Posts Tagged ‘Protein Shake’

Photo of two legs, one with a large post-knee surgery brace on it. The other leg has a colorful sock on it that goes up to the knee

Welcome to life after knee surgery. Luckily, the way we handled my hypoglycemia during the surgery made low blood sugar a non-issue while I was recovering. The sock is a compression sock from a friend, a nice gift and very helpful!


Last Friday I had to have knee surgery (I’m doing well), which meant “going under” with general anesthesia.

Obviously, anesthesia and hypoglycemia together present some unique challenges, since you can’t eat for a long period prior to your surgery, which impacts your blood sugar.

Here’s how we managed to make it work:


  • My surgeon and I discussed my hypoglycemia and we scheduled my surgery as the first surgery of the day to minimize impact.
  • When I went in for my pre-op appointment with the nurses and and anesthesiologist, I discussed my hypoglycemia at length and problem-solved a plan.
  • I had to stop eating at 9 pm the day before my surgery.  At 8:50 pm, I ate a high-protein meal, consisting of one serving of this chili mac (I’m not sure why, but it really keeps my sugar even), 1 serving of oyster crackers in the chili mac, and 100 calorie bowl of Greek yogurt. So yeah, huge protein intake and low sugar intake.
  • From 9 pm until when we left our house the morning of the surgery (5:00 am ish), I was allowed to drink water and the regular versions of Gatorade/Powerade, which helped boost my blood sugar, especially in the morning.
  • Admittedly, when we got to the hospital, I was hungry and had to distract myself with the TV. I wished I’d eaten more at 8:50 the night before, but I’m not sure I should have, as they recommend you eat light.
  • I told EVERY single nurse, assistant, etc. that I interacted with the day of the surgery that “I’m severely hypoglycemic” so there was no misunderstandings of someone not knowing.
  • My fiance carried a snack bag with him, which included protein powder, Gatorade, and some Kind bars. Admittedly, I didn’t touch these, but I still think it’s always good to have some sort of plan.

During surgery

  • While I haven’t confirmed this, the surgeon had told me prior to the surgery that he was going to put a sugar IV on me to keep my blood sugar from crashing.


  • Oh man was I nauseous coming out of surgery! This obviously presented a huge problem.
  • I was able to drink 1/2 a can of Coke and eat 2 graham crackers after surgery.
  • On the way home, we stopped for a protein shake, which I figured I could stomach. I picked one I really love, this Protein Velvet Ice from PJ’s Coffee (vanilla in case you ever go on a coffee run for me). Normally I only allow myself a small, but I needed as much calories/protein as possible, so we went for a large. I sucked it all down.  Be careful with protein shakes, dear readers, check the sugar, most aren’t as healthy as they look!
  • Now here’s where I messed up: I should have made myself continually take small bites of food all day (high protein, low fat, low carb foods). But I didn’t, and I paid for it. Instead, I waited til dinner and then tried to eat. I almost threw up. So, I had to eat very, very slowly; it took me about 2 hours to eat 500 calories of food. Not good. Again, learn from my mistake; make yourself eat just a few bites every 15 minutes or so throughout the day.
  • Because I had so much trouble eating, I did continue to sip on Gatorade until I could eat more regularly. Again, I think eating more regularly would have been healthier though.
  • After I was back to eating normally (about a day), I had worked-out a plan with my dietician ahead of time where I cut back each meal 100 calories (unless I was hungry) to help me not gain weight during recovery.

And there you have it! Not a pleasant experience, but a way to go through general anesthesia as a hypoglycemic and survive with minimal blood sugar issues!





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Ok, so sometimes I have to get a little creative to maintain my diet, weight and blood sugar. It’s ok to laugh at these, I make fun of myself about them all the time. But you know what? They work:

  • Went to Valentine’s Day dinner with my boyfriend. They told us ahead of time that they were catering in fajitas. So, I took my own corn tortillas. Laugh all you want, but the two flour tortillas they were giving everyone equaled 300 calories and 50 g of carbohydrates. My three corn ones? 150 calories and 30 g of carbs. Plus, they taste better and I got more meat than everyone else. I didn’t need to eat from 7 pm that night until the next morning!
  • If I do allow myself a treat, such as a plain cake donut (one of my favorites!) I get one, immediately walk to the trash, and drop 1/2 of it in the trash. I know me too well, if it’s sitting there, I’ll eat it. But I won’t dig it out of the trash. Full plain cake donut, 210 calories, 22g of carbs. 1/2 of donut, 105 calories, 11 g of carbs.
  • If my friends are having a night of unhealthy food that I can’t have (ice cream night), I’ll still go, but I’ll take my own treat that I love and is somewhat equivalent (such as Cookies and Cream protein powder or a ThinkThin Cookies and Creme protein bar).
  • If sandwiches/wraps are provided for a meeting, I’ll take extra (no shame), dissect them, remove a lot of carbs and load all of the protein into one bun or wrap, and eat that.
  • Drive our admin assistant nuts by insisting that all of our work food comes with all the condiments on the side (see Stop pre-loading my food with condiments!).

