Tag Archives: dairy

How to Avoid Dairy Products

This post is brought to you by Catherine Lavinia.

Surely, for most of us milk is associated with childhood. Our mother or beloved grandmother was adamant that drinking milk is the pledge of child’s health and happiness. Milk contains a series of crucial nutrients: protein, calcium, Vitamin D, B-6 and B-12, magnesium, potassium and others. Besides these elements, sugar named ‘lactose’ is present in milk and other dairy products. Normally, our body produces the enzyme ‘lactase’ to digest this sugar. When there is a deficiency of lactase, however, lactose becomes very difficult to digest which leads to intolerance. And since lactose is present in dairy products, a lactose intolerance means a dairy free diet. Otherwise, uncomfortable side effects will make their presence felt at once, which can range from bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
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Birdsall’s: The Best Ice Cream in the West

I find it  pretty funny that I’m writing this post after discussing clean eating, but who cares when you’re talking about BIRDSALL’S! We’re talking homemade, home-churned, quality ice cream from the mid-west. Yes, I’m making a big statement by saying an ice cream joint in Mason City, Iowa has the best ice cream in the West, but there it is. Many of you will never try this place because who plans a trip to Mason City? Well, we do as that’s where my dad is from and where my grandparents and other relatives live. It’s our family reunion spot and we hit Birdsall’s at least twice every day we’re there (not kidding).

Chris should be sponsored by Birdsall's because he's always the one demanding we go again and again...don't mind if I do!

Chris should be sponsored by Birdsall’s because he’s always the one demanding we go again and again…don’t mind if I do!

As you can see in the sign, Birdsall’s has been around for a long time. My brother and I (who you will see below) grew up in Mason City, Iowa every year as our parents would ship us off to our grandparents for the summer. Birdsall’s has always and will always be a highlight of our days there. What do you do in Iowa? People think it boring, but I know it’s tons of fun: movies, games, swimming, ping pong (lots of ping pong), delicious homemade food, and...ICE CREAM! Once Chris became a part of this reunion, he made Birdsall’s a priority and nobody in the family argued against him. Birdsall’s gets tons of business when we come into town. Chris even got a $13 turtle (basically a hot fudge sundae)–a quart-sized ice cream. It was as big as my brother’s head (and he has a big head!).

QUART-SIZED TURTLE. He ate the whole thing. Wow

QUART-SIZED TURTLE as big as my brother’s head. He ate the whole thing. Wow

Ping pong all day err day

Ping pong all day err day

Now you may think it’s expensive based on the $13 I say, but remember that’s an entire quart. Their ice cream is wonderfully-priced (perks of Iowa) and it does not match the quality of the ice cream (they should really charge more). If we were there a month or so later, we would be served with delicious, home-made, fresh peach ice cream. With real peaches in it fresh from that season. You know it’s quality when they have seasonal flavors.

Dad action shot

Dad action shot

My last name is Powell and we all say “it’s the Powell gene” when we over-eat ice cream…every night. Sorry, can’t help it, it’s in my genetics. And although I did frequent Birdsall’s while during contest, I pretty much stuck to my macros, but still didn’t do great things for me unless you count…HAPPINESS. Some of our favorites from Birdsall’s include the Frosty Malt–basically a Wendy’s Frosty but real. Like with real ice cream and real malt. It’s so refreshing and usually my go-to.

Frosty Malt

Frosty Malt

Mum chowing down

Mum chowing down

Other great flavors include peach (duh), chippermint, pecan, and raspberry chocolate truffle. I’m drooling as I write this. I’d have to say the all-time favorite with the most overall votes from the group would have to be the turtle: vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, caramel, and nuts. Now this may sound like a typical ice cream sundae–but it’s not. We have never been able to replicate this or find this anywhere else. People may offer it or they might even custom-order for us, but nowhere can you find this amazing quality-filled turtle where the hot fudge doesn’t harden. Every other place, even beloved Glacier, hardens. It’s amazing. And the turtle was what Chris ate quart-sized.



