Why do I need protein?

I asked my friend, Julie (aka Fittabulous) to write a guest blog.  I met Julie at the gym several years ago and we have been motivating each other since!



So one of my fitness enthusiasts friends asked me to be a guest blogger on her blog.  At first I was like oh yeah, like I really have anything to say that anyone else wants to hear?!?!  Then I was ecstatic that she would pick me to be a guest. Now the fun starts. I will try to keep it short and not ramble on and get off track.

Let me just start off by first saying that I am a fitness freak. In a nut shell, fitness is my drug of choice. The addiction is so bad that my boyfriend has to insist that I take days off.  I am also a bit of an obsessive compulsive type person. When I do something, I go all out. This past January, my boyfriend and I decided that come March 1st we would see just what our bodies were capable of. We have always worked out really hard and pushed ourselves to the limits but this time was going to be different.

Starting with our diets, if you want to call it that, I personally prefer to call it a lifestyle. I downloaded a calorie counter app and began to track all of my calories in and calories out.  My OCD took hold of this and ran with it. The competition was on, trying to beat the calories in and out everyday was so encouraging and exciting for me. Food became extremely clean as if it was competition time or close to it, (competition for the stage that is). First things first, NO alcohol. Yep that’s right, we cut it out completely!  For those of you who don’t know this, keep this in mind. Alcohol not only slows your metabolism but it also turns to sugar which goes straight to belly fat. As for my food, this is how it looked; Meal one: Protein shake with oatmeal and some additives. Meal two: Protein shake after our workout. Meal three: vegetables and a small sweet potato. Meal four: apple and a scant handful of nuts. Meal five: vegetables/salad. Meal six: protein shake.

After a month the disappointment set in. Could not even imagine why my body had made no changes!  My boyfriend was making great strides and seeing results, but not me. What was wrong with me?  So now the search was on for the problem and the cure on my, lets just say plateau.  With my app of all my food history and workouts in hand I started asking questions.  I found trainers and nutritionist that I have known for years and some not so many years, but could tell they really knew what they were doing just by the way their own physiques looked. Showed my diary to them with tears in my eyes asking for their honest opinions. When I say honest, I mean honest!  Not sure if you all noticed the one thing missing from my meals?  PROTEIN!  All the trainers and nutritionists that I spoke with told me the same thing.  My body needed more animal protein for the amount of stress that I was putting on it. Our body’s are amazing machines that are fine tuned by the fuel that we put into them. My boyfriend’s favorite quote: “Eat Clean To Remain Lean”.  Now this was going to be very difficult for me, I have been a vegetarian for almost 4 years. How in the world was I going to make this change and be able to choke down meat?!?  The competitive side of me kicked in and I began to bite the bullet. If you only knew how anxious I was at lunch and dinner and sometimes for snacks. Ever heard of chicken jerky?  Well that’s how I had to eat it for the most part. Salmon was drowned in lemon or lime with lots of spices to hide the fishy flavors whether they were there or not. One more month went by and the changes began to become noticeable. Elated!!!

After two months of extremely clean eating my sweet tooth started to emerge. What in the world will replace real ice cream, brownies, cake, cookies, fudge, candy, and the list goes on and on. Now it was time to get creative. Find extremely clean desserts with all natural sugar and protein to satisfy our sweet tooth’s.  Coming up with protein recipes has become another one of my passions. Realizing how important protein is to our body’s, I was on a mission.  Awe yes, success!

I have found some pretty amazing protein recipes that are so good they seem sinful. I am so excited to be able to share one with you all today. This is one of my most favorites and easiest of them all. Protein Ice Cream!  That’s right!  I said it, Protein Ice Cream and it is so good and so healthy for you!  Everyone I tell about this, looks at me like I am crazy!  However, when they try it, they are amazed and act as if they just won the lottery!  Seriously, it is that good and good for you!!!


Protein Ice Cream

Protein Ice Cream

Nutrition Info for Protein Ice Cream

Nutrition Info for Protein Ice Cream

Protein Ice Cream

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 scoop of Protein (I use chocolate but your favorite flavor will work)
  • Blend in blender until smooth and freeze.

Wallah, you have ice cream!  That’s it!  I know it is so easy but listen, do not knock it until you try it!  I have had some complain about it being to sweet.  (Yes, I know, I look at them like they are crazy!)  No problem, just add a little bit of dark chocolate cocoa powder to balance out the sweetness.  Oh my Gosh!  You are going to think you died and went to heaven.  SERIOUSLY!  The other thing that makes it better for me is to pop it in the microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds just to soften it up a touch.  It kind of has the consistency of frozen cool whip.  Sometimes instead of putting it in the freezer, I will put it in the refrigerator and wallah, you have pudding!  To mix things up on occasion, I will put a tablespoon of chia seeds in the pudding.  Makes it kind of like Protein tapioca pudding.

Please try this recipe and let us know what you think!  Hope you all enjoy!  Here’s to Fabulous Fitness and Healthy Lifestyles!!!

Stay Strong My Friends!

Julie (Fittabulous)

Website www.fittabulous.com; Instagram – fittabulous; Twitter – @fittabulous; Pinterest – fittabulous; Facebook/fit.tabulous


What’s to eat?

