Buying a high-quality and clean protein powder is hard enough these days, although not impossible, trying to find one that actually tastes good, however, is. That’s why I like to buy an unflavoured plant-based protein to use as a base and then add my own ingredients to make it taste delicious as well as boosting the functionality. In this post, I will teach you how to make the perfect protein shake with adaptogens and liquid turmeric from Indigo Herbs in order to help boost your sports performance and aid in a speedy recovery.
Learn how to make the perfect protein shake with adaptogens and liquid turmeric to help reduce inflammation in the body and promote a quick recovery.
Chances are that if you’re vegan or vegetarian, and fairly active, then you probably aren’t getting enough protein so it’s important to track your macros using an app such as; MyFitnessPal or in order to establish how short you really are. I know for a fact that even though I eat plenty of plant-based protein sources I always need a shake if I haven’t had fish that day. And, sometimes I still do. I’ve always seen protein shakes as being purely functional but one thing I’ve noticed is that most people can’t get over the powdery texture and earthy flavours so I started to experiment to see how I could come up with the perfect protein shake that was both palatable and functional. And, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally come up with the formula!
What Makes the Perfect Protein Shake?
If you’re new to protein shakes don’t worry – there really isn’t much to it. As we exercise our body uses up glucose as an energy source so it’s important to replace that with carbohydrates but what you might not know is that exercise creates micro tears in our muscles. As these tears heal and repair the muscles will strengthen and grow and our body uses protein and amino acids in order to do so.
That’s why it’s really important to consume adequate protein throughout the day, preferably from whole foods. Usually, we would look to consume 25-40g of protein per meal but sometimes that can be hard to achieve, especially when following a vegan diet, so that’s where protein powders can come in handy.
Unless you’re working out twice a day and quite intensively, it doesn’t really matter when you take your protein shake – just drink it at a time that is convenient for you. If of course, you are one of the few that is incredibly active make sure to consume your shake within 30 minutes of your workout.
There are so many different elements to making the perfect protein shake but the main ones that I want to cover here are; taste, texture, and functionality.
Straight up the most obvious thing that springs to mind is flavour, notably sweetness. Most protein shakes contain sugars or sugar alcohols either causing your blood sugar to spike making you crash not so long after consumption or you can end up with bowel irritation causing loose stools and stomach pains. To sweeten my shakes I like to use frozen banana and Medjool or Deglet Noor dates. The best part about using dates as a sweetener is that they have a subtle caramel flavour and are easy to portion – add a date at a time until you get to your desired level of sweetness but do not exceed 4 dates, the recommended daily portion. Dates are also digested quickly meaning that you’ll get a steady energy boost to help you recover post workout. Plus regular consumption of dates has been linked to promoting the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. On top of using dates, ice is a game changer. I find that the ice refines the flavour and takes away any bitterness. If you’re keto ditch these ingredients and find a high-quality stevia extract which is less likely to irritate your stomach.
All natural protein powders have a really unpleasant gritty and powdery texture whereas the not so healthy ones tend to be packed with gums leaving an almost tacky feeling in your mouth and these gums often irritate the stomach. To combat the grittiness I like to use frozen fruit – so in this case frozen banana – it also has a sort of emulsifying effect too. If you’re keto then replace this with frozen avocado instead, one half an avocado should work well but do feel free to play with this. Again, make ice your friend as it is great for distracting from the powdery texture too.
For me, this is the most important part. Functionality is everything. Obviously, the first ingredient you’ll be putting into your shake is protein. There are lots of different kinds of proteins out there but I prefer plant-based ones as they’re easier to digest and cruelty-free. I’m not 100% against grass-fed and organic whey protein – I think it’s certainly good stuff but I find plant proteins a lot lighter and haven’t really noticed much of a difference in performance either.
When looking for a decent plant-based protein make sure you find an organic one that contains all 9 essential amino acids or one that’s a blend of hemp and pea protein. Indigo Herbs’ Super Protein Powder contains a blend of organic pea, pumpkin seed, rice, hemp, and chia seed protein for the perfect blend that’s high in leucine, B vitamins, and magnesium. There’s roughly 20g of protein in each 30g serving making it really easy for you to make up your daily protein intake.
