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How to Replenish Your Energy After a Workout {Recipe: Kimball’s Coffee Protein Blast}

Kimballs Coffee Protein Blast

My husband is a frequent part of Kitchen Stewardship®, popping in and out of posts from time to time. He’s usually the observer or commentator of a situation (like this week’s real food party menu), sometimes the cheerleader, often the skeptic, and every so often, the pawn (think organ meats).

Never before has he been the author – and we’re not quite there yet – but today he’s actually the recipe developer (imagine my surprise!). He even named it himself.

Over the past few years, my husband has gotten more into fitness than ever before – he always played sports and lifted weights occasionally, but somewhere along the way he decided to be more committed. He’s completed a couple of sessions of 6-day-a-week P90X and Insanity workouts, and the man who always hated running suffered through training for a 5K, hit that magical point where he actually began to enjoy the challenge and crave running, and even completed a half marathon last fall (below).

Training Drinks

Kris Kimball and young children at a half marathon

Just as he’s purchased special running shoes, clothes, apps, and gloves for winter that even work on his smart phone, runners and athletes tend to have special foods and drinks they enjoy to keep their energy up while training.

There’s that one that’s ubiquitous with all sporting events, gushing on coaches’ heads, spotlighted in million-dollar athlete-endorsed commercials and served after children’s games everywhere (unfortunately).

My son knows that if he gets a bottle of the artificially colored and flavored you-know-what, it either counts as his dessert or, if it’s also artificially sweetened, it hits the trash.

relyte caps

A few years ago I happened upon a recipe for homemade Gatorade electrolyte replacement drink (ahem, I’m sure that’s copyrighted), and my husband said it tastes exactly like the original lemon-lime version. Made with Real Salt, it adds minerals and salts your body sweats out while exercising.

Redmond’s Re-Lyte capsules, the sponsor of this post, do the same thing in a supercharged way, delivering 60 trace minerals in a vegetable-based capsule. They often reduce or eliminate cramping for athletes on long training sessions while replacing electrolytes, and it seems cyclists in particular have nothing but good things to say about them. (Click the review tab HERE to see more.)

In our pre-real-food days, my husband not only was a regular consumer of above unnamed drinks when playing hockey, but he also had huge tubs of whey protein to make muscle-building drinks with when he would lift weights. When those ran out after our journey to real food began, he didn’t know what to replace them with, and neither did I.

His protein drink days seemed to be over.

Enter Minimally Processed Whey Protein

Protein Coffee Drink

We finally found properly raised, minimally processed whey protein powder in a few places, both at Amazon (goat milk protein) and Radiant Life (as used in our grain-free quinoa bars recipe).

The powders don’t blend as smoothly as he’s used to, and without the added sugar of the conventional stuff, so simply mixing them with milk wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

So my husband, who has never experimented in the kitchen beyond putting my cooking utensils away in the wrong drawer to see what my reaction would be, created a delicious way to get his protein AND added electrolytes.

Protein Coffee Drink
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Coffee Protein Blast

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4 from 1 review
  • Author: Kris Kimball
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


  • 3 Tbs. hot water
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1/41/2 tsp. vanilla
  • dash stevia powder or 3-5 drops stevia liquid (to taste)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (15g)
  • ~2 c. whole milk, divided
  • 25 ice cubes
  • to replace electrolytes as well, add (for 2 cups):
  • 1/8 tsp. Real Salt
  • a pinch baking soda (1/16 tsp.)

ship kroger


  1. In a cup with a lid (my husband uses the bar-help drink mixer that we got for our wedding and never used before; there are also special shaker cups for mixing protein drinks) or a measuring cup with a whisk, vigorously shake/whip the coffee, water, vanilla and stevia as well as salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase) and baking soda (if using).
  2. Add the protein powder and one cup of the milk and shake or whip again until completely dissolved.
  3. Place ice in a pint glass, pour mixture in and fill to the top with milk, which will be slightly less than a cup.
  4. Drink and enjoy!


Everyone feels a little differently about coffee – it seems like one day it’s good for you, the next day it’s not. You could use a touch of cocoa (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) powder or other flavoring instead of coffee if you don’t prefer it.