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There, I fixed it! I took the YMCA peanut butter shake and changed it up to make it a lot healthier for the average person and a lot more hypoglycemic-friendly for those of us that need it.



  • Mix the PB2 with water to make a little thinner than peanut butter consistency. Set aside for at least 5 minutes to ensure a non-grainy consistency.
  • Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Enjoy the deliciousness.


  • 200 calories
  • 26 grams protein
  • 18.5 grams carbohydrates
  • 5 grams fat
  • 5 grams fiber

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I was staying in Raleigh, North Carolina and the hotel has a deal where you can use the Alexander Family YMCA for free. Awesome! On my second day there, I decided to grab a protein smoothie.

Considering that it’s a YMCA (which makes me, at least, think “healthy’), the coffee shop was full of cakes, muffins, etc. There were some “healthy” choices too, but, ironically, no health information available on any of their food so you could make educated choices.

I ordered a small peanut butter protein shake, which, admittedly, was DELICIOUS, but let’s take a look at what’s in it and the overall nutrition information in it.

  • Plain protein powder, two scoops. 280 calories, 1 g fat (estimated), 50 g protein (estimated)
  • 3 tablespoons of Jif peanut butter (I only let him put two in mine): 285 calories, 24 g fat, 9.5 g protein
  • 1 cup milk (it looked like 2%, so I’m using that). 112 calories, 5 g fat, 8 g protein
  • 1/2 very large banana. 60 calories, 0 g fat, 1 g protein
  • Ice

Total for small YMCA peanut butter protein shake: 737 calories, 30 grams fat, 68 g protein

Since I only let him put 2 scoops of peanut butter in and only drank half of it: 326 calories, 11 g fat, 31.5 grams protein

I definitely believe that you are responsible for your own choices, but dang, places like the YMCA seem to really be working against us with their food offerings. I’m really disappointed in them considering how much they promote “healthy choices.”

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a martini glass woth greek yogurt and corn tortilla triangles baled with cinnamon

Presenting it in a martini glass makes it seem more gourmet, don’t you think?

This recipe is similar to one I found in Health Magazine a long time ago. It’s so simple, but a favorites of my friend Melissa.


For chips:

– Cinnamon

– Butter

– One white corn tortilla per person

For yogurt:

– Vanilla Greek Yogurt (Check the total sugar count on brands. It should be 7g or less per 6 oz) individual serving per person

– Nutmeg, all spice or cinnamon or a combination of the three (get creative!)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Take each tortilla and lightly coat with butter
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon on each tortilla heavily (you should see very little of the tortilla)
  4. Using kitchen scissors, cut the tortillas into 6 rectangles (like a pizza)
  5. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until completely crisp (you don’t want them to “bend” at all before they break), about 5-8 minutes
  6. While the chips are baking, mix-in any nutmeg, cinnamon or all spice you want in your yogurt if any.
  7. Scoop out 6 oz of vanilla Greek yogurt (one individual serving cup) into individual serving dishes (I like using martini glasses)
  8. When the chips are done, serve them with the yogurt and a spoon

Depending which yogurt you use and the quality of your tortillas, each serving is about 150 calories, 12 grams of protein, and 12 grams of carbohydrates.

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Optimum Nutrition: Gold Standard 100% Casein. Cookies and Cream flavor, a glass of it mixed with milk, and a 1/2 cup measuring cup

Optimum Nutrition:
Gold Standard 100% Casein. Cookies and Cream flavor with 1/2 cup skim milk

As a hypoglycemic, I’ve found I’m much more likely to get through the night with no issues if I have some protein right before bed. So, I ordered the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein Cookies and Cream protein powder.

It’s delicious! I mix 1/2 scoop with 1/2 cup skim or 1% milk and have that right before bed. It helps me get through the night very easily. And the best part? It takes like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream, which was a childhood favorite of mine.

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If you haven’t seen Katie Couric and Stephanie Soechtig’s new food documentary, Fed Up, I highly urge you to go see it.  Is the documentary perfect? Heck no, but even as someone who has been a hypoglycemic for a very long time and has worked hard to educate herself on sugar, this documentary really showed me how much I really don’t know.


I didn’t know that my Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Protein shake had 21 grams of pure sugar in every serving and that sugar was one of the top 4 ingredients.


I didn’t know that Thomas Whole Grain Lite English muffins I eat have sugar added to them.


I didn’t know that consuming foods with sugar substitutes actually makes you crave sugar and leaves you feeling empty. No wonder I feel hungry after a Coke Zero or French toast with sugar-free syrup on it.


But the other thing that Fed Up did for me was to give me visuals to go with the knowledge I do know. For example I know that sugar turns almost instantaneously into fat, but the visual in the movie depicting that is now the visual that plays in my head every time I try to cheat and eat sugar.


We have a major problem with sugar in this country and we, as hypoglycemic, are especially susceptible to it, so please, go see Fed Up.

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