10 Best Post-Workout Recovery Beverages

March 20, 2019

Looking for a healthy, tasty, nondairy alternative to chocolate milk? These awesome recipes are not only easy to whip up at home, they’ll actually support your athletic recovery….unlike chocolate cow milk. Note: for the recipes, use unsweetened cocoa (cacao) powder. Natural or non-alkalized is preferable from the standpoint of maximum retention of flavonoids, but you may prefer the slightly richer and smoother taste of alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa. To enhance the chocolate flavor even more, pour a splash of boiling water over the cocoa in any given recipe, and whisk to blend. Just trust us, it works!


1. Chocolate Sunflower Seed Hemp Milk

4 cups water
½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
6 Medjool or 12 deglet dates, pitted
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt (optional)
½ teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until perfectly smooth. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Adapted from Brendan Brazier’s “Thrive Foods”


2. Quick and Simple Chocolate Milk 

1 cup plant milk of choice
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener to taste*
½ teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of sea salt

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients together until completely combined, or, add all ingredients into a jar and shake vigorously. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*Unprocessed sweetener options: date sugar or paste, maple or brown rice syrup, coconut palm sugar


chocolate smoothie

3. Chocolate Almond Smoothie

1 banana
3-4 Medjool or 6-7 deglet dates, pitted
2 cups water
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw almonds or 2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon flax seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of dulse flakes

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Adapted from Brendan Brazier’s “Thrive Foods” 


4. Almond Milk

1 cup whole raw almonds*
2-3 large Medjool dates or 3-5 pitted deglet dates
6-7 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of sea salt (optional) 

Soak almonds and dates in water for 4-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. In a high-speed blender, blend almonds, dates, salt, extracts, and 2-3 cups water. Blend until perfectly smooth, a minute or so. Pour into a 2-qt mason jar and add water to fill. For maximum nutrition, do not strain. However, if you prefer a smoother beverage, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve—just only use 3 1/2 cups of water to begin with rather than the 6-7 cups. 

*Soy/Almond variation: For additional nutritional benefits, including added protein, use only a half cup of almonds, and replace 4 cups of the water with 4 cups of plain unsweetened soy milk. 


5. Basic Sports Drink

1 liter water or coconut water*
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice, or apple cider vinegar
2 large or 4 small dates, pitted**
Big pinch each sea salt and potassium chloride (try “Nu-salt”)
Pinch of dulse flakes (optional)
½” chunk fresh ginger (optional) 

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Drink immediately or store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*Watermelon variation: sub the water for 4 heaping cups of watermelon chunks
**Sweetener options: date paste or date sugar, or minimally refined sweetener of choice such as maple syrup


6. Basic Sports Smoothie

1-2 cups Basic Sports Drink (per desired consistency)
1 banana
1 large handful of spinach or kale
1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 cup mixed dark berries, fresh or frozen
Small piece of fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Drink immediately.


7. Recovery Smoothie

2 cups water
2 bananas
5 Medjool or 10 deglet dates, pitted
1 whole crown’s worth of broccoli florets or 4-6 large kale leaves
1 cup blueberries (or any mix of dark berries: raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, currants)
Big pinch of dulse flakes
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus a pinch of grated zest (optional)
Small piece of fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Drink immediately.
Adapted from Tim VanOrden.


purple smoothie

8. Ellen’s “Purple Power” Smoothie

2 cups cold-brewed hibiscus tea, green tea, or water
1-2 bananas
1 cup mixed frozen dark berries 
1 small beet or a handful of frozen cubes
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
Big pinch of lemon, lime, or orange zest*
1 carrot, unpeeled
1 large purple cabbage leaf
2-3 packed cups of greens
Pinch of dulse flakes
Small piece of ginger
Pinch of cloves (optional)
1 teaspoon chlorella (optional)
Basil and/or mint leaves (to taste, optional)
Squeeze of lemon or lime juice (to taste, optional)

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Drink immediately.
*Zest Tip: Grate zest in bulk and store leftovers in a jar or covered ice cube tray in the freezer.


9. Cherry Chocolate Smoothie 

1 cup water, plant milk, or a combination
Splash of tart cherry juice
10 oz package frozen cherries or raspberries
1 banana
2 tablespoons cacao (or cocoa) powder
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1 tablespoon hemp seeds:
1 tablespoon flax or chia seeds
4 black/dinosaur/lacinato kale leaves or 4 oz baby spinach

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Drink immediately.
Adapted from Rich Roll and Joel Furhman


10. Mojito Smoothie

1 1/2 – 2 cups plant milk of choice (per desired consistency)
2-3 tablespoons hemp seeds 
3 tablespoons lime juice plus a pinch of zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice plus a pinch of zest
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 banana
2 pitted dates
1 handful fresh mint leaves (20-25 leaves)
2 large handfuls baby spinach
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of dulse flakes
1 teaspoon chlorella, optional

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Drink immediately.


Written by Ellen Kennelley
Ellen has been concerned with food justice issues since living and traveling in the South Pacific and Africa starting in the late 1970s, and bicycling cross-country for Oxfam in 1983. A former teacher and professional baker, and now a sculptor and avid amateur chef, Ellen also volunteers as a vegan advocate to champion the intertwined causes of non-violence and justice for human and non-human animals. She was at the top of national and international masters sculling, at race distances from 1,000 to 11,000 metres, from 1993 to early fall 2009 when breast cancer slowed her down. Now that treatment is over, Ellen is hopeful of triumphing over its ravages and achieving an eventual comeback.

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