A heavy duty smoothie with heavy duty protein.
I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with smoothies. Always have been. I just love the idea of tossing a dozen or more superfoods, supplements and nutrients into a giant blender, pulverizing the hell out of them, then sucking down giant mouthfuls of vitamin-packed lifeblood.
As an former collegiate tennis player, ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, and elite Spartan racer, I’ve had a chance to spend plenty of time in the trenches experimenting with just about every smoothie recipe on the face of the planet, including every possible blend of greens, fruits, rice, hemp, pea, whey, creatine, giant chunks of protein bars, regular milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, water, kombucha, kefir, regular yogurt, coconut yogurt, Greek yogurt…you name it, I’ve done it.
And in the past two years, I’ve finally settled upon the ultimate smoothie recipe – one mighty smoothie that you could consume for the rest of your life every day for breakfast (or lunch, dinner and post-workout if you’re truly smoothie-obsessed) and cover all your nutrient and vitamin needs for the entire day. I often have this not just for breakfast, but multiple times during the day, especially on busy days. Hell, like I mentioned – I sometimes have this meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You’ll need a powerful blender for this one, not a little Made For TV portable one. We’re talking a big engine, industrial-style blender that you see coffeeshops and restaurants using, or the blender used by that guy who blends up things like smartphones on YouTube.
Here’s what you need:
- — A huge bunch of greens. I prefer kale, but spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, etc. also works.
- — Some kind of herb. Cleansing herbs like parsley, cilantro or thyme are nice. Get ‘em fresh.
- — Half an avocado, or a whole one if it’s a high calorie day.
- — 4-6oz of full fat coconut milk.
The less coconut milk you use, the thicker your smoothie will be. I prefer an extremely thick smoothie that I have to eat with a spoon, so that the digestive enzymes in my mouth can work on pre-digesting before the food even makes it to my gut. Like my mom always said, “Chew your liquids and drink your solids.” Didn’t you always wonder what that means?
- — 2 teaspoons organic cacao powder.
- — 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
- — 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt (I use the fancy Aztecan stuff).
- — 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
OK, stop there. Blend everything above for 60 seconds-ish. You don’t want to pulverize things like protein powder, collagen, etc., and you also don’t want to pulverize the chunky chunks of goodness you’re about to toss in. Now, let’s keep going. To your blended green goodness, add:
- — 20-30g of a “clean” protein powder (click here for my article I’ve about nasty ingredients in protein powders).
- — 2 teaspoons of a good organic collagen hydrolysate.
- — 1 large handful of unroasted, non-vegetable-oil coated walnuts or almonds.
Now blend again. Quickly this time so that you don’t pulverize the chunks. About 15 seconds will do. Finally, stir (don’t blend) in the following ingredients:
- — 1 small handful organic dark cacao nibs
- — 1 large handful organic unsweetened coconut flakes
Boom. That’s it. You’re now ready to begin consuming your smoothie, preferably with a spoon or a spatual.
I recommend you use a spatula to ensure the entire contents of this relatively expensive smoothie make it into your container of chosie. I personally use an enormous mug that I won in a triathlon, although I have been known to simply eat it straight out of the blender container when in a hurry or when I’m too lazy to make the transfer into a civilized cup.
Depending on how exact your measurements are, this bad boy is going to weigh in at anywhere from 700-1000 calories, and here is the approximate nutrient breakdown (in this case from the website KitchenBug.com).
As noted, this does have ample amounts of carbohydrates and calories, which is why the KitchenBug tool flags it as a bad choice for weight loss (duh, we’re using it to build muscle, right?), not very healthy for your heart (sure, if you sit on the couch all day after eating it) and a bad choice for diabetes (this probably is true if you suck this thing down every day and then go watch movies).
Questions? Leave them below and I promise to answer. In the meantime, happy smoothie chugging.
Ben Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, Spartan racer, coach, speaker and author of the New York Times Bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life.” In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the year and in 2013 and 2014 was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People In Health And Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com, and resides in Spokane, WA with his wife and twin boys.