Building Muscle

Protein Helps You Build Muscle & Maintain A Healthy Weight.

When it comes to building muscle or maintaining a healthy weight, protein is one of the most important things you can take into consideration.  There are many different types of proteins to choose from and it can get a little confusing trying to decide which protein is best for you. There are several kinds of protein such as hemp, whey, casein, egg, soy, wheat, and rice, but we will only focus on whey, casein, egg, and soy as they are the most popular.

To figure out what is the best protein for you, you first have to understand the difference between each type of protein powder and what your protein needs are.

 

Whey Protein Powder

Whey Protein Powder

Whey Protein Powder Mixes Easily and Tastes Great

Whey is a co-product of cheese production.  Whey is considered a complete protein as it contains all the amino acids for building muscle.  Whey has the highest biological value of any protein source which means, due to its high ratios of amino acids and digestibility, a higher percentage of protein is actually utilized for muscle repair and tissue building.   Whey has also been shown to spike protein synthesis (leads to muscle growth) as much as 68% due to the high levels of the amino acid leucine, but due to the fast digestibility it is only sustained for short periods of time.

 

 

There are 3 major forms of Whey Protein

Whey Concentrate – Concentrate naturally has low levels of fat and cholesterol but in general has more carbohydrates in the form of lactose.  To be labeled concentrate, it must contain between 29-89% protein by weight.  The percentages of protein are dependent on the production process and can vary between manufacturers. The typical digestion rate of whey concentrate is about 45 minutes to an hour.

Whey Isolate – Whey isolate is an ultra filtered derivative of whey concentrate.  This is a much more expensive process, but the end result is very low in fat, and lactose free.   To be labeled an isolate it must contain at least 90% protein by weight and it has a much faster digestion rate as there is less fats, carbohydrates and bioactive compounds for the body to digest.  The typical digestion rate for an isolate is between 30-45 minutes, so this would be the best if you need protein to get into your muscles very fast.

Whey Hydrolysate – Is the highest quality protein and is also the most expensive of all the proteins.  The increase in price is due to the higher processing requirements than concentrate or isolate. It is produced using low heat, low acid and an enzymatic filtration process which the end results creates protein bonds that have already been broken so it can be quickly digested by your body.  This is the cleanest protein as it contains very little fat, carbohydrates and no lactose and contains more protein by weight. The typical digestion rate for whey protein hydrolysate is between 10-30 minutes.

 

You may also see many different types of filtering processes such as Cross-flow Cold Processed, Micro-filtered, Ion Exchanged, or many other fancy names for filtering the impurities from the protein. These different types of filtration processes give you a “better” protein without damaging the molecules thus giving you a better quality protein.   A lot of this is marketing by supplement companies so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to these filtering processes.  These filtering processes may give you a better quality product but the difference is so marginal that it’s not worth paying extra money.

 

Why You Should Take Whey Protein

 

Whey protein is an excellent choice for those looking for a protein product that tastes great, highly digestible, mixes easily and has lots of BCAA’s for muscle building and strengthens your immune system.  Whey protein is the only protein that contains powerful substances called immunoglobulins, or immune peptides, that play a vital role in keeping your immune system ready for action.

Whey protein is a quickly digested protein, which makes it ideal to drink:

  1. First      Thing In The Morning:  Stop the      Evening “Fast”. Your body has not had any protein since your last meal and      when your body gets low on protein your muscle will be in a catabolic      state (your body takes the amino acids it needs from your muscles instead      of your nutrition).   I drink shake      as soon as you get up and then 30 minutes later I eat a normal      breakfast.
  2. Pre-workout:  Take a whey protein shake an hour before      you workout instead of eating a meal because your body digests whey      protein powder within an hour as opposed to chicken or fish which takes      your body 2 to 2.5 hours to digest.       That way you won’t feel bloated at the gym and the protein is going      straight to your muscles instead of sitting in your stomach waiting to be      digested.
  3. Post      workout: This is the absolute most important time to take whey      protein.  This is the beginning of      the all important “recovery” phase.       You must drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of working out to      maximize the benefits of your workout. Your muscles have been broken down      from a strenuous workout and you need to get protein, especially Amino      Acids to them fast in order to repair and build new muscle.

 

 

Casein  Protein Powder

Casein Protein Accounts For 80% Of The Protein In Cows Milk.

