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4 Healthy Shake Boosters You’re Not Using

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It’s easy to fall into a rut in your lifting routine, and the same is true for your protein shakes. If you’ve been using the same tired boosters in your shake and not seeing results, there’s a good reason for it. Protein powders are formulated to deliver the ideal ratio of macronutrients after a workout, but they don’t always focus on the micronutrients.

Why does it matter? Micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are essential to muscle growth and repair. Post-workout nutrition is an opportunity to feed your muscles exactly what they need quickly and deliver otherwise hard-to-get nutrients in a convenient shake. If you know what to add to your protein powder, you can customize your shake to give your body exactly what it needs.

Here’s a list of the top protein shake additions that you’re probably not using, and why you should start adding them today.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric has long been used in traditional medicine for its purported anti-inflammatory properties, and in modern times it has graced the pages of many a health-themed Instagram feed.

The primary active component of turmeric is curcumin, which studies indicate may help suppress the factors that lead to inflammation.[1] Though this bright yellow spice appears in many traditional Southeast Asian dishes, the doses needed to produce any significant effect are much higher than would be found in a single meal and can only be obtained through supplementation.

To boost your shake, add 1/2-1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper prior to blending. The piperine in the black pepper helps make the curcumin more bioavailable.

Thinking outside the shaker, you could also try this delicious turmeric latte recipe—the perfect way to help your body recover faster after a workout and use up your cold leftover coffee.

Turmeric

Turmeric Latte

Want to get more out of your morning cup of joe? This recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover coffee and give your body a healthy boost. Turmeric contains compounds that have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, while the maca powder is a natural energy booster. Almond milk provides a dairy-free base, but you can substitute your milk of choice.

View Recipe Here

2. Baobab Fruit

The fruit of the baobab tree is commonly eaten in Africa and Australia and has a citrus-like flavor. It is high in vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and its leaves are rich in calcium and protein. Even the seeds are loaded with fat and healthy fiber, and powdered forms of this potent plant are available around the world.

Baobab fruit is associated with many health benefits. For one thing, it aides weight loss by promoting feelings of fullness and helping to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.[2] Its potential benefits make this southern-hemisphere treat a perfect booster to your weight-loss shake. Just add a scoop of baobab powder to your protein shake, or if you prefer, try the recipe below.

Baobab

Carrot-Orange Baobab Drink

Loaded with antioxidants, this simple bright-orange drink is bursting with nutrients and flavor. Baobab powder has more antioxidants per serving than blueberries, acai, and goji, and carrots and oranges are great sources of beta-carotene and vitamin C. Fresh ginger helps with digestion in addition to adding a zing to this flavorful four-ingredient drink. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a high-powered blender and strain with a cheesecloth.

View Recipe Here

3. Plant-Based Omega-3s

While health experts have touted the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for years, we don’t often discuss the different sources of this supplement. Fish oil has become all but synonymous with omega-3s, but the plant-based versions may actually be easier to incorporate into your diet.

Flaxseed is 42 percent fat, and most of that comes in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, a precursor of omega-3 fatty acids. ALA has many potential health benefits, specifically the ability to reduce blood triglycerides and reduce the inflammatory response, both of which help fight heart disease. Unlike its fishy counterpart, flaxseed also offers a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Since all the goodness is inside the seed, add 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil to your shake instead of whole seed. If you’d rather chew your omegas, check out the slow-cooker superfood protein bars below.

Seeds

Slow-Cooker Superfood Protein Bars

Flaxseed is a fantastic healthy addition to any baked good, providing extra fiber, nutrients, and healthy fats. These homemade bars take it to the next level by combining ground flaxseed with cashew butter, oats, and plant protein to create a delicious, chewy, gluten-free high-protein snack. Add the extra flavor and superfood punch of blueberries, cacao nibs, and cinnamon, and you’ve got yourself a healthy on-the-go treat to fuel your body and help you hit your goals.

View Recipe Here

4. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are a type fiber that the human body cannot digest. They are food for probiotics—hence the name. Since probiotics support healthy gut bacteria, including prebiotics in your diet is the key to better gut health.

Whole-food sources of prebiotics include dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, wheat bran, and cocoa. While some sources of prebiotics make more sense in a salad than a shake, adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder is an easy and delicious way to boost the prebiotics in your smoothie and feed the good bacteria in your gut. If you’d rather have a warm cup of cocoa, give this PBfit hot chocolate recipe a try.

Cacao Powder

PBFit Hot Chocolate

While some sources of prebiotics make more sense in a salad than a shake, adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder is an easy and delicious way to boost the prebiotics in your smoothie and feed the good bacteria in your gut. If you’d rather have a warm cup of cocoa, give this PBfit hot chocolate recipe a try.

