Question: (from Doug a Mike’s Mix customer)
I have been using your product for about a year now and I don’t look anywhere else for a recovery drink. As of late, I have taken a more serious approach to my daily nutrition. My hardest part of the day to plan is lunch. I just don’t always seem to take the time to plan a healthy lunch. So, why am I writing you about this …because I have read a lot of your blogs and you seem very well informed and offer fair and mostly unbiased advice on sports nutrition.
I have looked around and without making a concoction like that of Dr. Oz or having an expensive Juicer at home, I am just not sure what to look for in a meal replacement shake. Since I do the P90X program, I looked at Shakeology, but at $4 per shake and not being able to find some real unbiased opinions of the stuff I am just not ready to pull the trigger.
Can you offer any advice on a meal replacement shake …in particular for me at lunch …but I am sure there are many other Mike’s Mix users that have a similar question. Any advice is appreciated.
You may be surprised to learn that although I manufacturer a recovery drink, I advise people to avoid meal replacement shakes. Here’s my reasoning:
1. With the exception of recovery drinks and sports drinks, where it is beneficial to deliver nutrients quickly to working or recovering muscles, I advise avoiding liquid calories. Liquid beverages are absorbed quickly through the gut and won’t keep you satiated if used as a meal. Many liquid beverages, especially soda and fruit juices, are very high in sugar calories and don’t offer much in terms of other nutrients. The notable exception to this is vegetable juices. Vegetables, especially greens, can be juiced to make exceptionally nutritious low-calorie beverages. However, a drink like this would be a healthy addition to a meal and not a substitute for lunch.
2. From my 13 years of personal training I have found that the most important aspect for assuring success with my client’s weight loss and fitness goals is to develop permanent, quality eating habits. These habits include the planning and preparing of whole food meals. Meal replacement drinks and bars are short cuts to this process and psychological reliance on them can impede progress. Until busy individuals make the time to plan and prepare meals and become mindful of eating and hunger they will always have trouble with their diets and keeping off unwanted weight.
3. There is no replacement for whole food meals that are filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fats and phytonutrients. As humans, we are designed to eat a whole food diet, the further we get from this diet, the more unhealthy and unshapely are bodies become. If there was a meal replacement bar or drink that was composed entirely of whole foods I would embrace it. However, a product like this would only last a day or two and therefore its commercial production is unlikely.
Although I am against the idea of meal replacements, I am sympathetic to the difficulties you are having in planning lunch. Here are a couple ideas for preparing and planning lunches while short on time:
1. When I have time to make a whole food meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner), I find that it doesn’t take that much longer for me to make a single serving or a serving for ten. So, I make a lot of whatever I am cooking. I own a whole cabinet full of glass, sealable containers and split the leftovers into convenient meals. I then refrigerate or freeze these meals and always have quality food in a pinch.
2. I also keep a dry, whole-food cache at my workplace. This way, even if I forget to bring leftovers, I have a quick back up. My dry food cache includes unprocessed oatmeal, almonds, dried wasabi peas, an assortment of dried fruit, and some whey protein powder (a protein powder shake on its own is not an adequate replacement of a meal).