Casein accounts for almost 80% of the proteins in cows milk (Whey accounts for the other 20%).  Micellar Casein is extracted by a filtration process that extracts the whey protein from the casein without the use of chemicals.  This process increases the amount of bioactive milk peptides that support immune function as well as enhance muscle growth.   Due to caseins PH sensitivity, when consumed; it gels in the acidic environment of the stomach. This “gelling” slows down the digestion process allowing it to take more than twice as long as any other protein to be broken down into their amino acid subcomponents.  This is the primary benefit of casein as it is considered anti-catabolic or a muscle protecting protein because of the slow and steady release of amino acids into the blood stream.   The slower absorption will help sustain elevated amino acid levels over a longer period of time reducing the body’s need to break down your muscles in order to acquire the amino acids it requires to function.

In one study, researchers gave healthy subjects 30 grams of either whey protein or casein protein and made several measures of the anabolic and catabolic effect for 7 hours after the meal. Whey protein resulted in a rapid increase in blood amino acids and protein synthesis, but it was short-lived. Casein, on the other hand, resulted in a prolonged increase in blood amino acids that resulted in a 34% reduction in protein breakdown. The net protein balance remained more positive after intake of casein protein over a 7-hour period.

Why You Should Take Micellar Casein

The long and steady release of protein and the higher concentration of glutamine than other proteins making casein is perfect protein for taking during the day when you know you will not be able to eat for several hours and before going to bed when the body needs a steady supply of proteins while the muscles repair and rebuild during the night.

 

 

Egg Protein Powder

Egg Protein

Egg Protein Comes From Egg Whites And Is Naturally High In Protein and Low In Fat.

Is considered to be one of the best muscle building foods Mother Nature has to offer. Egg protein powder comes from egg whites and is one of the highest-quality proteins available and has an outstanding amino acid profile for muscle maintenance, growth and recovery. It also has the highest net nitrogen utilization rating, which means that you use more nitrogen which is what actually builds the muscle. Egg protein is virtually devoid of carbohydrates and fats and  is loaded with vitamins such as highly bio-available iron, potassium, magnesium (helps maintain proper muscle function) , phosphorus, riboflavin, folate, Vitamins B, D and E, and choline (which enhances strength and brain function) and also naturally rich in arginine ( precursor to nitric oxide, antioxidant and enhances fat metabolism) .

 

Why You Should Take Egg Protein

If you are lactose intolerant, egg protein is a great alternative to whey protein because it has almost no fat and on top of that, it’s much cheaper than whey.  Egg protein is not the best tasting protein but it is extremely nutritious and if you are looking for a good protein with the digestion rate (between 1.5 – 3 hours) between that of whey and casein – egg is perfect.  Egg protein is much more convenient than eating 6-7 egg whites and provides excellent muscle building nutrients than whey, casein, and soy protein powders.

 

Soy Protein Powder

Soy Protein

Soy Protein Comes Is Made From These Tasty Treats.

Soy is derived from soy beans and is the only “complete” non animal protein, meaning it contains all the essential and non essential amino acids. Soy has a neutral taste, is natural and has an abundance of health effects on the body.   Its valuable nutrients include saponins that support healthy immune system function and helps reduce cholesterol by binding with salt in the small intestine. Soy also has Phytosterols, which have been shown to help maintain cholesterol levels already within normal range.  Isoflavones  (genistein and daidzein) have not only exhibited effects as powerful antioxidants, but have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.  Soy protein has a neutral taste and therefore has been used as a food additive for decades to increase the protein content of food products.

Soy protein powder is similar to whey protein in that it comes in two forms, Soy Concentrate and Soy Isolate.

Soy concentrate – 70% protein per weight and naturally low in fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates.  Concentrate contains most of the fiber from the original soy bean and therefore is often added to food products for additional nutrition.

Soy Isolate – Undergoes additional filtration to remove fat and carbohydrates to 90% protein per weight. Isolates also provide reduced bacterial fermentation for less stomach irritation.

 

Soy Protein is the most controversial of all the proteins.  Many of the soy enthusiast tout it as a super food that can reduce blood pressure, enhances brain and immune system function, reduces the risk of cancer as well as many other claims; however many bodybuilders do not dispute these claims but do not recommend soy as it has a much lower biological value which means your body is not easily able to use the protein for building muscle and   contains phytoestrogen’s, which is a derivative of estrogen and if consumed in mass quantities can change the ratio of testosterone/estrogen in favor of estrogen.   Many of the soy proponents claim that soy is a precursor of estrogen.

