Have you checked out my dear friend Heather’s Meatless Monday A-Z project? If not, you’ve been missing out?
I will admit this: I have been a big fat slacker when it comes to creating recipes for this initiative. I think her idea to have a different ingredient beginning with each letter of the alphabet for recipes to be based around is wonderful, but I rarely got my act together enough to work on my own to contribute.
When I saw the ingredient for the letter “x” was xanthan gum, I knew it was something I could easily participate with. I hesitate to even call what I’m sharing below a recipe, since it’s more of a collection of tips and information. Regardless of that, here it is!
I’ve had xanthan gum on hand at all times for a while now. I think the first time I became aware of using “gums” as thickeners for smoothies was while reading this post on Deb’s blog a few years ago. As you can see from Deb’s post, guar gum can also serve as a wonderful thickener (and I often combine the two). I’m not going to repeat all of the information that Deb shared about both gums, but I can tell you that it’s definitely worth checking out!
Xanthan gum can be a little bit pricey, but if you buy a whole bag of it, it will probably last you a few years! I prefer to buy small amounts at a time from the bulk section of the my local organic grocery store. (I keep it stored in the freezer.)
You only need a tiny bit of xanthan gum to thicken a smoothie- and you really have to be careful not to add too much. If you go overboard, there’s really nothing you can do to save it. I use xanthan gum in almost every smoothie I make- which is why I often eat them with a spoon!
Last week, a friend of mine gave me this protein powder that she had bought from Wegmans and didn’t care for.
I never buy whey protein powder, because I have a preference for plant-based, but I thought I’d give this a shot anyway. And, it actually tasted pretty good! Many types of whey protein powder just taste overly sweet or artificial to me, but this was not the case here. Ever since I got this powder, I decided to change up my nutrition a bit in the morning.
I’ll admit it- I have a horrible habit when it comes to eating after I exercise. Sometimes I wait as long as two hours until I eat after my morning workout. I know that’s not good, but I’ve just gotten in the habit of waiting until I shower and get everything ready for the day until I tackle breakfast. Plus, I’m often done my workouts by 7:00 am and am not ready to eat a big meal that early (and I try to make breakfast my highest calorie meal of the day). I don’t know why this idea never came to me before, but I decided to start making a small protein smoothie/shake directly after a workout and then have a smaller breakfast an hour or two later. Consuming a combination of protein + carb directly after exercise helps repair/re-build muscle tissue and restores glycogen, which is obviously beneficial! Shame on me for knowing this for so long and ignoring it in my own routine, especially considering what I do for a living!
I’ve decided to change my habits and have been enjoying this post-workout smoothie for the last week:
If you just combined all of the ingredients listed below without the xantham gum, the consistency would turn out completely differently (and not in a good way). Rather than being icy and chunky, it’s thick and smooth and dreamy.
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 of a small frozen banana
1 scoop protein powder of choice
1/8 tsp (or a tiny bit more) xanthan gum
3/4 c water
large handful of ice
Add liquid to blender first, then add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
It’s pretty easy to throw this together after I get home from the gym, because it literally takes two minutes. And I can drink it in two minutes as well.
Check out Laura’s post about xanthan gum yesterday- she created a much more creative recipe than me.
ONE more order of business: the winner of the Valentine’s KIND giveaway is:
Congrats Rob! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name/address!
Have a terrific Tuesday!
Do you use xanthan gum? What’s your favorite post-workout recovery fuel?