I love cookies. Just not the kind that makes me look like I love cookies. Heaps of sugar, flour, and fat also don't make me feel awesome. That's why I make stuff like this. You get the taste and texture of something naughty with the protein and nutrition that doesn't derail diets or make you feel sluggish and crappy. Win-win.

And trust me, they taste as good as they look.

 

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cookies
 
  • 4 scoops vanilla Metabolic Drive Protein powder*
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • A few dashes of pumpkin pie spice blend or cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, or chopped pecans
 
* If you're using a different protein powder, then 4 scoops might not be correct. Different companies use different sized scoops. Don't tell me that your cookies are dry or shitty if you're using a different brand of protein.
 
Tip: Let these chill before eating. They get 1000 times better when you do. If you add chocolate chips, don't eat them fresh out of the oven. The dark chocolate/pumpkin combo doesn't taste right. But if you let them chill and then eat them the flavor is unreal... in a good way. 
 
(Temperature alters flavor. Did you know that? Google it to find out more. The base of these cookies taste much sweeter once they're cooled off, and they pair well with the slightly bitter dark chocolate chips.)
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
 
2. Mix all ingredients together. 
 
3. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop about 18-20 onto a lined baking sheet. 
 
4. Let them bake for about 20-25 minutes. Or until you can stick a toothpick in one and pull it out clean.
 
5. Let them cool or chill in the fridge for a couple hours.
 
 
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Protein Cookies
 
  • 1 block of cream cheese (8 ounces)*
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 8 scoops of vanilla Metabolic Drive protein 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Liberal dashes of cinnamon and ginger, or any spice blend you like
  • Optional: chopped nuts

* Fat free cream cheese is what I usually use. But you can use full fat or reduced fat if you prefer.
 
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
 
2. Mix all ingredients together. 
 
3. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop about 20 onto a lined baking sheet. 
 
4. Let them bake for about 18-20 minutes. Or until you can stick a toothpick in one and pull it out clean.
 
5. Let them cool or chill in the fridge for a couple hours.
 
 
Oatmeal Pumpkin Pie Cookies
  • 1.5 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 4 scoops vanilla Metabolic Drive
  • 1 cup splenda (or sweetener of choice)
  • A splash of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Optional: Chopped nuts
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit.
 
2. Mix all ingredients together. 
 
3. Use a cookie scoop and pile about 18-20 onto a lined baking sheet. 
 
4. Let them bake for about 18-20 minutes. 
 
5. Let them cool or chill in the fridge for a couple hours.
 
One last thing: I do not recommend baking these with any protein powder that contains digestive enzymes (some actually do). They will turn out weird.
 
A little extra cookie porn.
 
Identity Seekers
 
Can you do stuff without attaching it to your bio? Some people can't.
 
Here's an example: marijuana use is on the rise in Colorado. There are two types of users, not just here in Colorado, but everywhere.
 
The first type of user usually has a pot leaf tattoo -- often somewhere obvious, like the neck. He wears ganja garb, acts aloof, and more often than not speaks in a manner that says "unemployable." This guy is responsible for all the stereotypes you've ever heard about potheads.
 
He (and the millions like him) made it his world and identity. And it's because of him that many people think it's not possible to use marijuana without also becoming lazy and useless to society.
 
The second type of user doesn't advertise his favorite mind-altering substance on his skin, or his clothing, or in his character. His medicinal and recreational pot use is none of your damn business -- because he keeps it that way. 
 
Oftentimes this user has a successful job, a type-A personality, or he's a high level exec who uses a calculated amounts in order to relax. And maybe he’s not a smoker. But he could be a THC mint eater, using a measured dose to de-stress, not fry his brain.
 
Sure, there's a spectrum between these two, but I've met both kinds of marijuana users. And chances are, you have too without even knowing it. But if you're like half the population, you assume that the only type of user is the first guy. 
 
Do you see the distinction here? There are those who can't experience the benefits of certain things without making it their identity. And there are those who can.
 
We don't have to become the things we use or enjoy. 
 
Diet and Exercise Are No Different
 
I can go for a run without labeling myself a runner. I can have a meal without meat and not call myself a vegetarian. And yes, I can even work out at a CrossFit facility without calling myself a CrossFitter. I can do these things without becoming a stereotype.
 
In the past I've called of myself a bodybuilder because one of my biggest goals has been building my body with muscle. 
 
The label was literal, and it's been an effort to make building muscle approachable to women. I've wanted them to see that average, non-steroid using gals like me can intentionally build a muscular body. 
 
