Guilt-Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Recipe

Reflex Nutrition athlete and talented protein chef, Gauri Chopra, shares her ultimate clean cheat recipe – indulgent chocolate fudge brownies with peanut butter frosting! 

I think I am yet to meet an individual who doesn’t like chocolate or peanut butter – and rightly so, I’d say! If you haven’t tried the two together yet, you can only imagine that combination of the two definitely becomes a force to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY in the form of a Brownie!

Not only do people tend to associate brownies with being a delicious treat, and a mouthwatering tastebud tingler, but they also get the bad rep of being an unhealthy guilt-food, and a bit of a waistline teaser! What if I told you, you could have all the flavour and fugdy texture of a naughty traditional brownie, minus the guilt? One that could offer a whole host of nutritious benefits to go with it? You wouldn’t believe me, right? Well let me prove you wrong!
As stated by my personal ‘taste-testers’, these healthy Chocolate Fudge Brownies are out of this world, and taste just as good (if not better) than your traditional, refined sugar-loaded ones! Made from natural ingredients, they are also flour-less, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and free from any artificial ingredients or flavourings.

Since these brownies are high in protein, healthy fats and fibre, they work in perfect harmony to keep you fuller for longer as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable to ensure you get a good prolonged energy supply (unlike your traditional brownie which would typically spike your blood sugar levels and eventually cause you to crash!)

Another gold star for these beauties in that they take virtually minutes to prep and make… I think the hardest part was opening the cans and jars!

Ingredients for the Brownie:

  • 1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed (200g)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 60g pure maple syrup
  • 35g extra virgin organic coconut oil or grass fed butter -(I use coconut oil because I love the slight hint of coconut it gives to the brownies but feel free to use grass fed butter as an alternative!)
  • 15g Cacao (or Cocoa) powder
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder (use gluten free if intolerant)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or normal sea salt will do)

Ingredients for the Protein Peanut butter ‘Frosting’:

  • 2 tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter (smooth is also fine, however I like the added texture from the crunchy!)
  • 50ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Reflex Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Instant whey Pro
  • Optional: Sprinkling of Cacao Nibs for texture and extra chocolatyness!

Cooking steps:

  1. Pre-heat fan oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Whizz all ingredients for the brownie in a food processor until is has reached a smooth consistency (you may need to scrape down the sides/blender once in between).
  3. Pour the batter into a 6″6″ baking tin lined with a little coconut oil on some grease proof paper and gently tap/shake to ensure the batter is spread evenly
  4. Before placing it in the oven, make your ‘frosting’ by heating the almond milk and peanut butter together in the microwave on a low heat for 60-90 seconds. Once this has been stirred and combined, mix in your whey.
  5. Place the brownie tin in the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 10 minutes (or until the top looks like it is just about to start cooking through). Then take it out and smear on your protein peanut butter frosting and cacao nibs before placing it back in the oven to cook for a further 8-10 minutes.
  6. You should know that the brownie is cooked when it springs back a little when touched.
  7. Holding the grease-proof paper, remove the brownie from the tin, then very carefully peel down the sides of the paper. Cut the brownie into 12 pieces then use a spatula to carefully transfer the pieces onto a plate or cooling wrack before devouring… If you can wait that long!

Protein Pancakes | Cheat Day Recipes

Reflex Protein Pancakes

Cheat day: potentially the best day on the calendar. Anyone that follows a fitness and nutrition regime will know that to maintain it in the long-term, flexibility and balance is crucial. So we set out to find the ultimate, mouth-watering treat for cheat day – and came up with one that amazingly, isn’t actually all that naughty and still packs a protein punch.

The Protein Chef has collaborated with Reflex Nutrition to create a stack of delicious protein pancakes, smothered in peanut butter and chocolate sauce, and topped with soft R Bars for your protein-packed pleasure. The best thing about this recipe? It won’t destroy your calorie count for the day or leave you feeling sluggish and full of remorse. And to top it off, each serving delivers 33g of protein to support your workout when you pick it up the next day.

