My Favorite Protein Shake

Lately, I've been educating and immersing myself more into the world of fitness and I'm loving it. Getting to know your body and your strengths and challenging yourself every day is exciting. But I have also come to the realization that there are quite a few misconceptions floating around. For instance that if women lift heavy they will look soooo bulky and manly and lose their womanly curves. Number 1, that's just silly. Lifting heavy will help you tone and gain muscle. Number 2, having curves does not make you any more of a woman than someone without curves.

Another topic that I've seen a lot of misconceptions about is diet. You work hard for a healthy body, but what you are eating is equally, if not more, important. I personally don't have much of a set diet. I tend to eat pretty clean on my own, because those are the foods I enjoy. But also, I don't like being too restrictive about food. It seems silly to me. You're on your period and you really crave chocolate? Eat a brownie! I'm tired of negativity around food. You should never feel guilty about food. Guilt and negativity toward food can lead to so many unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders. I don't think there are really any "bad" foods, just bad ingredients I suppose (think over-processed food). It is all about finding a balance and what makes your body feel best.

And in finding my balance, I have been so surprised about how much protein I need. As a vegetarian, I have to be careful and make sure I am getting enough protein. And if you are working out nearly every day like me, you are going to need a lot of protein. "In order to gain lean muscle you need to eat enough protein to sustain the creation of new muscle proteins" (source and great article to help figure out your protein needs).

I tend to eat a lot of tofu and eggs and beans for protein, but sometimes it is still not enough. I will supplement with protein shakes, usually a few times a week. This is the protein powder I am currently using, if you are curious:

I love these protein shakes post workout. They are really yummy! They could even be considered a green smoothie, given the amount of spinach I shove in them.

My Favorite Protein Shake, makes one serving:

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup milk (I use almond milk, because yum)
1/2 a frozen banana
2-3 handfuls spinach (but I tend to put in as much as I can)

Measure out all ingredients (don't you dare put that spoon in the sink without licking off the peanut butter, that is a crime) and using a blender, or magic bullet, blend all ingredients thoroughly. You may need to use a spatula to squish down the spinach and to make sure all the peanut butter and protein powder doesn't end up stuck to the bottom. That's it! Easy peasy. This is also delicious with 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Or leave out the peanut butter and add more fruit; it is really good with berries. Use what you have and get creative.

Your smoothie will likely be very green, but don't let that scare you. It is delicious and good for you and you can't taste the spinach at all anyway. Drink up!