I have been very happy with my results from following the diet and exercise advice of Joe Dillon. I started the program in April of 2004 and quickly lost 26 pounds, reduced my resting heart rate, improved my cholesterol levels, and increased my strength and endurance. Since I like the food and workouts are easier than what I had been doing, I have stayed with the program ever since and am enjoying the longest non-obese period of my life.
A foundation of the program is a high-protein, low-carb diet. This is not Atkins. No shock, no bad breath, and–woefully–no bacon. The most convenient way I have found to get enough protein is with a shake. My recipe is below. Don’t be put off by the level of detail, since much of it is optional. Once you get your supplies organized and the routine practiced you can make a shake and clean up very quickly. I have timed myself several times at less than four minutes. Admit it, you’ve spent more time than that staring into the fridge or a vending machine looking for the least harmful thing to swallow.
Many people have tried protein shakes but stopped because of the smell. The solution is in step 10.
First, get a strong blender. I toasted my Oster and even the $100 KitchenAid I tried got hot and labored under the load. I finally took Joe Dillon’s advice and shelled out $400.00 for a Vita-Mix. I am glad I did; the Vita-Mix is fast, easy to clean, and we use it several times per day. I assume the Blentec also works well and produces funnier videos.
Concerned about the Consumer Reports study on heavy metals in protein shakes? Use the brands I recommend. They have been independently tested at well below the recommended limits.
I consume this shake almost every day. I substitute it for breakfast, lunch, or a late afternoon snack. It is great for those days when I am driving to appointments because I can make it ahead and drink on the run. Bringing the shake into meetings instead of going to a restaurant has increased my billable time and reduced my waistline. Having a healthy shake at hand reduces the temptation of convenience foods usually foisted upon hungry travelers. I make a double batch when I will be in the car for a long day.
See also Tony’s complete goal setting kit, with audio and workbook,
free on this blog.
- Pour two cups of tap water in the blender. Some people use skim milk, but that adds sugar. Distilled water may be better but I am tired of avoiding impurities; decided to increase my tolerance instead. 😉
- Add 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of psyllium. This thickens the shake, making it creamier, and has the added benefit of putting more healthful and weight reducing fiber into your diet. The only unsweetened, unflavored fiber I have found is Konsyl, available from CVS. Each jar costs up to $20, but a little goes a long way and is way cheaper than a colonoscopy. The drawback to adding fiber is that it tends to stick to the interior of my glass or bottle, making cleaning a challenge. My solution (pun intended) is to fill the bottle with hot water and let it sit overnight. Dump the water and put the bottle into the dishwasher.
- Add 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. I tried lots of flavorings but have settled on cinnamon. I like the flavor and some people claim it is good for you. Vanilla is good, too, but it is pricey, hard to find in pure, ground form, and doesn’t store or blend well. Vanilla powders have added sugar. I tried extracts of vanilla, strawberry, and peppermint but I did not like the alcohol taste. Your palate may be different so feel free to experiment but if you find you like the alcohol a LOT consider getting help.
- Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum. This is a thickener that adds fiber with no calories. Xanthan gum makes the shake so creamy you’d swear it had more fat than a fistful of fries. You can get it in the bakery section of a good supermarket or online here. Guar gum maybe even better but I have not found it in consumer quantities. If you can, let me know. I now add chia seeds instead of gum. Great thickener and extra nutrition, too.
- (Optional) Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of probiotic yogurt. I like Stonyfield Farm plain, non-fat yogurt from the grocery store. It has no added flavoring or sugar and includes all of the known pro-biotic helpful bacteria.
- Turn the blender on low speed and add four scoops of whey protein powder. I find it blends much better if I add powder to water rather than water to powder. Keep blender running while you add powder so it does not clump.
- I used the powder from 7 Natural Laws for years. Their customer service is great. Joe Dillon started the company but appears to have lost it in a divorce. I changed to the powder from Joe’s current company about a year ago when Joe made me a shake with his new formulation. I prefer the new flavor but you may not. It is important to use only 100% natural whey protein with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. One of the main benefits of drinking a protein shake is to give your body a rest from the insulin spikes the modern diet inflicts upon us. Both of Joe’s powders use only stevia as a sweetener because it is zero calories and does not produce the glycemic assault on blood sugar levels inflicted by sugar and artificial sweeteners. You need to read the labels carefully; all the powders I have seen in retail stores have non-whey protein or sweeteners or both.
Sugars can be hard to spot; ingredients lists are getting too clever. My two current favorites are “evaporated cane juice” (hmmm, pretty sure that most sugar is made by evaporating the water from cane juice) and “pure sodium chloride” (wow, they went to the trouble of combining one of the most volatile chemical elements with one of the most poisonous to make–da, da, da, DAH!–table salt).
- Turn off the blender and add a fresh or frozen banana. This is where I depart from Joe Dillon’s advice. Bananas add some simple sugar, a nice texture, and a lot of flavor but not much nutrition. He suggests strawberries or blueberries or both. These are very convenient, since you can buy big frozen bags of each at Costco. My problem is that the tiny seeds have an amazing ability to sit on my vocal cords and make it difficult for me to speak. Since we executive coaches talk a lot, I confine my berry shakes to the weekends. I skip the cinnamon and banana and use a fistful of berries instead. Everything else in this recipe stays the same.
- Cover the blender and whip it. You must whip it. Whip it good.
- (Optional) Drop a few ice cubes onto the whirling blades. This can add a nice crunchy texture but requires just the right amount of blending. Good luck with that.
- Pour into a jar filled with ice. Or microwave until warm. A covered container is crucial, first, for portability (see below), second, to reduce the aroma. Many people have a strong negative reaction the smell of protein shakes. Drinking yours through a straw from a tightly covered container eliminates that problem! I drill a hole to fit my straws into the cover of the bottles I buy. I love the Lexan bottles, especially since the day I dropped my plastic cup and exploded 20 ounces of sticky, slimy, beige shake onto a client’s carpet. And desk. And skirt. Plus, I got no lunch that day. So, conquer your BPA-phobia and go with unbreakable Lexan. It was good enough for the astronauts and it’s good enough for me. Plan ahead for a quick departure by putting 10 ounces of water in your bottle the night before and freeze it on its side. Next morning, don’t fuss with ice trays, just fill and go, If you do use ice trays get the best: Oxo Good Grips. Sure, they cost three times as much as the competition but that’s still only five bucks. Treat yourself. Besides, once you blow half a grand on a blender another fin is nothing. Finding a straw long and strong enough for the bottle was a challenge. I finally got a supply from Baja Fresh. They serve them with their refillable cardiac-arrest size soft drink cups. The straws are tough and reusable. I clean them in the dishwasher but some crud accumulates, so I also use this simple brush to ream them.
I prefer to sip my shake over a period of hours to stave-off hunger and maintain a steady blood sugar level. Others gulp theirs. Either way, better for you than a doughnut. Or just about anything else you might eat.