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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 14, 2010

5 Sweet and Savory Primal Shakes

By Worker Bee
130 Comments

Some days, a fork and spoon can feel like a bit of a hassle. Okay, not really, but the temptation to simply drink our food is one we give into now and then when convenience is a priority. A Primal shake is a good way to mix things up, treat yourself to a healthy snack in the afternoon or add a little extra something to an evening meal. Some shakes, even without the addition of dairy or added sugar, can even satisfy a hankering for dessert.

When you’re making a shake, it’s tempting to throw anything that looks good into the blender, stick a straw in it and suck it down. But be careful; what started as a healthy snack or meal-replacement can quickly turn into a huge glass of carbs and sugar.

In the following recipes we avoid this pitfall by limiting sweeteners and starting our shakes with a solid base of healthy fats, ideally, 50-70% of the total calories. Coconut milk, nut butters and avocado are a good starting point, and you don’t have to choose just one. Coconut milk and nut butters are practically decadent together and coconut milk with avocado is a soothing combination worth trying. The avocado loses all its savory inclinations and blends into a shake with a slightly sweet flavor and incredibly creamy texture.  An occasional spoonful of seeds will add fat too, as will a drizzle of coconut or olive oil, or an egg if you’re so inclined. Which leads us to the next layer in our shakes: protein.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to shoot for 10-30 grams or so of protein. Again, nut butters are great for this, and a scoop of whey protein can boost the protein content of any shake. Once you have your fat and protein in place, the last thing to consider is keeping the carbs in check.

Try not to total more than 25 g per shake; the lower the better. Though, of course the precise carb count will depend on your particular goals. Berries work well here. Their carb/antioxidant ratio is tough to beat and they’re high in flavor, so a mere 1/2 cup is usually plenty.

Even if you concoct the perfect ratio of fat, protein, and carbs, it’s all for naught if the shake doesn’t taste good. If you throw ingredients into a blender in clean-out-the-fridge mode you might end up with some questionable flavors and colors. Then again, you might stumble onto some combinations that are pure genius. We already mentioned the avocado/coconut combination we stumbled upon. We’re equally fond of the refreshing combination of blueberries and kale, and a savory shake made with tomato and cucumber. We’ve provided recipes for these shakes and a few more to get you started, but experimenting is the best way to come up with your own favorite. For example, the last two recipes are delicious as-is but are low in fat, so you might want to either add some fat or create them as a complement to a fatty Primal meal.

Tell us what you think in the comment board. Share your thoughts on your personal favorite Primal Shake concoctions. Grok on!

Coconut Avocado

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 2-4 tablespoons water (optional, if needed for texture)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup ice

FitDay says:

Calories: 461
Fat: 36.2 g
Carbs: 17.2 g
Protein: 26.9 g

 

Chocolate Almond

  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 – 1 cup ice
  • 2-4 tablespoons water (or other liquid)

FitDay says:

Calories: 519
Fat: 43.7 g
Carbs: 16.5 g
Protein: 26.0 g

Spicy Tomato

  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/3 cup frozen spinach or a small handful raw spinach
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce or black pepper, or to taste
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1/2 cup ice

FitDay says:

Calories: 148
Fat: 10.9 g
Carbs: 13.2 g
Protein: 3.1 g

Berry-based shakes tend to be higher in carbs and lower in fat, which is why we prefer drinking them right before or after a meal that is high in fat and protein, like eggs or steak. You can, however, up the fat content in either of these shakes by adding half an avocado, a spoonful of coconut milk or oil,  nut butter, or yogurt if you eat dairy.

Vanilla Berry

  • 1/3 cup frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 scoop whey protein
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • sprinkle of cinnamon or fresh mint

FitDay says:

Calories: 177
Fat: 0.9 g
Carbs: 26.5 g
Protein: 17.9 g

Blueberry Kale

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 stalk kale, chopped (stem removed). Kale is easiest to blend if you either boil it for 1-2 minutes or put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.
  • 1 scoop whey protein

FitDay says:

Calories: 166
Fat: 1.8 g
Carbs: 22.8 g
Protein: 19.9 g


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130 Comments on "5 Sweet and Savory Primal Shakes"

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iisierra
iisierra
6 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the super ideas!!! Yummy!! They all look great!

