If you know me very well, you know that I am not a fan of protein powder... any protein powder. I'm always a proponent of real, nutrient dense food. However, I get the desire for a quick and easy smoothie. Because of that, I decided to post this make-your-own protein smoothie made from real, unprocessed food sources. However, please do not rely on a protein smoothie, even made from real food, to meet your nutritional needs. You need a variety of whole foods that have not been blenderized for you. Whole foods that have not been pureed, break down more slowly in a way that is best utilized by your body. We were not sent to this earth with a blender in tow.
A typical scoop of protein powder is 25 grams. So if you're trying to mimic that, I have included an approximate of the amount of protein in grams for various food sources. This allows you to easily figure out where you are at protein wise, depending on what you decide to add. Of course, the protein sources I have listed are just a few suggestions to get you thinking and moving in a more healthy protein shake direction.
Real Food Protein Shake
1. Start with a base such as raw milk, raw yogurt, or raw kefir. Water and juice do not make a good base for a smoothie.
Natural, unprocessed CLA is abundant in raw milk from pastured animals. This fatty acid protects against weight gain, it increases metabolic rate, aids in removing abdominal fat, supports muscle growth and our immune system. It lowers bad cholesterol and insulin resistance, reduces allergic reactions and supports cardiovascular health. What's not to like about that!
Organic, raw milk from pastured animals contains every fat and water soluble vitamin. It's a great source of protein, minerals, and enzymes. Because it has not been pasteurized, these heat sensitive nutrients are still very bioavailable.
The fat contained in raw, un-homogenized milk, raw yogurt and raw kefir is a healthy fat. It helps to keep blood sugar spikes in check, which is especially important with a smoothie where the foods have been pureed and broken down for you. Healthy fat is a macronutrient that provides your body with energy. It will also help you absorb the nutrients in your green smoothie. Another benefit is that it will keep you feeling satisfied longer. If you are wondering why I suggest using raw dairy products instead of say almond milk or soy milk etc. You can read here, and here for more information.
2. Add greens, if using and puree.
3. Then add fruit and desired protein sources listed below.
It's important to vary the vegetables and fruits used and colors of vegetables and fruits used. Too much of a good thing can become a bad thing! For instance, a high amount of spinach, on a consistent basis, can give you kidney stones.
Beets and Berries are a nice combination.
Pumpkin or butternut squash and pineapple, or other tropical fruit is another great one.
Spinach and mixed fruits are a favorite.
1 cup raw milk 8 grams
Raw milk, raw undrained yogurt and raw kefir contain natural forms of casein: a slow release protein and whey: a fast release protein
FYI: Greek yogurt is not more nutritious. It is a marketing gimmick. It is simply yogurt that has been strained of whey. Whey is a fast release protein. Why would yogurt be more healthy without it?
Nuts and Seeds
2 Tbsp. of raw nut butter 8 grams
2 Tbsp almonds 3 grams
1 tsp. hemp seeds 1.76 Please use in moderation.
1 tsp. chia seeds .66 grams Please use in moderation.
1/4 cup soaked and cooked black beans** 3.8 grams
1/4 cup soaked and cooked chickpeas 3.6 grams
1/4 cup soaked and cooked lentils 4.47 grams
1/4 cup soaked and cooked white beans 4.3 grams
See soaking and cooking instructions here
Grains and Pseudo-Grains
1/2 cup soaked and cooked buckwheat 2.8 grams
1/4 cup soaked and cooked brown rice 2.5 grams
1/2 cup soaked and cooked oat groats 3 grams
1/2 cup soaked and cooked quinoa 4 grams
1/2 cup cooked amaranth 4.6 grams
Fruit and Vegetables
1/2 avocado 1 1/2 grams
1 cup spinach .9 grams
1 cup kale .7 grams
1/4 cup broccoli .65 grams
1 large banana 1 1/2 grams
1/4 cup beets .66 grams
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin 1.35 grams
1 cup strawberries 1.1 grams
1 cup peaches 1.5 grams
1 wedge cantaloup .9 grams
1 cup blackberries 2 grams
1 apricot .5 grams
1 orange 1.3 grams
1 kiwi 1.1 grams
1 cup cherries 1.5 grams
1 cup raspberries 1.5 grams
1/4 cup dates .9 grams
1/2 cup liquid, raw whey 1.04 grams
1 raw egg 6 grams
1/2 cup bone broth The amount of protein will vary depending on water content etc.