Sunday, March 4, 2012

Banana Protein Muffins

In my battle to drop the fat, gain the muscle and get into better shape, I have been reading a lot of Once-Was-Fat-Now-Am-Skinny blogs. Real people, real stories. I started picking up on common denominators that helped these people lose their weight. It all has to do with Diet and Exercise, not like you haven't heard that a billion times already. But here are some specifics about just how your diet and exercise should be. You want (a) high protein, (b) little to no sugar, white sugar especially, (c) heavy on the vegetables (d) 5-6 small meals a day (e) a budget that allows for purchasing the healthier food (f) exercising 30-120 minutes a day. I struggle with (a) and (e), and a tad of (f), which I know many of you might. But, it takes baby steps, each and every day to completely battle the urges to down a bag of potato chips, or eat a whole pint of homemade ice cream from the family run ice cream parlor at the corner of the street... (Guilty!)

I started with the exercise. There are many different theories to this. Some say, just move for 30 minutes a day (running, jobbing, walking, etc.), others say, little cardio more weights. I do both, or at least I try to. Yesterday it was so darn cold that I couldn't get myself to leave my toasty warm apartment to head into the Chicago wind in hopes of there being a treadmill available once I got to the gym. So I cranked up the music, turned down the heat, and started dancing, like a foul. But you know what, I was sweating, I was working my muscles, and this morning, my legs were tired. Cardio... Check! Yay!

Another thing I've done, very recently, is try to cut out sugar when I don't really need it, such as in my morning coffee, and replace sugar (in recipes) with either Agave Nectar or Splenda when it is 'needed'. I tried two recipes yesterday, and feel confident with sharing one, Banana Protein Muffins. Replacing sugar with either of those ingredients requires some getting used to. Agave definitely has more of a heavier, honey taste, and turns the final product a bit darker, and Splenda, well it does something odd, giving a tingly feeling to your tongue when you eat it. Kind of what munching on fairy dust might be like.... sweet, soft and tingly. But it tastes fine!

You'll also notice the name of the muffin mentions protein. I've been encouraged by a number of people to increase my protein, especially if I'm lifting weights (nothing crazy, just dumbbells and kettle bells), to help build those muscles. I also know that I'm not getting enough protein, because of my budget. So, I went to Trader Joes and bought Soy Protein supplement, all natural, no sugar or artificial flavors, colors, etc. It can easily be mixed into just about anything to give it more protein: bread, cake, cookies, smoothies, meatloaf (so it says on the label). In this recipe I've used protein powder, Splenda, yogurt, eggs whites and oats. No butter, not sugar, and no white flour! They taste great!

1/2 c banana
3/4 c egg whites
1/2 c greek yogurt
3/4 old fashion oats (ground)
2 scoops of protein powder (I used soy, whey is also good)
1/2 c splenda (Next time I might use 1/3 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 350˙. Blend everything together completely using a food processor or mixer. Spray the muffin tin with oil or use foil liners (oats make the muffin stick to the paper liners). Bake 12-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let me know what you think! :-) Happy Getting Healthy!

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