Here’s the recipe to get you started:

Pancake ingredients
200g Oat flour
70g Reflex 3D Protein vanilla
10g Baking powder
100g Liquid egg whites
400ml Milk
1tsp Coconut oil (for frying)

Toppings – as much or as little as you’d like
Peanut butter
Reflex R Bars
Sugar-free chocolate sauce

Method

  1. Mix together the oat flour, protein powder and baking powder.
  2. Then add the egg whites and milk and whisk well.
  3. Heat a pan to a medium/high heat and add the coconut oil.
  4. Once the coconut oil has melted, add a few spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan.
  5. Cook for a couple of minutes then flip it over and cook for a further minute until golden and fluffy.
  6. Pile the pancakes high, add the toppings and enjoy.

Macros
(per portion for the pancakes only. Recipes serves 2-3 people)
Calories – 409
Protein – 33g
Carbs – 55g
Fat – 6.6g

One portion of these protein pancakes provides 33g protein, 55g carbohydrates, 6.6g fat and just 409 calories, meaning you can enjoy your day off without regret. The light and fluffy texture has a delicious naturally sweet flavour, thanks to the vanilla ice cream flavoured Reflex 3D Protein used in the recipe. Our 3D Protein is the first time release protein to contain Native Whey Protein, Micellar Casein and Egg White Protein for a fast, medium and slow release of protein, in the correct ratio.

We’ve topped with chunks of our R Bars, to give an extra protein kick, fantastic texture, and a satisfying sweetness to round off this dish. Our R Bars provide 20g protein, 1-2g sugar and 9-10g fibre per bar, plus they are made with almonds and peanuts, cocoa butter, and natural flavourings.  The Protein Chef has used our Chocolate Peanut Caramel flavoured R Bar, but you can choose from our range of six flavours including double chocolate brownie and cookies and cream.

Reflex sends huge thanks to The Protein Chef. To read more of her fantastic protein recipes, visit The Protein Chef website.

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No to Soy Protein, the facts

Soy Protein cubes

A few years ago I spoke about why we don’t use soy protein in our products and I really wanted to expand on why it has no place in a Reflex product

I want to support our anti soy position with referenced studies. In short, deliver an article that really does make you think twice about buying another protein powder that contains soy protein. There are various articles that attempt to vindicate soy, but I’m not sure why when there are so many question marks relating to its use. Just remember there are so many significantly superior and safe alternatives without any question marks attached to them.

GMO soy, its production and hexane

Soy protein is largely derived from GMO soy crops which are used to make soy protein isolate. It’s the manufacturing of soy that is one of the real issues I have. One of the cheaper extraction methods to make soy protein uses a solvent called hexane, whilst there are other water based extraction methods that avoid the use of hexane it’s used by a minority of brands and is more expensive. In the following link you will see a news article that talks about independently tested soy products and the associated levels of hexane discovered in various soy products.

http://www.naturalnews.com/026303_soy_protein_hexane.html

Whichever way you want to look at this, one thing is absolutely clear. Soy protein manufacturing using hexane is not the ideal. The question is how can you tell if the soy protein in your protein powder contains traces of Hexane? I’d ask the supplement company and if they say “we’ll look into it”, it’s probably because they don’t know themselves which to me is completely inexcusable. This is really just part of the story and I don’t want to spend too much time on how soy is made, suffice to say if you consume soy let’s hope is completely free from hexane.

Soy as a source of protein for sports nutrition

Assuming you are not vegan, soy really has no place in sports nutrition, pea in our opinion is a better alternative. The biological value of soy is lower than the big three, those being whey, egg and micellar casein. Soy is lower in essential amino acids and contains few branched chain amino acids, so again its use it questionable at best. The following human study quite clearly demonstrates soy’s inferior ability to stimulate protein synthesis vs milk proteins.

The authors quote “Milk-based proteins promote muscle protein accretion to a greater extent than do soy-based proteins when consumed after resistance exercise” http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/4/1031.short

The next study focuses on the effect of healthy males consuming 56 grams of soy protein daily for a month. Serum testosterone dropped by 19%, absolutely the last thing you want if you are an athlete.

