It’s fall which means pumpkin spice is everywhere! Candles, potpourri, lattes, and meal replacement shakes!! YAY! When seasonal items are available, our desire to buy and consume them is enhanced as we know they will not always be available. Seasonal or not I am all about making informed decisions so I would be remise if I did not share my comparison between a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Herbalife Pumpkin Spice Meal Replacement Shake.
Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte (16 oz.) $5.25 per serving Calories: 380 Fat: 14G Carbs: 52G Sugar: 50G (more than a slice of pumpkin pie) Fiber: 0G Protein: 14G from 2% cows milk
Herbalife Pumpkin Spice Meal Replacement Shake (16 oz.) $2.96 per serving (before discount then $2.22)
Calories: 200 Fat: 4G Carbs: 18G Sugar: 14G (less than 1 cup of frozen berries) Fiber: 4G Protein: 24G Other: 24 vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, D, B6 & B12, E, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Chromium, and more!
Oh… and I didn’t even mention taste! The Pumpkin Spice Latte is too sweet for my liking, personally. The Herbalife Pumpkin Spice Meal Replacement Shake tastes DE-LIC-IOUS! Like true pumpkin pie delicious and not some fake knockoff! Seriously!
Now… what do you think based on the facts presented is a better way to start your day? A power packaged or sugar package breakfast? You decide! Also… s Herbalife Meal Replacement Shake cost more than $2.00 less per serving than a Starbucks Latte. Save money and improve your NUTRITION and HEALTH! Once you start putting proper nutrition in your body, watch your energy soar and your body change in favorable ways as well!
Want to order? Register in my store and start shopping! Want a discount? Send me a note and I can offer you 25% off with a 1 time preferred membership fee which pays for itself in the order.
I am often asked two common question. One – do I NEED to take a protein powder and, Two – what is a “good” one I recommend. The answer is always the same, “It depends and what’s your primary objective?!”
What is protein powder, anyway?
Protein shakes / powder are typically made from whey, casein, soy, or a blend of plant based proteins. Protein shakes are a convenient way to add the protein macronutrient in your diet as an alternative to eating meat or a protein rich plant.
Let’s face it, sometimes you want something that tastes different than meat, vegetables, or legumes and a shake is a quick way to enjoy a liquid meal. I mean, who wants to relax in the sauna after a workout and be chomping on a piece of fish as a recovery meal! I’d vote, no one! In addition, protein shakes come in all kinds of flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, cookies and cream, chocolate chip mint, pineapple, etc. There really are some delicious protein shake alternatives!
Reasons for taking Protein Powder…
Protein powder has 2-3 objectives depending on the brand:
(1.) Adding protein to the diet
(2.) Delivering a nutrition enhancement along with the protein e.g. Vitamins / minerals, performance enhancing supplementation etc.
(3.) Filling up your stomach aka stopping the hunger pains!
How to decide on a Protein Powder – a few considerations…
When deciding what type of protein powder and what brand to buy, there are a few considerations.
(1.) What are your overall fitness & health goals e.g. Athletic performance (faster speed / endurance), losing weight, improving health, adding muscle, etc.
(2) Do you have allergies?
(3) How important is taste to you?
(4) Are you wanting to use shakes as a “go-to” instead of junk food?
A bit of sharing! (hopefully helpful in making your decision)
When I was competing in the National Physique Committee, my #1 objective was to be stage ready by the selected show date. This meant eating very specific menu items in order to lower my body fat to levels it would never be able to achieve by “normal” eating. I did use protein powder two times a day in the first 9 weeks of my 12.5 week preparation. Although I am lactose intolerant, I used whey protein based on my perception of its benefits even though this milk product left me gassy and bloated. Ouch! At that time, I looked for brands with very few fillers and as a result of them not filling me up, I was often hungry immediately after drinking my shake. BTW, when you compete in bodybuilding competitions, you get used to be hangry (Hungry + Angry)! Unfortunately being hangry is part of the harsh realities associated with competing. [Read my previous blog on extreme dieting for more insight.
After I stopped competing, I switched to a vegan protein as I didn’t want to experience the bloating and gas. Smart, right!? I tried every vegan brand I could find and settled on the one that tasted the best. Notice I didn’t say tasted delicious because none of them did. I also started adding fruit to my smoothies to enhance the taste. Organic fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals in its natural form and also sugar, which may or may not be a diet downfall depending on what else you’re eating on a daily basis.
