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Monday, March 31, 2014

Chocolate-Cherry Post-Workout Recovery Shake

What you eat immediately following your workout is such an important part of your fitness routine.  Your muscles are primed and ready for the right fuel to repair the (good!) damage that exercise causes. 

Research has shown that chocolate milk may be one of the best things you can have right after your workout.  That's because the ratio of carbs to protein is ideal for muscle recovery.  People who drink chocolate milk after working out have lower levels of creatine kinase, which is present when there is muscle damage.  These days I try to avoid dairy, so I did a little research and found that it's not so much the milk, but the blend of carbs and protein which makes it more effective than simple carbohydrate drinks.  For that reason, I made this shake with almond milk, but feel free to use dairy or coconut milk.  I like the added benefit of magnesium in the almond milk, which also helps with tight muscles. 

The other ingredient that is so perfect for after a workout is tart cherries.  Studies have shown, and I can attest , that drinking tart cherry juice results in much less pain and muscle soreness after a tough workout.  I was actually a bit shocked at how effective it was for me.  So it was only fitting to combine the best of both worlds with the chocolate milk and cherries, to make the ideal recovery shake. 

Since I used almond milk in place of dairy milk, I pumped up the protein with a scoop of protein powder and kale.  Kale is a great source of vegan protein. 

If you're curious about why you should limit or avoid dairy, check out The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, and Thomas M. Campbell II.  Here's one of the reasons I try to avoid dairy (from the book):

"Casein in milk is a carcinogen and there's a direct relation between the amount of animal protein you eat and likelihood of getting cancer."  Also, "You can simply turn on or off cancer by eating more than 12% animal protein"

You can buy the book here:

I also consider it bloating and aging to your skin, so for that reason, this shake is made with almond or coconut milk. 

1-2 kale leaves
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 cup frozen organic dark tart cherries
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp honey
1-2 cups unsweetened almond milk, depending how thin you like it

*2 leaves of kale gives this smoothie a grassy taste, so start with 1 if you're new to vegetable smoothies, otherwise substitute baby spinach leaves

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Drink within a half hour after your workout. 


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