The authors quote “Soy protein powder decreases serum testosterone levels in healthy men and acts as an ER-β agonist.”

http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/16/4/829.short

It’s never one sided? Over 170 negative studies might suggest otherwise

The story for and against soy is not one sided and yes I’ve cherry picked two studies above to illustrate negative aspects of soy. Many will argue a case for soy and others, like me, will argue the case against. The trouble is for me that even a handful of negative studies will worry me. The trouble is there are more than a few, here is a link to another interesting article with links to over 170 negative studies relating to soy consumption.

http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/

With such a significant number of published studies even those fanatical about soy must have nagging doubts about consuming it in even moderate amounts.

Soy protein isolate is used in significant amounts in sports nutrition

Soy in small amounts is not the issue, foods like tofu, soy sauce and natto have a long history of consumption. The issue for me is the amount of soy protein and the associated phyates, trypsin inhibitors and phytoestrogens that can be and are used in protein powders, all-in-one bodybuilding supplements and protein bars. Today it’s very easy to buy a protein blend with soy protein isolate as a main ingredient, same for the all-in-one powders and it’s the same story for protein bars. It is therefore quite possible to be consuming at least 50 grams of highly concentrated soy daily without even realising it, and that is a huge amount compared to a diet with some weekly consumption of tofu and other fermented soy foods.

If I was a cynical manufacturer I could see the attraction of it’s use in protein powders. They are a cheap source of protein and increase profits, in protein bars they can help with shelf life at reduced costs once again boosting profits. What I don’t like is the fact that certain brands then imply that the very same products are the best on the market. That’s simply not possible. If you are replacing whey/casein/egg with soy then in my book you are compromising. It can only be included to cut costs unless I’ve missed something in the last 20 years? If someone can give me a better explanation I’d love to know why.

Today, me and my family avoid soy protein containing foods as a precautionary measure; we simply don’t need it in our diets and I’m not prepared to take the risk. Nor am I prepared to sacrifice quality of Reflex products and formulate products with soy protein.

The question you need to ask yourself, are you happy to take the risk when you don’t need to??

R-Bar Protein Bars go into Full Production

R bar protein package

Reflex Nutrition is pleased to announce that the first week’s full production has gone underway without issue. It means that the R-Bar protein bars will be available for sale from the Reflex Nutrition website from early March 2015. Expect stockists in the U.K to have stock shortly.

Available in 6 mouth-watering flavours the R-Bars delivers qualities that no other protein bar on the market can match:
1.    Ultra high quality EU sourced milk proteins, completely free from soy protein
2.    20 grams of protein per 60 gram bar.
3.    Source of healthy fats
4.    Made using super highly quality cocoa butter, natural flavours and sweetened naturally with stevia.
5.    Packed full of freshly ground non GMO nut butters
6.    Made using Deep Green Energy and made in accordance with ISO9001 quality control procedures
7.    Free from Isomalto-oligosaccharides
8.    Completely FREE from palm oil.
9.    No added sugar & gluten free.

Everyone involved with Reflex Nutrition is very proud of the state of the art factory which Mr Phillips designed for the sole purpose of making the R-Bar. He explains “It’s been a truly fantastic few days finally putting the R-Bars into full production. To produce a real contender for the World’s best protein bar certainly hasn’t come without some enormous challenges. I said from the outset that if you are going to make a protein bar you should do it properly or not at all. For us that has meant a serious investment in unique machinery to make it happen. The great news for consumers of protein bars is that they now have a choice of outstanding products, and watch this space because we’ve also got a new flapjack coming that’s giving consumers something far better than they are used too.”

Unfortunately, the chance of taking pictures of the factory and giving a better explanation of how these bars are made was declined instantly by Mr Phillips. “No, absolutely not! It’s taken me two years to make this happen and I’m not about to let our competition understand how we’ve done this. You need to think outside of the box, it’s not a case of simply putting a line together and throwing the ingredients in. If it were that easy all the big contract packers would have made these bars already! There are unique processes involved that I’m very secretive about, and they will remain secret.”

