Health Recipes

7 Pre and Post Workout Snacks To Maximize Your Performance

Maximize your workout with food? Nutrition Expert Larry Silvestro says yes.

Fitting the right meals in before and after a workout is like assembling a puzzle. All the pieces go together and it’s quite the accomplishment! Leave something out and the whole effort is incomplete. Larry Silvestro,  a NESTA-certified Nutrition Expert at Renaissance ClubSport Aliso Viejo Laguna Beach, says adding certain foods to your workout routine can not only provide serious benefits, it can improve your overall athletic performance.

Before You Sweat

Photo: Saute Magazine

“Anytime is safe to eat before a workout,” Larry says, “But it’s best to eat 30 minutes to an hour before your workout to let your food digest and allow your carbs to convert to blood sugar to be utilized.” He says the old adage about waiting an hour after eating to swim or run simply isn’t true. “My mom used to make me wait 15 minutes after eating before I could go swimming because she believed that you would get stomach cramps and drown, but it is an old wives tale. You can eat prior to working out or swimming,” he reveals.

“Providing blood sugar for your workout is the goal, but don’t overdo it,” he says of the pre-workout meal. “These meals cover all the bases as far as providing energy and muscle repair.”

  1. Plain yogurt topped with blueberries and raw walnuts
  2. Apple with almond butter
  3. Protein smoothie with the protein of your choice (whey or vegan), coconut water, spinach and avocado

Coffee: Friend or Foe?

Renaissance ClubSport

“Coffee is a great pre-workout drink, as it improves focus, increases performance and accelerates fat loss,” Larry says, but cautions that those with high blood pressure should consult their doctor beforehand.

After the Workout

Eating after your workout is equally important to restore and replenish, but not everyone is hungry after a lot of exertion. Larry lists different ideas depending on your workout, but says everyone should hydrate, whether you’re thirsty or not.

Renaissance ClubSport
  1.   Egg whites and brown rice. “Egg whites have Leucine, an important amino acid that increases muscle protein synthesis,” he says. “The brown rice is a whole grain carbohydrate that replenishes glycogen stores and also has probiotic supporting fiber found in whole grains.”
  2. Turmeric protein shake. “It has protein for muscle repair and turmeric that is full of the antioxidant curcumin, which has been shown to help decrease muscle soreness and damage, as well as help with inflammation.”
  3. Coconut warer. “Hydration is a big consideration after a hard workout and for that I like coconut water. Coconut water has electrolytes, antioxidants and carbohydrates which makes it a well-rounded recovery drink,” he says.

Common Mistakes

“The most obvious mistakes that I see when [gym] members come to me with their diets is they consume too many carbohydrates and too much processed foods. All carbohydrates are a form of sugar and most people’s activity level does not match the amount of carbohydrates they eat. They simply consume more energy than they burn and the end results could be more body fat,” he says.

New Addition to Your Diet

“One of my favorite products that we sell here at our club is UCAN. UCAN is a super starch, a modified non-GMO cornstarch that acts as a slow releasing carbohydrate that gives you steady and sustained blood sugar. UCAN comes in a powder that you can add to your smoothie in place of fruit or in a bar for convenient pre-workout snack,” he says.

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Article by Victoria Kertz for Sauté Magazine. Read the original article here.

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Protein POPCORN Now Exists, Here’s Where To Buy It

For most people, popcorn is primarily a snack designated for the movies or a lazy night on the couch. Well get ready, because Protes is about to change the way you look at popcorn, just like they did with corn chips!

A few months ago, we wrote about Protes’ protein-heavy approach to snacks, when Protes debuted a brand new line of pea protein-based chips with 15 grams of protein packed inside each serving.

One cup of popcorn typically has about 1 gram of protein, but Protes’ popcorn has a massive serving of 10 grams per bag! By using whey protein, Protes was able to capitalize on gains and keep this popcorn on the healthy side, without sacrificing on taste.     

Seeing as it’s both gluten and GMO free, this isn’t your average popcorn. With flavors like Sweet Cinnamon and White Cheddar, it might not be long before gym enthusiasts start replacing protein bars with bags of Protes to get a quick snack in after their gym routine – which isn’t a bad idea.

So, if you’re trying to get some extra pop in your protein, be on the lookout for Protes Popcorn at GNC stores in the near future. In the meantime, head to to get your fix!