View Recipe Here

References
  1. Takada, Y., Bhardwaj, A., Potdar, P., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2004). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-κ B activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferation. Oncogene, 23(57), 9247-9258.
  2. Coe, S., & Ryan, L. (2016). White bread enriched with polyphenol extracts shows no effect on glycemic response or satiety yet may increase postprandial insulin economy in healthy participants. Nutrition Research, 36(2), 193-200.

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6 Incredible Clean Carbs Sources That Build Muscle and Improve Performance

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Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your brain, body, and overall athletic performance, but not all carbs are created equal. Clean carbohydrate sources, aka complex carbohydrates, provide the long-lasting, sustained energy you need for prolonged workouts, such as running, cycling, and high-intensity functional training. They also help you build more muscle and optimize workout recovery. The question is, what carbohydrates are best for building mass, optimizing body composition, and improving performance?

The Problem with Simple Carbs

Chances are you’ve had a snack or chugged a sugary carb drink before a workout or run and found yourself gassed-out midway through your training. Simple carbohydrates and supplements such as maltodextrin, dextrose, and cyclic dextrin spike your insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar, leaving you feeling fatigued and lethargic.

Most people, athletes included, will have some kind of simple carbs an hour or two before their training session to get that midday pick-me-up. This stokes a vicious cycle that we call the blood sugar roller coaster.

After you finish your pre-workout snack, your body is flooded with carbohydrates, resulting in a short boost of energy, followed by a devastating crash and burn. Your body releases the hormone insulin to regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your bloodstream. Insulin sends the sugar out of your blood into the liver and muscle and stores it as body fat, resulting in low blood sugar, which translates to low energy.

As a result, you have mood swings, feel hungry all the time, and/or become fatigued and have low energy. Maintaining steady insulin and blood sugar levels depends on the type of carbohydrates you consume. When you hear that certain carbs are “high on the glycemic index,” it means that they will spike blood sugar and insulin more quickly than other types of carbohydrates.

You Need Complex Carbs

Complex carbs digest much more slowly than simple carbs, due to their longer-chain molecular structure. Complex carbs are also made of sugars, but they do not spike blood insulin; they keep your blood glucose stable and provide a sustained energy release. These types of carbohydrates work best for prolonged training, improving endurance, building more muscle, and optimizing body composition. Complex carbs slow the absorption of sugar, slowing digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. There’s no blood sugar roller coaster with complex carbs.

Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bread, and oats.

What are the best clean carbs for building more muscle and performance?

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have naturally occurring sugars and are full of dietary fiber and micronutrients. They are chock-full of vitamin B6, which can help maintain brain health, improving mood and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can help with immune health and eye health.

2. Yams

Nutritionally, yams resemble sweet potatoes. Both are low on the glycemic index, making them good choices for long-lasting, sustained energy without spiking blood sugar. Yams, however, have a higher vitamin C content than sweet potatoes but not nearly as much vitamin A.

3. Oats

Oats are an amazing source of complex carbohydrates and protein that can help build more muscle and optimize body composition. Oats are classified as a soluble fiber, which can help suppress appetite and slow digestion. Several studies have shown that oats can also protect against heart disease, reduce chronic inflammation, improve gut flora, help with inflammatory bowel disease, and provide sustained energy.[1-4]

4. Clean Carbs

Swolverine’s Clean Carbs is different from other carbohydrate supplements. Other products use maltodextrin, dextrose, and simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, creating more body fat and giving you an energy crash.[5] Clean Carbs is made with 100 percent natural whole foods from pure complex carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, yams, and oats. Research indicates that your body burns rapidly through glycogen stores during high-intensity functional training, resistance training, and endurance workouts. Replacing glycogen after strenuous exercise is vital for optimal performance and faster recovery.[5]

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice is another great clean carb for mass building and weight management. Whether you’re shredding down or looking to increase size, brown rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates and will sustain a low insulin release for longer-lasting energy. Although similar, white rice is stripped of most of its nutrients and will trigger a blood sugar spike, as opposed to stable glucose levels.

Brown Rice

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the only plant-based carbs that is considered a complete protein. With all the essential amino acids present, in addition to micronutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and iron, quinoa is a great clean carb source for athletes.

