Recipe for Protein Pancakes

When I was stripping off the fat for a bodybuilding show I tested out all sorts of things with the limited food I was allowed to eat. My breakfast consisted of Oatmeal, egg whites and low carbohydrate protein powder.

With a bit of water and cinnamon, you’ve got ingredients for pancakes!

Now as these are low fat, no sugar and high protein pancakes they are not the best tasting, but they are awesome if you are on a fat loss or muscle building diet, they fill you up and because of the sweetener from the protein shake and cinnamon, they satisfy your sweet cravings. So here is what you will need to make these protein packed alternatives to your traditional pancakes –

Ingredients for protein pancakes

  • 6 egg whites or 200 ml (I have these a lot so I use egg whites in a carton, this saves time messing with separating the yolks and wasting them. These are hard to find in the UK probably easier to find in the US? The best place to look in a store is near the pastry/ bakery items… This was a nightmare for me to find but worth it as I plan to make these a lot
  • 100g rolled oats or Oatmeal
  • Low carbohydrate protein powder (whey protein) You can use any protein powder here but I would stick to a whey powder with low carbs. This is because the oatmeal is providing us with all the carbs we need. I use a whey based protein powder from the gym I train at. Now if you are weary and unsure of which protein shake to by, you should be! There are many brands out there that are loaded with sugar and are low quality. The gym I use has a great range of quality supplements and the guys there know what they are talking about so can advise on what you need. If you are from my area in the UK its worth checking them out.
  • Cinnamon or “all spice”
  • 100ml water

The mix is pretty simple to make, you just put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl or food processor and blend.

I use a hand blender with a detachable end for easy cleaning, this should help you out with time saving also. Its a great bit of kit because you can use it lots and it is very easy to clean. Blend the mixture. (This is personal preference but If you blend this well so the mix is very smooth, the pancakes turn out better).

Once this is done, you will need to heat a none-stick pan so it is hotter than the sun!… Or as hot as you can make it. This is important if you don’t want scrambled eggs and protein shake in a pan!

Once the pan is hot you need to add a small amount of vegetable oil. To cut calories even more, I put a small amount of oil in the pan and quickly wipe around the pan with a folded piece of Kitchen roll to remove excess oil and spread evenly. Depending on your pan, this should be enough for up to 3 pancakes, and then the oil may need to be applied again.

When the pan is hot enough and the oil has been added, you now need to add a small amount of the mix to the pan. (The more you do this the more you will see what kind of amount you need to add per pancake, you can have thick ones or thin ones).

Once the mixture is added to the pan leave it until you see small bubbles forming on the top. It is now time to ease up the sides with a spatula and flip! It should take around 30 seconds per side, “Rinse and repeat”.

This will make a fair amount of pancakes. If you are bodybuilding or dieting you may need to adjust the amounts of ingredients here.

For my pre-contest diet, I had to eat all of these for breakfast. If you are not on a very strict diet, you may want to dust with sweetener or eat with sliced fruit or honey. This would still be a healthy alternative.

I will finish with saying that these are a great choice for breakfast as they are filling and have slow release nutrients, they are low in fat/ sugar and have a high protein content, which is also great for weight loss.

Red Rice Yeast

Red yeast rice (Monascuspurpureus), or RYR for short. is a dietary supplement made from a red yeast grown on rice, which is widely used in Chinese cooking to make such as Peking duck and Char Siu. That’s where they get their red color characteristic. RYR contains many natural compounds, including a group of fourteen monacolins. One of them, monacolin K, is that the statin drug lovastatin is made from.

These monacolins function similarly to statins and cholesterol levels. But maybe they are not as concentrated, or perhaps because other compounds offer a protective effect, RYR does not seem to cause the same level of side effects that statins.

RYR does not cause the same side effects, but is still effective in reducing the harmful LDL. Side effects where clinical trials have shown RYR, for example, similar levels of muscle weakness to pravastatin, RYR dose was surprisingly high (2400 mg x 2 times a day, or a total of 4800 mg).

An overview of multiple studies, showed that doses greater than 2000 mg per day in total are useless. They have also shown that plant sterols and stanols work best when combined with a diet low in unsaturated fats.

  • Try taking the 400 mg capsules three times a day (a total of 1200 mg) in combination with a better diet, to help your LDL levels return to normal without experiencing side effects.
  • If they are very high, you could take 5 capsules per day (a total of 2000 mg) for the first week or two, but then drop again the amount, especially if you have been previously intolerant to statins.