It’s summer time and my favorite time of the year for eating!  If you are new to eating healthy or want to try it, now is the best time!  Here are a few of my favorite things about eating in the summer…Grilling!!  It is so easy to eat healthy when you are grilling.  You can take any kind of meat (beef, chicken, shrimp, fish and pork are the ones I cook most often) and marinade it in whatever you are craving.  There are so many choices to pick from and there are even more homemade sauces you can make.  Don’t limit yourself to the marinade section in the store, salad dressing makes a great marinade too.  My favorite is BBQ sauce that I make myself.  My husband is a teriyaki fan.  Dale’s Seasoning (I buy the low sodium) is great on steaks, chicken and pork.  I think my absolute favorite meal on the grill is BBQ chicken kabobs.  I put chicken, whole mushrooms, green peppers and onion on my skewers with BBQ sauce.  Serve it with brown rice on the side and you have a delicious, healthy dinner!  Another added bonus to grilling is there is no clean up!

Fruits & Vegetables!!  This year we are participating in the Springs Farm (Fort Mill, SC) CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and I just picked up my first basket of the season.  If you have this in your area I highly recommend trying it.  For a flat fee I go to the farm for 14 weeks and pick up a basket of fresh produce.  You get whatever is fresh that week and everything is grown in the Springs Farms.  Today I got peaches, strawberries, zucchini, squash, cabbage, green onions and cucumbers.  I tasted a strawberry (these are grown across the street from my neighborhood!) when I was washing them off and it tasted a million times better than any strawberry I have gotten from the grocery store.  It really is true that local produce tastes so much better.  If you don’t believe me, go to your local farmer’s market and buy a few things you normally buy in the grocery store and taste the difference!  A great way to prepare your vegetables is on the grill.  Toss them in olive oil and seasonings or even an oil based salad dressing, put them in a grilling basket or wrap it in aluminum foil and cook them at the same time as your meats.  Did you know you can grill peaches?!

I am now off to grill tonight’s dinner of BBQ pork chops and grilled veggies (squash, zucchini, green onions tossed in Italian dressing).  My boys were wanting a peach from the time we got our basket so dessert will definitely be peaches!

Week #1 of CSA

Spring Cleaning!

This week I did some spring cleaning on myself.  I have heard a lot about cleanses but never done one.  The coaches at Cathy Savage Fitness (the team I train through) put together a 7 day detox and fuel program.  I am always up to try something new so I decided why not.  I like to challenge myself!

In the past when I have heard someone say they were doing a cleanse I thought to myself, why would you do that?  When I think of cleanse I think of the intestinal kind if you know what I mean and I have no desire to do one of those.  The difference with the program that I did is that it is a cellular cleanse.  I used Isagenix products that are all natural and organic.  Their products clean all the toxins out of your cells.

So what was it all about??  The program was set up for 5 days of shakes, drinks and food and 2 days of shakes and drinks.  On the 5 days you have food you also do your normal workouts.  I was a little concerned about this part because I eat a big breakfast to get me through my workouts and when I am finished, everything I have had to eat has been burned.  My meals before my workouts this week consisted of protein drinks and an energy drink (I never drink energy drinks, these did not make me jittery or make my heart race).  I can honestly say that I was able to do all of my workouts this week at the same intensity level as normal.  I did not cut corners anywhere.  All of my shakes and meals were 2-3 hours apart and my body definitely let me know when time was coming to eat again.  The first liquid day was not bad, it was on a Monday which is a busy day anyway so I really didn’t have time to think about it.  Day 7 was the second liquid day and this was harder.  I think my mind was definitely trying to get the best of me because all I could think about was food all day and I think that made me even more hungry.

I ended up losing 7 pounds over the 7 days.  I accomplished what I set out to do which was lose the bloat I have not been able to get rid of.  Do I recommend this type of cleanse?  I do, to me it was safe and I was able to carry on my regular routines without any loss in energy.  My plan now is to maintain my weight loss!

Pre Cleanse Post Cleanse

Yummy Snack & Recipe Ideas

I have come across some really good articles on healthy snacks that I wanted to share.  I also want to share some cookbooks that I use that have healthy meals that are delicious!

Snack Ideas…

Cookbooks I Like…

  • http://busygirlhealthylife.com/shop/cookbook/  Lori Harder has some of her recipes on her website that you can try.  It’s available in digital or hardcopy.  I cook from this A LOT and my family has loved everything!
  • http://jetsetlife.tv/products/holy-sht-delicious-recipes-fit/  Kim is one of my teammates with Cathy Savage Fitness.  She travels all over the world with her husband which influences many of her recipes.
  • Southern Living… not this is not a typo, remember this kind of cooking is what I grew up on!  They have healthy living recipes that are really good.  They also have a lot of recipes for the grill.  With summer coming up what a great time to cook your meats and vegetables on the grill!  You can even grill fruits for a yummy guilt free dessert!

I hope this can help you get some good ideas for healthy recipes!

On a side note… I have a new website that my blog will now be on jennifermcnaughton.com

Feed the Fire!

