Learn how to make a protein workout shake with gelatin/collagen!
I’ve sung the praises of gelatin in previous posts like THIS one where I show you how to make healthy homemade jello snacks.
I also lovingly refer to gelatin as a girls BFF because of the amazing skin, hair and nail benefits. You can read more about all the wonderful benefits of consuming gelatin/collagen and why you should be using it HERE.
But did you also know that gelatin and collagen make the perfect protein workout recovery shake for athletes looking to rebuild muscle and aid in recovery?
The specific amino acids in gelatin and collagen (mainly glycine and proline) are just the type of amino acids you need to build muscle, repair tissue and lessen inflammation. Several claims have been made that gelatin even boosts the human growth hormone and boosts metabolism (further helping you lose weight and build muscle!).
Because of the high levels of glycine content, gelatin helps your body repair quicker, helps repair small tears in cartilage, eases stiff joints and helps build muscle. Sounds exactly what you need after a grueling workout, right?
1 tablespoon of gelatin has approximately 9 grams of protein (I use 2 tablespoons for my protein shake recipe, but you could add more, if needed).
WHAT’S WRONG WITH USING PROTEIN POWDER?
It’s really hard to find a protein powder with no added sugar or that have no questionable ingredients and artificial additives. Even harder is it to find protein powders made from animals not treated with antibiotics or hormones. If you do happen to find a protein powder that is all natural and sources from healthy, grass-fed , pasture raised animals, expect to shell out some serious cash. And plant based protein powders have a low biological value, which means there’s less protein and amino acids available to you to be absorbed and used by your cells.
There’s also a big concern that protein powders are processed at temperatures that result in a large supply of free glutamic acids, which act like MSG in the body.
SO WHICH KIND OF GELATIN SHOULD I BUY?
The type of gelatin you buy matters. Because gelatin is an animal product, it’s important that your gelatin and collagen comes from healthy, pasture raised animals that were not pumped with hormones, antibiotics or confined to factory feeding lots. THIS is the company I recommend because their gelatin is made from grass-fed, pasture raised animals.
I also prefer to buy the collagen peptides (THIS one) because it will not gel, you can add it to hot or cold liquids and it mixes very easily with other ingredients. The collagen peptides also has a low molecular weight which means it’s quickly absorbed to your connective tissue. This is especially helpful in a recovery shake when you want the nutrients quickly assimilated to start the repair process.
INGREDIENTS THAT AID IN MUSCLE BUILDING & RECOVERY
I switched to collagen peptides for my protein shake about a year ago with tremendous results.
Every ingredient in my protein shake is designed to serve a purpose for aiding in the recovery and rebuilding of muscle tissue:
- GELATIN/COLLAGEN – builds muscle, repairs connective tissue, lessens inflammation
- SWEET POTATO – replenishes muscle glycogen
- RAW HONEY – reduces muscle fatigue
- CINNAMON, GINGER, NUTMEG, CLOVES – all have powerful anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve muscle and joint pain. Cinnamon also has high levels of manganese that serves to build connective tissue. Ginger improves the absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Nutmeg and cloves are a staple in Chinese medicine to treat inflammation and muscle pain.
MY PROTEIN SHAKE WITH GELATIN RECIPE:
Makes 1 shake:
1 cup water (I specifically do NOT use milk – whether coconut, almond, dairy, etc. as a base because the fat content in these milks can slow nutrient absorption. After a tough workout is when your body needs nutrients as quickly as possible, which is why I stick to using water with only a splash of coconut milk. If you aren’t using this shake for workout recovery, adding part milk or all milk as the base instead of water will make it taste better!)
splash of coconut milk or other milk, optional
½ cup ice
1 small cooked sweet potato or ½ of a large one (or ¾ cup canned pumpkin like THIS)
2 tablespoons collagen peptides (Find HERE)
1 tablespoon pure raw honey
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger, nutmeg cloves
Blend in a blender until well mixed. Enjoy!
Consume within 30 minutes of a hard workout for best results.
Interested in how else you can use gelatin? Read THIS post on 6 different ways to use gelatin.
And then make learn how to make homemade healthy Jello snacks using gelatin HERE.
Do you use gelatin or collagen? Have you noticed any good results from it? Talk to me 🙂
How many grams of protein per shake? I love your recipes, but I don’t see the the nutritional calories, protein and carb listed for your recipes. Thank You!
Kathy, 1 tablespoon of gelatin has about 6-9 grams of protein. I use 2 tablespoons in my shake (to make it about 15 grams), but if you need more, you can add more in without affecting taste or texture.
Started crossfit end of May and have been sore since. . . lol
Wondering if you can whip up a larger batch of this and use throughout the week?
Thank you 🙂
Yes, great idea!! This is just what your sore muscles need 🙂
Did you try that? How did a larger batch keep?