Fast forward to now, where my goals are to walk around in a body that I am confident in, not be gassy, and not feeling deprived aka like I’m dieting, or hangry. It is also important that my health e.g. heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. maintain in tip top shape! Recently this objective has brought me to Herbalife meal replacement shakes. See my 35 day transformation blog for my results thus far. In reading the ingredients of Herbalife shakes, they meet my fitness objectives in that they:
✔️ Deliver high quality soy protein isolate (no gas or bloating here)
✔️ They contain fillers that are intended to leave me feeling satisfied and not hungry for additional food at that meal
✔️ Herbalife shakes are D-E-licious! I mean they are SO good! Think chocolate chip mint, banana carmel, and dulce de leche just to name a few!!
If you’re wanting to lose weight or conversely add mass, bulking, using a “clean diet” and it’s important that you mentally don’t feel deprived from things that taste like “treats”, Herbalife has been a game changer for me. Because my focus is no longer on being stage ready and in a bikini that is so small it has to be glued on (true story), I just don’t have the will power to not consume food that taste like treats. At least not for the long term. Turns out when you feel like a certain food is “bad” it creates scarcity and the result is yo-yo dieting. If you’re someone who craves sugar e.g. cookies, ice cream, candy, any baked good and these cravings are sabotaging your health and fitness goals, I have found Herbalife to be the best alternative.
In the end, when deciding what protein shake is best for YOU, you must be clear on why you are wanting to add a protein shake into your diet in the first place. When you know your objective, you then can make an informed decision on how to meet it!
Note: All protein shakes, ALL, are a processed food! It’s just a fact! Not all processed foods are created equal and so it’s important to be able to differentiate between those that have zero nutritional value or needed macro or micronutrients and those created to deliver a supplement to the daily diet.
Another Note: For those who consume whey, if you do not know the condition of the farm and cow e.g., what it was fed, impregnated (that’s how you get the milk), and what the cow is injected with e.g. growth hormones, there is no way to know exactly what you’re ingesting or if it’s good for your body.
Add water, PDM, and F1 to blender. Turn blender on low and mix up ingredients. Next add Xanthan Gum and continue to mix just enough to have everything mixed together. Add ice and blend to desired thickness.
Confession! I did something I vowed I never would never do and… it worked!
Fitness and Health as the Conduit for Change
In 2012, I officially started a life coaching business, EmpowerHouse Fitness, that utilizes fitness and health as the conduit for change. During this same time period and for the following next few years, I competed in three National Physique Committee (NPC) shows in the category’s of Bikini and Figure. See my last blog post for my first experience with competing.
Over the years, it has always been my intent to practice what I teach to my clients, which includes primarily consuming whole and organic foods and not eating in excess. Since I am the coach, I had expectations of myself based on what I knew was possible for me. I had followed a strict eating regimen while competing and in my mind, thought I could continue to maintain the same practices. The truth?? I couldn’t! Not entirely! I found that I would often consume an excess of peanut butter or trail mix which resulted in not obtaining the body / aesthetic results I desired and this left me feeling defeated.
Here is what I’ve Learned…
Here is what I’ve learned through this journey. When we tell the mind it can’t have something or something is bad, scarcity is created. Scarcity often begets overeating or binge eating. Psychologically we can only sustain “dieting” for so long before we “reward” ourselves via a binge. This affect causes“yo-yo” dieting and fuels the multiple Billion dollar diet industry.
My 35 day body transformation secret! Shhhh…. tell EVERYONE!
After struggling with my weight and sticking to my meal plan over the past year, I decided to give Herbalife a try! I had made a few friends who were Herbalife users that were super fit and positive. Opinions of a product or company are one thing, but the results I was consistently seeing showed me that my opinions were not based on facts. Results don’t lie! You see, previous to this point, I had written off Herbalife off as expensive junk products that had a great marketing scheme. Desperate and feeling stuck with my excess body fat and hormone irregularities, I figured what was the worst that could happen if I gave Herbalife an honest, all in, 30 day trial?
The shakes were delicious! Like real ice cream delicious, not some knock off weird tasting version! Not knowing the results I’d get, if any, I committed to taking the shakes daily. What I found was a #gamechanger !!! Herbalife shakes took care of me mentally as I felt like I was having a treat and therefore the mindset of scarcity dissipated. The result? I immediately stopped eating peanut butter and trail mix, which likely reduced my calorie intake by 500 to 1000! I simply didn’t need or want them as a palate soother anymore. The other thing that occurred is that the shakes filled me up and left me feeling satisfied! Lastly… the results speak for them self! ( See my 12, 28, & 35 day progress pics). The only thing I changed in the 35 day timeframe was adding Herbalife products. Every other aspect of my regimen remained unchanged! I have been an avid gym goer, 4-6 times per week, for the past five years.
