Tag Archives: nutrition

Making a Vegan Protein Shake 101

I’ve been making protein shakes ever since I started getting serious about cycling several years back.   The reason being, it’s the fastest way to nourish yourself after a workout or ride and to start repairing your torn muscles.  It’s recommended that you take protein, any form of it, within 30 minutes after finishing your workout.  Some say, up to an hour.  And still others say, within the day depending on your intentions.  If you want that metabolic “burn” to continue throughout the day, you may wait a little longer to take the protein.  But with my metabolism already naturally high, I take it within 30 minutes – maximum.  What you don’t want to do is to starve your system in such a way that it starts to feed on the muscles, keeping it in a catabolic state – something I’ve done in the past.  A protein shake can help you avoid that – that is, if you’re not overtraining.

With each year, I’ve refined my list of ingredients in making the ultimate protein shake.  I went from just using whey protein powder with 2% milk, to going full vegan with Sun Warrior and almond milk, then transitioning to Hemp protein (which I regard as the cleanest plant protein) and organic coconut milk.  I further refined it by adding more whole foods and spices to the mix for more anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory qualities:


  • 300 ml organic coconut milk by So Delicious;
  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of Nutiva Hemp Protein, natural flavor;
  • several dashes or 1 teaspoon of organic turmeric;
  • a couple of pinches of ground black pepper, to act as an adjuvant for the turmeric;
  • a couple of pinches of pink Himalayan salt;
  • a few slivers of pickled or whole ginger;
  • 1 teaspoon of real Maine maple syrup;
  • a dozen blueberries;
  • 1 organic banana;

Optional ingredients

  • 1 shot cold brew organic espresso;
  • a dash or two of organic cacao.

Place all the ingredients together in a blender and mix.  I use a small one by Hamilton Beach and cram everything in there, leaving just enough space for the contents to move and mix together without exploding and spilling.

This shake didn’t last long.

Coconut milk

The reason I use organic coconut milk is because conventional milk has antibiotics and growth hormones and it’s hard for me to digest.  Not having conventional milk also eliminated mucus in my system.  I shifted to almond milk, only to find out it has carrageenan.  Apparently, the organic Silk brand doesn’t have it, but I’ve gotten tired of the taste and it’s very expensive.  Not only that, there’s very little almonds used in almond milk.  There are many more benefits in drinking coconut milk and it naturally comes straight from coconuts with little processing.

Hemp protein

I use the Nutiva brand but there are also others.  It’s a product of Canada, probably from Manitoba, because there’s a comparable company that produces a ton of hemp products.

“Hemp seeds contain one of the most complete protein profiles of any nut or seed known to mankind. They get even better; they also contain the right ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Their GLA (Gamma linolenic acid) content is 30% for whole seeds and 10% for protein powders. They taste delicious and nutty and do not overpower the other flavors like some vegetarian shake mixes tend to do.”

As I mentioned before, I’ve tried whey protein before.  But for some reason, my stomach started to revolt after years of taking it when I did some bodybuilding, so I stopped.


There are many benefits to using turmeric.  Mainly, it’s because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.  Some brands of turmeric have lead in them.  The brand I use, Simply Organic, does not.  Beware of what you buy and always do your research on the source.  The best thing to do is to grow your own, of course.  I buy it out of convenience.


This too is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory.  The Chinese have been using it for centuries in every vegetable dish to its mitigate impurities and I’ve always had it in my meals growing up with my grandmother and mother’s cooking.  But you don’t want to eat it in a dish because it absorbs all the impurities.  It’s okay to eat it raw or pickled within a shake, however.


If you believe in the hype, people call it a superfood.  To me, they’re just blueberries and they’re delicious and high in fibre.  Adding blueberries to your protein shake will add another taste dimension.  This too have anti-oxidative qualities along with vitamins and nutrients you need to recover.

Real maple syrup

If you want some natural sugars in your protein shake, this is the way to do it.  It’s has numerous antioxidants to fight those exercise-generated free radicals, low on the glycemic index for better release of nutrients, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer, and has numerous vitamins and minerals.

Organic bananas

This adds body to your shake more than the other ingredients.  It makes it thicker and is ideal because of the amount of potassium and carbohydrates it has to refuel your system.  And as cyclists, this is usually the go-to on-bike snack for refueling.  Do I really need to talk more about it?

