115: Good, Bad, Yummy: BCAAs, MCT Chocolate Nut Butter Cups
This Week’s the GOOD, the BAD & the YUMMY!
Welcome to the weekly feature where I share one thing that I’m loving, one thing I’m not, and one simple, SUPER easy, clean-eating recipe.
This week’s PODCAST REPLAY recommendation is episode 042 with Sheila Viers on binge eating, “not enough-ness” and overthinking it all!
the GOOD: Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs – Branch Chain Amino Acids – read about how they work to reduce cravings by decreasing your appetite, keeping your blood sugar steady, and reducing cortisol levels here. You can click on the below brands that I like:
According to Metabolic Effect: The branched chain amino acids (BCAA) may have special utilization in weight loss programs combining exercise with diet. BCAA supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass (4,12), decrease hunger (13), regulate blood sugar (10,14), attenuate the stress hormone response of exercise (7), and may increase exercise capacity (4,11) and fat-burning (11) directly. [See the studies referenced here]. For what it’s worth, Men’s Fitness Magazine agrees.
the BAD: BCAAs
Wait, what? Yes, it’s BCAAs again. Because the jury is still out on this one, and I feel like you should have ALL of the info. Here’s an argument against putting so much into BCAAs…they’re not, of course, magic. Here’s what other experts say you need to know:
- “BCAAs can be useful if, for some reason, you opt for a low protein diet [and thus a diet low in amino acids]. And they can sometime also be useful if you train fasted in the morning. Otherwise, there is no reason to waste your money on them.” – Syatt Fitness
- Research commonly cited that demonstrates muscle-related benefits of BCAA supplementation was done with subjects that didn’t eat enough protein. – Muscle for Life
- “Truth is, you can get all the benefits of BCAA’s from simply eating enough protein throughout the day. I know it’s not fancy…but it’s true. So not only will you get *better* results eating whole foods, you’ll also save a boat load of cash.” – Syatt Fitness
- The body obtains branched-chain amino acids from proteins found in food, especially meat, dairy products, legumes, eggs and (organic, non-GMO) soy. “A balanced diet with adequate protein provides enough BCAAs, even for the strenuous exerciser,” Sarah Currie, RD
- Eggs are cheaper and better for you: One large whole egg contains 6.28 grams of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lycine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Of the four nonessential amino acids, eggs have alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid.
- Bee pollen! Bee Pollen has more amino acids than beef, eggs or cheese (per gram).
- Other Food Sources of Essential Amino Acids:
- Isolucine: seeds and soya beans, egg, meat, fish, lentils, almonds and cashews
- Lucine: fish, pulses, lentils
- Lysine: potatoes, yeast, beans, meat, soy products, cheese, fish, eggs
- Methionine: yogurt, lentils, meat, beans, dairy products, eggs, onion, garlic, fish
- Phenylalanine: sesame seeds, tahini, nuts and beans, almonds, soy, cheese
- Thrionine: salmons, sardines, tuna fish, brown rice, beef, soy, liver, peanuts
- Tryptophan: soy products, brown rice, cheese and cottage cheese, meat and beef
- Valine: milk, cheese, mushrooms, grains, peanuts, soy
- Histidine : wheat, brown rice, rye
- Tyrosine: pumpkin seeds, oats, wheat, avocados, bananas and eggs, salmon, tuna fish, meat, chicken, milk and yogurt, broccoli
Whole foods for the win every time. But, if you are a good candidate for BCAA supplementation, make sure they’re from a reliable company, free of junk ingredients like artificial sweeteners and flavorings….AND pay attention to how you feel while taking them. If you see and feel that they’re making a difference, go for it!
the YUMMY: MCT Oil Chocolate & Nut Butter Cups
Amazing! This recipe was submitted by one of our very own, Brieanne R.! Brieanne – you are a freaking genius 🙂
- 1/2 cup MCT oil or melted coconut oil
- Two scoops of your favorite chocolate protein powder
- Nut butter of choice
- 2 full droppers of liquid Stevia (more or less depending on how sweet your protein powder is)
- 1/4 cup organic cocoa powder or you can use Craving Cocoa if you have it
- Whisk ingredients (except nut butter) with a fork until smooth and pour most of it into a mini-muffin pan, about 1 tablespoon per space
- Then, scoop out a quarter to a 1/2 a teaspoon and plop your favorite nut butter and on top of each one
- Cover remaining MCT oil mixture on top so that the peanut butter is covered
- Sprinkle Himalayan salt on top and place in freezer
- After completely frozen, use a butter knife to shimmy out that wonderful deliciousness and place in a bag in freezer and enjoy!
- Try not to eat all of them in one sitting. Future you would be sad.
What do you think about this week’s topics? Please share your feedback with me.
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