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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Strawberry Cinnamon Casein Treat

I've had to increase my protein intake by quite a lot in order to build and maintain muscle for my next NPC bikini competition.  In order to do so, I have been making some very delicious casein treats before I go to bed.  This one in particular is under 150 calories, provides 17g of protein, and is beyond easy to make!

If you are not aware of casein protein, like whey, it comes from cow's milk.  Casein is unique in that it has the ability to gel and glob. During digestion, casein thickens as it contacts stomach acid.  This reduces digestion rate and allows for a slower, more continuous release of casein's amino acids (the building blocks of protein).  Although casein does not provide whey's peak anabolic response, it does provide a more sustained amino stream.  Casein can be consumed any time of the day, however, due to it's slow digestion and amino acid release, casein is commonly taken when you might be without food for a long period of time (at night, before bed).

So, now that I've provided you with a little information on casein protein, let's eat it!

Strawberry Cinnamon Casein Treat

- 1/3 cup Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/3 scoop Vanilla Casein Protein Powder
- 1/4 cup Strawberries (fresh, diced)
- 1/8 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 of an Organic Cinnamon Graham Cracker Sheet (crushed)
- 1 tbsp Fat Free Cool Whip

1) Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
This doesn't have to be exact.  The longer it chills, the firmer the consistency.  Most of the time I don't even put it in the freezer at all because I just want to gobble it all up! :)
2) Sprinkle crushed graham cracker and top with a spoonful of Cool Whip or all natural Truwhip.


Nutritional Information:
143.7 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 110.5mg Sodium, 230.2mg Potassium, 15.8g Carbs (1.4g Fiber, 6.4g Sugar), 17g Protein.

*Fit Tip*
Add whatever nutricious and delicious health foods you like to suit your dietary desires!
Some suggestions include:
- All natural, unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews.
- Organic fruit; apple, berries, banana slices, orange, mango.
- All natural cocoa, carob chips, or dark chocoalte chips.
- Any nut butter or PB2.

Why strawberries?
Strawberries provide numerous health benefits!  Strawberries are nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants like Vitamin C; which boosts your immune system, promotes younger looking skin and eye health and reduces inflammation.  So remember the three As: Antioxidant, Anti-Aging, Anti-inflammatory.

Why cinnamon?
Many studies have found that cinnamon regulates blood sugar; making it a great choice for diabetics, hypoglycemics, or anyone seeking to stabilize their energy levels.  Also, research has shown that cinnamon may cause an increases in metabolism, thus aiding in fat loss.  In addition, cinnamon has also been shown to reduce the harmful LDL cholesterol and reduce arthritis pain.


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