked and changed my little world around! I began tailoring my baking around the new diet and was enjoying every minute. I still bake to cater all needs, interests and adapt the recipes where necessary, but my true passion lies within the Vegan lifestyle.

I create all kinds of plant-based meals, snacks and treats and no longer feel guilty for eating my body weight in cookies, cakes and all kinds of goodies! I always consciously try to use the healthiest ingredients which means no guilt, right?

My recipes are simple, easy to follow and fun to make as possible, so get in the kitchen bake someone happy and always leave room for dessert…

 

Blogpost created by Darian Galloway, the lady behind Darian Kay Bakes. if you have not checked her out… what are you waiting for?! You can find her on Instagram too!


We hope you enjoyed this post, get involved… tweet/ gram us @themusclebakery & @dkayxx and tell us your thoughts! And if you have any more recommendations, give us a shout 🙂


Photography by @illuminatus_photography.

GUEST POST // Vegan Salmorejo

Vegan Salmorejo, By Veggie Gib.

Salmorejo is a classic dish from the Cordoba region of southern Spain. It is a cold soup (similar to gazpacho) although it is much thicker in consistency because it is made with bread. Many traditional Spanish dishes use bread because it was cheap and a good filler. Salmorejo has become quite popular and trendy and can be found in most tapas restaurants.

I must say this now though, purists please look away! This version differs from the traditional version in that it does not contain bread, making it gluten free, and it is high in protein because it is made with tofu, but it does not interfere with the flavour and thickens the soup in the same way bread would! I suggest using a high-powered blender (like the ones for making smoothies) to make it smooth, and not to make it too far in advance as the garlic flavour will get more intense as time goes on and can become overpowering.

Traditionally Salmorejo is served with diced serrano ham and boiled egg, or even tuna. However, I like to keep it vegan and using raw diced fruits and vegetables gives it interesting textures and contrasting flavours. In winter-time I like to use cucumber, apples and even kiwi. In the summer-time melon works wonderfully as it has crunch and sweetness.


salmorejo01salmorejo02


Tofu, made from soybean curds, is naturally gluten-free and low calorie, contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium.


Ingredients:

  • 750g (about 6) ripe plum tomatoes
  • 250g extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Place the plum tomatoes in a bowl and cover with water from a recently boiled kettle and allow to soak for about 1 minute. This should be enough time to enable them to be easily peeled. Discard the water, peel the tomatoes and roughly chop them into a blender.
  2. Cut the tofu up and add to the tomatoes.
  3. Cut and peel a clove of garlic and add to the tomatoes.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar the olive oil and a good pinch of olive oil.
  5. Blend until smooth and then put through a fine sieve to remove any graininess from the tofu or seeds.
  6. Finely dice cucumber, apple, kiwi, melon or any other fruit / vegetable of your choice and serve.

Serves 4 tapas (or 2 main)

Nutritional information:
Overall: 768kcal | 49F | 34C | 44P
Per serving: 192kcal | 12F | 8.5C | 11P


Muscle Bakery tip: Want to make it even higher in protein? Add some Nutritional Yeast! High in protein, fiber and loaded with B Vitamins!


Veggie Gib

Food has always been a passion of mine, especially eating! Being naturally curious and having a sweet tooth I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and creating yummy treats for myself, family and friends. Going vegetarian made me explore a lot of different foods and ingredients and made me look at food from a different perspective. What is more I quickly learned that veggie food is far from bland or boring. I like to make food that is quick, easy and tasty and I like to adapt traditional recipes to vegetarian alternatives whenever I can. Now I like to share what I eat and my recipes and hopefully make people want to eat more veggie food.

 

Recipe created by Ivan Hernandez, the man behind Veggie Gib. if you have not checked him out… what are you waiting for?! You can find him on InstagramTwitter, Facebook and most importantly via his website. (His Instagram is a beautiful array of meals and sweets that will most certainly make your tummy rumble!)


We hope you enjoyed this recipe, get involved… tweet/ gram us @themusclebakery & @veggiegib and tell us your thoughts!


GUEST POST // Vegan Rice & Tofu Stir-Fry

Vegan Tofu & Rice Stir-Fry Recipe, By Veggie Gib.

Making a high protein and nutritious stir fry without meat is not an impossibility, in fact it is quite easy! Mr Veggie Gib shows us how…

I like to use extra firm tofu (usually sold as ‘bio’ tofu) for stir fries because it is higher in protein (a good 15g/100g) and has less water so it doesn’t need to be pressed. All you do is pat the tofu dry, cut it up and shallow fry. The outside will go crispy whereas the inside will be soft, giving a nice contrast of textures, and it develops a nutty, almost popcorn-like flavour.