I now have incorporated other Herbalife products, including the shakes, and find my results just keep getting better and quickly! I have also recommended the shakes to some of my life coaching clients as I believe they can benefit as well.
I used to be obsessed with flipping through fitness magazines and admiring the beautiful, strong, and powerful bodys the women who graced the pages had built. I would follow the workout and eating tips in the magazines but could never sculpt the physiques I saw grace the pages. This was discouraging and I spent many days daydreaming about how my life would be different if I could have the outside reflect the person I knew myself to be in the inside – strong and empowered!
Fast forward 18 years to December 2012 and I graced the bodybuilding stage in an NPC (National Physique Committee) bikini competition. I hired a competition coach and dedicated 12.5 weeks to specific eating, hydration, cardio, and weightlifting techniques to prepare for the show. My results were impressive in that the scale revealed I had shed 40 pounds from day 1 of prep to the show day! I was truly unrecognizable to my former self! I look back on my dedication and the command I had over my flesh during this time and this truly proved to me that I can do anything I decide!
Now… although this stage picture looks impressive, here is the truth! Within 12 days after my show, I gained 30 pounds! THIRTY pounds! I couldn’t believe it! I was devastated! How could this happen? I know people who eat junk food daily and don’t gain 30 pounds in a year! A secret many competitors don’t talk about and suffer alone in silence is the weight rebound they experience after a show*. Because the sport of bodybuilding is not regulated and anyone can say they are a bodybuilding prep coach, extreme tactics are often used by self proclaimed coaches to collect large sums of money from hopeful competitors in getting them stage ready. What the general public doesn’t know is that, at least for the bodybuilding category of bikini, dieting to get to an extremely low body fat percentage is often the main focus of preparation. Cardio and weight training are certainly a part of the preparation, however, extreme dieting is a tactic used by many unqualified competition prep “coaches”.
I share my story of extreme dieting for 12.5 weeks followed by a 30 pound weight gain for a few reasons
(1) Never compare yourself to pictures you see on-line or in magazines. You don’t know if the person featured maintains the physique or if it was obtained for an event e.g. Competition or photoshoot.
(2) If you decide to hire a coach, ask for the contact info of previous clients and inquire as to their experience. Make sure and get “a day in the life of” run down in order to better discern what the experience would be for you.
(3) Talk to the coach you’re hiring regarding what the program includes. Make sure it includes “reverse dieting” support after the competition. It was a process to get your body and mind show ready and it’s a process to get them to a healthy and sustainable level post competition.
I have had a passion for weight lifting for over 20 years and competing is not something I regret. As a result of my initial competition prep, however, my health was damaged, but I’ve certainly learned a lot. Through the metabolism, adrenal, and hormone challenges I have endured, I have gained knowledge that I have been able to use to help others in a powerful way. In life I’ve come to understand that nothing happens to you but yet, everything happens FOR you if you can learn from every circumstance .
*It is normal and expected to gain some body fat and weight within a week after a competition. It is not healthy to maintain the extremely low body fat levels that are required for the stage. Most coaches agree that a 10-15lb weight gain is normal as fluids and some fat are returned to the body.
[Disclaimer: There are some incredibly talented and ethical competition prep coaches and I have had the privilege to work with a few. I’m always happy to recommend a competition prep coach if I am contacted for a reference. I have a coach in Seattle and another in Los Angeles that I proudly recommend and both accept virtual clients.]
Healthy Meal Prepping like a Boss – CrockPot Chicken!
Heard the saying, “If you stay ready you ain’t got to get ready”? When you are determined to eat healthy and even have a health and fitness goal, being prepared with meals is key! Here is a game changer for me, crock pot chicken! Making crock pot chicken is almost effortless, delicious, and it provides for versatile meals.
+ Six Free range chicken breasts e.g. Mary’s brand. Saver tip: Whole foods 365 Organic Chicken breasts are actually Mary’s chicken with a generic label which means….you save!
+ Garlic cloves
+ Diced onion
+ Salt free seasonings e.g. Spike Salt Free Seasoning
+ Black Pepper
Prep Cook in Crockpot
10 mins 6 hours on high
1. Mince garlic and onion in a food processor
2. Fill ¼ full with water
3. Wash chicken breast and remove any excess fat
4. Place garlic, onion, and seasonings in the water
5. Place cleaned chicken in the crockpot water
6. Add additional water to submerge the chicken under water
7. Secure the lid on the crockpot
8. Set crockpot to high and open it in 6 hours
Cooks notes: Enjoy the moist chicken as a soup, as a side to a green vegetable, or in an Ezekiel wrap tortilla for a chicken taco or burrito