5 Things To Look For In A Vegan Meal Replacement Shake

8 min read

What you'll LEARN:
  • The 5 nutrients you might be missing as a vegan.
  • Why you need methylcobalamin in your vegan meal replacement shake.
  • Ka'Chava only gives 5mcg of this nutrient (which is 1/10th of what you need everyday).
  • Should your meal replacement shake have iodine in it — if you already get it from table sale?
  • Why your shake needs rice and peas to avoid muscle wasting.
NUTRITION

Are you on the hunt for the perfect vegan meal replacement shake?

Well…

I get it.

Meal replacement shakes are super convenient. They’re really easy to make, barely take any time, you can drink them on the go, and they don’t need any clean up. So, it makes sense that a lot of people opt for shakes or smoothies as a healthy breakfast.

In order to make an informed decision when choosing a vegan meal replacement shake, it is essential to look for key factors in the ingredients.

Firstly, prioritize a shake that contains high-quality plant-based protein sources. Next, scrutinize the ingredients list for organic whole food ingredients — while avoiding artificial additives and inferior plant protein sources like soy. Also make sure the shake is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals commonly lacking in a vegan diet.

By choosing a shake that provides a well-rounded combination of essential nutrients, you can ensure that you are fueling your body with everything it needs for optimal health and performance.

Failing to to get these essential nutrients means your meal replacement shake can do more harm than good.

What am I talking about?

Vegan Nutritional Deficiencies

Vegan and plant-based diets are very healthy ways of eating.

But a few nutrients are either difficult or impossible to get enough from plant foods alone. That’s why it’s very important to be aware of them and supplement your diet to maintain health or physical performance.

Well in this case, you should get these nutrients from your shake.

Which nutrients am I talking about?

1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that’s almost exclusively found in animal-sourced foods.

You need this water-soluble nutrient for developing red blood cells and maintaining nerve and brain function. So, it’s pretty important to get it in your diet.

And science shows that without supplements, vegans are at a high risk deficiency.

The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are:

   ● Weakness and fatigue
   ● Impaired brain function
   ● Neurological disorders
   ● Psychiatric disorders

Basically, a lot of problems you want to avoid.

But don’t worry, you can get B12 naturally in trace amounts from:

   ● Nori seaweed
   ● Tempeh
   ● Shiitake mushrooms

The only problem is you need to eat a lot of these to get enough vitamin B12.

And that’s why most vegans simply supplement with a B12 vitamin.

But, there are better (and more enjoyable) ways to provide your body with an adequate amount of B12 without popping pills.

And considering there are some other very important, a.k.a. “essential” nutrients you’ll need on a vegan diet, doesn't it make sense to get them all-in-one using a vegan meal replacement shake?

Most meal replacement shakes barely have any vitamin B12, and certainly not enough to meet the need of vegan diets. There are some products, like Ka'Chava, which has 3 mcg (125% of daily value) of B12, but they use cyanocobalamin instead of the more bioavailable and naturally-occurring form - methylcobalamin.

Which is exactly why I added 500 mcg of methylated vitamin B12 in the Essentials Shake. That’s 20,833% of the daily value.

Don’t worry, that’s not too much B12.

When doctors prescribe B12 supplements, and even the vitamin B12 supplements you get on Amazon on average have the same amount of B12 in them.

So why drink a meal replacement shake and still take a B12 pill?

Essentials nutrition SHAKES

The ultimate all-in-one nutritional solution for vegans and plant-based eaters.

SHOP NOW

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient with many important functions. It’s also called the sunshine vitamin, as you get most of it from sunlight and some from your diet, but usually the form in your diet, like Vitamin D2 in mushrooms, is poorly converted in the body.

If your sunlight exposure is limited and you live in the US or Canada, there’s a 90% chance you simply need to be getting a lot more of it from food or supplements.

Fatty fish and egg yolks are the best ways to get vitamin D in your diet. Which is exactly why vegans are at a higher risk of deficiency, especially in the winter.

And vitamin D deficiency come with a lot of problems:

   ● Osteoporosis
   ● Cancer
   ● Heart disease
   ● Depression 
   ● Impaired brain function
   ● Muscle wasting and reduced strength

Again most meal replacement shake brands put a few hundred IUs in their shake and call it a day. Ka'Chava has 5 mcg (250 IU), Form Nutrition has 0.85 mcg (less than 40 IU).

For most people, that’s simply not enough.

In fact, when you look at the most recent nutritional research and current functional nutrition guidelines, it’s clear that we should be getting a lot more vitamin D then we are.

Which is why I added 1500 IUs of vitamin D in the Essentials Shake — to make sure that you get enough vitamin D every day.

Now, 1500 IU is only 150% of the daily value. And the reason I say “just” 150% is because most functional health experts suggest you should get 3000-5000 IUs of vitamin D per day.

You can read more about how much vitamin D you need here.

3. Vitamin K

Vitamin K2 plays a role in blood clotting, heart health, and bone health.

We get Vitamin K1 from plants and K2 from animal foods.

Vitamin K2 plays a huge role in bone health and even atherosclerosis. In fact, the combination of vitamin D3 and K2 is what you need for healthy bones and heart health as you age.But it’s really hard to get vitamin K2 in any diet.

So, you’d expect that vegan meal replacement shakes will add some vitamin K2 right?

The nutrient that’s really hard to get for vegans?

Nope.

Ka’Chava doesn’t even mention vitamin K2 in their nutritional label. Even a greens powder like Athletic Greens doesn’t have any vitamin K2.

This is a huge problem.

In the absence of vitamin K2, the calcium absorbed through vitamin D3 either circulates through the body or accumulates within blood vessels, potentially resulting in arteriosclerosis and undesirable calcium deposits throughout the body. Should calcium become lodged in the kidneys, it can, for instance, lead to the formation of kidney stones.

That’s why you need a shake that covers your vitamin K2 needs, like the Essentials Shake.

We added 100 mcg of vitamin K2 to make sure your needs are covered and so that the Vitamin D can work its magic of shuttling calcium out of the arteries and into the bones where it belongs.

This is especially important for maintaining healthy bones as you age, like my parents who drink the Essentials Shake every day.

4. Iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral that enables the thyroid to produce hormones.

Not getting enough iodine can lead to thyroid related problems, including goiter. Because we can’t make iodine on our own, iodine deficiencies are common among diets.

And especially common in vegans who don’t eat seafood.

Sure you could get iodine from seaweed and other sources, but if these foods aren’t high on your list, you can easily get enough iodine from most meal replacement shakes. Plus there’s iodine in your salt as well.

We added 75 mcg of iodine (75% of daily value) in our Essentials Shake to make sure you get enough iodine even if you don’t eat seafood or iodised salt.

And finally…

5. Protein

Vegans not getting enough protein has become a running joke at this point.

But it’s not true.

Vegans can get enough protein from plants. It’s just that plants usually don’t have all the essential amino acids that the human body needs. But that’s the case only if you don’t mix up your plant proteins.

Rice and peas are the perfect example for this.

Rice and peas have complementary amino acid profiles. Which means that rice protein makes up for the amino acids that pea protein is lacking and vice versa.

So, shouldn’t your meal replacement shake also have a complete amino acid profile?

That’s exactly what we did with the Essentials Shake. You get 18 grams of pea and rice protein to make sure your body gets all the essential amino acids in a highly-digestible form, which is actually one of the most important criteria for determining protein quality. After all it’s not what you ingest, but what you digest that ultimately determines health outcomes.

You can’t say the same about other meal replacement shakes because their use of other combinations of plant protein — these combinations sound good on paper but haven't been proven in the lab.

For example, Ka’Chava uses a blend of peas, brown rice, sacha inchi, amaranth, and quinoa. We don’t know how complete this combination of plant protein is because it’s never been tested in a lab.

Another problem: You typically get too many carbs with your protein in most meal replacement shakes.

That’s a no-no if you’re trying to lose weight.

The Essentials Shake only has 6 grams of carbs while giving you 18 grams of complete plant protein.

Eco-friendly and sustainable aspects of a vegan meal replacement shake

Eco-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking sustainable and environmentally-friendly options, making a vegan meal replacement shake the ideal choice.

By opting for a vegan meal replacement shake over other options like whey-based meal replacement shakes, you are contributing to a more eco-friendly lifestyle in several ways.

First and foremost, vegan meal replacement shakes are cruelty-free, as they contain no animal products. This means that they don't contribute to the exploitation of animals, making them a compassionate choice. By choosing vegan options, you are making a positive impact on animal welfare.

Furthermore, the production of vegan meal replacement shakes requires fewer resources and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional meal options.

Animal agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing a vegan shake, you are reducing your carbon footprint and supporting sustainable practices.

Incorporating a vegan meal replacement shake into your daily routine not only benefits your health but also helps protect the planet.

Make the switch to a vegan meal replacement shake and join the movement towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

Conclusion

The benefits of choosing a vegan option cannot be denied, from ethical and environmental aspects to the health benefits they can provide…depending on the product you choose.

It’s important to pay attention to important nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which ensures you're getting a well-rounded meal replacement.

As long as you have these essential nutrients in your vegan meal replacement shake, you can’t go wrong.

But…

If you’re looking for the best vegan shake on the market that’s high in plant protein, low in carbs, with 25 whole food ingredients, and gives you missing essential nutrients like vitamin D3, B12, and K2…

Then you should check out the Essentials Shake.

Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.