I don’t mind admitting I sometimes use shortcuts, in this case with the stir fry vegetables which I buy ready to use, but feel free to add any of your liking. Stir fries require some organisation because they are quite quick, so it pays to have a hot wok and all the other components ready beforehand.

20161120_145553_edit

 


Tofu, made from soybean curds, is naturally gluten-free and low calorie, contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium.


Ingredients:
150g rice noodles, 5mm thick
250g extra firm tofu
1 tbsp coconut oil
150g stir fry vegetables (carrots, beansprouts, onion, pepper, Chinese leaf, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots)
20g (1 tbsp) peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
25g dried shiitake mushrooms (about 7 or 8), alternatively a packet of mixed dried mushrooms will do
100 ml of water

1. Put the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl with about 100ml of hot water and allow to soak for about 15 minutes until soft.

2. Add the peanut butter, tamari soy sauce and rice vinegar into a small bowl and stir. It might look like it won’t mix but it will do so later on.

3. Place the noodles in a large bowl of warm water and let them soak. They only need to be soaked for about 8-10 minutes and should be ready for when they are needed at the end.

4. Pat the tofu dry with some kitchen paper and cut the tofu into bit size pieces and add the coconut oil in a hot wok. Once the oil is hot add the tofu and shallow fry until it has browned on all sides. This should only take about 5 minutes. Take the tofu out, place on kitchen paper to absorb any extra oil and put to one side.

6. Add the vegetables to the wok and stir fry.

7. Cut the shiitake mushrooms into strips and add to the wok.

8. Add about 4-5 tbsp of the shiitake mushroom liquid to the peanut butter / tamari soy sauce marinade and this should loosen up to the consistency of a thick sauce.

9. Add the noodles and peanut sauce to the wok and give a good stir.

10. Add the tofu pieces and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Nutritional Info:
Calories:635 kcal
Fat: 17.1g
Carbs: 65.3g
Protein: 29.7g


Muscle Bakery tip: Want to make it lower cal and carbs? Sub the noodles for spiralised veggies or Bare Naked / Slim Noodles!


Veggie Gib

Food has always been a passion of mine, especially eating! Being naturally curious and having a sweet tooth I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and creating yummy treats for myself, family and friends. Going vegetarian made me explore a lot of different foods and ingredients and made me look at food from a different perspective. What is more I quickly learned that veggie food is far from bland or boring. I like to make food that is quick, easy and tasty and I like to adapt traditional recipes to vegetarian alternatives whenever I can. Now I like to share what I eat and my recipes and hopefully make people want to eat more veggie food.

 

Recipe created by Ivan Hernandez, the man behind Veggie Gib. if you have not checked him out… what are you waiting for?! You can find him on InstagramTwitter, Facebook and most importantly via his website. (His Instagram is a beautiful array of meals and sweets that will most certainly make your tummy rumble!)


We hope you enjoyed this recipe, get involved… tweet/ gram us @themusclebakery & @veggiegib and tell us your thoughts!


GUEST POST // Flexible Dieting. Just another diet?

Flexible Dieting. Just another Diet? By The Macro Wizard

You’ve probably read it or heard it somewhere, “Eat oreos. Get lean.”

Whilst this statement can be right I figured it was worth taking some snaps of what flexible dieting really is to avoid falling into one of these sexy-marketing claims too quickly.

When trying to explain flexible dieting we usually encounter all sorts of arguments and claims, these tend to be the most common:

  • Flexible dieting is just another fad. You can’t really eat whatever you like and you’re always restricted and obsessed about numbers.
  • It’s just a sexy title to allow people to eat crap all day and share it on Instagram.
  • People who follow it only care about aesthetics, if we were to look inside their bodies we’ll surely find disease developing and/or a serious lack of nutrients with adverse health effects.

These are all valid arguments of course so before trying to address them one by one and make this article an essay on how to waste your time trying to get people to think before spitting out words, let’s see what flexible dieting REALLY IS so you can judge for yourself. Ready?

Flexible dieting is nothing revolutionary but our human stupidity tells us that if something isn’t new, revolutionary and/or complicated –bonus points if it hits all three, it’s not worth even trying.

 

So, what is flexible dieting really?

*IT IS a way to apply what science tells us so far about nutrition in an easy, practical way, providing our bodies with the required nutrients and doing so without obsessing about “clean or dirty food”, the poison of sugar or whether saturated fat is going to kill you tomorrow. This means we should eat a ton of foods full of nutrients without forgetting that ice cream, pastries or pizza can be included in our daily diets without any side effect. EVERYTHING has nutrients and energy, and hey, your body is pretty awesome at using them.

