Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Smoothies and protein powders

Colleagues and friends often ask my opinion on protein powders, and many patients are always looking for smoothie recipes. I don't even understand why you would need a recipe when you're just blending a bunch of yummy stuff together. It's not like you're baking the smoothie afterwards or are serving it to your Ladies Who Lunch group. But regardless, everyone needs a starting point, so I'm today I'm teaching the basics on smoothie-making.

A smoothie is your quick protein and carb fuel after a good workout. Your muscles need that fuel to repair themselves after any damage that might have occurred from workin' them so damn hard (relative to each person's individual fitness level, of course).

First things first, you need a Magic Bullet or a blender. I love the Bullet because it's fairly inexpensive ($30 at Canadian Tire right now), and it makes a nice sized single portion. Plus, you drink out of the container that you're blending in, so that's one less glass to wash later - total bonus! (especially if you don't have a dishwasher like me).

Here is my post-workout smoothie with "variations." I'm not listing a bunch of recipes because that's stupid... you can easily swap ingredients in and out of a smoothie and it's still going to be delicious, and it's still going to do it's job to fuel your muscles.

Start with your Magic Bullet "cup".
Fill halfway with Silk True Almond milk (original or vanilla - vanilla is much sweeter if you really like your sugar)
Add in 1-2 handfuls of frozen fruit
Add 1 scoop of protein powder: I prefer either Sunwarrior Protein Powder (natural or vanilla), or Arbonne Essentials Vanilla Protein Shake Mix
Add 1 heaping tsp or 1 tbsp of almond butter
Fill remainder of cup with either water or pure (no sugar added) orange juice.
Blend for about 10-15 seconds and enjoy!

Both protein powders listed are vegan, which is great for us non-dairy/non-casein people. Some people love their lactose-free whey powder, so if you're fine with milk protein (casein) but just not lactose, then I'd opt for Provitalex by Cytomatrix.

What about if you just ran out of protein powder?! What a crazy world we live in... but you can still make a smoothie even if you don't have protein powder on hand:

3-4 ice cubes
Almond milk (chocolate, vanilla or original), or water
2 tablespoons of almond butter
2-3 handfuls of frozen fruit
top with water and blend away.

Feeling like shakin' it up a bit? Add a 1/2 banana! Have protein powder but not almond butter? Leave it out and make your smoothie anyway! Get in your kitchen and pretend you are Bill Nye! Experiment! As the Frizz would say "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"

We need to stop being afraid of cooking and making food. We live in a world so filled with "conveniences" that sometimes we forget to actually work at something and take the easy road. I'm not saying to boycott Booster Juice for the rest of your life, but paying $10 for a smoothie that you can make at home is just not as rewarding (for you or your bank account).