References
  1. Chappell, A. J., Simper, T., & Barker, M. E. (2018). Nutritional strategies of high level natural bodybuilders during competition preparation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 4.
  2. Rebello, C.J., Johnson, W.D., Martin, C.K., Xie, W., O’Shea, M., Kurilich, A., Bordenave, N., Andler, S., Klinken, B.J.W.V., Chu, Y.F. and Greenway, F.L. (2013). Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(4), 272-9.
  3. Valeur, J., Puaschitz, N. G., Midtvedt, T., & Berstad, A. (2016). Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(1), 62-67.
  4. Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(2), 662-675.
  5. Alghannam, A. F., Gonzalez, J. T., & Betts, J. A., (2018). Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post-exercise carbohydrate and protein co-ingestion. Nutrients, 10(2), 253.

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Intermittent Fasting: The Best Foods for Breaking a Fast

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Intermittent fasting is not a diet; it’s a pattern of eating. You eat during a certain period of time every day and don’t eat during the rest of the time. It’s simple and straightforward. The most popular fasting pattern is the 16/8 method, in which you eat during a designated 8-hour period only. People often ask, what are the best foods to eat to break a fast if you want to lose weight more effectively?

The answer is to ease your body back into eating with easy-to-digest foods that are wholesome and nutrient dense. Plan your meals ahead of time and stick with the basics, incorporating nutrients from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When you eat healthfully during your 8-hour window, you ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.

Here are some of the best foods for doing that.

Protein

Choose your protein from fresh, lean, minimally-processed sources. Many of these will come from animal proteins, but if you are a plant-based eater and prefer meatless meals, lentils and other legumes are good sources of minimally-processed protein. If you do eat meat regularly, lentils and beans are also considered to be a source of carbohydrates.

Protein

Examples of protein: Eggs and egg whites, fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, bison, pork, wild game, cultured cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and tempeh.

Complex Carbohydrates

Choose complex carbohydrates that are whole, minimally-processed sources that pack a lot of nutrition and fiber. It’s also important to include a variety of starches and colorful fruits in your total carbohydrate intake. If you want a fast, convenient way to get your complex carbohydrates, try Swolverine’s Clean Carbs.

Examples of complex carbs: Sweet potatoes, yams, beans and lentils, oats (steel-cut, rolled, old-fashioned), plain non-fat Greek yogurt, kefir, fresh and frozen fruit, corn, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, whole or sprouted grains (bagels, breads, muffins, pastas, wraps), and whole-grain rice (brown, black, wild).

Healthy Fats

These fats will come from a variety of sources like nuts, nut butters, and oils, sticking with anti-inflammatory oils like extra-virgin olive and avocado. Unless you’re following a specific diet, healthy fats shouldn’t exceed more than 30-35 percent of your daily calories.

Examples of healthy fats: Oils (extra-virgin olive, walnut, avocado), marinades made with anti-inflammatory oils, cheese aged more than 6 months, egg yolks, seeds (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame), nuts (cashew, walnut, almond, peanut, brazil, pecan, pistachio), natural nut butters, pesto made with extra-virgin olive oil, and unprocessed coconut.

Vegetables

Vegetables come in all sorts of shapes, colors, flavors, and textures. There are so many to choose from that there’s really no reason not to eat vegetables every day. Aim for two palm-sized portions of vegetables in every meal, regardless of whether they’re fresh or frozen, raw, steamed, sautéed, or microwaved. Make sure half of your daily vegetable intake comes from leafy and other cruciferous vegetables.

Vegetables

Examples of vegetables: Beets, broccoli, tomatoes, radishes, onions, peppers, cabbage, squash, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant, salad greens (spinach, arugula, kale, baby kale, collards, spring mix, etc.), celery, green beans, and cucumbers.

Fermented Foods

These are a staple of any healthy-gut diet. Not only do fermented foods boost the number of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, in your gut, but they also contribute to improved health, digestion, and absorption of nutrients from your other foods—fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, for example. Choose fermented foods that are unsweetened, as those are the best to break a fast with.

Examples of fermented foods: Kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, cabbage, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, and probiotic yogurt.

Fresh Fruit

It’s no secret that fruit is a staple of any healthy diet and that some fruits are more nutritious than others. If you’re looking to boost your intermittent fasting weight-loss results, stick with fruits that are lower in sugar than others.

Fresh Fruit

Examples of lower-sugar fruits: Apples, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, oranges, cherries, grapefruit, apricots, peaches, prunes, oranges, and kiwi.

What Foods Should You Avoid When Practicing Intermittent Fasting?

These foods will keep you from losing weight efficiently when you’re practicing intermittent fasting. They’re short on nutrients and harder on the digestive tract than their fresh, wholesome counterparts.

  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Fried foods
  • Highly processed foods
  • Simple carbohydrates
  • Inflammatory oils
  • Excessive caffeine

Breaking Your Intermittent Fast: The Takeaway

Of course, you don’t have to choose any of the foods on this list to break your intermittent fast, but you’ll miss out on their benefits. Eating healthfully will help you maximize your intermittent fasting efforts as well as increase your overall health, reset your metabolism, and help you lose weight faster.