TomGreenwald
6 years 8 months ago

Blended fruit smoothies are one of my favourite sweet treats I get from my girlfriend. I`m gonna definitely try these recipes out because now we mostly make them from frozen berries, bananas and pears. This is something new and interesting!

Josh
Josh
6 years 8 months ago

My favorite is a half cup of heavy cream, about a quarter cup of blackberries, a scoop of egg protein, a bit of ice and a little sweetener if the berries are a little tart.

Heaven in a glass. 🙂

Dave
6 years 8 months ago

Chocolate whey protein and avocado mix well with water and make a pretty good shake for race day. I didn’t believe it until I tried it out.

rui
rui
5 years 4 months ago

which whey protein do is best?

West
6 years 8 months ago

We use fresh, young, Thai coconuts often in our smoothies. Alternatively, almond milk or hazelnut milk works well as a liquid base, too. If we want the coconut flavor, but don’t have coconut milk or fresh coconut, using a tablespoon of coconut oil works, too.

Frozen bananas are also a great way to ‘thicken’ a sweet shake, but we’ve never tried avocado. Great idea!

Craig
Craig
6 years 8 months ago

We’ve found that our Vitamix blender makes short work of Kale if you put it in first with a little water, no need for boiling or freezing.
Thanks for posting these recipes I’m looking forward to trying them out!

Grok
6 years 8 months ago

Vita-Mix will make short work of anything 😉

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[…] Original post by Worker Bee […]

lo
6 years 8 months ago

Does kale work if you’re making your smoothies in an ordinary blender? (as opposed to a high-powered one/a Vitamix) Some of us aren’t yet so blessed!

Have never tried it, for fear it wouldn’t blend sufficiently.

marci
marci
6 years 8 months ago

not really-you really need a Ktec or Vitamix to break down the fiber of the kale. But if you have hypothyroid be sure to cook yr kale first before blending (kale is goiterogenic)

Nicole
Nicole
6 years 8 months ago

I put kale in my $20 blender from Walmart. Blends just fine.

Edward
2 years 8 months ago

Once you get a vitamix your quality for “fine” will go up 5 notches.

bonita
bonita
2 years 6 months ago

seriously $20 vs $389 (costco canada). an increase of just 5 notches but almost 20 times the price. my 25 year-old $20 also does just fine. it’s this offhanded arrogance that sometimes comes with paleo that is sooooo tedious. not everyone can drop hundreds of dollars to turn their veggies into a slurry–which seems oddly unpaleo

Tim
3 years 3 months ago

Yes it does! But there are a few “tricks” that make the Kale blend up nice and smooth so it doesn’t come out all chunky. I wrote an article on this because I do not have a Vitamix or Blendtec but I wanted my Kale smoothies to be…well…smooth! Here’s how you do it: http://www.renegadedad.net/how-to-make-a-perfect-kale-smoothie-with-an-ordinary-blender

lettymontana
1 year 10 months ago

What a great idea! And I can’t tell you how much Kale I’ve wasted because it does go bad rather quickly. I can’t always eat Kale as fast as it goes bad. Also I’ve posted your article on my blog “Old Is The New Black” because more of *us* should be eating better and Kale is the best but not particularly good boiled or made into chips. Thanks!

gilliebean
6 years 8 months ago

I’m drooooooling!

thania1
thania1
6 years 8 months ago

Spicy tomato , sounds great.

Joel
Joel
6 years 8 months ago

Mark, you have this incredible ability to write a post on whatever my mind has been thinking about lately…I’ve been thinking about trying to make more shakes as of late(possibly investing in a vitamix) and then you write an awesome post like this. I will have to try these out with my current blender..they look awesome.

