Why you should be careful with health drinks and protein shakes

I was recently asked by a friend my thoughts on Soylent, a new nutrition shake that claims to be a complete meal in a bottle. Apparently it's all the rage in DC :) and I'm out of the cool kids club so wasn't aware of this new fad.  

I get upset when drinks like this come out because people that drink them want to be healthy and are trying hard to make positive changes in their life but they are misled.  I cannot even see how this drink is healthy! There are some shakes out there that aren't perfect but they still may be a better option for some people that are currently eating bagels or doughnuts for breakfast. 

I just want to mention some precautions on smoothies, protein shakes, etc.  So this company says "food is much easier when it's a drink." This brings up a good point. I am not totally against smoothies and juices and protein shakes at all... they can be used as part of a healthy diet and if they are of the highest quality.  However, its important to teach your body to eat mindfully and make mealtime an activity. Not rushing out the door drinking a smoothie. Plus, our digestive systems work when we CHEW our food.  So just be careful if you're replacing meals with these shakes and smoothies and protein bars on the go. 

Variety: we often become intolerant to foods we eat all the time (if you have compromised digestion).  This means that if you're eating or drinking the same shake, bar, or even spinach smoothie, you may become intolerant to it. Variety is the spice of life!  

What to watch out for: 

Soy: this mimics estrogen in the body and can cause hormonal imbalance. Concerning a lot of muscle milks guys drink have soy in them! 

Non-GMO & Non- Organic: this particular brand doesnt have this. 

Gluten: gluten is that crazy controversial elephant in the room and the butt of jokes.. but the truth is that most people are intolerant. This company says its not safe for celiacs and contains gluten. 

Canola oil:  inflammatory processed oil. Avoid like the plague. 

Folic acid: this is the synthetic form of folate and can be toxic. 

Artificial flavors: who knows how these are created

Doesn't need to be refrigerated: what preservatives are in here!!?

Whey: is it organic and grassfed whey? How is it sourced?

Quinoa, oats, etc.: Be careful with these in drinks.  While these foods can be healthy, consuming them all the time can be irritating to the gut.  I always advocate for removing grains for a time from your diet to see how you feel.  

Other options (and again -- not to be consumed ALL the time). Do your research. But here are some brands I know use high quality ingredients.