Concluding, we’re all very excited to see just how well the R-Bars are received by consumers around the world in the coming months, so please let us know what you think via the normal social media channels.

The ultimate Protein Bar Revealed – Part 3 of 3

Cherry R bar protein cover

In parts 1 & 2 in December 2014 I revealed our plans to not only launch a new protein bar but to actually build a protein bar factory ensuring we could produce the best protein bar possible. You can read those articles by clicking on the links below;

Today I announce our plans to make the world’s best protein bars (Part 1)

Making the World’s best Protein Bars – The Key ingredients (Part 2)

To briefly recap; at Reflex Nutrition we never do things by halves and to produce the protein bar of our dreams meant a very bold move, the building of a new state of the art factory. We are now very close to the launch of the all new R-Bar, a protein bar that will deliver on every level;

  1. Ultra high quality EU sourced milk proteins, completely FREE from soy protein
  2. 20 grams of protein per 60 gram bar.
  3. Source of healthy fats
  4. Made using super highly quality cocoa butter, natural flavours and sweetened naturally with stevia.
  5. Packed full of freshly ground non GMO nut butters
  6. Made using Deep Green Energy and made in accordance with ISO9001 quality control procedures
  7. FREE from Isomalto-oligosacchardies (see Part 2 to find out why)
  8. Completely FREE from palm oil.
  9. No added sugar & gluten free.

The R-bar utilises the slogan ‘Protein, Bar None. We feel that this helps to capture the unique nature of this bar. Something I have not spoken about are the flavours we have created. It has taken over a year to get these perfected and it stands to reason that we feel we have something very special to offer both in terms of taste and texture. Before I go into detail about each of the flavours I’d like to mention the perfectly soft texture of these bars. Please note that you do not need to microwave these bars to eat them!

Chocolate Peanut Caramel

Chocolate, peanuts and caramel! Who can resist? A blend of the finest cocoa powder, cocoa butter and freshly roasted and ground peanut butter fused together to create a sumptuous chocolaty experience which is boosted with caramel chunks!

Double Chocolate Brownie

A chocolate lovers dream concoction made with the finest cocoa powder and butter, blended with freshly roasted and ground almond butter. Surprisingly generous dark chunks of interwoven chocolate make this bar simply irresistible!

White Chocolate Raspberry Ripple

An amazing mix of real freeze dried raspberries and freshly roasted and ground almond nut butter blended with serious chunks of white chocolate. A wonderfully aromatic flavour which is simply irresistible!

White Chocolate Apricot

Wonderfully fragrant freeze dried apricots carefully folded into a sumptuous blend of roasted almonds and white chocolate. Fruity, fresh and sumptuous all at the same time!

Cookies and Cream

Decadent, sweet, chocolatey, indulgent, call it what you will, it tastes too good to be true. But it’s the real thing with nutritionals that don’t lie. It’s protein magic!

Cherry Bakewell

The marriage of luxurious cherries, the finest roasted almonds and pure cocoa butter come together in way that will astound you. A unique take on a Cherry Bakewell that will leave you wanting just one more every time!

You’ll also notice that the packaging looks very different to what you might expect to see from Reflex Nutrition. We really wanted to capture the feeling of indulgent confectionery as well as the flavour sensation of the bar. Each box of bars is wrapped in cellophane just like a luxurious box of chocolates with a gold tear strip.

At Reflex Nutrition we simply cannot wait to start full production on the R-Bars because first and foremost we’ve run out of lab samples. They’ve all been eaten! Roll on launch date! It’s not that far off, a month or so, and everyone will be able to have the bar of their dreams. Keep an eye on the Facebook and Twitter Pages for giveaways etc.

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Making the World’s Best Protein Bars – The Key Ingredients – Part 2 of 3

Milk from cows to produce our Protein bars

In part one I announced our plans to make one of the best protein bars on the planet and subsequently the great news about us building our own factory specifically for this purpose.

