As a chef, bikini competitor, and master's student pursuing a degree in clinical nutrition, Jacquelyn Thompson knows about the importance of protein. We had the chance to connect with Jacquelyn to learn about how she uses protein in her daily life, easy hacks to lower the calories in a morning cup of coffee, and favorite XTEND Pro recipes.
I tend to get slower when I’m full. I save my more solid meals of rice, oats, and animal proteins like fish and chicken, for later in the day. Additionally, my blood sugar fluctuates easily both high and low depending on my macros, leaving me feeling tired if it happens prior to my lift. Because of this, I like to use protein before my workout, so I know I’m not shortchanging my results, but also to keep me from feeling mentally and physically sluggish.
Prior to lifting, in the morning, and in the evening as a sweet substitute for ice cream to wind down for the night.
My protein use doesn’t change too much until I’m closer to the stage but even then, that’s just a couple weeks prior to fine tune for the stage. The thing that does change is what I have it with, so if my carbs are low, I may get less rice cakes to dip in my protein ice cream! Additionally, I may adjust what I mix it with if my other macros are higher (banana, dried dates), or lower (almond milk and lots of ice lol) as a means of feeling satisfied and staving off some emotional or hunger fluctuations.
Something I haven’t spoken too openly about is having ADHD. For years, I was unaware, and was diagnosed much later in life. Having ADHD doesn’t just mean you’re hyper or forgetful. It's a neurological difference in terms of how your brain responds and operates. This can affect individuals in a range of ways that most people don’t realize, ways such as hormonally, emotionally, appetite, organization, planning, or being hyper focused.
Having ADHD means your brain is less sensitive to dopamine response, meaning you seek this out in other areas of your life, whether it be your interests, habits, relationships, or diet. ADHD just means your brain doesn’t operate in a neurotypical manner in terms of brain functions, with most individuals with ADHD existing in a very “now” sense.
ADHD also effects things like hunger cues, dulling this for many, only to be sent into over-drive once they actually break their hyper focus and realize they were hungry 2 hours ago. Additionally, it effects hormone fluctuations differently for women, as well as how they exhibit this in general.
For me, this means I can become hyper focused at times, forgetting to eat if I’m not mindful, or have a very low appetite especially when I’m not deep in a diet phase. This is where I supplement with XTEND Pro to make something like an iced coffee or latte first thing in the morning, so I can have some means of keeping my blood sugar level while I either dive into my studies, or if I’m starting my day with a lift, I won’t be too full, having a coffee shake and a couple rice cakes on the way.
If my own lil quirks weren’t fun enough, being a competitive bikini athlete a Master’s student (currently pursuing a degree in Clinical Nutrition at SCNM), and after years of being a chef, (which everyone thinks would mean I want to eat everything in sight) my eating patterns can be a bit all over the place. As a chef, hunger queues become something you learn to work through since you have to work hours when the rest of the world wants to eat and sell the food sitting in front of you regardless of your own appetite. You also create a somewhat mental catalogue of what food tastes like, being able to suffice on one bite for tasting and accuracy, so cravings actually aren’t as much of an aspect of life for me, almost to the point I wish I had some to make decisions easier since ADHD can make this even harder.
When I do get hungry, sometimes I need something quick, and I have a sweet tooth which makes XTEND Pro perfect for me. Sometimes, I also just want something I can have a decent volume of, in part due to this dopamine seeking aspect. Studies have shown strong correlations with ADHD and disordered eating patterns due to this combination of a low/delayed recognition of appetite queues and dopamine seeking behaviors. And heck, let’s just say it, I’m a girl, I still get weak for ice cream. This is when I turn to XTEND Pro to make a nightly favorite of mine, a huge smoothie bowl. I’ve also found it works for things like pancakes, cake, muffins, all things that normally may send my blood sugar on a roller coaster. I can supplement with a protein source to keep my energy levels stable, even if I forget to eat after having my head buried in PubMed articles.
