Monitoring Protein Intake with MyFitnessPal

Protein Intake MyFitnessPal

Monitoring Your Protein Intake with MyFitnessPal

I highlighted in my previous post on Essential Guide to Protein For Women the importance of consuming enough protein. However, monitoring how much protein you realistically consume each day can be a tricky task.

For friends and family that need a helping hand, the app that I find myself recommending time and time again is MyFitnessPal.


MyFitnessPal is a pretty popular app. When I ‘explored’ the apple app store, MyFitnessPal was right at the top of the health and fitness section. For this reason, I kind of assumed that most people had heard of it already.

However, when I’ve recently been talking to friends about nutrition and suggesting they ‘track that on MyFitnessPal’, I’ve been met with a few blank stares.

So, for the uninitiated of you, MyFitnessPal is an online ‘Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker’.

It can be accessed through an app or an internet browser, is available for apple and android, and is free!

What does MyFitnessPal do?


MyFitnessPal essentially allows you to monitor all of you calories-in, nutrients and macros.

You simply search for the product that you have consumed and select from the results displayed for you.

There is a massive database of products, which means that you can more than likely find your exact ingredient, whether it’s a Waitrose organic chicken breast, or a specific brand of protein powder.

From this, MyFitnessPal can calculate and provide a breakdown of your calories, nutrients and macronutrients which are visible in simple tables and pie charts, put in perspective of your goals.

So, if you’ve worked out how many grams, calories, or percent of your diet should be protein, you can see how what you’re really eating compares.

Because MyFitnessPal breaks down each day by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, supplements), it’s also easy to see whether you’re successfully spreading your protein intake over the course of the day.


MyFitnessPal has an exercise diary function that may also be useful. I know that MyFitnessPal is compatible with a number of wearable fitness trackers, but I personally haven’t used this feature.

I wouldn’t recommend using MyFitnessPal to track exercise in terms of calories burned as there are so many variables involved in calculating calorie expenditure that this is likely to be massively inaccurate and misleading. Especially if your goal is weightloss, it’s nutrition that will make the greatest impact and should be your main focus.


Who is MyFitnessPal useful for?

MyFitnessPal is great for people who simply don’t know how much of what they are consuming. For my friends and family who I think aren’t consuming enough protein or who are eating unhealthily for other reasons, I suggest MyFitnessPal to increase awareness and drive motivation for improvement.

It’s also perfect for people who already know what they need to be consuming and require something to help them stay on track. It’s ideal for tracking calories consumed and macronutrient splits. This is where it comes in handy for making sure that you reach your protein goal!

Tips for using MyFitnessPal

In order to get the most out of MyFitnessPal and to become as aware as possible about what you’re putting in your body, and to make the process as simple as possible, there are a few things that I’d recommend:

Invest in some digital scales

I have an electronic kitchen scale that I used to measure out food when I started to use MyFitnessPal.

Even now, I’m pretty terrible at estimating the weights of foods, whether it’s a handful of nuts or a fillet of fish, but I’m definitely better than I was.

Weighing foods for a few days, or even a few meals, can be really eye opening and ensures that you’re getting the most accurate results from the effort that you’re putting into tracking your macronutrients and calories.

Take Photos

By taking photos of meals that you are logging on MyFitnessPal, you have a visual representation of what a certain number of calories, number of grams of protein, or quantity of sugar looks like for future reference.

It’s really useful to develop the ability to estimate the weight of ingredients or the number of calories in a meal by eye.

Create Recipes

The recipe feature on MyFitnessPal is really handy. It’s good for calculating the number of calories and the macronutrient content of dishes that would be otherwise near impossible to estimate; things like casseroles, meatloaf, pancakes, or really anything that combines multiple ingredients.

As well as providing nutritional information for your recipes that otherwise would not have a nutrition label, it’s a simple shortcut to logging frequently eaten foods.

For example, if you frequently meal prep in bulk and will be eating the same thing several days in a row, and probably again in the future, by creating a recipe you only have to input each item once.


How I use MyFitnessPal

There are lots of diet and exercise trackers available, I’m sure. But I have to admit I’m unfamiliar with them. I use MyFitnessPal because it’s simple, has the biggest database of foods available, and it’s free!

