Loving the BITE: Almond Butter Smoothie

Wanna improve as a cyclist?  You can gain an edge if you consistently consume a recovery meal or snack.  To recover well after a hard ride, you simply must use fluids, carbs, and protein to replenish hydration and glycogen stores while reducing muscle wasting and damage from free radicals.  Sound tough?  It can be.  Sometimes, you simply don’t feel like eating or drinking.  Other times, you don’t have anything ready or available.  Or, maybe you still just don’t believe it’s important.

Take it from me, as a professional Sports Nutritionist & athlete, it is.  Want more energy the rest of the day instead of dragging yourself to bed at 8:00pm?  Want to train hard again tomorrow and actually see improvements rather than defeat?  Make recovery a priority.  You’ll replenish your body best if you get something in within 30 minutes of finishing any hard training – this is when enzymes are most desperate to replenish glycogen (stored energy in muscles).  To make it easier, use our “Perfect Recovery Smoothie:”

Recipe of the week:  Almond Butter Smoothie

First, let’s skip the $8 per jar almond butter the store and make our own.  Simply place your almonds in a food processor and process until smooth.  It may take some time.  I know, it’s loud.  You may have to scrape the sides a bit.  If it seems to dry, add some oil (peanut oil, olive oil, almond oil, etc).  Keep going.  It will usually form a “ball” of almond butter and then suddenly appear as smooth and perfect.  If you like crunchy nut butters, add more almonds to your smooth butter and process until it’s perfect for you.  To make Super Butter, add ground flaxseeds, about 1/4-1/2 cup per 1 lb almonds.  You’re kids will never know it…but they’ll be eating nut-and-flax butter & jelly.

Then, take your almond butter and make your Perfect Recovery Smoothie:

Ingredients:

Place the following in a blender or food processer:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup milk (or, if you have undenatured whey protein, use ½ cup milk & ½ scoop undentaured whey)
  • ½ Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp almond butter

Process until at your desired consistency.  Add ice cubes and/or water as needed.  For convenience, many several batches at once and freeze in individual servings.  Then, just thaw in the refrigerator 1 day before you need it.  If you ride from home, it will be setting there in your refrigerator ready to go.  If from your car, simply put it in a small cooler with an ice-pack.

Serves 1: Approximately 370 calories, 42 gm carbs, 14 gm protein

Comments:

Why is this perfect recovery?

Strawberries & honey provide carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores & antioxidants to reduce any exercise-induced damage.

Milk offers both whey and casein proteins.  Whey is a “quick acting” protein that reduces muscle wasting immediately.  Casein is a “slow acting” protein that reduces muscle wasting for hours to come. And this is not just speculation.  Whey and casein have been studied extensively in nitrogen balance studies (nitrogen balance is an indication of protein breakdown).

Coconut oil is a recovery wonder-food sending energy directly to cells’ mitochondria (energy producers), thereby reducing muscle wasting after exercise.  Read all about it in last week’s Loving The Bite.

And, almonds….

Well, most everyone has heard that almonds are good for you.  However, I often still run into resistance among clients who aren’t sure if they should eat such a high-fat food.  And, many don’t realize that almonds are not only good, but great.  They are nutrient-packed, extremely heart healthy, full of antioxidants, and may be a whole food alternative for cyclists that suffer from leg cramps at night.  Really, I believe they round-out my perfect recovery smoothie.

Why Almonds?:

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