A Healthy Option

A Healthy Option


Hi everyone and a belated Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last November, just after Thanksgiving, I rejoined the gym and started playing squash again. Over the Christmas vacation, I played almost everyday and I began to hit the cardio machines and do some very light reintroduction to weight training. Now, I play squash two t0 three times a week, do a daily video workout that targets specific areas each day and I do cardio at the gym to or three times a week. That’s not a lot but it’s a start and I will be doing more as my fitness returns and the aches and pains – not the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) that’s normal from training but from the joints screaming from not having been challenged to move in a long time – diminish. Eventually, I plan to recommit to my Taekwondo training and even prepare for my fourth marathon.

Being a big guy – 5’11 1/2″ and 269 pounds – my body takes a toll with the training and needs adequate recovery nutrition to repair the damage my muscles undergo when working out and the right nutrition to store for the next day’s sessions. To that end, I’ve started taking protein supplements (something I used to do at my fittest in the late 1990s/early 2000s) and drinking recovery shakes. One of my favourite shakes is the Peanut Butter Banana one I take after ¬†each morning workout. On days off from training, I use it as a meal replacement. It’s tasty and healthy – I mean, if it weren’t, what’s the point, right? – and it’s a taste I grew up with. When I was a kid, I often had Apple and Peanut Butter sandwiches for lunch. In the early 1990s, when I was competing on the various Taekwondo point tournament circuits, I often had Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches the night before or the morning of a competition.

In the shake, it’s not just PB and B, however. Of course, there is peanut butter (a good protein source for recovery and a great energy source for training) and banana* (great source of fibre and potassium, which is an essential mineral for life and overall health and a great contributor to help muscles fire during performance). There’s also honey (which boosts athletic performance with increased glycogen stores; prevents cancer, heart disease and ulcers; and speeds up recovery time post-exercise); low fat Greek vanilla yoghurt (great source of calcium, protein and healthy bacteria for digestive system function); low fat milk (again, calcium, proteins and carbohydrates and it rehydrates; chocolate milk, especially, is beneficial for endurance or high intensity workouts).

The other key ingredient to my shake is whey protein. The jury is still out on whether whey protein really does what it’s purported to do but for me, someone who’s only started using whey, I am, so far, a believer. I feel more energetic, in general and during workouts, I feel less fatigued and sore (quicker recovery) after training and, aesthetically, I think I’m seeing some positive changes in my body already. I’ve only been taking whey for about three weeks. As for what whey is supposed to do, it promotes protein synthesis for better recovery and muscle repair, increases the antioxidants in your body thus battling cancer, specifically inhibits aflatoxin’s effects (aflatoxin is a carcinogen that damages body systems as a whole), and boosts metabolism which helps with performance and lean muscle mass production and body fat destruction. There are side effects, though, with using whey protein but they aren’t major and they’re no different from the effects of an increased protein diet without the use of whey. Such side effects are bloating, gas, cramps and headaches.

So, if you’re looking for a healthy and tasty recovery option and/or meal replacement and aren’t allergic to nuts and other things, the Peanut Butter Banana Shake might be for you. I use it and love it. My friends I train with do, too. Maybe you will too.

You can get the recipe and a nutritional breakdown in the Recipes section.

* With regard to bananas, and I wish I had the citation for the source, but in 1993 I read an article in, I think, The New York Times or USA Today that discussed how human beings, if there were no other sources of food available, could live on bananas only. A few years later, I watched a documentary program that repeated this. In the TV show, which I recall was aired on the Discover Channel, also said that humans can also live solely on sweet potatoes.