I’ve never like the idea of replacing real food with shakes. Here’s what happened when I tried the current wellness fad.
Shakes are pretty huge in wellness right now, but unlike the Kardashians, who have come under fire for promoting weight loss shakes, I’ve never been a fan of them as a meal replacement.
But when I was sent the 14 day Intermittent Fasting pack from Eimele, I thought I’d give it a try. Like many, COVID and a suspended gym membership have conspired to add a few extra kilos that I wouldn’t mind shifting.
The plan isn’t just about the shakes. It combines fasting for 12 hours a day (say between 9pm and 9am), nutritious home-cooked meal ideas, instruction for three hours of moderate exercise (20-60 minutes) per week, and the replacing of one meal a day with a shake.
I’ve got to say, the chocolate shake doesn’t look too bad. As I mix it up it feels like I’m having a treat rather than a breakfast, which for me is usually just muesli with yogurt and fruit, or an egg on toast. But when I taste it I know why I’m a shake skeptic. It has that protein powdery taste that even the chocolate can’t disguise. And it’s thick. So thick. I can’t finish it but it does fill me up well, and I’m not reaching for my cashew nut butter and apple for a mid-morning snack.
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The shakes can be made into breakfast bowls. Photo: Eimele.
A break from the familiar mid-week meals
The vanilla shake is similar, though I vaguely prefer it to the chocolate. What I really like is the meal plan. It’s full of nutritionally balanced meals low in calories and gives me some great ideas to mix up the mid-week repetition of spag bol, roast chicken and tacos. My daughter isn’t too keen on these meals filled with quinoa, lentils and almond meal, but my husband actually likes them and gets on board with the two weeks of clean eating.
The shakes can also be added to some of the meals to up the protein. The raspberry muffins are an absolute winner, full of almond meal, eggs, coconut sugar, and the vanilla protein shake and they’re only 240 calories. These are excellent to fill me up for a delicious protein-rich snack while working.
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From COVID baking (scones) to healthy baking (raspberry muffins). Photo: Supplied.
Another winner is a mushroom risotto made with quinoa and tofu. It’s tasty, low calorie and most importantly, easy. Same goes for the zucchini fritters, made with goat’s cheese, almond meal and eggs.
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The diet provided some healthy meal ideas to break up the boring staples. Photo: Supplied.
Exercise and fasting part of the plan
The exercise doesn’t seem like much – 20-60 minutes three times a week but I’ve definitely been doing less than this thanks to a COVID induced laziness aka being out of practise. It makes me get up and go for a half hour walk in the afternoon, which actually makes a huge difference to my mental health as well.
The fasting is easy, too. We eat dinner early, so I can do 7pm to 7am no problems, and it just stops you from reaching for another cup of tea and piece of chocolate – or my downfall – some of my daughter’s sugary cereal with milk – after dinner.
I don’t stick to the shakes every day. There are some days I feel sick at the prospect of drinking my calories like this. But it’s handy for lunch times when I’m really busy and breakfasts when I’m rushing out the door.
And I did lose a bit of COVID weight. Whether it was just factoring in that little bit of exercise and getting back into good habits, the new meals I tried or the shakes, I’m not sure.
I’ll definitely be keeping those raspberry muffins and the quinoa risotto on my weekly meal plan. Possibly not so much the shakes though.