If it's been a while since you've been scared – really scared – lock the doors, because we're going to go horror show on you. The Berardi brother's are going to take you on a tour of our small and large intestines, and boy, it's not a sight for the faint-hearted! You'll see ominous roughage, terrifying pieces of half-digested beef jerky, and other things too frightening to discuss. Okay, maybe we'll skip that part, but we'll take you somewhere almost as scary, and that's through our minds and right into the cookbook section. That's right, that small section of our brains where we create and store meal ideas.
It's a dangerous journey, too, because it's wedged right in between the two most important sections (okay, okay, the only two remaining sections); the training/nutrition region and the fitness babe spank region.
Yes, we're going to treat you to just a few of the meal ideas that John and I have come up with over the years. We've been eating like bodybuilders longer than we care to remember, so we've tried just about everything.
If you've ever found yourself thinking that you're really sick of eating the same foods every day, print out this article, go to the kitchen, strap on your apron and "blow the cook" hat, and let's get down to business.
The easiest way to go about making this chili is to spend Sunday afternoon cooking enough for the rest of the week. (You can't go wrong with pre-made meals for the entire week!) First, get yourself one of those empty 5-pound buckets of protein you used to buy before Biotest's Advanced Protein hit the market and then fill it with chili, using the following recipe.
Sure, if you broil up 7 pounds of ground beef, throw in a can or two of stewed tomatoes, some kidney beans, a can or two of tomato paste, and a fistful of chili powder, say the magic words (Long live Beano!) and next thing you know, you've got fourteen quick meals. Spoon about a half pound out in your tupperware in the morning and toss it in the microwave when it's time to eat. That'll cut prep time down to a minimum. You can also do the same thing with chicken and turkey. Let's recap:
7 pounds extra lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey
3 cans red kidney beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
Sure it won't taste as good as Bubba's 5-alarm chili, but then again, you'll have a much better physique than Bubba, bubba!
If you're of the "higher carb" persuasion (as Seinfeld would say "not that there's anything wrong with that!") and you've got some time on your hands, pick up some pasta. The trick though, is to get yourself some protein enriched pasta. Throw in some meatballs made from extra lean ground sirloin, turkey, or John's favorite, ground chicken.
Finally, top it all off with fat-free chunky pasta sauce and you've got yourself a decent, high-protein meal you can eat without attracting all those stupid protein questions from your co-workers or classmates. This meal actually appears, gasp, normal to them. If they only knew! Heck, you could even invite over that T-vixen you've had your eye on and show her your, uh, "manicotti."
If you're really in a time pinch, and you've got no meat or eggs prepared, you could always mix yourself some oatmeal and protein powder. This is a favorite of ours since we're pretty busy T-men. A good quick meal would consist of cooking 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal and 1 cup of water in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Then after it's cooled a bit, add a packet of Grow! (or one of those "other" MRP's) or 2 scoops of Advanced Protein, and maybe some mixed nuts or natural peanut butter (if you don't mind the fat).
Mix slowly so that it gets nice and thick. In fact, if you mix up chocolate protein into the oatmeal and add some crunchy peanut butter, you will swear it's the bodybuilder's version of a Reeses' peanut-butter cup.
This meal is so easy that you can probably store all the ingredients at work so you can whip it up at any time. Just be careful of who you work with, though. For months I was having a problem with getting lean and thought I was getting a mild case of gyno. I finally found out that my diet was being sabotaged. One afternoon, back when Grow! came in tubs, I caught Cy Willson hunched over in the corner of the break room eating my Grow! with a spoon. He looked like an addict. Protein powder was spilling all over his mouth and chin as he rapidly shoveled spoonful after spoonful of the tasty MRP into his mouth. Then he would laugh fiendishly while filling the empty tub with soy protein! Sicko.
The recipe again:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup of water
40 grams of protein powder or MRP
Sweetener (you don't need the sweetener if you use Grow!, though, because its sweeteners won't degrade when you microwave 'em)
1 serving of mixed nuts or 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter
Fish in a Flash
Some people praise technology for speeding up transportation, others for making communication easier. I say, to hell with fast trains or talking to people, I'm hungry and I wanna' eat! Take, for instance the geniuses at Star Kist for putting drained tuna in vacuum sealed pouches. If that doesn't qualify them for a Nobel prize I don't know what will. If you're in a hurry, zip open one of those pouches, squirt in a packet or two of mayo (the kind that doesn't need refrigeration) and a packet or two of relish, and you've got yourself some high quality protein in under 2 minutes.
What's that? Been there, done that? Again, try making up a whole tub of tuna on a Sunday afternoon. Don't worry; keep it refrigerated and it'll be okay all week. This time, though, vary the recipe a bit. Helmann's has all these great flavored mayos now. Mix up your tuna with half flavored mayo and half fat-free plain mayo.
If you don't have a lactose problem (or if you do and you'll be by yourself for a couple of hours), mix in some of your favorite fat free, cream-based salad dressing. Try dicing up some onions and celery and tossing them into the mix, or add some relish or pickles. With tuna, the possibilities are endless.
Most of us, when we wake up and stumble into the kitchen, we're faced with the same decision; oatmeal or toast. Why not try banishing the oatmeal and toast from your kitchen for a while? Protein pancakes are relatively simple to make, high in protein, and make for a great change.
There are several ways in which you can make them. The easiest thing to do is to get yourself one of those small Fast Shake containers of pancake mix. Throw 2 scoops of protein into the dry mix and shake in enough milk or water to make a thick, pasty mix. My favorite treat is to get the blueberry pancake mix and shake in chocolate protein.