Photos by Pete Pham

Created in partnership with Protes

#foodbeast Adventures Brand FOODBEAST Health Restaurants SPONSORED

5 Unexpected LA Restaurants That Dish EPIC Vegan Food, Including A Steakhouse

If there’s one area of food we here at FOODBEAST have yet to fully explore, it’s vegan food.

In an effort to become a bit more educated, we invited our friends Margarita and Natalia to show us the best spots for vegan food in Los Angeles.

Margarita and Natalia, a.k.a. “Las2winZ” are twin sisters and Spartan Race athletes. They also own their own gym! Super legit. While we wish they could just be our full-time personal trainers, we learned a lot about eating vegan and general health as we trekked around Los Angeles for this vegan episode of Chomping Grounds.

First up is Sweetfin Poke. You might be thinking…isn’t poke made with fish? Sweetfin is actually one of the only poke spots in LA that offers vegan poke. We chowed down on their Miso Eggplant & Mushroom bowl with the twins after a workout.

Margarita & Natalia mentioned the hearty veggies in the bowl, along with the electrolytes in their go-to FITAID are perfect for restoring muscles after going hard at the gym.

Next on the list is Beelman’s in DTLA. Beelman’s has a cool and quirky bar vibe with an Asian twist. The twins’ favorite thing to eat here is the Viet-nom-nom Wrap. The star of the show in this dish is the vegan “citrus spare rib.” It’s crazy how this tastes just like meat!

Because even fitness gurus need to indulge time to time, Natalia and Margarita’s next spot on the list is Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.

Van Leeuwen invests a lot into their vegan ice cream, and use pricey but worth-it ingredients like coconut cream, cashews, cocoa butter, and organic cane sugar to make sure their treats are rich and creamy.

The twins were craving savory food again, so they took us to By Chloe in Silverlake for their signature Guac Burger. You can’t go wrong with fresh guac, right?! Pro tip from Natalia & Margarita: don’t forget the fries!

Last but not least, the twins showed us their favorite spot for a nice dinner before a night out with their friends – Boa Steakhouse. Surprisingly, this steakhouse has a pretty substantial vegan menu, making it the perfect spot to eat with other friends who might be meat-eaters.

Before arriving, the twins guzzled a PARTYAID to prepare for a fun night out.

Natalia & Margarita’s favorite here is the Nidi Bolognese. Boa starts with homemade vegan pasta, layers it with almond ricotta, wraps it up in a nice little bundle, and tops it all with their rich mushroom bolognese.

After lots of eating and hanging with the twins, it’s safe to say there really is some incredible vegan food out there. Thanks for showing us around, Natalia & Margarita! Kick butt at the Spartan Race next week!

Because we’re feeling extra generous, we’re giving you the chance to try LIFEAID for yourself! Just head to and get two cans of your choice for only 99¢.

Created in partnership with LIFEAID Beverage Co.

Health Hit-Or-Miss Opinion Packaged Food

These Snacks Might Be Able To Replace Traditional Protein Bars

There is a portion of this world that likes to be super active, whether it’s going on a hike, climbing Mt. Everest, or just gettin’ down ‘n dirty in the gym every day. With my 2-3 gentle yoga classes per week and a total lack of stamina when it comes to most anything else, I wouldn’t even dare to place myself within this pristine group of humans, but I appreciate what they do. I like to show my support by being a cheerleader or by taking on the responsibility of making sure everyone gets fed – two things I excel at on a daily basis.

While I may be a gym noob, I do know the most important part of working out is what you eat afterwards to replenish your nutrients. Here’s where Caveman Foods comes in. This company, co-founded by the dude who made Muscle Milk, strives to create delicious snacks packed with protein to give you that perfect post-workout or post-scaling-Mount-Everest fuel.


Caveman Foods has three main products: Primal Bars, Bites, and Jerky. Most of these snacks are not for the faint of heart, and by faint of heart I mean vegans/vegetarians. All three of these products use chicken meat as their base, which provides for a high protein and low fat snack. However, while they aren’t advertised as much as these baseline products, Caveman Foods does make nutrition bars that are nut-based and meat-free.

Let’s talk about these meat snacks for a second, though. In all honesty, eating meat in this format was a new thing for me. I’m usually an eat-steak-hot-off-the-grill kind of gal, but I found myself getting into this. Here’s my rundown of the products:


Chicken Bites: These are such a great idea. First of all, they’re portable and bite-sized, which makes everything better in my book. Also, it’s pretty incredible that these have 10 grams of protein per serving. Second of all, they come in interesting flavors, like habanero & green chili, sun dried tomato & kale and applewood smoked BBQ. The BBQ was definitely my favorite, as its smokiness really shined through. The habanero and green chili, on the other hand, was super spicy. I could definitely imagine it being a good pick-me-up after the gym.


