I have to say first and foremost Beachbody has some great programs. I personally love Chalene Johnson’s workouts, and often recommend her Turbo Jam as a good way to get 2-3 days a week of some Hiit exercise in. I always give credit where credit is due. But as always, I research, examine, consider, and then provide non-biased information so that my friends, family, clients, readers, and HMI community can be armed with what is real. My realness knows no bounds, and sometimes it upsets people’s paradigms and so they get defensive or run for the hills. I get it. Trust me. When I was a newly minted vegan 24 years ago, if you even took a bite of an egg anywhere near me, I was ready to go to battle. But the past 24 years of inner growth, motherhood, marriage, divorce, back surgery, candida, Lyme disease, moving to literal paradise and finding my true life path, my consciousness has been freed of the need to see things as black and white. Thus, my intro to this post and my praise for some things Beachbody!

In my past career as a Wall Street lawyer the better my research and analytical skills, the better I became as an attorney. Being able to ferret out the truth buried deep within massive webs of lies and deception helped me make great strides in my career. That is what the practice of law is for the most part. But I never imagined just how relevant, important and necessary those skills would come in handy in all of the years I have been a clinical nutritionist and wellness educator. Being able to pull truth from bias and agendas. As a vegan for the past 24 years it has been challenging at times, because I want to, but can’t in good conscience agree with everything being written in the world of veganism.

As a result, our online Eat Juice Thrive online community is truly like a health and wellness and life think tank! In the past three years we’ve grown incredibly, and a LOT of questions have been asked and answered over the past three years. Thousands. And sometimes the questions of new people have been asked and answered before.Many times.

I get asked all the time about the numerous pre-packaged “miracle shakes” as I call them. Not too long ago, the CEO of a large company who has a home here in Kaua’i said to me, “hey Liana, it would be great to collaborate on a vegan protein product that is pure and clean and up to your standards, and brand it as yours.” Lucrative deal, of course. They almost always are. My answer? Nope. It’s not the first, or the last of the no’s on that issue. The reason? If I am SELLING protein powders and mixes and elixirs, then how can my tribe ever fully know if my research and conclusions are 100% accurate? They can’t. My research is non-biased because I don’t sell an “alternative product” that is “better than” the one I am critically reviewing.

Truth be told, I do sometimes wish health could be found in a BPA-free bag, full of meal replacement powder that I could quickly mix with water and call it good. If there was, I would be willing to pay almost anything for it. But my biochemistry background and nutritionist in me knows better.  I do extensive research on pretty much every popular supplement out there.


I get asked about this particular product all the time because their marketing is so powerful. The whole company is the late night infomercial genius! And kudos to them for that. $400 million dollars later, their marketing is clearly working. And I’m happy about that. Without their marketing I would have never found Chalene and I find her to be funny, genuine, real, and motivational.

But not happy that the power of marketing has the ability to make people lose their critical thinking. Health does not come in an overpriced bag. It never has, and it never will. That’s because our beautiful, perfect human bodies are designed to work on whole, real, unprocessed foods. Are vitamins and minerals good to take as supplements? Absolutely, as long as they are high quality and don’t contain harmful fillers. Our soils are so minerally deficient that no matter how healthy you eat you will be missing key nutrients. But to say that $120 a bag protein powder is a healthy way to “eat” is a huge mistake.

I personally recommend avoiding Shakeology.

The #1 reason I wouldn’t feed this to anyone I love, even my puppy, is because it is not organic. Not the vegan version or the non-vegan version. And with green tea and all those Chinese herbs, which are KNOWN to be HIGHLY CONTAMINATED with heavy metals, lead and mercury — there is just no way I would ever even consider touching it. 

A couple of inorganic ingredients here and there, in a healthy body, not such a problem. But when you start consuming whole drinks full of inorganic herbs, teas and highly processed food products, that pretty much does it for me.  But there’s more.

