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Shakes - Make them Great!                         

Did you give up on "Protein Shakes"?

When I started this way of life, one of the first things I did was to buy a number of canisters of Protein Shake mixes (most of us start out with Atkins — I did too.) I bought the chocolate and the vanilla. I made them according to directions and I was, as they say, underwhelmed. So I figured perhaps a different brand or a different flavor were the way to go.

I bought Designer Whey — first strawberry, then praline. I also tried their chocolate. I finally decided maybe I just didn't like them. I didn't want to waste them (they can be pretty pricey!) I decided I would work them in and keep experimenting. Then I ran into my next problem — finding the time and place to make them when it was convenient to have them! I don't have a blender in my office! They ended up back on the shelf. I got letters from others asking me for ideas to make the shakes more like.. well ... shakes. Finally, when I realized I was missing lunches (and sometimes breakfasts) due to my heavy work schedule (which is a no-no with low carbing), I knew if I could solve the shake problems, I'd have my perfect lunch.

Rubbermaid's chugs The portability and timing problem...

I may not have a blender in my office, but I do have a refrigerator (yeah, one of those little mini-fridges.) So it occured to me that I only need make the shakes up once or twice a week. I purchased a few of Rubbermaid's 1.25 pint "chugs" — small pourable containers that seal well and are just the right size! They don't have to be Rubbermaid, but these really do work great. I fill each of them up when I have a "shake making session" and put them in the fridge.

They're great for up to 5 days and — keeping some Dixie or Solo cups onhand — you can pour yourself a serving of very cold shake whenever it's convenient. I pour only 1/2 glass at a time so it is always extremely cold. Remember, when you get a traditional shake, it's partially frozen, so when we make shakes with cream, half-n-half, etc - that are "refrigerator cold", they just don't seem cold enough! You'll be surprised the difference this makes. Once you can just reach for a serving of icy cold milkshake, you will! And these containers make it easy to give it a good quick shaking before you pour!

It's the taste...

If you can't make the shake taste great, you won't drink it. One of the complaints I hear a lot is "I just don't like that strong protein taste!" Well, I agree. The majority of the low-carb shakes are packed with protein for three reasons:
  1. Most low-carb diets also stress high protein, so the manufacturers rush to meet that need.
  2. The body and thickness of the shake have to be made with something and since carbs are out and you can't make a shake powder out of pure fat, protein is in.
  3. Many of the shakes are targeted toward body-builders as well as low-carbers. Protein is super important here, and once again, the makers are filling the need.

In the case of my diet however (and I bet with many of yours) I get tons of protein every day in the rest of my meals. So I figure about half the protein in the shakes is fine with me. Hence, I cut the shake powder in half.

The next issue is sweetness — Okay, I admit it — I like my shakes sweet. I want them to be a treat. So I add a few tsp Splenda or Keto Sweet in each one. And there's the cold issue — I want it cold right away, so I add ice to the blender. And by the way, if you're going to be making shakes, invest in a good blender if you don't already have one. One that can successfully crush/handle ice is essential.

Shake Flavor is the most important thing here, so be creative and add anything carb-free that will last awhile (ie: if you decide to add a few fresh strawberries to your berry shake, it will need to be consumed the same day.)

To chocolate shakes, (I personally like Atkins chocolate the best) I add 1 tsp Ghirardelli's unsweetened cocoa.

To banana shakes (here I like the Keto Banana Cream Pie flavor the best), I add 1/2 tsp banana extract and 1 tsp marshmallow extract (find it at Great American Spice Co.)

To Egg Nog flavor (once again, the Keto Shake is best), I add 1 tsp egg nog flavor extract (also from Great American Spice) and 1 Tbsp Egg Beaters. And so forth with different flavors. Get creative! You'll see what you like.

To each of these (remember, use only 1 scoop - not 2!) I add 1 cup half-n-half and approx. 8 oz cold water, plus an estimated handful of ice chips and sweetener to taste.

One note — if you want your shake a bit thicker, consider adding some not/Sugar from Expert Foods. It replaces the texturizing effect of sugar in beverage and syrup recipes. not/Sugar is, itself, unsweetened. Adding it to the shake adds a satisfying creaminess.

Once poured in your little "chugs" and refrigerated, your shakes are ready for the week! I'll bet shakes will be part of your routine in no time!

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