Yup, even my kid turned to the dark side, and he grew up eating fennel sprigs, goji berries, and wild salmon.
At a certain point the tidal wave of junk food came crashing down on all sides and mama’s wisdom was flushed down the toilet. Everyone around my son eats cupcakes and chicken nuggets, so what’s a mom to do…even a superhero mom??
I decided to give him a little space (just a few atoms) and he decided on his own to “healthy bulk” in order to gain weight (He preferred “dirty bulk” but it caused stomach pain). He wants to be big and strong and decided that protein shakes were the golden ticket.
He found a powder, tried it, didn’t like the synthetic taste, and returned it. Then I looked around (but not too hard because I knew where to look) and bought the Primal Fuel Whey Protein offered by one of my trusted sources, Paleo Kitchen, made by Mark Sisson, who is a giant in the paleo health space.
Yesterday my kid made a shake with a banana and enjoyed it. Today, we were banana-less so he rummaged through the freezer and fridge and came up with:
- frozen mixed berries (blue, rasp, black)
- frozen mango
- peanut butter
- organic coconut oil
I politely asked if I could toss in some ginger and he agreed, as long as I peeled it. And he even consented to a dash of cinnamon.
Why Protein Powder? Is it healthy?
Well, let’s start with protein: It’s very important, especially for growing kids. It has essential amino acids our bodies can’t make on their own. Kids need it for muscle growth and to maintain healthy muscle mass. If they’re doing muscle building or strenuous workouts, they need more. How much? Check out this chart.
So what are the best sources of protein? Grass-fed (and finished) beef and lamb, game and wild fish (especially Alaskan) are great animal sources and provide complete proteins. Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. It is is loaded with high-quality amino acids and is easily absorbed. Quinoa is a super high-protein grain, which is why it’s beloved by vegetarians and vegans. Lentils, brown rice, and pea protein on their own are incomplete protein sources—meaning that they lack one or more of the essential amino acids that your body needs to make protein. Want to know more about this?
Plant complete proteins
You’ll be surprised to see there is a whole list of plant proteins that are complete proteins and provide additional benefits:
- Quinoa: This ancient grain is a good source of fiber, iron, and magnesium.
- Soy: Soybeans, tofu, tempeh, and edamame are also rich in calcium and iron.
- Buckwheat: It’s actually a seed, not a wheat! It’s a good source of fiber and magnesium.
- Hemp seeds: These tiny seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and zinc.
- Chia seeds: A good source of fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Spirulina: This blue-green algae is a good source of iron, vitamin B12, and antioxidants.
- Amaranth: This ancient grain is a good source of fiber, iron, and magnesium.
- Nutritional yeast: Often used as a vegan cheese substitute, high in B vitamins.
Okay what about protein powders? They may contain any of the protein sources listed above. But they are not created equal. Most of them are full of junk, like maltodextrin, carrageenan, soy, artificial flavors, sugars, fake sugars like sucralose, and the list goes on. There’s also the issue of toxins….many protein powders contain heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium, and the FDA doesn’t require safety testing 🤨. Primal Fuel uses whey protein isolate which has one of the highest biological values of any protein source. It’s the real deal. And it’s got 10g protein per serving.
You will get a 10% discount by entering coupon code GFFPRIMALFUEL at this this product link
- 1 scoop Primal Fuel Vanilla Coconut Whey Protein powder
- 1 cup Wyman’s Triple Berry Blend (or similar)
- 2 tbsp Field Day organic peanut butter (or similar)
- 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1 apple cut in quarters
- 1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
- thumb size chunk of ginger
- 1 1/2 tbsp Dr. Bronner’s virgin organic coconut oil (or similar)
- 2 cups filtered or spring or reverse osmosis water (fill till almost covering ingredients)
Throw it all in a blender and blend to desire smoothness. That’s it!
There’s a lot of fruit in here and no veggies 😱 (except for ginger), so I will try to cajole (or bribe) my son into putting something green into the next one (kale/spinach/parsley/cilantro—or at the very least cucumber, which is so benign you can barely taste it).
Meanwhile, he is still getting tons of antioxidants, fiber, amino acids, protein, and healthy fat.
What’s great about these ingredients?
Here’s the inside skinny:
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress, and these lower the risk of chronic disease. They support cognitive development and memory enhancement and can help kids with focus, attention, and performance (Did you see my article about how blueberries improve mental reflexes while taking tests?). They also aid digestive health and immune function. Buy wild when possible.
Peanut butter is a great source of protein, essential for building and repairing muscles. It contains healthy fats that support growth and cognitive development. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber which is great for bone health, energy production, and healthy digestion. Be sure to choose a brand with no added sugars or hydrogenated oils.
Mango contains the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin and Vitamin A, all of which support healthy eyes. 1 cup of mango provides almost three quarters of the daily value of vitamin C, which is critical for your immune system, plus helps your body absorb iron, and promotes cell growth and repair. Mangoes have tons of polyphenols—a kind of antioxidant that protects your body from free radical damage that leads to diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Apple contains the powerful polyphenol quercetin, a plant chemical that may reduce the incidence of diabetes. It also contains pectin, a type of fiber that aids digestion, prevents constipation, and combines with beneficial bacteria in the gut to help prevent chronic disease.
Cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousands of years because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can lower inflammation in your body as well as triglycerides and total cholesterol, and blood pressure. It increases sensitivity to insulin which can help with blood sugar control. It has traditionally been used as tooth powder and to treat toothaches, dental problems, oral microbiota, and bad breath.
Ginger has more than 100 therapeutic compounds. It has the ability to relieve nausea, pain and motion sickness. It has been shown to protect against stomach ulcers, which cause indigestion and heartburn. It can also help counter obesity and gas. It has anti-viral properties against respiratory tract infections and may relieve asthma. It is great for sore throat and coughing. It is also antifungal, and antibacterial and can inhibit the growth of H. pylori. It even improves glucose control and insulin sensitivity.
Coconut oil is easy to digest. It produces sustained energy and increases your metabolism. It also reduces inflammation and supports cognitive and hearth health. It contains medium-chain-fatty-acids (MCFAs) which work as a natural antibiotic by disrupting the coating on bacteria and killing them. It also contains lauric acid which has been shown to reduce candida, fight bacteria and create a hostile environment for viruses.
This drink accomplishes three goals:
- satiating my kid since he’s always hungry and my salad/fish/sweet potato dinners aren’t enough. He proudly announced—after doing some math—that his smoothie had almost 2000 calories. Waaay too much for little old mommy but okay for a growing teen.
- bulking him up, since he’s a karate kid and a wrestler and wants big biceps 😉
- providing a nutrient dense meal (or snack) that’s quick to prepare and consume and much healthier than most alternatives.
Mission Accomplished! (minus a few veggies, lol).
Smoothies are so versatile that you have thousands of choices. Why not encourage your teenager to try one?
Good luck parenting these wonderful little hormonal monsters!
-the Good Food Fighter
p.s. Don’t got kids? Super hungry and want a quick healthy meal? This is for you!
p.p.s. As the Smoothie Queen, I have some other great articles on Smoothies—check them out!
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- Here’s my son, the incomparable Chef Sizzle-Snap, making Korean Bibimbap
After 5 years of bringing free (hopefully valuable) content to my readers I am finally taking the plunge into affiliate marketing. This means that if you click on links to products in my blog, I may get a small commission. I have resisted doing this for all these years because I feared that my readers would not trust me to be objective. But a superhero’s got to eat to be on top of her game, and real food is expensive!
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