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FUEL Like a Pro: Is this the Best Protein Shake in the World?

The Best Protein Shake in the World, by FUEL Endurance Sports Magazines

Yes it is. Here's why, and how you can make it yourself.

A long, long time ago, when I was a young triathlete and all I had to think about was training, racing, beer, and girls, we used to drink protein shakes made with protein powder in place of regular meals.

We did this thinking:

(a) we needed the protein;

(b) it would keep us lean and therefore lighter;

(c) we thought it was cheaper than eating real food; and

(d) protein powder must be better than real food, since it's just concentrated protein from real food.

Boy Were We Wrong.

Wrong on almost all fronts. We didn't really need the extra protein - we weren't body builders trying to add massive amounts of muscle. We failed to understand that there is only so much protein we could process before our bodies started using the excess to make and store fat - which meant it didn't help much keeping us lean and light, either.

It also turns out that protein powder is a hell of a lot more expensive than whole food, which was as true then as it is now.

And, in the innocence of youth, we didn't know that most protein powders are more marketing than good food - many were complete garbage, made with crap ingredients, processed in ways that make the protein content substantially unusable by the body, and filled with all kinds of chemicals that might do who knows what over the course of decades.

Their biggest real benefit was to make money for those that sold them.

And We're Still Wrong

That was back in the early 90's - so it was a very long time ago. Somehow, though, the idea that athletes need a ton of protein has persisted, even though we now know that excess protein is not only converted easily into body fat, but that it can be quite harmful, especially to the kidneys.

And yet, the protein supplement industry is not only growing each year, it's thriving like never before.

A Better Approach to Protein Consumption

The FUEL Nutrition System is built on the philosophy that supplements are, for the most part, wholly unnecessary. We teach that natural, whole foods can supply just about all the nutrition even the hardest-training athlete needs.

There is, however, a place for protein shakes - actually, meal replacement shakes - in the System.

That's because they're quite handy. They can save you a lot of time, require almost no prep or cleanup time, and are fairly transportable.

They're also quite nutritionally sound, when made with quality ingredients.

If you use a high-quality meal replacement, or better, use the recipe below, you'll get a solid, decently-balanced dose of protein, good fats, fiber, and high-octane complex carbs for fuel.

That increases your odds of getting enough good stuff in to promote healing and recovery from hard training each day. And that’s a very good thing if you want to train hard and get as much benefit from your training as possible.

Check out the stats on the nutrition summary on our shake, below - so much goodness in such an easy meal.

Another Reason to Avoid the Powders

Protein supplements are expensive – for the more expensive ones, they can be almost five times the cost-per-calorie as what you can do with whole foods. Even the cheapest stuff is twice as expensive as our solution.

The biggest benefit of powders is that they're super-easy to use and transport, so they're the easiest way to get a quick meal on the go. You pay a steep price for that, though.

You can avoid that price with just a little prior planning. So, here's our solution to the protein shake problem.

Egg Whites - Nature's Perfect Protein Shake

Our shake recipe uses egg white as its protein source - which turns out to be one of the most bio-available sources of protein on the planet. That is, as long as it's pasteurized.

Raw egg whites' protein peptide bonds are quite difficult for digestive enzymes to break down. Heating, even the gentle heating of pasteurization, takes egg white protein from as low as 55% bio-availability to upwards of 94% - a huge gain in digestibility and absorption. So, don't use raw egg whites. You're wasting almost half the food when you do.

Another benefit of using egg whites - it turns out they make a very nice shake! When you blend whites they liquefy, eliminating any weird sliminess that you might expect from egg whites. The other ingredients blend in to make a very smooth, rich shake that has a nice, clean mouth feel.

I get a lot of push-back when I try to get some people to try this recipe, because they’re afraid the egg whites will be gross. It’s also (understandably) hard to imagine how anything with broccoli and blueberries could possibly taste good.

But it does taste really good. You’ll have to try it for yourself to verify that these shakes are actually quite delicious. And, you really won’t be able to tell the egg whites are in there, I promise!

The Recipe

The recipe below is for a basic meal replacement-type shake. You can add or switch out whatever you like to this basic recipe - we'll suggest some good stuff at the end of the article.

The Basic FUEL Power Protein Meal Replacement Shake


  • 3/4 cup (about 4 servings, or 1/3 carton) pasteurized Egg Whites

  • 1/4 cup raw organic Oatmeal (I just throw in a handful of dry oats, you don't have to be really precise)

  • 2 tablespoons raw Flax Seeds

  • 1 cup organic frozen Wild Blueberries

  • 1 cup organic frozen Broccoli

  • 1 cup Organic frozen Spinach

  • 1 Medium Banana (6")

  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Cinnamon (depending on taste)

  • 1 teaspoon raw Honey (optional, I don't need it but some like it sweet)

  • Some fresh Mint Leaves (also optional, but it helps to cover up the broccoli flavor if it’s too strong for you)

  • 1/4 teaspoon, or a cap-full, Vanilla Extract (optional, sometimes I like it more, sometimes less)

  • About 8 ounces (1/2 cup) filtered Water

Directions: Combine all ingredients in your Vitamix or blender. Blend until the oats and flax seeds are completely blended in. Flax seeds in particular need to be broken down well – they won’t digest otherwise. You may have to push down the frozen ingredients to get them to mix – you can add a little more water if you like to help your blender mix everything.

Macronutrient Breakdown

(% Carb/Fat/Protein): 56/17/27

Things You Can Add

Greek yogurt works really well to make this even more creamy and delicious, if you can tolerate the dairy. Instead of the frozen blueberries, try any other frozen fruit - Costco has organic frozen cherries that are incredible (and affordable), as well as pineapple, pears and peaches.

You can use any green you like to replace the spinach - to either change the flavor or the nutrient content.

If you want to reduce the calories a bit, use just a half a banana and use Stevia instead of honey. You can also reduce the oats by half if you want fewer carbs, or just eliminate them all together if you're having some other starchy carb with your meal.

You can substitute other good fats for the flax seeds - try hemp hearts. They're packed full of nutrition, taste great in a shake (they're pretty subtle, in fact), and add an additional dose of protein if you need more than this shake already has. Any other seeds or nuts will do well too. Peanut butter is also crazy good in this.

Or, you can eliminate the fats all together to bring the calories way down – the flax seeds by themselves are 118 calories. Just beware not getting enough good fat in your diet. Later in the day, make up for taking it out here if you need to.

At more than 500 calories, you can divide this into two small meals over the course of 5 or 6 hours, and get super-high nutrition for very little caloric intake if you’re trying to drive fat burn.

Either way, if you down just one of these per day, you’ll go a long way toward ensuring you’re getting maximal nutrition every day, whatever the rest of your daily diet looks like.

That shouldn’t be too hard to do. These are easy to make, fast, store well (even overnight), and they taste a lot better than you would think, given the somewhat unusual (kind of weird, even, I admit) combination of foods.

Eat one or two of these a day, and I guarantee a noticeable improvement in your training, recovery, and general well-being. They'll set ya free!

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