Joel
Joel
6 years 8 months ago

Sorry for the double post…but where do you all suggest getting all these coconut products(water, milk)? I have some coconut oil but cannot find the other two that easily at my local grocery.

Trish
Trish
6 years 8 months ago

If your supermarket has an international section (most do) you can find coconut milk with the Thai foods. Whole Foods has a house brand coconut milk which is the only one I’ve encountered that will turn into near-custard if you put it in the fridge–kind of primal pudding!

Benjamin
Benjamin
6 years 8 months ago

you can find coconut milk in the ethnic aisle with the asian foods, and coconut water can generally be found in the baking aisle.

Earthmama
Earthmama
6 years 8 months ago

Making coconut milk is easy!!!

2 cups organic desiccated unsweetened coconut

6 cups hot water

Pour 3 cups hot water over coconut in blender and let sit for 20 minutes.
Blend for 2-3 minutes and pour through fine sieve into container, pressing to remove most of the liquid. Add remaining 3 cups of hot water to blender, along with coconut pulp in sieve and let sit for another 20 minutes. Blend again and press through sieve. Discard pulp. Refrigerate or freeze milk in 1 cup portions (or whatever size you want/need)

You will never need to buy canned coconut milk again!

Dave
Dave
6 years 8 months ago

4 oz. Coconut milk kefir
4 oz. water
1 raw egg
1 scoop chocolate whey protein
1/2 banana
spoonful almond butter
spoonful coconut oil

Filling and satisfying

Tara
Tara
6 years 8 months ago

If kale is too bitter for some – spinach is a great replacement (1-2 Cups). Avocado is definitely adds some creaminess to a shake! I throw in some wheatgrass as well.

Kimi
6 years 8 months ago

Beautiful pictures, by the way.

I liked to add raw, pastured or organic egg yolks and coconut oil to my smoothies. A friend adds coconut flour for added fiber and protein.

Jan
Jan
6 years 8 months ago

1/4 c coconut milk
a little water
1/4 c pumpkin
1/2 banana
1 egg
1t. vanilla

Lance
Lance
5 years 1 month ago

This sounds unbelievably good. Think you could add a bit of cinnamon? It might taste like a pumpkin pie.

I’m having this tomorrow (I’d have it right now if I wasn’t going to bed).

Thanks!

Kate
Kate
6 years 8 months ago

I’m sitting here at work eating my big salad, but now I wished I had a smoothie for lunch. I wonder if anyone would notice if I plugged a blender in underneath my desk? haha.

Mike Cheliak
6 years 8 months ago

Great looking shakes…I like adding about 1/4 cup whole plain yogurt to my shakes. Really gives them a creamy texture.

Jenni39
Jenni39
6 years 8 months ago

I use greek yogurt too. I couldn’t figure out why none of these recipes were using it….. because it’s dairy I suppose, but I don’t have any trouble with dairy, so…. yum!

Daniel Merk
6 years 8 months ago

Worker Bee; you rock!

Michael
Michael
6 years 8 months ago

Man, Those seem so Primal?

Shine
6 years 8 months ago

Spicy tomato looks amaaaaazing, but it set off a fierce Bloody Mary craving.

David Stillwagon
6 years 8 months ago

The chocolate almond looks pretty good but I wonder what brings out the sweet flavor of the cocoa powder, is it the milk?

Ryan
Ryan
6 years 8 months ago

And in case you don’t want all the yummy fat in an avocado, the stores now sell Lite avocados with 30% less fat… WHAT??? I can’t believe that some idiot scientist decided to screw with the avocado and take out the fat… next thing they’ll make coconut oil with 0% saturated fat.

LDOG
LDOG
6 years 8 months ago

Here’s a recipe that I like a lot:
2 scoops whey protein
water

harden up.

wd
wd
6 years 8 months ago

you mean, harden the f up. a great youtube vid, btw.

Really?
Really?
6 years 8 months ago

Doesn’t being primal somehow indicate that we should be using the chewing mechanism for food (which a shake is).

