“Thank you” reviews for birthday pressies from The Protein Works, Monkey Nutrition, Muscle Mousse & Meridian Foods!

July 6, 2014

What a lucky lady I am! My generous industry pals at The Protein Works, Monkey Nutrition, Muscle Mousse and Meridian (the nut butter people) heard it’s my birthday soon (…21 again) (and again) and very generously sent me some pressies. Thank you all! When you’re old and live by yourself like me, you don’t get a lot of surprise presents (unless you develop amnesia after a late-night internet shopping spree). This was a lovely treat.


Let me tell you what they sent, and what I thought of the various products (I’ve sampled them all – they arrived some time ago ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

The Protein Works
Huge box of goodies from The Protein Works, online sports supplement people renowned for their crazy (and crazy-good) protein powder flavours, huge range of supplements, and innovative things like zero-cal syrups. I’m kind of embarrassed by how much they sent but hey I guess you only celebrate your 18th birthday once ๐Ÿ˜‰

What’s in the box?


CLA Do you take CLA? I know some bodybuilders absolutely swear by it, some have tried it but don’t think it does anything for them, and others haven’t ever used it. I’ve used it on and off in the past, but am big on using healthy fats particularly during a prep diet, so I was really pleased to received a good quality CLA.

Whey protein in banana smooth flavour. I’d never choose banana whey for myself (just not a favourite) but it worked out well for The Protein Works to send me a flavour I don’t usually choose – cos it’s lovely! This is their whey protein concentrate 80, with added “Aminogen” (an enzyme system which helps the body digest the product better and absorb the aminos). And TPW’s whey protein concentrate 80 is tested by HFL, which is an added bonus for athletes tested against the WADA banned substance list. Anyway – this banana whey is very yum and might just have converted me to the flavour!

Greens powders Greens powders are another product which people either use and swear by, or disregard. Personally I think greens powders are a great thing to include whether you’re dieting down or not. They’re just such a quick and easy way to pack tons of raw nutrients into your daily diet (and far better than a multivit IMO). This one is flavoured and quite sweet but does also come in an unflavoured option. You may prefer an unflavoured greens powder, particularly if you like adding it to savoury dishes or mixing it with oils to make salad dressings.

Milk protein aka casein in chocolate smooth flavour. I have casein/milk protein most nights as a before-bed snack – I tend to blend it with a ton of ice and a bit of xantham gum to make a sort of icecream. The Protein Works’s milk protein is really nice, blends up well and tastes rich and creamy without being too sweet.

Creatine I’ll be honest – I haven’t actually started on this creatine monohydrate from The Protein Works, because I’ve still got some on the go. But I’m confident it’s great quality, and I do think creatine is a very useful supplement particularly for bodybuilders and particularly during a diet, to help maintain strength.

The Protein Works’s preworkout “Raze”. I love a preworkout, and this one is great! Check out the ingredients: AAKG (Arginine Alpha-Ketogluarate, Beta Alanine, Creapureยฎ (the best type of creatine mono available), l-tyrosine, citrulline malate, taurine, caffeine and instantised BCAAs amongst other things. Totally safe for drug-tested athletes, tastes great – and works! I’m pretty resistant to caffeine (I drink a lot of coffee) but Raze still gave me a little boost when I needed it (for instance when I had a big squat session to do on the hottest day of the year… ) No jitters, no crash or energy slump afterwards. Good stuff!


Monkey Nutrition

I’ve reviewed a lot of Monkey Nutrition products on the blog before (all reviews are on this page) and I really rate the quality of their supplements. They sent me their new whey protein concentrate – Primal24 whey protein. It’s Monkey Nutrition’s more affordable whey but still has 24g protein per serving (and a full amino acid profile). It’s 80% protein by weight even after being flavoured, so you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s a lovely vanilla flavour, not too sweet (as some can be) and I’ve been enjoying it mixed with a (cooled) espresso and a bit of ice in the mornings. Yum!