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6 Clever Ways to Use Protein Powder (That Aren’t Shakes)

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Protein shakes and smoothies are as much a part of the fit life as a closet bursting with spandex. For many of us, shakes are a non-negotiable daily ritual.

Getting enough protein is critical for building muscle, burning fat, and boosting recovery after strenuous workouts, and a powder that delivers 20-plus grams in one shot, shaken with water, is the straightest line between you and your daily protein goals. But you don’t have to live on shakes alone. After all, you do have teeth. There are plenty of other ways to use protein powder in healthy, energizing foods that will keep you (and your muscles) nourished and fueled throughout the day.

Use these protein hacks in your routine as a break from shakes. Just be cautious: Not all protein powders behave the same way when you bake and cook with them. Start with our suggestions or whatever you already have on hand, and then experiment to fine-tune your recipes.

1. Soups and Stews

“Collagen is the hottest type of protein powder on the market,” says dietitian Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, who recommends using it in savory dishes like soups and stews.

What’s great about collagen is that it’s easy to toss in when you’re cooking, and it doesn’t compromise flavor.

Soup

“It’s virtually tasteless and even one small scoop can be a nice protein booster to thicken soups and sauces,” Rizzo says.

Just stir in the amount you like until you reach your preferred thickness, and you’re set.

Try it with: MuscleTech Platinum 100% Hydrolyzed Collagen

2. Chia Seed Pudding

If you’re looking for a way to make your chia pudding thicker and creamier, add a scoop or two of whey protein powder.

“For a simple recipe, combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1 cup of your favorite milk and 1 scoop of protein powder,” Rizzo suggests.

Let the mixture chill until it jells up from the chia seeds. Then add toppings, such as nuts, seeds, or fresh fruit.

Try it with: Bodybuilding.com Signature 100% Whey Protein, Chocolate

3. Muffins

Generally, muffins don’t contribute much to a healthy diet, but when there’s some protein added to the mix, you get a much healthier treat.

“If you want to add a protein boost to your muffins, you can substitute about 1/3 cup of flour with 1/3 cup of protein powder in most recipes,” says Rizzo.

Muffins

She suggests using an unflavored variety for this type of baking, which won’t affect the taste of the muffins.

Try it with: Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored

4. Pancakes

“Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast meals!” says dietitian Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, CPT. “But as much as I love carbs first thing in the morning, without a dose of protein, I find myself getting hungry within an hour or two.”

Protein powder is the solution.

“Simply add the powder into the mixing bowl when you add the flour, and combine with your traditional ingredients like milk, eggs, and baking powder,” Shaw says.

For pancakes, you may want to use a flavored protein powder.

“I highly recommend pairing the flavor based on your choice of pancakes,” Shaw says. “For instance, a more traditional pancake tastes great with a vanilla flavor while something more creative like carrot cake pancakes pairs well with a cinnamon roll flavored protein powder.”

Try it with: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein, Vanilla Ice Cream

5. Energy Bites

Sure, you may have seen a thousand different recipes for energy bites on Pinterest, but the ones that really help satiate athletes who are burning insane amounts of energy during training are those that pack protein, too.

Protein Energy Bites

“While nuts provide a plant-forward source of protein and healthy fat, used solo, one bite will typically have under 4 grams of protein, which leaves individuals eating more than perhaps they’re comfortable with to meet their post-workout protein recs,” says Shaw. “Instead, try mixing 1-2 scoops of chocolate or peanut butter protein into your bites. This will create a satisfying snack filled with protein.”

Try it with: Natreve 100% Vegan Protein, Fudge Brownie Sundae

6. Proats

If your cooking skills are at the toast-and-ramen level, we got you. “Proats,” or “protein oats,” is your entry-level protein recipe. Make oatmeal, stir in protein powder. Boom. Any protein powder will work here. Use a little extra water when you cook your oats, though, or it can turn out gluey.

Try it with: REDCON1 MRE Lite, Dutch Apple Pie

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Help Prevent Muscle Loss with Protein, Even When You Can’t Train

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You may think that if you’re training less, doing less cardio, or even being inactive altogether, you don’t need as much protein in your diet as when you’re going full bore in the gym.

Totally wrong!

Granted, those who train and stay active have great protein demands, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your protein intake if you get injured and can’t train, get tied up with other life obligations and start slacking on your workouts, or are training with less volume or intensity for some other reason (like, say, the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders).

Multiple studies have shown that protein intake is absolutely critical for inactive people to prevent muscle loss. I’ll break down those studies right here, and, I hope, save you some hard-earned muscle.