  • Need a little help getting healthy food on the table every day? Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type, including GAPS, Paleo, AIP, Whole30, vegetarian and more! You remain totally in control: use your own recipes, accept theirs, and teach the system what your family likes…Check out how powerful it is here!
Protein Coffee Drink

I’m well known for honest, thorough product reviews…

reviewed and recommended

…and you can always tell a real family has run these products through the gauntlet.

When I review a type of item, I try to review a LOT of different brands! From over a dozen reusable sandwich bags to over 120 natural mineral sunscreens, I’m your girl for straight-up info about natural, real foodie items you’re considering buying.

Click here to see more product reviews and you’ll also love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

26 thoughts on “How to Replenish Your Energy After a Workout {Recipe: Kimball’s Coffee Protein Blast}”

  1. Julie @ Seeking The Old Paths

    I wanted to chime in a couple of comments about the added baking-soda thing. (I checked out the comments on Cara’s post.)

    World Health Organization includes baking soda in their recipe for Electrolyte Replacement Fluid.

    The WHO recipe (from Mommy Diagnostics by Shonda Parker) is as follows:
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon potassium chloride
    1 ounce sugar
    Dissolved into 1 quart boiled water.

    I keep the potassium chloride on hand all the time because I never know when we’ll need this electrolyte fluid. I figure that in healthy people (which we are), dehydration is more of a concern than, “Will my child drink 18 gallons of this today and thereby get a potentially harmful dose of baking soda?”

    Another piece of (anecdotal) evidence for me is that we used to drink the “All Natural Sports Drink” recipe from Kelly the Kitchen Kop before finding Cara’s recipe. We definitely feel that the recipe with baking soda is more effective. That is not just counting myself and ten children, but the real test for me is my husband who works outside all year round on car lots. The temps on the asphalt are easily 120 degrees (and much higher when he’s working *inside* the cars) and we live where there is regularly 90% humidity. The risks for him becoming dehydrated are greater than for myself or the kids, so his experience is a good trial for my experiments with this.

    We have since gone back and added baking soda to Kelly’s Cranberry Pomegranate recipe. Yum!

  2. Alice – Yep! You can get the salt any way you want, but it’s a good product for those too busy to encapsulate their own or spike homemade power balls with Real Salt. 😉

  3. I love that homemade electrolyte replenisher you linked!! I sometimes walk home from work (about 3 miles), and in the summer it’s very draining to exercise in the heat and humidity after being in air conditioning all day, but that drink really perks me up! Here is my recipe for making electrolyte replenisher by the glass–I have a small family, so mixing it by the gallon doesn’t work for us.

    My doctor actually warned me against the popular sports drinks, saying the artificial coloring and other additives do more harm than good. He recommended just diluting juice and adding salt and sugar. But the recipe that also uses baking soda works better–baking soda is a different salt, and our bodies need both kinds.

    I usually focus on replacing water and salt first after exercising, and then I have protein (in food) and caffeine a little later–but I think your husband’s drink sounds tasty!

    1. Becca,
      I was looking at Cara’s homemade Gatorade (similar, but missing the lime) that she posted in April, and in the comments someone actually said their pediatrician told them baking soda could be dangerous or something…odd, eh?

      Interesting discussions!
      🙂 Katie

      1. Here is a doctor’s article on rehydration drinks that cites the World Health Organization’s recipe–which I’m unable to find on WHO’s own site anymore. WHO knows what they’re doing with people on the brink of dying from dehydration. For those of us who are just a little sweaty, it may not be necessary to use all the salts or so much total salt. I have low blood pressure myself, but I know that baking soda can be dangerous to people with very high blood pressure or certain heart conditions–who should consult their doctors and read the ingredients of commercial sports drinks, too!

  4. Julie @ Seeking The Old Paths

    So, Katie…is there *just* RealSalt inside the caps? I couldn’t find anything more detailed than that on the website. What does your bottle say?

    Conceivably, since I have a capsule maker, if that’s all that is in there, I could make them myself with my bulk RealSalt, right? Groovy idea.

    I hope there’s something else in there, so I don’t have to add one more thing to my To-Do List ((shhh…I didn’t really say that)).