 

Why You Should Take Soy Protein

If you are vegan soy is a healthy way to get non-animal protein into your diet and can be used as a meat substitute.  Soy is ideal for high protein/low carb diets.  Much more than just an ingredient for a protein shake, soy protein can be used for cooking instead of flour, producing high protein foods that are extremely low in fat and carbohydrates.  Soy is also a good alternative to milk based proteins if you are lactose intolerant.

 

Protein Blends

 

BSN Syntha 6

BSN Syntha 6 Is A Very Popular Protein Blend.

You will also hear the term “protein blends”, which is basically a combination of proteins explained above trying to take advantage of a constant and steady release of protein within the body. Many blends will try and take advantage of different digestion rates such as combining ultra fast digesting Whey Hydrolysate with a slower digesting protein such as egg protein to take advantage of  not only the steady flow of amino acids into your body but the nutrient qualities of each proteins.  These blends are “versatile” protein powders meaning if you are unaware of when your next meal will be, this will cover your bases for several hours due to the fast and mid absorption rates.   If you purchase a protein blend make sure it does not contain casein as it coagulates in your stomach, slowing down the digestion of all the proteins in your stomach therefore negating the benefits of a blend.

New Years Ab Resolution

Get a stronger core this year with these 7 amazing core exercises.

2012 is just around the corner and for many it’s the chance for new beginnings.   We get to forget about all the mistakes we did last year because that was “so last year”.  This year I’m going to focus on my health including eating fewer meals out, getting to the gym at least 4 days a week, doing some sort of physical activity every day, eating more vegetables AND focusing on my abs.  I can go to the gym and bench, squat, dead lift, do dips, all day long, but when it comes to my core I’m definitely guilty of finding any excuse to cut it short.  This year I’m going to get an amazing 6 pack and here’s how I’m going to do it.  I’m not going to use conventional ab workouts because it has not worked for me in the past so I’m going to use some advanced core exercises that not only focus on your abs, but strengthen your core also.

 

7 Advanced Ab Exercises

 

Mountain Climber with Hands on Swiss Ball

Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight and hands placed on a Swiss ball. Alternate raising each knee as close to your chest as you can. Alternate back and forth for 30 seconds.

 

Keeps your core engaged, back straight and alternate raising each knee towards your chest.

Keeps your core engaged, back straight and alternate raising each knee towards your chest.

 

Cable Core Press

  1. With a hand-overhand grip, grab a handle attached to the mid pulley of a cable station. Stand with your right side facing the weight stack and spread your feet about shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent. Step away from the stack so the cable is taut. Hold the handle against your chest and brace your abs.
  2. Slowly press your arms in front of you until they’re completely straight, pause for a second, and bring them back. Do all your reps, then turn around and work your other side.

Tip The objective of this exercise is to prevent rotation. So if you’re hiking up your hip or rotating your shoulders, you’re using too much weight.

 

Cable Core Press

Starting position. Feet shoulder-width apart and keep your core engaged.

Cable Core Press Finsh

Keep lower body, core and upper body firm and slowly straighten your arm putting all the tension on your core.

 

Side Plank with Reach Under

  1. Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your right arm straight above you so that it’s perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, then lift your arm back up to the starting position. That’s one rep.

 

Side Plank

Keep your body firm and do not let your hips sag.

Side Plank With Reach Under

Slowly reach your extended arm behind your torso keeping the tension on your oblique’s and core.

Lateral Roll

  1. Lie with your upper back placed firmly on a Swiss ball. Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold a pole or broomstick, with your arms straight out from your sides.
  2. Without allowing your hips or arms to sag, roll across the Swiss ball as far as you can, taking tiny steps with your feet. Reverse directions and roll as far as you can to the other side.

 

Lateral Roll Start

Lateral Roll is great for strengthening your entire core and your upper back.

Lateral Roll Side

Roll the ball across your upper back keeping your hips up, your core firm and not allowing your arms to sag.

Swiss-Ball Jackknife

  1. Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight. Rest your shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles.
  2. Without changing your lower-back posture, roll the Swiss ball toward your chest by pulling it forward with your feet. Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward.

 

Swiss-Ball Jackknife

Get in a push up position with shins resting on the Swiss-ball. Keep your back straight and do not allow your hips to sag by keeping your core engaged.

Swiss-Ball Jackknife Start

Keep your arms firm, tighten your Abs, and slowly bring your knees towards your chest rolling the Swiss-ball up your shins and stopping at your feet.

T-Stabilization

  1. Assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles.
  2. Keeping your arms straight and your body rigid, shift your weight onto your left arm and rotate your torso up and to the right until you’re facing sideways. Pause for 3 seconds, then lower back down to the starting position. Rotate to your left. That’s one rep. Continue to rotate back and forth.

