Ask Lisa: What do you think of meal replacement shakes?

This week I was asked what I think of meal replacement shakes such as Shakeology, Isagenix, Arbonne, and the list goes on. Warning: I'm not going to make many friends in this post, as I know many readers are advocates of these brands. But I promise to share my true feelings with my readers and this is how I feel. Also note: I am NOT a nutritionist. I am a mom who is passionate about living a healthy life, so I'm compelled share what I've learned.

First off, it makes me sad that we feel we need to resort to shakes, potions and pills rather than just to eat healthy day in and day out. We are the most unhealthy society in history. We are over stressed, over worked and overweight from processed and packaged foods. Meal replacement shakes will not bring us health. Everyone wants a magic pill, but none exists.

Most meal replacement shakes are marketed to help you lose weight. Most starve your body and wreak havoc on your metabolism. Yes, you may drop a few pounds, but you will gain them back as soon as you resume your regular eating. Moreover, your metabolism will be more resistant to taking weight off again. Shakeology claims to have super foods in it, yet it is not made of food. Isagenix claims to remove impurities at the cellular level, but nothing is going to detoxify you! Just stop eating processed foods and you will detoxify yourself!

Some shakes have more sugar than a candy bar. Why do you think they taste so good? And if they don't have tons of sugar, many contain artificial sweeteners. Most shakes are a chemical concoction of synthetic fillers and vitamins. Most shakes have GMO's, artificial colors and flavors, Carrageean and even antibiotics. Consumer Reports found that some of the most popular brands contain heavy metals which can be highly toxic and damage your kidneys.

If you are going to choose a meal replacement or protein powder, make sure it is:

- Organic

- Free of artificial sugars, colors and chemicals

- Free of heavy metals

Honestly, the only meal replacement powders I would recommend do not really taste good! You need to doctor them up with your own fresh fruit! I only drink a protein shake as a snack or when I'm truly short on time. I don't believe it's good for your psyche to drink a meal. We need to chew food! My stance is to eat real, whole foods (organic when you can). It is cheaper and better for you to eat real food that comes from plants and is not made in a plant.

The bad news is that there is no magic pill. But the good news is that healthy eating comes from simply eating real food.

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