Is Shakeology Worth the Price?

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You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of excited fitness folks posting pictures of their Shakeology drinks all over the internet and you may be wondering what all the fuss is about and if it is worth the price.  The Shakeology website lists the many healthy ingredients and benefits of adding the supplement to your diet, but what the website doesn’t tell you is how a busy and often broke graduate student can afford a monthly supply.

shakeology-vs-starbucks

One way I have made room for Shakeology in my monthly budget is I have prioritized my health and fitness.  By putting healthy living first, I am spending money wisely on quality foods instead of spending it on garbage foods, alcoholic drinks, and going out.  I used to love to stop at one of Portland’s many coffee shops and grab a latte and possibly a snack just about every day.  Furthermore, on long days that I did not prep meals for, I would grab dinner at a nearby restaurant for around $6.  If I have school, my internship, or work 7 days a week, I could be spending between $10 and $70 per week on store bought meals and snacks.  That is $40 to $280 per month just for lunch and a snack!  Yikes!  Replacing those calorie laden lattes and store bought meals with Shakeology and home-cooked meals has saved me money and time and has given me huge rewards in my fitness goals.  Furthermore, ordering Shakeology Home Direct means I don’t pay shipping costs and a new bag arrives at my doorstep every 30 days without me having to remember to order and wait for another bag!  You can set up Home Direct to alternate flavors so you never get bored either.  Acquiring a Team Beachbody Membership gets you 10% off all orders.  Also, being a Team Beachbody Coach gives you a 25% discount.

photo-4I drink Shakeology everyday at lunch time to give me an afternoon boost of more than 20 different antioxidants and phytonutrients, fiber, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, amino acids and protein all in a delicious smoothie.  Who doesn’t like to feel like they are drinking a decadent chocolate milkshake in the midst of a stressful day?  Because my mornings are usually rushed, making Shakeology is a quick way to make sure I have a filling lunch and I won’t need to grab take out while I am at work, school, or internship.  Since adding Shakeology to my daily diet, I have decreased my caffeine intake and can easily resist the multiple cartons of ice cream you’ll find in my freezer at any given time.  Combined with exercise and a clean diet, I have lost 21 pounds since I started drinking Shakeology.

Shakeology comes in 4 flavors, two of which are vegan!  I blend Shakeology with a wide variety of ingredients depending on my mood and nutritional needs including: coconut milk or almond milk, fruit (fresh or frozen), spinach, almond butter, avocado, slivered almonds, oats or coconut oil.  I also use extracts to create a variety of delicious flavors.  To get an idea of the versatility, some recipes for each flavor can be found at the following:

Order Shakeology Home Direct here and I’ll send you a fun free gift to help you get started (or continue) your fitness journey!

Of course, Shakeology is backed by Beachbody’s 30-day Monday Back Guarantee: “If you don’t start to see and feel the benefits of Shakeology within the first month of using it, or if you’re not 100% satisfied for any reason, just return it within 30 days for a full refund of the purchase price, less s&h – guaranteed.  That’s our promise to you.”  You can keep the gift I send you 🙂

As always, if you have questions feel free to email me at scottileona@gmail.com.

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Brown Rice, Goat Cheese and Walnut Patties

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I had some goat cheese in my fridge that needed to get used and found this great recipe in an email from Everyday Health.  These come together really quick once the rice is cooked.  I cooked the rice while working on homework and finished them up before starting a 12 hour shift at work!  I ate a couple patties with an arugula, tomato and avocado salad.  Yum!

Time Saving Tip: The recipe makes 6 patties, so there were some left over for Nick’s dinner that evening and for one of us to grab for lunch the next day.  I always make large portions of recipes to save time in meal prep the following days.  You could also make these and freeze them for grab and go meals during a really hectic week.

Brown Rice Versus White Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain that has just had the outer layer removed through milling, while white rice is brown rice that has also had its bran and much of its germ removed, which reduces its nutrient content.

Photo courtesy of lundberg.com

Photo courtesy of lundberg.com

Reasons to Switch to Brown Rice:

  • Brown rice has twice the manganese and phosphorus as white rice.  One cup of brown rice will provide you with over 80% of the recommended daily value for manganese!
  • It also has 2.5 times the amount of iron, 3 times the amount of Vitamin B3, 4 times the amount of Vitamin B1, and 10 times the amount of Vitamin B6!
  • Brown rice boasts a high fiber, which assists in weight loss
  • Brown rice is also a good source of the minerals selenium and magnesium.

See realfoodforlife.com and www.whfoods.com for more information.

Recipe:

Adapted from everydayhealth.com.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 dry cup brown rice, cooked in 1 cup water
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans, or whatever you have in your pantry!)
  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1 large egg white
  • Salt, pepper, thyme

Directions:

  1. Cook the rice.  Once the water is absorbed, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the onion until soft, and add the carrots.  Cook on low, stirring often, until the carrots soften and the onion is lightly browned.  Remove from heat.
  3. Preheat the over to 400 degree F.
  4. Transfer the cooked vegetables and brown rice to a food processor (my food processor is small so I had to do this in two batches).  Add the walnuts (or whatever nut you are using), goat cheese, egg white, thyme, salt and pepper.  Pulse until well blended but still course.  Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Heat about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture on the skillet and press down with a spatula to form a 3-inch patty.  Repeat until you have 6 patties.  Cook the patties until well browned, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  6. Lastly, transfer the patties to a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes.

