The word Protein stems from the Greek word ‘Protos’, which means ‘first’.
That’s a fancy way of saying that this is the ingredient that deserves prime real estate on your dinner plates.
But sadly, most of us are stuffing our mouths with carbs and fats instead.
After all, that’s what the taste buds sway towards.
When you cannot get your RDA of protein from your diet, a protein shake is the next best option.
It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s fast. It’s convenient, just like our modern day diets are.
The question is, do you really need protein shakes even if you don’t go to the gym and lollygag in front of the mirror with dumbbells in hand?
The answer is that it depends.
Protein Shakes are a staple in my diet irrespective of whether I am following a dedicated workout routine or not. So are meal replacements.
I’ll explain why, in a bit.
My favorite meal replacement is Kachava.
It is by far the best there is.
You can check them out and see the flavor that I get on their website here. It’s also cheaper on their website than anywhere else.
Before we get to more details, here are my favorite protein shakes
My Favorite Protein Shake and Meal Replacement Shake
I have used protein shakes for over a decade and there have been some really good ones and some equally bad ones. That’s why you might have heard claims that protein powder is expensive, while some still manage to cut corners and cheap out somehow, but they often end up disappointed.
For the last couple of years, I have been consistently using these.
#1 – Favorite Meal Replacement – Kachava
You can check out Kachava and see customer reviews of it here.
I stumbled upon Kachava in 2014, when I made the painful realization that the meal replacement powder I was using back then was crammed with fructose, corn bran and other empty carbs.
Not to mention it was far from a low sodium option as it was packed with the stuff.
Kachava was a revelation and a lifesaver.
It is a plant-based complete meal that contains over 70 amazing, handpicked ingredients that include super fruits, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy fats, adaptogens, fiber, protein, carbs and probiotics.
It was founded by Simon Malone, who on a backpacking trip to the forests of South America, discovered the diets of ancient indigenous tribes, that seemed frugal in appearance, but was filled with super foods.
The idea was to design a meal, that was both convenient and nutritious, and contained all of the superfoods and phytonutrients that are lacking in modern diets.
As a result, Kachava contains 8.81 grams of antioxidants sourced from berries, 1 gram of adaptogens including Maca Root, 493 mg of Veggies, 100 mg of Digestive enzymes, 11.06 grams of fiber, 50 mg of pre and probiotics and 24.75 grams of Protein, in each shake.
At 220 calories, Kachava is well within my calorie count for the day as well. Again, kachava beats its alternatives quite easily when it comes to offering a healthy easy option for those looking to not only get an edge and the boost that they need but also for those looking to lose weight.
Why I love it
- Mixes in the blink of an eye in a shaker. I have mixed it in my car, while rushing through the subway and while riding a horse. Yeah. Kachava makes you want to do adventurous things.’
- Best meal replacement powder for smoothie making.
- Creamy, delicious texture. No synthetic aftertaste.
- Wholesome nutritional profile
- Sourced from real foods
- No fillers – Excellent Option for those with sensitive stomachs
- 25 grams of vegan protein per shake
#2 – Favorite Protein Shake – Jocko Mölk
You can check the reviews and flavors out on amazon by clicking here.
Jocko Mölk has to be the best tasting Protein powder in the world. Period.
That’s coming from someone who has used at least 15-20 different brands and almost 50-different flavors.
It has a rich, milkshake like texture even when blended with water.
If mixed with low fat milk or almond milk, it’s the absolute bee’s knees. I love all three Chocolate flavors. The Vanilla Gorilla isn’t bad either.
Molk is a Whey protein blend that contains whey concentrate, whey isolate, micellar casein, and egg. That’s a healthy mix of both, slow and fast digesting protein. Each serving gives you 22 grams of protein.
If you are looking to amp up the protein content of your smoothie, a scoop of molk in the morning will keep you feeling full until noon.
I also like the fact that the protein is sourced from grass fed cows and contains no hormones or soy.
Also, the icing on the cake is the digestive enzyme and probiotic blend in Molk that prevents flatulence and bloat, that people often experience with Whey blends.
Why I love it
- Best tasting protein powder in the world
- Blend of fast and slow absorbing proteins
- 22 grams in a scoop
- No hormones, no soy.
- Digestive enzyme blend prevents flatulence
Advantages of Drinking Protein Shakes Even If You Don’t Workout
Here are a few reasons why you might want to include protein shakes in your diet even if you don’t workout.
