ChaLEAN Extreme Preview

I’m going to be terribly ADHD this month and switch programs mid-month. I just got BeachBody’s ChaLEAN Extreme program (retail price $119.95) yesterday, and given how packed my gym has been this month and how little free time I have, the 30-minute workouts in the package are very appealing to me right now. Despite the admittedly goofy name, the program actually focuses on heavy strength training for 30 minutes three days per week in combination with more cardio-based workout sessions on off days to produce results. It also comes with a nutrition plan with 80+ moderate carb recipes divided into three phases to match with the three month-long workout phases of the program: Burn, Push, and Lean.

ChaLEAN Extreme

Workout preferences for me are kind of cyclical, and at this time I am just not feeling motivated to do 60-minute workouts of any kind. This is killing my motivation to commit to another round of RCR-style circuit workouts, even if they ARE with heavier weights, and it’s also making a full cycle of P90X (which also runs 60 minutes per workout on average) really unappealing. Frankly, I’m unenthusiastic about my workouts this month, committed to a LOT of non-exercise projects and work, and ready to stop thinking so much about things and just go on autopilot for a couple of months. ChaLEAN Extreme looks like it is a step down from P90X in difficulty and intensity, but higher than the Turbo Jam, Hip Hop Abs, and Slim in Six BeachBody products. The lifting tempo appears to be slower than what is used in P90X, and the rep range is 10-12 reps for most exercises. Looking at the calendar, the workout schedule includes 3 strength circuit days, 2 interval style cardio days (one also includes ab work), and 2 rest days per week.

I’m reinstating my lunch break walks at a minimum, with skating on days when I feel the urge and the weather is dry. I’ll start the ChaLEAN Extreme program with the fitness assessment and first Burn phase 1 workout tonight and schedule in the rest of the program in my workout journal. I have to finish reviewing the diet and workout schedule during my lunch break, but hey, I can do that while walking. 😉 If the diet seems reasonable, I will give it a go with some protein source substitutions to keep it more in line with my semi-vegetarian goals for this year.

So here we go with the contents of the ChaLEAN Extreme basic package:

  • 5 Workout DVDs and an instructional DVD to show you proper lifting form with free weights and resistance tubes (in a thin pak folder with an additional empty slot in case you purchase the add-on workout disc)
  • “Muscle Burns Fat™” Guidebook – This is a printed book, not a digital file, and contains an overview of the program, the reasoning behind its design, lots of convincing verbiage about the importance of lifting heavy weights to build muscle which will in turn burn fat, motivating before and after photos of the most dramatic transformations from the program’s test group, workout calendars showing exactly which workouts to perform for the three transformation phases of the program and the ongoing maintenance phase, pages for your progress photos and stats, and exercise descriptions and photos.
  • Fat Burning Food Guide – Another printed book that includes 80+ recipes, the ChaLEAN Extreme three-phase nutrition plan, and lots of pretty pictures of some tasty looking high-protein meals
  • Fat Calipers – These come with an instruction card printed with male and female charts for determining body fat from a single suprailiac skinfold.
  • Thigh Toner Band – Looks like a giant flat rubber band about 6″ wide. I’ve seen similar items sold in the pilates section of Target.
  • Chalene’s Personal Motivational Audio CD – More explanation about how Chalene Johnson came to design this program as she hit her mid-30s and discovered that her body was changing — heavy cardio-style workouts were not enough and building muscle became key to keeping her metabolism fired up. Also includes motivational “You can do it!” messages, a list of behaviors that fit people exhibit, and strategies and tips for getting past roadblocks.
  • “Healthy Eats” and Kitchen Makeover DVD (on the same DVD as the workout instruction videos) – Tips and techniques for cleaning up your eating and kitchen as well as low-key ways to eat on plan at any restaurant.

The DVD folio, Muscle Burns Fat guidebook, and Fat Burning Food Guide all fit into a handy cardboard slipcase to keep everything tidy and in one place.

