This is a question I had trouble getting an answer I liked to when I first heard of it. I got one at the Beachbody Coach Summit at the end of April: it’s an ultra-premium nutrition shake. Bam. That’s exactly what it is. Phrases like “it’s a breakthrough” and “it’s a meal replacement” just aren’t precise enough for me to accept as an answer. (The first because that’s so incredibly vague – Shakeology could be a battery according to that answer – and the second because most people I know who are doing P90X or Insanity either add lots of things to the shake to purposefully not run too big a calorie deficit or use it as a snack, not a meal replacement.) “The smartest calories you can put in your body” I guess isn’t bad, but frankly anything that sounds like a marketing slogan I don’t find illuminating when I’m just trying to understand what something is. But ultra-premium nutrition shake, that makes sense and includes all the ways in which people drink it.
There’s videos and websites and whatnot where you can get more information on the ingredients. I’ve even mentioned some of that during my Shakeology cleanse in some of my posts. (Somehow, Shakeology kept coming up.) Here I thought I’d share some more of my notes from Summit, on Shakeology this time, to try to provide some information that isn’t already on my Shakeology site. These notes are from the seminar Isabelle Daikeler and Darin Olien, co-creators of Shakeology, gave. Isabelle is a nutritionist and trainer and holds BAs in kinesiology and sports medicine. Darin Olien is also a nutritionist and a personal trainer and an experienced sourcer of quality raw ingredients. (Both seem very keen about making a solidly good product – Isabelle had previously walked out on shake projects because the companies wanted to compromise the ingredients due to cost.)
Slight nutritional deficiencies can add up over time, leading to digestive problems, weight gain, mental imbalances, inflammation, and premature aging. Shakeology is more than a protein drink, or a meal replacement drink, or an antioxidant drink, it is an ultra-premium health shake. It boosts energy, improves digestion, stops cravings for bad foods (side note: isn’t it interesting how my Twix cravings went away AFTER I went from eating 2000 Cal/day to 1200Cal/day on the Shakeology cleanse? You’d think less calories would make me want candy more! But no), and helps you lose weight.
Shakeology is derived from whole foods and nourishes at a cellular level. It helps stabilize blood sugar (see above note about candy and calorie-cutting) and is certified low GI. There are no refined sugars, artificial flavors, or chemicals. (That last one may sound redundant, but I appreciate the scientific precision – technically speaking, you consist of chemicals. Artificial chemicals are the chemicals people usually think of when they say “chemicals”, but that association can easily be used to scare people with the word “chemical” unnecessarily.) Shakeology acts as a multivitamin. It also contains adaptogenic herbs (which I have been reading up on after thinking that ‘adaptogen’ sounds like a buzzword that doesn’t mean anything, but it seems to only be a poor name choice, there’s a lot of science behind adaptogens – I’m getting to summarizing some of those papers), which help with managing stress.
Olien contacted 10,000 farmers about supplying ingredients for Shakeology! He, like Isabelle, had had previous bad experiences with formulating shakes for mainstream companies. He said that even with organic food, there are nutrients that you are missing because some nutrients degrade quickly with time – so while the food is being shipped to you, some nutrients are decomposing. (Insert the standard argument for eating local food here. However, not all of us can eat all local all organic food. I wish it was otherwise but reality is what it is.) Olien confirms the contents of the foods he buys from farmers himself and asks for certificates of analysis to compare to. He also makes sure the ingredients are dried below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to make sure none of the nutrients start decomposing.
Darin gave an interesting example of how complicated studying how what we eat affects us can be, even when you try to keep it simple: vitamin C (aka citric acid) is acidic both in and out of the stomach – but lemon juice, which contains citric acid, is not acidic in the stomach. His philosophy is nature first, science second. I am inclined to agree. I went into the hard sciences because it’s simpler than bio-related stuff. I’m not kidding. I can derive the equations that describes an electron traveling through a crystalline material. The citric acid-lemon juice example defies common sense and the only way we found out was that someone had to measure! And let me tell you… there are a lot of things in the world you can try to measure. A LOT. A LOT A LOT. Scientists will build careers on debating how eating this or that affects your chance of getting some disease or other or living longer or what-have-you. I think it’s easiest to just cut to the chase and look at the big picture and not get so caught up in the details of how something might work. Just note whether it does or not and use that information. Otherwise you’ll be waiting until your deathbed for someone to tell you for sure how to live. You just don’t have that kind of time.
That’s why I’m all about trying for yourself. Sort through your options, pick a few you think are best, and then start trying. Try it for a while, then see how you feel.