*IT IS a way to help us become more conscious of what goes into our mouth. Knowing what you eat on a daily basis can give you the power to control your body and make adjustments where necessary. Wanna lose a bit of flab? Gain some muscle? You know will know what to do exactly without guessing or playing with some snake oil techniques.

*IT IS a sustainable way to eat, meaning that you could eat like this for the rest of your life if you wanted to. You base your nutrition according to personal preference and knowing what the basics are for providing your body with what it needs. No more eating every 3 hours “because a book said so” or avoiding sugar at all costs because it raises insulin.

If done correctly, eating in a flexible manner means eating tons of foods rich in vitamins and minerals with no compromise to our personal preference or circumstances. Grandma was right; you can eat dessert if you have your vegetables first!

This last bit is key guys.

Most people pursuing health and fitness tend to demonise certain foods, claiming that they harm our bodies and that we should avoid them at all costs. This just creates a horrible relationship with food that could lead to ugly bits of human psychology that are not fun nor healthy.

 


 

I have been snapping my meals during these past few days to try and give you a visual idea of what this flexible dieting thing really is, let’s jump straight into it!

 

Day 1: Eating at home.

day1

  • I made a huge chicken and veggie stir-fry with some noodles. Because I know how hungry I am on my first meal (yeah, I don’t eat breakfast usually), I tend to make a salad to fill up my belly and get in those nutrients.
  • Protein chocolate cake (The Muscle Bakery has ton of recipes for protein goodies) with casein chocolate “sauce”.
  • Some store-bought pizza bases topped with low fat cream cheese spread, canned tuna and spices. That big salad for lunch left me with most of my carbohydrates left for the night so I took advantage of it!

 

Day 2: Let’s see how we do when going out a bit

day2

  • Another protein mug cake topped with low fat greek yogurt, chocolate pieces, M&M’s and walden farms chocolate syrup.
  • For lunch I made some chicken with veggies in tomato sauce, topped with two grilled eggs and served on a bed of couscous. A couple of small slices of bread to help push it in.
  • Dinner? We went out to grab some burgers, shared a small serving of fries with my partner in crime and opted for a double meat, extra egg and no sauce option from the menu. I had a pretty light lunch so this complemented my day perfectly.

Day 3: How about being out all day? No problem

day3

  • Went to a pub for lunch where I opted for a simple steak and sweet potato fries with a side of grilled veggies.
  • Dinner was some sort of steak asian stir fry with noodles and veggies.
  • After dinner and before bed I prepared some simple protein pancakes accompanied by cottage cheese and berries. Meat portions at restaurants aren’t huge so depending on your goals you may have to complement your day with a pre-bed like this to hit protein and other nutrients.

Try for yourself!

Day 4: Let’s do another one with the majority of foods away from our kitchen.

day4

  • Lunch was a huge plate of couscous with veggies, grilled eggs, serrano ham and double portion of chicken. Ask for the condiments to be served on the side to avoid adding a million grams of fat into your day.
  • On our way home we grabbed a small cone of delicious gelato. How to track gelato I hear you? Search once for “Gelato” on MyFitnessPal or your app of choice, add the generic serving of 50–65g and then add a waffle cone. It should come up to around 50g of carbs and 20g of fat including the cone.
  • This was a pretty early lunch so when 6pm rolled out I was a bit hungry. I knew we were planning to eat out later but did not know where so I took the opportunity to top up my protein for the day with 200g of quark, a spoon of peanut butter, some light jam and walden farms chocolate syrup.
  • Dinner happened to be a burger so again, I opted for double meat, no sauce no add ons. We shared some fried chicken with the rest of the table so no biggie.

Believe it or not this day ended up at around 2600kcal and hit my macros pretty much on the spot.


 

What can we learn from these images?

  • There is a clear steer towards the right portion of protein, fibre and veggies at almost every meal.
  • When eating something out of the ordinary, portions tend to be small and enough to satisfy our sweet tooth. Do you really need a kilo of gelato for dessert?
  • No day is perfect and that is totally fine! We’ve talked about this many times; perfection does not exist. I try to stay close to my goals as best as I can but I don’t stress it if life happens and I end up short on protein or exceeding my calories. Live your life.
  • I always eat according to my personal preferences. I absolutely refuse to eat anything I dislike just because someone said somewhere that it’s a superfood or that I will get Arnold’s body by eating pounds of it. There are no magics foods and you do not need to avoid anything in particular to reach your goals.

This particular way of eating tends to be called ‘flexible dieting’ but in reality, it’s just eating.

Eating the foods you love and not stressing about the minutia, use your newly found free time to share moments with your loved ones, read a book or go get tanned at the beach. 😎

The freedom you get from knowing you can eat anything is liberating but it doesn’t mean you have to eat anything! If you enjoy eating chicken and veggies at almost every meal then by all means continue doing so, just know that a chicken sandwich with cheese is not going to instantly make you fat or kill you because of “OH MY GOD THERE’S CHEESE IN IT”.