The idea behind the protein shake is to make something that tastes good, nourishes you and works for you and your stomach.  It may take several tries before you get it right.  If you have your own version of a protein shake, feel free to share in the comments or mention me on an Instagram post.

Your Body is your Temple

You’ve probably heard of the title before, that, “Your Body is your Temple”.

And it is.

People wonder why I’m so adamant about staying healthy with eating the foods that I eat, my Yoga practice and meditation.

It supports my cycling.  And if you really must know, several years back, I had an accident where a car hit me from behind while I was training on a bicycle, knocking me unconscious for 5 to 10 minutes, putting me in a ditch.  As a result, my helmet got smashed and I sustained a concussion.  The months following, I experienced post concussion syndrome, and I had the following symptoms I tried to manage:

  1. Short term memory loss;
  2. Verbal memory loss;
  3. Attention loss;
  4. Slow processing speed;
  5. Irritability;
  6. Anxiety;
  7. Periodic emotional instability/depression;
  8. Word finding difficulties;
  9. Impulsiveness;
  10. Tinnitus;
  11. Obsessive compulsive disorder;
  12. Mental fatigue.

The months following the traumatic brain injury, I’ve had to make adjustments to my daily routine, my working habits and my social life.  I wasn’t together.

I was broken.

Then, one day, about a year later, I had a headache so bad, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I wasn’t able to function.  It was debilitating.  I had reached my limit.

Searching for solutions, I finally took the first step and attended my first Yoga class at a local studio.  From then on, I was hooked.  Not on Yoga per-se, but to taking care of my body – because no once else could.  I started with a mission, a purpose to heal myself because doctors can only do so much.

“I started to participate in my own rescue.”

I took several more classes to find the right teacher.  Eventually, I found one I liked and I’ve stuck with her ever since.

I searched the Internet for forums on advice and found a couple of resources to draw upon, reading about other people’s experiences and what they had done to heal themselves.  Most of them resorted to medications instead of natural solutions.  At some point, I found one website that gave me hope – NaturalNews.com.  They talked about many topics, mostly about eating healthy, foods that heal instead of harm.

With time and education, I transformed myself by transforming my nutritional intake:

  1. No red meat – I’ve read about how eating meat contributes to inflammation and how they include antibiotics and neurotoxins to preserve the meat.  You will also revitalize your tastebuds by not eating red meat ;
  2. Eliminate commercial cow’s milk – I’ve drank this ever since I was a little kid and swore by it.  But the nature of the milk contributed to more mucus and made my bloodstream acidic, not to mention the antibiotics and growth hormones they inject into the cows.  (No wonder I’m so tall!);
  3. Eliminate Dairy altogether – Though I sometimes enjoy a good organic cheese pizza on occasion;
  4. Eat more organic greens – I can’t eat non-organic vegetables – I can actually taste the chemicals sprayed on it and digesting it makes me sick;
  5. Eat more fruits – Berries, avocados, bananas, mangoes, etc.;
  6. Find alternative sources of protein – nuts (i.e. almonds, cashews, pecans), legumes (i.e. pinto beans, chick peas), seeds (i.e. flax, sunflower), greens (i.e. kale, spinach), etc..  Whoever said protein can only be found in carcasses, is misinformed.

These are just a few examples.  I could give you a full breakdown of what I eat down to the cooking oil I use.  If you’re interested, just let me know and I’ll do another blog post.  By eating better, you feel better from the inside.

In being a cyclist, you also look for marginal gains.  And in my case, that also meant doing what it took to rehabilitate myself in every aspect – mental, physical, and spiritual.


I also found out through reading NaturalNews.com that Ginger and Turmeric are also anti-inflammatory foods.  That increased my healing dramatically in the past couple of years.  I have fewer instances of the post concussion syndrome symptoms coming back – though I still do get the occasional migraine from having my head cracked open.

You must be asking, “Why all of a sudden are you writing about this instead of your races and your team?”

I have a few of reasons:

  1. It’s time people, my social circles, understand where I’m coming from and my motivations in doing all that I do;
  2. More and more, I come across people who have had brain injuries and they still have symptoms.  So it is my purpose to help them where I can;
  3. With Amazon having just bought Whole Foods, people need to be aware that Whole Foods is not all that they promise according to this article;
  4. Rid the myth that NaturalNews.com is a fake news site.  If NaturalNews were fake, then it wouldn’t have helped me and millions of others improve their health naturally.  Would you talk about something bad that influenced so many people in a positive way?