In this blog I’m going to tell you what the main ingredients are in our new R-Bar but before I do that I just want to talk a little about the Reflex philosophy with regard to choosing ingredients and suppliers. We’ve developed a very powerful reputation during nearly 20 years of manufacturing everything from world class whey protein products to the introduction of Creapure® to the U.K and other countries around the world and many more industry firsts and innovations. There is one word that unites every ingredient we use, QUALITY. To me it’s the most important aspect of everything we do here at Reflex Nutrition.

As I mentioned in part one developing a protein bar has many pitfalls, to counter them the only real solution is to build your own factory so that you can choose simply the finest, highest quality ingredients available. Let’s start with the prototype ingredient listing for our Chocolate Brownie variant;

EU sourced milk protein (free from rBGH), soluble gluco fibre, almonds, EU sourced vegetable glycerine, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, purified water, natural flavourings, sea salt, stevia.

Each bar weighs 60 grams and delivers 20 grams of protein.

The main ingredients

EU Sourced Milk Protein, Grass Fed, free from rBGH (bovine growth hormone)

This exceptional and super high quality protein source is the backbone of the new R-Bar providing a very rich source of BCAA’s and glutamine. It is manufactured in the EU and the milk has come from cattle that are absolutely free from rBGH. This is one thing that separates us from other bars, especially those from the USA where rBGH is widely used and accepted. Given the choice which would you rather have, a product guaranteed NOT to have it, or ones that might? Furthermore, you won’t see any soy protein in this bar or indeed ANY product that we manufacture.

Use of Soluble Gluco Fibre and avoidance of IMO (isomalto-oligosaccharide) and GMO Corn Fibre

Instead of swamping our protein bar with invert syrups, IMO syrups, dextrose and glucose syrups we wanted something that would tick our wish list. We want what most of our consumers want, a healthier alternative to the likes of ingredients such as IMO syrup. Although classed as a pre-biotic a scientific study conducted for safety and approval for the use of IMO syrup in the EU showed that it raises blood sugar levels almost as fast as glucose! As a result the use of IMO syrup in the EU in food products, must by law, must carry a health warning saying “not suitable for diabetics”.

You can read more about on Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) site.

The alternative for Reflex is an award winning ingredient that is called, ‘gluco fibre’. We have been working with the ingredient for considerable period of time. Our lab team have tested it extensively and thoroughly reviewed all research data available with regard to that wish list! That wish list is below.

  • Must come from a reputable European company and be manufactured within the EU
  • Scientific data to support pre-biotic effect
  • Must be non GMO
  • Double blind scientific data to show minimal effect on blood sugar
  • Must be EU approved with no adverse warnings.

Soluble Gluco fibre ticks all the boxes so don’t be surprised to start seeing it numerous protein bars in the near future. Look out for other bars using similar sources of fibres like “soluble corn fibre”, it’s a good alternative to IMO, but will almost certainly be GMO (genetically modified). I’d urge to read more about Non GMO Project.

Almond and Peanut Butters

We are using almond butter in 5 of the 6 flavours we are launching with. It is currently one of the most expensive nut butters on the market. All of our nut butters are custom made specifically for us at Reflex Nutrition. Only the finest whole nuts with theirs skins are selected, carefully roasted and then ground into nutritionally rich nut butters just for the R-Bar. Nothing else is added, no sodium, no preservatives, no palm oil, no added sugar or flavours. They are a great source of poly and mono unsaturated fats, fibre, magnesium and naturally occurring vitamin E. They give the R-Bars substance and add to the mouth-watering flavours.

EU Sourced Vegetable Glycerine

The vast majority of glycerine in the EU is made from rapeseed, which is exactly where ours is sourced from. Technically speaking, it is a sugar alcohol and it is only used in small quantities (10% of the bar). The benefits of glycerine are that it helps the body to remain hydrated and importantly, is naturally occurring in the body as part of gluconeogenesis and obviously safe for human consumption. It has a low glycemic index and when consumed leads to a slow increase in blood sugar.

Some bars will use a number of different sugar alcohols in addition like erythritol, xylitol, maltitol or sorbitol. This is NOT the case with the R-Bar.

