Forget #mcdonald’s Shamrock shake- Enjoy the #healthy version! 

healthy shamrock shake

Healthy Shamrock Shake!


  • 1/2 cup Low fat cottage cheese [1]
  • 1 scoop Crave™ Whey Protein 
  • 1/8 tsp Mint extract (or to taste)
  • 2-3 Packets of stevia or sweetener of choice (or to taste)
  • 5-10 Ice cubes (more or less depending on how thick you like it)
  • 4 oz Water (again, alter according to desired thickness of shake)
  • 2-3 drops Green food coloring, or a handful of spinach to make it green!
  • Optional:
  • Pinch Guar or xanthan gum (to thicken)
  • [1] Cottage cheese is what gives shake the thick milkshake consistency! You will not taste the cottage cheese I PROMISE, but you could also use vanilla Greek yogurt

What’s in a Shamrock Shake Anyway?

Just in case you were thinking about grabbing a large, 22-ounce McDonald’s Shamrock Shake today…you may want to know that it contains:

This is roughly the same amount of calories as:

  • 1.5 Big Macs, or
  • 2.5 Hot Fudge Sundaes, or
  • Nearly 3 Egg McMuffins

If you opt to downsize to a medium, 16-ounce Shamrock Shake, you will consume:

  • 19 Grams of Fat (29% U.S. Daily Value)
  • 12 Grams of Saturated Fat (61% U.S. Daily Value)
  • 1 Gram of Trans Fat
  • 660 Calories
  • 93 Grams of Sugar
  • 210 Milligrams of Sodium (9% U.S. Daily Value)

If you decide to order a small, 12-ounce Shamrock Shake, you will drink:

  • 15 Grams of Fat (24% U.S. Daily Value)
  • 10 Grams of Saturated Fat (49% U.S. Daily Value)
  • 1 Gram of Trans Fat
  • 530 Calories
  • 73 Grams of Sugar 
  • 160 Milligrams of Sodium (7% U.S.Daily Value)

Oh…you may also be interested in learning that the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake consists of 33 different ingredients, a fact that concerns me more than the amount of calories…


We all know that a dessert from McDonald’s is not going to be nutritious, but many people are unaware of how unhealthy some of these menu items truly are.

After a quick glance, the 4 ingredients of a Shamrock Shake look innocent.

The main ingredients include:

  1. Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream
  2. Shamrock Shake Syrup
  3. Whipped Cream
  4. Maraschino Cherry

However, upon closer inspection, each main ingredient has several ingredients of its own – and the majority are chemicals in the form of additives, food dyes and preservatives. Yes, we and our environment are made up of chemicals, but I am talking about the chemicals that are not naturally found in whole foods – synthetic compounds that have been proven by science to be detrimental to our health.

Much of the food we consume (healthy and unhealthy) consists of more than one ingredient, but I want to emphasize that each of the main ingredients listed above has between 10 and 15 total ingredients, many which are harmful.

Here is the full breakdown of what is in a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake:

(Highlighted ingredients are linked to articles, studies, etc.)

(Note: Some ingredients such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, and artificial flavors are repeated, which means that the final product has double and sometimes triple the amount of such ingredients.)


  1. Milk
  2. Sugar
  3. Cream
  4. Nonfat Milk Solids
  5. Corn Syrup Solids
  6. Mono- and Diglycerides
  7. Guar Gum
  8. Dextrose
  9. Sodium Citrate
  10. Artificial Vanilla Flavor
  11. Sodium Phosphate
  12. Carrageenan
  13. Disodium Phosphate
  14. Cellulose Gum
  15. Vitamin A Palmitate


  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  2. Corn Syrup
  3. Water
  4. Sugar
  5. Natural Flavor (Plant Source)
  6. Xanthan Gum
  7. Citric Acid
  8. Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
  9. Yellow 5
  10. Blue 1


  1. Cream
  2. Nonfat Milk
  3. Corn Syrup
  4. Sugar
  5. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  6. Contains Less Than 1%: Mono-And Diglycerides
  7. Carrageenan
  8. Polysorbate-80
  9. Beta Carotene (Color)
  10. Natural (Dairy and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavor
  11. Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) to Protect Flavor
  12. Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide)


  1. Cherries
  2. Water
  3. Corn Syrup
  4. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  5. Sugar
  6. Malic Acid
  7. Citric Acid
  8. Natural (Plant Source) and Artificial Flavors
  9. Sodium Benzoate (Preservative)
  10. Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)
  11. Red 40
  12. Sulfur Dioxide as Preservative (Contains Sulfites)

Toxic cocktail

A “shake” should have 4-6 main ingredients and less than 10 in total, not 33. With the Shamrock Shake, McDonald’s is serving up a chemical shit-storm full of artificial preservatives and colorings that are toxic to your body’s systems.

Many of the ingredients in this drink have been linked to various health issues and behavioral traits including:

  • Acne
  • ADHD
  • Allergies
  • Blood Sugar Imbalances 
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Inflammatory Diseases
  • Fertility Issues
  • Gastrointestinal Issues such as Colitis
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hyperactivity
  • Immunity Suppression
  • Leaky Gut
  • Metabolic Syndrome/Obesity
  • Skin Conditions

“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.” – Heather Morgan, MS, NLC

Obviously one McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is not going to put you in the grave, but its ingredients (refined sugar, saturated fat, trans fat, additives and emulsifiers such as polysorbate-80, etc.) will very likely contribute to an inflammatory response within the body. Inflammation often begins in your gut, affects multiple aspects of your health and if not managed will lead to disease and illness (see above).

Many of us have chronic systemic inflammation for years before its symptoms become apparent or clinically significant. So the shakes and lifestyle you choose now may impact your health in the future. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), once said that “genetics loads the gun, and environment pulls the trigger.” I strongly believe this is true.

Knowing the ingredients in the food you eat allows you to choose whether or not to feed disease or fight it. So many things in our lives that we may come in contact with daily (traditional Western Diet, sedentary lifestyle, non-organic meats and veggies, depression, anger, stress and anxiety, cigarettes, alcohol and pollution) already contribute to chronic inflammation within the body. Why add another thing to the list?

Eating more fresh and whole foods is one way to fight inflammation and prevent illness.

Make your own Shamrock Shake!!

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