Clean Fuel for Dirty Training + Vega Giveaway and Protein Cake Recipe

For most people, life winds down to a slower pace in the summer, but not me!  Both my work and workout schedules have been in beast mode with several back-to-back business trips and lots of Spartan Race training (dirty training!) to nail a big race goal next weekend.  These mental and physical stressors, along with the fact that my three teen boys are all home for the summer and their junk foods is laying around everywhere, should be tempting me to just chill out on the couch with a bag of chips – but I’m staying strong!

Slack Line Practice

But, thanks to Vega® Clean Protein and Vega® Clean Energy (sent for me to test out as part of a Vega campaign), I’ve been able to avoid these temptations and stay in tip-top shape to tackle the obstacles that have literally and figuratively been thrown in my path lately. I don’t always eat vegan, but it’s a nice option to rotate through my diet for variety – and both these new, premium plant-based products from Vega make it easy for me to fuel up and train clean.

Vega Clean Protein and Energy

In addition to being Vegan Certified, Vega® Clean Protein and Vega® Clean Energy are both Non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, made without dairy or soy, and contain no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.

To be honest, I’ve gagged on some other brands of plant-based protein – even hidden in blended smoothies. But the Vega® Clean Protein is delicious just shaken up with ice in a shaker bottle – that makes post-workout recovery a snap!  Both the Chocolate and Vanilla flavors are a blend of pea, hemp, alfalfa and pumpkin proteins that boasts 25 grams of protein with only 1 gram of sugar – plus it’s got the full chain of amino acids, 4BCAAs, glutamine and also takes care of 20% of your daily iron intake needs. All of this for just 130 calories.

Vegan Chocolate Orange Protein Cake

If also the Vega® Clean Protein used it to make this awesome single-serve Orange Chocolate Protein Cake for a clean dessert, bedtime snack or quick breakfast – it just takes 90 seconds! It’s vegan, non-dairy, gluten-free and lower carb!

Vega Chocolate Orange Protein Cake makes a great post-workout snack, quick breakfast or better bedtime snack.

Instructions: In large mug or small microwave-safe bowl, mix together 2/3 scoop Vega® Chocolate Clean Protein, 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking mix, 1 tablespoon gluten-free, oats, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons orange zest, and 1/3 cup almond milk. Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds until set. Remove and sprinkle with dairy-free chocolate chips, if desired.

Vega Clean Energy

On those days when I’m dragging and need a little sumptin-sumptin before a workout, Vega® Clean Energy comes to the rescue. Taken 20 minutes before a run or workout, it’ gears me up for great things thanks to electrolytes, naturally-occurring caffeine from black and green tea and quality carbs to rev the kick start the ole engine with some quick-sourced energy.  It comes in two flavors – Berry and citrus tea!

Aside from these certified vegan sports nutrition products, I’ve been getting lots of great virtual support from Vega on their FuelYourBetter.com page. You should check it out too, it’s loaded with training tips, nutritional articles, and fit-focused recipes that will help you attain all your fitness goals – be those in running, triathlon, Crossfit, weight-lifting, yoga, obstacle course racing, paddle boarding, parkour, rock climbing, team sports or attaining all-around general fitness and shaping up for summer! #FuelYourBetter

vega fueledBeing the Instagram junkie that I am (follow me @thefitfork) I also like to stalk Vega’s new @VegaFueled Instagram page.  You’ll easily agree that it’s an inspiring page featuring real world people that will make you want to get moving too! Follow @VegaFueled  and tag your own photos with #vegafueled and #FuelYourBetter and you may be featured within the Vega community!

In fact, you can  enter for a chance to win a Vega Clean Prize Pack that includes 1 tub Vega Clean Protein, 1 Tub of Vega Clean Energy and a Vega Shaker Cup.  All you need to do is follow me at @thefitfork and the @VegaFueled Instagram Account and post a workout / fitness photo hash tagged #VegaFueled, #FuelYourBetter and #thefitfork.  I’ll randomly pick one winner on 6/30/2016 — No PO #s US/CAN Only.

vega run

Try out Vega for yourself! Use discount code VegaFit at the Vega Store and save 20% off and free shipping – one use per customer and valid until 6/30/2016.  SHOP VEGA HERE!