I don’t use MyFitnessPal to track what I eat every day. Occasionally I’ll monitor a few days in a row, perhaps once a month, to check whether my eating patterns are sitting where they should be.

I also track when I’m eating in a way that is out of the ordinary for me, such as when I’m on-the-go a lot and grabbing convenience food, or when I’m settling into new habits such as when starting a new job or a new training regime.

I wish that MyFitnessPal had a month-to-view calendar that highlights on which days the food diary has been completed, so that I can easily refer back without scrolling through day-by-day. (If you know that this can be done, please let me know how!)

I’d never want to be completely reliant on, or obsessed with, tracking everything that I eat. But I think MyFitnessPal provides the perfect conditions for you to increase your knowledge of what you put in your body and highlight room for improvement.

If you already use MyFitnessPal, I’d love to know how you find it useful?

If you don’t already use it, I challenge you to track what you eat for a week. Where there any surprises? Did you find any ways to improve your nutrition?

Love Life Supplements Primal Power Review


The Concept

Primal Power is a whey protein powder also containing healthy fats. It’s a really unique product within the sports nutrition industry, and one that I love.

The product was designed with a paleo diet in mind, something that LLS founder Ben Law passionately follows. However, there are lots of other people, like me, who would find massive benefits in taking it.

Like all of the Love Life Supplements products, this is produced to really high quality standards, in the UK.

Nutritional Information + Ingredients

A typical serving contains 215 calories, including 20g protein, 10g fat, 6.6g carbohydrates (only 2.5g sugar) and a brilliant 9.2g fibre.

The proteins in this drink are a standard blend used in many sports supplements. It’s the additional ingredients that make this product really unique.

Medium Chain Triglycerides

The fat content of the shake comes from the addition of MCTs, which are derived from coconuts.

MCTs are metabolised in a different way to most fats as they are sent directly to your liver where they are immediately converted into energy.

MCTs are really easily digested and are so tolerable, in fact, that they are often used in medically treating people who are unable to digest other types of fats well.

LLS also sell MCT oil, which is great for adding to smoothies or making bulletproof coffee.

Flax Seeds

As well as being a great source of fibre, flax seeds contain one of the richest sources of the plant-based omega 3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).


Fructooligosaccharides are considered a soluble dietary fibre, and are used in Primal Power for their prebiotic effect. Essentially, they are the food for ‘good bacteria’, which is great news for your gut!

Digestive Enzyme Complex

The digestive enzymes in Primal Power include amylase, protease, lipase and lactase for aiding digestion of carbohydrates, protein, fats and lactose.

Natural sweetener

Unlike many protein powders that are full of artificial sweeteners, typically sucralose, LLS use stevia to sweeten Primal Power for a really natural taste. Read my post on the benefits of stevia


Taste + Texture

Primal Power is available in two flavours: chocolate and vanilla. Both taste deliciously natural and a lot like drinking ice cream.

A serving of Primal Power is 50g of the powder. This is quite a large serving size considering that the average for a regular protein shake tends to be around 25g-35g, but the mixability is brilliant and the shake is always amazingly silky smooth and easy to drink.


The RRP for a 1.5kg tub of Primal Power is £39.95 on the LLS website, although it is often cheaper.

It is very hard to compare the price to other protein powders as it isn’t an ordinary whey protein powder by any means.

While I would say that it isn’t cheap, I would absolutely advocate that it offers value for money.


My Verdict

I love this product. It’s truly unique and it’s great to know that it is made in the UK with the finest natural ingredients. As well as the use of MCTs, Primal Power contains plenty of ingredients to aid your digestive health, something that I’m really passionate about.

I think this protein is perfect to take first thing in the morning. I always have protein after waking up, with breakfast, and Primal Power has become one of my favourite options. The fats are great for giving you energy to take on the day.

To be honest though, Primal Power is great taken at any time of day, whenever you need a boost. Ordinarily, I try and avoid consuming fats immediately post-workout with my protein shake as they slow digestion, but MCTs are different in this respect and are perfectly fit for purpose here!

