Category: Nutrition

fuel for training

Protein Oatmeal Recipe DIY

I’ve been eating this for quite some time, and have shared my protein oatmeal recipe with several of my friends and those I consult as a trainer. In fact, this recipe is one of the primary reasons that I use the protein that I do – BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder. When you mix most protein powders into something hot, like this protein oatmeal recipe they tend to coagulate. The protein gels up like cooking an egg white and the taste is usually awful. The BSN proteins seem to tolerate the heat better. Just be sure not to actually boil it. I’ll explain the sequence I use below.

Protein Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients:

  • 100 Calories Oats (rolled, cut, crushed, instant, whatever)
  • 100 Calories BSN Protein (vanilla, strawberry, ?)
  • 50 Calories raisins (craisins, dried fruit bits)
  • Dash of Cinnamon
Protein Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients on the counter
Protein Oatmeal Recipe Ingredients on the counter

I’m using an electric kettle for the relative speed and efficiency in boiling a cup of water. You’ll see in the photo I also have a ceramic bowl and hidden is a small round plastic plate that I’ll use as a cover. Off to the side is my battery powered gram scale.

To weigh out my portions I need to know how much 100 calories is for each of the ingredients. I’m going to suggest my Online 100 Calorie Portion Food Calculator [HERE]. I read the backs of each of the packages to get the information on a serving size in grams, and how many calories that is. Plug that into the calculator and you get the grams in a 100 calorie portion. That’s a lot of raisins so I cut that in half for a 50 calorie portion.

The above gallery shows the results of calculating a 100 calorie portion for each of the ingredients in my protein oatmeal recipe. Note that as I stipulate in my manual “The 100 Calorie Diet Plan” always round down if fat loss is your goal. Check it out [HERE] if you’re curious.

After turning on the kettle to boil, I weighed out the raisins and oatmeal into the ceramic bowl and then the BSN protein into a small plastic cup. Be sure to zero your scale between items if you’re weighing more than one and don’t make mistakes. It’s hard to separate out some ingredients if you’re weighing them all together. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the uncooked oats. I like to have the flavor cooked in but some people might prefer to add it in on top afterward.

The gallery above shows this portion of the process up to when I pour the boiling water on top. Add in about a cup of water, to taste, allowing for the oats and raisins to absorb some and swell up. Make sure there is enough water to stir in the protein. Put a plastic plate on top to allow the hot water to steam the oats and raisins and “cook” them through.

Let it steam through for a few minutes. Three to five minutes should do it. Take the improvised lid off and stir in the 100 calories of BSN protein. I prefer vanilla in this protein oatmeal recipe, but I have tried and liked strawberry too. In my opinion chocolate doesn’t taste all that good in oatmeal, but you might like it. When it’s all creamy and smooth start eating.

Results of the protein oatmeal recipe - great tasting 250 calorie meal
Results of the protein oatmeal recipe – great tasting 250 calorie meal

Experiment if you like to create your own protein oatmeal recipe. Post pics and instructions on my Facebook Page and let’s share these great tasting, low sugar, balanced meals that totally fit in with a food portion control system.

Vegetarian Differences in Practice

Vegetarian differences vary a bit between many people who call themselves vegetarian. There are those who eat their diets based on moral or philosophical reasons. There are those that eat based on health concerns. Some have obvious allergies or react badly to different foods. There are those that eat according to religious ideologies. There are a few technical terms for the vegetarian differences if you want to go look them up. There are lacto and ovo and pesco etc. etc. etc.

Vegetarian Differences might be as colorful as this bowl of goodness
Vegetarian Differences might be as colorful as this bowl of goodness

If you go to the message boards and other places where people can leave comments you’ll find quite a few opinions about vegetarian differences. One problem you might find is a certain level of elitism and snobbery. I’ve posted before here about how unhelpful such attitudes are EXAMPLE POST. I’d like to offer only positive, helpful suggestions if at all possible. Please remember that if you feel the need to comment below.

