To Shake, or not to Shake, That is the Question I Ask of Thee
Are shakes a good investment, or a waste of money? That all depends.....
There seems to be a never-ending dispute on what is the best way to get your nutrition and quality calories in, and if you are new to watching what you eat and taking responsibility for your own health, a simple Google search could leave your head spinning. I hope I can help shed some light on the subject, based on what I know and have learned works well for me and many of my clients.
I can be somewhat of a "food nazi", for most part, knowing that eating real, clean, whole foods is what our body needs. I mean, a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with a little honey, cinnamon and fresh sliced strawberries is going to be extremely more healthy than one of those "strawberry toaster pastries", wouldn't you agree? Or an omelet with lots of veggies and maybe some nitrate-free bacon or one of those "buy it frozen and stick it in the microwave breakfast sandwiches", or worse, something you get through your car window at the nearest drive-thru fast food joint.
At least there are some grounds on which we can agree. But, many of us don't have or make time to make a healthy breakfast or lunch, and just go for what's quick and easy for ourselves or our kids, regardless of how unhealthy it may be. But, how about all those "shakes" that are out there, that promise you health and vitality and able to melt the fat off like butter? Are THOSE good alternatives? To me, it all depends.
This is where the controversy begins. There are those out there that believe that if you eat real, clean, whole foods, you will get ALL the nutrition you need; heck, you don't even need to take a quality multivitamin if you don't want to. Just make expensive pee, right? I don't personally agree with this camp, although I really wish it were that way. Unfortunately, what the agricultural industry has done to our food supply and the amount of nutrients in something like an apple or broccoli makes it no where near as nutritious as what our grandparents were blessed to eat.
Now, there are PLENTY of "nutritional supplements", whether they are shakes, vitamins or whathaveyou, that are NOT EVEN CLOSE to being good for you. You need to be a good detective and read your labels, and if they have anything like:
- Anything that has "artificial colors, flavors or preservatives" on it. If ARTIFICIAL is on the label in any way, STAY AWAY.
- Same goes for soy. Soy is NOT a health food, not in the way that the manufacturers want to push it anyway. If it's in your shake or nutritional supplement, it is not the kind of soy you want to be consuming.
- Maltodextrin is something else you don't need in your nutrition shake. It is just added for extra carbs anyway.
- Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium or Acesulfame K or other sweeteners that are not natural.
These are the big ones to avoid when deciding on a meal replacement nutrition shake, and if you can avoid these, you will likely be choosing a decent shake.
Now, the next question you need to ask is what TO look for in a meal replacement shake? I would recommend one that packs as big of a nutritional punch as possible, and one that taste good to you also. There are a few on the market that are really tasty and really healthy, but the one I use is Shakeology. It is full of super foods, has a good amount of protein and also tastes great. There are currently 3 flavors and 4 varieties (whey Chocolate and Greenberry; vegan Chocolate and Tropical Strawberry), plus you can add different things like fruits, nut butters or extracts to vary the flavors, or make it in way you can "eat it", like ice cream, puddings or protein bars or balls.
Regardless of what you choose, I personally feel that even the cleanest eaters cannot get the level of nutrients in their diet that they'd like without supplementing. I am a firm believer that the more we nourish our bodies, the healthier we are, and I, for one, am willing to use nutritious shakes and supplements to keep myself as healthy as I possibly can.
About the author
Rebecca was once a junk food junkie, couch potato party girl. The idea of eating healthy and working out was completely foreign and ridiculous to her, until the time her father had to have quintuple bypass surgery. At that time she realized if she didn't make changes, that would be her future, and putting her two sons through that was the last thing she wanted to do.
She made changes and decided to pay it forward by becoming a yoga instructor, personal trainer and online health and fitness coach. She lost weight, quit smoking, drinking and junk food, and is totally in love with life.
She would love to be your free coach..... Go here to get her free coaching tips and advice!