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Pre Workout Snack of Champions

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Pre Workout Snack of Champions

Welcome to my latest obsession…

You may think I’m crazy for putting beets into chocolate and making a pudding, but don’t knock it until you try it. I do have a love for beets in general but a friend of mine turned me on to the combination of chocolate and beets and it really is a match made in heaven! This recipe would be perfect for curbing a sweet tooth but I actually think this is the PERFECT pre workout snack. 

Beet pudding before a workout? Really?

Really. 

Beets are high in nitrates and this creates a chain reaction where the body converts the nitrates in into nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is a compound that enhances blood flow throughout the body and helps lower blood pressure. Many body builders take nitric oxide or pre workouts supplements that have nitric oxide for enhancing their workouts. The increase in blood flow yields better lifts for weight training and better blood flow for cardiovascular events. 

In addition to the increase in blood flow there is a nice balance of carbohydrates from the beets, energy boost from the cacao/chocolate, and vitamin C from the raspberries that give your body the proper balance for a killer workout. You could also eat this after a workout with some protein powder mixed for a complete post workout snack. I have been eating this for breakfast all week with some chopped almonds or hazelnuts on top and it is RIGHTEOUS! I feel so clean after I eat this and ready to take the day on.

Here is a link to a post I did about the health benefits of beets in pre and post workout nutrition.

Chocolate Raspberry Beet Pudding

Serves 4

Vegan - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo 

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Steamed Beets (about 3-4 large beets or 5-6 small beets)
  • 1 Cup Raw Cacao Powder (or High quality Cocoa powder or Carob Powder)
  • 1/2 Cup Non Dairy Milk (Almond, Rice, Coconut etc)
  • 3 Cups Frozen Raspberries (Cherries would be amazing!)
  • 25-30 drops of Liquid Stevia or sweetener of choice to taste (Recommended Brand - Sweet Leaf Vanilla Creme)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Steam beets in a steamer over simmering water for 10-15 minutes or until a knife is easily pierced through the skin. Allow to cool.
  2. Once the beets are cooled rub the skins off with your hands. ( I suggest wearing gloves and doing this over the sink to prevent staining on your skin)
  3. Slice the beets into small pieces and place in the work bowl of a blender.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
  5. Taste for sweetness and adjust if necessary.

Notes

  1. If seeds bother you, heat the raspberries in a pan until softened with 2 TBL water and then mash with a fork. Strain the raspberries into the blender through a sieve to remove any seeds, pushing the solids with a spatula.
  2. Carob would be a great substitute for chocolate if you have any issues with caffeine or histamines that are in raw cacao/chocolate

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Raw Nutella Power Pudding

Life can be hard. 

Pudding can make life better. 

Nutella Chocolate Pudding can make life waaaaay better. 

Why is this pudding so special? Because this is a raw/vegan nutritional powerhouse pudding posing as a decadent dessert. The base of this is chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and hazelnuts soaked in your choice of dairy free milk (coconut milk makes this incredibly rich and decadent while almond milk makes a lighter pudding so choose accordingly).

So we have Omega 3’s, fiber, & protein disguised as dessert! Pretty awesome combo if you ask me.

The chia/flax hazelnuts needs about an hour to soak up and bloom but you can assemble those ingredients the night before and blend it up the next day.

Crazy easy, super delicious, and deceivingly healthy.

Does it get any better? 

Nutella Chia Flax Power Pudding

Serves 2

Vegan - Raw - Sugar Free - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbl Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbl Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 Cup Hazelnuts (skins removed if possible but not necessary see notes)
  • 1 Cup (+ 1/2 Cup Reserved) Coconut Milk or Dairy Free Milk of Choice
  • 3 Tbl Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Essence or Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Instant Espresso Powder (optional)

Optional Toppings

  • Cacao Nibs
  • Chopped Hazelnuts
  • Shaved Dark Chocolate
  • Scoop of Coconut Cream
  • Goji Berries
  • Shredded Coconut

Instructions

  1. Soak the chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and hazelnuts in one cup of dairy free milk for at least one hour but 4-6 hours will soften the hazelnuts so they blend easier.
  2. Use a spatula to scoop the bloomed chia/flax/hazelnut mixture into a high power blender. (It will be very sticky and will be formed to the size of the container)
  3. Add the salt, cacoa, maple syrup, espresso powder (if using) and 1/4 cup of reserved milk and blend until smooth.
  4. If the pudding is too thick add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk until the desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if you like.
  6. The pudding is ready to eat but it can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes

  1. If you want the smoothest possible pudding you will want to use skinless Hazelnuts. The skins can be removed by a few methods: If you do not follow a raw diet you can roast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes in a 350 oven or roast slow in a warm oven for 12 hours or in a dehydrator following manufactures directions and then place in between two kitchen towels and rub them vigorously. The skins should come right off. If you soak the hazelnuts overnight and then rub in between two towels the skins should come off easily as well.

