I am not a big fan of substituting meals with protein shakes or bars. I really believe in the importance of eating whole foods and I don’t have issues with my weight, so “meal replacement” options have never appealed to me much.
However, I am a busy mom with three young children and I have bought lots of different brands of protein shakes over the years because I like the idea of the convenience of them. Especially when I’m trying to get three kiddos out the door for school or I’m in the car driving them around for hours in the afternoon, sitting in their gymnastics, tae kwon do, superhero classes straight through meal times. (Yes, they have superhero classes for toddlers.) I hate that feeling of getting hungry when I’m out and then being freak-out hungry by the time we get home.
I’d love to say I have a cooler full of fresh snacks in the car like carrot and celery sticks, almonds and apple slices but I don’t. I’m not that organized. Not even close. In fact, it’s all I can do to remember to get all the kids, my keys, wallet and cell phone in the car. Usually I forget my wallet or my phone but I haven’t forgotten any of the kids yet so I feel pretty good about that…
I have wanted to like protein shakes because they are usually full of nutrients and could fill me up for a few hours with virtually no effort or clean-up in the kitchen. Plus, I could take them with me in the car. And I have tried so many…7 different brands in total plus some from the bulk bins at my grocery store. You name it. If you’ve heard of them, I’ve tried them. I want to like them. My friends who drink them regularly swear they have more energy, better digestion, they are full longer, etc. I believe them. The good quality shakes do really pack a punch of protein and vitamins and minerals. But in my humble opinion they ALL taste chalky, even when I add rice or almond milk, bananas, peanut butter, etc. And they ALL taste kind of fake, even the ones that I know are natural. There is some kind of odd aftertaste with each one of them that just makes me feel like I’m not having real food.
So when a friend of mine mentioned she had started drinking (and selling) Shakeology and they had a vegan chocolate version I should try, I said “Cool, I’m sure I won’t like it though, I can’t stand protein shakes.” (She is a Beachbody coach, where she offers support as a fitness trainer and promotes the workouts like P90X, Insanity, and T25 to name a few. She also promotes their brand of protein shakes, Shakeology. I have used the P90X dvds on and off for years so I wasn’t put off by it all. More about direct marketing in a minute…)
As a coach, she gets a discount on the expensive Shakeology shakes and she told me if I didn’t like it I could return it within 30 days for a full refund, even if the bag was empty.
While I like to support my friends, I was still hesitant because the shakes were expensive and I don’t tend to like them anyway. But it so happens that a couple of days later when I was leaving my gym I noticed they were advertising Shakeology at their juice/coffee bar. It was that limbo time between lunch and dinner when I usually start to drag and contemplate having another cup of coffee. They had the vegan chocolate version so I decided to order a shake with banana and peanut butter. I fully expected not to like it, I was almost cringing as I put the straw to my lips. But IT WAS GOOD! Ok, I mostly tasted peanut butter, but I could taste a hint of chocolate too. It was NOT sickening sweet (I think some companies load their shakes with sugar to cover up the awful taste), it was NOT chalky and there was NO aftertaste. NO AFTERTASTE!
I drank the whole 16oz shake and I liked it the whole time. In fact, I called my friend I was so excited that I liked it. And after I drank it I felt great. Full, but not too full. I felt much more energetic than usual. I felt good. Awake, satisfied, and it was just sweet enough that I felt like I had a little afternoon treat.
That night I got online to start researching the ingredients. Shakeology’s ingredients have a slew of really great superfoods and antioxidants. The Shakeology shakes are natural and only sweetened with a little bit of stevia leaf and tapioca. (Stevia leaf is much more mild than stevia leaf extract, something I tried once in my coffee and didn’t like at all. Terrible aftertaste.)
I started reading reviews comparing Shakeology shakes to other popular brands and even the few that had similar, high quality ingredients didn’t compare in taste.
I watched a video clip where they had 100 doctors across many fields of medicine endorse the shakes and their nutritional value.
What was even more unbelievable to me was that I craved the shake and the way it made me feel again the next day and I went to my gym just to get one. I ordered a bag and I haven’t looked back. I have one each day either for breakfast or for a mid-afternoon snack. I feel good, I think it has curbed my cravings for sweets and my digestion is great. I am thrilled I have such a convenient, nutritious way to fill up a little when I’m on the go. When you break down the pricing it’s a little less than $4.00/shake. Keep in mind it is a healthy meal replacement. A meal that includes prebiotics and probiotics, protein and amino acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogens, and digestive enzymes and that is completely worth $4 to me. You can’t go through a drive thru for $4 can you? You can barely get a drink at a coffee shop for $4.
*I do always add almond or rice milk and a banana with either frozen berries or peanut butter and I always mix it in my blender. I’m sure if you just tried to stir some of the shake into a cup of water, you might not love it. But blending it with a couple of other healthy ingredients only takes about 2 minutes and is totally worth it.
Now, about direct marketing… People have some serious opinions about it. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all. I have several friends who make a very good living working for companies like Arbonne, Rodan+Fields, and doTERRA. None of my friends have ever been pushy about it and the products they sell are amazing. Direct marketing, or network marketing as it’s sometimes called, is NOT a pyramid scheme, which many people liken it to, it is just a successful business model. Tupperware, Avon, Mary Kay are all examples of direct marketing companies that have been around a long time. Warren Buffet bought The Pampered Chef, another direct marketing company, back in 2002 and has been quoted as saying it’s one of the best investments he’s ever made.
There are reputable direct marketing companies. Ones that have been around for many years, ones that make sure their products are made in the USA, ones that give back to the countries where they source ingredients, ones that only use Fair Trade practices while sourcing those ingredients.
Yes, often the products they sell seem expensive but quality products are more expensive. And there is no shame in making a good living. I know many women who support their entire families from their hard work at these companies. And they get to work around their children’s schedule. That’s pretty great, if you ask me.
Usually, you can get significant discounts on products from these companies if you sign up as a consultant and typically there is a small fee for that. It doesn’t mean you have to sell the product yourself, the membership just allows you to receive the discounts. I look at it like a Costco membership. I pay a certain amount a year to belong to Costco and it’s worth it because I shop there every month and I do save money on the products I like and use frequently. So don’t be put off if you are asked to “sign-up” when exploring these companies or trying their products. You don’t have to sign up for anything if you don’t want to but if you know you like the product and want to incorporate it into your life, why wouldn’t you?
And if you decide you like it enough to sell it, or you want to create your own home-based business, you might just be able to make some money sharing a product you believe in. What’s so bad about that?
*I very recently signed up to be a coach myself because I really do love the shakes, it fits in perfectly with my nutrition background and my busy mom lifestyle, and I believe in Beachbody’s fitness and nutrition philosophy. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more about the products or want to try the shakes.