Loving the BITE: Hot Cocoa Recovery Mix…On the Go

Lately, I’ve been training at 5 am.  It’s been cold.  Frigid.  And, as much as I enjoy the brisk workout and the sun rise, there’s one thing I dread.  Coming back to the cold recovery chocolate milk waiting for me in my car.

If you’re one of the many who’s tried and regularly uses our Whole Food Chocolate Syrup Milk recipe, you know it can provide the carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants needed for a good recovery.  It’s easy, delicious, and inexpensive compared to commercial chocolate syrup or recovery drinks.  And, in the Winter, it’s easy enough to make it into a warm drink by simply warming the milk on the stove top and then adding the chocolate syrup.  But what if you need recovery on the go?  If you need it at the gym or office after an early morning or a mid-day ride?

Here’s our Travel Ready Hot Chocolate Powder Recovery Recipe.  It includes all the benefits of the Chocolate Milk Syrup Recipe plus an added ingredient to speed up recovery and reduce soreness.

Recipe of the week: Travel-Ready Hot Cocoa Recovery Mix


  • ½ Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar or Powdered Honey*
  • dash Ground Cinnamon
  • 15 grams protein from protein powder such as whey, whey/casein, or ¼ cup Chocolate PB2
  • 1 tsp mg l-glutamine (4.5 – 5 grams l-glutamine)


  1. Place all ingredients in mug.
  2. Add 8-12 oz. hot water.
  3. To make ahead and store, try ½ cup cocoa, 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, 210 grams protein from powder, and 1/3 cup l-glutamine (to equal at least 80 gms).  Keep in dry, cool place for up to 6 months or until protein powder expiration (whichever is first). 16 Servings.

Whole-Food-At-Home Option: If you are recovering at home or in a place with perishable foods, you can make this recipe with slightly higher-quality ingredients: First, omit the sugar and reduce protein powder to 5 grams on the mix recipe.  Then, heat 6 oz. milk (any kind) mixed with 2-6 oz. water on stovetop.  Add cocoa, cinnamon, protein powder and l-glutamine +  1 Tbsp organic honey or agave.  Enjoy!


Hot Cocoa as Recovery DrinkAs you know, good recovery fuel can be regular, whole, foods that provide carbohydrates and protein.  There’s no reason why a commercial “recovery drink” or bar has to be used.  In fact, I find just as good of results, and much better satisfaction with clients who choose to use whole, real foods.  But, there’s always the convenience factor.

Usually, my whole-food options necessitate a home recovery, or a travel cooler, or a frozen smoothie thawing in the car.  Even this one requires a thermos of hot water.  And there’s a good reason why.  Most whole, fresh, real foods require refrigeration because they do not contain the preservatives and chemical ingredients used to make a food-shelf stable for long periods of time.  With this week’s recipe, I conceded the carb source and used sugar (not my first choice) and used a protein powder instead of a whole protein source.  But still, the combination of sugar (carbs), cocoa and cinnamon (antioxidants), protein powder (protein), and water (fluid) provides all the basic building blocks needed to replenish glycogen stores, hydrate, and reduce muscle wasting after training.

And yet, there’s an extra ingredient to facilitate muscle recovery: l-glutamine.

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that specifically helps reduce soreness and aid muscles in recovery.  In fact, l-glutamine is the most abundant free amino acid in skeletal muscles and in the blood.  During and after intense exercise, there’s a significant drop in blood l-glutamine, suggesting that it’s conditionally essential (essential in the diet) during periods of intense exercise, physical stress, injury, and illness.  In a state of severe fatigue and over-training, L-glutamine levels remain low.

Additionally, L-Glutamine is used for energy cycles within cells, is consumed by intestinal cells and can improve function and health, and  lastly, may improve immune function (with all the severe colds/flues going around, it couldn’t hurt).

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