Love this…especially since it uses gelatin and I’m starting to incorporate it to heal my suspected leaky guy.
Question: I have some sort of sweet potato sensitivity (gives me a headache to rival a migraine). Do you have any idea what the next best option is? I’m thinking plantains or a banana but would greatly appreciate any suggestions!
Thanks for the great info!
Hi Kate, does pumpkin do the same thing to you as sweet potato? My #1 substitution would be pumpkin or another form of squash. But if you can’t do pumpkin or squash, fruits like apples, berries, banana or plantain would be ok, too.
This article may also be helpful to you on post workout nutrition that I wrote: http://www.primallyinspired.com/tuesday-training-what-to-eat-after-a-workout-post-workout-nutrition-paleo/
How many days before it goes bad? I would prefer to make this once a week if possible
I’m not sure, Tami, since I’ve never made it very far in advance. I think it would be ok for at least a few days and probably a week, too. I always do the smell test after a few days go by 🙂
Do you have any recipes or suggestions on how to make protein bars without protein powder? Thanks!!!
Great idea for a new recipe I should do 🙂
You can substitute the hydrolyzed gelatin for protein powder in any recipe. But since gelatin is not flavored or sweetened, you may need to add a bit more sweetener (I stick to honey or maple syrup) and probably a bit of vanilla extract to the recipe, especially if the recipe called for vanilla protein powder. If it calls for chocolate protein powder, you’ll have to add a bit of cacao powder (I usually add a tablespoon at a time while taste testing the batter to determine how much I need).
I found this recipe online that you may like (I haven’t tried it): http://www.julianbakery.com/paleo-protein-bar-recipe/
I love stumbling onto new uses for gelatin. Oh the learning curve I just swung up on!
I was wondering why you use sweet potato in your protein drink? Could you share on this part?
haha, awesome!! I like using sweet potato or other forms of starchy carbohydrates (pumpkin or squash) because they are ideal for replacing muscle glycogen. A lot of people eat high fructose fruits after a workout, but all that does is replace the liver glycogen, not the muscle glycogen that you just worked and what actually needs to be replaced. If you do chose fruit, low fructose options are best.
I wrote this article on post workout nutrition that may be helpful, too: http://www.primallyinspired.com/tuesday-training-what-to-eat-after-a-workout-post-workout-nutrition-paleo/
Is this the same type of gelatin I would buy to use in a bread recipe that calls for gelatin?
This particular brand has 2 kinds of gelatin – one that is hydrolyzed which means it will not gel. And the second kind is the regular kind and it will gel. If the gelling part is crucial for the recipe (like Jello), you definitely need to use the regular gelatin. I’m not sure if your bread recipe requires the gel factor so it’s hard to say. I keep both kinds stocked in my kitchen for different recipes. I use the hydrolyzed every morning in my tea (or smoothie) and I save the regular kind for recipes like Jello and puddings.
That’s what I thought, thank you! I can’t wait to pick up both kinds…I know they don’t carry them at my Whole Foods, maybe I’ll check online. Putting it in tea is a great idea, thanks! I wonder if this would be good for my husband’s hair, he’s losing some of it.
Doesn’t all hydrolyzed gelatin does contain MSG no matter how the animal is fed or raised? And gelatin to me is just gross…it’s all animal by-product that would otherwise be considered waste. Yet it’s given a fancy name and sold to make money from dead animal carcasses that aren’t used for anything else. BTW I’m not some vegan or vegetarian just writing a bunch of crap as I love to eat meat, but I only eat organic 100% grass fed beef from a local farmer. So I know where it came from
Hi David, I hear you. I really do! I know a lot of people think gelatin is gross and I can definitely understand that in today’s culture. We live in a culture where only muscle meats are consumed and anything else is gross. But traditional diets used every single part of the animal. People ate head cheese, ox tails, pig feet, etc. From head to tail – nothing went to waste. In our culture of only muscle meats, we are severely lacking in important amino acids found in the “gross” parts of the animal. Eating muscle meat only actually skews our balance of amino acids and this is not ideal at all. I ONLY recommend the Great Lakes brand of gelatin because they source from grass fed, pasture raised animals and their gelatin is minimally processed to avoid and eliminate the occurrence of free glutamic acids. Here’s some more info about that on their website: http://www.greatlakesgelatin.com/consumer/noMSG.php
Hope that helps!
It’s true! It’s a modern western thing not eating the “icky” parts, but they have a lot of health benefits. I ordered 3 cans of the regular Kosher beef gelatin on Amazon and have used it in paleo pancakes and desserts. I have also just stirred it into a hot or warm liquid and gulped. I read something about the hydrolized one that made me not buy it and I can’t remember now what it was, something about the processing I think. I have actually backed off on using the gelatin because I’m pretty sure it was the reason for loads of gas, the variety you kinda can’t leave the house with. 🙁 No idea why. A real bummer because it would be such a convenient way to get it vs. making a lot of labor intensive bone broths.
