Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How I'm Saved From Myself

176.6 lbs. Yeah. I know. Shut up.

Piece of advice: Do not carefully apply mascara (and congratulate yourself on doing such a fine job),then, 2 hours later, go into a steam room. Rocky Raccoon. Now, you may think that this advice is geared strictly towards women. However, there’s always Jared Leto and Adam Lambert. (Alice Cooper actually prefers his extra smeared).

One of the issues that can derail a weight loss program, especially the “cleaner eating” portion, is food craving. Mine particular “gotta have its” were chocolate and coconut (those of you who tell me coconut is not a food may kiss my butt. It’s delicious and contains L-argenine which boosts metabolism. Dr. Oz says so) and chocolate and peanut butter. And I know there are more than a few of you out there who share my tastes in cravings. These combos are normally found in candy, milk shakes or baked goods, which are naturally loaded in sugar, fat and/or starch and empty calories and therefore, these flavors combos have been out of reach. I have been avoiding sugar as I believe it triggers an inflammatory response in my body. Not a good thing, but when you’re jonesing for a Reese’s or a Mounds…

I have recently found some great answers that effectively satisfy me and provide a benefit to my workouts as well: About Time chocolate peanut butter protein powder and BSN Lean Dessert Chocolate Coconut  protein powder.

We’ll start with About Time (www.tryabouttime.com): per scoop, 103 calories (I go 2 scoops. Next time, single scooper), No lactose, no gluten, no carbs, no fat, no artificial flavors or sweeteners. 12% of daily calcium, only 41 mgs of sodium and 24 grams of protein (lots of different kinds of protein). It’s not sweet but the flavor is good; the peanut butter tastes like peanut butter and there’s enough chocolate flavor to be satisfying. I bought some chocolate almond milk to add to it for purposes of experimentation. According to pretty much any trainer/vitamin store employee/body builder I spoke to, About Time has truly high quality protein and is far better quality than the chocolate peanut butter protein powder I had been using. About Time is also available in flavors like Cinnamon Swirl, Mocha Mint, Chocolate and Birthday Cake which I may try when I make up some of Emily Zaler’s recipes.

Whereas I had been using Rawvolution’s chocolate coconut haystacks to satisfy my chocolate coconut craving (No sugar: unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut oil, coconut nectar and shredded coconut), they were not really conducive to weight loss/muscle building (LOTS of calories, but no mass manufacturing chemicals, either). However, a close second behind a Reese’s peanut butter cup (a moment of reverence, if you will),  Mounds and Almond Joy share the silver medal. One can find a lot of chocolate or peanut butter protein shakes/bar,  but chocolate coconut is tough to pull off successfully (i.e., it doesn’t taste fake, the texture/flavor doesn’t have the dark notes/richness of the real deal). Chocolate and coconut are both pretty fatty foods and there is a certain mouth feel that’s tough to replicate. Again, a huge taboo (although we’re now hearing that some dark chocolate per day is a good idea because of its antioxidants and coconut has the L-argenine amino acid). When I was in high school, my mom would whip up a protein shake for me (sending me on some stupid ass errand to the other end of the house so she could sneak an egg into the mixture. She has made a full confession on the record) that was skim milk, ice and flavoring (cocoa powder, vanilla extract and Sweet N Low and coconut flavoring like you get in the baking section at the grocery store). It was okay, but clearly tasted like Sweet N Low, vanilla and coconut “flavoring”. Of course, some rum extract was generally dumped in there as well, so that helped (and led to me becoming a Jimmy Buffett fan. “Booze” in the blender!).

Enter BSN Lean Dessert, Chocolate Coconut Candy Bar. Serving 1 scoop (seriously, I have to cut it down from 2), 150 calories, 21 grams of protein. And it tastes fantastic. It tastes like a Mounds bar.  Also available in (which I have not yet taste tested) Chocolate Fudge Pudding, Banana Cream, Cinnamon Roll, Banana Nut.  I do not include Chocolate or Vanilla because, let’s face it, EVERYBODY has chocolate and vanilla flavors.  It’s just a matter of pulling them off properly.

These protein powders also provide energy for hours. There’s no “one hour later and you’re hungry again.”

I am a great believer in “bang for the buck”: with these protein powders, not only can I satisfy the craving for these particular flavor combos (Chocolate proves God’s existence. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter proves that He loves us), but as I do so, I’m taking in nutrients to build lean muscle (Hey, in less than a year, I’ve stepped down from size 20 to size 12 jeans that are NOT elasticized. That requires lean muscle). This is more bang for the buck.

In addition to the protein powders, I have discovered the Atkins Endulge line. These treats are candy bars, extremely low in carbohydrates (this is Atkins, after all) and the two I’ve tried (Chocolate Coconut Bar and Peanut Butter cups. Quelle surprise) successfully replicate Mounds and Reese’s without all the sugar. The Chocolate Coconut bar is 170 calories, the Peanut Butter cup is 120 calories with little to no sugar. There are also varieties that replace Milky Way (and Peanut Caramel Cluster. Payday?).  Oh yes, they will be taste tested.

As a dedicated fan of chocolate, giving it up altogether was the undoing of my previous weight loss attempts. I would always answer its dark, rich (sugar-laden) call and gorge. (A few years ago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History had an exhibition on the history of chocolate. The entrance to the exhibit was done up as a fancy chocolate shop. My friend Run and I almost didn’t make it into the exhibit. And the guard politely asked us to stop pressing our faces on the glass). Hey, I’ve even found the magic that is the Mo’s Bacon Bar by Vosges: chocolate and applewood smoked bacon. I kid you not (About Time? BSN? Do you think maybe…?Atkins? It seems like a natural). I can go without for periods of time, but not forever. I am so happy I’ve found these protein powders and snack bars, I almost don’t have the words (well, two pages later).

If losing weight is like climbing an ice wall or rock wall (something that does not interest me and my Not Quite Nephew has this covered. I don’t think the kid can move on a horizontal surface), these food finds are really sturdy pitons and toeholds that are going to keep me from falling off and having to restart.

Thank you, About Time, BSN and Atkins.

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