If you are already on statins, you can decrease the statin dose and increase the dose of RYR, but it must be done under the supervision of your medical herbalist with access to frequent tests. It is best, if possible, to try RYR first before starting statin therapy.

You can buy RYR on its own. This is the cheapest way, but there are some things to consider. RYR capsules made in USA do not contain monacolin K. This is because FDA regulations require that it be removed to prevent people taking statins with receiving too high. So it is “weaker” than RYR produced in the European Union where it is not necessary.

RYR is often sold in combination with the natural enzyme CoQ10 (ubiquinone) located in each cell of the body. Low levels of CoQ10 are particularly associated with:

  • heart failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • gum disease.

Statins can reduce CoQ10 levels up to 40%. Some studies have also found, although the results are mixed, that CoQ10 supplementation helps reduce muscle weakness commonly known as a side effect of statins.

CoQ10 also has other advantages as well as support a healthy heart, it can increase energy. The heart, liver and kidneys that have the highest demands of energy of course also have the highest levels of CoQ10 in the body. It also boosts antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are found in berries, grape seeds and vitamin E. They help fight free radicals that are a primary trigger in cell aging.

Although it is more expensive, it is a wise precaution to purchase a capsule RYR rice with CoQ10 included, especially if you take high RYR doses or always take some statins under the supervision of your medical herbalist or health care professional.

Make A Cake Healthy

That’s right, I said “healthy cake.” There truly is such a thing, a cake that can be healthier for you than the premade concoction that you pick up from the bakery department of your local grocery store. When you bake the cake yourself, you control what ingredients you use, so you can make it lower in calories, lower in fat, and even lower in refined sugar.

“Wait a minute,” you’re saying, “if I want to eat healthy, I’ve got to cut out cake anyways.” That isn’t always the case, though. If you play your cards right, you can always include sweets in some moderation into any diet, even the famous Weight Watchers diet. After all, you can check the Weight Watchers section of your local grocery store and see their own options for desserts (but these have the same preservatives that are bad for you and we want to avoid!)

There are recipes galore for healthy cake, including an absolutely scrumptious gingerbread cake made with real molasses, with cream cheese oozing down the sides. Believe it or not, a single serving of this delicious cake will have less than 200 calories and no preservatives, something hard to find in a commercially baked cake! Or, how about a home-baked chocolate lava cake, also with les than 250 calories? Let’s get really crazy, though, and consider adding a healthy dose of almonds to a cherry cake for a cake that is actually nutritional, filled with vitamin E, unsaturated fat, and fiber!

While you might not be able to buy these cakes in the store, the memories you will pass along to your children are worth the time it might take you to bake the cake. The art of baking is, alas, becoming a lost one… but that can change if you include your children in the baking process! As you learn, so do they, and they can then pass along their baking skills to their own children. Teaching your children how to make healthy cake can help them not only be healthier, but to know how to cook healthy.

On a personal note, I always try to replace white sugar with bananas, coconut sugar, sucrin or even add some fresh berries on top of the recipe and leave out the unhealthy sugar completely in my cakes and bakery. Sometimes I even add fresh figs in the recipe to make it sweeter, and I can honestly say, that I don’t miss the white sugar in my life.

Yogurt Wars

On of the ingredients, potassium sorbate, was confirmed by the CEO to kill bacteria and yeasts. They purposefully add it to destroy bacteria.

Wait, hold on… You eat the yogurt for the probiotic bacteria, right? So, why would you eat a yogurt that has a chemical designed to kill bacteria? It doesn’t make sense, until you realize that the company is more interested in money than providing a quality product.

The other has a chemical sweetener that was downgraded to ‘use with caution’ recently. Enough science made it through the bureaucracy to force the government to recognize it as something potentially unsafe. Why would you eat something that is needs to be eaten with caution? It’s directly saying that this poison is OK as long as you don’t eat too much of it.

You need to make healthy choices. One of those healthy choices is to avoid any food product with chemicals, colors, sugars, and things you just don’t know what they are.

Let’s face it, these things may make life easier now, but they will make life harder later on.

There are better alternatives. One is to make your own yogurt. It’s actually really easy. First, you need whole milk (not low fat or all you get is runny mush) and a good, organic yogurt starter. For me, I buy a starter from one of the several companies that put quality ahead of high CEO salaries.