So the label served a purpose. But I realize now that "bodybuilding" is a group  with its own (often accurate) stereotypes and I no longer want to identify as a member. It might've been cool in the '70s, but it's just like any other fitness clique, cult, or club.
 
Your Message to The World
 
 
Do you introduce yourself to people by extending your hand and saying, "Hi, I count macros with an app on my phone before I eat food!"
 
Or maybe you tell the world that your identity as a human being is about avoiding grains and non-organic dairy. That's what you do if your social media bio, T-shirt, or bumper sticker lists your diet of choice. 
 
Congrats, you've become your diet; kind of like the pothead who's become a walking stereotype. But what if you chose to just let your results speak for themselves? 
 
Shouldn't they? 
 
Fit people shouldn't need to wear clothing that broadcasts their clean eating or working out like a beast. Why? Because if that's what they do, and it actually works, then the results will be obvious.
 
If your fit lifestyle is all that great, you'll either look the part or perform it. If it's all that great, then it'll inspire people and pique their curiosity. It'll make them ask questions to find out more.
 
But if you get preachy and beat them over the head with it, most people won't want to know more. (Except those needy for a cult to join.)
 
It's kind of like religion and politics. Show your beliefs through your actions, so that you can influence and teach. But become a pretentious zealot and you'll turn us away... or just attract more of your kind. 
 
Anti-People
 
You know who's often just as bad as the stereotypical pothead? 
 
Those who blindly bash pot: people who don't know the difference between the strains, haven't done any research, and know nothing about folks who've advanced their lives as a result of using it responsibly.
 
Anti-people are more determined to have strong opinions than they are to learn. They refuse to hear the opposition because their thinking is formed by absolutes. They cherry-pick the evidence that lines up with their biases.
 
Kneejerk reactions and stubborn confidence are all they need. Same can be said about fitness.
 
It's like the powerlifter who bashes CrossFit, the CrossFitter who bashes bodybuilding, and the bodybuilder who bashes running. Dieters are just as bad.
 
Psychologists call it out-group bias. You think less of people who aren't in your group. But just because you're not into running or "clean" eating (or whatever) it doesn't mean that others aren't having a better life because of it. 
 
It's harder to admit that different things work for different people when your food/exercise choices are your religion. But instead of becoming a member of a dietary Hezbollah, think in terms of results instead of labels.
 
 
Results > Labels
 
What results do you want?
 
Sure, when you're proud of your work, you may want to identify by the way you eat or train. But you can be disciplined without the label. The way your body looks and performs is due to your practices, not your cliques. 
 
Seek results and you'll have the advantage of choosing the best parts of all diet and workout strategies. 
 
You won't be confined to anyone else's set of rules. After committing to a diet or workout program for a while, you should eventually be able to take off the training wheels and make it your own.
 
Diet and exercise are just tools to improve your life. Don't become them. 
 
Don't be a tool.
 
 
 
The Origin of "Diet"
 
Do you hate the word diet? I don’t blame you.
 
Even dieters who say they love their diets leave out the word diet and instead say they’ve “gone paleo” or “become vegan”. Diet is a dirty word because it represents the elimination of fun food, the obligation to count stuff, cook, chop vegetables, or yearn for more. 
Your Fitness Filter
 
You're an adult. You make thousands of decisions for yourself every day. Some little, like what pajamas you'll wear to bed; some big, like what course of action you'll take regarding your livelihood, health, and future. 
 
You are your best expert. So when I tell you about fitness, weight training and food, I expect you to pass everything you read through your own little filter of what you've already tried, what's practical for you, and what will and won't work given your own set of circumstances and current health. 
 
You're a critical thinker, not an automaton who is going to blindly follow recommendations without first considering your own body, schedule, abilities, and the context of the other things going on in your life. 
 
You're also surrounded by a wealth of information. There are plenty of people who share their thoughts about fitness to the masses, and you continually have to weigh the pros/cons of every option for yourself.
 
Information Overload
 
 
I'm not going to pity you if you're confused by all the conflicting information you read and hear on a daily basis. We all have bodies. We are all responsible for our own bodies. Some of the ideas you'll read may be worth your while to investigate, others may not. That's up to you to decide.
 
We all have to start somewhere with gathering information, testing out what might be useful, and discarding what doesn’t work. This is called trail and error, and you are not helpless. 
 
You know where a gym is. You know where to find the produce and the deli in your grocery store. 
 
Learning how to get in shape is like learning any other skill. It just takes time, and you can take all the time you need. In fact, the more slowly you integrate healthy behaviors into your life, the better they'll stick.
 