The company does not provide a transparent  ingredient list, like for example, Healthforce Nutritionals does. In Shakeology they use “proprietary formulas” and “natural flavors” which they won’t disclose. Natural flavors means chemicals made in a lab, and unfortunately it is a term allowed by the FDA and is quite deceptive. When companies use actual real natural flavors, they say what they are like: raw cacao powder, or raw carob etc. I recently had a company email me about partnering with them as an affiliate. Their email said they created the most pure, clean, best tasting vegan protein supplement on the market and assured me on the phone that it was organic. They sent me samples and a wonderful plastic container to mix it in. (great, another thing to recycle). I read the ingredients and saw the infamous “natural flavors”. I promptly called my contact there for an EXACT report of what was in those natural flavors, WHERE they came from, and HOW they were manufactured. My response came in the form of an email that read “we can’t provide that to you as our information is proprietary, but be assured we go to great lengths to insure that all of our products are of the highest commercial quality available”. I responded “if your ingredients are highest quality, you would list them on the container for all the world to see. That’s what companies do who are actually using high quality ingredients.” Case closed. Product was dumped in the trash.

Back to Shakeology. In the non-vegan shakes, they use whey, an ingredient linked to excess insulin release in the body, and  toxic to the kidneys. Additionally their whey is neither grass-fed nor organic. I won’t get into the facts on why NO DAIRY (even organic) is good for you. That information is HERE if you are interested. Shakeology does not use organic non-GMO whey. Inorganic whey is much cheaper — despite claims that say it is  “the highest commercial grade available” which sounds good but actually doesn’t mean anything. There are no guidelines for “highest commercial grade availability”. The website does say the whey is antibiotic and BST free. But cows that are not grass fed and organic are eating genetically modified corn and soy. Cows are meant to eat grass, and when they consume corn and soy – two of the highest genetically modified crops – it causes infections in the cows and raises the omega-6 content while lowering the omega-3 content making the whey much more inflammatory than dairy products already are. (see HERE if you want more info on that)

grass-fed and organic. Which Shakeology’s is not. Purchasing inorganic whey is a cheaper option, but it is one that will lead to health issues. According to their website, their whey is “the highest commercial grade available” which sounds good but actually means nothing. There is no scale for highest commercial grade availability, and if this statement were true, they’d be using grass-fed and organic whey. The website does say the whey is antibiotic and BST free (they make no mention of whether or not the whey is free of BGH – or bovine growth hormone), but without regularly sourcing from grass-fed and organic farms, there is no way to guarantee this.

And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that if these cows are not grass-fed and organic, they’re eating genetically modified corn and soy. Cows are meant to eat grass, the bovine consumption of corn and soy – which are two of the highest genetically modified crops – causes infections in the cow and raises the omega-6 content while lowering the omega-3 content (making the whey much more inflammatory). In fact, this study demonstrated how organic dairy contains 62% more omega-3s and 25% less omega-6 fatty acids than inorganic dairy. Vitamins, particularly A, E, D and K are also higher in grass-fed dairy.

– See more at: http://www.ancestral-nutrition.com/unbiased-review-shakeology/#sthash.cHvwW1Uv.dpuf

In addition all versions including the vegan version use fructose mixed with stevia as a sweetener. Refined fructose (regardless of the source) metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue and is a highly processed ingredient. Crystalline fructose may also contain arsenic, lead, chloride and heavy metals. In the berry flavor? They use papaya, and 90% of papayas are GMO. They also use erythritol, a toxic sugar alcohol.

If you want a healthy shake full of protein and vitamins and minerals, that will give you energy, help you lose fat, detox, and feel amazing, go to your grocery store and head to the organic produce. Pick up a head of Romaine lettuce, a couple of bananas, an orange or two. Go home, make yourself a smoothie with the greens, the bananas, the orange and mix in some homemade almond milk. Don’t have any? Grab a tablespoon of raw almond butter, throw it in the blender and add a cup and a half of water. Turn blender on and mix. Want to turbo boost it? Add some pure spirulina, or a pure green powder like Vitamineral Green, and drink.



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