Additional equipment needed for the workouts is pretty basic: Pairs of 5-30 pound dumbbells for women and 12-40 pound dumbbells for men, or the equivalent in resistance tubing (the kind with handles). I’ll be using my adjustable Powerblock dumbbells, and the folks in the videos appear to be using Bowflex SelectTech adjustable dumbbells. Since the instruction video didn’t show anyone doing pull-ups or chin-ups as they do in P90X, I’m assuming that this program does not integrate those exercises.

I’ll get my starting stats this weekend and post my impressions of the Burn phase of the program as I complete each workout this week.

Red Carpet Ready 6-Week Results and Review

Red Carpet Ready

The RCR Club Experience
I admit that I started celebrity trainer Val Waters‘s Red Carpet Ready program with a healthy dose of skepticism about what it could actually do for me since I’ve been training and eating clean pretty consistently for over 4 years now, but I can’t argue with the numbers below. I have lost 5.4 pounds in 6 weeks (This is very good for me based on past experience, especially given that it is PMS week for me; I am not one of those people who ever averages more than 1 pound a week unless I eat at starvation levels and do over an hour of cardio a day), dropped 2.17% body fat, and reduced my measurements by over 8.25″ (based on Val’s requested measurements) and 11.5″ based on my bonus measurements.

For someone as acclimatized to hard exercise and clean eating as I am–I am a poster child for homeostasis–these were very good results indeed.

Continue reading »

Boingy-Boingy Fun: Rebounderz Planet Jump Review

Rebounderz Planet Jump

Rebounderz Planet Jump, 480 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood, Florida 32750
Phone (407) 499-4797

This last Saturday, my husband and I trekked out to Rebounderz Planet Jump in Longwood, Florida for a friendly game of trampoline dodgeball with about a dozen of our closest (and sportiest) friends. It was Chris’s 34th birthday, and he wanted to do something a bit more creative than the requisite grown-up birthday dinner, barbecue, or surprise party.

Rebounderz is a newly-opened indoor trampoline gym in the Longwood, Florida area. Besides 6,700 square feet of wall-to-wall (literally–the entire perimeter of their custom-built jumping court is lined with trampolines set at a 60 degree angle so you can bounce off of the walls as well as the floor) trampolines, the 11,000 square feet facility features a snack bar, mini-arcade, and TV lounge.

The $10 fee covers helmet and shoe rental plus the first hour of jump time. Additional time can be purchased for $8/hour, but trust me, one hour of jumping is PLENTY for anyone over the age of 5.

Our group arrived around 6 PM on that soggy Saturday evening to find that, contrary to the assurances of their group coordinator that 5-7 PM was their dead time, the entire building was packed with tweens whose parents had decided that dropping their kiddies off at Rebounderz with a dozen or more referees and no way to spend money was preferable to ditching them at the mall unsupervised.

In the end, only about 11 of the 15 or so confirmed group members actually showed up, but we were given the discounted $8/person rate anyway, probably because the place was so busy that it was impossible to keep track of everyone coming in and out. We scooted over to the helmet and shoe rental area with our receipts and were fitted for cute lightweight red and black jump shoes and some decidedly UN-cute padded foam helmets to protect our delicate noggins. While most of the females had no trouble getting the right size of shoe, some of the guys with size 10 or larger feet had to wear their own athletic shoes to jump since the larger sizes were limited. The shoes were sized in youth/men’s numbers, so I wound up in size 6 (I normally wear an 8 in women’s). The helmets were available in 4 sizes.

Update: Jo from Rebounderz has let me know that they just got a shipment of larger size shoes today, so all of you fellows with big feet should be easily accommodated going forward.

Our stylish headgear…

Once we were properly outfitted, we were led to the neon green and blue jumper court and given safety lessons in falling, jumping, and flipping (for those so inclined). When the referees were confident that we wouldn’t injure ourselves or take out any of the half-pints pinging around the room like excited water molecules in a pressure cooker, we were allowed to bounce on our own.

This plyometrics stuff is easy on a trampoline!