 

T-Stabilization Start

Pushup position keeping your hips up and your back straight.

T-Stabilization Finish

Shift your weight on one arm then rotate your body till you are in a similar position as side plank. As you are rotating you should feel the tension in your lower Abs and Core. Remember not to allow your hips to sag during the exercise.

Core Stabilization

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Hold a weight plate straight out in front of your chest. Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor, and brace your core.
  2. Without moving your torso, rotate your arms to the left as far as you can. Pause for 3 seconds.
  3. Rotate your arms to the right as far as you can. Pause again, then continue to alternate back and forth for the allotted time. A good goal: 30 seconds.

 

Core Stabilization Start

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your back at a 45 degree angle. Be sure to use a light weight, keep your arms parallel to the ground and engage your core.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Core Stabilization Left

Do not move your legs or torso and rotate your arms to your left keeping your arm straight. You should feel the tension in your left sideoblique’s.

Core Stabilization Right

Do not move your legs or torso and rotate your arms to your right keeping your arm straight. You should feel the tension in your right side oblique’s.

 

 

Ab Workout

My ab defining program is simple.  I go to the gym 4 days a week and on 2 of those days I will split my Ab workout  in half and then one day I will dedicate my whole workout to just abs.  This is what my workout schedule will look like.

Tip:  Do 3 sets of each ab exercise.

Monday:  Cable Core Press, Side Plank with Reach, Mountain Climber, and then go into my regular lower body workout.

Tuesday: Day Off

Wednesday:  Lateral Roll, Swill Ball Jackknife, T-stabilization, Core Stabilization, and then go into my regular upper body workout.

Thursday: Day Off

Friday:  Core Workout – Entire Ab Workout and Cardio

Saturday:  Full Body Workout (no abs).

Sunday:  Day Off

 

This is a simple Ab focused exercise plan that only requires you to go to the gym 4 days a week.  Because of how difficult the workouts are you should begin to see results as soon as the first month and by summer time you should see a full 6 pack.

There’s a saying that goes “Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym”.  I don’t completely believe that, but your diet is a VERY important part.  I would say 50% of Abs are made in the kitchen and 50% at the gym.  The gym part you have covered with this workout so all you need to do now is focus on your diet.  Enjoy!

Tip:  To get the greatest results from this workout you should not use any machines for the upper, lower or full body portion of this workout, but rather free weights.  Free weights are much better as they require your core to be engaged while doing the exercise thus working out your core during your entire workout.

Energy for your workout.

These vitamins can give you the energy you need to not only get into the gym, but to finish your workout with energy to spare.

 

The more we exercise, the more our bodies use up a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients. As long as we are eating a healthy, balanced diet, this isn’t too much of a problem because they will soon be replenished. However, if you are starting off with a deficiency in a particular area, you may find exercising particularly difficult, or you may not get all the benefits youotherwise could if your body had everything it needed.

As we exercise, our metabolism starts to change, and the way we absorb and use vitamins and nutrients will change, too. Fatigue, depression, and a sudden lack of energy are all signs that you might need to add a supplement to your routine. Some of the best vitamins for exercising include:

 

Vitamin B-12:

This vitamin has an effect on the brain and nervous system, and also helps with the formation of blood. More than that, though, it is involved with the metabolism of every cell of the human body, and it regulates fatty acid synthesis and energy production. When you need the fuel to get up and get exercising, this might be a good place to start.
More on Vitamin B

 

Vitamin E:

Although there is some discussion on the effect of this vitamin when used in conjunction with an exercise program (detailed below), many people add this to their diet because it can help preserve the red blood cells and deliver oxygen to the body, which leads to more energy and stamina.
More on Vitamin E

 

Iron:

Exercise will lead to more iron absorption in the body, and we need to make sure it is quickly replenished. This essential mineral provides oxygen to the blood, which leads to higher endurance and better muscle performance.
More on Iron

 

Vitamin B-6:

This vitamin helps maintain positive mental health and fight fatigue. The brain uses this to build up serotonin and dopamine, which are substances that can do a lot to better your attitude, reduce fatigue and help you sleep better (which leads to even more energy the next time you start to exercise).

 

Thiamine:

This is one of the vitamins that are required for protein metabolism. Thiamin in the body seems to be tied very closely to the amount of energy you use (how many calories you burn) so you may need to watch very closely to make sure your levels don’t drop too low.