As a side note, I purchased a starter pack with 6 different kinds of yogurt for less than $20. It will produce about 30 gallons of yogurt, maybe more if I carefully keep tending the base to produce new flavors.

Then, you add the yogurt starter to the milk, keep it warm, and wait. In a day, you have lots of healthy, delicious yogurt. You can add any flavor you want: berries, jams, maple syrup (odd, I know, but I know several people who do this), nuts, seeds, granola, and the list goes on.

You can make as little as a quart to several gallons at a time. Me, I make 1 gallon at a time and it lasts about a week for 3 people.

The best part is I don’t have to worry about chemicals, residues (I use organic milk), or unwanted things. When it is finished, with the yogurt starter, milk, and additions, I make 1 cup of yogurt for about $0.25. For me, it’s worth it. How much is your health worth to you?

Ways to Use Honey in Your Diet

  • In your beverages: Kickstart your day with a tall glass of warm water, two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This honey-water-lemon concoction is known to help aid faster burning of fats, when coupled with an active lifestyle. You can replace sugar and other calorie-heavy sweeteners. Opt for honey in milk, instead of sugar. You can also whip up your very own, healthy power drink to immediately feel refreshed and energized. Mix two cups of water, one-fourth cup of fresh lemon juice, one-eighth teaspoon of salt and two and a half teaspoons of raw honey in a water bottle. Consume as and when needed to rehydrate yourself, instead of consuming unhealthy sports drinks and mixes.
  • As a bread spread: Using honey as a breakfast or bread spread is a smart and healthier alternative to the sugar-packed conventional bread spreads available in the market. Generously spread honey onto your morning toast for a delicious breakfast; remember to have some fruit portions as well. Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder and apply it on bread as a spread, instead of jams and jellies. You can also make a honey-mustard spread for sandwiches in a trice – just blend one-fourth cup of prepared mustard, one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of mayonnaise, and spread the mixture between bread slices. Alternatively, you can use honey as a great dip to go with breakfast rotis or chapatis. A popular way in some rural ways is to dip freshly made Dosas in a mix of honey & ghee.
  • As a salad dressing: Salads taste great when married with the right dressing! You can use honey to up your salad dressing game, and turn snack time into a delicious, healthy daily routine. Simply add equal parts honey, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil into a jar; add a sprinkling of your favourite herbs and a pinch of salt to taste. Close the jar tightly with a lid and shake thoroughly, or simply use a spoon to mix the contents well. Add a generous portion of the dressing to your salads, instead of using mayonnaise or other calorie-rich salad dressings.

Nature’s Best Fruits

Papaya (Carica papaya)

A previously rare and exotic fruit that grows in tropical countries is now readily available to fruit enthusiasts at most times of the year. Usually sweet, this vibrant, usually round, yellow or orange-colored fruit, when used topically in its mashed form as a lotion, is said to be beneficial to promoting wound healing, and prevents further infection from burns. Also known to relieve constipation, its high content of digestive enzymes known as papain promotes regular movement and improves digestive health as well. To ward off heart diseases, papaya’s high potassium and fiber levels helps to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease.

Longan (Dimocarpus longan)

Also widely known as Dragon’s eye, or Mamoncillo chino, the longan, often referred to as the “little brother of lychee” in terms of its taste and appearance, is a very rich source of numerous vitamins, minerals, and other different nutrients. Long been used as a natural remedy for stomach aches with its fiber content, the longan also helps to boost the immunity and helps to ward off various diseases. With its high content of B vitamins, it is said to improve the condition of a person’s nerves, as well as helps to calm the nervous system. They are also said to contain phenolic acids that are powerful antioxidants, as well.

Durian (Durio zibethinus)

A soft, succulent fruit that closely resembles the jackfruit in terms of appearance, the durian is a very rich source of healthy dietary fiber, thus making it a very excellent bulk laxative. Despite its very characteristic odor that has people expressing diverse and peculiar opinions, durian helps to bind and eliminate carcinogenic substances from the gut. Packed with several minerals like manganese, copper, iron and magnesium, durian is considered a natural alternative source of these trace minerals that help to aid in keeping the blood healthy. Durian, in its fresh state, is also rich in potassium, a very important electrolyte responsible for maintenance of heart rate and blood pressure.

Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

This round purple fruit, with a very soft and distinct fragrance and a sweet taste, more popularly known simply as mangosteen, has various beneficial uses: its natural antibacterial compounds are known to reduce and eliminate many common skin problems like acne, oily or dry skin, and even blemishes. People with sciatica pains can also benefit from the consumption of this delicious fruit, as it contains anti-inflammatory properties as well. Also, this fruit contains absolutely no saturated fats or cholesterol, that makes it a vital food item for people concerned with gaining excessive weight or those who are trying to lose it.

Pomegranate (Pumica granatum)

An original native of Persia, this nutrient-dense fruit rich in antioxidants has long been revered as a symbol of fertility, health, and eternal life in the ancient times. A red colored fruit enclosed in a very tough outside layer, the only edible portions are the seeds and the juice. Not so ancient though, is its high phytochemical contents that are now known to stimulate serotonin and improve symptoms of depression. Punicalagin, a compound unique to the pomegranate not only helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, it also helps to speed up the melting of clots found in the vessels of the heart, also known as atherosclerosis, resulting to decreased risks or heart attack.

Mango (Mangifera indica)

This highly succulent fruit that grows well in tropical countries, some people regard the mango as the “King” of all fruit. Not only is it rich in much needed Vitamin C, it also helps to protect the body against cancer. Its fibrous fruit boosts the body’s digestive activity by burning additional calories, thus aiding in weight loss. Mangoes also contain high levels of Vitamin A that promotes good eyesight, and helps to prevent night blindness as well. The Vitamin E that mangoes contain helps to regulate hormones, increase virility and boosts the sex drive of men. Also, it benefits women with its high iron content, which is also helpful for those suffering from anemia or women in their menopausal stages.

Apple (Malus pumila)

This red pomaceous fruit from the rose family is one of the healthiest food items that a person can eat. Having a high fiber and Vitamin C content, apples are one of the most popular fruits with its bright red color and often sweet taste. Inside its round appearance, are numerous health benefits like alleviating irritable bowel movement, weight management, liver detoxification, and reducing risks for heart disease too! And to top it all off, all the chewing of this yummy fruit also helps to whiten teeth and prevent or delay tooth decay as well. Experts recommend too that the skin of the apple should be consumed with the rest of the fruit.

Advantages of Flaxseed

People call flaxseeds as linseeds in some places. They are small differently colored seeds that come in brown, golden and tan colors. According to the biochemists, these seeds are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These unsaturated fatty acids help us to make several compounds to fight disease. Our body makes use of these compounds to create grey matter in our brain.

They are rich sources of lignans that form major part of food we consume. They are found to contain 7 times more lignans than any other plant source.  These seeds have high fiber content, especially mucilage gum. It has a curing effect on the intestinal tracts and aids in bowel movement.  Applying two table-spoons of flaxseed oil helps people keep hair, skin and nails healthy.  Alpha-linolenic acid found in these seeds benefits skin and improve its texture so that it glows. It also reduces inflammation on the skin.  Walnuts work in tandem with flaxseeds to lower fat absorption. These seeds also support weight loss. The fibers make the stomach feel full so that you eat fewer calories of food.  Adding linseeds in your diet will automatically bring down the cholesterol level in blood. The soluble fibers present in the seeds trap cholesterol and lower its absorption in the body.  The flaxseeds are gluten-free. It is an excellent replacement for gluten-rich grains that are inflammatory.  Another plus point for these seeds is the presence of antioxidants. In fact, these seeds are found to have huge reservoir of antioxidants.  Flaxseeds improve overall digestive health. Alpha Linolenic acid present in these seeds protects the lining of the digestive tract. The contents present in these seeds also offer protection against the deadly disease of cancer.

Cook and Store the Best Fresh Pasta

The beauty of the best fresh pasta is that you can use it to make a gourmet meal in a very small amount of time. Once it’s made, all the work has been done for you. But if you want your dinner to be perfect, you need to treat these noodles well.

Remember that they are a work of art! It takes great care and a delicate hand to make them, so you need to respect the tradition and love that went into their making. Then, you need to store them and cook them properly. This is very easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. Here are a few tips about storage and preparation to make sure that your meal is beautiful every time.