 

How can I make this whole ‘flexible dieting’ thing work for me?

Great question!

You’ve probably seen or read about people who seem to live on cookies, ice cream and donuts whilst showing their rock hard abs and steel glutes to the world.

Don’t let it fool you though. I can guarantee that these guys don’t just live on sugar and processed (tasty) crap. They don’t have a ‘faster metabolism’ either. They just don’t show what they do the rest of their time (come on, photos of chicken and broccoli get boring quickly, Instagram the s**t out of a massive gelato please).

These people control their total calories in a way that works for them, working into their daily or weekly nutrition all those yummy treats without sacrificing essential nutrients or compromising their goals. They may also be 5 times more active than you without you knowing!


 

YOU can also make this work FOR YOU by following some simple steps:

  1. Track what you eat every day for a week or two. Even if you don’t plan on tracking forever (good choice), an initial period of learning will give you the tools required for success in the long term. You will be surprised at the amount of fat that ‘healthy salad’ you get from work every day has or that innocent burrito that contains nearly 1000kcal.
  2. Set up processes to eat enough protein. RDA’s are a joke. They were made with sedentary people in mind and with the MINIMUM amounts to survive as a general guideline. You want to thrive and live a healthier life, eat more protein and you’ll soon find yourself fuller, happier and leaner. Protein will not damage your kidneys and it’s not just for bodybuilders, give it the importance it deserves.
  3. Manipulate carbs and fat as you prefer to stay within your calorie goal for the week. If you start restricting foods you’ll soon find yourself lacking energy and essential nutrients as well as being obsessed about food ALL THE TIME. Take advantage of the data you are going to accumulate with the diary and make room for your favourite foods! Completely eliminating an entire food group (i.e carbs) is just going to make things more complicated without any added benefits.
  4. Give yourself a 20% room in your daily calories to eat all those foods you like but you still frown upon. There’s no evidence of any food that causes harm to the body (allergies, and other issues aside). Being flexible allows you to stop analysing if what you eat is “healthy enough” and helps to remove the guilt or any negative thoughts related to eating a donut for example. A 20% is safe enough because it leaves enough room for treats without forgetting about our protein, fruits and veggies.

 

My quality of life has improved immensely after more than 2 years of carrying food containers everywhere, eating every 3 hours and restricting everything that was off the list of “healthy foods” I was ready to give up on this “being healthy s**t”.

I can now go out to dinner with friends, attend a BBQ or eat some popcorn cinema with my girlfriend without a problem. You just have to be smart about managing your daily/weekly calorie budget.

Traveling is no longer an issue and I don’t need to carry protein with me wherever I go. Yes, it may be practical, but I also now that I can step into ANY restaurant in the world and get some meat, veggies and a dessert of my liking with the exact same effects on my body.

Enjoy your food guys, life is much more than nutrition and fitness!

Quality of life matters.

 

 


macro wizard image

After losing about 65kgs (and succumbing to a period of obsession) Mr Macro Wizard decided to go about his diet the scientific way, leaving all the fads and nonsense behind him. Since then, he has earned himself a PHD, appeared on Mens Health, travelled the world, ate many a burger and most importantly, is reaching out to others to help them on their own journey. 

 

Article written by The Macro Wizard, if you have not checked him out… what are you waiting for?! You can find him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and most importantly via his website. (His Instagram may make you a bit jealous though with his travelling and epic foodscapades).

 

You can also find his previous blogpost ‘Eat More Protein’ here.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article, get involved… tweet us @themusclebakery & @themacrowizard #NotAnotherDiet and tell us your thoughts!


Need help getting started? Here’s some recipe inspo:

250x250_cheesykale
Kale Chips
250x250_notext
Easy Tikka
250x250_notext
Chicken Satay
250x250_notext
‘Nutella’ Spread
250x250_notext
Oaty Bars
250x250_notext_chocoatybars
Choc Chip Bake
250x250
Vegan Brownie
250x250_cerealbar
Cereal Bar
basic-protein
Basic Pancakes

 

GUEST POST // Eat More Protein!

EAT MORE PROTEIN By The Macro Wizard

We all know by now that protein is good for us. It’s needed for several functions of the body and consuming enough of it coupled with some resistance training can make us look smokin’ hot –yes, this is totally scientifically proven.

A while ago, a good friend of mine told me about how he was “cutting carbs and eating more protein” following his doc’s recommendations, this sounded reasonable if it wasn’t for the bag of walnuts he was munching on while saying it…

My friend swapped bread and pasta for walnuts and quinoa without paying much attention to quantities; the doctor said those things had protein in them so why question it, right? In a couple of weeks my man stopped losing weight and was frustrated with the lack of progress and the complexity of the diet he was following.

