Protein Mocha Frappuccino

Today, I had a craving. I’ve talked a little about how I fixate on certain foods now (most recently it’s lunchmeat/cheese rollups and black bean corn salsa), and today, I wanted a frozen coffee drink. I sauntered into my campus’ Starbucks and I sat looking at the menu for a good 15 minutes trying to find a reasonable selection. Have you ever looked at the nutritional information of a Starbucks drink? A tall (12 oz) mocha frappuccino clocks in at 270 calories, 11 g of fat, 42 g of carbs, and 4 g of protein. Not exactly a smart choice for a weight loss surgery patient, let alone a diabetic. So I opted for the light version (110 calories, 0.5 g of fat, 25 g of carbs, and 3 g of protein). As I sipped my $4.28 drink, I suspected this would not become a regular treat.

It got me to thinking, I have a Ninja blender, I have my favorite Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, I have protein powder; I bet I can make this lighter, protein packed, and definitely a lot less than $4 a pop.

Google lead me to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for homemade mocha frappuccino, and let me just say, I love that woman, but I’m not about to drink sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and half & half and expect to fit into my jeans. So I tweaked the recipe and came up with something that was tasty, satisfied my craving, and is guilt-free. That’s a win in my book!

Protein Mocha Frappuccino

IMG_1804Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee, chilled (very strong)
1 cup fat free milk
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
3 tbsp sugar free chocolate syrup
2 tbsp sugar free Torani vanilla syrup
1 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels
1 tbsp non dairy creamer
4-6 cups ice
Splenda to taste
Whipped cream, optional

Directions:
Blend all ingredients besides whipped cream in blender until smooth. Serve immediately.

Serving size: 12 oz  |  Servings: about 5
Per serving  |  Calories: 77  |  Carbs: 10 g  |  Protein: 7 g  |  Fat: 1 g

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Changing realities

It’s now been a little over 10 months since I started this journey. It doesn’t feel like that long ago I was still over 300 pounds and struggling with a host a health problems and a lifetime of self-doubt. It doesn’t feel like it, but things have changed. And with that new reality comes challenges I’ve heard about but didn’t think would be as scary, foreign, or thrilling as they have turned out to be.

My armor is gone.

My body is different, y’all. It’s highly doubtful I’m gonna be prancing around the beach shirtless this summer, but there’s a lot less of me to drag about. With 90+ pounds gone, it’s ironic that everyone else notices but me. I still feel the same on the inside, and it’s that feeling that is clashing with the outside.

I hid behind my weight. I can totally see it now. I’d play fantasies in my head about how when I lost weight: I’d be more social, I’d take pride in my fashion choices, I’d finally be able to get a significant other. Nothing was stopping me from doing that before surgery. I was using my weight as an excuse. And it was awesome. I was safe, I didn’t have to put myself out there, I could be comfortable with my friends and never face rejection. Did I think dropping almost 100 pounds would solve all my social anxieties and make me the person I so longed to be? Of course I did. In reality? Heck no, that’s something I’m realizing I have to do within my own head.

That’s not to say that people don’t treat obese people differently. My life hasn’t been a litany of torment and anguish, but now that I’m on the other side of surgery, I can see that yeah, I’m getting a bit more attention now. People look me in the eye now, I get smiles, second looks, simply put, attention. It’s very strange having to deal with flirting and sexual attention. I wasn’t exactly drowning in dates before, so I can safely say that I’m not well versed in the art of seduction. But that’s just one of the new challenges one might have to face on the other side of the fence, and as far as challenges go, it’s not a bad one to have, but it’s definitely foreign.

Some observations

With such a life change, it’s interesting to me to see what now? What’s gonna change next?

  • My knee bones rub together now, so sleeping on my side is not comfortable anymore. I have to have a pillow between my legs if I want to sleep on my side.
  • Investing in a compression shirt was the best thing ever. I feel naked without it keeping the dogs from roaming the yard.
  • Buying clothes is fun, moreso when you don’t have to pay the “fat” tax, $3-4 more for the “plus” sizes (which by the way, is bullshit)
  • I fixate on foods now. One week it’s all about hard boiled eggs and tuna, next it’s greek yogurt and strawberries.
  • My glasses don’t fit anymore, which is really weird.
  • Going through belt loop holes are a great way to measure weight loss.
  • Chairs! Movie theater chairs, classroom chairs, restaurant booths, etc. are no longer the enemy.