Prevent Muscle Atrophy with High Protein

A 2013 study published in the journal Nutrition Reviews confirmed the well-known fact that muscle disuse, aka inactivity, leads to atrophy, or muscle loss.[1] The researchers found that “maintaining protein intake during a period of disuse attenuates disuse atrophy.” Basically, keeping protein intake high prevents muscle loss when you’re not training or are training less frequently or less intensely. This is important, because the last thing you want is to lose muscle.

The researchers concluded that supplementing with dietary protein, like protein powder or essential amino acids (like BCAAs), is a good strategy for preserving muscle during periods of inactivity.*

Jim Stoppani drinking a protein shake

That’s in line with what I’ve been saying for years: Whether you’re training hard or hardly training, you should shoot for at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily and even up to 1.5 grams per pound. That’s a hell of a lot of chicken breasts and eggs! You can’t get there with whole foods alone. The most convenient way to do it is to get some of it through protein powder. Plus, my Pro JYM protein contains a perfect blend of whey, casein, and egg to maximize protein synthesis to build and maintain muscle.*

For a more in-depth understanding of the importance of protein powder and how muscle synthesis works, read my article “3 Ways to Grow the Most Muscle with Protein Powder.

As for amino acids, both Pre JYM and Post JYM contain the critical aminos leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Be More Anabolic with Protein and Leucine

A 2014 study looked at older adults and found that dietary protein and amino acid supplementation—at least 30 grams of protein and 3 grams of the branched-chain amino acid leucine per serving—triggered anabolism (muscle building) and muscle maintenance in sedentary individuals.[2] Leucine supplementation was also highlighted in a 2016 study that looked at preserving muscle during disuse.[3]*

The researchers mentioned that creatine and fish-oil-derived omega-3 fatty acids can further help prevent muscle loss during periods of inactivity. Creatine is present in Pre JYM and Post JYM, and my Omega JYM fish oil provides adequate amounts of all the most critical omega-3 fats.

Fish oil supplements

Greater Protein Synthesis in Injured Athletes Through Dietary Protein

The last study, published in 2015, looked at injured athletes.[4] So, we’re not talking about the elderly anymore. These were young people who were highly active and highly trained and got injured and couldn’t train as much as usual, if at all.

“Dietary consumption [of protein] is of critical importance for stimulating muscle protein synthesis rates throughout the day,” the researchers note, concluding that “maintaining or increasing daily protein intake by focusing upon the amount, type, and timing of dietary protein ingestion…can restrict the loss of muscle mass and strength during recovery from injury.”

Yes, during recovery from injury. Or, when you’re not injured but you’re sitting on your ass more and training less!

Jim’s Take-Home Message

By keeping your protein intake high, you’ll lose less muscle during times of inactivity. Get that protein from lean meats (lean steak, chicken breasts), eggs, dairy (for example, cottage cheese), and protein powder. I also recommend taking BCAAs—either through Pre JYM, Post JYM, or a stand-alone BCAA product—when you’re not getting at least 30 grams of protein (including 3 grams of leucine) in a meal, to make sure you’re spiking muscle protein synthesis.*

For more information on taking BCAAs between meals, read my article “The Best Ways to Use BCAAs.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Want unlimited access to all of my programs and an endless supply of content like this? Visit JimStoppani.com and become a member.

References
  1. Wall, B. T., & van Loon L. J. C. (2013). Nutritional strategies to attenuate muscle disuse atrophy. Nutrition Reviews, 71(4), 195-208.
  2. Thalacker-Mercer, A. & Drummond, M. (2014). The importance of dietary protein for muscle health in inactive, hospitalized older adults. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1328(1), 1-9.
  3. Galvan, E., Arentson-Lantz, E., Lamon, S., & Paddon-Jones, D. (2016). Protecting skeletal muscle with protein and amino acid during periods of disuse. Nutrients, 8, 404.
  4. Wall, B. T., Morton, J. P., & van Loon, L. J. C. (2015) Strategies to maintain skeletal muscle mass in the injured athlete: nutritional considerations and exercise mimeticsEuropean Journal of Sport Science, 15(1), 53-62.

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Jada Pinkett and Will Smith’s Entanglement Is Unproblematic

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 06: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend Paramount Pictures' Premiere of

There are few people on Earth who would turn down the promise of unconditional love, but at what cost? The rare partnerships that seem unbreakable have committed to working though transgressions and choosing each other, like Jada Pinkett and Will Smith. In a recent Red Table Talk, the couple addressed Jada’s controversial “entanglement” with singer August Alsina, which received some very strong criticisms from fans. As someone who looked up to the Smiths’ 25-year marriage, it inspired me to delve deeper into how modern love accommodates the complexities of forever.

