I'm a sucker for puddings and chocolate pudding with milk was probably one of the main contributors for my fatassitude when growing up. I could eat it all day. Still can. But it's not a great strategy for maintaining low body fat.
Fortunately, it's easy to make puddings with the right protein powder. You don't need to be a genius to understand that the main benefit of protein pudding vs regular pudding is far greater satiety and superior macronutrient profile. It's an awesome way to increase your protein intake if you're not into consuming pounds of meat on a daily basis. Requires minimal preparation, which is a plus if you're pressed for time. In my search for the best pudding-friendly protein powder, I went through several brands to find the best ones. Only a few made the cut.
Yes... I've been working my way through tub after tub looking for that perfect protein pudding powder.
Protein pudding basics
Should be a casein powder. Some milk protein isolates also work. Whey doesn't work at all. Mix powder and water (or milk) in a 1:1.25-1.5 ratio, meaning for each scoop of powder you take 1.25-1.5 scoops of water. Less water (i.e. 1.25) yields a thicker pudding and more water (i.e. 1.5) a smoother pudding. Put the bowl with the mixture the in fridge or freezer for 30 min to 2 hours depending on amount. If you put it in the freezer, it'll turn into an ice cream like concoction. This is the way I prefer to eat it.
You can add extras to the mixture: try berries, banana, raisins or cottage cheese, for example. Almonds are pretty awesome as well. Whipping cream on top tastes absolutely amazing on chocolate flavored puddings. After this I never want to hear about someone having trouble getting enough protein because this is so awesome you can eat it like candy.
Protein pudding is diet friendly as well and for extra satiety you can add some psyllium husk or xanthan gum to the mixture (careful with the amount or it won't taste very good).
Best brands for protein pudding
These are the cream of the crop if you want to make the best tasting protein puddings, ranked in order of preference.
Micellar Creme from Syntrax is absolutely amazing. By far the best tasting casein I've tried. Vanilla tastes like vanilla and chocolate like chocolate. Well, everything is relative of course, but I think this is as close to the real deal you can get with protein powders. Taste wise it's almost a tie between chocolate and vanilla but I think prefer chocolate.
Micellar Creme is Leangains certified.
Sloow Protein from Fairing, a domestic brand, is a great alternative to Micellar Creme for Swedes. The flavor you want to go for is Vanilla Ice Cream; very tasty and miles better than chocolate and wild berry (almost everyone I've talked to seem to prefer this flavor). Another very good option for Swedes: Double Pro from Eiselt, a milk protein isolate. Chocolate is by far the best flavor. Order from Svenskt Kosttillskott. Cheapest and fastest in my experience.
100% Casein Protein from Optimum Nutrition is good, especially when you consider the price. Flavor wise, there's a few interesting options. "Cookie dough" tastes surprisingly similar to real cookie dough in an artificial kind of way. Not bad at all. There's two different chocolate flavors but I wasn't too impressed with "Supreme Chocolate". "Creamy Vanilla" was great. I should note that Optimum Nutrition also has a very solid and tasty line of whey protein so if you're looking for that, definitely consider something from ON.
Honorable mention: Daniel Clough from Wannabebig sent me a snack pack a few weeks ago. Among the various supplements I found a little gem in At Large's very tasty protein blend (whey, casein, egg protein) Nitrean.
Unfortunately, Nitrean mixes too damn well to make a good protein pudding. However, if you're looking for a good protein blend to use for shakes, Nitrean is an excellent choice. It works very well for protein fluff as well.
By the way, check out this intermittent fasting article on Wannabebig if you haven't already.
Introducing protein fluff
Now this is some truly great stuff. Only 200 calories, tastes awesome and extremely satiating.
This recipe has been around on Swedish forums for some time. I didn't come up with it myself and I owe it to a guy named Fever for coming up with the original recipe and Andreaz for perfecting it. Andreaz was eating it like crazy on his latest contest prep and it was probably one of the reasons he felt this was his easiest diet ever. Wish I knew about this little gem a few years ago.
This is what you need:
~40 g protein powder. Works with: 100% Casein Protein , Nitrean, Sloow Protein and some whey protein brands (I've tried it with Syntrax Matrix). Unfortunately, I've not been able to make it work with Micellar Creme. Please let me know in comments when you find new brands this works with and I'll add them here.