The doctor’s recommendations were on point; he needed more protein and probably could do with lowering carbs a bit to help control his total calories –remember that the main driver for weight loss is a calorie deficit– but saying that he needed to eat more nuts and weird ‘superfoods’ was… real nuts. 😉

So, why eating nuts & superfoods isn’t really the way to go and where do we get protein from?

 

Nuts and seeds are a great FAT source as well as being full of minerals and other goodies, BUT THEY ARE NOT A PROTEIN SOURCE.

They are extremely easy to over eat and if you grab a bag and start munching, you could eat over 500kcal worth of food in less than 5 minutes without feeling satisfied.

Not the greatest choice if your calorie budget for the day is around 1.5-2k and you have a minimum amount of protein to hit in order to maintain those sexy muscles of yours.

Same goes for quinoa, chia seeds or any other so called ‘superfoods’ you may have heard of. They surely have their benefits, but they shouldn’t be labeled as high in protein.

This does not mean that you should limit yourself to chicken & broccoli in your quest for a higher protein-lower calorie diet though.

Now, let’s discover where protein really is and how to make it work for you.

Protein grading system. (Similar to what we had in school, but tastier.)

First things first, I didn’t come up with this idea of a protein grading system myself; Mike Vacanti created it and I just tweaked it for my website The Macro Wizard and this article you are now reading.

Credit where credit’s due. 😉

To make it as easy as possible to understand we will measure 4 metrics: macros, cost, satiety index and convenience.

Macros:

We’ll measure a ratio of protein:calories, meaning that a source of protein with a ton of carbs & fat accompanying it –think honey glazed pork ribs, will have the worst rating. High protein but low in carbs and fat? Highest rating. Simple!

Cost:

The biggest complaint I get with protein sources is how expensive they tend to be. In this metric, we will go after the cost per gram of protein to see who’s the winner.

Satiety Index:

Protein is very filling, but there’s still a notable difference between sources. Something with fat, salt and/or sugar can make it easier to overeat and not fill you as much. We’ll evaluate them to see which one leaves us more satisfied when eaten.

Convenience:

We all have a ton of valid excuses to not prep our food in advance so we can have protein choices available when needed. In this metric we will measure how easy they’re to cook or if they can be eaten on the go.

As a gentle reminder, best rating is an ‘A’, whilst the worst is a ‘D’.

Let’s do this!

 

chicken_header

Chicken Breast

chicken-breasts_header

Macros: A
Cost: B (£0.50/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: A
Convenience: C

“The king of protein” as many people like to think of it, is not the most convenient of protein sources, I admit it. You have to cook it and it tends to be quite bland and dry if you don’t pay much attention to it.

Chicken breast is highly versatile though, I’d recommend you get the Fit Men Cook app or something similar to spark your imagination and to get creative in the kitchen. It is also very cost effective at less than £0.5 per each 25g serving of protein.

Thighs, wings and other parts of the chicken are a great source too, just be aware of the fat content that comes with them.

Lean Beef

lean beef header

Macros: A/B
Cost: C/D (£1.50/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B/C
Convenience: C

The term ‘lean beef’ applies to those minute steaks you see at the supermarket and other several cuts of lean animal. Don’t be that guy/girl who eats a ribeye thinking it’s a lean choice and then complains for the lack of results, there’s an entire category for other cuts of cow, we’ll get there.

Similar to chicken in macros and satiety index, the best thing is that you can cook it in seconds and it’s way tastier in my opinion. Macros, cost and satiety will be affected by fat content, the leaner it is the pricier it tends to get.

What’s that?

You prefer burgers and fatty steak huh? Me too, let’s move onto them.

Fatty Beef

fatty beef header

Macros: C
Cost: C (£1.25/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: D
Convenience: C

This is where that ribeye steak, ribs and all those yummy cuts fall. They tend to contain around 15-20g of fat per 100g, so the macros are not that good. This does not mean that you should avoid it, fatty beef is really tasty, cheaper and full of good nutrients.

Work it into your macros for the day/week and you’ll be golden.

Ground Beef – Burgers

ground beef header

Macros: B/C/D (there’s a whole spectrum of fat content here)
Cost: B/C (£1.75/25g of protein if eating out – £0.75/25g if cooking it at home)
Satiety Index: C
Convenience: B

My favourite food of all time without a doubt. I’ve probably eaten over 600 of them over the past 3 years but that’s a different story…

Depending on the type and cut of meat the fat content will vary greatly. A good rule of thumb that I use when eating out is to assign a 20% fat content to it; meaning that if you are eating a 150g patty, just the meat will contain at least 30g of fat and 30g of protein.