Muscle Mousse
Muscle Mousse probably needs little introduction, but in case you’ve somehow missed the buzz: it’s an amazing casein-type protein which mixes up very quickly to make a super-thick mousse which is really like a certain Delightfully Angelic dessert you may have enjoyed as a child. There are loads of flavours, but I was sent the peanut-choc caramel flavour – very tasty! Muscle Mousse is a combination of micellar casein/milk casein, whey protein concentrate and egg protein which gives it its unique moussey texture, and the casein and whey are from grass-fed cattle. The latest formulation has a higher level of BCAAs than previously and more probiotics. It’s 100% gluten and soy free – and HFL tested. I’ve been loving this as a treat!


Meridian Foods new nut butters

Oh, this was a wonderful but dangerous birthday present for a dieting bodybuilder! Happily I seem to be able to exercise more self-control around nut butter this year than in any previous diet/prep. The little jar size helps. I was sent the new cashew butter, smooth almond butter and crunchy almond butter – all are fantastic but the crunchy almond is my favourite by far. Meridian’s nut butters are 100% nuts – no palm oil, no nasties. Just nuts.

Thank you, friends! What a lovely load of birthday surprises ๐Ÿ™‚ The (protein) drinks are on me ๐Ÿ˜€

“Thank you” reviews for birthday pressies from The Protein Works, Monkey Nutrition, Muscle Mousse & Meridian Foods! is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

Making your own nut or seed butter

November 2, 2013

Nut butter is something of a cult food amongst dieting bodybuilders. It’s dreamed about, obsessed over, elevated to the status of minor deity.

I do like it, although I’m not dangerous around it. (In fact, as an aside, one of the first notable moments of my prep with coach Vicky is when she told me I had to go out and buy the foods I considered “dangerous to be around” and to eat them every day. Since then, I’ve been able to have huge 1kg tubs of nut butters in the house and not crave them. Next up: cottage cheese LOL!)

Anyway, these days I make my own. Why? Cos I like pottering in the kitchen and I like knowing what’s in my food. And I like not spending ยฃ5+ on something which I can make for less than half that amount ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today I made walnut and sunflower seed butter to take with me next week to the INBF Worlds (it’s part of my pre-comp diet plan, and I eat it backstage on the day, too).

So here’s one of my few and far between “recipe” posts!

How to make homemade nut or seed butter

– Weigh out your desired amounts of nuts, seeds or a combination


– Soak for a few hours or overnight (soaking nuts and seeds makes them easier to digest)
– Rinse and leave to “drip dry” in a sieve for a bit.


– Spread in a single layer on a baking tray and pop in a barely-warm oven (or, as I did, in the oven which you’ve just turned off after cooking a meal). The idea here is not to roast the nuts/seeds as such but to dry them off and just to give them a bit of a toasted taste. Do not burn them!
– Put the nuts/seeds in your blender and whizz up. It might take a while and you’ll need to scrape the paste around a few times until it suddenly turns into the right consistency.
– If needed, or just if you want to, add a small amount of oil (I like flax oil).
– You could also add extras here like cinnamon, sugar/syrup/sweetener, salt, even chili? It’s entirely up to you. No need to pay top dollar for crazy flavours of nut butter again!
– Once you’re happy with the consistency, put your nut/seed butter in a clean glass jar.
– Leave it with the lid off for a while, it’ll be slightly warm from the blender.
– Keep it in the fridge and eat it all up before it goes mouldy (although to be honest I’ve kept a jar for months and it’s been fine).

Ta da!

Chef Nicola ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s some I made a while ago

And here’s my nephew’s enthusiastic review (at 3 years old, he’s already something of a connoisseur of nut and seed butters) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even bodybuilders’ dogs eat nut butter ๐Ÿ˜‰

By the way, I’m planning a Q&A-type blog post before I fly out to the States, so if you have any questions about my prep, my lead-up to the Worlds, diet/nutrition, training, mindset, coaching – anything really – leave a comment and I’ll do my best to give a useful answer!

Making your own nut or seed butter is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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