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. Plain whey protein clumps when trying to use it as the only source of powder for your sludge.
To replicate the consistency using just protein powder I had to add a few things. Whey protein isolate 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.
Update: Nov 2019: After all these years, finally came across the perfect protein powder for protein sludge that does not require adding multiple ingredients or multiple types of protein powders which end up adding way too many carbs and fat. Check out this “Protein Sludge Friendly” and ZERO CARB Protein Powder below:
Other things you can which I still do today is 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 or almond 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. Do not add too much casein as it will often get way too thick, so a little trial an error is key. The ZERO CARB Protein Powder mentioned above already has a whey/casein blend which works great for sludge.
Other things to add:
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”. As mentioned, whey alone just doesn’t do it so that is why these other protein sources, nut butters etc are used AND they taste amazing!
Basic sludge recipe:
Take a mug, cup, bowl etc and add a little liquid, you can use water, unsweetened almond milk, liquid egg whites etc. Whatever “keeps it keto” for you.
Start with 2-4 ounces of water (cold or room temp) then add in 2-3 scoops of powder. Typical ratios to make the sludge creamy is 1 scoop of whey, 1 scoop of casein. Or 1.5 scoops of each, 2 scoops of each etc. Trial and error. Less liquid is best, add more if you need too and if it is too thick
You do not need anything else, that it is it!
You can add a little cinnamon if you want, maybe a touch of Stevia, Walden Farms Syrups… whatever is your fancy.
For those who want to kick it up a notch you can add:
1-2 tbsp of powdered peanut butter
1-2 tbsp of real peanut butter, almond butter or any nut butter.
Flax meal, chia meal, hemp etc.
Halo Top, etc type low cal ice-creams – in moderation.
Keep in mind this adds a lot of fat, protein sludge is meant to be a protein snack not a fat bomb but do as you please as per your goals. Also those low cal ice creams like Halo Top will start pushing your carbs and calories up, so remember protein sludge was always about protein first so add whatever else you want, like you would add options on a car…to each their own.
Though I can tell you protein sludge + flax meal makes one VERY “regular” and is a tasty way to help keep the “pipes moving” so to say.
Check out some of these amazing tasting “Protein Sludge Friendly” protein powders by clicking the images below:
Here are a bunch Instagram protein sludge posts to get an idea of how creative and tasty you can get.
Click each photo for more info.