Let me tell you–it may look easy, but jumping is hard work! We had a blast bounding around the court and trying out tricks…for about 10 minutes. Then most of us had to have a sit down for a minute or two before jumping back into the fray.

Apparently Rebounderz offers fitness classes during the week. I could definitely see that being a kick ass workout with a lot more novelty than spinning or kickboxing for the jaded workout diva.

By the end of our hour (we never did get to play dodgeball because the court was too crowded), all of us were completely drenched in sweat, exhausted, and more than ready for dinner at TGI Friday’s nearby.

What else could you ask for in a birthday outing?

If you are ever in the Orlando area and want a break from the theme park madness, give Rebounderz a try, with or without the kiddos. It’s just as much fun for grown ups as it is for the under 18 set. And be ready for some major booty DOMS in about 2 days. 😉

Cute Workout Shoe Alert: 25% Off $39.99 Ryka Mary Janes

Update: A NEW 30% off coupon code with no minimum purchase is available from July 24-27! Use code: EMCP8LLK during checkout.

Foot Locker has a 25% off coupon code (EM218LM3)with no minimum purchase requirement that expires tonight at 11:59 PM CT. Best of all, with this magical coupon, you can score one of these insanely cute pairs of Ryka women’s Mary Jane-style trainers for about half the suggested retail price of $59.99.

All of these Ryka shoes are already on sale for $39.99, so the coupon knocks another $10 off the price, which means that you can have ’em for $29.99 + 6.99 s/h + sales tax.

Guess what I’ll be wearing to the gym next week on lifting days? W00t!

Reviews and multi-views of both the Versa and Ramble style Mary Janes can be found at Zappos. Both averaged 5 out of 5 stars from customers.

Ryka Ramble

Ryka Ramble

Description of the Ramble:

  • Stylish enough to go from around town to around the gym.
  • Hook and loop closure provides stability with easy on/off accessibility.
  • Open mesh upper offers breathable comfort.
  • Low Profile EVA midsole offers modern, stylish comfort.
  • Nitracel heel and forfoot cushioning absorbs impact and provides toe spring.
  • 8.00 oz.

Ryka Versa

Ryka Versa

Description of the Versa:

  • Open, lightweight in-gym trainer with fullfoot cushioning and midfoot stability.
  • Textured synthetic upper with mesh accents for lightweight support and detailing.
  • Full forefoot Nitracel Engage® provides superior forefoot cushioning.
  • Rearfoot Cushioning Cartridge for rear stability shock absortion.
  • TPU shank offers midfoot stability.
  • Hook and loop closure strap for easy on/off and an adjustable, snug fit.
  • Shoe weighs 9.4 oz.

Free Digital ReadyMade Magazine; Spring De-cluttering

One of my favorite magazines (indeed, one of the very few for which I am willing to pay), ReadyMade, has just launched its digital edition with the current April/May 2008 issue on “green design.” ReadyMade is a wonderful resource for do-it-yourself aficionados and handy types who prefer to reuse, refashion, repurpose, and rehab their existing belongings in creative, artistic ways rather than throw more money away on mass-produced stuff that millions of other people probably have, too.

I really like the idea of a digital edition from which I can just print out the projects I want to try versus a paper hard copy that will clutter up my house and kill more trees. If they give me the option to convert my current subscription to the digital format, I’ll switch over without any regrets.

Check out the latest issue here, and as a bonus, you also have full access to the five back issues preceding it if you click on the Archives button at the top of the page. Pretty awesome for $0!

I find ReadyMade’s addition of a digital edition particularly timely and fortuitous since I’ve been listening to the audio book version of Clean Sweep organization expert Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff and was already feeling somewhat conflicted about Walsh’s advice to keep only the three most recent issues of any given magazine title in the house and tossing the rest. I have no problems doing this with my lower priority freebie magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, Kiplinger’s, Pink, and Games for Windows, but I still own every single copy of Cooking Light, ReadyMade and Oxygen that I have ever received. The Cooking Light subscription was a one year gift from my sister and has expired, which conveniently removes the onus of figuring out what to do from my plate, but I have over 17 issues left on the Oxygen and an unknown amount of time left on ReadyMade. I’ve decided to take his compromise route and scan to PDF format all of the recipes and workouts that pique my interest from my backlog and forthcoming issues of Cooking Light and Oxygen and to donate the rest via Freecycle. Yes, photos of the fitness models in Oxygen are indeed inspirational, but really, do I truly need more than a few clipped out pictures on the fridge or digital photos on my Treo to keep me motivated? It’s not like muscles and 12% body fat in a bikini look all that different from model to model, you know?