Many entanglement critics are, like myself, millennials or younger who have never been in a relationship for more than three years. Most of us are looking for love in a digital age when immediacy is everything, options are endless, and our attention spans are minimal. Our opinions about commitment are much more developed than our experiences are. If you think about a relationship like you think about a person, did you even know yourself at 20 years old? Much less know another person? We’re constantly evolving as individuals, and we expect our family and friends to understand and support that, so why would we expect different from our partner? I spoke to Debra Golburn, a doctor of counselling psychology with a specialism in personal relationships, about the challenges that come with having someone in your corner.

“To become one means that you have similar ideals, similar goals for your future, but you are still two separate individuals who are going to react and respond to experiences quite differently, based on your level of development.”

“Couples need a concrete understanding of what they’re getting into from day one,” Dr Golburn explained. “What you’re going to want when you’re 25 is going to be very different to what you’re going to want at 30, 35, 40, and so on. Your life is not going to be totally dependent and enmeshed with this other person. What is crucial to a relationship, to a marriage, is understanding that one needs to maintain their identity. To become one means that you have similar ideals, similar goals for your future, but you are still two separate individuals who are going to react and respond to experiences quite differently, based on your level of development.”

Dr Golburn explained that although we should certainly be looking for someone who, at their core, is an honest, genuine person with integrity, it is natural for desires to change with time and experience. “This whole thing about unconditional love, and growing with each other, is very, very difficult to come by,” she said. It’s difficult to accept that “relationships are fluid. And the core thing is about how well you communicate, and how well the next person understands what you’re trying to say.”

Jada and Will’s communication was healthy, according to Dr Golburn, because “they had an understanding from day one that they were not going to divorce. You have to have those shared, core values that will hold you together no matter what happens. I like the idea that they gave each other a chance to explore themselves, a chance to understand their own development. Jada was carrying lots of baggage from childhood that she hadn’t really dealt with. As you go through life, certain experiences will trigger something in you that you hadn’t even realised in yourself. If you want a relationship that is going to be long-lasting, then you’ll have to think about all of what that entails. It is going to mean commitment, but committing to what? You have to be able to answer those kinds of questions.”

“Relationships are tough when you, yourself, are changing. It’s hard enough for you to figure out what is going on with yourself. Let alone explain it to somebody else.”

For digital natives trying to build a long-lasting relationship, Dr Golburn advises that “if you feel that you are not mature enough, and as soon as something goes wrong, you’re gone, then that’s all you’re ever going to get. If the relationship is worth it, then you have to be willing to really give it enough time to work things through. Relationships are tough when you, yourself, are changing. It’s hard enough for you to figure out what is going on with yourself. Let alone explain it to somebody else.”

Dr Golburn explained that Jada and Will’s Red Table Talk discussion was an example of a healthy, flexible partnership. They both seem to have an understanding of each other and their individual needs for personal growth, which is facilitated by honest, respectful communication. While naysayers will have strong opinions about how a marriage — or any relationship — should look, it’s hard to relate if you’ve never been with someone for 25 years. What I do find a bit problematic is the maturity difference between a 48-year-old Jada and a 27-year-old August — as I think that’s an unfair power dynamic — but would I still have that inclination if the genders were reversed? What I do understand is that if we are talking about unconditional love, then absolute respect, honesty, and open communication is the best you’re going to get.



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5 Easy Ways to Power Up Your Protein Intake

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When it comes to unlocking muscle growth and repair, protein is the master macronutrient. It’s the skeleton key to building serious size and retaining quality mass on a cut. You can train like a person possessed, tinker obsessively with your fats and carbs, and rest like it’s your job, but the door to significant muscle growth simply won’t open—or at least won’t swing wide—without enough protein in your diet.

How much is enough? While there are a few schools of thought on optimal goal-based protein intake, an easy target is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. Weigh 180 pounds? Get 180 grams of protein! Eat, grow, repeat. Easy, right?

The numbers may be simple, but the tough part is getting all that protein from your diet—especially without scaling a mountain of Tupperware and chicken breast every day. Whole foods are swole foods, as they say, and while it is important to eat as much quality whole-food protein as you can, protein supplements are an extremely useful addition to your nutrition plan.

The best protein supplements are convenient, delicious, made from high-quality protein sources, and can help you stride through the door to new growth. Here are five of our favorites.

1. Bodybuilding.com Signature Protein Crunch Bars

Bodybuilding.com Signature Protein Crunch Bars

These bars taste so ridiculously good, you might mistakenly think you’re enjoying a cheat meal and feel a slight twinge of guilt when you take your first bite! Banish that brief feeling, because every Signature Protein Crunch Bar is baked with 20 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of beneficial fiber, and only 5 grams of total sugar. At just 230 calories a pop, these bars are a great way to conquer your cravings while you crush your goals.

