As time marches towards the beginning of the diet experiment, there are a few more recipes and eating styles I need to experiment with. Since the first phase is the JJ Virgin elimination diet plan (to see if I have any food sensitivities) I wanted to make sure that I had what was going to prove to be the most controversial part of that down: the morning shake. Most of the Virgin Diet meal plans are simply making whole food meals that eliminate the seven most common system irritants: soy, corn, gluten, dairy, artificial sweeteners, eggs and peanuts. However making your own health shake is a big part of the morning suggestions. I therefore tried it for the first time this morning. I think with some modifications I may be able to actually like it rather than just tolerate it.
If you want to read the recipe you can head over to her website. Anyone that has attempted to make a protein shake in the past won’t be too surprised at the basic recipe. You have protein powder, some sort of liquid, berries or something to add some bulk and a blender. Put it all together, blend and voila you have your health shake. However her shake has a few interesting little twists that will be new to most people. First of all, this isn’t your regular protein powder . Most protein powders are made of whey. Whey is of course made from milk, and dairy is one of the foods we are trying to avoid. Instead the recipe calls for using vegan protein powder, which in this case is made of pea protein. Similarly, milk is often used in health shakes as a liquid. Again, this is verboten, so instead we use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Vanilla Flavored). To that you are to add some sort of seeds (in my case flax seed meal), perhaps a nut butter (I used some almond butter) and a cup of mixed berries (I used a combination of blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, raspberries and strawberries.
With all that in the blender, you just mix it up and then pour it out and drink it. That’s the theory anyway. The first problem I had is that I didn’t use a proper blender. Instead I used a stick blender. I apparently also didn’t put the ingredients together in the right way. Rather than put the liquids in and then the solids I did it the other way around. It made blending everything together quite a bit difficult. It also didn’t help that the thickness of the shake was excessive. I added a little more water which helped thin it out. Taste wise, even though it had a good amount of vanilla flavored components and berries I could still taste the “pea protein” aftertaste. Just like the weigh protein after taste it will take some getting used to. I wish I could say it is great right out of the gate but other than adding some cocoa or something like that I don’t foresee a way to get around having that after taste. If someone has grown used to the whey after taste, I’m sure they can get used to the pea one. It’s just like when you eat a piece of lamb or venison instead of beef. Your brain needs to know it’s supposed to have that little bit of extra flavor.
I’m going to try to make it in a regular blender next as well. In college I made these sorts of shakes with the stick blender (literally the exact same stick blender since Braun makes really solid products) without any problem. I think with the nut butter it just needs more help. I have a “margarita” blender, which may do the trick. Worst case I’ll have to go buy a new blender or make sure it ends up on a Christmas list.
Nutrition-wise it’s pretty solid. In the current way I made it I’m looking at 430 calories (a bit heavier than my usual breakfast) with a balance of carbs, protein and fat all around 25-29 grams each. If I want to cut 100 calories and half the fat, I can just nix the almond butter too. It has a pretty good spread of micronutrients too. Some suggest adding raw kale to it, which I may do once I have the blending squared away.
The upshot is that the shake was filling and had pretty good flavor. I can imagine eating this regularly during the first phase of the diet plan without any problems.