I love food and as someone who was formerly obese, I do understand what that love can do physically. However, emotionally, I also know what it can mean for someone to completely change their lifestyle and make extreme changes. I used to believe that you had to always say ‘no’ to see change. When I started competing and “macro counting” I learned that it didn’t have to be that way.
I know that sounds weird, since many competitors follow strict meals plans and often say no more than yes during season. But through macro counting I learned that balance could be created if I paid attention to what I was eating versus eliminating food groups. Emotionally I felt like I could participate with this approach over other eating styles and approaches.
There are foods that do absolutely nothing for you nutritionally, like soda and potato chips. I don’t care if it’s “organic cane sugar” in your soda, it’s not helping. But a huge aspect of food is enjoyment. I enjoy alcohol every now and then. I enjoy donuts and sweets, but I try to enjoy them in moderation. I’m not always perfect, but in this moment, that’s ok.
Cheesecake was a dessert that I always thought of as luxurious and difficult to make. When I was in college I made the mistake of not incorporating dairy into my daily diet like it had been while I was growing up. My consumption went from a gallon of milk a week to maybe a glass a week, if ever. I still ate cheese, but not as much as I had previously. My junior year I developed a lactose intolerance and a lot of foods went out the window including soft ice cream, sour cream, homemade whipped cream and cheesecake.
Some things were worth the stomach ache, but other things – not so much.
Over the past few years, I’ve incorporated a digestive enzyme into my routine to help with digestion. I’ve also slowly added some dairy back into my diet and I know my threshold – cheesecake will probably never been something I will get to enjoy sickness free. This is not to say that adding foods into your diet will cure allergies, an allergy is an immune response, which is different than an intolerance. Everyone is different and adding small amounts to your daily consumption may be harmful. Talk to your doctor if you’re really seeking to make changes of this nature.
So recently when my sweet tooth was kicking in and I knew I needed protein because dinner plans later were going to be carbohydrate heavy, I turned to one thing that never disappoints – pro-yo. Better than drinking my shake is eating it.
For me, pro-yo is plain yogurt with protein powder mixed in. It’s just adding to the protein content the yogurt naturally has, but gives it some flavor too. I wanted something a little more, but I didn’t want to make it complicated. I’ve made no bake and baked protein cheesecake before, so I knew I had simple ingredients so I figured I could play around and see where I end up.
Frozen Pro-Yo Squares for 2
What You’ll Need
- 3 Graham crackers (any flavor)
- 150g Plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
- 20g of whey casein blend protein (I used Quest Salted Caramel)
- In a baking pan or tray, lay out 3 sheets of graham crackers. I used a brownie pan, but anything with side would work.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt and protein powder with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. You can use any fat percentage of yogurt, it’s based on preference. The protein powder should be a blend of whey and casein because it’s thicker than whey isolate and will set differently.
- Pour and spread yogurt mixture on top of graham crackers as evenly as possible. I used tapped the pan on the counter so it would level out a little bit, but it doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Optional: sprinkle mini chocolate chips or nuts on top.
- Place in freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes and then serve. If you leave in the freezer for more than an hour these will be rock hard and that is the down fall.
Optional if you don’t want in a bar form:
- Skip original step 1 and go straight to step 2 – Mix Pro-Yo in a bowl.
- Top with your favorite toppings – crushed graham crackers, mini chocolate chips, pretzels, etc.
- Place in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set like frozen yogurt.
Estimated nutrition for half a pan of Frozen Pro-Yo Squares without toppings: ~4F/22C/18P