Want a tip to turn cheap fatty ground beef into expensive lean ground beef?

Brown the meat in a pan as usual and put some kitchen roll on top of the plate you were planning to transfer it to. Transfer the meat once it’s cooked and let the paper soak most of the juices. Congrats! You know have at least 50% less fat on your meat and have created more space in your macros for cheese, bacon and other toppings… Nice!

Very convenient if eating out. Ask for double meat and the condiments on the side to get a nice kick of protein and control how much fat you eat.

Image source: https://halalmeats.ca

Pork Meat

pork header

Macros: A/B
Cost: B (£1/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: B

Pork loin or any other lean cuts are really good options. Again, very similar macros to those of chicken or lean beef, very cheap and really versatile when it comes to creating meals.

Bacon and pork chops tend to be fattier so check before eating and make room for them in your day. Cook pork chops on a BBQ to maintain the “A” on the macros, most of the fat will be lost in the cooking process! 😉

Deli Meat

deli_header

Macros: A/B/C/D (Well, sliced turkey breast is NOT the same as bologna or salami)
Cost: B/C/D (From £1/25g of protein to more than £30, depends on your choice)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: A

Turkey, ham, chicken, chorizo… All of those are very valid and convenient options. These are a staple of mine when I feel a bit peckish and I’m out and about. They tend to have a ton of sodium but that shouldn’t be an issue, just don’t make deli meats your only source of protein and you will be A-OK.

Nope, they’re not the cause of cancer nor their sodium content is a problem. Do you have hypertension or some similar cardiac problem and your doc has advised you against it? Then don’t eat it. Not your case? Good for you, grab some serrano ham for me please.

You can use them in sandwiches, create stunning antipasto tables or even throw them in salads.

Whole Eggs

eggs header

Macros: C
Cost: A (£0.4/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: B

Cholesterol? Check. Nice, tasty and filling fat? Check. There is nothing wrong with eating whole eggs. In fact, they’re one of my favourite ingredients to use on my daily meals. I use eggs everywhere and you should too –assuming you have no related food intolerances.

Just account for the 5-6g of fat that come with it and enjoy the ease of cooking and versatility of it.

If you want to lower the calories and fat content of a meal, substitute a few whole eggs for their little brother, the egg white. Speaking of which…

Egg Whites

egg whites header

Macros: A
Cost: C (£1.5/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: A/B

Avoid throwing yolks out and get your whites in a bottle or a carton, they come pasteurised and are great to be used when baking or creating protein treats.

I’ve also used them in the past to make chicken & chorizo omelettes with tons of cheese on them, you can play with your macros in any way you want!

Even more convenient than whole eggs but 3-4 times as expensive. Your choice.

 

 

fish_header

Lean Fish

fish header

Macros: A
Cost: B/C (£1.2 – £2/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: C

Fish tends to be pretty lean in general but I we’ll be better of if we create two separate categories. In this one in particular you’ll see things like tuna, hake, cod, etc…

Depending on how you choose to cook it, you could add a ton of carbs and fat to them so pay attention. I usually just throw them in the oven with some garlic, herbs and lemon and I’m good to go.

Always keep a pack of frozen fish at hand, it may save your life when you get stuck with no ideas or desire to cook dinners/lunches.

Fatty Fish

salmon header

Macros: B
Cost: B/C (£1.2 – £2/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: C

In here you’ll find sardines, salmon, mackerel and swordfish amongst others. There is plenty written about the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids and these guys are full of them.

As easy –or even easier– to cook than their lean counterparts, just heat a pan and create a nice sear for 30 seconds to a minute, add some lemon and soy sauce to the pan and wait for an extra minute or so. Quick, easy and tasty!

Image source: http://mealandaspiel.com/fatty-fish-salmon-tuna-black-cod/

Shellfish

shellfish header

Macros: A
Cost: C/D (From £3/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: B

Prawns, mussels, crab, lobster, squid… You’ll find plenty of tasty foods in this category.

Shellfish tends to be very, very lean, so it’s a solid option when eating out or grabbing some tapas. Prawns make a great freezer must-have for speedy dinners that are chockfull of protein and veggies.

Their cholesterol content might scare but fear not, shellfish are a very healthy food source and you should not worry about cholesterol at all; more on this topic by Dr. Spencer Nadolsky here.

Some supermarkets also sell cooked prawns and other kinds of shellfish, these are the true protein bars and not those Quest things… 😉

 

milk_header

Milk

milk header

Macros: C
Cost: A/B (£0.3/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: C/D
Convenience: B

There’s a ton of carbs and fat that come along with milk depending on which variety you go for so, while the protein:calorie ratio isn’t that great, it is very convenient.