Don't mind if I do!

Don’t mind if I do!

If you’re travelling cross-country or even across the mid-west, do yourself a favor and stop at Birdsall’s in Mason City, Iowa. It’s hard to find ice cream that high-quality and the turtles and peach ice cream cannot be beat. Sorry if you’re on a strict diet right now (like I am), but hey if it hits your macros, go grab some ice cream! I cannot recommend this place enough and the joy it brings. There’s something for everyone. Birdsall’s is perfect for staying hungry and fit! 

Black and White Milkshake

Black and White Milkshake

a version of a Blizzard

a version of a Blizzard

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The Best Protein Shake

I noticed we had five drafts waiting for us to finish. Two are interviews between myself and Fit (those are going to be amazing) and then there are two others I already forget and actually put in the trash bin. We either did them or aren’t going to do them. You’ll find out what those are soon enough. This is the final one and I cannot believe I have not published this yet.

I have many recipes for post-workout protein shakes. I cycle supplements even though I have my favorites. I try new supplements when they are released so I can recommend them and, depending on my fitness goal at the time, I have different blends of mass gainers and protein. I also often purchase depending on price and deals. The base ingredients of my shakes are consistent and simple. I often combine my post-workout shake with a meal… typically dinner. Therefore, I don’t make them massive because I would not risk ruining my appetite. With that being said, here is my base shake with potential deviations.

The master product

1. MILK– I am almost always bulking or maintaining and I love dairy products. Milk is one of my favorite foods period. In a bulk, I might have whole milk. In a cut, I might have 1%. It’s not set in stone but I always use two cups of milk, which on average is about 16 grams of protein and 300 calories. I NEVER calculate fats or carbohydrates. Sorry. This is the shake’s foundation.

2. ICE CREAM– That’s right, more dairy. More fat. More calories and slightly more protein. My go-to ice cream I use 95% of the time is Breyer’s Natural Vanilla. It’s expensive so I wait for it to go on sale and buy, buy, buy. It’s been rated by Men’s Health as the healthiest ice cream for men year after year. I also have eaten Breyer’s since I was a kid. A serving is half a cup so I typically use a full cup in my shake. It’s somewhere around 300 calories and 6 grams of protein. Somewhere around there. This makes the shake rich and smooth.

3. Protein- This is the ingredient that will differ the most depending on everything I mentioned above. Right now, I am using Cytosport’s Whey Protein, which is a blend of whey concentrate, whey isolate, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It’s low in calories and very high in protein. I use two-three scoops depending on what other food I eat throughout the day. My go-to is two scoops, however, which comes out to 54 grams of protein and under 300 calories, I think. I use regular chocolate because I think a lot of the other flavors in the industry are disgusting, especially vanilla.

4. Banana- I love fruit and like to make sure my potassium intake is high enough for when I actually start swimming and playing sports again. Banana and chocolate is also the perfect mix. It may only be about 100 calories and 1 gram of protein but it’s delicious. Also, many primates eat bananas and they’re strong as heck so of course I’m going to eat some too.

5. Creatine- This one isn’t always present but when I am taking extra creatine (my pre-workouts often have it too, plus I do) I usually throw in two teaspoons in my shake during creatine loading cycles and one during creatine maintenance. I use Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine Monohydrate. It can be extremely grainy so mix well or be ready to deal with the texture. It is calorically void.

photo (5)

That’s about it. I have been known to mix in other fresh fruits, especially strawberries or blueberries. I used to add peanut butter until I got sick of cleaning it off the blades afterwards. I used to add chocolate syrup but that’s long gone. And more. So there you have it. My typical protein shake measures out to a liter. It currently has about 75-80 grams of protein and between 1000-1200 calories.

If you have any questions about post workout meals, supplements, or anything related feel free to comment below! Stay hungry and fit!