As for the ReadyMades…I am not ready to give up my mini-library of old issues, but at least the magazine only comes out once every two months and WILL have the paperless option now.

While Chris and I are too new in our home and our lives together to have acquired the sort of epic clutter and overwhelming heaps of crap that Walsh’s clients seem to possess, I am fully aware that I have the Asian compulsion to hoard both culturally AND genetically embedded in my psyche, ready to burst out like a parasitic alien monster at the first sign of significant economic upheaval or my 40th birthday, whichever comes first. My mom can’t bring herself to toss any clothes, shoes, or financial papers no matter how old, ill-fitting, or out of fashion, and my dad compulsively buys cheap garage sale and thrift store books that he’ll never read, baseball caps that he will never wear, and random knick knacks and decorative shelf ornaments better suited to the doily-making taste of a geriatric WASP granny than the gym-going, gardening-fanatic, social butterfly and uber-chef that I’ve come to know as my father over the years. They still have broken, 20+ year-old electronics lying around, as well as trophies, certificates, plaques, clunky ceramics projects, childrens’ books, text books, and clothing from my and my sister’s school years. When new stuff comes in, old stuff rarely leaves to make room.

I cringe with guilt every time I think about all the forgotten junk I’ve left in their house over the years throughout my many moves through higher education and military service. Every time I came home for the summer during my college years or took leave between duty stations, I left behind a few more items to keep company with the accumulated possessions of the first 18 years of my life at home. It was never much at one time, but when taken as a whole, my aggregated belongings probably take up at least half of an unfurnished room at my parents’ house.

After listening to Walsh’s chiding, Australian-accented voice for the past few days, I am determined to nip my neophyte hoarding impulses in the bud AND make some serious headway into de-cluttering and organizing my own home. Even more importantly, I am finally going to go to Mom and Dad’s house and aggressively toss out, donate, and/or garage sale off anything that belonged to me and is clearly not serving anyone any purpose NOW. This includes my five long boxes of comic books from the late 80s-early 90s, my old clothes and shoes, all of the long-outdated computer books and text books, the useless spelling bee trophies, the stuffed animals, the random school papers (even the ones with the A+ grades and ego-boosting teacher comments), and any other flotsam that has been left behind. Mom and Dad do have a hoarding problem, but I don’t have to add to it. Maybe my purge will even inspire them to do some editing of their own items.

And if, during my purely altruistic and virtuous crusade to remove my unwanted junk from their house, I should happen to run across the long-lost stash of vintage 1980s and early 1990s clothing patterns that my sister and I left at the house, well, that would just be a nifty bonus.

Review: Is P90X Right For YOU? (Requirements and Overview)

P90X parent company Beachbody must be spamming the heck out of the TV infomercial channels this month, because I keep getting emails from readers asking if P90X is right for them based on my run with the program a few years ago.

To cut down on the amount of copying and pasting I have to do, I’m going to post my responses here for the edification of all future P90X Googlers. 😉

If you haven’t been working out too much in recent years, particularly with heavy weights, you should definitely try out the P90X fitness test first before you buy the P90X program.

P90X is designed for men and women who are already at goal weight (or at least within a few pounds of it) and in very good physical condition with no major physical limitations or chronic injuries who just want to get leaner and become even more fit. It will increase your strength, flexibility, and muscular endurance and probably decrease your body fat as a byproduct of increasing your fitness, but it was not designed specifically as a fat loss program. In general, it’s not for those who have more than 15 lbs to lose, those who have been completely sedentary for more than 6 months, or those who have only done cardio and yoga and only want to tone up. It’s a hardcore home boot camp system, and while there are a few modified movements shown to decrease difficulty, there is NO beginner ramp up included to get you from 100% sedentary up to the recommended P90X starting state.

