How to make healthy choices every day

Adaptogenic Date Shake


Each year, my now friend Sasha Swerdloff of Tending the Table genius organizes a trip for women in the food world (bloggers, cookbook authors, chefs, nutritionists, photographers etc.) to get together, hang out, share delicious food, and get to know each other beyond a screen (…see? Genius!) This year I actually got to attend – ok truth: I shamelessly invited myself because I wanted to meet this talented troupe of ladies IRL. The group decided to gather in Palm Springs, much to my delight as I needed to escape two kinds of hell: overdue home renovations and Ontario in February.

The days were magically sunny, delicious, and life-affirming. We cooked a lot, then let our food get cold taking too many photos of it. We swam, we hiked, we yoga-ed, we laughed, and conspired together. Besides all of the heart-warming togetherness, one of the highlights for me, was visiting a date farm just outside the city limits, to understand where our favourite whole food sweetener comes from (and to gorge ourselves, naturally). I had never seen dates on a tree before, and was moved to learn from the passionate farmer himself just how these sweet miracles grow.


Dates grow on palm trees, and they fastidiously follow the calendar – you can practically set your watch to a date palm’s seasonal cycle. The first day of spring the tree is in full bloom and the hard work begins, as the farmer pollinates each one by hand. The ratio of male to female trees is about 1 to 30, since the male trees are only necessary to produce the pollen, and the female trees are the ones that produce the fruit. Between the first day of spring and the first day of summer, the tree sets up its entire crop for the year. All the work (trimming, feeding, etc.) must take place during this season, since it’s during this period is when the fruit ripens, turning from green, to yellow, to brown. The dates are ready to eat from the first day of autumn, and then the harvest begins. During this season, the fruit is either left on the tree and protected with cloth bags to prevent rain, birds and insects from spoiling the fruit, or picked when ripe. The farmer told us that the best place for the dates is to remain on the tree for freshness, but if the load is too heavy, it will not bloom as well the following year, thus effecting the trees’ output.

After decades of date farming, he was as wide-eyed and passionate about his fruit as an eager young man, which really made us all swoon. It is truly one of my favourite things in this world, to see how and where food is grown, and to meet and connect with the people who lovingly produce it. We all left with full bellies and hearts, and of course, our bags bulging with dates.   

Date shake

Along the dusty, desert road home we saw so many signs for date shakes, since this is the land where this indulgent treat was invented back in the 1930s. None of us caved and bought one, but my mouth was definitely watering, and I was excited to get back and make one for myself. The original recipe is simple, and calls for dates, vanilla ice cream, milk, and sometimes a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. I knew this was the perfect makeover opportunity, and high-vibed my date shake with coconut milk instead of dairy, hemp seeds, and adaptogens.

So why the adaptogens? Well, I felt like the already-pretty-healthy date shake could use a boost, and what better way to make something more supportive than with a dose of stress-reducing, adrenal-loving, hormone-balancing, potions to get you back into balance? Yahs! I had these four choices on hand, but there are a lot of options once you start to dig around the health food store a little. Here is a little about each one and why I chose them.

Ashwaganda: helps the body adapt to stress and bring us back into balance. It encourages deeper sleep, supports the immune system, and energy levels.
He Shou Wu: builds the blood, harmonizes adrenal gland function, nourishes hair, skin and nervous system, increases antioxidant activity.
Maca: increases stamina, elevates mood, helps to balance hormones in both men and women, supports fertility and healthy libido.
Licorice: balances hormones, helps the body adapt to stress, supports the immune response, and aids learning and memory.

*Some adaptogens during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and while on medication are not recommended, so check with your natural health care provider before trying any of them.


The farm we visited grew seven types of dates, and we loved trying them all. The unanimous favourite was the grower’s very own variety that he created himself, called Black Gold. He also mentioned that this was the best type of date for a date shake, but considering the fact that you maaaaay not get a chance to visit Palm Springs anytime soon, I’ll go ahead and recommend using Medjool dates for the shakes, since they are widely available, and their thin skin blends very easily into a smooth consistency. If you cannot find Medjool, try Deglet Noor instead, or soak your dates in warm water for half an hour before blending.

Dates are a great source of energy, and provide a generous amount of filling dietary fibre with very little fat. Dates are mineral rich, delivering potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as an assortment of B-vitamins. Seek out dates that are plump and juicy-looking (if you’re buying from a market, ask to try them first), that their skin is intact, and that they are neither glossy or dusty. I store my dates in an airtight glass jar in the fridge to extend their shelf life, and protect their flavour and nutrients. Kept this way, dates will last up to six months. Outside of the fridge at room temperature, dates will last about a month and a half, or you can freeze them for up to a year.


The banana in this blend up is totally optional, and I actually really liked the version without, even though it was less thick and “milkshakey”. If you want to add more dates for sweetness and flavour, live it up. I found that this amount, about 3 Medjool dates, was just perfect for me, even without the banana. The spices are also optional but add complexity and pizazz!

And while we’re talking about optional, next time you go to blend something up whether its this shake or something else, may I suggest adding something to support collagen production? It’s all the buzz lately, let’s get into it!

Collagen is a structural protein that our bodies make naturally, in fact, nearly ⅓ of the protein found within our bodies comes from collagen! Pretty neat, eh?

We need this protein to support hundreds of functions within our body, like supporting our skin’s barrier, stimulating nail / hair growth, bolstering bones, protecting internal organs, assisting with normal blood clotting, and strengthening our joints. It makes up muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, the list goes on!

It’s important to note that collagen in any form is always broken down into its respective amino acids during digestion and from there, provides the BUILDING BLOCKS for the body to produce collagen – this is the same regardless of if you’re getting your building blocks from plant-based or animal sources -depending on your lifestyle and preference, you can set yourself up for success! During this break down and build up process, our bodies rely heavily on other nutrients like vitamin C, copper (thanks dates!), and zinc to help boost its own production of collagen!

As we age, collagen becomes harder to produce and unfortunately, this can start early! We’re talking in our 20’s (believe me, I was devastated to learn this). That fact alone makes it SO important we get enough nutrients to support our body’s own production of collagen! One of the many reasons I am uber-stoked to share Copina Co.’s vegan collagen blends is because their products are packed with these EXACT nutrients and from plant-based sources!

For example:
Gotu Kola: Excellent source of vitamin C
Amla: Packed with vitamin C, fiber, and rich in copper
Matcha: High in vitamin C, zinc, copper, and plenty of fiber for digestion
Tremella Mushroom: Stellar digestive support as it modulates inflammation by decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines and boosts beneficial microorganisms in our gut.
Bamboo Leaf: Great source of copper and fiber, promoting regularity and protection against digestive conditions. It also acts as a prebiotic which provides fuel for the good-loving bacteria in your gut.

The other important consideration with collagen is digestibility. With anything, if your body can’t assimilate the foods you put into it, there is little point in consuming that very thing. Copina Co. took that into consideration with their vegan collagen by infusing their blends with digestive – supporting herbs, backed by professional herbalists! How cool is that!?

Lastly, the ingredients in Copina Co.’s vegan collagen are ones that we can all trust – free of additives, no unnecessary sugars, and non-GMO. And arguably my favorite part? They’re 3rd party lab tested, meaning they source outside of their own company to ensure their products can be trusted by everyone.

These reliable, plant-based products can be loved, and enjoyed thoroughly by everyone! One last thing, may I recommend the Cacao Calm Plant-Based Collagen Boost…. oh my my, you won’t regret it.

All in all, this date shake, with whatever optional ingredients you add, don’t add, enjoy, don’t enjoy, etc. is a delicious and filling way to start your morning, or the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. It’s creamy, smooth, sweet and totally balanced. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!   


I just want to give a huge shout out to Sasha and all the women who attended the retreat – it was truly a beautiful experience. And if anyone out there is looking for some inspiration and general awesomeness, follow these wonderful people, below:

Sasha Swerdloff – Tending the Table
Renne Byrd – Will Frolic for Food
Lily Diamond – Kale and Caramel
Kimberly Hasselbrink – Kimberly Hasselbrink
Shelley Westerhausen – Vegetarian Ventures
Lindsay Kluge – Ginger Botanicals
Trisha Hughes – Go Eat Your Beets
Carly Diaz – Carly Diaz
Eva Kosmes Flores – Adventures in Cooking
Sophie MacKenzie – Wholehearted Eats

Hope you’re all enjoying the first breaths of Springtime. Sending love, gratitude, and sunshine,
Sarah B.

Show me your shakes on Instagram: #mnrdateshake

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Hey ya’ll! One more thing before I go: new Wild Heart High Spirit retreats are being planned! I’ll share more news about the retreats soon, but if you want to be the first to know when tickets are available, go to and join the email list. I’m so excited to welcome another group of women to this magical experience!

65 thoughts on “Adaptogenic Date Shake”

  • I’ve been following your site for a few months now and I always see the amount of good thing that you have for us, it’s really good, success!

  • Hi! I never really comment but I’m hoping you can share some info…which date farm did you go to??? I’m in Palm Springs right now (I’m from Seattle) and hope to go on a date farm tour tomorrow and I’m trying to decide where to go. Are you able to share which farm you went to?

  • Dear Sarah,
    I love your recipes!
    I’ve one question about this delicious adaptogenic-date-shake. You think it is ok to drink it in pregnancy? (because of the licorice root or can I replace it? I love licorice and it’s really make sth great in this shake).
    Greetings from Poland, Warsaw

  • I have to say i think it’s really kind of sad and tragic that a group of women who appreciate food and terroir and how unique these dates are weren’t able to stop and enjoy a date shake from a roadside stand.

    It’s like going to paris and not having a baguette. Just…..yeah, sad.

  • A healthy and lip smacking drink for the summers. Dates are highly rich in minerals and fiber. If taken in moderation, they can prove good for weight loss, by keeping away the hunger pangs. The countries of middle-east prefer them in heated summers. Not too sure if ashwagandha would be so easily available, so can we replace that with anything else?

  • Hello! I would love to try some of these adaptogens!! ‘m wondering if you have any recommendations on where to purchase the herbs/brands that are clean and environmentally conscious ? Thanks!!

    • Check out Moon Juice, they have the best selection. I’ve been using them for years and LOVE them!!

  • I liked this article because I learned something new. I hadn’t heard of adaptogens and although I eat dates, I never thought of using them in a shake.

  • Awsome. Thanx… reall speking this is really a nice blog. you have shared really awsome contets here. These days blogging is becoming pofessional work just to gain and earn money.i would say that you are doing really a great job. keep up.

  • Such an amazing trip! It is truly awesome when having a group of people sharing common things! I’m really jealous of you xD
    Btw, the date shake looks tasty!

  • I don’t think it’s a matter of the protein being denatured, it’s more of an issue of it going bad. It won’t taste as good, though. We drank a protein shake that was 6 months out of date (it sounds like yours is a powder

  • I’ve been really interested in adaptogens, and this looks delicious. Do you have some good/reputable online sources for them? Thanks!

  • Oh, this sounds absolutely delicious! I’d never seen how dates grow before and that is so interesting that only one male tree is needed for every 30 females. Reading about how they are grown just makes me appreciate one of my favorite foods all the more! I must make this date shake, sounds like a perfect snack! Oh, and as always, your photos are GORGEOUS.

    Beatrice | The Bliss Bean

    • Hello Beatrice!

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment…I couldn’t agree more! Seeing and learning about how things are grown makes you appreciate it so much 😀 I hope you love the shake too.

      Big hugs,
      Sarah B

  • Here are two things here that recommend this is probably going to be a heap of old shoemakers. Those two things are the words “nutritious” and “specialist”. If it’s not too much trouble overlook this twaddle and accomplish something that gives you joy and accomplishment

  • Such beautiful photos and sounds like an incredible trip!

    I really feel like adaptogens are the key to helping us navigate through all the stresses modern society brings. He shou wu is one of my favourites at the moment… will have to try this recipe for sure 🙂

    • Hey Gabby,

      I totally agree – life is nuts and we need all the help we can get! Glad you’re digging the He Shou Wu…me too 😉 Enjoy the recipe!

      xo, Sarah B

  • Sounds like you were at Bautista farms! Thanks for this fun recipe, I totally wouldn’t have thought of making a shake that’s date-centered. Question though (I hate to be “that person”) but any reason to us full fat coconut milk instead of something a bit lighter? I try not to be a calorie counting fanatic, but with full fat coconut milk this is like a 700+ calorie shake. at least a full meal’s worth of calories and a looot of fat unless you’re extremely active. Just sayin’….but again if there’s a reason besides deliciousness for that would love to know. <3 keep it up though! Love your posts and recipes. <3

    • Hello Shayna,

      Thanks for your question…you’re right! It IS a lot of fat! Haha…I rarely keep track of these things, but I am also very active (and love the deliciousnesssss). If you’re concerned about the numbers, use coconut milk from the carton instead, or cut it in half and double the amount of tea 🙂 I hope that helps!

      xoxo, Sarah B

  • Thanks for sharing such a delightful post, S! It was a treat for the senses. I’d love to know—what was the name of the date farm y’all visited?

    • Hi Amber!

      Thank you for your kind words. The place was Sam Cobb Farms (they are not certified organic, but pesticide free!). Literally the NICEST people ever (Sam and his wife, Maxine). Here is their website: I hope you get a chance to visit sometime!

      xo, Sarah B

  • I love meeting people who are so passionate about the food they produce! My great grandfather was a date farmer in California and when I was a little girl, he would send a box of Medjools to my family in Canada every Christmas and we would pass them around reverently and sink our teeth into them in silent appreciation

    • Hi Julia!

      What a sweet story! So you can relate to my joy and excitement about the date farm then 😉 I hope you enjoy the shake!

      xo, Sarah B

  • I love all the adaptogens you incorporated in here, I’m familiar and use all of them on a regular basis with the exception of the licorice – that one has me super intrigued about how it would taste in there! I was in Palm Springs in March, definitely a lovely location to escape to from Ontario during that time of year! 🙂

    • Hi Erin,

      The liquorice is SO GOOD in here…it adds an incredible sweetness without any sugar 🙂 And I hear you on escaping Ontario. I hope you had a great time in Palm Springs too!

      xo, Sarah B

  • I keep reading that the Peruvians don’t eat raw Maca and that we should be using gelatinised Maca powder instead. Would love to know if you have any nutritional info around Raw Powder V Gelatinised Powder? I mostly use the raw toe in hot choc so it’s being heated, but I do also use it in cold puddings and drinks at times and wonder if I should switch?

    • Hi CD,

      Great question! If you personally have tried raw maca in the past and have had stomach upset or digestive issues, you would probably do better on the gelatinized maca. The latter has had the fibrous part of the plant removed so it’s easier to break down than the non-gelatinized type. It’s really up to you – the raw form is cheaper and easier to find, but if it’s upsetting your tummy, try the other kind! I hope that helps 🙂

      xo, Sarah B

  • Thank you for posting a healthy date shake recipe. I had a recipe for a date and cashew shake and got tired of it quickly, perhaps due to containing a banana. Although I like the idea of the adaptogens, I will choose to skip them when I make the shake. I don’t know enough about them and don’t want to invest in something like that unless I know I would be using them. (I already know that I can’t use maca.)

    • Hi Susan,

      It’s fine to skip the adaptogens – they are pricey and not everyone needs them (just us stress balls! Haha…) I hope you enjoy the shake!

      xo, Sarah B

  • Oh, I love dates! It’s so incredibly hot today in NY, this post just inspired me to whip up some sweet green milk (with spinach, hemp seeds and of course dates!), so cool, delicious and refreshing. I also LOVE your pictures of the dates growing in the trees, SO COOL, and getting a little education on how they grow.

    • Hi Jen!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post <3 Your sweet green milk sounds deeeelish! I'll try it 🙂

      Waves and smiles from your Northern neighbour,
      Sarah B

  • Sarah,

    Love this recap of our trip to the date farm and this recipe. I make pretty much the same shake all the time during the summer but usually use almond milk and toasted coconut flakes plus cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. I call it the ojas shake. YUM! Thanks for the sweet shout out too. I’m so so so glad you invited yourself and that we got to know each other IRL. Also, can we talk about these photos!? Jaw droppingly beautiful!

    • Hi love!

      Thanks for your sweet comment <3 I was so grateful for our trip (and still ashamed that I approached you the way I did, but hey! It got me to Palm Springs 😉 Your version sounds next level! I love the toasted coconut addition...brill.
      And thanks for your compliment on the photos - as I've said before, coming from you it means a LOT!

      xox, Sarah B

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