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9 Great Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

So you’re a vegetarian. So am I (kinda)! Which means you don’t eat meat (where are you going with this, Alana…). Which means you are missing out on a major source of protein. Protein is an extremely important part of the diet, healing and building muscles and keeping us nutrient-full. The more protein in the diet, the more full you remain. Here are some great ways for vegetarians to get protein:

1. Beans. Beans, beans, the more you eat them, the more you…gain a great source of protein and fiber! That’s how the song goes, right? My personal favorite is black beans. There are many types available: black, refried, kidney, white, chick peas, red, pinto, and many many more! Always get the beans with no salt added for a lesser sodium intake and a healthier meal over all. Soy beans (edamame) and white beans have the highest protein content, but all are still good choices. Great meal options with beans are: rice and beans, bean, cheese, and cheese burrito, bean soup, and bean salad. There are so many ways to put this into your diet, so do it today!

2. Soy. Soy is an excellent source of protein for the vegetarian (or for anyone). It is indeed a bean (or legume), but it has its separate category because it has such a big part in the vegetarian diets. You can find this in all kinds of forms now: Morningstar products, protein bar products, protein shake powder, and more! It is easy to find in such products, just search it up. Morningstar products are just as good as meat products, most taste absolutely delicious!

3. Tofu. Tofu is made from soy, called ‘bean curd’ because it is used from soybean juices and curded. Tofu is huge in the Asian cultures. There are soft and firm types of tofu, depending on how you want to cook or eat it. You can eat it raw, of course, too. But it’s great to either bake or lightly stir fry with some seasoning such as soy sauce, yeast, or garlic. And easy way to get a great source of protein.

4. Mushrooms. Mushrooms, in the plant world, are a live source of protein. So instead of dead proteins that you would find from soy or other processed protein sources, mushrooms are live fungi from the ground. This source of protein is very healthy and nutritious for you, having a high protein count, depending on which type of mushroom you get. Some variations are oyster mushrooms, portabella mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, white mushrooms, and many more. I used to hate mushrooms until I became a vegetarian. I then started eating them more and now I love them. Get them a part of your diet!

5. Eggs. Eggs are definitely a great source of protein (if you’re not a vegan). You can hard boil them, scramble them, omelette them, fry them–the list is endless. There are so many great ways of adding this into your diet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One egg can range from 6-9 grams of protein.

6. Nuts. Another great, natural source of protein. It is also a place to get your good, natural healthy fats as well (that you NEED). Nuts come in all forms and sizes from peanuts to cashews to almonds to pistachios, if you want good protein, you better get nuts about nuts. They are an excellent snack, but can also be used in main dishes such as in your greek yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, and stir fry for dinner. Almonds rule the nut world for healthiest and most protein.

7. Greek Yogurt. Now, I’m not talking about the sugar-filled Yoplait yogurts that you’ll find for a good price. I’m talking Chobani, Fayeh, and Oikos. Preferably, get plain. The best of the best have a high protein count of 22 grams, the lowest you can find at around 7 grams. Greek yogurt may take some getting used to, but you can sweeten it with fruit or honey, or add granola to it as well. You can also add it to cooking dishes, such as curries and sauces. Make sure you get greek yogurt in for one meal of the day! Delicious.

8. Protein powder. Now these are made up (usually) of whey, soy protein isolate, and other milk products to create a densely packed protein addition to your diet. Goes very well after a workout too (when you need the most protein to start repairing those muscles). See this post for more information of what protein powder we like the most. You can make shakes, milkshakes, smoothies, and even your own protein bars! Great snack or meal replacement, and usually low in calories.

9. Cheese and other dairy products. Dairy is, of course, a good source of protein as it comes from an animal. You just need to be wary of how much you are consuming due to fats and calories (if you’re counting them). Cheese is delicious and comes in many forms from different animals (cheddar cheese and goat cheese are my personal favorites). Milk is good too, as is cottage cheese.

So there you have it, vegetarians, nine sources of protein ranging from fungi in the earth to processed curd. Now you have no excuses of not getting you daily protein intake–look how many options you have! Never skimp out on the protein, always get to your limit, it will keep you full longer, and keep your muscles happy.