I try to see milk as an ‘add on’ rather than a source of protein itself. Add it to your protein pancake mix in the morning, use it to add texture to oatmeal or make some delicious cappuccinos by frothing it.

Choose whole, semi skimmed, skimmed or any other variety you feel like, just double check the label and you’re good to go!

Quark or Fromage Frais

quark header

Macros: B
Cost: A (£0.3/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: B
Convenience: B

Quark is a type of fresh cheese that’s also found as “fromage frais” or “queso batido desnatado” if you are venturing in the Spanish supermarket scene.

You may need some sweetener, fruit, cookies or any other topping to make it awesome but this bad boy has some incredible macros and it’s one of the cheapest sources of protein out there.

Cottage cheese it’s also worth mentioning here. It’s slightly higher in protein that quark but the texture isn’t appealing to some. Try and see for yourself!

Need inspiration? You can use quark as a high protein frosting, make frozen ‘yogurt’ or even create some awesome protein cheesecakes.

Keep an eye on the flavoured and sweetened varieties, they tend to have added carbs and/or fat.

Greek Yogurt

yoghurt header

Macros: A/B/C (Fat content varies between products, check the labels)
Cost: B/C (£1/25g of protein)
Satiety Index: A/B
Convenience: B

Superfoods? Forget goji berries and get some greek yogurt going.

The texture is AMAZING and is incredibly versatile. You can create all kinds of sauces, condiments and desserts with it and enjoy the great macro profile that it has –around 11g of protein per 100g.

As with the quark and others, check the labels: 100g of Fage’s Total 0% it’s 10p, 4c, 0f and has 56kcal. 100g of Danone’s Densia it’s 4p, 23c, 4f and it provides us with 144 kcal, big difference.

FAQ

WHAT’S WITH ALL THOSE SUPERFOODS, SEEDS AND GREENS THAT SEEM TO CURE EVERYTHING NOWADAYS?

Do you like them? Enjoy their taste? Eat them!
They will not hurt you and they’ll possibly add some great vitamins and minerals to your overall diet. Just don’t see them as a ‘healthier’ option or think that you are getting a huge dose of protein by eating them.

There’s no evidence that leads us to believe that there are good or bad foods. Think bigger and longer term. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too, be smart!

I’M A VEGETARIAN, WHAT CAN I DO TO GET MORE PROTEIN IN MY DIET?

Great question. I would suggest focusing on eating eggs, allowing some seafood or shellfish in your diet and giving soy products a go. Pea protein is being used lately to make vegan protein powder and it actually has a more than decent amino acid profile.

 

 ~

Your diet should be enjoyed and include the foods you like on a daily basis, don’t make it hard on yourself thinking you need to eat an exact amount of protein. Try to “get enough” and make use of all of the carbs and tasty fats that make up most of your food choices. There’s nothing wrong with it!

Quality of life matters.

 

 


macro wizard image

After losing about 65kgs (and succumbing to a period of obsession) Mr Macro Wizard decided to go about his diet the scientific way, leaving all the fads and nonsense behind him. Since then, he has earned himself a PHD, appeared on Mens Health, travelled the world, ate many a burger and most importantly, is reaching out to others to help them on their own journey. 

 

Article written by The Macro Wizard, (first of many we hope) if you have not checked him out… what are you waiting for?! You can find him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and most importantly via his website. (His Instagram may make you a bit jealous though with his travelling and epic foodscapades).

 

You can also find the Spanish version of this article here.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article, get involved… tweet us @themusclebakery & @themacrowizard #EatMoreProtein and tell us your thoughts!


Interested in writing for us? Get in touch!

 

 

FREEZE! Top 8 Recipes to help you BEAT THE MELTDOWN!

The temperatures are soaring, doing anything has you resembling a wet dog and you are actually looking forward to getting to the gym today, for no other reason than there is air conditioning there… We feel ya!

But, there is something that can help… These refreshing selection of recipes we have created will help take you from wet dog to cooled down kitty cat IN NO TIME!

Have a go…

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA ICE-CREAM //

PB Banana Ice Cream2

Frozen bananas + peanut butter + whey = DELICIOUSNESS!

Recipe here //

COCO PRO ICE POPS //

CocoPro Icicle1

CocoPro High Protein Coconut Water in Pineapple flavour makes for the perfect protein ice-pops!

Recipe here //

RASPBERRY FLUFF ICE-CREAM //

RaspberryProteinFluff_IceCream2

Who knew frozen raspberries and whey would make such a delicious treat! Make fluff or ice-cream with the very same recipe!

Recipe here //

GREEN MACA SMOOTHIE //

GreenMacaSmoothie1

Add some ice to this nutritious refreshment for a light, low-fat, vegan-friendly summer drink!