Gelatin is a detoxifier which is probably why you were having gas. You would probably be fine if you ate smaller amounts or gradually ate more. Also, the hydrolized one is easier to digest compared with Gelatin.
I ordered the Great Lakes Beef Gelatin from Amazon, but they sent me porcine instead. Do you know if it’s as healthy as the beef version? Thanks for your help!
Yes! I actually have both beef and porcine and I like to rotate them for added benefits. They source from pastured pigs so you’re still getting all the great benefits.
Aloha Kelly ~
I came across one of your pins on pinterest and wanted to check your site since i am into the Paleo and Clean Eating movement. I love the fact that you mentioned about this topic as i have read an in depth article about gelatin and to exclusively use a gelatin product that is pasture raised and finished, and to my surprise, the product you endorse is also the one that i have read about! small world!
In your experience of not going the path of using protein powders? i have to say that i have found one. One that is not a whey protein isolate to which i have done personal research on this and reading as to why it is not healthy nor beneficial to do so. the protein powder I have been using and going into my 2nd year is a plant based protein one. It’s hemp and I have been using a product from Canada and i swear it has given me more energy and stamina presently, even better when I was in my 20s and 30s!
Now, with you in saying that the unadulterated pure form of gelatin is another avenue for added protein boost? i will add this to my regimen and mix it up every now and then with my hemp protein and the gelatin power smoothie recipe you have here. i will visit your site often for more info and tips! Thank you my fellow primal paleo friend!
Aloha, Bernard! I’m thrilled to have you as a new reader!
Thanks so much for the comment, too. That is great to hear about your experience with hemp powder, especially hearing about all the newfound energy 🙂 I’ve never used it before and am looking forward to checking it out!
Hi! Quick question: Could you add eggwhite protein powder to this without affecting the benefits from everything else? I am so excited to find this recipe! I have been eating all the wrong things after my hard workouts – eggs and avocado! Ah!
Thanks for your insight!
Yes, that would work!
What would you suggest for pre-workout, if anything? Thanks! 🙂
Hi Amy, I have a post about that! http://www.primallyinspired.com/tuesday-training-what-to-eat-before-a-workout-pre-workout-nutrition-paleo/
Hope that helps 🙂
Great, thanks! I swore off protein powders a few years ago when I started reading the ingredients and have just been relying on reall food protein sources, but I really missed my shakes! 🙂
I hear you – I’m like my post shakes, too!! Not sure if it’s because it’s what I was so used to doing or what, but I’m definitely a shake person, too 🙂
Hi there. I would just like to use this for a smoothie in the morning as a meal replacement. I need the fat with my protein to keep me satiated though. Do you have a quick recipe idea for a breakfast type smoothie.
Yes, definitely use coconut milk or your favorite milk of choice if you use this as a meal replacement. One of my favorites for breakfast is like a chunky monkey breakfast shake:
2 handfuls of greens (can’t taste ’em!)
a big spoonful or two of almond butter
2 tablespoons gelatin
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds, optional
1 cup or so of coconut milk or milk of choice
1 tablespoon sweetener, optional, but not needed if your banana is ripe enough or you can throw a date or 2 in 🙂
Blend in a blender!
Hope you like 🙂
Hi! I use Great Lakes Gelatin every single morning in my smoothie because I heard it helps with joint pain. After a few months of use there is a huge improvement and I have very little pain. I also bought the red can ( the one that gels) for cooking. I highly recommend it! I love your blog!
Yes!!! Gelatin is so great with joint pain and inflammation. It works wonders on my knees. And thanks for reading, Joanne – so glad to have you here 🙂
Hi there. Just tried this recipe and its pretty amazing. Bought some gelatin from the butchers and I didn’t know how much of a protein punch it packed. 44 grams per every 50 grams!!!! And its cheap!
Thanks for sharing
I was wondering, if you know, is this ok for people who have Crohn’s and/or Ulcerative Colitis. I have both and IBS. My wife has Crohn’s. We eat a mainly Paleo diet and eat a lot of Pure Extra Virgin Coconut Oil too. We haven’t tried Gelatin but would LOVE to get off other protein powders and make our own if possible. Thanks in advance.
What if I want 60 grams or more of protein? Does that change anything with adding that many tablespoons of gelatin? My protein shakes usually have at least that much.
I’ve never tried that much at one time, but it’s tasteless so it shouldn’t affect the taste. And I don’t think it would affect the texture since it blends very easily.
Hi! Thinking of getting this gelatin for shakes but since it’s not a “complete protein” what to do you need to add in? Thanks!