2. JYM Supplement Science Pro JYM Protein Powder

JYM Supplement Science Pro JYM Powder

Available in seven delicious flavors, Pro JYM contains 24 grams of a specifically formulated blend of multiple protein sources: whey protein isolate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, and egg white protein. The benefit of this blend is it feeds your muscles quickly and over time to improve size, strength, and recovery. Take your gains to the next level with this ultra-premium protein.

3. Isopure Zero-Carb 100% Whey Protein Isolate Drink

Isopure Zero-Carb 100% Whey Protein Isolate

With zero—yes, you read that right, zero—grams of carbs alongside a whopping 40 grams of whey protein isolate per bottle, Isopure’s ready-to-drink protein is in a class of its own. Available in nine refreshing fruit flavors ranging from Alpine Punch to Passion Fruit, this is a clear protein drink that’s perfect as a post-workout treat. Each bottle contains 160 calories, which means every calorie comes from high-quality whey protein isolate.

4. RIVALUS Clean Gainer

RIVALUS Clean Gainer Protein

If you want to add mass and pack on quality weight without erring into “dirty bulk” territory, Clean Gainer is the product for you. Designed to make building muscle easier for even the hardest of gainers, Clean Gainer contains a well-formulated blend of protein, carbs, and fats from multiple sources for max nutritional benefit.

At 560 calories per serving, Clean Gainer works well as a meal replacement or source of additional calories for those who need more fuel to grow. Available in six delicious flavors, including Cinnamon Toast Cereal, this is one tasty snack you have to try on for size.

5. REDCON1 MRE Bar

REDCON1 MRE Bar

Made from whole-food sources—beef and chicken for protein, dehydrated sweet potato and blueberries for carbs, and peanuts for fat, to name a few—REDCON1’s MRE Bar is a delicious meal replacement bar with 20 grams of protein and 260 calories per serving. Keep an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip bar nearby to eat as a quick breakfast, afternoon snack, or evening treat. That’s the beauty of these bars: They’re convenient, clean, versatile, and delicious.

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Eating to Grow: The Top 10 Foods for Building Muscle

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If you’re trying to gain size, you can spend two hours in the weight room, hammering out set after set, but it won’t mean much if you aren’t eating a muscle-focused diet.Size gains come from two foundational actions: tearing the muscle down with training, and building it back up with nutrition. And nutrition means protein.

Below are the top 10 protein-packed foods you can eat to support muscle growth. But before you dig in, take a minute to figure out how much you need to eat.

Eat More Than You Burn

To build muscle and gain size, you must eat more calories than you burn—the opposite of a fat-burning diet. An easy way to calculate your daily caloric needs is with an online calorie calculator.

Based on your goals and current physical activity level, you’ll get a calorie range to achieve each day, usually 200-300 calories more than your maintenance level, meaning the number of calories you must eat to maintain your current weight.

If you find yourself struggling to get enough calories and protein just from whole foods, supplements such as whey protein can help you to reach your daily caloric needs.

Top 10 Muscle-Building Foods

Now that you know how much you need to eat, here are the best animal- and plant-based foods you can enjoy after your workout to help you achieve your muscle-building goals. Since protein-rich foods contain the most amino acids, the building blocks of muscle tissue, we’ll focus on the healthiest foods with the highest protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving. Many of them also contain heart-healthy fatty acids, digestion-supporting complex carbohydrates, and micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium.

1. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast

Is there any food more associated with bodybuilding and muscle growth than the chicken breast? Cost effective, easy to prepare, and packed with protein, chicken breasts are the ideal muscle-building food. We recommend buying a large pack, cooking them in bulk, and dividing them up for lunch and dinner meals throughout the week.

  • 32 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

2. Hemp Seeds

Many plant foods must be mixed to form a complete protein; for example, eating brown rice with peas. Hemp seeds are an exception, giving you 32 grams of completely bioavailable protein per 100-gram serving. Take note of the fat content: The same serving has almost 50 grams of healthy fats.

  • 32 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

3. Lean Pork Chops

Back to animal sources. Use lean pork chops as you would chicken breasts. You can cook them in bulk and interchange them throughout the week for lunches or dinners.

  • 31 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds are a complete protein source and are high in fatty acids, making them excellent to snack on throughout the day.

  • 30 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

5. Canned Albacore Tuna

Another bodybuilding staple, canned albacore tuna is also a convenient, cost-effective option for supporting your muscle-building goals. We highly recommend buying only brands associated with responsible and sustainable fishing practices to avoid dangerous levels of heavy metals. Examples include Safe Catch, Wild Planet, and Trader Joe’s.