Recipe here //

PROTEIN JELLIES //

ProteinJellies

Jelly is great no matter the occasion! Try this one for a supped up protein version!

Recipe here //

TOP TIP // WE LOVE ADDING LOADS OF ICE TO OUR COLA BCAA’S FOR A QUICK (EASY) REFRESHMENT! TRY IT WITH YOUR FAVOURITE FLAVOURS!

 

OATMEAL COOKIE WHEYHEY SANDWICH //

IceCreamSandwich

This is the most decadent of them all! No baking required, you will however need some decent amount of will power to avoid eating more than one!

Recipe here //

BLUEBERRY LEMON ICE POPS //

bluepops

This combination of flavours is truly sublime and so damn refreshing! Perfect to consume pre AND post freezing! YUM!

Recipe here //

RAZZLE DAZZLE SMOOTHIE //

RazzleDazzleSmoothie

Want something a bit easier to make? Add these ingredients to your blender and PERFECTO! Add ice to help with cooling down!

Recipe here //

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY…

Keep your skin safe, wear sunscreen, keep hydrated, use a portable battery operated fan if need be. (They are cool promise) or find your nearest pond or fountain and bathe yourself silly.

Our buddies at BULK POWDERS™ have some sound advice on how to survive a heatwave if you need it…

 

Otherwise, enjoy! Summer’s only come round once a year! 😛

 

Lots of love,

The Muscle Baker <3

Why Nutritional Yeast is so (fricking) awesome!

NutriYeast1_main

We cannot really remember the time when Nutritional Yeast didn’t form part of our pantry, or do we want to! All we DO remember is being recommended it by a foodie friend who swore by it, and that was it… the beginning of a beautiful love affair with Nutritional Yeast. *insert love hearts here*

The name does not really help sell it, most people make the automatic connection to mainstream yeast, which is used in bread and beer ie the foods most people avoid when eating ‘healthy’. And I loosely say the term ‘healthy’ ( but, thats a post for another day).

Anyhow, we can confirm that this is NOT that same yeast, just its long lost distant cousing (at best) and this is a proclamation as to why you need it in your life. ASAP.

How is it made?
Nutritional yeast is produced by culturing a yeast in a nutrient medium for several days. The primary ingredient in the growth medium is glucose, often from either sugarcane or beet molasses. When the yeast is ready, it is killed (deactivated) with heat and then harvested, washed, dried and packaged.^

What does it look like?
We prefer using Nutritional Yeast Flakes, but it also comes in a powder form and is a yellowy colour, with a light ‘nutty and ‘cheesy’ smell to it.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

What does it taste like?
The taste is hard to describe, mainly because you won’t believe it tastes cheesy without it being ACTUAL cheese. But it does, it gives a rich flavour to a lot of dishes and is used a lot in Vegan cooking. The savoury taste of nutritional yeast comes from glutamic acid, an amino acid that is formed during the drying process. Glutamic acid is a naturally occurring amino acid found in many fruits and vegetables and is not the same as the commercial additive monosodium glutamate. We LOVE it sprinkled in soup, to make Kale chips AND to make Cheesy Nachos ofc.

What are the benefits?
On average, two tablespoons provides 60 calories with 5 g of carbohydrates (of which 4 g is fiber).

A serving also provides 9 g of protein and is actually a complete protein, providing all nine amino acids the human body cannot produce. That’s more than in 1 cup of whole milk (8g), a large egg (6g), or one oz. of beef (7g).

Nutritional yeast is a source of B vitamins, including thiamine, folate, B-6 and niacin. Just 1/2 tablespoon of some brands will provide you with a day’s worth of B vitamins, while other brands offer between 30 and 100 percent of the B vitamins.

^ Sourced from Wikipedia.

NutriYeast2

 

STILL NOT CONVINCED?
Check these recipes out, if the above didnt sway you, no doubt these will!

 

CHEESY KALE CRISPS //

CheesyKale_MAIN

If you’re a sucker for crisps, then look no further. In no less than 3 ingredients, these crunchy Kale crisps alternative will conquer them cravings!

 

VEGAN CHEESY NACHOS //

VeganCheesyNachos_Header

 

Doritos better move over, theres competition in town.

 

PROTEIN FLAT ROLLS //

ProteinFlatRolls_MAIN

 

Struggle to find Gluten-Free breads which taste good? Try these! Added nutritional yeast for extra (awesome) flavour!

VEGAN CHEESY SAUCE //

CheesySauce_main

 

Although we dipped our chicken skewers in it, the sauce is Vegan friendly, wahey! Go check out for yourself.

 

Hope you enjoyed this article and selection of recipes, we hope to be doing more like this in future.

 

If there is anything you’d like to see us talk about, just comment below, we are happy to hear from you!

 

Lots of love,

The Muscle Baker <3