The program is pretty strenuous, especially the Chest & Back (almost 100% pullups and pushups), Plyometrics X, and the Legs & Back workouts. If your fitness level — strength *and* endurance — isn’t pretty decent already, you won’t be getting your time or money’s worth out of the program. You also won’t look like one of their 90 day “After” photos in 12 weeks, because if you look closely, most of those guys and gals were already close to goal weight or UNDER it, had decent cardiovascular endurance, and had completed at least one round of Power 90, Beachbody’s beginner/intermediate program, or the equivalent. They weren’t using the program to get into shape from a couch potato starting point; they were using it to build even MORE muscle mass onto already-fit bodies and to burn off the last 5% or so of body fat obscuring their existing muscles.

Don’t believe me? Check out Beachbody president Jon Congdon’s photos and stats here. Notice that he already had decent-sized arms, deltoids, and pectoral muscles in his Before photo, and the beginnings of abdominal definition in his obliques. He was already fit, but slightly soft with a little bit of subcutaneous fat. He was not obese or out of shape, and neither were any of the other success stories used in the infomercials or web site.

BeforeAfter

P90X refines and improves a fit but still slightly fluffy physique in 90 days into a lean and ripped physique, but if you are carrying more than 10-20 lbs of extra flab, your results will not be as dramatic, especially if you follow the calorie recommendations from their meal plan which is geared more towards maintenance of current body weight than fat loss. As with any workout and nutrition regimen, the results you get will depend completely on your intensity and consistency in your workouts, and in your compliance and consistency in the kitchen.

My husband, for example, completed a round of P90X Classic last fall with about 85% compliance to the workout schedule but without following the meal plan. As a result, he lost about five pounds of scale weight, lost inches in his waist, gained some in his arms, shoulders, and chest, and dropped about 3% body fat, but definitely did not achieve dramatic “After” photo results. He was already at a good scale weight at 155 lbs and 15% body fat (he’s 5’8″) when he started, but he had never lifted weights in his life more than once or twice, and had very little upper body muscle development as a result. This made the upper body days pretty challenging for him. (In other words, I could do more push-ups than he could, and we pressed and curled similar weights.) The program added muscle mass to his physique, but not huge amounts of it. In my objective opinion, all of the males in the P90X infomercial started out with more lean mass than my DH did.

Download and take a look at the workout log sheets and try to do one of the workouts as a sample. I recommend the Chest/Back workout. Each exercise is performed for about 30 seconds. If you can only do 25-33% of the reps (or under 10 full pushups) for each exercise, you should probably look at trying the Power 90 program or something more like Body for Life or Turbulence Training for 12 weeks first to get your weight down and your fitness level up.

You can also get up to speed and drop a few pounds first using some of the free at-home workout plans I posted here:

Fitness on a Budget Part 2: DIY, Nearly Free, No Gym Required Workout Plans

If your fitness level is good despite having more than 20 pounds left to lose – i.e. You could probably run 2 miles in under 18 minutes without walking, you regularly lift some heavy weights at home or at the gym, you can do 30 pushups without pause if you are male or 15 pushups if you are female (The official P90X readiness test posts numbers lower than this, but in my experience, a woman who can only do 3 real push-ups from her toes before face-planting in the carpet will not be able to do enough reps on Chest and Back day to get much of a transformation), and/or you have completed the equivalent of one 12-week Body for Life challenge – then you might still get some good results with P90X even if you have to modify some of the moves. You should also be injury-free.

The only caveats if you are in the “heavier than recommended” category when starting the program are that:

a) Your results may not be as dramatic because you will likely have to modify the moves or do fewer reps until your fitness level and scale weight are more optimal.
b) You will probably have to do more than one round of the program to reach goal.
c) You may get seriously bored doing the same workouts over and over for more than 90 days.
d) If you want to lose weight on the program, you will probably have to reduce the number of calories recommended by the meal plan.