First of all, let’s separate ourselves from the typical “Western Diet” where breakfast might be a half dozen eggs and as many or more slices of bacon. Add in pancakes slathered with butter and fake maple syrup. Have a mid-morning snack of a Canadian bacon and egg biscuit. Have a lunch of fast-food quad cheese burger with fries deep-fried in non-transfat lard. Dinner could be a steak, or pot roast, or ham. I’m sure you get the idea there.

My opinion is that anything you can do to break free of the traditional American eating pattern is great. Many people who don’t eat “normally” do consider themselves vegetarian. That’s what leads to some of the conflict between the different types of vegetarians.

Vegetarian Differences Outlined:

  • You eat nothing but plant materials
  • Above and honey
  • Above and dairy
  • Above and eggs
  • Above and fish
  • Above and poultry
  • Above and the very rare occasional mammalian meat

I’ll also mention a couple of the more extreme examples:

  • You eat nothing but plant materials that killed themselves by jumping off the mother plant
  • You eat nothing but plant materials that involved no level of human or animal slavery

So as you can see there are quite a few vegetarian differences to explore on your way to fitness and health. I myself make no level of judgement, and consider that anyone eating a balanced healthy diet with the intent of continuous improvement is just awesome and needs to be encouraged. Taunts of “you’re not a real vegetarian” are not helpful. If you have an agenda in promoting any of the vegetarian differences in the above bullet-points, then relax and slowly encourage your friends. Don’t shut them down with strong opinions stated in a way they can only accept as rude.

Vegetarian Differences: a blender full of fruit gracing the cover of my diet plan book
Vegetarian Differences: a blender full of fruit gracing the cover of my diet plan book

In my book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan [MORE INFO] I explain my plan with encouragement to reduce your reliance on meat products. Getting a lot of your calories from meat within a portion control system can be difficult. How do you feel? Have you tried it? How did it work for you? Let me know…

How to Weigh Out a Food Portion

In my most recent book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan (available in Print on Amazon and Createspace, and for Kindle and for Nook ebooks) I explain a food portioning scheme based in part on accurately weighing out specific food portions of 100 calories each. I’ve had a few people ask about the details on how to do this, so as a supplement to the book, here is a brief article showing an example.

Nutrition Facts Label for Salted Almonds
Nutrition Facts Label for Salted Almonds

A food portion of almonds

In this example food item, Salted Almonds, the Nutrition Facts Label tells us that 28 grams of almonds is 170 calories. Since we’re looking to have a 100 calorie portion of this food item, we’ll do some simple math to give us the weight of a 100 calorie portion. To find a per-calorie weight, we divide 170 by 28, and then divide that into 100 to find the weight of our food portion.

Divide 100 calories by the  calories per weight of your food item
Divide 100 calories by the calories per weight of your food item

For simplicity in our calculations, that’s 100 / ( 170 / 28 ) which gives us a little over 16 grams, which we round down to 16. Next we set the scale to zero with a little food container on it. Because this is a snack in the middle of the day for me, I’m going to just use a little plastic bowl. For many people this works good because then they can just dump it from the little bowl to their storage container or baggie and just keep weighing with the same bowl. For my scale, I set the bowl on it then turn it on and it automatically zeroes the scale.

Set the scale to zero with your weighing container on it
Set the scale to zero with your weighing container on it

Next carefully dump the almonds or other food item into the bowl until you get the weight you calculated from the Nutrition Facts Label, in this case 16 grams. I prefer grams because it’s fairly precise and most labels or charts will give a food portion in grams.

