Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes

Toronto is a sweltering 43 today! The only places I want to go are wear swimwear is acceptable attire, or something frozen and delicious is promised at the end. I can't complain too much though I suppose, it's better than all the rain and Junevember that the Wet Coast is having.

This morning I decided to go all out and make pancakes. Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes, to be precise. Protein pancakes are a tricky thing as a vegan it seems, they're not fond of sticking together. I think I've somewhat mastered the secret now though, and these were amazing with a little maple syrup and a lot of blueberries!

Building muscle as a vegan is always a topic of interest to me, and building muscle on a plant based diet definitely has it's advantages. After a weight training session, muscles are broken down, which causes them to become inflamed. With whey based proteins, this will exacerbate inflammation. This causes gains in size, but also decreases functionality of the muscle. Which is a problem if you're trying to lift heavier to get stronger. More time will also be required between training sessions. Since frequency and intensity are pillars of gaining muscle, inflammation can inhibit progress.

In replacement of acid forming foods post workout, plant based foods can help keep inflammation at a minimum. Hemp, Soy, Rice and Pea Proteins are all good sources, and plants can help provide the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids(EFA's), enzymes, and antioxidants required. Post workout meals/smoothies that deliver these in addition to protein yield greater results.

While a plant based diet won't make you a better athlete, it will allow you to train harder, for longer, which WILL make you a better athlete. After a workout your body needs high quality protein to help it rebuild the tissues, and these pancakes can be a great way to deliver that!

I've tried a couple vegan proteins, and here's a couple of my favorites:

Vega Performance Protein

Sunwarrior Protein Powder

Perfect Fit Protein

Vega is my all time favorite, high raw, organic, and made by a fellow Vancouverite! Chocolate is my favorite, I haven't tried any other flavours since I'm too enamoured with it. With 26g protein and 120 calories a scoop, and no added sugars, it fits my nutritional profile as well. It also has BCCA's and L-Glutamine in it which helps with muscle recovery and repair.

Sunwarrior is an all raw brown rice protein powder, and is sweetened with stevia. In one serving it has 80 calories and 16 grams of protein. It tastes great, but can be a bit on the pricier side. It comes in a large bag though, which should last awhile!

Perfect Fit is an amazing tasting vanilla flavoured brown rice protein. Made by the Tone It Up girls, it's raw, organic, and comes in handy 'to-go' packets for travelling ease. It also dissolves in water quite well, so it's easy to just toss into a water bottle. It has almost a caramelly flavour to me. With 70 calories and 15grams of protein per packet, it's great for drinking alone or using in recipes!

Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes

1 scoop chocolate protein powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons psyllium husk
1 mashed banana
1 cup almond milk
packet of stevia
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes, mixture will thicken up. In a non-stick pan on medium/low heat, dollop a large spoonful of batter, spread out to form a circle. Allow to cook til it looks like the top is darker/cooked, carefully flip over and allow to cook for a few more minutes. The pancakes will be delicate, but will firm up upon cooling. Serve with fruit and maple syrup!

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