P90X Ready

(Go ahead and start the program)

Extra Conditioning Needed

(Complete 12 weeks of Power 90, Body for Life, or Turbulence Training
for Fat Loss first)

  • Self-motivated (can workout consistently alone)
  • Within 20 pounds of ideal weight
  • Have been exercising regularly (strength training with heavy weights
    and performing regular cardiovascular training) for at least 3 months
  • Healthy and injury-free
  • Minimum 3 pull-ups for males; 1 pull-up for females
  • Minimum 5 inch vertical leap (male); 3 inch vertical leap (female)
  • Minimum 15 push-ups (male) or 3 push-ups (female; or 15 with knees
    down, though this is SOOOO lame)
  • Minimum 1 minute hold on a bodyweight wall squat
  • Minimum 10 dumbbell bicep curls at 20 lbs (male) or 8 lbs (female)
  • 2 minutes of jumping jacks, with the final 30 seconds performed as
    fast as possible
  • 20+ pounds over ideal weight
  • Have not exercised regularly in over 3 months
  • Have physical limitations, injuries, or chronic conditions which may
    be made worse by high-impact activity or fast-tempo weight lifting or
    pull-ups
  • Cannot make the minimum scores on the P90X Fitness Test

I won’t discourage you if you are completely gung ho about buying and trying P90X, but please try to be realistic about your current physical condition, your actual fitness level today (NOT how fit you were in your prime as a college athlete 10 years ago), and the very real possibility of injuring yourself performing some of the exercises in the program (Pull-ups and plyometric jumping are rough on your joints) if you have been out of the exercise saddle for a while and are deconditioned. If you have any orthopedic knee, back, or other medical conditions that would make fast-tempo lifting with challenging weights or high-impact jumping questionable, please check with your physician first before starting this program. I know that all workout DVDs say this, but in the case of P90X, this warning should be taken seriously. I was in fantastic shape after almost a year of BFL-style workouts with heavy weights and hard interval cardio when I did P90X, and I still managed to screw up my left elbow and wrist for several months between the (too) fast lifting and the large number of pull ups and chins required in the workouts.

With all that said, I DO like the P90X system and had very good results on it (starting from a pretty high level of fitness and sub-20% body fat, however). It’s physically challenging, not too boring for three months, and comes with a decent nutrition plan complete with recipes to help you succeed. If you are in good shape already and want a home workout system that uses minimal equipment but still kicks your butt daily, you can’t do much better than P90X.

True Protein Whey Isolate Powder Review (Premium Lemonade Flavor)

Basics:

Product – Whey Isolate Cold Filtration – Premium Old-Fashioned Lemonade flavor

Mixability – Very high. I just dropped the powder into cold water and it instantly started to dissolve with no lumps. After a few shakes in my shaker cup, the mixture was completely smooth with an opaque, creamy yellow color and a consistency similar to ready-to-drink chocolate milk: not super thick and sludgy, but not watery either.

Taste – Very sweet with a slightly bitter undertone beneath the lemon flavor. Think lemon drop hard candies ground up and mixed with protein powder. People who like lemon would probably find the flavor pretty innocuous.

Uses – Might make a decent additive in a protein enriched lemon meringue pie, a lemon smoothie, or lemon protein pops with SF vanilla pudding mix. Might also make for an interesting PWO protein cookie.

Maggie’s Supplement Sensitivity Factors:

Migraine – High. I feel a spike of the usual “OMG! Artificial flavoring alert!” headache reaction shoot behind my eyes every time I take a sip, so I do not recommend this flavor if you have sensitivity to artificial flavorings like I do.

Nausea – Medium. The combination of lemon flavor and high sweetness with the dairy/whey base make this one pretty hard for me to stomach without feeling slightly nauseous.

Bloating – None. Might be due to the fact that this is an isolate instead of a concentrate.

