For as far back as I can remember I’ve suffered from seasonal depression. When winter hits, I basically retreat into my cave and overdose on Vitamin D supplements; occasionally exercising, not really doing anything to write home about. But as soon as the snow and bitterness of winter finally passes, I get back out on my bike and push myself. Fueled by the sun, fresh air and calming energy of the ocean water, I transform into an entirely different person. With this also comes my desire to workout and be active. I wasn’t always like this, though, until I changed my life last year by juicing, blending and going vegan. Through this new and exciting journey of health, I learned a very important thing (the hard way); you can easily overdo it! This is why I went out of my way to research more about nutrition in the first place. I discovered that it is a MUST to give your body proper rest and recovery time between workouts. Since our muscles actually become damaged from physical activity (in varying degrees), they need sufficient time to heal and rebuild themselves. In fact, contrary to popular belief, if you are trying to “build” muscle, this process occurs entirely when you are at rest (not while you’re in the gym working out). That all said, recovery is just as important than the workout itself. “Awesome! So I can just sit around drinking beer and eating tacos all day”? Ummm…no. 😉
For a proper muscle recovery, you do need a bit of a plan. Reduce your physical activity to some light activity such as walking, light cardio or stretching. Lots of rest and sleep. Stay off as much of the inflammatory and acidic foods as possible. Stay hydrated, alkalize your body and choose foods that are known to be helpful in repairing and building muscle. Filtered Water, Coconut Water, Berries, Nuts, High Glycemic Fruits, Leafy Greens, Cinnamon, Turmeric and Ginger are all very good. And what a better way to get some of these servings in than by blending them up quick and drinking them? That said, let me introduce you to Vega Sport Performance Protein. My friends at Vega sent me a large tub of the Mocha flavor and I had been completely floored to try this for a while now. Especially because this particular variety is specifically meant for recovery.
As stated on the product page, it’s a multisource, plant-based protein powder, featuring 25 grams of complete protein, 5,000mg of BCAAs and 5,000mg of glutamine per serving. Great, so what does all that mean? Well, for starters, 25 grams of protein per serving is pretty awesome! We all know that protein is a must for our muscles. As for the BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), these are essential for repairing and building new muscle; they can only come from a food source (your body does not produce BCAAs). Interestingly enough, BCAAs are also metabolized directly in the muscle tissue, not in the liver which gives the body immediate access to their benefits. Glutamine is also an amino acid known for repairing and building muscle cells, although it is not essential, as our bodies can already produce it on it’s own. That said, the added Glutamine in the powder is an extra boost to what you’ve got naturally; which is great since it is also a component of digestive and immune health. All in all, this is a great, clean protein powder to aid in your workout recovery. Drink it within 45 minutes after your routine to maximize the benefits.
But how does it taste? The quick answer is: incredible! I’ve tried it on it’s own with just some Almond Milk as well as mixed into more complex smoothies and it all around tastes great. It has a very smooth, chocolatey coffee taste (hence Mocha flavor) which seems to go well with nut milks, dates, berries, nut butters, Maple, etc. I’ve also added leafy greens and the taste is still on point. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. Here’s an all in one recipe designed to give you everything your body needs to help recover after going hard. Coconut Water is known to aid in replenishing electrolytes, while Bananas, Blueberries and Kale are a power trio in helping repair and build new muscle tissue. On top of all that, its smooth, tasty, super quick and clean eats for post workout. Here’s to giving your muscles the love they need…Cheers!
Mocha-nut Berry Recovery Smoothie
8 oz Coconut Water
2 Cups tightly packed Baby Kale
1 Frozen Banana
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1 serving Vega Sport Performance Protein (Mocha)
2 Tbsp Cacao Powder
1/4 Cup Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Flax Seed
Pour the coconut water into your blender and add the Baby Kale leaves. Blend on the high setting until the leaves have been completely broken down. Now add in all the remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Add some ice if you prefer a more “slushy” consistency in your smoothie. Garnish with some shaved Coconut and Cacao powder if desired. Drink up and enjoy!
Want more info on how to prepare, sustain & recover? Vega has got some excellent FREE Running Training & Nutrition Plans here. Click on the banner and sign up now!