Primal Bars: The primal bars are essentially the chicken bites but in a larger format, except they have 18 grams of protein instead of *just* ten. If you ask me, this format is probably the most efficient way to regain what you lost at the gym. If you’re a fan of fruit flavors with your meat (weird thing to say, but some people aren’t), you’ll definitely be into the sweet cherry flavor. I would say it’s more tangy than sweet, which was a good flavor combo with the chicken. The smoked jalapeño was a winner. What can I say, I love smoked meats. The texture of these bars are somewhat precarious, since the chicken is cooked and then chopped and formed into the bars. It was just a new texture for me since I’ve never eaten anything like this before.


Jerky: I’ve been eating jerky for as long as I can remember. It was always my dad’s go-to snack whenever we were on the road. Caveman Foods has a pretty dope take on this classic snack. Again, their jerky is made with chicken, which provides you the most protein with the least amount of fat. The texture of this snack is what you’d expect with a good jerky. I was pretty sold on this, especially because I tried the buffalo flavor. I am obsessed with buffalo to the point where you could probably douse anything in buffalo sauce and I will eat it. Please don’t take that as a challenge because I will probably lose.


Nutrition Bars: Okay, these were LIT. I would eat one of these every single day if I could. These come in almond cashew and maple nut flavors, of which the maple nut was definitely my favorite. This bar kind of tasted like those Nature’s Valley sweet & salty peanut bars but a million times better (and better for you). A lot of nut bars can be difficult to eat because they’re overly chewy or the nuts aren’t roasted and sweetened enough, but there were none of those issues here. Each bite was deliciously chewy and sweet, but not overly so. Totally a home run on this one.

Long story short, Caveman Foods is one of the good guys out there. For those of you with dietary restrictions, most of their products are gluten-free, milk-free, peanut-free, and many are 100% paleo. They also use only all-natural chicken and refuse to put nitrates in any of their products. If you’re looking for the perfect snack to refuel, Caveman Foods has got your back.



Photos by: Analiese Trimber

Health Hit-Or-Miss Recipes

How To Make A Giant Cake-Sized Pop Tart

Forget everything you thought you knew about your regular, puny Pop Tarts and get on board with these Hulk-sized versions.

Fitness blogger Blake Horton, aka @blake_201, made a couple of giant Pop-Tarts, and documented his process through this almost unbelievable video.

Using, of all things, Pillsbury PIZZA crust as the foundation, Blake rolled two crusts over a couple of baking pans and got to work.

He spread a whole container of Just Great Stuff Organic Powdered Chocolate Peanut Butter over the crust, then topped them with 1 pound of strawberries on each Pop-Tart.

Next, he laid down a pizza crust dome to complete the doughiness of the pastry, then stuck it in the oven at 425 degrees, just keeping an eye on it until the crust was golden brown.

After it was done baking, he spread some cream cheese over the top, giving it the classic Pop-Tart frosted look, and finished it off with some sprinkles.

The two Pop-Tarts, plus some light almond milk, totaled 5,115 calories.

Blake is no joke when it comes to his epic meal times, he only eats once a day and makes it count, as evident by these gargantuan Pop Tarts. He makes sure that each of his insane looking daily meals meet his nutritional requirement of calories, carbs, and protein. Horton then works out like crazy to keep his shredded physique.

I wish I could eat huge ass Pop Tarts and look that fit, but for now I’ll just be happy that a regular package doesn’t cause me to breathe heavily, and call it a moral victory.

Fast Food News

McDonald’s Is Including The Most Basic Fitness Tracker In Happy Meals Now

McDonald’s always seems to be on the cusp of everything trending. Like clockwork, every four years, the Olympics provides the perfect opportunity for McDonald’s to show everyone how much they care about physical fitness, and this year the fast food chain is giving away wearable fitness technology inside Happy Meals.

Now, for a limited time the “STEP-iT” fitness tracker will be included inside every Happy Meal in the U.S. and Canada. Although, before you start getting ready to start tracking your active calories, be warned that this horrible excuse for a new Happy Meal “toy” is just a cheaply built, piece of plastic, that counts a “step” every time it senses movement.