Would you believe that not eating enough can have the same affect on your body as eating too much?  It’s true!  When people want to lose weight the first thing most do is eat less.  What you need to eat less of is junk food and more clean foods.  Cleaning up your meals could actually result in eating more.  I eat six meals per day.  When people ask what I eat they can’t believe all that I eat for breakfast let alone the rest of the day. 

How is that possible?  Think of your metabolism as a fire.  You have to feed the fire to keep it going.  When you eat breakfast in the morning you are starting your fire (if you are not eating breakfast make a commitment to yourself to start tomorrow morning!).  Each meal you eat fuels your fire.  When you only eat breakfast, lunch and dinner you are getting your fire so low before each meal that you end up over eating and grabbing at whatever you can get your hands on because you are so hungry.  You have gotten your body into starvation mode so your body wants more food to get your metabolism going again.  When you eat every 2-3 hours you are constantly feeding the fire and keeping your metabolism burning at a steady pace.  This keeps you on track with your clean eating and gives you the willpower to resist those not so good for you foods.

You may be saying, who has time to prepare all of that food.  This is where time management comes into play.  Prepare several meals at once and have them packaged so all you have to do is grab it.  I grilled chicken for dinner the other night and cooked more than we needed.  Today for lunch I had a salad with left over grilled chicken.  Last Friday night I cooked a big batch of ground turkey and made sloppy joes with half of it and put taco seasoning in the other half.  This lasted several meals into the week.  Check out my post from last week for easy snack ideas.

We are all busy and time is limited but it is so important to get all your meals in.  I have set the alarm on my phone before to remind me when to eat.  I was folding clothes the other afternoon and realized I had forgotten to eat my snack!  I stopped what I was doing, ate my snack (which was nice because I got to sit down for a few minutes) and then got back to the laundry.

If you are not already doing so, try eating every 2-3 hours throughout the day and see how you feel.  You will have more energy as you keep your fire burning!

Snack Time!

I received the following message from a friend this week… “I’m curious what you eat and what you snack on. I need my snacks.”

We all need our snacks and those snacks can get the best of us!  I will admit that I struggle with snacking as well so hopefully this week we can help each other.  As a mother to two young children I have the normal processed foods that kids like to snack on and it takes considerable will power to not take a handful for myself when I am fixing them a snack.  I admit that I do have some at times, I’m not perfect!  Some of you struggle at work with the mid-morning munchies and mid-afternoon slump.  There’s always the vending machine or someone’s candy jar that you can swear is calling your name.  How do we overcome that?

To overcome the temptations it is important to have snacks with you.  This will require some pre-planning.  If you work outside of the home or you are on the go this means packing snacks to take with you.  If you are at home most of the day, you need to make sure you have healthy snacks on hand that are easy to get.  I am type A planner person so when I make my grocery list I plan out all my meals and snacks for the week and I get all the food I need.  I recommend picking a day (probably the day that you grocery shop) and preparing all your snacks for the week at one time so as you go through your week you just grab it and go.

So the big question is what to eat?  I get stuck in a rut easily on my snacks.  My morning snack is easy because that is when I workout.  After my workout I have a whey protein shake made with water, a scoop of greens powder (easy and tasty way to get your vegetables in) and a tablespoon of healthy fat oil (right now I am using walnut oil, but I have also used almond and hazelnut).  I also have a banana.  On the weekends I usally have a shake for my morning or afternoon snack.

Here are some other snack options for morning or afternoon:

  • protein bar – You can’t get any easier than grabbing a bar!   There are so many on the market, something to be aware of when you are buying these is the amount of calories, sugar and carbohydrates.  I eat Isagenix IsaLean bars and love them.  I’ve tried lots of different brands and these are by far my favorite and taste the best in my opinon.  They are also all natrual and organic.  If you want to make your own, there are lots of recipes online to try.
  • plain non-fat Greek yogurt (good source of protein) with fresh fruit and granola (this is my favorite, especially with berries coming into season!).  Greek yogurt has a tart taste.  If it it too tart for you, put a little bit of honey in it to sweeten it up.  I don’t recommend the yogurt with fruit on the bottom as it has a lot of added sugar, better to get your sugars naturally from fresh fruit.
  • an apple with a handful of almonds (put your almonds in bags in the proper serving size, don’t eat out of the bag they are sold in or you will eat more than you intend/need!)
  • other options to have with an apple include low fat cheese sticks or all natural peanut butter (watch your serving size, be sure to have an apple with peanut butter, not peanut butter with an apple!) 
  • if you like cottage cheese this is great with fresh fruit as well.  I can’t get past the consistency of cottage cheese, lol!
  • if you are a dipper, another option would be mixing non-fat Greek yogurt with vegetable dip seasonings and dipping your carrots, broccoli or other veggies.  Greek yogurt has the same consistency as sour cream and can easily be substituted.

Bottom line when you are snacking, try to have a source of protein and a carbohydrate at minimum, this will help fill you up and get you to your next meal.  Oxygen Magazine sometimes has meal plan articles that give you two weeks worth of sample menus that include two snacks for each day.

If anyone has any healthy snack options that you want to share, please leave a comment!  We can all learn from each other!