Meal Replacement Powders
by Dave Slagle, General Manager of Paradise Fitness Centers
The thought of replacing meals with powder invokes nightmares: I see myself sitting at a table with my HAPPY MEAL. A cheeseburger, French-fries, Coca-Cola and a toy. l'm pretty happy! Then I see some mysterious doctor grabbing the tray and yanking it away from me. To my dismay the HAPPY MEAL is replaced by a nutrition shake. That's when I always wake up, drenched in sweat.
Engineered food reconstituted with water. Pills, potions and powders, we are not just bodybuilders, we are humans who are already adapted to life as astronauts! Meal Replacement Powders (M.R.P.s) are a staple in the diets of most of the bodybuilders and fitness minded people I know. But you can't really replace the satisfaction of biting into a slice of pizza for example, or chewing in general. We need to remember that they are called supplements for a reason. They supplement high quality nutrients into our diet of FOOD.
It was 1991 and I had been using METABOLOL II from champion nutrition. I had used the original METABOLOL before that. If any of you remember that powder, it had the taste and texture of wallpaper paste. Pineapple juice was the only liquid I could use to make it palatable. METABOLOL II was better because it came in original AND chocolate flavors. Yes, I chose the chocolate. I put 2-3 scoops into my blender with a sliced banana that I had frozen the day prior. Then I scraped one even tablespoon of creamy peanut butter into the blender. I then added one carefully measured cup of apple juice (I am allergic to milk) and 2 cups of water. I pushed the liquefy button on my blender and hit the on switch. Sludge. That is what slowly oozed out of the blender and into my glass. Approximately 600 calories per shake and I drank them everyday.
That is until Michael Mooney of SUPERNUTRITION VITAMINS asked me to participate in a supplement survey. Michael is my nutritional supplement MENTOR and I always have faith in his advice. There was this new powder called MET-RX (metabolic prescription) that had been developed by some doctor. The new supplement wasn't just another protein powder. In fact Michael told me that I wouldn't need any other vitamin supplements, because wth the excepton of some fiber this powder had it all. He told me that people could literally live on this powder alone. Michael knew the people distributing MET-RX and he enlisted me for their survey. I received 10 cans of powder (5 base and 5 plus) and a 25-question survey. The instructions said to blend 1 scoop of base with 1 scoop of plus and blend it with water. I followed the instructions and skeptically tried drinking some. It tasted awesome. I couldn't believe that the powder alone tasted that good. I decided right then to drink ONLY the MET-RX as my sole source of nutrition for four weeks. My only deviation was to use apple juice instead of water. By the second week I already noticed that my bodyfat level was dropping while my strength was increasing. I also noticed that I hadn't had a bowel movement in days.
It was my third week of MET-RX and I was really missing food. I only had one week left and I was looking great. I went to my friends' house to watch a movie. When I got there, the pizza delivery guy was just leaving. Mmmmm...pizza I thought. After not having any real food for three weeks anything would have been good. My friends began to eat and asked me if I would join them. I figured one slice would be okay. I took that first bite and was overcome by a ravenous sensation. I was halfway through my third slice when one of my friends told me to slow down because they had two pizzas. I ended up stuffing myself with six slices of pizza. The next day I called Michael to tell him about how I screwed up the survey by bingeing. The pizza binge wasn't what shocked him, he couldn't believe that I had given up food. He had told me that people could live on the powder alone, not that I should. The following two days were a gastrointestinal nightmare. I felt better by the third day and took Michael's advice. I added some food to my MET-RX diet. I had oatmeal mixed with 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder for breakfast, a plain bagel and 8 oz cottage cheese for lunch and two chicken breasts with some rice and veggies for dinner. I continued to drink 3-4 MET-RX shakes daily and this time I felt better and looked better. Even though my first experience with MET-RX was intense, I went on using it with food, consistently for the next four years. Since that time I have tried more meal replacement powders than I care to remember. I, of course, have a list of favorites and I am going to share it with you.