So if you're totally out of shape, and you blame it on the diet industry, the media, or other people giving you too much information, I'm calling BS.
 
The truth is, you're either uncomfortable changing the lifestyle you've grown accustomed to, or you simply don't want to make the effort of figuring out which information will work for you. 
 
Nutrition isn't Religion
 
 
People who write about diet and fitness will disagree with one another. And some will villainize those who have a differing perspective. We're all trying to help people become healthier, but our understanding of what's healthy conflicts. 
 
The most acrimonious health experts are as fanatical about their beliefs as ISIS, the KKK, and Westboro Baptist church.  
 
But nobody's going to hell over their views on carbs, cardio, or supplements. Fitness is not a religion and it shouldn't be your identity. It may look like mine because all I post online is fitness-related stuff, but that's only because the rest of my life really has no business on the internet. 
 
Weaklings and Wackos
 
 
The only way to develop the skill of getting fit is just to start. Make some commitments, stick with them, drop what doesn't work, and continually try stuff until you figure out what does. 
 
No expert can contrive every scenario and combination of body type and goal to know what will be a perfect fit for you, personally. And what will work for you personally will change depending on your activity level, your schedule, your physical abilities, your preferences, finances, and priorities.
 
Sometimes -- ironically -- trying something counterintuitive to your beliefs will work wonders for your health, and free you up from stagnation and self-sabotage. That's why it's dangerous to get attached to dietary dogma and assume you must eat the same exact way for the rest of your life. 
 
There's no need to become a fitness zealot when you find something that helps you; because chances are, if you allow yourself to fall in love with this whole fitness thing, your needs will change and you'll find something that works even better later on. 
 
Commit, but don't get brainwashed. Succeed, but don't be a sucker. 
 
Take responsibility for your own body and stop making "too much information" your biggest excuse. Listen to differing opinions, and form your own through experience. Then tell people about what you've learned if you think it's helpful. 
 
Scoff at the idea of helplessness. And stay above the fanaticism. The world has enough weaklings and wackos.
 
.
The Preparation Advantage
 
Chefs do this thing called mise-en-place, which is French for "everything in its place."
 
The purpose is not just to make sure you have all the ingredients, but to make sure you're organized and ready to cook, and in turn, it makes the actual cooking part a breeze. 
 
Mise-en-place is about doing all the little things up front in order for the most important things to happen without a hitch. 
 
Everything that can be assembled ahead of time is. Veggies get chopped, meat gets thawed and seasoned, stuff gets measured, or at least brought out so that it's accounted for. Then as mealtime approaches, it'll only take a bit of effort to cook.
 
Mise-en-place gets your mind focused, deletes distraction, and simplifies cooking so that you, as a chef, can go from having to consider many components to just a few.
 
The Missing Link
 
 
Think about those who struggle with getting in shape. It's usually not that they're ignorant about choosing better food or getting off their couches, it's that they're disorganized, distracted, and complicating the process.
 
Their lifestyle mise-en-place is mucked up. Their meals are haphazard -- flipping between inadequate and excessive. Their workouts are hit or miss. And they usually lack structure, direction, or preparation. 
 
When nothing is in its place, everything seems like a good excuse to stop eating well and training hard. 
 
I'm not talking about household or environmental tidiness, although those too can have an impact on your mental clarity and discipline. What I'm talking about is a lack of planning, a lack of preparing for setbacks, and a lack of doing all the little things up front to make the important things happen without a hitch.
 
Lifestyle mise-en-place eliminates the excuses before they arise. You cook the food ahead of time. You have the healthy stuff ready to go. Potatoes, check. Chicken, check. Veggies, check. Slow cooker stuff, check. And whatever healthy foods work for you personally, check.
 
Mise-en-place also means you've got what you need to work out. You've carved out the time. Your clothes are laid out. And you've got a plan so that there's no hemming and hawing or flaking out on the last second. You know exactly what to do.
 
It's making a commitment through your habits, so that the hard stuff is easier to pull off. 
 
Mental Preparation
 
 
Let's expand mise-en-place. Because being fit includes mental preparation too. 
 
Have you thought about what you're going to do when your diet feels like it's too hard to stick with? Have you considered what actions you're going to take after you've slipped up with either your eating or your workouts? More importantly, have you considered what might cause you to slip up in the first place?
 
Get those three questions straightened out and you'll master your fitness. Let me help... 
 
1. When your diet feels like it's too hard:
 
You start eating in a way that seems healthy and disciplined. You feel like you're "behaving" yourself. And at first you're proud of making such changes, but over time it gets harder and all you want to do is eat everything you gave up, with abandon. 
 
