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So you’ve just had a crazy awesome workout and need something to help your muscles recover. What do you do? Like most of us, you probably head for your blender to make a post-workout smoothie. Hopefully, you’re not using whey protein in your smoothie, which is a highly-processed, acidic protein to your body. In short- milk does NOT do a body good. Milk’s acidity contributes to inflammation, calcium deficiency, and yes- even cancer – the most dreaded health scare of all. Whey protein powder is such a processed form of milk that it shouldn’t even be classified as a food. You can get buff enough without whey protein, with vegan bodybuilders doing it every single day.
So, when you head to your blender to make a post-workout shake, check out these five better options to use in your shake instead. Get ripped the right way, with plant-based options your muscles and bod will love!
1. Start With Some Raw Protein
Raw proteins have an advantage to other types of protein for a couple reasons. Since they’re less processed and not as acidic as heated proteins, they can help treat or prevent inflammation, along with make the protein healthier for your body to absorb. Since we don’t benefit from things we don’t digest well, consuming a raw source of protein our bodies can easily use and absorb, will in turn provide us with the very benefits from protein we’re looking to get.
Good sources of easy-to-digest raw protein include: raw hemp seeds or raw hemp protein powder (see why it’s the best for a variety of people), chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sprouted brown rice protein powder, raw vegan protein blends, raw pea protein (buy organic and non-GMO), and raw sacha inchi seed protein. These are all some of the highest forms of protein you can use in a shake or smoothie and are options that are complete proteins, containing all essential amino acids. They’re also 100 percent cholesterol-free sources of protein as another benefit.
2. Add Some Almond Butter
Almond butte is high in fat, yes, so you probably don’t want to use several tablespoons as your main source of protein, however one or two tablespoons in addition to one of the choices above, can help increase your protein intake and also provide your body with essential fatty acids it needs for repair. You can even make your own almond butter at home in case you can’t afford, or don’t like, store bought options. A small handful of raw almonds would work here too.
3. Don’t Forget Your Leafies!
Leafy greens are a vital part of your post-workout recovery plan. They’re anti-inflammatory, packed with vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium to repair your muscles and enhance your energy, and they even contain protein to give you lean muscles! Leafy greens also help provide an alkaline environment for your body, which is highly acidic after exercise when lactic acid builds up in the muscles. Add spinach, kale, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, or any other type of leafy green you enjoy, and even some other veggies that aid in post-workout recovery too. Be sure to rotate your greens, which is one of the most important things to do when you make a shake or smoothie with them.
4. Nix the Sugary Stuff
Natural sugar from fruit is the healthiest form of sugar our bodies could want, so skip the sugary syrups and even “natural” sweeteners in your sugar, which often lurk in places like refined protein powders or those with added sugar, nut butters with added sugars, and even non-dairy and regular yogurt that aren’t unsweetened or plain. Go for whole fruit if you need something sweet, or a few drops of liquid stevia if you’re not using fruit. Sugar is acidic to the body and offers no real nutrition. It’s also not exactly particularly something that promotes a lean, ripped body– know what I mean?
5. Add Some Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
Let’s face it- one of the reasons people love milk and whey so much is because it provides a creamy texture (or rather that it’s incredibly addictive). Either way, you can get that same creamy factor all by using a healthy, non-dairy milk, which usually contains 50 percent more calcium than milk, along with fortified Vitamin B12 and magnesium. Non-dairy milk does your body good, and spares the sweet, innocent cows in the meantime!
Toss in a few workout-friendly superfoods to your smoothie too; they’re an overwhelmingly awesome source of nutrients and can help repair and strengthen your muscles even further. Good options include: acai, goji, green superfood powder blends, spirulina, maca, and cacao. Flax, chia, and hemp are also well-known superfoods if you’re not already using them in your daily post-workout smoothies.
Making a plant-based post-workout shake or smoothie without a drop of whey isn’t just easy, it’s downright delicious! Check out some other tips to build a post-workout smoothie for recovery, 10 Raw Post-Workout Meals and how to make an incredibly filling, yet healthy smoothie you can enjoy without disrupting your blood sugar or derailing your fitness goals.
Just say no to whey and think of all the awesome things that might happen when you go dairy-free!
Image Source: Sweet Almond Cherry Smoothie