Sweet fruit and hot spices make for a beautifully balanced protein shake.
By Amanda Burrill, MS
The peaches make me feel like I’m in Georgia, but everything else with this smoothie brings me to a spicy region of the Indian subcontinent. Turmeric. Ginger. Cayenne. It’s a world party in your mouth.
While the kick from ginger and cayenne is delightful, this month’s superfood highlight is turmeric. Try to find it fresh. It’s a rhizome, like ginger, but smaller, with a brownish skin and a bright (very bright) interior that will stain the bejesus out of your fingertips. I like to buy a bunch of the finger-sized chunks, and—with gloves on—I peel and slice them. Then I pop them into the freezer so I can toss them into my smoothies on demand. By the way, this is also my ginger tactic.
The fresh stuff isn’t always easy to find, but the dried and ground powder can be found at any grocery store. For a flavor so subtle and earthy, it adds a huge amount of color. Seriously, if you are a hippie tree-hugger type, use turmeric to color Easter eggs next year or dye your baby’s cloth nappies to camouflage the stains.
This smoothie recipe is a great way to pack even more beneficial ingredients into your already protein-laden recovery shake. We’ve got an assortment of superfoods—key players outlined below—a good amount of post-workout protein, and our taste buds are happy.
Oh, last thing. I find that if making this smoothie with kefir or Greek yogurt, it freezes into an amazeballs popsicle!
½ cup peaches
1-inch chunk of ginger
½-inch chunk of turmeric
1 teaspoon rice bran
Pinch of cayenne pepper
6 oz. kefir (or favorite milk, such as unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 scoop favorite vanilla protein powder
Handful of ice
Total (per serving): 214 calories, 19 g carbs, 31 g protein, 6 g fat, 3 g fiber
Combine all ingredients in a blender, beginning with the liquid to avoid sticky clumps. Blend until smooth.
Ginger: I’ve used this panacea ingredient a lot, but I’ve never told you this: Ginger helps reduce muscle pain! Studies have shown that those who consume as little as two grams of ginger per day for 11 days experience 25 percent less muscle pain after workouts. Okay, ginger is abundantly known for reducing inflammation, and I’m guessing these two benefits are connected. But in the grand scheme of all the muscle flexing inflaming us gym rats do, it’s good to know that ginger is here to help us.
Turmeric: Do you imbibe? Turmeric and its active component, curcumin, is known as a natural liver detoxifier, protecting against alcohol-induced liver damage as well as havoc caused by a high-fat diet. Turmeric also helps alleviate joint inflammation and digestive problems—issues we steel-crushers often face from lifting heavy and bulking on fiber.
Cayenne Pepper: Ay caramba! Capsaicin, what makes peppers hot, is also what brings the medicinal heat. A shake of cayenne subtly subdues appetite, making a great addition for those who have a heavy snack hand. Cayenne boosts the stomach’s defense against infections, stimulates digestive fluid production, and helps deliver enzymes to the stomach, all leading to a better overall digestion experience.