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Weight loss recipes

So I’m still down about 65 pounds, currently fluctuation between 179 and 183 lbs most days. I survived Thanksgiving and my birthday, both in near proximity, gaining and losing about 4 lbs over a week. A lot of folks have asked “what plan I’m on”. I’m not really on a plan, just a system of my own reasoning: Eat fewer calories than I exert. However, there are definite trends in my dietary habits. I eat far less sugar, I don’t eat fast food, I avoid quick/easy foods, and eat a lot more fruits/vegetables. I make a lot of omelets, and I eat a lot of yogurt. There are two foods in particular that I am currently eating so often that they show up at the top of my “MyFitnessPal” lists: Protein shakes and homemade soup. I thought I’d give my approximate recipes for both.

I probably have five or more protein shakes a week. I almost always have them in the mornings after I work out. My recipe has evolved – I started out using pre-sweetened/flavored protein powder mixed with yogurt and fruit, and now I use a pure whey protein that I mix with cocoa powder, and I don’t always add yogurt. I’ve gradually been adding “superfoods”
like chia seed and hemp seed, as a way to boost certain desirable properties. I’ve replaced milk with almond/cashew milk to reduce the calories. I’ve replaced Cacao powder with Hershey’s Cocoa, which also has fewer calories. Here’s my current typical recipe:

Krazydad Protein Shake

1 scoop Whey Protein Isolate (Now Sports)
1 scoop Green Powder (Amazing Grass Green Superfood Chocolate)
* 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds (Viva Labs)
2 Tablespoons Non-Alkalized Cocoa Powder (Hershey’s “Natural”)
2 Tablespoons Psyllium Husks (Yerba Prima)
* 2 Tablespoons Hempseed (Healthworks)
* Optional: 1 Stevia Packet (Stevia in the raw)

UPDATE: I’ve stopped using the ingredients marked with a star in recent months, mostly because I’m trying to simplify things.

All the preceding ingredients can be pre-measured and stored in baggies in the freezer.

1.5 cups Unsweetened Almond,Cashew or Coconut Milk (Almond Breeze)
2/3 cup Frozen berries/kale (Wegman’s Strawberries, Blueberries, Cherries w/ Kale) OR fresh fruit & kale.
1 cup ice

Note, all the dry ingredients are available on Amazon. I’ve put unaffiliated links on each line.

Final numbers: 513 calories, 40g carbs, 26g fat, 44g protein, 9g sugar.

I try to restrict my daily sugar to 40 grams a day, which comes out to about 13 grams of sugar a meal. So this comes in below that and gives me a few grams to play with. It is easy to exceed this number by adding a banana (which adds sugar and carbs) or other fruit (and pay for it with a lower sugar lunch or dinner). I also sometimes add a half container of plain greek yogurt, which ups the protein, and possibly the fat. If I’m working out I also add two BCAA capsules (an amino acid, which may help with muscle recovery).

The main reason I’ve stopped using pre-mixed protein powders is that they tend to contain artificial sweeteners like Sucralose which my gut objects to. I have a higher tolerance for Stevia, so I’ll use that sometimes, but not always. The longer I’ve gone without sugar, the less I crave it.

I blend my protein shakes in a Nutribullet, and have learned, through experience, to remove and clean the gasket every time. Ideally, you want to fill the container about 2/3 full – this produces a thicker shake when there is available air to make bubbles, expand and fill the container. If you fill the container with ingredients, the result is soupier and less “shake like”.

I am a chocolaholic so my recipe makes a very chocolaty shake. If you are of the vanillaholic persuasion, do your thing.

Okay, now on to the soup! I make this soup at least once a week, and it feeds the entire family one evening, and then me for another day or two.

I’ve been making all my soup in a 6 quart Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. This is super fast, compared to the traditional method, and gives the meat a great texture.

Krazydad Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup-like substance

1. Saute one chopped onion, 5 cloves chopped garlic, and chopped bulbs of 7-8 green onions.
2. Optional: Once brown, add a cup of a robust grain (Ferro, barley or brown rice) and saute it for a minute.
3. Add a 14 can of fire roasted tomatoes.
4. Add 4 cups of chicken stock or bone broth (when I make bone broth in the pressure cooker, it makes enough for two batches of soup. If you start making bone broth around 2 or 3pm, you can have soup for dinner. More recently I’ve been getting lazy and using a single 32 oz box of soup stock from the market).
5. Add a ton of chopped veggies. My veggies typically include 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots, a half or whole eggplant, a zuchini, a poblano pepper, a jalapeno, some chopped kale or spinach, mushrooms, a handful of pitted kalamata or other good olives.
6. Add 2 or 3 chicken breasts or an equivalent amount of chicken meat.
8. Dried herbs/spices (Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Roasted Cumin, Black Pepper)
9. Pressure cook for 6 minutes (it’ll take 20 minutes or so to get up to pressure), then let it sit for 10 more minutes, and release the pressure valve.
10. Remove chicken, discard bones, if any, shred the meat and add it back in.
11. Add fresh herbs (cilantro or Italian parsley) and juice of 2 limes.

My pressure cooker liner has a “don’t fill above here” line. I totally ignore this line and generally fill the pot to the top with veggies, and then cram the chicken in. It seems to work okay, as long as the fluid level isn’t above the line. The result is probably closer to a stew than a soup, and by the second day, the ferro, if added, have absorbed most of the fluid.

Pretty much all the ingredients in this soup are optional (especially the grain and the non-savory vegetables). The only thing you really need is stock and onions. I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, and try to change it up a little each time I make it. Its hard to imagine a vegetable that won’t work in this soup, although I’d be hesitant to use a lot of beets.

Sometimes it’s closer to a restaurant chicken tortilla soup (cumin/lime/avocado), and sometimes I emphasize the Italian herbs and olives. Every batch is great, but roughly every fourth batch is knock-your-socks-off great. I don’t know why but I suspect it has something to do with getting the proportion of savory ingredients right. Over time, I’ve been adding more and more green onions than I thought I originally needed, and this seems to help.

I can eat two bowls of this soup, for dinner, without too many ill effects.

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