  • 27 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

6. Wild Salmon

Famously high in omega-3 fatty acids, wild salmon also contains 25 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving. Wild salmon is recommended, but farmed salmon is OK, too. Just be sure to limit your consumption of farmed salmon.

  • 25 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

7. Eggs

One egg contains around 6 grams of protein along with zinc and healthy fats. If you’re like most people, you eat more than one egg at a time, so the protein count adds up quickly. Opt for brown eggs over white.

Eggs
  • 13 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

8. Soybeans

Soybeans have been shown to support cardiovascular health. We highly recommend eating only fermented or sprouted soybeans; avoid the processed stuff.

  • 13 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

9. Greek Yogurt

Carbohydrate free and packed with protein, Greek yogurt will quickly become a favorite muscle-building snack.

  • 10 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

10. Chickpeas

Ckickpeas

Chickpeas are great on their own, as a side dish, or blended to make hummus.

  • 10 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving

Do You Have a Favorite Muscle-Building Meal?

What does your bodybuilding meal plan look like? Is there a favorite lean-mass food that we missed? Need more ideas for what to eat in order to gain size? Let us know in the comments!

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Dishoom Recipes: Bacon Naan Rolls

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Without a doubt, one of the things we’ve missed most since lockdown began in March — besides hugging our loved ones — is feasting on delicious food at restaurants. And one of the restaurants that’s got to be high on any Londoner’s list is Indian eatery Dishoom. But no more. On 18 June, Dishoom is launching their first at-home cookery kit, featuring their hugely popular brunch dish: bacon naan rolls.

The kit costs £16 and comes with enough ingredients to create two bacon naan rolls at home, plus an extra dough ball in case you make a mess on your first naan attempt. In addition to the dough balls, every at-home pack contains smoked streaky bacon from Ramsay of Carluke (which is matured in the traditional Ayrshire way and smoked over applewood and beechwood chips), Dishoom’s signature tomato-chilli jam, fresh coriander, and cream cheese. For the full experience, there’ll also be ingredients to brew masala chai (you’ll just need your own milk and sugar to brew).

In addition to providing written instructions that explain exactly how to re-create Dishoom’s bacon naan roll at home, there’s also a step-by-step video instructional on the Dishoom Covent Garden YouTube channel, which you can watch ahead. Initially, the kits will be available to anyone who lives locally to the King’s Cross, Kensington, and Shoreditch cafés that will be released for same-day delivery at 3 p.m. every afternoon through the Dishoom website.

How to Cook Dishoom’s Bacon Naan Roll at Home




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YuYu Body Bottle Long Hot Water Bottle Review

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As an endometriosis sufferer, I’m constantly looking for tips, tricks, and products — on top of medication and surgery — to help ease my symptoms. Like most people with periods, some of my biggest symptoms are pain, cramps, and general discomfort. As soon as pain strikes, you can find me knocking back some painkillers and grabbing my old-faithful hot-water bottle, then awkwardly stuffing it into my trousers to keep it in place. That was, until I found my new saviour: The YuYu Body Bottle Long Hot Water Bottle (£25).

I’m also not the only one clutching my hot-water bottle at the first signs of cramps. Clue, a period-tracking app, reports that three in four people who use the app experience cramps just before or during their period. “Heat has been shown to be as effective as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and aspirin for menstrual cramp pain,” according to recent studies found by Clue. Experts in the field of gynaecology, like Dr Victoria Walker from fertility centre Institut Marques, recommend that “taking a hot water bottle to bed, or having a hot bath can reduce discomfort.”

So when a friend told me I absolutely needed this fancy, extralong hot-water bottle — which is 75 cm long and can be tied around your body — after it changed her life (especially during her periods), I immediately ordered it on Amazon there and then. It arrived just in time for my next bout of cramps, and instantly, it was one of those products that left me wondering what I ever did before owning it.

The waist tie is one of my favourite features as it allows me to move around the house freely while wearing it, giving the benefits of stick-on heat patches without the expense or waste of them. The fabric — which comes in three colours — is incredibly soft (almost like a blanket) and comes with a handy pocket in the front. It can also be easily washed in the machine on a 30-degree cycle.

And it’s not just for period cramps. I also use the body bottle when I suffer with incredibly sore legs (another glorious endometriosis symptom). The bottle is also great for neck, back, and other chronic pain.

If you’re suffering from pain or just wanting a hot-water bottle that is pretty much the length of your body to curl up next to, I cannot recommend the Body Bottle enough.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tori Crowther



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