I have a few more recipes I want to post soon. My one year surgiversary is coming up quick, so I’ll be sure to update once I have my appointment.

    Day 88 Post-op

    Health

    Diabetes has improved drastically. No more oral meds, I’m only taking my long-acting insulin Levemir in the mornings and at night. My blood sugar has been stable since surgery and I’m very happy. My A1C will be checked again in January at my 6 month post-op surgeon visit, but I’m hoping to get one done sooner. I know for a fact it will be lower than my pre-op 12-13 A1C. My diabetes will never be cured, but the thought of one day being able to control it with just diet is very reassuring.

    I also had a follow-up sleep apnea test a couple weeks ago. I am still suffering from apneas, mostly during REM or deep sleep. The clinician said that while my weight loss has improved my quality of sleep before and after REM sleep, the deep sleep apneas are still present and I’ll have to continue with CPAP treatment.

    Foods & Nutrition

    The surgeon gave me a good nugget of insight concerning weight loss and vitamins and water. Vitamins are also called co-factors, and they are instrumental in facilitating fat metabolism. Since we can’t get enough in our food, we need the vitamins to make for efficient metabolism. Without them, weight loss slows. Water is also very important in flushing out the fat we are burning. It is filtered through the kidneys and out in our urine, so without enough water, the fat redeposits and again, weight loss slows. Good points to hear and reminds me to be more vigilant of my water and vitamin intake; I’ve been lax of late and I need to get back on track.

    Portabella Mushroom Pizza

    I don’t have many cravings anymore. I’m a creature of habit and when I find something that works for me, I stick with it. My breakfast has been a Quest bar for a long time now and I love them. However, it was either a stroke of genius or a sadistic mind that placed the GNC I buy my bars at next to a Little Caesar’s. The smell of baking pizza doesn’t exactly make my stomach rumble but does bring on a nostalgic longing for my former favorite food. So, like any intrepid sleever, I decided to recreate a pizza that wouldn’t fill me up after a couple bites and was devoid of empty calories and carbs. If you’ve never had a portabella mushroom, you’re missing out. The meaty texture stands up well to baking and makes the perfect vessel for rich marinara and melty mozzarella. Lightening up the recipe with fat free cheese and turkey pepperoni delivers a punch of protein and a surprisingly low amount of calories. I can manage to polish off a half a serving, making this a great meal or two or a snack for later.

    Portabella Mushroom Pizza

    Ingredients:
    1 portabella mushroom cap (the big suckers)
    1/2 cup marinara sauce (I used HEB’s Healthy Marinara)
    1/4 cup fat-free shredded mozzarella
    7-8 slices of turkey pepperoni
    1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
    Sprinkling of Italian seasoning

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Assemble pizza layering marinara sauce on mushroom cap, then cheese, pepperoni, peppers, cheese and seasoning.

    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and pepperoni sizzles.

    Serving size: 1 mushroom cap pizza |  Servings: 1
    Per serving  |  Calories: 174  |  Net Carbs: 13 g (8g dietary fiber)  |  Protein: 18 g  |  Fat: 4 g

    Turkey Meatloaf and Ranch Dip

    One can only take so many cold cuts wrapped in cheese before one starts craving comfort food. I haven’t had much of a chance to cook dinners as I get home from work late and I’m taking classes too. Never being hungry also has afforded me a picky nature that I am so not accustomed to. I look in my fridge and my cupboard and I just don’t want anything! So when the grocery store had a sale on ground turkey, I instantly thought of meatloaf. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and corn was one of my go-to’s for dinner and was always a crowd pleaser. Ground beef, milk, white breadcrumbs – not exactly the healthiest. I lightened up the recipe with lean turkey, Greek yogurt and flaxseed chips and made this meatloaf in muffin cups for portion control. For a slightly stiffer loaf, add more of the blended chips.

    Turkey Meatloaf

    Ingredients:
    2 lbs lean ground turkey
    1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
    1/4 cup soy and flaxseed tortilla chips, blended in food processor
    2 eggs, slightly beaten
    1/8 cup ketchup
    1/8 cup mustard
    1 packet meatloaf seasoning
    Additional seasoning to taste

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin/cupcake tin with non-stick cooking spray.