My Top Five Favorite Meal Replacement Powders:
1. MUSCLE MILK by CYTOSPORT
The first time I opened a can of MUSCLE MILK, I was surprised by the smell. The chocolate MUSCLE MILK has real HERSHEY'S cocoa powder in it! I was pleased that it mixes well in water with only a shaker cup. No clumping. The taste was so awesome that after I drank the first one I immediately mixed another and drank it. I drank 5 servings of it on the very first day. I craved MUSCLE MILK! Each serving has 32 grams of protein (micellar alpha and beta casein and caseinates, whey concentrates, alpha-lactalbumin, whey isolates, whey peptides, purified bovine colostrom, glutamine peptides, I-taurine and lactoferrin, 12 grams of carbohydrates (1 gram of sugar) and 18 grams of fat (4 grams of saturated fat). The high fat content is primarily from CANOLA (grapeseed extract) oil, specially engineered vegetable oils and medium chain triglycerides (the fatless fats). The supplement wizards at CYTOSPORT formulated MUSCLE MILK based on the nutritional profile of human milk and did their best to duplicate it.
2. MUSCLE MEAL bv MUSCLE-LINC
The first time l tried a MUSCLE MEAL mixed in water, I thought it tasted like a vanilla milkshake made with real milk! That is a good thing for me because I like the taste of milk but I'm allergic to it (I get sinus problems and headaches). l am able to use milk based protein supplements without a reaction because they do not have the allergens that effect me. MUSCLE MEALS have 40 grams of protein (complete milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, egg albumen and glutamine peptide), 12 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of sugar), 11 grams of fat (2.5 grams of saturated fat) and an excellent amount of vitamins and minerals. The high fat in MUSCLE MEALS comes from sunflower oil, lecithin, borage oil, medium chain triglycerides (the fatless fats), mono and diglycerides. MUSCLE MEALS mix well in a shaker cup and taste awesome.
3. MAX DELUXE by MAX MUSCLE
MAX DELUXE by MAX MUSCLE has 45 grams of protein (whey protein concentrate, potassium caseinate and egg albumin) and soy protein isolate, 22 grams of carbohydrates (2 grams of sugar) and 1.5 grams of fat (.5 grams of saturated fat) plus a full spectrum of vItamins and minerals. When it comes to quality, MAX MUSCLE products are among the best in the industry! The MAX DELUXE shakes are true to form. The MAX DELUXE shakes have a very low sugar count and are sweetened with acesulfame K and sucralose. Due to the low sugar count and the lack of aspartame, MAX DELUXE is not as sweet tasting as some of the other M.R.P. shakes. But on the plus side, it mixes well in a shaker cup and tastes all right mixed in water. I like to blend mine with pineapple juice and a banana.
4. MYOPLEX PLUS by EXPERIMENTAL AND APPLIED SCIENCES (EAS)
The Strawberry Cream MYOPLEX PLUS is awesome tasting! Just put it into a shaker cup with 16 ounces of water and a couple of ice cubes. Shake it up and enjoy the smooth creamy shake with real bits of strawberry, mmmmm! Myoplex has 42 grams of protein (whey protein concentrate, ion-exchanged whey protein, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, sodium caseinate and egg albumin, 24 grams of carbohydrates (3 grams of sugar) and 2 grams of fat (1 gram of saturated fat). It tastes great and mixes well in a shaker cup. A lot of my friends blend the strawberry MYOPLEX PLUS with slices of frozen banana or pineapple juice.
5. MYOPLEX LITE by EXPERIMENTAL AND APPLIED SCIENCES (EAS)
The Chocolate Cream MYOPLEX LITE is excellent! It has 25 grams of protein, (whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, l-glutamine and taurine), 20 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams sugar), and 1.5 grams of fat (.5 grams of saturated fat) and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. The idea behind MYOPLEX LITE was to offer a low calorie M.R.P. for people who want to eat at least six meals per day but don't want to exceed 200 calories per meal.
...and of course I still enjoy an original MET-RX shake (blended, not shaken) every now and then.