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Tuesday’s Healthy Fuel Recipe: Hot Cocoa Recovery with L-Glutamine


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 my 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 myTravel 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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Instructions:

  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!

Comments:

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 needs to be used.  In fact, clients find just as good of results, and much better satisfaction when using 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).

Bonus Recipe: Whipped Coconut Cream – This one might not be travel-ready, but it’s worth the wait for those days when you do recover at home.  And, it will add healthy medium chain triglyceride coconut fats to your recovery.  1) Place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight(preferably Native Forest but any full-fat canned coconut milk will work).  2) The next day, turn the can over, open it, and pour out the liquid (save for other use).  3) Place solid cream in a deep bowl and whip with a hand mixer. 4) Mix in a dash of vanilla and honey, if desired, and whip some more until the consistency of whipped cream.  5) Place a dollop on top of your Hot Cocoa Recovery and enjoy!

When the temperatures drop as much as they have this year, it’s time for a thermas of steaming hot recovery.  Warm up this week with our Hot Cocoa Recovery Mix and let me know if you can feel the extra l-glutamine working for you.

Give your body what it needs for great energy and health every day and during training with the right Foods, Drinks and Supplements.  If you would like my help with it, I offer comprehensive plans as Instant Downloads and as Custom Clients starting at just $20.  And, as a FuelRightBlog reader, get a further discount with coupon code:  password-frblog  username-reader.  I’d love to work with you!

Fuel Your Adventure. Nourish Your Body



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Comments to “Tuesday’s Healthy Fuel Recipe: Hot Cocoa Recovery with L-Glutamine”


  1. I’ll check on that! I think it does. I’ve noticed a huge boost from taking a vitamin B-12 supplement and eating more B-12 rich foods.

    Do you think it’s important for athletes to take additional amino acids?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Administrator


      Hi Chuck, I think specific amino acids such as BCAA and l-glutamine can be useful. The issue with only using whole foods is that in some cases of high amounts of training, we simply do not get, or absorb enough. In the case of l-glutamine, there’s a lot of good research to show that it goes from a non-essential (in the diet) amino acid to an essential one with intense training, injury, etc. So, we need more than usual, and it makes sense to me to go ahead and supplement it. In this case, anecdotally, there’s enough evidence to do so just to reduce soreness. If we’re talking about a supplement of many amino acids, I think you can get more benefit (minerals, for example), from a whole food protein.

      Reply

  2. I make something very similar by mixing chocolate or vanilla protein powder with almond milk and coffee to make a “mocha”. If the coffee is hot, I’ll add coconut butter too so it will melt into the shake.

    I really need to try that coconut whipped cream! It sounds great and I love coconut milk!

    Reply
    • Administrator


      Thanks Chuck, your recipe sounds great! And, coffee is always welcome after an early morning, cold workout. If your protein powder doesn’t already contain >1 gm l-glutamine, you may want to try adding some with any intense training. Many of my clients have really noticed reductions in muscle fatigue and soreness. Take care! Kelli, RD

      Reply

Reply

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