Storing Handmade Fresh Pasta

If you’ve made it yourself and you’ve already cut it, then you can either choose to refrigerate it for later use, or you can cook it right away. If you aren’t going to be cooking your noodles immediately after having made them, then you will want to give them 1 to 2 minutes of drying time on a baking sheet.

Next, give them a generous dusting with flour so that when you store them together, they won’t stick and form a solid clump. Gather them together into small bunches and either fold them in half or wrap them into small nests. Allow them to dry for an additional thirty minutes and then wrap them up and place them into the refrigerator. Fresh pasta will remain good for up to 2 days in the fridge. If you think that it will take you longer to consume the noodles, freeze them for up to 2 weeks.

Cooking Handmade Fresh Pasta

If you can cook dry noodles, then you can cook fresh pasta. The reason is that freshly made noodles are far easier and faster to prepare! Use a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. For about 4 nests, you’ll need around 8 cups of water. That may seem like a lot, but it is good to have a lot more water than pasta. This helps to ensure that the noodles will be able to move freely in the water instead of cooking to each other.

Once they’re in, bring the water back to a boil, and after a minute and a half (yes, that’s all!) of gentle simmering, you’re all set! Drain the water off in a strainer and serve right away with your favorite sauce. Don’t overcook it or you won’t be happy with the texture it produces. Al dente should be your goal. If you aren’t sure, just take a noodle out of the pot, let it cool for a couple of seconds, and take a bite!

Baked Macaroni Shells

I mean you can always buy the box kind with the orange powder or the orange glob of cheese that is full of additives and salt. If you have a lot of it left over from the holidays, you can add hotdogs or polish sausage to it for the kiddo’s lunch entrée.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of elbow macaroni or shells
  • 1 package of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of diced Velveeta cheese cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. I add salt to the water and 1 Tbsp butter. Don’t over cook the pasta since you are going to bake it in the oven. Cook macaroni until it is al dente which is firm. Over cooked pasta has a higher glycemic index than firm pasta. Drain the pasta but don’t rinse. The salt and butter from the water has seasoned your pasta. Put the macaroni in a casserole dish and add the rest of the butter to the pasta. I sometimes make a cheese sauce with milk and Velveeta cheese in a sauce pan or add the cubed cheese to the macaroni and pour the milk over the pasta. If you make the cheese sauce, pour the milk into a saucepan and add the cheese cubes and cook until melted then pour over macaroni shells. I then add half the package of shredded cheese and mix it into the shells. Afterwards, I beat an egg with a which. Add the egg to the pasta dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the macaroni. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; cover the casserole dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and take off the lid and bake for an extra 10-15 minutes until it is bubbly.

Types of Pasta Dishes

While some of my favorite pasta dishes are Italian, I have to say my absolute favorite pasta is not. It’s Macaroni and Cheese. This dish uses round tubular macaroni pasta noodles, and as the name suggests, is covered in a creamy cheese sauce. My mother made it from scratch, using cheddar, milk, and garlic for the sauce, then baking the whole thing in the oven with a crust of sharp cheddar over the top. Sure, it’s not what you normally think of when it comes to pasta, but it’s my favorite use of the pasta noodle, because let’s face it – everything is better with cheese!

After that I would say that lasagna is my absolute favorite Italian pasta dish. Made with layers of soft, flat pasta sheets, and any combination of cheeses, meats, spices and sauces, it has to be one of the most versatile pasta dishes ever made. It can have ricotta and Italian sausage inside with a traditional red tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese on top. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for something creamier? How about a white garlic Alfredo sauce with mushrooms, spinach, and chicken inside? The possibilities are endless, and of course, it has cheese so you know I’m a fan!

Which reminds me of another one of my favorite pasta dishes. Stuffed shells. These large seashell shaped pieces of pasta are incredibly delicious when boiled then stuffed with a ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, and garlic mix. I like to place them in a glass baking dish and cover them with a zesty red tomato sauce and let the flavors all cook in together. These don’t even need cheese on top- they are so stuffed with the gooey goodness that they are perfect right out of the oven.

There are so many ways to cook pasta, I could go on and on, but when it comes down to it, my favorite way is always going to involve cheese. I love red sauce but even in my homemade spaghetti, I put a little Parmesan in the sauce as it simmers over low heat – just a touch. Maybe it’s just so I know it’s there more than for flavor. In the long run – the pasta dish that has cheese is always going to be my favorite pasta dish.