So what exactly is protein sludge?
It all started way back around 1993 when I bought my first box of Met-Rx meal replacement packets (MRP’s). I was used to egg white, whey and some other protein powders but never tried a true MRP. I added it to the blender like I would with any other powder and did not use enough water. Compared to just straight protein powder, Met-Rx required a lot more liquid. Well it was so thick I figured why not let me eat it out of the blender with a spoon, and I was sold on it forever! From that day on I started making protein “sludge” as I coined it, every time I had a packet.
After that and to this very day I hardly ever “drink” a protein shake, 99% of the time I eat with a spoon via “Protein Sludge”.
There are so many variations and the key is to make it smooth and creamy and without the carbs. Met-Rx contained a protein blend plus maltodextrin (a carb) so this is what made it so creamy or like a sludge when added to a small amount of liquid.
To replicate the consistency using just protein powder I had to add a few things. Whey protein was always the base but it clumps up by itself. I then discovered Soy Protein Isolate. It was a game changer! Made it so perfect and creamy, my perfect sludge. Then after a while I realized soy really should be avoided no matter how good a quality of a soy I used.
I started adding in flax meal which helped a lot even a little sugar free Jell-O pudding (8gms of maltodextrin per serving) and this helped as well. But the REAL “binding agent” to make the PERFECT sludge was PEANUT BUTTER. Oh…. that plus whey and some cold water, milk, etc was the bees knees.
But keep it low carb, low fat or mainly protein a whey protein blend or various sources of protein powder was needed. Then many years later Micellar Casein protein became popular and this was the needed ingredient to make the perfect, protein only sludge!
Usually it’s a 1:1 ratio or 1.5:1 So 1 to 1.5 scoop of whey protein isolate and 1 scoop of casein. 2 scoops/2 scoops, etc.
You can add anything else you like: nut butter, flax meal, chia meal, flax seeds, some almonds, you name it. As long as its keeping within your macros.
The “invention” of powdered peanut butter; PB2 etc really took this to a new level such that if you add enough, you don’t need any casein to make the whey creamy but the carb/calorie count ads up.
You can also use cottage cheese as the binder or “sludge catalyst”. Whey alone just doesn’t do it so that is why these other protein sources, nut butters etc are used AND they taste amazing!
Here are a bunch of my Instagram protein sludge posts to get an idea of how creative and tasty you can get.