100 calories of salted almonds is not a lot of almonds
100 calories of salted almonds is not a lot of almonds

Surprisingly, that’s not a lot of almonds. Nuts are a fairly calorie dense food item, with only a few almonds equaling 100 calories. In my opinion, it’s one of those things that are best used in the form of thinly sliced almonds as part of a 300 calorie salad, with a 100 calorie portion of lettuce and a 100 calorie portion of dried grated Parmesan and a spritz of a low calorie soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos

body composition improvement evident in fat loss
Upper back development at 12% bodyfat after losing 60 pounds

I hope that helps you to understand a little better how to calculate and weigh out a 100 calorie portion of a food item. For my Accountability Partner clients we go into much greater detail for selecting a comprehensive plan with goals and achievements built in.

80 calories of frozen veggies


This is what 80 calories of frozen mixed veggies looks like. Add in 8 oz. of chicken breast for a 300 calorie meal that’s pretty good and good for you. I like Fajita Seasoning on it in the steamer.

Scrambled eggs and salmon with salsa


I used about 1/4 cup of salsa and it was pretty well absorbed by the salmon. I scrambled the eggs, then added the salmon and salsa to the pan and stirred it all up till heated through.

Steamed Salmon and Green Beans


I’m back to my hard training diet, so a couple times a week I’ll be eating steamed fish or poultry with veggies. I’m trying to see if I can get my bodyfat into the single digits as I train for Elbrus Race 2012. I need to make sure I burn fat an keep or increase my muscle mass. I am normally a near-vegetarian, but have found that in this phase I do better with a bit of meat tossed in. I do however generally not eat mammalian meat.

Steaming Vegetables Healthy Meal


I love my steamed veggies, especially when I put them in tomato soup with black beans. Yum. I’ll probably mention this a few more times though …

Healthy Food – Eat Like a Bodybuilder

This is an example of my recovery evening meal the day after a 10 mile training run on the trails in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah County. I ran a connector of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail near the power towers on the bench below Mount Timpanogos yesterday. Today I had mostly protein shakes during the day, and a massage to work out my IT Band issues, and tonight I’m having steamed chicken breast strips with steamed broccoli and steamed cauliflower.

steamed chicken and veggies
Steamed Chicken Broccoli and Cauliflower - Bodybuilding Diet Staples

This is actually quite similar to the types of meals bodybuilders eat to rebuild muscle after their intense training. Though if they’re large enough, they’d have it 3 or 4 times a day, and usually with whole breasts, rather than “tenders”. I normally don’t eat very much meat, and when I do, it’s generally chicken or shrimp or salmon. The non-mammalian meats. That’s just me. My body just kind of tells me when it’s time, based on various recovery and health issues, so I have something as clean as I can normally (unless I just got back from a week-long or longer expedition – then I’ll be a bit more liberal in my choices) to help rebuild my body.

Fresh Raspberry and Protein Yogurt


Great sale at City Market on fresh raspberries, so I got a couple packs for my protein yogurt snack. Poured them on top after rinsing, then ate without stirring. Yummy

Smoothies: for Adults or sugar overload?

I’ve long been a fan of Shawn Phillips, author of Strength for Life: The Fitness Plan for the Rest of Your Life. Over the past few years, I’ve become somewhat more than a Facebook Friend. In September of 2010 I was curled up in a ball in my bunk in the Barrels Huts at 12,000′. I drank some bad water and had severe diarrhea and cramps that almost stopped me from successfully qualifying for the Elbrus Race 2010, a mountain running race to the summit of 18,510 ft (5642 meters) Mount Elbrus, highest peak in Europe and one of the Seven Summits. Shawn called to cheer me up, and help me get my spirits back after the event doctor had pulled me from the race, severely dehydrated and at risk of HAPE.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge with Shawn Phillips
USA Pro Cycling Challenge with Shawn Phillips

Earlier today, Shawn blogged about The Fruit-Smoothie and Other Health Food Myths [note, this article is no longer posted] and I have to say I totally agree with the concept here and was inspired to write this post.