True Protein Gemma Protein Isolate Review (Vegetarian Protein Powder)

My True Protein order arrived today in a big cube of cardboard. I opened the box to find my vegetarian protein powder order (1 lb. citrus lime-ade gemma isolate, 1 lb. French vanilla cream gemma isolate, 2 lbs. Dutch chocolate soy isolate, and the premium flavor sampler of a dozen single serving whey isolate packets) wrapped up in a big translucent plastic bag. The 1 lb. and 2 lb. powders were shipped in heavy-duty food-grade plastic bags sealed with black zip ties and labeled with printed stickers describing the contents. The individual samples were stored in small ziploc baggies marked with a Sharpie marker. There was an option to have the powders shipped in plastic tubs, but I opted for the bags because I didn’t want any more giant plastic canisters cluttering up my cabinets.

True Protein order

I just poured my new protein powders from their somewhat ghetto-looking bags into some old empty protein powder canisters I hoarded for just this situation and tasted some of the dry gemma pea protein isolate in the citrus lime-ade flavor. I was pleasantly surprised. The texture is a lot more like cornstarch than whey protein–very fine grained and sort of clingy. The flavor was light and pleasant without being cloying. There is a distinctively beanie flavor to the protein that reminds me a bit of soy and/or Asian red bean paste, but I actually prefer it to the nauseating, sour milk aftertaste of whey.

I decided to go ahead and bake a batch of my much-missed granola choco chip protein cookies with the French vanilla cream gemma isolate. It turns out that the pea protein does not reduce and turn into super sticky paste like whey does when mixed with a liquid like the 1/2 cup of SF maple syrup used in the recipe. Instead, it absorbed all of the fluid and stayed sort of fluffy. I had to add another 1/2 cup of water to get the mixture to stick together, and I opted to use a muffin tin instead of just pressing 12 big cookie-sized patties onto a baking sheet because the mix just wasn’t sticky enough on its own. This gave me twelve 1″ thick rounds that I baked for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I just tried half a granola biscuit and WOW. Even BETTER than the original version using whey protein powder! This flat out tastes like a Chinese bean paste dessert with melted chocolate and nutty grainy things embedded in it. No sweetener aftertaste, no funky whey protein flavor, no bloating/gas from dairy, no migraine from mysterious additives, and no gunky whey paste stuck between my teeth or threatening to pull off my expensive porcelain crowns!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

More tomorrow when I make my first shake/smoothies from the citrus lime-ade gemma isolate and Dutch chocolate soy isolate powders. If the others are as good as the French vanilla cream, I’m never buying whey again.

==================================================================

UPDATE: I made my first gemma protein + fruit smoothie this morning using the following:

– 1 scoop French vanilla cream gemma isolate powder
– 1/2 c. frozen strawberries
– 1 c. water
– 2/3 c. ice

I blended the whole thing on the ice crush setting on my blender until it looked smooth. The powder mixed pretty well with no clumps, but there is still a slightly powdery mouth feel to the drink.

Basics:

Product – Gemma Protein Isolate – French vanilla cream

Mixability – Very high with a blender. Slightly powdery mouth feel–not granular.

Taste – Very sweet. No additional sweetener was needed. I actually think that the addition of something tangy would improve the mix. It DEFINITELY tastes like sweetened Chinese bean paste, which I like, but some of you may not. If you’ve ever had a Chinese moon cake before or a steamed bun filled with sweet red bean paste, it is reminiscent of that.

Uses – Great in protein bar and cookie recipes due to it’s fluffier texture compared to whey. Might also make a great healthy version of the steamed roll filled with bean paste or a good base for a post-workout “boba/bubble tea” drink with tapioca pearls as the fast carb.

Maggie’s Supplement Sensitivity Factors:

Migraine – None to low. I find the sweetness level a bit high, which sometimes has a way of setting off a headache, but so far I haven’t noticed any signs of a migraine.

Nausea – None to low. I LIKE the taste of sweetened bean paste, so I rather enjoy the distinctive flavor of this protein powder. No gag reflex yet!

Bloating – None.

Allergic Reactions – None observed yet.