Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chocolate recovery


As you know, I've been a runner for a looooong time. But until I hit my 50s, I never really took my training seriously. Who knows why not?  Could it be my age? Hanging on to my fleeting youth? No matter.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my GI issues and how I've had to alter my diet. But what about recovery?

As a dedicated chocoholic, when the studies came out supporting chocolate milk as a recovery drink, I jumped for joy. Seriously, I was given permission to drink chocolate milk because it would make me feel better after a race or a long, hard run? I jumped on to the bandwagon and didn't look back.



But tasty as it was, the chocolate milk didn't seem to quite cut it for me. I felt like something was missing. And once I started training with Becky and doing those weekly CrossFit workouts, I knew I was lacking in one thing regarding my recovery. Protein.

Now, I'm not a nutritional expert. I can only speak to what works for me. And once I started adding more protein to my diet for recovery, I made some (to me) pretty impressive gains in strength and endurance. I've started eating omelets several times a week. But I wanted something I could take as a post workout recovery treat.

Disclaimer: This unscientific research was conducted by my son and me. I did not receive any products or was asked to endorse any of them. Ok, I did receive a few samples at races. But no one twisted my arm to pick their product over any of the others. But if anyone wants to send me products to sample and review, feel free...

First I tried protein bars. Specifically Luna protein. The chocolate chip bar really spoke to me. I became religious about eating them before my CrossFit sessions with Becky. But the Luna bars were so chewy and not really what I was looking for.

I found Orgain nutritional drinks at Whole Foods. Orgain has several flavors, and my favorite was the iced cafe mocha. The chocolate fudge wasn't bad either. I have to admit that I passed on the vanilla and strawberry because...there's no chocolate in those products. The drinks are purported to be developed by a "doctor" and are made with 16g of protein, fruits, and veggies. Non-GMO. 255 calories. They are delicious. I won't sugar coat it thought, they did make me a little--um....gassy...maybe it was the veggies? And out of all the drinks I've tried, Orgain is the most expensive. Even on sale.



Then I ran my 10 miler in April. Besides enjoying the Lagunitas IPA at the finish line, they were handing out Core Power chocolate drinks. I took a few home, thinking I'd give them to my football playing son.



Instead, I drank one. OMG, where have you been? Delicious, 26g of protein (whey and casein), 240 calories. So good....I hunted them down and began drinking them instead of the Orgain. The price was less than the Orgain, and if I found them on sale, I stocked up.

Fast forward to Zooma Chicago just last month. Once I reached the finish line, I was depleted, and I wanted one thing. Chocolate milk. I kept asking everyone where the Muscle Milk tent was...and they kept pointing me to the wine tent. I finally spotted the giant Muscle Milk tent in the middle of the field. I sucked down the Muscle Milk light chocolate flavor, expecting a clone of my beloved Core Power--and nope. The Muscle Milk light I drank contained 20g of protein and only 120 calories, but was nowhere near the tastiness I was accustomed to. I was so disappointed. Light does not always equal flavor.



The next day, I was shopping for the week's groceries at Whole Foods and came upon a display of Organic Valley chocolate organic fuel. They were on sale, and at this point, since I decided I was on a mission to find the best chocolate protein drink, I bought 2 of them. I drank one after a long run, and it was really tasty. 26g of protein and 260 calories. My football playing son drank the other one and proclaimed his love for it.



The following week while again shopping at Whole Foods, I spotted Odawalla's Chocolate Protein Monster at the checkout. Having run a long run of 12 that morning, I felt the need to refuel. Yes, it was an impulse buy, but I bought one and began sampling it on the way home from the store. I couldn't stop drinking it. It was so delicious. Amazing, even. But even though it contains 32g of protein, the 425 calories that I guzzled was a little more than I wanted to think about.



My final choice was a drink I found at Target. While picking out smoothies for my sons, Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus Chocolate called to me from the shelf. Hello, lover! I bought 2, tried one and fell in love. My other taste tester, my football playing son, had one this morning and loved it too. I asked him which drink he liked the best.


SOOOOO...what's the verdict? What was my favorite chocolate protein drink? When I think about all the tastiness, it really is a tough call. I can give an unequivocal 2 thumbs down to the Muscle Milk Light. Orgain, I like you. I really do. Core Power, Odawalla, Organic Valley...all delicious.

But my prevailing favorite is the Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus Chocolate. 30g of protein, 210 calories, fiber and vitamins...it's all good. So good.

My son? His vote goes for the Organic Valley. We are a house divided....


12 comments :

  1. You are on a chocolate/protein tear girl! I do like the Core Power. I've never tried Bolthouse Farms.

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  2. I am a chocolate girl myself-need a little everyday! I prefer the straight choc milk instead of the recovery drinks. They have a fake sugar taste that I am not a fan of.

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    1. Actually that's what I thought about the Muscle Milk. But that Bolthouse Farms drink is pure heaven!

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  3. Holy cow, Wendy! I've never seen so many chocolate milk/protein drinks! Whew! I'm going to have to check out some of these! I usually just drink plain ol' lowfat Horizon organic chocolate milk for my recovery...I love it! Great post; thanks for sharing all of these! Hope you have a fantastic weekend...

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    1. My quest kind of took on a life of its own...but we had a lot of fun with it!

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  4. Boathouse Farms has some other very tasty products too... But I've never tried the chocolate! Thank you for being so thorough in your chocolate-testing, I'm sure it was an absolute pain to have to drink chocolate beverage after chocolate beverage, just for the science of it ;)

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    1. It was rough, but I was willing to take one for the team....

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  5. The key meal for recovery for me after a long run is EGGS!! I love my omelet after, it really hits the spot. Thanks for doing the taste testing! I've been on the hunt for a protein shake as well, and it has to be chocolate. I too tried the Muscle Milk but I stay away from "light" because of the sugar alcohols. I did like the regular muscle milk though. I haven't tried the others, but I may have to try to hunt down your favorite at Target!! Oh and 450 calories for the Odwalla?! That is crazy!! Thanks!

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    1. After trying the Muscle Milk light, I was so disappointed, but I'll give the regular one a chance. In the interest of research and all....;P

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  6. I like the Bolthouse chocolate too- and my very picky daughter actually drank it! It's a win, win and I love it when the grocery store has it on BOGO!

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    1. I haven't seen that yet! I'll be stocking up when I do!

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