200 g thawed and mashed berries: strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. Works best with strawberries or raspberries in my experience. Word on the street is it apparently also works with mashed bananas though I haven't tried it yet.
0.5 dl (or 1.7 ounces) skim milk. You can probably use water as well but I think skim milk will get you a better "fluff".
Alternative version: 30 g protein powder, 125 g berries, 1.25 dl (4.25 ounces) water or skim milk.
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Use a mixer on the strongest setting and mix thoroughly for several minutes.
The concoction will expand or "fluff up" to several times its original size. After 8-9 minutes, it'll look like the picture below.
Serve and enjoy as it is or add some extras like cacao or sliced bananas.
It all comes out to about 225 kcal, 36 g protein, 21 g carbs and zero fat. You can also put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes and it'll resemble a creamy kind of sorbet.
If you plan on eating this on a regular basis, getting a standing good mixer with a bowl will be a nice time-saver in the long run. I'm using "Philips HR1565" which is about $80 or so. If you can't get a hold of that one, Sunbeam 2371 Mixmaster Stand Mixer, White seems like a good alternative. It's important that the mixer is strong (350 watts or more) and has a large enough bowl (3 liters or more).
New BCAA recommendation
I've been using Xtend from Scivation for my fasted training sessions ever since stores around here ran out of Purple Wraath a few months ago. Taste and effects wise, it's pretty much a toss-up between Xtend and Wraath. Price wise, Xtend can't be beaten. Flavor wise, Xtend is very agreeable and I prefer "Refreshing Watermelon". Check out the Leangains Guide to find out why you need BCAAs before fasted training sessions.
I've been trying a wide range of pre-workout supplements but I've never found something worth recommending. Some like the extra pump from NO Xplode and similar nitric oxide based supps, I just don't have any use for it.
I was pleasantly surprised by Jack3d. Besides the usual ingredients present in many pre-workout supplements, such as caffeine, creatine, arginine and beta-alanine, it contains 1,3-Dimethylamylamine also known as geranamine. This is a potent stimulant (as far as legal alternatives goes) and this is what provides the oomph in this product.
Apparently Geranamine is used as recreational drug in some circles and banned in a few countries. I wouldn't be surprised if we'll see more countries banning it soon as everything that is mildly effective seems to get a ban sooner or later. Shortly after I wrote the supplements guide, Meltdown and Clenbutrx both got banned in Sweden.
Anyway, being somewhat resistant to stims, I started off with the maximum recommended dosage the first time (three scoops). After 5-10 minutes, I could tell that it was working as I got an intense urge to do the dishes. During training, I didn't notice anything out of the norm besides a somewhat uncomfortable back pump after squatting. After training, I had to wait two hours before my appetite returned. I never have problems eating after training, especially not after fasted training, but the thought of food made me queasy. I also noticed some slightly panicky feelings at that point, the kind where you want to crawl out of your own skin. Nothing serious, but for those sensitive to CNS stimulants or prone to anxiety attacks, I would not recommend starting off with the highest dose like I did.
However, it seems tolerance develops and within a few days I could use the maximum recommended dosage without any side-effects. Unfortunately, the stimulant effect is also lessened.
In my experience, Jack3d is quite effective, but less so for the purpose it's advertised. I see its use mainly as an appetite suppressant or stimulant, much like ephedrine. The mechanism by which Jack3d exerts its effect is also similar to ephedrine in that it increases epinephrine/adrenaline, which in turn boosts lipolysis and leads to that "focused" feeling. Or that urge to do something, anything.
Either way you want to use it, as a pre-workout or motivational boost, or for appetite suppression, Jack3d works, which is why it ends up on my list of recommended, but certainly not essential, list of supplements.
By the way, I haven't found any studies to back the effectiveness of 1,3-dimethylamylamine for fat loss. If anyone knows of any human trials regarding its use for weight loss or improving cognition, alertness, or anything else for that matter, let me know. I always try to find some scientific backing for the supplements I recommend but I'm at a loss for this one.
P.S. I've fallen behind on my blogging schedule but will have another article up this upcoming week. This one will include some weight training and cardio guidelines that you absolutely need to know about.
P.P.S. For more supplement recommendations, check out "Supplements You Might Actually Find Useful".
P.P.P.S. It's pretty awesome that Tim Ferriss follows this site.