Despite this, I would probably only consume Primal Power once a day due to the fact that I get plenty of healthy fats elsewhere in my diet, and the fact that is isn’t incredibly affordable, although it is definitely value for money.

Protein Supplements for Women


Protein for Women doesn't Exist

Protein supplements are getting increasingly popular, but there is still some confusion over what women need in a protein supplement, and whether they need them at all!

First thing’s first. Protein for women doesn’t exist. There are many companies that try to convince women that they need a different kind of protein supplement than men, but they don’t.

Protein is a macronutrient, like carbohydrates or fats. Can you imagine if women were told that they needed to eat a different kind of chicken than men? It’s simply not the case! Protein is protein. And women need it in the same way that men do. Ignore marketing ploys and follow this simple guide.

While there are many protein supplements becoming available, from protein bars to protein desserts, the focus of this guide is protein powders.

If you’d like more information on the role of protein and protein sources in general, head to my protein guide for women for a thorough overview.

Benefits of protein supplements

It’s always best to take a ‘food first’ approach to getting protein into your diet, but like many other people, I’ve found protein supplements incredibly helpful in meeting my daily requirements.

Protein powders are great to top-up your protein intake while being able to control your intake of other macronutrients.

Protein supplements are convenient (requiring almost no preparation), are easy to consume in a rush or on-the-go, and are very affordable with some coming in at as little as 30p per serving.

Protein powders are available in a range of flavours, most of which are great for satisfying a sweet tooth! However, they tend to be sugar-free, instead being sweetened using sucralose or, increasingly popularly, stevia.


Types of protein powder

There are several different types of protein powder on offer. Protein powder can be derived from different food sources, different forms can be blended, and additional ingredients can be added.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is the most popular product when it comes to protein supplements. It is regarded as the gold standard and is usually used in research as a control. Whey naturally occurs in milk and is filtered to make whey protein products.

The reason that is it so popular is that it has an excellent amino acid profile and can be digested and absorbed into muscles very quickly.

Even within the category of whey protein, there are different types.

Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is generally the cheapest option. It contains around 70-80% protein.

Whey protein isolate (WPI) is generally a little more expensive as it has undergone an additional step of purification and so contains around 90% (and up to 97% in some cases!) protein. WPI is also slightly lower in lactose than WPC.

Hydrolysed whey protein (HWP) is another option. HWP has undergone the process of enzymatic hydrolysis to break down long protein chains into small chain peptides making it quicker and easier for your body to absorb. This is a good option for people with digestive issues, however, not necessary for other people as whey is already very digestible. HWP is more expensive.

Casein Protein

Like whey, casein is derived from milk. However, unlike whey, casein is a very slow releasing protein. The slower digestion of this kind of protein means that there is a sustained release of amino acids for up to 7 hours.

Micellar casein digests very slowly and is a more expensive form of casein.

Calcium caseinate is the cheaper form of casein. It is inferior to micellar casein as it has undergone further processing to make it more soluble. While this means that the consistency of the shake is less sludgy, the treatment affects the quality of the product.

The term milk protein tends to indicate a mixture of casein and whey.

Soy protein

Soy is the most well-researched vegetable protein. In terms of absorption time, soy is the intermediate bridge between the two dairy proteins. Soy protein also contains a good amino acid profile. However, soy is a heavily genetically modified crop that tends to be treated with a lot of pesticides.

Egg protein and Beef Protein

Egg protein and beef protein are also available as non-dairy protein alternatives, and are often posed as ‘paleo’ protein options. They tend to be a little more expensive and not as tasty.

Vegan protein

Besides soy, there are plenty of other protein supplement options for vegans. Pea and rice proteins are both fairly good options, whereas hemp protein has a low protein content and is not as digestible as the other options.

With vegan proteins, it is best to opt for a blend to ensure that you benefit from a better amino acid profile, as their amino acid ratios are not as good as proteins from animal sources.

Protein Blends

Often, as mentioned with vegan protein, protein supplements will be a blend of two or more of the above forms of protein.

For example, a blend that contains whey, soy and casein may be formulated to create a product where amino acid availability is high but also sustained. In this scenario, whey protein would ensure that amino acids reached the muscles quickly, while the soy and casein would ensure prolonged release and protein synthesis.