 

New Considerations

There has been one study that suggests there are some vitamins out there that may actually interfere with the body’s natural response to exercise. It claims that the antioxidant Vitamins C and E could make it harder for the body to react effectively to exercise. Of course, there are other studies that say antioxidants are great for highly active individuals.

Which is the right choice for you? The only way to answer this question is to consult with a professional. They will be able to analyze your situation and let you know which vitamins will be able to enhance your exercise routine and help you make the most of your workouts.

BPI Solid

Solid-an extremely powerful androgenic hardening agent. Its unique defining effects can help to promote a more contest ready and overall hardened physique.

 

Anyone that has ever lifted a weight, visited a gym, or read a muscle magazine from cover to cover knows exactly what I’m talking about…We’ve all seen that look. The one dude in the gym that’s so freakin’ lean and muscular that his skin looks like it’s going to burst. So shredded and rock hard that you wonder what he’s on. I’m talking about being so chiseled-to-the-bone that you know it didn’t happen overnight. It definitely didn’t happen eating egg whites and chicken breasts. It didn’t happen doing hours of cardio. It took something a bit more drastic. Something a bit harder.

 

 

Bpi SOLID’s  dual Anabolic and Androgenic activity results from the fact that it’s  formulated with a novel class of naturally-occurring compounds…*  Compounds which appear to effectively bind to androgen receptors, and  modulate protein synthesis and help decrease protein breakdown. The anabolic actions of androgens are demonstrated through changes in  body, plasma amino acid level, and plasma urea level, among other  indicators.

The  physiological (regulation, metabolism, and mechanisms) importance of  this dual anabolic and androgenic activity simply cannot be  understated. It is T-H-E key. The key to SOLID, the key to getting the  hardening, definition, strength, and vascular effects you want… and,  need, to be contest ready!

 

Solid Nutrition Facts

Solid Nutrition Facts

 

There are numerous benefits to eating healthy but the ones that come to the top of my head are, makes me feel good, keeps me in shape, gives me energy and saves money on health costs.  I have been a health enthusiast for many years but over the last few years I have really refined my diet to eating healthy, clean meals consisting of whole foods.  My meals consist mostly of lean proteins, lots and lots of vegetables and healthy fats 5 times a day, 6 days a week.  The 7th day is my cheat day* so I get to eat tastier meals.   Many fitness gurus say you shouldn’t take a whole day off from your diet but I do it for a couple of reasons.


  1. I am not a professional bodybuilder or a professional athlete, but I do play sports at a high level and I would like to enjoy them without having to sacrifice too much of a normal lifestyle.
  2. I believe food is the spice of life and if I completely cut out unhealthy meals I get bored and I find it affects me emotionally.
  3. When that “cheat” day comes it keeps my body guessing and it gets me mentally and physically ready for another 6 days of healthy eating.
  4. I believe the body is highly adaptive and if you eat nothing but healthy food your body gets used to it and the moment you eat
    something unhealthy or greasy to be exact it upsets your stomach and you feel sluggish.
  5. My cheat days* are technically not cheat days, but rather cheat meals combined with “healthy cheat meals”.   On my cheat day I have only 1 or 2 actual unhealthy meals and it’s usually when I go out to eat. The other meals consists mostly of meals that are typically unhealthy but I’ve modified them so they are healthy but still have a lot of flavor.
Healthy Turkey Sandwich

Healthy Turkey Sandwich

One of my favorite “healthy cheat” meals is a hearty turkey sandwich.  This sandwich tastes so good and is so loaded with healthy ingredients you almost want to eat it every day.  I know your probably thinking isn’t all turkey sandwiches healthy? Actually, they are not. If you look at Corner Bakery’s Uptown Turkey sandwich it has 660 calories as compared to my turkey sandwich which has less than 450 calories and tastes much better. Also my turkey sandwich has a fraction of the sodium, fat and artificial ingredients.  The only reason why I eat this on my cheat day is because of my strict macro nutrient diet and it does not allow me to eat bread on a daily basis.



Healthy Turkey Sandwich

Bread

The best bread I could Find

Alpine Valley Multi Grain is all organic and only contains ingredients you can pronounce. That is a plus in my book!

Turkey is the star of this production, but the bread is definitely the co-star and is just as important.  I like to use Alpine Valley Organic Multi Grain with Omega 3.  This bread is soft, tastes amazing and is high in fiber (3g)  , low sugar (2g), low sodium (120mg), is high in protein(3g), only 81 calories per slice and it has only 13 ingredients and you can pronounce every one of them.