I’ll admit, I thought this was the coolest thing McDonald’s had included in a Happy Meal in many years. However, upon closer inspection, the face of the tracker is very misleading. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that there was only one button — even though it looks like there’d be three. What’s the point of the soccer player and tennis player on the face? There is no tennis or soccer setting. The watch sensors are so sensitive, that in the time it took me to write this post — sitting down — it says I’ve walked 2,000 steps. Way to be accurate, McDonald’s!

It’s great that McDonald’s wants to encourage children to be active, but I think PokemonGo is doing a better job than this thing.


This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has tried to persuade customers with fitness tracking incentives. In 2004, McDonald’s started the “Go Active,” campaign, which was basically a salad in a box and focused on adults as the target demographic. The Go Active meal-in-a-box offered customers a pedometer inside. We are unsure if the technology behind the Go-Active pedometer is the same used inside the STEP-it.

While the fitness tracker doesn’t have the capabilities as a FitBit or Apple Watch, the simple design could be related to McDonald’s new slogan — The Simpler The Better.


How To Turn Your Protein Bar Into A Churro


Our buddies over at Quest Nutrition just dropped this awesome new video showing us how to make Chocolate-Dipped Protein Churros.

This protein-packed recipe is for anyone looking to change up their meal plan with some deep-fried fun.


Here’s what you need:

A Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar, salt, butter, water, vanilla milkshake protein powder, eggs. cinnamon, 0 calorie sweetener, coconut oil (for frying), Greek yogurt, sour cream, chocolate milkshake protein powder.

Here’s what to do:

Break the Quest bar into smaller pieces and throw it in a food processor until it’s a fine powder. Combine salt, water, the vanilla milkshake protein powder over heat. When it becomes doughy. Remove it from the heat and add two egg yolks and fold them into the dough.

Throw the dough in a piping tube, with the appropriate pipe, and set it aside.

Melt your coconut oil in a pot. Once it’s bubbling, pipe your churro batter into the oil a little at a time. When the churros are golden brown, sprinkle your cinnamon and calorie-less sweetener mix.

To make your chocolate dip, throw your Greek yogurt, sorcery, chocolate milkshake powder into a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Now, enjoy!


Science Says This Is What Happens To Your Brain On Cooking Shows

There can’t be a better symbol of American life than having no time to to cook, but having three hours blocked off on our DVRs for all of Gordon Ramsay’s exploits. As the number of cooking shows rises, do our appetites as well? Let’s take a look at some of the known psychological effects of watching cooking shows to determine if it’s a good enough scapegoat for those extra 20 pounds.

Watching What You Eat

Lizzy Pope, an assistant professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont, conducted a study to see if she could find a relationship between people’s health and the types of media they viewed. While the study factored in a number of media sources (YouTube, magazines, newspapers, etc.), Pope found that only cooking shows could be linked to a higher BMI. Conversely, this might just prove that overweight people are more likely to watch cooking shows, since it was not clear whether cooking shows were the cause or result of the increased weight.

Social Norms


Pope claimed, however, that it was unlikely that overweight people just happened to be watching cooking shows due to the phenomenon of “social norming.” Essentially, because people see so many souffles and chicken-fried steaks, they assume that it’s a normal way to eat. For that same reason, if you watched nothing but beastiality, eventually regular porn (and even IRL sexual encounters) would lose their appeal for you. You sick freak. But if you did a calorie count of a typical cooking show meal, you could just save yourself the hour of watching, head to McDonald’s and achieve practically the same results.

Put Down the Skillet


Because of the two effects described above, people who cook their own meals may actually be worse off. Idolizing someone like Paula Deen (her cooking, not her racism) might lead a moderately skilled cook to think that creating butter-saturated dishes on a daily basis was par for the course. All that fat adds flavor, but also puts inches on your waistline. Maybe pick a hero with some healthier habits—like Keith Richards.

Sharing Is Not Caring


Another dangerous place to obtain your recipes is through social media. As our asshole friends post photos of the extravagant meals they eat on their birthdays or vacations (or just because they’re a big fat slob that goes HAM on every sandwich) we again associate this with normal eating habits. Maybe try taking interesting photos of your cholesterol count instead.

Running on Empty


Another interesting point is about those who watch cooking shows while working out at the gym. The theory is that sometimes you need to dangle a little carrot cake in front of a rabbit to make it run. While the results are physically healthier, the overarching concept is the same as those described above, with a healthy dollop of self-loathing thrown in for flavor. Think of it as visual bulimia, essentially punishing your body for the unhealthy foods you crave, even though in this case you’re not actually indulging in them. What could possibly go wrong with that?