One example of a brand that does this is MaxiNutrition, who include whey, casein and soy in their protein powders.

However, be aware that companies may also blend proteins in this way in order to make the formulation cheaper to manufacture. Therefore, if you feel that you would benefit from a blend of whey and casein protein (before bed, for example), consider mixing this yourself rather than buying a protein blend.

Added ingredients

Many protein powders have added ingredients, from vitamins and minerals, to weight loss aids.

For example, some post-workout formulas for people looking to gain muscle and strength may include carbohydrates and creatine (find my guide to creatine here). Other products contain enzymes to aid digestion, although these probably aren’t necessary for most people.

This is also the part where the idea of protein for women should be addressed. Protein supplements aimed at women tend to have added ingredients, such as green tea extract, that claim to be fat burners. In other words, protein supplements marketed to women are actually protein supplements that may (or indeed may not) aid weightloss.

I personally like to take a basic protein powder and add other powders and take other supplements as and when I need them, and in the doses that are best for me.


When to take protein supplements

There are several times at which you would benefit from an intake of protein.

Firstly, in the morning, after your body has essential fasted for many hours. Having protein in the morning can also assist with satiety and weight management.

Most commonly, protein supplements are taken post-workout to support recovery. Here, fast-acting whey protein is beneficial.

It is also beneficial to take protein before bed. In this case, a slow-releasing protein such as casein is best for sustained release of protein throughout the night.

How to take protein supplements

Protein supplements are really easy to consume. They can be mixed into a shake with water or milk (I tend to opt for water for fewer calories and quicker digestion), blended into a smoothie.

Mixing protein powder with water will generally digest more quickly, so this is a good option post-workout. Mixing protein powder with milk will generally mean it is absorbed more slowly, making this a good bedtime option.

Alternatively, you can improve the protein content of your foods by mixing protein powder into porridge, or using it in recipes for pancakes or waffles. Protein powder can in this way improve the macronutrient profile of foods that are generally lacking in protein.

Where to buy protein supplements

I always recommend buying online. Supermarkets, pharmacies and health food stores tend to sell protein supplements for very high prices compared to online. My go-to for protein supplement shopping is MyProtein, where I buy Impact Whey Isolate. Remember to use the code BLONDEETHOS for 10% off your order1 There are also lots of protein supplements on amazon.

Sometimes I vary what brands I use products from depending on samples I pick up and what other people in my household are using. I enjoy experimenting and I sometimes use different products at different times of day for optimal nutrition.

Need a hand?

The type of protein supplement that you choose will vary depending on the time of day that you take it, your lifestyle situation, your budget, and digestive tendencies.

Get in touch if you’d like any help picking out the right protein product for you. I’d love to help!

Is Quorn Good For You? Your Need-To-Know On The Meat-Free Protein


I don’t recall eating Quorn at any point in my life until I recently attended an event at the Underground Cookery School where Quorn recipes were on the menu. One of the reasons that Quorn had never appealed to me was because I didn’t feel like I needed an alternative to meat. Another reason is because I just didn’t know what the hell the stuff was made of. Even now that I do, I’m not sure that I’m any more convinced to introduce it to my diet…

Quorn Products

Quorn is a source of protein that is used in place of meat. There are a huge range of products available from Quorn from ready meals to deli-style options, and they tend to be named after types of meat.

As an avid meat-eater, it took me a while to come round to the fact that you can get Quorn meat-free chicken fillets, Quorn meat-free roast beef joint and Quorn meat-free turkey steaks. I didn’t like the idea that they were directly compared to meat.

However, I totally realise that without this, the product wouldn’t be so successful. The associations with specific meat produce allows you to identify with the Quorn products. It makes Quorn easy to substitute into your existing favourite meat-based recipes, with very little adaptation, should you want to.

What is Quorn made of?

Ultimately, Quorn is a processed food. Due to the nature of the protein within it, it has to be processed in order to be usable.

This also means that there are a couple of those infamous ‘hard to pronounce’ ingredients used to firm up the product into a useable state.

