Quite Possibly the Perfect Gym Smoothie

So this post is going to be a bit different. I need to start with some background and personal information but to keep you reading I need to tell you this smoothie is dairy-free and sugar-free! Curious? Then please keep reading. I should also add that a high-power blender is beneficial for this recipe but you could probably do it with a standard blender as well. Best part of all it’s 4 ingredients! 

In many of my posts I have talked a little about my journey of health, fitness, and nutrition. When I started looking for “healthy” options I had turned to a book called the “Abs Diet”. Yes, it was gimmicky and full of those tantalizing success stories but I couldn’t resist. In it I found a recipe for, what the author called, a PB&J Smoothie. This thing was loaded with stuff. It had milk, yogurt, peanut butter, three kinds of berries, banana, whey powder, honey, and ice. It was good but it was VERY dairy heavy and took LOTS of prep. My husband and I stuck with it for a long time. This was great for after the gym.

Once we moved to the midwest finding a gym was on the back burner. My weight started to go up and my food choices went down. We did eventually find a gym. It was close, which living in rural northern Iowa was a huge win, but it was just “OK”.

As I got more in to cooking on thing that started to evolve and really took root last fall was seasonal eating. Though I have a lot of work to do here, I feel like I am making huge progress. The intent is to be eating what’s the freshest, fullest flavor food we can get. To get the best flavor most often that means what is grown closest to you had the best opportunity to be picked at it’s ripest stage. With all of these things in the forefront of my mind using strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries year round just didn’t sit right with me. I wanted to find a way to have something that didn’t make me feel as though I was abandoning my food philosophy just to have a smoothie.

The final issue of the old smoothie was all the dairy. Don’t get me wrong. I love dairy. I eat and drink it all the time but with staring the day with an ice caramel macchiato means I am already getting quite a bit of milk first thing in the morning. To then follow it up with another dairy bomb it had the potential to leave me feeling too full, maybe even a little bloated and neither of these things was ideal after putting in a killer workout.

A while back I bought Michelle Mckenzie’s cookbook Dandelion & Quince. In it she breaks down the book into 4-5 recipe chapters where each chapter is one key ingredient that you might not commonly use. Of all the things she focuses on, maybe the most common of ingredients, are dates. In that section she had a recipe for a smoothie that seemed interesting but I kept putting off trying it. Until today…

Cashew Milk, with Dates, Banana, and Oats:

  • 5 ounces raw Cashews
  • 3 cups (24 fl ounces) Ice Cold Water, filtered is even better
  • 20 grams Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 6 ounces Medjool Dates, pitted (about 9)
  • 2 Bananas (about 7 ounces), peeled, cut into chunks and frozen
  • a pinch of salt

OK, so seeing this recipe it’s not exactly sugar-free. The dates and the bananas offer a lot of natural sugar so if you’re having to watch your sugar intake please be aware that this does have sugar, but as I like to say, the good kind of sugar.

To get a super thick and creamy smoothie out of this here’s what you got to do…

Put the cashews in a bow and cover them with tap water and let them soak for at least 8 hours or better yet overnight. In the morning when you get up before heading to the gym drain the cashews and dump them into your blender along with the ice cold water. Blend for 1 minute. Presto! You just make cashew milk! Now simply add your oats, dates, bananas, and the pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. If you have a “smoothie” setting on your blender use that if not I would recommend blend it for 1 minute, stop the blender, then run it for another 30-60 seconds.

This recipe makes 2 very large smoothies! So go wake up your husband and tell him to join you at the gym!

This smoothie is great this way. However, since I am also weightlifting and trying to build muscle I know it’s important for me to have a good sized portion boost after the gym. There is already a lot of protein but I did opt to add whey portion powder to this smoothie and it works perfect. If you’re vegan or vegetarian just make sure you are getting a non-dairy portion powder and you’re all set.

Better yet to make sure you don’t wake the whole house and maintain your “get-up-and-go” make the smoothie the night before and keep it in the fridge. This smoothie holds up really well!

This smoothie for me isn’t about dairy free or sugar free. It’s not about trying to find something that is almost good as the real thing or a vegan knock off. For me this is about trying to find real sources of protein and fiber, as well as vitamins and nutrients. It’s about looking for something that tastes great and is easy to make. Most importantly this recipe works year round from a predictive of fresh and in season. Dates, bananas, and cashews don’t grow anywhere that their “season” would be a factor. For that matter dates and cashews have great shelf life so I can even look at buying them in bulk.

All in all this is my new favorite smoothie. Oh, and if you’re curious here’s the nutritional breakdown to the best of what my resources could provide(per serving):

  • Calories – 768
  • Total Fat – 28.71 grams
  • Sodium – 10 miligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate – 118.89 grams
  • Dietary Fiber – 12.04 grams
  • Sugars – 75.26 grams
  • Protein – 17.11 grams

Adding in the Whey Protein that we use:

  • Calories – 847
  • Total Fat – 29.49 grams
  • Sodium – 88 miligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate – 122.57 grams
  • Dietary Fiber – 12.04 grams
  • Sugars – 76.31 grams
  • Protein – 30.77 grams


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