What are you training for? How are you fueling? Have you ever tried a slack line? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of White Wave. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

5 Protein Packed Snacks + Enlightened #Giveaway

Giveaway for ENLIGHTENED Crisps and ENLIGHTENED Ice Cream at the end of post, read on!

Eating snacks with protein can help keep the "hangries" away.

Whether filling your tank before a gym session or taking a snack break to ward off the dreaded midday energy lull, small, protein-rich meals are tasty ways to keep on going—and going. You’ve been hearing me talk about the protein challenge and aiming for 20 – 30 grams of protein per meal or snack.  It’s not that fruit, whole grains, or even the occasional indulgent treat don’t have a place in the well-rounded diet, but, gram-for-gram and ounce-for-ounce, protein-packed snacks provide longer-lasting energy than their burn-and-crash high-carbohydrate counterparts.

protein challenge2

In addition to regulating blood sugar and moderating hunger, protein-rich snacks play a vital role in the recovery diet of an athlete. After an intense workout, race, or competition, it is imperative to top off taxed muscles with foods plentiful in protein. Well-timed protein intake employs amino acids to rebuild damaged muscle tissue while encouraging the hormone activity needed to stimulate muscle growth. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that 20 grams is the optimal amount of post-workout protein to maximize muscle growth.

Power of Protein InfographicThis focus on protein isn’t strictly for strength athletes. While runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes have long known that eating carbohydrates during and immediately preceding hard efforts helps to replenish energy-providing glycogen stores, newer research shows that combining these carbohydrates with a wallop of protein nearly doubles the insulin response—meaning even more energy can be stored in the body along with all the muscle-making perks. The general wisdom from sports nutritionists is to consume a 1:3 to 1:4 protein-to-carbohydrate mini-meal within a 30-minute window of exercise.

So, to help you pump up your training diet, I’m sharing five of my favorite protein-packed snacks—one for every day of the workweek. Each option is easy to make, free of meat-based protein, and completely portable. Just toss one of these snacks into your gym bag, backpack, or mini-cooler and get after it. There’s a hearty, healthy, and protein-packed reward at the end of your efforts. Your taste buds will thank me while your muscles will thank you.

Eating snacks with protein can help keep the "hangries" away.Check out these protein-rich snacks I developed for a feature in Austin Fit Magazine last spring :

1) Garliky Chili Chickpeas

2) Lucky Lime Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

3) Greek Yogurt with Hemp Hearts & Berries

4) Blueberry Flax Microwave Mug Muffin

5) Chocolate Java Almond Truffles

Enlightened Ice Cream makes a sensible dessert - it's low in sugar , under 100 calories and has extra protein!

Often, there aren’t enough minutes in the day to make a homemade snack. That’s why I have a few go-to food brands that share my mindset for healthy, tasty and protein-rich snacking. One favorite is Enlightened from Beyond Better Foods – they don’t just make snacks that are better in a “less bad for you” way, but actually ARE better. Their ice cream bars found ME one day when I was walking down the frozen aisle – normally I eat Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia for dessert to get the extra protein and skip out on the sugar, but the creamy and delicious ENLIGHTENED Ice Cream makes a sensible treat – each flavor (think Fudge, Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl) has under 100 calories and just 3 -5g sugar and 7 – 8g protein. I just finished off a box of Sea Salt Caramel bars and they were pure heaven.

Enlightened Crisps are made from broad beans for healthy protein.Just recently, the company put out a new snack item that I’m really excited about – ENLIGHTENED Crisps.  These savory, crunchy morsels are actually made from broad beans (aka – the fava bean which is actually a legume) and come in awesome flavors like Sriracha, Garlic Onion, Sea Salt, BBQ and more. Each bag has just 100 calories, lots of fiber and 7g protein – plus they are free of gluten and soy. You can’t go wrong eating beans (well, unless you go overboard)! Beans are loaded with fiber, folate and magnesium, and research has shown these legumes can actually help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

So, who’s ready for some ENLIGHTENED snacks?! Five of my lucky readers will win a sample pack of the ENLIGHTENED Crips as well as free product coupons to pick up ENLIGHTENED Ice Cream at your local market. Just enter in the Rafflecopter App below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway