Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
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Homemade real food dairy-free protein shake recipe

For almost a full year now, I've been strength training 3-4 times a week. It's the first time in my life I've found a routine I want to stick to and have seen progress from my efforts. It's incredible!

But, with this regular and somewhat ambitious workout schedule, I'm much hungrier than I am when I'm not working out, and I have less time to make our meals in the evenings after work. I eat breakfast, 1-2 lunches, and dinner, but sometimes I need something extra to keep me going before dinner and after my workout, or in the mornings before my first lunch. I had never tried protein powders or shakes before, but we've been looking for brands of grassfed whey protein (this one is a good brand/value, husband uses it), which was helpful but I've also been experimenting with cutting out dairy entirely. (I'd been mostly dairy free, but still ate butter and whey protein without severe issues.)

Without any dairy products including whey, it was hard to find a good protein-dense in-between-meals solution. (I tried egg white protein--I did not like it. And I don't eat grains or processed foods, so plant-based shakes are not an option.) We did have some grassfed gelatin for making homemade panna cotta and jello-ey treats, but its protein content wasn't super high and it has larger granules and a slight flavor when it's plain or not too decorated.

So, I was SO excited when I heard about Vital Proteins, who make collagen peptides and gelatin from pastured cows, both of which provide 18 grams of protein per serving (that's as much as many whey protein powders). With some experimenting, I've come up with a simple, tasty homemade chocolate protein shake, completely dairy-free and full of essential amino acids from Vital Proteins collagen peptides!

Collagen is an essential nutrient for lots of other benefits, too--there's actually a lot of research about its uses for skin, bone/joint health, and recovery. A couple of my fave recipe/wellness bloggers have done some great posts about uses and benefits, too, check those out here:

It's great for putting in my blended coffee in the morning, too--I've been adding just one scoop and it gives it excellent, creamy texture and nicely augments my breakfast to keep me full longer. (In hot drinks like coffee, I've been using the collagen protein, which requires heat to dissolve, but you could also use the peptides.)

I'm so grateful to have found a product like Vital Proteins for my protein shakes, coffee, and the occasional delicious treat like panna cotta or homemade coconut milk ice cream. The research shows great heath benefits from regular use of this stuff, and I'm looking forward to testing it out with daily use for a couple months! (There are tons and tons of delicious, beautiful recipe ideas on the Vital Proteins blog--there are lots of ways to incorporate collagen into meals!)

Homemade real food dairy-free protein shake recipe


  • 2 scoops (20g) Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (dissolves in hot or cold liquid) (or, use 1 scoop unflavored whey if you prefer and can do dairy)
  • 1.5 tsp-1 tbsp cocoa powder (I’ve come to prefer a lot so I use 1 tbsp!)
  • 2 tsp birch xylitol, erythritol, or choice of sweetener (check equivalency)
  • 1 c. organic almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla (optional)

You'll need a stick blender (I have this Cuisinart one, it's incredible for soups, salad dressings, etc. and this!), electric whisk or milk frother, or your blender.

I'd gotten into the habit of putting a serving of whey protein shake into a jar with a lid to bring with me to work or errands, so I developed this recipe to be equally easy to make in a jar. You could do this in a drinking glass as well, but... I reached for a jar out of habit. (You could also put all ingredients in your blender and blend before putting in a glass.)

Note: this is a low-carb protein shake (sweetened with sugar alcohols birch xylitol or erythritol, which are sugar-free); most processed, packaged protein shakes out there are sweetened with strange artificial sweeteners, but if you want to carb load after your workout, try another natural, non-GMO sweetener - I sometimes use coconut palm sugar in recipes.


    1. Combine Collagen Peptides, cocoa powder, and sweetener in the jar and mix with stick blender. This is important to break up the chunks of cocoa powder, and to make sure no collagen is stuck at the bottom of the jar.

    Tip: to keep the stick blender from overflowing the jar or container, hold the jar in your hand so your arm absorbs the pressure from the blender--on the counter, there's no flexibility so the contents can overflow.

    2. Add almond milk and vanilla and blend with stick blender or electric whisk.

    (Again, hold the jar in your hand off the counter.)

    Drink! The flavor is excellent, and it's cold and refreshing. So helpful when you know you need to eat but dinner's not ready (or started!) yet.

    Other flavor ideas:

    I'd love to get creative with flavors of homemade protein shakes, although the chocolate is great. Let me know if you try any of these, or have other ideas!
    • Nut butter (you can try my DIY almond butter recipe here!)
    • Cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and omit the chocolate
    • Frozen banana (like my chia shake recipe here)--use less or no sweetener
    • Frozen blueberries or strawberries instead of the chocolate--use less sweetener
    • Sweeten with maple syrup instead and omit the chocolate--use instead of dry sweetener

    Coupon code!

    Vital Proteins is offering my readers an excellent deal - 20% off your order of collagen peptides or collagen protein, and free shipping!

    Coupon Code: CREATE-ENJOY-2015
    Offer: 20% Off + Free Shipping
    Valid: April 9 - April 23, 2015 


    1. Thanks for the tip! I just placed an order :).

    2. Mmm, I think that would be delicious with banana AND a nut butter!

    3. yum! this looks good!


    4. reminds me a bit of of Alba shake mix, but I used to love that as a kid :)

    5. Really would like to say thanks to you . Sharing Knowledgeable information here.
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    6. Good for you for finding a strength routine you stick with - and a snack that will fuel you!

    7. I found vega brand and nutiva are pretty good. I mix it with almond milk, spinach, strawberry, pretty much whatever I have at home :)

    8. Before this post, I had no idea what collagen was. The only context I had ever even heard the word in was for lip fillers, ha! Not sure I should have admitted that...

    9. I've been reading all about collagen - even in Vogue! Might be something I have to check out.

    10. It came very quickly and it is wonderful. I think I might have to order again right away to repeat the discount (which they actually charged at 50% off rather than 20%!). Texture completely disappears and no taste at all--much easier to use than the gelatin powder from Amazon.

      In case it's helpful to anyone, I don't use prepared almond or coconut milk from the store--don't like the additives. But I also don't want to take the time to make it myself. So I just use a tablespoon or so of coconut butter at room temperature with water. Mixes up great with an immersion blender and tastes fine to me.

    11. WOW, great deal! So glad you're enjoying it. I've made homemade almond milk before, but that coconut butter trick is a great time saver idea for a coconut-ey option!



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