They’re everywhere, aren’t they? Catchy, attention-grabbing headlines such as “lose weight for good”, “try our 10-day “shred” to get in the shape of your life”… all the usual stuff to create guilt after an overindulgent holiday season. Look more closely at these adverts and you will find a recurring theme. Liquid meal replacements, food replacement bars (terrible things – check out the ingredients if you don’t believe me), “complete” shakes that allegedly contain everything in them that you need (and also, if you read the label, a whole stack of junk that you don’t need), and now even low calorie soups sold by networking companies with no concept of the harm they are causing.
Why do we keep doing this to ourselves, knowing that over 98% of these unhealthy fads end in failure? In just one of the “complete” shakes from a company that is well known for producing synthetic supplements that do not contribute to health, I found the line “rich in protein from soya and dairy” as a boast about its “healthy” weight loss ingredients. And you are supposed to replace 2 meals a day with this stuff? Please – do not. Do not replace even one meal with anything like this – ever. Why not? Let’s consider just two of these highlighted ingredients.
Soya. Most processed soya powder is genetically modified. if you don’t know about the harm that GM foods can do to the body, have an enlightening read of Genetic Roulette by Jeffery Smith, a highly respected presenter at several of the Real Truth About Health conferences. Soya is also allergenic. It doesn’t contribute much to health and it isn’t that easy to digest – there are much better protein sources available. Additionally, it can inhibit thyroid function. Many of the studies indicating health benefits associated with soya have been performed on fermented soya in condiment quantities, rather than genetically modified, unfermented soya beans, dried and ground up into a powder and added to, in this case of the shakes, a toxic blend of other non-food ingredients.
Dairy. Don’t even get me started on this. Or maybe we all need a reminder. Either way, here goes. Milk is baby food, produced by lactating mammals for their young offspring. Cow’s milk is the perfect growth diet for a calf, which will gain 400lbs of weight in the first year of its life. Goat’s milk is perfect for a young goat. Human milk, from our own mother, is perfect for humans until weaning age. After that, it is unnecessary. Period. And if we choose to continue drinking the pasteurised mammary secretions of the wrong species of mammal, past our natural weaning age, we can look forward to pancreatic and metabolic challenges including type 2 diabetes, weight gain (so what it is doing as a primary ingredient in a weight loss shake makes no sense whatsoever), and increases in IGF-1, which in turn increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Consumption of dairy products weakens your bones. Yes, I know, the dairy industry really don’t want you to know this. I researched this very subject for one of the chapters of my book Love Your Bones. Please read it if you still think that dairy products are necessary for bone health, or indeed the health of any of your other organ systems. Or, heaven forbid, as a meal replacement.
Back to the shakes. Stop and think. You think you need to drink concoctions such as this instead of making a healthy salad from scratch with local, organic ingredients, because you want to lose weight? That’s nonsense. By all means have a smoothie (home-made, not shop-bought) with low glycaemic fruit and greens. And by all means throw in a scoop of protein powder (look for Sunwarrior or Vivo Sport) if you have just done a long tough workout. But packaged meal replacement shakes, bars, soups or whatever else for weight loss? No way. Ever.
Let’s get one thing straight – there is no quick fix. Success and failure are both very predictable. We need to make lasting changes to our diet and lifestyle to bring about lasting change to our bodies. If you really do want a healthy kick-start, the only liquid one that is proven to start you on the road to better health is a high nutrient green juice fast. Fasting on liquid nourishment, as it is described by the Hippocrates Health Institute, can set a course for a healthier way of living, provided that the way in which the fast is broken is the correct one. You can do a fast in your own home or join a retreat (some of which are better than others – look for one that provides only green juices and definitely no fruit). All the information you need to conduct a green juice fast at home is here.
And I stress green juice fasting, NOT water fasting. There’s a big difference, and it’s important to get it right. It’s a sad fact, but most people are just too nutritionally depleted to safely conduct a water fast. Finally, if you want a truly life-transforming weight management experience to take you into the new decade with vigour and outstanding health, this is the one to go for.
Happy New Year!