Here’s an example of a typical Quorn product ingredients list. This is taken from the Quorn Chicken Fillets:
Mycoprotein (89%), Rehydrated Free Range Egg White, Flavouring, Firming Agents: Calcium Chloride, Calcium Acetate; Gelling Agent: Pectin

It’s clear that due to the use of egg, which is currently an essential binding agent in the product, that Quorn is currently unsuitable for vegans. However, it sounds like their R+D team are in the process of developing something to fill this gap.

What is Mycoprotein?

Mycoprotein (‘myco’ being the word for ‘fungus’) is essentially the protein from fungi. Specifically, the mycoprotein used by Quorn is derived from Fusarium Venenatum.

It seems that making mycoprotein available from the original source is a complex process involving fermentation amongst other processes.


Nutritional Information

100g of Quorn Meat-Free Chicken Fillets contains only 86 calories including 11.5g of protein. Compared to 100g of actual chicken, which contains around 25g of protein, that’s not great.

Quorn emphasise the fact that their mycoprotein-based products are low in salt, low in fat including saturated fat, and are high in dietary fibre. Not bad.

However, when I’m eating fairly clean, nutritious, whole foods anyway, looking out for these things doesn’t concern me. I believe that a small amount of saturated fat from fairly lean, unprocessed meat isn’t a bad thing. It’s when you’re getting it from greasy ready meals that it’s an issue.

There are definitely people that might benefit from the lower calorie content of a Quorn Meat-Free product compared to actual meat, and who need to be more aware of their salt, fat and fibre intakes, and for those individuals, this might be a great option.

Taste + Texture

Quorn products seem to be relatively flavourless. Quorn suggest marinating the products as they really absorb the flavours, but it seems to be more the case that the food would be distinctly flavourless otherwise. While this makes it quite versatile in recipes, it also makes it seem a lot less like food to me.

The hyphae, the long strands that make up the structure of the fungus, are a similar length and width to animal muscle fibres. This is why Quorn are able to create products that can mimic the texture and appearance of real meat.

Despite this, I haven’t been a big lover of the texture on the occasions that I’ve tried Quorn, although I’m sure it will grow on me. It’s much softer than animal meat and, when at the cookery school eating it in a bun, I couldn’t distinguish between the texture of the Quorn and the bread in my mouth, which was a bit strange!

It’s sustainable

One thing that I do really like about Quorn is that sustainability is at the absolute epicentre of what they do.

Mycoprotein was originally discovered growing in 1967 in an effort to find alternative sources of food to fill the protein gap caused by growing world population.

The production process of Quorn products is efficient and sustainable with what seems like substantially smaller environmental impact than the production of meat from animal sources.

Quorn production requires less agricultural land and uses less water. In fact, data currently available suggests that the water footprint of Quorn mince is 15 times less than that of beef.

Quorn products also produce fewer greenhouse gases than the production of meat as livestock alone make a massive contribution to greenhouse gas production.

My Verdict

I won’t be consuming Quorn on a regular basis. However, I would consider trying Quorn versions of processed meats, such as sausages.

Also, as Quorn doesn’t need cooking so much as heating to eat, it is quite a convenient source of protein when you want to whip up a hot and hearty meal in a nip. It also has a conveniently (albeit slightly suspiciously) long shelf life and is super affordable, too.

If you’re a Quorn eater, I’d love to know which of their products you’d recommend?

Protein for Women: The Essential Guide


It’s Essential to Understand + Consume Protein, Whether You’re into Fitness or Not

I’ve found that the role of protein is misunderstood by a range of both women and men. From my parents, to friends, to people I’ve met while working out, I’ve experienced resistance from people in understanding the role of protein, and it is having a detrimental impact on their health.

Since I upped my protein intake to an optimal level, my weight has been more stable, I’ve had more energy, and I’ve been thrilled at the improvements that I’ve made in my training and body composition.

Protein occurs naturally and you will consume it (hopefully!) every day, several times a day, for your entire life, so it is worth understanding what it is and what affect it has on your body. Please take the time to educate yourself on the importance of protein so that you can see some benefits too...

Why is Protein Important? What Does Protein Do?

Like carbohydrates and fats, protein is an essential macronutrient (‘macro’), that you cannot live without. Proteins are made up of amino acids of which there are 20 in total. Some of these amino acids are ‘essential’ as they can’t be made by the body and so must be consumed as food.