Flavourings and sweeteners that make the R-Bar simply irresistible

We want our bars to be as clean and healthy as possible, at the same time we want you to really look forward to eating them and that’s only possible if they taste amazing. Forget anything that you’ve tried from us or our competition. These bars are game changing. The simple fact is that we have achieved this using nothing but natural flavours, real cocoa butter, and the natural sweetener Stevia.

R-Bar is free from the following ingredients;

  • GMO ingredients
  • Corn syrup/solids
  • Glucose syrup
  • Invert syrup
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial flavours
  • Artificial colours
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Soy protein
  • Any whey or milk proteins not proven to be free from rBGH

I’d like to talk about our pledge to not only deliver you the very best protein bar, but to also ensure that we do it in as responsible a manner as possible. We have purposely avoided the use of palm oil because of its environmental impact.   Its’ manufacture has been responsible for significant deforestation and subsequent damage to natural habitats affecting a range of flora and fauna in areas that are the natural habitat of the Orangutan. To highlight the issue, we’ve adopted 10 Orangutans from The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation trust and adding further support as we move forward. We are joining the ranks of others who have undertaken positive action on this front and hope that you will join us.

That concludes this article and in Part 3 we’ll be looking at the finished product, the cost and how you can win one of our very special introductory presentation boxes that contains one of each of the 6 mouth-watering flavours.

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Today I announce our plans to make the world’s best protein bars – Part 1 of 3

Protein Bar by Reflex Nutrition

It’s the start of something genuinely exciting that’s been brewing for over two years which I want to share with you over the coming weeks concluding with the launch of what I think will be the world’s best protein bar. This is the intro of a few articles that will introduce one of the most exciting things we’ve ever done at Reflex Nutrition.

We’ve not had a protein bar in the Reflex range for a number of years now, there is a good reason for this, we simply didn’t like what was available to us. The problem is nearly every single protein bar on the market today is contract packed. We don’t make protein bars and trying to convince contract packers to move away from the usual generic products that are full of cheap artificial ingredients is very difficult. Protein bar machinery is extremely expensive and requires a high level of technical expertise to operate. Once these machines are set they are best used to make one type of product day after day to ensure they run reliably. The problem with this is that the machine will often dictate the recipe. In other words don’t expect to try and make your dream protein bar on them, it’ll probably be very difficult to manufacture and lead to large wastage of product. So for obvious reasons contract packers don’t like to move too far away from their basic off the shelf recipes.

So back to our position with protein bars, one, have a protein bar produced just like every other bar or two, have nothing.

We opted to have nothing because we simply do not want to offer consumers a product that would not live up to the Reflex ethos. Many in the industry quite rightly argue that it’s not a very bright move from a commercial perspective because of the huge loss of business as a result of not having offerings in the fasted growing category of sports nutrition. I’m not interested in making average products and simply will not just make a product for the sake of sales, it just doesn’t feel right. I want to make the best, and nothing but the best.

I’m therefore very, very happy to report that we have just finished a very ambitious project. To build one the finest protein bar factories in the world. It’s a factory full of equipment using secret processing techniques to create the birth of arguably the best protein bars in existence!

Today I am going to tell you a little about the bar, not everything, but enough to get you excited. The first and most obvious question that we know will be asked, “is it like those bars from a certain USA brand with Almonds and IMO syrup?”. Yes and No.

Here are some of the facts;

  • Our bar is called the “R-Bar”
  • It delivers 20 grams of protein per 60gm bar.
  • Visually it looks very appealing, it looks homemade.
  • It contains no artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives.
  • It does not contain added Palm Oil.
  • It does contain almonds.
  • It is made in the U.K in our new state of the art protein bar factory using secret processing techniques.
  • We believe the R-Bar is softer and better tasting than anything you will have tasted to date.

The picture of the protein bar in this article is one if the bars we have made. Those who have tried it have said that it is honestly the best protein bar of any type they have ever tasted.

I will reveal more about the R-Bar next week in the 2nd article – Making the World’s Best Protein Bars.

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