If you’re anything like me, the  thought of replacing a meal is NOT tempting.  Not only do I Love, LOVE a broad spectrum of flavorful foods, but I am truly a HUNGRY human!  In fact, I have been known to discuss my “next” meal, during the meal I am eating currently… with eager anticipation!   Another issue that I  combat, is that if I do not eat at regular intervals throughout the day, then I tend to become sluggish, foggy and even feel somewhat ill.  

On the other side of all of this personal info, the meals that I am able to eat, with the average person’s  “busy schedule”, do not always give me the energy I need to proceed at peak performance!  Also, I don’t always make selections that would promote a healthy weight  for my build and body type.

With this in mind, I decided to look into protein drinks as a healthy option!  There are  a large, overwhelming  amount to choose from.  The  qualities I knew that I was going to be looking for were:

  • organic and conscientious/ readable ingredients

  • no yucky sugars

  • full of healthful vitamins and minerals that are recognizable and easy for my body to use

  • tastes good with variety and ability to add yummy additions for fun (fruit, almond butter, frozen bananas-I do love food, remember?)

  • gives me energy

  • keeps me full until my next meal

Because of the above listed standards, I knew that the local health food store, Sunrise Health Foods, would be my best and most informed bet at meeting my high requirements!  What I found, was Garden of Life Raw Meal.  What I got, was even more than I had hoped for.  Not only was the ingredients list readable, but , it listed ALL  Raw (which are uncooked, unprocessed and mostly organic) organic proteins,  ALL Raw organic fibers ,ALL Raw Organic Green Juices,  ALL Raw organic antioxidants,  and includes Raw Probiotics and Enzymes.  Some examples of the easy readable ingredients in each category are raw sprouted brown rice protein, raw organic coconut fiber, and raw organic raspberry!  I have never been a pro at pronouncing probiotics and enzymes, so I can’t say they roll off the tongue as easily, but I know that we need them to help our bodies get the most out of our diets.  I found this information  from researching DrMurray.com where he states :

“The health benefits of probiotics, noted by clinical research, are many. Probiotics promote proper intestinal environment (also known as “gut flora”), and stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and systematic immunity. By strengthening this important part of the digestive system, probiotics have been shown to help with the following conditions”:

  • Antibiotic-induced diarrhea

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Ulcerative colitis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Traveler’s diarrhea

  • Lactose intolerance

  • Garden of life raw meal picUrinary tract infections

  • Vaginal yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis

  • Eczema

  • Food allergies

  • Cancer

And concerning Enzymes he writes: “Proteolytic enzymes are indicated in inflammatory conditions and to support the immune system. Proteolytic enzymes (or proteases) refer to the various enzymes that digest (break down into smaller units) protein. These enzymes include the pancreatic proteases chymotrypsin and trypsin, bromelain (pineapple enzyme), papain (papaya enzyme), fungal proteases, and Serratia peptidase (the “silk worm” enzyme). Preparations of proteolytic enzymes have been shown to be useful in the following situations”:

  •  Cancer

  • Herpes zoster (shingles)

  • Inflammation, sports injuries and trauma

  • Pancreatic insufficiency

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other

  • Sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and autoimmune disorders chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Digestion support

  • Fibrocystic breast disease

  • Food allergie

  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)

  • Hepatitis C

Both of these ingredients together help us to get the most benefit out of the already awesome ingredient that this product is offering us.  You might ask the question: “How is the flavor, without the use of regular sugars?”  That question would address another characteristic that I felt was important:  No yucky sugars.  The answer that Garden of Life has replied to “we the consumers” is another good one : raw natural chocolate flavor (yum), raw natural vanilla flavor and raw, organic Stevia leaf.  I was happy with this, because I knew this needed to taste good before it would satisfy my taste buds.

All in all, I am sure that there are other brands doing a good job providing proteins and meal replacement, but after trying others over the years, and even up to most recently, I am choosing Garden of Life Raw Meal as my means to an energetic start, and a satisfied tummy that holds me over till my next meal.

My personal tips: 

Use a blender (I have read feedback that the consistency was either chalky or not smooth-so I thought my Ninja would tackle that), add a frozen banana (I peel and freeze mine if they are starting to get past the point of eating fresh), and a spoon full of almond butter. With these additions, I have loved the flavor and texture , and the temperature is perfect using the frozen banana.  I also feel energetic, awake, satisfied and full when I choose this for breakfast.  It holds me over until any early lunch (I eat a VERY early breakfast-FYI).  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.  I fully recommend that you give it a try.