I’ve found that the word ‘protein’ tends to be immediately associated with supplementation by many people, thinking that it’s only something that only athletes and bodybuilders require. It’s true that active individuals require a larger quantity of protein, but only to aid recovery.

Protein Helps to Repair Muscles + Other Tissue

When training, muscle tissue is broken down. This muscle tissue (along with many other tissues in your body, from skin and hair, to vital organs) then needs protein to repair itself.

Protein Safeguards Against Muscle Loss

Especially if you’re on any kind of weight loss plan, or recovery from an injury or illness, it’s crucial to know that protein stops you losing muscle.

Ensuring that you are consuming enough protein, stops your body from breaking down your muscles instead of fat and, in turn, helps to maintain a healthy metabolism.

When you’re ‘dieting’, a calorie is not a calorie. The nutritional content of those calories matters.

Protein Helps you Feel Fuller + Burn Calories More Effectively

On the topic of weight maintenance, protein helps in other ways, too.

Firstly, compared to carbohydrates and fats, proteins take longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Secondly, protein has the highest thermogenic effect of food (TEF), which means that it requires more energy to process it in the body. Where carbohydrates and fats have a TEF of around 5-15%, protein can be from 20-35%! In theory this means that for every 100 calories of protein that you ingest, between 20 and 35 are burned in the digestion process.


Sources of protein


Eggs are the king of protein as they have a high biological value and are complete with all 20 amino acids. They’re also very affordable and super versatile!


Meat is also a great protein source. It’s best to opt for lean meats such as chicken and turkey, or a lean cut of beef.

Fish + Seafood

Fish and other seafood also provide a good amounts of protein. Oily fish such as salmon are great sources of super-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Dairy Products

Dairy products provide protein in smaller amounts than the above, but they’re still great to include in a balanced diet. The best dairy products are greek yogurt and cottage cheese, which is relatively low in fat and high in casein, so make a great snack before bed.


Nuts, especially almonds and cashews, make a great addition to stir-fries and are the perfect snack. They contain good levels of healthy fats and are perfect to keep in your handbag or gymbag for when you’re feeling peckish.

Beans + Pulses

Beans and pulses aren’t as high in protein as animal sources, but are a good vegetarian/vegan option. They’re also relatively inexpensive and are great for bulking out dishes.

Protein Powders

Protein supplements are becoming more commonplace, but are still largely misunderstood. They are essentially just refined versions of the protein from food sources.

Whey protein shakes are derived from milk, pea protein is from peas and egg protein shakes are from egg! It really is as simple as that. They offer a more convenient way to top up your protein intake.

Protein Intake Amounts

People should typically be consuming between 1-2g of protein per kg bodyweight every day. Obviously, the more you weigh, the more you should consume. Also, the more active you are, the more you should consume.

A typical serving of protein should contain between 20-40g protein. For example, a 100g chicken breast would contain around 20g protein.

When you need more protein

There are certain times that your body will benefit from a protein intake above that which you should normally consume.

When you are starting to exercise more frequently, or training in a more demanding way, you will benefit from upping your protein intake to aid muscle recovery.

If you are recovering from injury or any kind of illness, protein will also aid recovery, as well as minimise muscle loss.

As you age, you will need more protein to stimulate protein synthesis in order to grow, repair and maintain your muscle.

You may also require additional protein (which may be in the form of protein supplements) if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

At any time that you increase your protein intake, be sure to also consume more water as excess protein has a diuretic effect. Always keep well hydrated.

Protein Doesn’t Make Women Look Bulky

Hopefully this article has given a good overview of why protein is important for overall health. It isn’t something that is only required when leading an active lifestyle, but an active lifestyle will more than likely require a higher protein intake.

By understanding what protein is and how it affects your body, you can hopefully appreciate that the myth that protein can make women ‘bulk up’ is false. If you are looking to increase muscle size, you will need to train hard with heavy weights, and in that case, protein will help your muscles to repair and grow. Still, your muscles are only physically capable of growing to a certain extent, and will never develop in the way that men’s do because women only have a fraction of the testosterone that men do.

If you still have any queries about the role of protein, please feel free to send them my way!