There you have it.  It’s something I’ve wanted to say for a long time and I hope you’ll take my message seriously.

Ride on!


Prelude to a Better Year

With the “bad” year behind, or you could call it a learning year, longer rides and centuries consumed the end of the cycling season.  Off-season started in November, where for about a week, I did nothing and ate almost everything from my refrigerator and pantry (and had to fill it up just as quick).  It was also a time to plan for what I was going to do to increase my fitness and have some structure.  At the time, this was my plan:

  1. Do CrossFit to increase my general fitness;
  2. Do lots of Skate-ski to build up my VO2max;
  3. Lift weights to increase my physical strength;
  4. Do Yoga, both Vinyasa and Yin to work both core muscles and connective tissues;
  5. Get a VO2max test done;
  6. Indoor trainer with Trainer Road.

I only got to three of the five activities in this plan as I discovered quickly that I didn’t have the time and energy to do everything.  A couple of CrossFit community classes put my body out for the entire day.  I wouldn’t recover in time to do every other activity I wanted, so I had to ditch it.  Granted, I probably would have adapted to the high intensity, but I also wanted to have compassion for my body.  And I tried to get outside as much as possible to go Skate-skiing.  But of course, this past winter was another winter with very little snow.  So I had to build my base in other ways.

I began with the medium volume, base training plan from Trainer Road and worked around that.  I could still feel remnants of my injury, the lingering fatigue and strain in my lower back and gluteus so I had to take it easy.

Once I completed the 8-week plan, I did the VO2max testing to determine how hard I have to train the rest of the off-season.  I was getting ready for the Killington Stage Race and needed to know these numbers.  Let me just say, going through that testing was anything but having compassion to your body!  Breathing through a restricted mask, sweating like buckets and getting finger pricks on a frequent basis were literal pain points to the test.  Other than that, it was fun!

After learning about my numbers, it gave me extra motivation to select a build plan from Trainer Road and then later, a specialty plan for climbing.

Next up was doing my full-body weight lifting to prime and condition for more intense efforts in the new year.  Before last year’s injury, my FTP was substantial and I experienced plenty of power I never knew I had.  What was missing was muscle strength in the gluteus and lower back to support the higher output.  By the time January hit, I concentrated on developing these muscle groups by doing specific exercises.  YouTube is a great resource for that!

To round out everything, I did Vinyasa Yoga about once a week to keep my core strength, and Yin Yoga twice a week to address the connective tissues to keep my flexibility.  The meditative qualities of Yin Yoga did wonders.

During this time, I also held a Yin Yoga for Cyclists series at Riverbend Yoga for the cycling community to experience what the practice can do to compliment their indoor training.  The idea is to discover a new routine to restore your body (addressing the connective tissues) and mind  – something you can carry onto the cycling season as a regular practice.  It was very well received and I’m looking to do another series soon.

But of course, none of these activities could happen without revising my nutrition.  As my previous trainer taught me, 80% of staying fit is about nutrition.  With the number of calories skyrocketing due to doubling up on activities four times a week and working out six times a week, I started to eat more protein.  As a pescetarian, my typical day consisted of eating:


Breakfast – 3 organic eggs, avocado, turmeric, a couple of ounces of organic nuts;

Lunch – sweet potato burrito or crab cake sandwich;

Dinner – depending on the mood, sweet potato and Brussels sprouts and/or salmon or scallops with soba or udon noodles with spinach and kale.  Sometimes Kimchi before the meal.

In between the meals, I would have wellness bars from my business or an organic banana.  The great thing about the wellness bars are that they are non-GMO and gluten-free.


For the post-activity protein shake, I use Nutiva hemp protein with SO Delicious organic coconut milk, turmeric, Maine maple syrup, ginger, black pepper and a banana.

My goals for nutrition were:

  1.  Increase the amount of akali (versus acidic) foods thus reducing the amount of muscle and tissue inflammation;
  2.  Reduce the amount of regular fish intake, supporting goal #1;
  3.  Find protein alternatives that my stomach and taste buds can handle.

I can say without a doubt that with the cycling season now in the full swing of things, I’ve realized some gains.  Read more about them in my next post!


Ride on!  Or should I say, “Eat on?”