Shake the Shake
What is it about a liquid meal that is so exciting? No really…I’m being 100% serious? I can literally see the excitement rise in people’s voices as they describe their delicious, fruity, vegetably (not actually a word), protein packed liquid goodness they enjoy each morning to start their day! Is it the quickness of this breakfast? (more on this later!) Or is it the cool, light refreshing consistency? Or maybe the ease of digestion first thing in the morning? Or for those that enjoy the shake after their workout, is it some sort of “prize”? Maybe a reward for all the sweat you just left behind on the gym floor? Or maybe you see those uberfit bodies in the gym enjoying theirs so why not? Fascinating to me! Whatever the drive is behind this passion for the liquid meal, the facts need to be laid out. 1. If you have weight/and or body fat to lose, you should not be drinking your meals. Period. (Sorry, don’t shoot the messenger) 2. A shake is NOT faster than a hardboiled egg, a banana and a handful of nuts. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and time someone making a shake in their ultra-fancy VitaMix vs. someone removing an egg from the fridge and peeling a banana. 3. Liquid meals rapidly increase blood sugar levels which leads to cravings, tiredness in the afternoon, irritability, midsection fat stores, etc. 4. Juicing or liquefying food does the work of breaking down food that your body needs to do to properly absorb the nutrients. 5. Most protein shakes are packed with a lot of fruit. Fruit = sugar (fructose to be exact) which the body stores rapidly as fat if the sugar is not needed for refueling. Sugar in the form of glucose is much more favorable to muscle tissue. 6. Constantly turning to shakes is poor food hygiene. An important part of developing a healthy relationship with preparing, sitting down and chewing your food. Now you’re probably asking yourselves, so why does LOTUS (my former gym) have a recovery bar which serves up these shakes? The answer is because Recovery shakes have a purpose…to aid in RECOVERY! When muscle tissue is damaged (this is what exercise does to muscle) a quickly absorbed form of animal based protein aides in muscle recovery. This is especially important if you are NOT going to have access to a balanced meal within an hour of your workout. For high performing athletes, recovery shakes are a must. For most others, if you can get access to a solid meal form of protein and carbohydrate shortly after your workout, skip the shake. Liquid meals at any time of day, other than post-workout is simply not smart (no matter how “healthy” the ingredients are). Slow down, chew your food and reap the benefits!