These are simple and versatile!  Play around with various additions and enjoy 🙂

Find Time, Make Time

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I am often asked how I find time to exercise and prepare and eat healthy foods while I juggle full time work and full time graduate school, which includes 30+ hours/week of work, 16 hours/week of field placement and about 7-10 hours of classroom time (not including reading and homework time!).  My schedule is jam packed, and there is usually at least 1 day per week where I am out of my house for 12+ hours.  Yet, I still make time to exercise 30-90 minutes 4-6 days each week and eat clean and healthy foods.  You may be thinking I am crazy, but I believe you are totally capable of taking care of your body through exercise and nutrition no matter how busy your life gets!

Here are some of the key tactics I use to stay on track!

  • photo-8Make Your Health a Priority:  Just like I make sure I go to class, show up to work on time, and pay my bills, I make exercise and healthy eating a priority in my daily life.  Since making my health a priority, both working out and nutrition have become part of my regular routine and I find myself including them while I prepare my schedule for the upcoming days and weeks.
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  • Plan Ahead: I have a planner where I write down things like all my appointments, classes, assignment deadlines, and when bills are due.  Because I have made exercise a priority, I also find holes where I can schedule a work out.  I check my planner regularly throughout the day, and find it most important to take a look at it in the evening to get an idea of what the following day will bring.  If I know what I have planned for the following day, I can gather the belongings I’ll need, including work out clothes and whatever meals will happen while I’m away from home.
  • photo-7Prepare and Pack Your Meals:  In general, I usually make recipes that feed at least 4 people even though I am only cooking for 2.  This way, there are always left overs that my partner and I can grab over the next couple of days for lunch or dinner, depending on our schedules.  By planning ahead and having an idea of how long my day will be, I know which meals and how many/what kind of snacks to pack.  Many folks in the fitness community prep their meals for the entire week on Sunday or Monday, filling their fridge with containers ready to grab and go each day.  This is an amazing idea that I plan to play around with.  For now, I get a mental idea of what I’ll need the following day and prep a container of dinner, if needed.  Then in the morning, I blend up my Shakeology for lunch and pack snacks.  If the morning is going to be really rushed, I prepare overnight oats the previous night so I can quickly grab breakfast too!  Packing meals is one of the most important ways to make sure I eat healthy all day, saving time, money and calories!
  • photo-6Simplify Your Nutrition:  Keeping my kitchen stocked with whole foods makes it so the only option I have to grab is healthy!  I have figured out my favorite healthy foods, making packing snacks and preparing meals quick when I am short on time.  Of course, I love to experiment with new recipes and try new foods, but in the midst of a packed week, I rely on my tried and trues to keep my lunch box full and my body satisfied.  My go-to snacks include: carrots & raw broccoli with hummus, a piece of fruit with low-fat organic string cheese, Greek yogurt with fruit, cottage cheese with fruit, a rice cake with almond butter or tuna or avocado, a Skout Trailbar, and a piece of fruit with nuts or trail mix.  All of these combinations are quick to pack and easy to carry.  Furthermore, drinking Shakeology at lunch makes that midday meal a no brainer when prepping food for the day.
  • photo-9Make it Social:  Living a healthy lifestyle does not need to be done in isolation!  On the weekends, I love to spend time with friends and family, and I have found ways to be active while having fun.  Lately, I have been bouldering almost every weekend with some friends who share the same hobby.  It is an incredible work out and going so frequently means I have spent more time with these friends than I have in months!  Double awesome!  Luckily, I live in a city full of people who love to run, so there are fun runs throughout the year and I have friends who have joined me in some of them.  I also love to hike, so I recruit friends to come along with me.  Having people over for dinner is another great way to eat healthy foods and not have to worry about what is on the menu at some bar and saves a bunch of money too.  I also love concerts and dancing, both of which are great ways to spend time with friends and are great work outs (bonus!).
  • photo-16Find Time, Make Time:  The bottom line is I have to find and make time in my hectic life for healthy eating and living.  Some days, I find myself squeezing work outs in between meetings or during breaks in class because it is literally the only time I will have to do it, and it is totally worth it as long as I make it count.  Only have 40 minutes?  Run HARD for 25 or do a Jillian Michaels 30 minute work out DVD.  If you are one of those people that can actually get out of bed when your alarm goes off, wake up early to make sure you get that work out in.  Working out in the morning is an amazing way to start your day refreshed.  I hate waking up in the morning so much that I am fine showing up to class super sweaty or spending my hour dinner break in an 8 hour class on a treadmill.  Packing your meals and snacks saves you time as well, since you aren’t going to a restaurant and waiting in line so you can apply that time to getting sweaty.  Spending a little extra time the night before or on Sundays preparing meals for the following day(s) is well worth it.

Find what works for you and make it happen 🙂