Since being on summer vacation, I’ve been reveling in my slow, lazy mornings.
During this past school year, I was getting up at 4 am to get to the gym by 5. The gym I was training at is 30 minutes away and I needed all the time I could get to wake up fully before making that drive. I’d workout until 6:30, shower and get ready at the gym and somehow make it to work by 7:15. Looking back, doing that seems a bit crazy, but that’s what worked for me at the time!
I love getting my workouts in before I do anything else, even now while on summer vacation. I’m definitely NOT getting up at 4 during these few precious weeks, but working out is the first thing I like to do once I finally get myself up and moving.
I’m also really loving a protein smoothie as my post-workout meal/breakfast. I don’t typically eat anything until after my workout; I’ve never liked to train on a full stomach. This smoothie is the perfect way to break my fast. It’s light and refreshing, but also very nourishing and full of protein.
The nice thing about this smoothie recipe is that it is VERY easily customizable. You can swap out, add, or leave out just about anything I have listed in the recipe. The version I’ve written is just what I have been enjoying lately.
Before I get into the recipe, I want to give a little bit of information as to why I choose each particular ingredient for this smoothie. The information here comes from studies referenced in the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Gregor. If you aren’t familiar with this book or his website, www.nutritionfacts.org but you are interested in using your diet to improve your health, then I highly recommend looking at both of those incredible resources.
- BERRIES are full of antioxidants which help with recovery, anti-aging, and cancer prevention. They’re also full of fiber which will keep you feeling full. I prefer to use frozen berries but if you have access to fresh, local berries, those would be great, too!
- FLAXSEEDS are the best plant source of omega-3s and lignin’s. These little seeds can lower blood pressure and the risk of prostate and breast cancers. Be sure to use milled or ground flaxseeds as your body can’t digest the seeds in their whole form and you’ll miss out on all the health benefits.
- SPINACH and other greens, according to a Harvard study, offer the strongest protection against major chronic disease, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- BANANAS aren’t the most nutrient dense fruit out there, but they are the perfect natural sweetener for a smoothie when ripe. Don’t worry about the sugar that’s in bananas. When you eat the unaltered fruit, you’re eating it as nature intended with all of the natural fiber your body needs to process the sugar.
- CASHEW MILK also doesn’t offer any stellar health benefits, but adds a wonderful creaminess to the smoothie. You could certainly just use water instead, but adding the cashew milk offers a fortified source of calcium – more than is found in dairy milk.
- PROTEIN POWDER is 100% not necessary in this smoothie. I am trying to build more muscle before I consider competing again, so this is one way to be sure I am eating an adequate amount of protein for that goal. I really like the Organic Plant Based Sport Protein in Chocolate by Garden of Life. The protein powder truly isn’t necessary unless you are trying to build more muscle.
Vegan High Protein Breakfast Smoothie
The perfect protein smoothie: light, refreshing, and full of micronutrients.
1 Cup frozen mixed berries
1 Scoop vegan protein of choice (I used Garden of Life Sport Plant Based Protein in Chocolate flavor)
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Handful baby spinach
1/2 Cup cashew milk or water
1 Ripe banana
- Measure all ingredients and add to Magic Bullet cup or blender pitcher.
- Blend on high until well blended and smooth, 2-4 minutes.