Mary
Mary
6 years 8 months ago

And not puting deodorant on either =D

Really?
Really?
6 years 8 months ago

well, I use botanical deoderants, etc. But point well taken. I just wonder whether the chewing mechanism is important in the digestive process.

FlyNavyWife
6 years 8 months ago

if you’re worried about digestion, i think the blender takes care of the “chewing” for you.

Barbara(Blood, Sweat and Heels)

There is a blog I follow “Oh She Glows” and she makes “Green Monsters”. It’s amazing how much spinach or kale can be thrown into a shake yet not tasted when fruit and coconut water is added. Very healthy and clean:)

These are yummy recipes, thanks for sharing Mark!

Babs

Anon
6 years 8 months ago

I love doing green smoothies. They really pack a bunch of nutrients into my breakfast. You’re right though, many smoothies end up being sugar traps. I hate that so many smoothie places load sugar into the blender. Fruit is naturally sweet on it’s own. No sugar needed!

bubba29
bubba29
6 years 8 months ago

My wife & I share a smoothy every morning. Half cup frozen berries, 2 scoops whey protein, a little fruit juice, a lotta water, liquid D3, and liquid fish oil. That holds us over for a while.

Libby
Libby
6 years 8 months ago

What about using raw eggs in smoothies? Much cheaper than whey protein. If you wash the shells, there’s a very low chance of getting salmonella. I’ve been making eggnog-y smoothies with egg, cream milk and cinnamon.

Jeff P(P stands for Primal)
6 years 8 months ago

I am eager to try these shakes out. In the meantime I drank this for my postworkout tonight:
1 cup almond milk
1 cup raspberries (frozen)
25 g whey protein

What a great snack following a great kettlebell routine!

Richard Shelmerdine
6 years 8 months ago

Oh my god, that Avocado Coconut shake looks delicious. I love avocado. Some absolutely fantastic recipies here guys.

TJ
5 years 5 months ago

I agree. I want to try that avocado/coconut shake ASAP!

Jamie
Jamie
6 years 8 months ago

What a wonderful post, Mark! I have a smoothie for breakfast every day, but mine is pretty boring with just coconut milk, water, and whey. This will help me to shake things up a bit, so to speak!

And thank you so much for including whey in your ingredients. People poo-poo whey a lot on the forums but it really is an efficient way for busy people like me to pack on the protein at 6am on a work/school day!!

Mukundan
6 years 8 months ago

Absolutely delicious. Thanx for the great post

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[…] Primal Smoothies […]

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[…] Nutrition: Mmmm… primal shakes! […]

dawnaurora
6 years 8 months ago

Great recipes. Looking forward to trying them out.

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6 years 8 months ago

[…] 15, 2010 5 Sweet and Savory Paleo Shakes! Posted by josiahlorentzen Filed in Uncategorized Leave a Comment […]

George
George
6 years 8 months ago

Mark…

What about the insulin spike all of these shakes are going to cause (yes even whey protein will spike insulin and cause an increase of IGF-1)?

Why not just eat real food, with fiber?

I believe these are about as un-primal as it can get when it comes to regulating hormone levels. Adding fat isn’t going to stop the insulin as much as people think here.

Go eat a grass-fed steak. Its better all together.

Mady
Mady
6 years 8 months ago

I have to say as a type 1 diabetic that it is true that whey protein powder raises blood sugar- a scoop of whey protein raises my blood sugar about as much and as quickly as a gala apple.

That being said- I think that most of the readers at Mark’s Daily Apple are comfortable eating apples, so…

Greg
Greg
6 years 8 months ago
When I am too lazy to clean a blender, I make a morning “shake” in a saucepan. Melt 1 tbsp of cocoa powder in warm water (I shut off the flame when it reaches 110F), then mix in 2 tbsp of whey protein and plenty of heavy cream. This works great with coconut oil instead of the cream, but then you need the blender to make a nice emulsion (in which case I might throw in 1/8 tsp cinnamon and a bit of hazelnut butter). Libby, I love eggs, but the bulk whey protein isolate I’m using is cheaper for… Read more »
HollyinAus
HollyinAus
6 years 8 months ago

If your goal is fat loss, is it ok to start using coconut milk in smoothies instead of water?

