Between my Gout Gummies and the recent spate of AIP (Auto Immune Protocol) Diet Recipes I've been posting lately, you guys have been learning alllll kinds of stuff about my health that I'm guessing no one wanted to hear about, LOL. I haven't even gotten into the Cipro Poisoning ("Floxing") drama that we've been dealing with lately - but hey, there's not really any recipe tie-in for that!
Today, I would like to share my recipes for BCAA Gummies.
If you don't know what BCAAs are, you're where I was last May. I knew vaguely of "Branched Chain Amino Acids" on a basic level, in terms of biology class and diet, but I wasn't aware of them in terms of something that some people supplemented their diet / fitness regimen with.
I didn't come to know them through the gym, no, I took a much more roundabout path to BCAA supplementation. You see, I was several years into a fibromyalgia dx. I very much looked at it as a "we don't know what is going on with you, must be this" kind of deal, because really... my body likes to keep me and everyone else guessing. All I knew was that the pain could be fairly well managed with medium rare beef and/or shellfish, so that's what I did - managed it with diet. Honestly, that's part of what made me think "Not Fibro". If Fibro could be treated with steak... no one would be suffering from it!
Well, then I had my first gout flare, and things had to change. My go-to "medicine" suddenly became hugely problematic. No sense treating a pain disorder with something that causes crippling pain, after all! Thanks, body.
So, I looked into my known helpers, tried to find common ground. Why did rare or medium rare beef work, but not - say - chicken? I looked for common nutrients, but supplementing with any of them didn't help in the way that the food version did.
A conversation with a (NON-WOO!) Naturopath last May put the final piece of the puzzle together - she speculated that it may be a BCAA issue. The reasoning was that cooking can denature BCAAs, so that could explain why rare beef worked, but well done beef did not. She told me to go buy whatever brand of BCAA I wanted, and to give it a try.
So, I went to Popeye's Supplements. Now, I should get this out of the way upfront - I have no relationship with either Popeyes or the BCAAs I'm about to rave about, I just love and adore both companies. Popeyes is great not only for the selection and pricing, but because... to be quite honest, going into a sports nutrition store as a fat chick can be intimidating, and employees aren't always great to you if you don't look like *one of them*. That's never been the case for me at Popeyes, which really stands out to me as exceptional. Their customer service is amazing beyond that, and they even offer sampling of their products. When you're fussy about textures and flavours, this is amazing. Anyway, enough love letter for now!
SO yeah, I went to Popeyes, told the salesperson that I needed BCAAs, and he patiently walked me through the options, let me sample whatever I wanted, and I immediately fell in love with Revolution Nutrition's "BCAA Splash" offerings. Their BCAA powder line was all modeled after popular gummy flavours (Grape slices, sour cherries, Swedish Berries, Sour Peaches, Those little green gummy/marshmallow frogs, etc), and the flavours were bang on. Additionally, there was no gritty texture. I settled on the Sour Cherry version for our experiment, and headed home.
... and that was the end of my fibro DX. The effects settled in immediately, as if I'd had a big, rare steak. My muscle "speed bumps" settled out after a day or so, no pain, life was good. A think I only waited a few days to go back and buy up a bunch more, in different flavours. A cheap and easy fix that involves basically drinking candy? SCORE.
Aaaaand that's way more space dedicated to talking about my health issues than I'd planned, here. Anyway!
My freakish issues aside, BCAAs are generally used by fitness oriented people, to aid in recovery from workouts. If you're a kind of person who can use BCAAs, you probably already know about them and don't need any 'splaining.
So, the gummies.
While I'm a huge fan of basically drinking liquid candy, sometimes I like to take it in a different form - and that's when these come in. They're fun, portable, and also manage to satisfy any gummy cravings, without sugar. The fact that each of the flavours in this line are specifically meant to taste like candy means that the gummy version is very convincing - especially the green frog and grape flavours. Love. It!
You can use whatever brand or flavour of BCAAs you want, just be sure to use something that you actually like the taste of. Also, try to use something that tends to dissolve well - if it's a gritty drink, it'll probably make a gritty gummy, and that's... sad.
Now, this is important: Much like the rare steak vs well done steak, cooking BCAAs can denature it to a degree. For that reason, you want to be careful to use low heat, and ONLY cook it til it's dissolved. It should not even come to a simmer.
As an aside, I also take an L-Glutamine powder supplement, and usually just put 3 of the tiny scoops of that in with my gummies. One less thing I need to mix up, during the day. This is another area where the format gives convenience - you're not really supposed to take the two together, as you can really only process so much of it at once. "Competes for uptake", I believe. So, I'll space a serving out over the day and call it good. Easy - and fewer mix cups to wash!
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In terms of the gummy molds used, I use THIS set pretty exclusively when making these BCAA gummies. While you can use any gummy mold you want - or even just pour it into a pan and cut them out - I've settled on these dinosaur molds because 1 batch makes exactly enough for 3 full trays (4 come in the set). Not only is that just satisfying on it's own, it makes things nice for figuring out servings. 1 batch of this makes 3 servings, so one tray / 12 dinosaurs is one serving of BCAAs. Easy!