One wouldn’t know this by necessarily looking at me, but I work out and lift heavy weights with the help of a trainer who has 0% body fat and way more muscle groups than I knew existed. I think he’s incapable of breaking a sweat and I’m pretty sure if I peeled his skin back it would reveal not flesh and bone but titanium and a sophisticated operating system. I’ve been working on him to make the transition to plant-based as best as I can while still being allowed to return to the gym, and when we were discussing his 21-day plant-based trial that I decided he would do and he didn’t fight, the topic of Muscle Milk came up. Fortunately he is about as much of a fan of it as I am, which is not at all, he actually thought it might be vegan since he knew so little about it and its ingredients. Beyond knowing it is made from dairy and supposedly high in protein, I don’t know much else. The fact it’s made from the suffering of Mother cows, their stolen breastmilk, and calf deaths is enough for me to not condone its existence.
I have know for years that many runners and other athletes consume chocolate milk as a pre or post workout fuel. I typically have a smoothie before my workout and come home to dinner following. But I will never turn down chocolate milk and with my body’s rebellion against refined sugars, making my own is the best option for me. With muscle milk in mind, unfortunately, I decided to make this with hemp seeds for their protein content which is 33% of their weight, so I could easily bring it along for a quick workout snack. That also makes this drink more allergen friendly since nut-allergies seem to be so common.
It is creamy, sweet, light, and relatively filling for a drink thanks to the fiber content. Best of all it won’t start the addictive sugar wheel turning with no refined sugar, and nobody had to suffer for it. It’s also a source of fiber, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, Omega-6 and Omega-3’s. I find that using hemp seeds does not require the use of a nut-milk bag or any kind of straining which makes it a breeze to make in the blender. Chill it in the refrigerator and it will thicken slightly to make it a creamy, dreamy beverage. For extra creaminess and even more protein, you can replace the water with your favorite soy milk, but that will kind of defeat the purpose of making your own milk and increase the calories, if that’s a concern. I’m just saying, should you choose to do that, your taste buds would be rewarded handsomely, which may be based on personal curiosity and experience. It stands just as good on its own using water which makes it more of a drink than a smoothie. Speaking of smoothies, it would make a great liquid to use for one and pretty killer with some cold coffee.
One note about cacao – this is the only “cocoa powder” I use, it’s raw and very minimally processed, unlike cocoa used for chocolate bars. It’s very high in antioxidants and really pure, because of that, some find it a little bitter if you’re used to the more processed cocoa powder. When combined with a sweetener like dates, I do not notice any bitterness but I do find it an energy boost, much like I consumed coffee. So keep that in mind and maybe not drink a full jar before bed if you are sensitive to caffeine. Feel free to swap out cocoa powder for the cacao. I really enjoy the original flavor as is, but my love for spicy chocolate knows no bounds ever since that Chocolate Cafe in Asheville and toasted coconut needs no explanation so I did three different versions. I’m pretty sure a mint, cherry, or orange flavor will be happening in my future as well.
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 4 dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mesquite powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- additional 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash - 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your preference for heat
- 4 tablespoons shredded coconut
- additional 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Drink at room tempurature immediately, serve over ice, or chill in the refrigerator to slightly thicken. Shake well before serving.
- Lightly toast the shredded coconut in a dry pan on the stove until it starts to turn a golden color, stirring frequently ensuring it doesn't burn. Add to blender with remaining ingredients and blend.
- As always, adjust for taste, more dates to sweeten, cacao for a more chocolate flavor, etc.
- For the Mexican Chocolate, you may want to add the cayenne slowly to ensure you don't make it too spicy. But if you're sensitive to heat, this recipe is not for you.