Lower calorie alternative: Sara Lee’s 45 Calories & Delightful 100% whole wheat.  It has 3 g of protein, 2g or fiber, 160 mg sodium, 1 g of sugar, .5g total fat and only 45 calories per slice. It doesn’t taste as good as Alpine Valley and is not as nutritious but if you are looking for a lower calorie alternative this is one of the best.


Turkey

Costco's Pre Cooked Turkey Breast

Costco's Kirkland Signature's Pre Cooked Turkey Breast is very low in sodium and has no preservatives. It's a great alternative if you don't have the time or an oven to cook your own turkey breast.

Turkey is the star and as with most things, there is nothing more satisfying than a home-grown star.  I like go to Trader Joe’s and buy 3lb uncooked boneless turkey breast and marinade it in olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, pepper , herbs  and spices.  It’s very easy to cook, just bake it in the oven and it comes out tasting great, is very low in sodium and does not have all the preservatives that are in traditional cold cuts.


If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s you can go to Costco and get their Kirkland brand Pre cooked turkey breast, it’s low in sodium and has only 2 ingredients, turkey and less than 2% broth.


If you don’t have either a Trader Joe’s or Costco you can go to any store and get Columbus brand or Boars Head low sodium turkey breast as they use real turkey instead of processed turkey rolls loaded with preservatives.


Lower Calorie Alternative: Take portabella mushrooms and slice them into ½ inch slices and apply the same marinade as the turkey breast.  Bake it in the oven and substitute that as your meat.  Portabella mushrooms   are very low in calories, loaded with nutrients including protein and have a very meaty flavor and texture.


Condiments

Sabra Hummus Pine Nut Flavor

Sabra Pine Nut Hummus has a delicious creamy nutty flavor that goes perfectly as a mayo substitute in sandwiches.

I don’t like my sandwiches dry so Instead of mayo I use hummus.  Hummus adds great flavor, is healthier than mayo and has less calories than mayo.  I like to use Pine nut hummus as it is mild yet has a delicious nutty flavor.  You can use any flavor you like from plain to garlic to roasted bell pepper, but you just have to watch out as some of flavored hummus may be very strong.


For additional flavoring, I use yellow mustard. Yellow mustard has no sugar, no fat, no carbohydrates, low sodium, and contains vinegar and turmeric which are very healthy for you.


Produce

As for the vegetables I put as many as my sandwich will hold.  I like to load it up with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, avocados, and red bell peppers if I have them and sometimes even raw mushrooms.


Note: Iceberg lettuce  is ok but I like to get more nutrients out of my greens so I usually go for the darker greens loaded with antioxidants like Romaine and Spinach or if you’re feeling daring you can try Kale which is one of the most nutritious greens you can eat but it is a little bitter, with a peppery after taste but after putting on everything else you will barely even taste it.


You can put any combination of vegetables on your sandwich and it makes it taste like a completely different sandwich.


Whats Wrong With Cheese

I love cheese. It gives everything it’s on a nice creamy, smoky, salty flavor, but with that being said; I don’t put cheese on my sandwich. Cheese is 90% fat and one slice will instantly add about 80 calories to your sandwich depending on the type of cheese you add. Also I don’t even really miss the cheese when I add the pine nut hummus as the hummus itself has a salty, nutty flavor very similar to some cheeses, so why add the calories. If you absolutely must have cheese, go for the low-fat cheeses which will only put on an extra 60 calories.  If you don’t like low-fat cheeses you can sprinkle on Feta Cheese which has great flavor and is healthier than its counterpart from cow’s milk.


Conclusion

This sandwich tastes amazing, is under 450 calories (depends on cheese or no cheese)  and is perfect for your healthy cheat meal.  If you’re not on a strict macro nutrient diet like I am then this is a perfect daily meal.   It tastes like a decadent turkey sandwich but is loaded with nutrition.  It’s has everything your body needs to run properly and efficiently from lean protein for building muscle, healthy carbohydrates for steady energy, fiber for slower digestion and weight reduction, and heart healthy fats from the hummus, olive oil and avocados.



*I call it a cheat day not because I eat unhealthy for the entire day ,but throughout the week I shoot for a macro nutrient ratio of 40-40-20 consisting of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat and on my cheat day I don’t pay attention to my macro nutrient percentages. Fats and carbohydrates naturally taste good to our bodies so I know on these days the fat % and carbohydrate % go way up yet the majority of my meals that day are still from healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins.