A decade ago, if someone would have told me that working shifts would make me obese, I’d probably have laughed my guts out, told them to take a hike and gone about guzzling my Coors.
But turns out that ‘Night Shift Obesity’ is a thing. After about five years of starting my job, I began to realize that something was off. It started with poor sleep. I would wake up groggy and tired. A sleep test revealed that I had sleep apnea.
That’s when I ran some other tests as well. My lipids were all over the place. I was 75 lb. overweight.
All the cardio I did after workouts that I believed were helping me keep my cardiovascular system healthy, were apparently not working.
After a lot of days spent analyzing my every day routine, I came to the conclusion that my poor eating habits were exacerbating my condition.
So I decided to stop eating sugar, and went ahead to swap two of my junk meals with protein shakes to see if that would make a difference.
The first, and by far the best tasting protein / nutrient shake that I went with was the Lyfe Fuel Essentials Shake.
It's a daily essentials shake that is not just focused on protein but also on helping you get all of the best superfood nutrients and helping you keep steady and focused energy throughout the day. This is the flavor that I get here.
They also gave me a coupon code for myself to use but feel free to try it and see if it works for you too. It may still work. it's benbenmayz - which is just my first name twice and last name. You can check out their site here
Why I Decided to Do That
I have a job that requires me to be on the move constantly. So cooking meals is not even an option that i can consider. The only other options that i had were takeaways.
But I had practically lived on takeaways for a good part of the past five years and all those transfats had turned my arteries into a clogged sewer line.
It was time to unblock it.
Most research pointed towards calories in minus calories out, with a focus on macros. Sure, you can burn some calories with exercise like jumping jacks, thanks to the fact that workout increases metabolism...but as y'all know too well, outworking a bad diet is just never gonna happen. So my checklist was protein shakes that were high in protein, high in healthy fats and containing a decent amount of carbs.
A low carb option was not realistic for me because due to the demanding job, there was a possibility that I would end up tired and unable to focus at work.
Tried 3 Different Protein Shakes for Two Weeks Each
When I started to research protein shakes, I was quite surprised to find hundreds of options in the market. But my nutritionist warned me (Thank you Jessy!) of low quality protein and synthetic fillers being used to bloat up most shakes. So we sat down together to scrutinize product labels.
I always do the same with my natural preworkouts too, I have to be sure I'm going after as natural a pre-workout as it can get. I mean, one without beta alanine and all those pesky ingredients that can mess up my concentration and overall performance in my backyard gym.
I’ll tell you this. The amount of junk being sold out there in fancy looking bottles is unreal.
Anyway, after a few more weeks, I was able to narrow down on three protein powders with clean product labels and a decent macronutrient profile. These were Orgain, Shakeology and Kachava.
The only thing left to check was the taste. I am not fussy about food. But if it’s something that I am going to use for the foreseeable future, then it has to be palatable.
So, I decided to try each one of them for two weeks.
#1 - Orgain
Orgain, which is a portmanteau for the terms Organic Gain, is a plant-based protein powder that contains organic ingredients only. Now, I am not one of those Vegan lunatics. I love my meat.
But I love myself a little more.
My cardiologist had recommended that going plant-based for at least one meal might be a good idea to get those lipids in order.
Orgain’s product label boasts of 28 organic ingredients such as fruits, veggies, sprouts, seeds and a ton of vitamins and minerals. I was sold.
I first tried Orgain instead of my cheese burger dinner, just before I left for work. Ripped open a sachet, tossed it into the blender with a glass of milk and that was it.
It was delicious. Reminded me of my favorite Frozen Hot Chocolate at ‘Jacques Torres’. The texture was extremely creamy, there were no lumps or graininess either.
Was smooth and easy to gulp down.
I was warned to keep an eye out for tummy discomfort and flatulence. Thankfully, nothing uneventful happened during my shift. I just didn’t feel hungry until early morning, which was a nice bonus.
Orgain Macronutrient Profile – What’s in it
Each Orgain shake is 230 calories, if you blend it with water. That’s 1/3rd of the amount of calories I usually consume for a meal. Not that I am complaining. But I can always add some fruits and a scoop of peanut butter to amplify the calorie count and the nutrient profile.
Here are the more interesting details:
- Protein – 20 grams
- Carbs – 35 grams
- Fat – 5 grams
- Fiber - 7 grams
- Sugar – 1 gram
7 grams of dietary fiber per meal is just what I was looking for. For those who are new to this, dietary fiber also helps lower cholesterol levels.
Also, I liked that the Protein-carb-fat ratio is extremely well balanced.
One thing that I noticed though, is that it does not contain Vitamin D. Could that be because it’s plant based?
But I wasn’t bothered too much by this because I supplement external Vit-D anyway.
Who is Orgain best for?
Orgain’s nutrient profile is well rounded and it will work great for anybody who wants to swap an unhealthy meal with a healthy one.
There are no fillers in it. No added sugar, no synthetic additives, no cheap Whey distillates. The protein is completely plant-based and the fiber ensures that you don’t get hunger pangs for at least 3-4 hours.
Taste, Texture, Mixing and Flavors
I tried both, Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. Both taste good and have a very similar creamy texture. But the Chocolate gets my vote.
The next few times, I deliberately tried mixing Orgain in my car and my workplace with a shaker. Each time, I was able to get the shake ready in less than two minutes. No lumps or undissolved goop.
Each Orgain meal costs $2.06. That’s ridiculously cheap for a healthy meal.
#2 - Shakeology
I attended a demo for Beachbody’s Power 90 in 2004 and as part of the demo, we were given a Shakeology shake. I remember faintly that I didn’t like it too much back then.
So when Shakeology turned up as one of the names, I wasn’t too excited. But I was willing to ignore the taste as long as it ticked all the other boxes.
The ingredient list and the macronutrients certainly did. This shake holds its own against other big brands too, I pitched it against one of the biggies in the meal replacement space in this Huel Vs Shakeology showdown and was quite impressed with both.
Shakeology is loaded with veggies and fruits. In fact, this is the only shake that’s green in color. Lol. Each shake has super greens, antioxidants, berries, fruits, adaptogens and probiotics.
One of the differences with Shakeology is that there are a lot more variants to choose from. There’s Whey, Plant-protein and Vegan protein options.
I chose the plant-based protein because I wanted the comparison with the rest of the shakes to be uniform.
So, on day 1, I tried the shake for dinner. It was very quick to mix with milk and has a very light texture, for lack of a better word. Orgain was a little creamier as compared to this. I would compare Shakeology with a regular milkshake.
Each shake has 16-grams of protein, 19-grams of carbs and 0.5 grams of fat. I am not a huge fan of low fat diets because it tends to mess up my hormones. But if someone is trying to avoid fat consumption, then this might be a great option.
Shakeology Macronutrient Profile – What’s in it
Shakeology is just 140-calories a shake. That’s a little lesser than what most people would prefer.
It does keep me full enough for a few hours.
But after the first shake, I started to add fruits, oats and peanut butter to increase the calorie count. Not a biggie. If you are at work and find it difficult to carry the additional ingredients, then you might want to consider an alternative.
Here’s the detailed macronutrient profile.
- Protein – 17 grams
- Carbs – 16 grams
- Fat – 1 gram
- Fiber – 3 grams
- Sugar – 9 grams
Each shake also contains a non-dairy probiotic blend, which ensures that it does not cause tummy problems.
Who is Shakeology best for?
Shakeology is a very versatile shake. But it’s primarily aimed at the weight-loss crowd. If you would like to lose weight without compromising on nutrient intake, Shakeology is what the doctor ordered. It may not be an ideal choice for everyday use though, because of the low calorie value and the price.
If you are willing to overlook that bit, then you’ll find that the nutrient profile is perfectly balanced. I particularly liked the enzyme blend that’s a fancy term for a blend of greens. There’s oat grass, Wheat Grass, Amaranth, Grape Seed Extract and Green Tea. In addition to this, there’s Spinach, Chlorella, Spirulina, Hydrilla and Quinoa. So, it’s as nutrient-dense as it gets.
Taste, Texture, Mixability and Flavors
Shakeology is available in five flavors. There’s Chocolate, Vanilla, Café Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Tropical Strawberry. My favorite of the lot is Café Latte. I also liked the Strawberry and Peppermint Mocha.
The texture is quite watery, if I can call it that. Not thick at all. Thankfully, it dissolves in minutes even with my shaker. There’s no aftertaste or overwhelming synthetic flavors.
While I loved Shakeology, I didn’t quite like the price. At $5.41 for normal customers, for what’s essentially 140-calories, it’s a little overpriced.
If you are a registered Beachbody coach, you can get one meal at $4.08.
#3 - Kachava
During the course of my research, I was most excited about Kachava. Right from the branding to the ingredient list and much more that I share in this detailed Kachava review, it seemed like the best protein powder out there.
Turns out that I wasn’t wrong.
Kachava contains 70+ natural ingredients in each shake. That’s just incredible. There are 18 veggies, 9 super fruits and antioxidants, 4 dietary fiber ingredients,a blend of plant-protein and a blend of adaptogen herbs. I’ll talk more about this in a bit.
Sounds exactly like the meals I was missing all this while. Lol!
Two weeks after I started with Orgain, I tried Kachava for lunch. Blended it with milk, exactly like I had blended Orgain.
The chocolate tasted yummy. It was not as creamy as Orgain to be honest. But I could taste the distinct flavor of cocoa and there’s a hint of coconut milk. There were distinct notes of cinnamon too. Overall, it’s a very pleasant taste.
Waited till evening to watch out for any stomach distress. Nada! Just like orgain, didn’t crave carbs and sugar until late evening.
Kachava Macronutrient Profile – What’s in it
Kachava contains more fruits and veggies than Huel, for instance, and pretty much any other shake in the market currently. I have analyzed close to 80 product labels and this is the closest one that I found to a natural, plant-based meal.
In fact, it’s more nutrients than you’d be able to consume in an entire day. 70+ superfoods. How many of your meals contains even 10? Mine usually contained a ton of meat, loads of fats and a tiny portion of salad.
The macros in Kachava are perfect too.
- Protein – 25 grams
- Carbs – 24 grams
- Fat – 7 grams
- Fiber – 11.2 grams
- Sugar – 6 grams
The takeaway is that I get more protein, fewer carbs and more fiber from Kachava, as compared to Orgain. There’s about 5 grams more sugar. But that’s natural sugar sourced from the ingredients. So I am not too hung up on that.
One thing that deserves a special mention is the concentration of essential and non-essential amino acids in Kachava. I follow a normal PPLPPLR routine and after the first week, I noticed an improvement in my recovery. Placebo? Don’t know. But it worked for sure.
Who is Kachava best for?
I believe that Kachava is nothing lesser than a complete meal. It’s all organic, its plant-based, it’s all natural ingredients and it is 270-calories. That’s like the perfect middle ground between a high calorie junk-laden meal and a low-cal emaciating one - that's what makes Kachava good for you all fitness buffs.
There’s ample ways to increase the calorie count. So I won’t even get into that.
But if you exercise, are looking to swap a junk meal with a healthy one, or are too busy to cook a meal, Kachava fits the bill.
Taste, Texture, Mixability and Flavors
Just like Orgain,Kachava is available in just Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. I liked the Chocolate more than the Vanilla. But there are tons of recipes that you can make with this. I tried a bunch of smoothies, overnight oats recipes, pancakes, muffins and cookies. My partner chimed in with the baking tips.
Not once did I feel like I was swapping a normal ingredient for protein powder. It blended perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. The natural sweetness of the vanilla and chocolate allowed me to get away without adding sugar.
Each Kachava meal is priced at $5 if it’s a one-time purchase. The cost drops a little to $3.99 if you subscribe to recurring deliveries. It’s a little pricey, especially when compared to Orgain. But the average price that I paid for a meal was close to $8-10. So this is definitely cheaper and hell of a lot more nutritious.
Did I Lose Weight Taking 2 Protein Shakes and One Meal?
After spending 6-weeks swapping two of my meals with Protein shakes and consuming one regular takeaway meal, I was not just free of those sudden weight spikes, I also lost all of 4-lbs and managed to get rid of belly fat albeit very slightly so.
Was it significant enough? Hell no. It was not even close to what I expected to lose. Maybe my expectations were inflated, just like my belly and waistline.
What I Learned
It wasn’t a completely useless experiment though. I did learn a lot about dietary management, nutrition and calorie control.
But the biggest takeaway was this.
Diet Alone Isn’t Enough
Will you lose weight if you consume fewer calories than what you used to? Sure.
Will the weight loss be substantial enough to make you look and feel good? No. It won’t.
Exercise is the key. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. If you want results, you need to exercise. Period.
It doesn’t have to be something as dramatic as running on an incline treadmill every day. Even small changes, such as adding to your everyday step count can get you great results.
Their are also a number of beginner friendly exercise that you can do to measure your fitness level; like essential core exercises such as double crunch, wall angels, negative or assisted pull ups. Or, if you have a set of budget adjustable dumbbells, you can do the alternating dumbbell press.
You can slowly increase the intensity and duration of your workouts once you plateau.
Kachava is Amazing
Kachava is hands down, the best meal replacement protein shake in the market currently. While it solely does not contribute to significant weight loss, it has a great ingredient list with well-balanced macros and micro nutrients.
It is one of the most delicious shakes that you can buy and it is extremely easy to mix.
That’s it folks. That sums up this blog post about my 2 protein shakes and one meal experiment.
Stay tuned and do subscribe to my feed to stay updated about my weight loss journey.
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