I am often asked how I lost 60 lbs and how I have managed to keep it off. I will start off by pointing out that it happened slowly. Very slowly and with a lot of hard work. In the beginning it meant cutting back on how much I was eating. I could not keep eating the calories of a person my weight if I wanted to weigh less.
Reducing my calorie intake meant I was often hungry and what saved me was preparing vegetables and fruits on Sundays that I could snack on during the week. Vegetables in particular were low in calories. Green tea was also a go-to for me. It was warm and soothing and the only tea I enjoyed without having to add milk and honey to. I guess you could say that as long as I kept my mouth busy every 2-3 hours I was able to forget that I was hungry just until my stomach and mind were accustomed to eating less.
Another factor was protein. Because I had committed to 3 gym classes a week to go with my change in eating habits, I reached a point where my muscles needed more protein to maintain the hard work I was putting into them. As much as I tried to consume protein through whole foods, I did drink protein shakes to help things along. There are only so many chicken breasts one can consume in a day. This did not include sugary, pre-made protein shakes. It took some experimenting with protein powders before I found one I enjoyed and it also allowed versatility in my shakes because I was able to create different flavours to suit my tastes on any given day.
Today I am more in maintenance mode but I still try and incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables and protein in my diet through whole foods. However, sometimes the convenience of a shake overrides the prep time of cooking. I experiment with all kinds of flavours and I do use some basic ingredients in all my shakes out of personal preference:
1. vanilla protein powder WITH greens
2. 1/2 a banana
Having a shake reminds me of when I was a child and would make milkshakes with my mom. The ones I make today are much healthier, of course, and don’t contain ice-cream but it is a good compromise, being an adult and all 😉 Because I like sweet shakes I use vanilla protein powder. Chocolate or plain would work just as easily. Greens are a must as I never feel I eat enough so rather than take a multivitamin, I simply purchase protein powder with greens or a separate greens powder can be added instead. Finally, I add 1/2 a banana as a sweetener and for a bit of added nutrition. I only do 1/2 because banana flavour can overpower the shake.
With the summer approaching, a refreshing shake on a warm morning is a great way to start the day. I mix my protein powder with green and matcha tea powder for energy. I also incorporate a fresh squeezed orange for a kick of vitamin C.
Vanilla and orange extracts are added for flavour to almond or coconut milk (to keep the calorie count low and also make it a bit creamier) and finally mixed with the powders. This is best served with ice or you could blend ice right into it. Either way, it needs to be served cold.
My favourite part of this shake is the orange blossom water. It is a very perfumed water not meant to be consumed like a glass of water. Rather, it is a popular flavouring in the Mediterranean and Middle East, particularly in desserts. The taste brings back fond memories of time I spent in Spain and France. It is an acquired taste but if you like sweet, orange, vanilla and flowery. . .this may become your new morning shake.
Orange Blossom Protein Shake
1 C almond milk
1-1.5 C cold water(depending on thickness of shake)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder with greens
1 tsp matcha tea powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 drops orange extract
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1 freshly squeezed orange
1. Blend all the ingredients with a blender except matcha and protein powders.
2. Add powders.
3. Blend until everything is mixed.
4. Serve cold with ice for best results.
Protein 22 g