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

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All Natural Pre Workout Juice for Champions

Beet juice words

There is a lot of hype out there in the bodybuilding/workout community advertising pre workout supplements. I would be lying if said I have never tried one…ok truth talk I have tried about all of them. I use to be somewhat of a gym rat and if a supplement helped my lifts and gave me energy I didn’t really pay attention to any of the additives, dyes, or crummy ingredients written in tiny print next to a warning label….whoops :/

Now a days I haven’t been in the gym in a few years due to a couple of back surgeries ( a story for another time) so I have had the luxury of looking at these supplements with an unbiased perspective and the view is not pretty.

Top selling pre-workout supplements such as USP Labs Jack3D, MusclePharm Assault, & MuscleTech NeuroCore contain the following chemically derived ingredients:

Sucralose: An artificial chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match(aka Splenda). Sucralose has been show to decrease gut health by 50% and despite its “diet” artificial sweeteners have been shown to: 

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

FD& C Red #40: 

  • A petrochemical. A highly processed, petroleum based chemical used to color foods to make them more visually appetizing.
  • It goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40.
  • It is banned and/or being phased out in much of Europe due to concerns over health effects.

Acesulfame-K: is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia. 

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals. 

When you take a step back and think about the long-term damage you are doing to your body for short-term gains in the gym it seems pretty insane. 

So whats the solution to still getting huge pumps, increased lifts, and long-lasting energy to tear the gym a new one?

BEETS!!!!

Natures Candy
Natures Candy

So why are beets the key to succesful workouts?

  • Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates which friendly bacteria in the mouth convert to nitrate, and then through the body is converted to nitric oxide. Ever heard of it? If you are a gym rat you probably are very familiar with nitric oxide as a pre workout supplement that helps increase your lifts because of its positive effect on blood flow, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Basically bigger lifts and more energy. 
  • Beet juice has been shown to drop systolic blood pressure by 5-10mmHG depending on the dose. The more the better (1 cup is a good serving suggestion) but you will want to start small (about 1/4 cup) or else you could feel a bit light-headed if you are an athlete and your blood pressure tends to run on the low side. 
  • It is best to drink this a few hours (2.5 hours to be exact) before your workout for the peak levels to be reach while exercising but one hour before will still yield positive results.  

 Great article on the scientific benefits of beet juice and energy output

Other health benefits from Beet Juice:

• It is an amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors. 

• Beetroot juice detoxifies the liver and aids in healing diseases of the digestive system. 

• Good source of folic acid and helps in providing protection against birth defects.

• Beet juice lowers bad cholesterol level.

You can buy a beet root powder but I like to juice mine fresh along with turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory which will help decrease muscle soreness), ginger (for added heat to increase blood flow and beat muscles soreness), and carrots for some sweetness and to prevent muscle cramping. This juice is also an amazing pain killer for post workout as well so basically anytime anywhere you can drink this juice and feel amazing!

Bonus Add ons:

  • Maca Powder: A powerful adaptogen that increases oxygen, energy, and balances hormones
  • Scoop of favorite protein powder to balance the natural sugars and give your body more to work with for extended workouts.
  • 1 tbl of chia seeds to aid in fluid retention, halting absorptions of sugars, and for a boost of protein. 

Pre Workout Beet Juice Drink

Yields 3

Vegan- Alkaline - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo

Ingredients

  1. 3 Organic Peeled Beets
  2. 4 Organic Peeled Carrots
  3. 2 Small (about 1'') Pieces Peeled Turmeric
  4. 1 Small Coin of Ginger
  5. Optional: Maple Syrup, or Honey to Taste but raw and pure is best

Instructions

  1. Juice all of the ingredients in a juicer and store in an airtight glass container.
  2. One serving is 4-8oz (1/2 -1 cup) but start small.

Notes

  1. Don't have a juicer? Chop all of the ingredients into very small pieces and add them to some warm water in a high power blender and puree then strain through cheesecloth.
  2. Feel Free to add in protein powder for extended workouts and maca powder to increase energy and oxygen levels.
  3. Excessive consumption of beet juice may cause your urine to turn pink. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.

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