This simple cherry matcha protein shake is a refreshing post-workout treat!
I feel like I go through exercises phases. In college I was all about running, spin classes, and Pure Barre. Then I had to start paying for these classes on my own and jumped on board the gym bandwagon. I would alternate days of doing weights with Bry and days doing cardio machines. Looking back at these phases, I realize they also corresponded with my health goals at the time. In college, I was trying to break free from disordered eating and found running as a way to blow off steam. But once I met Bry, he helped me realize that all that cardio I was doing was also keeping me from being able to achieve a healthier weight. So, I started incorporating more weight training to help with muscle and bone growth, but I still wasn’t ready to stop my trusty spin bikes and elliptical machines.
About a month ago, I got a wake-up call about my health. For the past two or so years, I’ve finally felt (mostly) free of my negative thoughts around food and exercise. I was enjoying going out to eat while also learning to cook more at home and got into a regular workout routine that I enjoyed. But I got some test results back and realized that while I’ve made the hardest and probably the biggest step in my recovery – getting rid of those disordered thoughts – my muscle and bone mass are still not quite where they should be. And in order to get them there, I need to start making a conscious effort to gain healthy weight.
For any of you who have dealt with disordered eating, you can probably understand how scared I was initially at the idea of consciously gaining weight. And trust me, I do not hold back when it comes to eating. In fact, I’ve been so happy to finally be back in tune with my hunger and fullness cues, that the idea of going against this made me so angry initially. But after a good pep talk to myself, I realized that if I love all the things my body does for me – skiing, hiking, playing with the pup – then the least I can do is keep it strong.
With my focus now on gaining strength and bone mass, I want to give my body and muscles adequate fuel and nutrition. Enter in this protein smoothie. I still love my vegan SunWarrior protein powder to add to overnight oats and homemade granola bars, but for my new goal of building muscle I’ve started drinking a whey protein shake immediately after each workout.
Whey protein is one of the two main types of protein found in milk, and has been shown to be effective in promoting lean muscle growth and supporting a healthy metabolism. Unlike casein (the other protein found in milk), whey protein is quickly absorbed by your body, making it a go-to choice for consuming immediately after a workout. However, not all whey protein powders are healthy for you: be cautious of what brands you buy as many whey protein powders contain artificial sweeteners and potentially toxic chemicals. Also note: if you are lactose intolerant, whey protein powders are not for you!
Note: before we delve into my new favorite go-to protein powder, I want to say that I am in no way being compensated for my review. I purchased Naked Whey protein online and have been a huge fan ever since. All opinions are purely my own.
So what’s a safe whey protein option? Currently, I’m loving Naked Whey, as the protein comes from 100% grass-fed dairy cows. Their powder is free of artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors, and is also GMO and growth hormone free. So what is in Naked Whey protein powder then? Simply just whey protein concentrate (in the unflavored one). However, if you need a little flavor in your protein powder, they have a matcha one (my fav!) that only adds one more ingredient: matcha powder. It’s definitely not your sweet matcha late that many coffee shops use, but when shaken up with some vanilla almond milk it’s delicious! But if you need your protein powder a tad bit sweeter, they also have a “less Naked Whey” option that comes in chocolate or vanilla. For both of these, there are only two additional ingredients: vanilla or chocolate and organic coconut sugar.
Since I’ve been having these shakes first thing in the morning, I’m not looking for anything too sweet. The tart cherries and slightly sweet almond milk help to balance out the earthiness of the unsweetened matcha protein powder. To make your smoothie a bit sweeter, I recommend adding half a frozen banana – this will make the shake even creamier!
Anther bonus of this smoothie? Cherries have been shown to help reduce muscle soreness when consumed soon after a workout. Since cherries are currently in season, I bought a big bag of fresh cherries and froze about half of them. If you do freeze fresh cherries, just be sure to remove the pit first! Otherwise, if cherries aren’t in season or you don’t want to spend time removing the pits, simply grab a bag of frozen cherries at the grocery store.
Phew, that was a long post but I appreciate you sticking with me! As you can probably tell, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but luckily I’m also surrounded by such a supportive family and group of friends. If you have any personal questions about healthy weight gain or protein powders, I’d love to chat! Feel free to send me a message from my Work With Me page.
So here’s a toast to taking care of our bodies!
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Great idea! I haven’t thought to put matcha in a shake and have at least 2 containers in my pantry that we’re waiting for cold weather when I make matcha lattes more often. Might whip one of these up this weekend!
Hope you like it Kelly!
I love a cherry smoothie, but add matcha and I am totally there! Love this!
Right? Matcha makes everything better 😉 Thanks Lauren!