    1. Julie,
      It really is! If you click on “additional information” tab here: you can see the ingredients. (Sorry it’s possible to make them yourself though, ahem.) 😉 Katie

  5. I run every day and race too, and use my bike for transportation mostly. And I stick exclusively to traditional/ real food. None of these manufactured and marketed athletic nutritional aids, yet I am consistently finishing at or near the top of my age group in most races. I can do 3 pull-ups too and for a woman in her 40s that’s significant…

    For hydration, I stick to water most of the year, with switchel (1800s answer to athletic drinks) in the worst of summer. For long races (half marathon or longer) I’ll carry some honey straws from a local beekeeper as a substitute for those energy chews. The plastic isn’t ideal, but it works. If I’m going for a long bike ride, I carry food, but it’s usually nuts or homemade granola bars or even a PBJ sandwich.

  6. This looks absolutely delicious. My husband is going to like this. I will make the coffee version for him and the cocoa powder recipe for myself. Coffee upsets my stomach so I avoid it whenever possible. Thanks for the nutritious idea. Congrats to your husband for channeling healthy energy into a wonderful snack.

  7. So this got me wondering… Would this, the feel pills made into drink with tad stevia, be an acceptable alternative to Gatorade for my children? They play little league baseball, and we all take turns bringing snacks and drinks. My turn is usually the odd man out with a healthy snack and water. most bring some short of sugar in a plastic bottle, or worse fake sugar in a bottle. I need a viable alternative i can offer to my children. Ideas?

    1. Michele,
      The capsules are filled with 100% Real Salt, so to make a drink, just use the salt…my kids and husband love this recipe:

      We served it at an 8yo bday party and about 3 out of 12 kids didn’t like it, and the rest did. Worth a try for baseball!!

      🙂 Katie

  8. Jason Harrison

    There are very few exceptions to these rules:
    You can’t build muscle by eating.
    You can’t cut fat by exercising.
    Keep to the whole foods.
    Head on over to Brad Pilon’s blog for more.

    1. Hmmm, interesting – so you would say that it’s exercise alone that builds muscle, regardless of what one eats/drinks, and that maintaining protein in the diet isn’t important? I’m all about basing health in whole foods…do you think the minimally processed whey protein wouldn’t be considered a whole food, out of curiosity? Thanks! Katie

      1. Can you make “minimally processed whey protein” in your own kitchen? If yes, than there’s wiggle room to call it a whole food. If not, I sure wouldn’t.

        1. Sharon,
          That’s a good question…I’m thinking it’s little more than gently dried milk…but it is actually hard to tell from both websites. They’re just sold by companies with such a tight reign on the quality of products they sell, I left a bit of a leap of faith trusting them, I guess…good “kitchen test” challenge though!

      2. Jason Harrison

        Your body can make the proteins it needs to from food that includes the nine essential amino acids that it can’t manufacturer itself.

        Potatoes contain all of the nine essential amino acids. So you don’t need to eat “protein” whether in animal flesh, vegetables or dairy. It may be convenient and tasty to eat smoothies or steaks but it’s not necessary.

        And the research on health and eating animal products continues to back the plant based diets. See for more.

        1. Sharon J (different Sharon)

          That statement, if it were true, still could not apply for many people. It would not apply for pregnant women who need a significant amount of plant and/or animal protein to avoid metabolic illnesses like eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. My daughter is both Celiac and type one diabetes; without animal and nut protein, she would suffer from many health conditions caused by fluctuating blood sugars. Potatoes are high carb, though those with waxy skins are less problematic. No nutritionist would agree with your idea that potatoes will substitute for protein.
          The question to ask about any supplement is whether or not it contains real foods that the body will recognize. God made the body to eat plants, not rocks. Minerals in their original state are rocks to our bodies. Those are passed through with little effect. The minerals supplements we eat must be formed from plant-based products. Otherwise, they will be released from the body after having been mostly untouched in in effective.

          1. Sharon,
            Thanks for chiming in – nothing sounded right about eating white potatoes instead of animal protein, but I was too tired to bother responding when Jason’s comment came in. 😉

            Are you saying with the minerals part of the comment that the minerals in Real Salt don’t really matter since they’re in mineral state, not plant? That’s interesting…

            Thanks!! 🙂 Katie

  9. Besides water, I have been eating a banana with peanut butter or celery with peanut butter and raisins. I can’t wait to try your coffee protein drink.

  10. I recently got some of Re-Lyte caps with the homemaking e-book bundle. I’m due with my third little one in September, so not doing any heavy exercising right now, but I’ve been thinking about maybe using them during and directly after labor. That’s some pretty significant muscle exercise, right? 😉

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