Grok
6 years 8 months ago

If you don’t get a kind filled with sugar.

Unsweetened coconut milk is low-cal, has almost zero carbs, and good fats (MCTs).

HollyinAus
HollyinAus
6 years 8 months ago

I was thinking…

165ml of lite coconut milk (thats the size of the small can here in Aus)
100grams of berries
25grams of whey protein isolate
ice?

its about 10grams of carbs, 30 grams protein and 15grams of fat…thats not to much fat to have in one meal?

Angelo
Angelo
6 years 5 months ago

Holly: Fat is not the problem when eating according to the Primal Blueprint. Check out: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/mark-sisson-is-not-afraid-of-fat/

Cheers,

Dan
6 years 8 months ago

Man, I tried the coconut milk/avocado shake yesterday and was pretty disappointed. In my pre-paleo days, I used to make avocado shakes with vanilla ice cream and they were quite tasty. Apparently all the flavor was coming from the ice cream because this version didn’t get me off at all.

elizabeth
elizabeth
6 years 7 months ago

I tried the coconut avocado one too and was disappointed. I might mess around with a few spices first to see if I can change the taste. It’s a very nice base.

Onto chocolate almond tomorrow.

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[…] need a fast meal replacement? Try here 5 Sweet and Savory Primal Shakes […]

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[…] “5 Sweet & Savory Primal Shakes“ […]

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[…] All of their drinks are crap. I prefer solid food, but if you want a shake/smoothie, check out 5 Sweet Savory Primal Shakes from Mark’s Daily […]

Jordan
Jordan
6 years 8 months ago

Do you use rice or hemp protein? I keep seeing whey protein and am curious about the loyalty to whey.
Thanks!

Mady
Mady
6 years 8 months ago

surprisingly good in the spicy tomato smoothie instead of the avocado- 1 oz frozen liver. I use a vitamix and it comes out creamy- almost like cool spicy bisque.

kathy reynolds
kathy reynolds
6 years 8 months ago
Hello, could any body tell me about the biofed back interface machine.. Is it a good thing or just another hoax.. I went to a Naturopathic doctor, he put a band around my forehead and i placed my feet on what looked like bathroom scales, it had numbers on it, he proceeded with the test which lasted for about an hour, i could feel electric like impulses in my feet, he told me that i had a lot of lead in my system and that my arteres had as lot of plaque.. He wanted me to take collidoial silver, b2,… Read more »
Sue
Sue
6 years 8 months ago

Please do NOT ingest collidoial silver – it’s a heavy metal and toxic. Naturopaths are good (though you have to be careful because most states don’t regulate them) but this guy sounds like a quack.

Phil
Phil
6 years 8 months ago

Mark, Would you recommend any of these shakes as a post-workout drink following some strength training? I was thinking of trying the avocado/coconut? Do you have any other post workout shake suggestions? Thanks

Mainer
Mainer
6 years 7 months ago

We make Kefir shakes, I have a couple I rotate, one is 2 cups Milk Kefir, 1 Tbs Coconut Oil, 1 Tbs Almond Butter, 1/2 Banana, 1 tsp Vanilla. Very good!

Another is 2 cups Milk Kefir, 1 Tbs Coconut oil, 1 cup Blueberries, 1/8 cup apple juice. Also very good!

John
John
6 years 7 months ago

I made the vanilla berry the other day and I have trouble finding the right consistency. Quick suggestion: Maybe instead of regular coconut water you could try Vita Coco, the coconut water beverage. Since it has a bunch of different flavors you could mix and match with the drink you’re making. The discount word is 2BUCKVIT at http://bit.ly/c78qe7

Anyway I love the pictures, I look forward to checking out future posts.

wpDiscuz