Time is a major issue for most people on the way up in life—it drives us to make decisions we’d otherwise do differently. Heck, fast-food didn’t become a $200 billion annual business because it’s so delicious and energizing! — Shawn Phillips

Seems like a few years ago, the whole green smoothie thing has taken hold of America, and people bragged to me about how I was eating like them, since I did green smoothies too. I looked at their recipes, with like a pound of fruit, and all the fructose that goes with it. Trust me, a pound of fruit does not a “spinach smoothie” make.


I realize there are sane, reasonable alternatives that probably don’t taste as much like a sugar-bomb, like this one:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup fresh pineapple (about 125 grams)
2 tablespoons granola (preferably homemade)
1 small or 1/2 large carrot, peeled and sliced or diced (about 50 grams)
2 ice cubes (optional)
Carrot sticks or curls for garnish
· Nutritional information per serving: 207 calories; 4 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 43 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 37 milligrams sodium; 4 grams protein — Smoothies for Grownups – The New York Times

Seems fairly benign, right? But look, 43 gm of sugar? That’s a tad under 11 teaspoons. Four grams of protein? One egg white. So yeah, have an egg white and eleven teaspoons of sugar and tell me how freaking awesomely healthy you’re eating. And that’s just for a homemade smoothie intentionally created to be lower sugar – for adults as it claims. But many people buy their smoothies premade from a bar. Most of these are poured out of a carton, even the “whole foods” ones.

Smoothies are also very high in sugar content. An original size Banana Berry smoothie from Jamba Juice contains 82 grams of sugar. That’s more than double your recommended 40 grams of sugar a day. — Get your food facts straight – Binghamton University student paper

Shake Ingredients
Breakfast Shake Ingredients

There is a big difference in the recipe of my shake – no fruit sugar:

1-1/2 scoops Vanilla BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder
1 scoop Amazing Grass Energy Green Superfood Lemon Lime
5 gm creatine
5 gm BCAA
5 gm l-glutamine
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix in a blender with 2 cups water

300 calories, 7 gm fat, 17 gm carbs, 35 gm protein. Compared to that above Grownup Smoothie – roughly 1/3 the carbs, 10x the protein, and 2x the fat.
(for my evening shake, or when I’m in a higher-calorie phase of training I substitute FullStrength for the Syntha-6)

This is actually a much more balanced nutritional profile than the example “grownup” smoothie, especially for someone who actually works out, and really, someone who does a non-workout workout and drinks that grownup smoothie and can’t make progress needs to make some serious changes …

Update: 3 March 2014 – from “The 100 Calorie Diet Plan” [CLICK HERE]

I need to step aside here and answer a common question. I get it a lot. “What about smoothies?” No. Just no. Let’s take the example of the woman with a daily need of 1400 calories, or 14 food portions in a day. Let’s assume it’s a pack of yogurt, some raspberries, some strawberries, some graham crackers, some cherries, some celery, some avocado… you’re getting this point, right? Yes, toss all that in the blender, and after a minute of watching the cool swirling mass through the clear container, you have a 1400 calorie “smoothie”. Chug that. Remember, in 24 hours you can have another one. I’m basically against the smoothie concept for that very reason.

Right now (Feb 2012) I’m experimenting with Intermittent Fasting, based on a recent workshop I did with Chad Waterbury, and the above shake recipe is generally my only meal immediately after my morning training session until after my afternoon session (depending on if I also do a noon training). (update: I’ve evolved back a bit into having a couple of these shakes as my daytime meals, and then eating more regularly in the evening, more like the original Warrior Diet methodology)


I don’t mean to sound rude, or demeaning, by any means, that’s not my intent. But I thought that a few of my followers would be interested in analyzing their own lives, their own diets, their own rationalizations, and see if there are gaps, or holes, or missing pieces to the puzzle. If they’re buying commercial or fast food smoothies, or if they’re putting in a pound of high-fructose fruit to mask the taste of their healthy spinach, if they’re adding sugar to make it swallowable. What is the answer for you, as an individual, and if you’re at a healthy weight, healthy body composition, healthy level of fitness, and you’re happy with that, then no changes are needed, right?