Recovery is an important part of an active lifestyle. After a hard lift, I would typically just drink a protein shake with some creatine mixed in. Most people follow the same post workout routine. After watching a few videos online and doing some research, I realized I was missing out on a lot of food and vitamins that significantly help recovery. A smoothie is a great way to get the nutrients you need in a simple and tasty way. I have to thank Simnett Nutrition on YouTube for this smoothie recipe. Simnett Nutrition is a certified nutritional practitioner who puts out some awesome videos, check out his channel. He has some great videos about the smoothies he drinks and why he uses certain ingredients. I have been using his recipe and made a few tweaks that I want to share with you.
The great thing about smoothies is that they are simple and easy to make taste great. If you don’t have a certain ingredient, usually you can make a substitution that will work fine.
The first thing I put into the blender are bananas. I usually put in 3 or 4 bananas (I love bananas in case you couldn’t tell). Next, I put in 3 dates. I always take out the pits before I put the dates in the blender. Dates have a variety of health benefits. Dates are a great source of fiber, calcium, iron , phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. That’s not all. They also contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. There are even more benefits you can read about here. Long story short, dates are a great addition to the smoothie. Next, I add half a mango for additional great flavor. Mangoes are also a great source of fiber, along with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and copper. Blueberries and blackberries round out the fruits. These berries are packed with vitamins and blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants out there. I typically add a handful of each berry into the blender. If you don’t have these fruits handy, don’t be afraid to add whatever you have. I have put cherries, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and cantelope in my smoothies before!
After the fruit, I put in two types of seeds. The first are hemp seeds. This super food has a laundry list of healthy benefits. It is high in healthy fats, its a great source of Omega-3 and Omega-6. Hemp seeds also contains all kinds of vitamins and minerals, read about more of the benefits here. I usually put in two tablespoons of hemp seeds. The other type of seed I use are flax seeds. Flax seeds have been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Flax seeds are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber. I also put in two tablespoons of flax seeds. Don’t miss out on adding these seeds to your smoothie, one day you might regret it!
Next, I throw in some spices to finish off my smoothie. The most important spice is turmeric root. Researchers are constantly finding new benefits of turmeric. One of my favorite benefits of turmeric is that it is high in curcumin. Circumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound. This is perfect for post workout recovery because it will help protect your muscles and allow quicker recovery. Turmeric also helps with digestion. I use half a teaspoon in my smoothies, but you may want to start with just a quarter tea spoon and work your way up. Turmeric has a pretty strong kick to it. The next spice is black pepper. Really, black pepper in a smoothie? Well, turmeric and black pepper are essentially best friends. Black pepper contains peperine. This chemical piperine has shown to increase absorption of curcumin by 2000% in some studies. To make things simple, black pepper helps you enjoy way more of the benefits that turmeric has to offer. Just a few sprinkles of black pepper in the smoothie will suffice.
Finally, on lifting days I add half a scoop of Vega Sport chocolate flavor protein powder. I also add a scoop of creatine. On non lift days, I make the smoothie but leave out these two ingredients. I also add a scoop of almond butter and a 8 fl oz container of soy milk that I use from my school’s dining hall. The protein powder will make the smoothie thick, so you can leave out the almond butter and soy milk if you want to on lifting days.
If you want a little more flavor in the smoothies, there are a few options I use on occasion. I will sometimes add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This will sweeten up the smoothie a bit and hide the taste of the turmeric and black pepper.
As you can see, a smoothie after a workout contains a lot more essential vitamin and minerals than a simple protein shake. These ingredients may be more expensive than protein shakes, but it is worth every penny. I get most of my ingredients from my local Sprouts in town. However, you can find most of these ingredients in any grocery store in your town. Do you have your own smoothie recipe? Let me know below!