    Blend all ingredients in a bowl and portion into the muffin/cupcake tin.

    Bake for 48-60 minutes.

    Serving size: 1 muffin meatloaf |  Servings: 11-12
    Per serving  |  Calories: 229  |  Carbs: 5 g  |  Protein: 14 g  |  Fat: 10 g

    IMG_3419


    I have a whole 32 oz container of Greek yogurt that expires next week, so I had to hop to it to use it up. I’m going to be making more banana protein muffins this weekend and I decided to make up a batch of ranch dip for snacks. A Hidden Valley Ranch packet mixed with 16 oz of Greek yogurt makes an excellent dip with all the ranch flavor and creaminess you would expect in a dip with the added bonus of nearly 12 g of protein and 70 calories in a 1/2 cup serving! I had a serving of the flaxseed chips (also a good shot of protein) and this dip when I got home for an energy boost.

    Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

    Ingredients:
    16 oz non-fat Greek yogurt
    1 Hidden Valley Ranch packet

    Directions:
    Mix both ingredients in a container and serve cold. For the best flavor, let it sit in the fridge for an hour before serving.

    Serving size: 4 oz (1/2 cup) |  Servings: 4
    Per serving  |  Calories: 70  |  Carbs: 4 g  |  Protein: 11.5 g  |  Fat: 0 g

    Checkpoint

    I can hardly believe I’m only closing in on two months post op. It seems a lot longer. I remember going through the liquid phases of my pre- and post-op diet progressions feeling like solid foods were so far away. I have gotten many compliments and acknowledgments, and while it feels great to get them, I just don’t see the drastic changes others do. I don’t know if it’s because I’m set in my “fat” perception or I just see myself too much to notice changes. So far, I’ve lost nearly 60 lbs since I began this process in January, and I’m almost scared to accept it. What if I turn back into a pumpkin at midnight? I’m glad I have photos to document the change so I can face them and say, yes, this is working. This is working because I’m making it work.

    Just like many others out there who are losing significant weight, there will always be a little part of me that is my “fat” self. That part of me was my shield for so long that it is daunting to go on without him. And in a strange way, it’s nice to know he’s still there; I want to remember him because I don’t ever want to go back to where I was.

    Just gotta remember not to feed him after midnight.

    Banana Bread Protein Muffins

    I love to cook. I use the Paprika app on my iPad mini to catalog all the recipes I’ve either come up with or gotten from the internet/Pinterest. I absolutely love finding a recipe that works for me and that I can reproduce with great results. I’ve got several go-to’s for many occasions, and my banana bread is definitely one of them. I found the recipe in a vintage cookbook a few years ago, and it’s always a big hit. Think lots of butter, cream cheese, sugar, bananas and walnuts. Everything that’s right with the world and wrong for weight loss surgery patients and worse for diabetics. So when I came across @laplifeblog‘s post about banana bread protein muffins, I was definitely intrigued. I haven’t had a real carb since weeks before my surgery, let alone any kind of sweet, so if I could get some honest-to-goodness banana bread-like texture with the added bonus of good protein, I’m all over it. Searching the web for the best recipe can be daunting since there are so many to choose from, but I tweaked one to suit the stuff I had on hand and I must say, I’m impressed. This is a real muffin, y’all! Slightly less sweet than my beloved heart attack recipe, it still satisfies my taste for banana bread. I like to pair a muffin with my yogurt for breakfast for a decent hit of protein and yumminess.

    Banana Bread Protein Muffins

    Ingredients:
    1 cup bananas
    3/4 cup egg whites
    1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
    2 packets of instant sugar free oatmeal (I like apples and cinnamon)
    OR 3/4 cup plain oats
    2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use Isopure No Carb Creamy Vanilla)
    1/2 cup sweetener (I use Splenda)
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin/cupcake tin with non-stick cooking spray. If you’re going to use liners, make sure they are foil liners since these suckers will stick.

    Blend all ingredients in a stand mixer or by hand until you got a nice, liquidy batter. I divided them into 9 muffins but you can do all 12 for smaller servings.

    Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    Serving size: 1 muffin |  Servings: 9
    Per serving  |  Calories: 76  |  Carbs: 8 g  |  Protein: 9 g  |  Fat: 1 g