A slightly less convenient way to make them is to get yourself a box of pancake mix and mix the pancakes up using their directions, but just whip in some extra protein. If you wanna' go all out and make your own pancake mix, you can make your pancakes a little healthier by using whole-wheat flour instead of white flour. This is definitely one recipe you're going to have to experiment with to get the pancakes just how you like 'em. And don't forget pour on some low-carb syrup. Dr. Atkins (I know, I know) makes some great ones!
It's Jerkey, Jerk!
Everybody likes beef jerkey, but you can always mix it up with alternate meats. Lots of companies now sell jerkey made from venison, buffalo, turkey, and ostrich, all of which offer a bit of a different taste. If you're a bit more proactive with your food, you can always hunt down your meat source and make your own. Nothing tastes better than food you killed and prepared yourself, especially jerkey that you can gnaw on all day long. Many types of animal will work, but stay away from poodles and other neighborhood pets.
And just don't talk to my bro about making your own jerkey. If you're a regular to the site, you know of his affinity toward salmon. Well, it seems he's devised a "revolutionary" way to make salmon jerkey from canned salmon (because the canned variety is cheaper and he's always whining about being nothin' but a poor doctoral student). He claims this salmon technique will change the whole health food industry. Keep tryin' bro.
Every once in a while, we all get a craving for some sugary junk food, but because of physique goals, or just plain old guilt, we end up putting off the craving. Putting it off, that is, until that mild craving turns into an all out, uncontrollable binge. What happens then? You end up enjoying your junk while you're eating it, but 30 seconds after you're done the guilt sets in. Then you end up torturing yourself for days on end for being weak.
Well my friends, torture yourselves no more, protein pudding's here to save the day. It's a great dessert after a low carb meal, or a good addition to your post workout nutrition. Get yourself some sugar free pudding, some Advanced Protein, and milk. The recipe is simple. Once you've got all the ingredients, throw 1 1/2 to 2 cups of milk, 1/2 a packet of the sugar free instant pudding mix, and 2 scoops of protein in a blender and mix it for about 2 minutes. Then, if you like it cold, throw it in the freezer for a half hour.
The most important part is that you make sure you get yourself a flavor of pudding that will taste good with the flavor of your protein powder. Obviously, chocolate goes great with chocolate, and vanilla goes great with vanilla. If you're into the pistachio flavor, it tastes good with vanilla protein. Also, it's important that you don't try to make protein pudding with the pudding that needs to be cooked; cooking will denature the protein.
[Editor's note: My personal favorite it vanilla Advanced Protein with butterscotch!]
Cottage Cheese that you'd swear was like cheesecake
Plain cottage cheese... yuck! I remember when those cottage cheese meals were fashionable. Mix in a leaf of lettuce, 3 grapes, some unripened cantaloupe, and some stale watermelon and you've got the health platter! All the fat ladies were suffering through this, but unfortunately, not getting any leaner. Go figure.
Well now, my T-friends, we've got a great cottage cheese combo that tastes really good and contributes to your physique progress. Here are the rules. Buy some fat-free cottage cheese. When you're ready to chow down, add 1 scoop or so of Advanced Protein or Grow! The main idea with the protein addition is to use a thick type of protein that clumps up when added to the cottage cheese. Most of the casein-containing MRPs will do.
In addition, straight casein with some sweetener can work too, but the Grow! and the Advanced Protein just taste really good to me so I can't ignore them. After thoroughly stirring, add in some fruit like cherries, a banana, or an apple. Finally, if this is one of your post workout, protein-plus-carb meals, top this off with a light coat of crunchy, fat-free granola for some extra (and yummy) carbs. This meal is damn good!
My bro and I have always had great distain for habitual cereal eaters. We considered anyone who did nothing but pour some milk over some crunchy flakes to be lazy and unworthy of our time or attention so we pretty much just banished them from the grace of our presence.
However, over the years we've discovered that cereal tastes good, damn it! But a carbohydrate containing, cereal-only meal is a pretty useless waste of what John might call a "feeding opportunity." So add some protein and give your cereal a shot.
Place 1 scoop of casein protein or a casein-containing MRP in a big bowl of milk. Mix this up 'till it becomes thick – sort of like cottage cheese without the lumps (experiment with this to get it right). Then simply top off this blend with some crunchy cereal and you've saved the meal.
John and I still have some unresolved "issues" with cereal eating, so typically we'll only eat this meal in the confines of our own homes, lest someone spot us and mistake us for cereal eaters!
The old standby
If you're having a couple of off days – you know, those days when you just don't know where or when your next meal is coming from – there's no shame in eating protein bars all day long. The T-mag staff and I recently had a weekend like this at the Arnold Classic. Three days of eating bars and drinking shakes all day long. Saturday night was not a pretty sight.
After a long day at the expo, 2 days of eating protein bars, and taking care of the three S's (shower, shave, and, well you know), half the toilets in the hotel wouldn't flush. It was a damn good thing that Pavel Tsatsouline was in town. He was running around with a plunger and started screaming something about functional training. Look for his new kettlebell and plunger functional shoulder "workout" in the coming weeks.
I hope that you give some of these recipes a shot as they've practically saved us from throwing in the proverbial towel. I mean, how many dry chicken breasts and cans of tuna can man endure? We've got tons of additional ideas but we'll save them for a later day. Remember, the masters never teach their pupils everything they know.