I had to switch up my protein shake game as the nutritional cleanse I had done eliminates dairy. My go-to protein shake used to be Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and a banana–I could have one every day without getting sick of it.
I’ll tell you what I’ve been drinking instead, with some pros and cons of common ingredients. This morning’s shake was:
1 c ice cubes
1 c frozen strawberries and grapes
1 raw egg
about 1 c unsweetened almond coconut milk blend
1 handful of spinach
2 scoops Standard Process SP Complete (basically a powdered multivitamin)
1 scoop whey protein
I started adding a raw egg to my shakes just to eat through some of our extra eggs. Though I haven’t researched the topic much, I did hear at a nutritional seminar that raw, whole food uncooked/unprocessed protein is beneficial. I consume the majority of my protein cooked (meats), unless I cook a steak rare. Cooking will denature proteins, and like I said, I haven’t researched extensively if there’s a benefit to consuming cooked and uncooked proteins, but it’s easy enough to add an egg to my shakes that it hardly matters. Pros: adds a creamy, heavy texture to the smoothie, tons of nutrients. Cons: adds calories, watch the source of your egg–raw eggs can potentially be dangerous to consume. I assume the risk as my eggs come from the chickens in our backyard.
Last week I added a scoop of solid coconut oil to my shake. Pro: I needed the additional calories and healthy fats. Con: big chunks of solid coconut oil that wasn’t as appetizing. I’m wondering if I had melted the oil and drizzled it into the shake as it was blending if it’d have emulsified a little more.
Chopped walnuts on top of an icy, creamy smoothie just makes the smoothie. It feels like eating an ice cream sundae, but healthy. Pro: delicious, filling, healthy fats. Con: additional calories that some people might not be able to indulge in if trying to lose weight, or if prone to adding too much fruit to the smoothie.
I’ve added chia and/or flax seeds to my smoothie before. In the amounts you’d normally be adding them, they don’t afford a whole lot in nutrition, but do add a crunch texture to the smoothie. Pros: healthy fats and fiber. Cons: changes the texture of the smoothie, expensive to use a lot of them.
Throw in a handful of spinach or other leafy green to your shake. Pro: adds a shot of nutrients, and sometimes fiber depending on the vegetable. Con: turns the shake green/brown, but rarely changes the flavor.
If you enjoy the taste of pumpkin, try using half a can of pureed pumpkin in your smoothie, along with a dairy-free milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pro: creamy, favorite fall flavor, some nutrients. Con: watch how much you use, as some pureed pumpkin can have too much sugar. Check the can–if a serving has more than 10 grams of sugar, then I don’t typically use it.
Creating smoothies is only limited by the maker’s creativity. Experiment–frozen fruit (or possibly even vegetables) is usually never bad. For creamier textures, use avocado or nut butters. For sweeter smoothies, use a very ripe banana.