If I juiced a couple sweet potatoes instead of blending cooked ones, would it have the same affect?
Could I use coconut water as the liquid and get a similar recovery effect?
Yes, that would be great!
I started using gelatin in my smoothies about a year ago. I am 61 years old and was just starting to get a receding hairline. Since using this same gelatin my hair is now growing back!!! Thank you for all your help and healthy advice on this website!
I LOVE hearing this, Shirley!! That is great!
I have noticed a lot of people writing about making this shake ahead for the week. I cook a large quantity of sweet potato (like 6-8) every week in my crockpot and freeze them. I use them for various things throughout the week for my family. If you did this you wouldn’t have to worry about it spoiling and you could take it out of the freezer the night before and throw it in the smoothie. You may even be able to throw it in frozen. Just a suggestion. Thanks for all your great info Kelly!
Love that, Carla!!
I know this may be a silly question… How does the shake taste? I know a lot of people use protein shakes with sugar and additives for the flavor… Are there any variation (flavor wise) that you would recommend? Also, how is the texture of this shake?
Hi Aly! It tastes like a pumpkin pie shake. I love the taste, but I also am obsessed with all things pumpkin flavored. The texture is creamy and like a milk shake. You could use banana instead of the sweet potato if you like banana flavors. Hope that helps!
Hi there! Thank you so much for this info and recipe. (I found it through Pinterest.) My husband insists on having post workout protein shakes, but he’s been using the unhealthy store-bought versions. I’m so glad to have found this and am looking forward to getting him “hooked on healthy”!
I don’t know if you covered this already, but can you use homemade gelatin in the the shake if it is not in powder form? I am making a batch of bone broth (from your how to post on it) and was planning to use the gelatin in place of a post-workout protein shake. Is this possible?
Hi Lauren, I’ve never done it with actual bone broth, but I don’t see why you couldn’t!
Hi. I tried to read all the comments but began to go cross eyed!
I’m a cross fitter and lift heavy. I am 40 and aim to recover as healthy as possible.
I’m totally into bone broth and gelatin. My main question is how does this post workout taste?
Thanks so much!
This one tastes similar to a pumpkin pie smoothie – I think it tastes great!
Oh joy! I am thrilled about this. Thanks for your helpful and clear information. Cheers!
One more question. Sorry if it’s been addressed already.
What are your thoughts on tossing a raw sweet potato into
the shake? I have a Blendtec. Thanks, Kelly
I say go for it! I’ve never done it myself, but I think it’s worth a try.
Hi! Thanks so much for all the info!! I’ve been reading through some of your previous posts (specifically pre and post workout meals). I’m a little confused ;-)…. In your “post workout meal” article you talk about not eating carbs if one feels like they are in the overweight category. I wouldn’t consider myself overweight per se…however, I have a mid section as in “side fat” that I’m trying like heck to get rid of! Should I stick to no carb for post workout, or would something like your protein shake be ok considering one of the main ingredients is the sweet potato? Also keep in mind that this would be my breakfast too because I have to get up first thing in the morning and workout because of work schedule, kids etc…
Thank you for your time, sincerely…
So thrilled by your post! My workouts have left me feeling exhausted lately and I felt like I was refueling incorrectly since I was feeling tired all the time. I refuse to eat sugar and I thought I was kicked out of the protein shake world because of that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! This hit the spot after my gym workout this morning, delicious!
So happy to hear, Steph!!! 🙂
Hey, I have read this one recently and I though that I share it here. I have been using gelatin to heal my gut and have noticed improvements. This article about using gelatin for the post-workout recovery has some interesting points.
Thanks for the info, Nadia!
so now I’m confused, i just downed a smoothie using great lakes intsead of whey for post workout and article above says not too.
Hi Joesy! I’ve read a lot of research/numerous studies that says collagen/gelatin is great for muscle recovery, maintenance and growth so I still stand by my article. Vital Proteins also recommends their collagen for athletic performance and muscle recovery, maintenance and growth and there is a lot of research links they’ve included in this article >> http://www.vitalproteins.com/collagen-supplements-natural-protein-nutrition-benefits
Hope that helps!
I’ve been putting potato starch in my breakfast smoothie for a prebiodic (Wheat Belly). If I started adding in the gelatin would those two “mesh” together?
Hi Michele! Yes, they mesh together well! I often put about 1/4 cup beans in mine for a nice, slow digesting prebiotic and for that little extra fiber and protein.
Would coconut Water be okay to sub for regular water? I am trying to make a protein shake for my daughter after Taekwondo. She complains that her legs hurt and muscles hurt. I figure if I can get protein, vitamins, and electrolytes to her asap it will help.
Yes, great idea!
This is great! Are the cloves, cinnamon, etc. spices or fresh?
I use dried spices, Misty-Anne!