Better blood sugar control and digestion (no lactose here!) personally. Fewer sweet cravings or rather an easier means of satisfying them. Plus, better mood or emotional regulation since I have something easy, quick, and protein based, as protein helps keep insulin levels more stable.
I would advise them to just take a closer look at their food choices and timing in general and see if it’s benefiting them currently. If not, consider making some adjustments! It’s surprising what something as simple as replacing a sugary latte with a protein coffee can do. This little change alone could not only cut off anywhere from 35-75 grams of sugar. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but a grande pumpkin spice latte is 50 grams of sugar and 14g of fat, and let’s be honest, who gets a grande and not a venti? Switch over to a vanilla protein iced coffee, add in some spices, sugar free syrup, or hunt for some pumpkin spice extract from the baking isle and you’re looking at something like 3-5 grams of carbs depending on your milk of choice (I prefer almond milk), 1 gram of fat, and 25 grams of protein putting you at just 130kcal. It’s little switches like this you can find in your typical day that make a big difference.
I look for minimal ingredients, low sugar or carb count, lower fat, and instantized whey protein isolate which is easier to mix as the granules are coated. Additionally, I look for isolate as this is a purer form of whey, having had the fats, lactose, and other constituents removed in a microfiltration or ion exchange filtration method to provide the purest product. I also look for transparency about what is actually in the whey product I choose.
XTEND Pro has all of these and additionally lists the amino breakdown right on the container. Finally, I look for close ratio in terms of how many grams are in a scoop vs. how many grams of protein, as this tells me how much “other” stuff is in the protein powder blend itself.
While some things are of course going to be added for flavor and stability, a high total makes me think there’s a lot more than just protein in my protein. Not only does XTEND Pro have a close ratio, but they’re also upfront about what is in their profile having things like added 7 grams of BCAAs, electrolytes, low sugar, and ingredients like cocoa.
I trust XTEND because I don’t have to (oxymoron). What I mean by this is, they have it right on their label that they’re third party tested by Informed Choice and NSF which both make sure there are no banned substances, ensure companies are following sanitary guidelines, and monitor for social injustices among companies such as workplace or modern slavery within the supply chain. So, when I say I “don’t have to trust them” I mean, I don’t have to blindly have faith they’re doing the right thing as there are third party governing parties ENSURING this, of which this company partakes in voluntarily.
I love the flavors, versatility of the product, and ease in which I can incorporate it into my life. I know the quality is there and the practices the company follows in sourcing tell me I don’t have to worry about any sort of adverse effect from supplementing with XTEND Pro from things like contaminants.
I have! My parents both use XTEND Pro now in place of their coffee creamer and my mom is having fun using it in baked goods. My parents are getting older and becoming more aware of typical signs of aging, skin, hair, weight, and energy changes, as well as aches and stiffness. They were using collagen, but their diet overall was high in areas like cholesterol, trans fats, sugar, and low in quality protein in general so in a sneaky way when they came to visit, I made them coffee in the morning when I made my own and by the time they left they had one of each flavor on the way to meet them when they got home! Now dad makes his iced coffee on the way out the door to work and mom makes protein muffins for the girls at her office.
It’s a toss up between the XTEND chocolate lava cake and the XTEND vanilla ice cream. The vanilla I use the most because I can bake with it, use it in my coffee, and if I really want something chocolatey, I can always add cocoa to my vanilla, but if you’re just a chocolate lover and don’t want to mess around guessing, the chocolate lava cake is simply just so well done.
While proteins, especially whey can be tricky to bake with, this one is really good and easier than most to work into recipes with some minor adjustments! I’m a sucker for breakfast foods so subbing out the cream for the vanilla protein and egg whites for my French toast batter was an easy one. Aside from that, pancakes, muffins, and even carrot cake have all been a success! Additionally, I have “not baked” with this protein too, using it for “no-bake” protein bars and truffles. My pumpkin spice protein bar was one of my best with the only downside being that my fiancé ate them all when I was out of town! I was so looking forward to one when I got home!