You're tempted to go back to your default eating patterns, the ones that feel comfortable -- but also the ones that make you feel shackled to a lifestyle you hate and a body you're not proud of. 
 
Mental mise-en-place:
 
Mentally prepare to avoid blaming yourself. That may be tempting to do, but it won't help.
 
Go back to the drawing board. The plan you're following is inadequate if it's making you constantly feel like you're on the verge of giving up. 
 
Consider the possibility that your energy expenditure is too high for the amount of calories you're taking in. Trying to under-eat and over-exercise in an attempt to lose a lot of weight isn't something you'll be able to sustain. Your cravings should be a red flag.
 
2. After you've slipped up:
 
You anchor your nutrition and your fitness together, so when one sinks the other goes down with it. You stop working out when you screw up your diet. Or you give up on trying to eat healthfully if you can't make it to the gym. 
 
Mental mise-en-place: 
 
Mentally prepare to move on. Mentally prepare to go to the gym at your worst. Even when you've overeaten. Even when you've taken some time off. Go when you're feeling fat or unmotivated. Tell yourself those feelings will pass. 
 
When you work out at your worst, it'll be that much easier to work out at all other times. It'll help you solidify the routine.
 
You can start slowly too. Write your workout down, tell yourself you'll just do the first exercise, and then see how you feel after that. Chances are, you'll end up doing the rest of it. 
 
When you're feeling shit, train simply for the pleasure of accomplishment. Because it's something you have complete control over, and it’s a guaranteed job well done that'll carryover into other things you do.
 
Likewise, if you feel like saying "screw it" with your diet just because you haven't been working out, change your thinking. 
 
Realize that when you eat well you'll have the energy to be more active, and you'll feel better about yourself in general. It's all the more important to take care of your nutrition when you're not working out.
 
3. When you can't seem to stay on track:
 
You keep trying to eat well and exercise consistently only to end up getting caught in a cycle of all-in or all-out.
 
You diet hard, you train hard, you suffer; then you fail miserably and feel unmotivated to try again.
 
Mental mise-en-place:
 
Mentally prepare to make smaller adjustments with your diet even when you're motivated to make big ones. Remind yourself of how those big "improvements" often lead to big setbacks. 
 
If your dieting patterns inevitably lead you to a place where you're tempted to shove the junkiest food you can find in your mouth, then you're not getting enough nourishment, or the right kinds of food at the appropriate times of day. 
 
I see this happen most often with people who pride themselves on being able to stave off hunger during the day. Sure, they may stave off hunger in the early part of the day, but then end up making up for it at night. 
 
Skipping a reasonable 400-calorie breakfast or lunch won't compensate for that 3000 calorie splurge you'll want as a result at night.
 
Likewise, when it comes to working out, your first step is consistency -- not becoming a superhero in your first workout. 
 
After a long period of inactivity, it's more important to have workouts that you can do consistently, instead of doing one really hard workout that leaves you incapacitated for several weeks until your next attempt at being a superhero.
 
The Effort is the Reward
 
 
Mise-en-place gives you the advantage on consistency.
 
You think ahead. You prepare for downfalls. You get your stuff organized. And you eliminate all the potential obstacles ahead of time -- both mental and physical.
 
When you've accounted for all those things, then you can savor not just the outcome of what you're doing, but the consistency of training hard and eating healthfully on a continual basis. The continual effort is also the reward.
 
Five Final Tips:
 
Tip #1. Know what your main goal is and have a plan to make it happen. Write and organize your workouts for that specific goal, or hire a trainer who can help you reach it. 
 
Tip #2. If you've never kept a food journal, do it. Don't worry about calculating anything. Just jot down what you eat at mealtimes and about how much. Notice how these things make you feel. Pay attention to the signals your body gives you.
 
Tip #3. Notice when you're reaching for food for the wrong reasons. If you can't control your anxiety, anger, sadness, or any emotion, realize that food won't fix it. It's bad as a band-aide.  Don't snack just because you're bored, or it's free, or because everyone else is snacking on the same nutritionally void shit. 
 
Tip #4. Eat meals on purpose. Then stop and wait till your next meal before eating. Don't skip them if you have a tendency to overeat later on. 
 
Tip #5. Keep a workout log no matter how advanced or inexperienced you think you are. This is essential if you weight train with a specific goal in mind. Write what you're going to do before you get to the gym. Then follow everything the log tells you to do. It makes you prepared, efficient, and focused -- which is what mise-en-place is all about.
 
 
 

Fit Notes from Dani

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