Meal replacement shakes have a bad rap. Tell someone you're drinking them and suddenly you get bombarded with, "You don't need to lose weight! Why are you drinking that! You're better off eating than drinking your calories!" Well, thank you for the input, but long story short, my mom and I wanted a way to kickstart a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies feeling back to normal after a few months of not-so-good eating habits. We noticed a lot of friends on our social media accounts talking about how they drink shakes so we wanted to give it a try ourselves. 

Walking into the Vitamin Shoppe, we were so overwhelmed with the selection of meal replacement shakes. Which one would be best for us? Our first choice of a plant-based protein called "Plant Head" was not very nice to our tastebuds so it got returned the next day.

First off, the smell of the powder itself was not appetizing. It kind of reminded me of dirt, if i'm being honest. I am one of those people that has to smell everything before trying something new. I tried to put that aside, but the shake tasted just like it smelled. Even mixed with fruit, almond milk and chia seeds, there was this grittiness along with a very earthy taste that did not sit well with me.

After talking to the sales representative, he suggested we try Lean One Protein, because as long as you're not vegan, plant-based protein powder doesn't really have extra benefits. Plus, this brand is gluten-free! 

Emily Kress

Getting the right shake is crucial for sticking to a routine of drinking them. The powder comes in all sorts of flavors like chocolate, strawberry, chocolate peanut butter and even birthday cake! I chose the vanilla for my first few containers so I could experiment with what I liked to mix in. Two scoops of this protein packs 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of dietary fiber, plus 27 vitamins and minerals.

Every morning I woke up looking forward to drinking my shake. I would go to bed thinking about the different fruit combinations and different mix-ins I could try. But once I returned to college, my routine changed, which means most mornings I wake up late and end up not drinking my shake, and here's what happened. 

I Noticed I Was Hungry All the Time

On days where I did not make a shake, I noticed how much hungrier I was during the day. The shake helped keep me full until at least 1 o'clock and that's a long time considering the fact that I would drink it at 8:30 in the morning. If I ate something like a bagel or oatmeal, I would feel my stomach start growling within an hour or two of eating. Then, of course, I just wanted to eat everything in sight. 

I Got Strong Cravings

Speaking of eating everything in sight, my cravings got stronger. It's one thing to be in the mood for a certain type of food, but I couldn't control these. I wanted to eat ALL the time. "Oooh did someone say cake? Now I want cake. Taco Tuesday? That means guac! Pizza. French fries. Wings. GET IN MY BELLY!!"  

When I drank a shake, I felt satisfied all day. Yes, I still got a little bit hungry, but I felt more in control to saying no to ice cream or other unhealthy snacks as well as practicing better portion control. 

I Felt Bloated

We all feel like this from time to time, but no matter what I ate or how much water I drank in a day, I always felt bloated. On days where I drank a shake, I didn't feel that way at all. Being bloated is seriously one of the worst feelings, and I felt gross, so to get a break and feel good is a total plus to drinking a shake. 

Going a few weeks without drinking my meal replacement shake made me realize how good my body felt over the summer and that I need to get back on my routine. This may not be the lifestyle for everyone but it's all about what makes you feel good!