- Adaptogens – Adaptogens are something that seems to be gaining more attention in recent months but have been on the health scene for quite some time. Adaptogens are medicinal herbs that can maintain a balance in the body (known as homeostasis). They do this in various ways such as; controlling energy intake, nutrient transportation and metabolism storage and regulating your brain, organ, and musculoskeletal functions. I’m really a huge fan of CBD (as you all know), medicinal mushrooms, ashwagandha, tulsi, and rhodiola. In this recipe, I used Indigo Herbs’ Super Mushroom Nutri-Complex Powder which contains; Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Chaga mushrooms. All of these work together synergistically in order to promote physical enhancement, endurance, sharpened concentration, and boosting the immune system.
- Liquid Turmeric – I use the Indigo Herbs Turmeric Tincture in this recipe but you can also use fresh turmeric root or turmeric powder instead. Turmeric contains an amazing compound known as curcumin that is a great anti-inflammatory an pain reliever but there is some pretty encouraging scientific evidence that it can do so much more. It is thought that it may even promote muscle growth and recovery which you can read more about over at T Nation.
- Black Pepper – Black pepper contains the active component piperine which works synergistically with curcumin, allowing you to get more bang for your buck by absorbing higher levels of curcumin, meaning that you’ll experience a faster recovery. Black pepper also helps to boost your metabolism and promote fat loss, it’s also linked to decreasing levels of fat within the bloodstream too.
- Raw Cacao – Raw cacao contains high levels of antioxidants, magnesium, polyphenols, flavanols, theobromine, potassium, and iron. It also contains the compound theobromine that stimulates your nervous system and acts much alike to caffeine, in fact, it is far better at making you feel alert than caffeine is and with a much better mental clarity too. After consuming dark chocolate there is a decrease in plasma glucose oxidation within your body which aids in burning fat. Another study also found an increase in muscle glycogen utilisation in the latter stages of steady-state exercise – muscle fatigue was postponed and athletes had an increase in their overall stamina after consuming cacao.
- Cinnamon – One of the most well-known benefits of taking cinnamon is that it regulates blood sugar by improving the function of insulin receptors. But, it’s also been found to reduce inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, and ease muscle soreness making it an athlete’s best friend.
- Banana – Bananas have the same sugar profile as sports drinks but are much healthier and more nutritious. They are high in fast-acting carbs that help your body restore its natural levels of glycogen – this, in turn, helps to rebuild damaged muscles. Bananas also rich in potassium, vitamins B6 and C, and fibre. But, what’s most fascinating about bananas is that they have been found to act similarly to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen!
- Kale – Although kale has more protein per calorie than beef you would have to eat a lot of it to gain a lot of protein so please don’t believe the myth that it will help you to build more muscle. Although it will contribute a little of course. It is, however, rich in antioxidants that will battle oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. This means you’re less likely to experience any soreness or stiffness the next day. Don’t forget it’s also packed with other amazing nutrients such as calcium and vitamins A, C, and K1.
Phew! Now that we’ve got all of that covered what does this shake actually taste like? I was trying to think of a really delicious description for this shake but then I realised that it’s actually pretty similar to the McDonald’s Chocolate Milkshake in taste and texture, but obviously, a lot less sweet and way healthier. It’s that perfect chocolatey flavour coupled with a subtle hint of caramel and banana. I really hate banana so for me this was probably the best outcome. Anyways, enough of my rambling – check out this super speedy and simple recipe for the perfect protein shake below…
Looking for some more recipe inspo using Indigo Herbs products? Why not try my Purple Corn Bread with BBQ Chickpeas or Veggie Stuffing Balls? Oh, and if you want to keep up to date with my deliciousness then sign up for my newsletter and I’ll love you forever – who am I kidding? I already do!
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup plant milk (or sub with water)
- ¼ cup/30g unflavoured organic vegan protein powder
- 1 small handful kale (washed)
- 4 Medjool/DegletNoor dates or 2 tsp coconut nectar
- 1 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
- 2ml turmeric tincture
- 1 tsp mushroom complex powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp organic black pepper powder
- 1 frozen banana
- ¾ cup ice cubes
- Start by blending together all of the ingredients except for the frozen banana and ice cubes in a bullet style blender until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend once or twice more until smooth. Enjoy right away post workout!
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a sponsored post. This means that I was sent free products and compensated in return for an amazingly delicious recipe for you all. Any payment I receive I use to purchase more ingredients and equipment to keep this blog up and running, and most importantly to keep creating quality content for you all. I am not an affiliate of Indigo Herbs and any purchases you make via them I will not be compensated for. I am not influenced by the company in any way and all opinions, ramblings, and thoughts are my own and 100% honest. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.