- Convenient way to get your dose of protein
- Prevents hunger pangs
- Prevents insulin spikes (3)
- Can prevent a higher calorie intake
Is Drinking Protein Shakes Without Working Out Unhealthy?
That depends on why you are drinking it in the first place.
If you are looking to meet your recommended daily intake of protein, or even trying to consume a little extra protein in a day, there’s nothing wrong with consuming a protein shake, or even two. I once stopped working our for a year following an injury, and I kept taking protein powders with no problem at all.
The average protein shake contains 20-25 grams of protein in a glass. The equivalent would be to cook 100 grams of chicken breast, or 4-whole eggs.
Like I said earlier, shakes are the easiest way to get your protein every day.
If you hate cooking a meal, or you are traveling all day and do not want to eat junk, just carry a shaker water bottle with you. Throw in some water, a scoop of protein shake and you are all set. And if you want to make life even easier, then carrying with you a pack of protein pills will definitely help take all the inconvenience of cooking or mixing out of the way.
However, there are a few caveats.
Keep an eye on your calorie intake
This depends on whether you are trying to lose, maintain or to gain weight.
For those looking to lose and maintain weight
If you are consuming a protein shake blended with water, then the calorific value printed on the label will give you a fair idea of the additional calories you are consuming each day. You can either balance it by eliminating other things from your diet that are of lesser importance (read junk), or start some activity that helps you burn them extra calories. Else, you’ll gain weight.
On the other hand, if you are mixing your shakes with low fat milk and/or fruits, the calorific value will increase further. You may have to adjust accordingly.
For those looking to gain
Can you drink protein shakes to gain weight? Absolutely. It’s a great way to consume additional calories if you are looking to gain weight. You can top up your shake with healthy carbs and fats like Bananas and Peanut Butter to make it a big ass meal.
Look for clean protein sources
There’s a lot of unhealthy junk being peddled out there in fancy bottles. Always buy a clean protein like Jocko that does not contain hormones or soy. If you are looking to swap one of your meals, Kachava is a terrific option that gives you a vegan protein blend and a whole bunch of other nutrients.
Ensure that you also consume whole foods
The idea of a protein shake should be to quickly consume 20-25 grams of protein. It should not be a replacement for real foods, which segues into our next point.
What Happens If I Only Drink Protein Shakes?
If you only drink protein shakes, then your diet will be severely deficient in many vitamins, minerals, enzymes and nutrients that can only be sourced from real food.
Even though a meal replacement like Kachava is made from real food and contains more nutrients than any normal dinner plate would contain, we still recommend that you use it sparingly as part of a balanced diet that includes healthy and delicious meals. There are different healthy foods for men and women that pack nutritional elements you might not get from your shake.
There’s no substitute for real food. Period.
Everything else has to be tailored around your intake of food.
Does Drinking Protein Shakes Make You Bloated?
No, it does not, unless you have lactose intolerance or an allergy towards one of the ingredients.
If you feel that you are bloated, you may want to try a non-dairy based protein powder like Kachava.
Also you’ll want to check to make sure that your meal or protein powder does not contain creatine. Why? Well, because creatine is thought to make users gain weight since it can cause you to hold water making you look and feel bloated.
Do Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight?
In a way, yes.
Among the three macronutrients, protein is the one that keeps you feeling fuller for the longest amount of time.
So if you consume a protein shake in the morning, it will keep you feeling full for hours, which in turn reduces your chances of making poor dietary choices.
Can You Drink a Protein Shake Before Bed?
Sure. You can drink a protein shake at any time during the day. Personally, I prefer taking protein-rich meal replacement shake for breakfast, that way full for longer in the early mornings.
Just before bed does have a few advantages though.
It will keep you full until morning. If you like to do cardio in a fasted state, it will help prevent hunger pangs.
If you lift, it will help with recovery.
Most importantly, it will prevent midnight binges, which are often responsible for the most amount of calories you consume in a day.
Can You Drink a Protein Shake While Working Out?
A lot of people still believe in the old folklore about the ideal time to consume protein, which is touted as this ‘anabolic window’, which is usually the 45-minutes after your workout.
Here’s the deal. There’s no anabolic window. You can have a protein shake just about any time.
Pre workout, intra-workout, post workout, it doesn’t matter.
There’s no specific benefit of taking your protein mid-workout though.
On the other hand, it may increase your chances of causing discomfort and burping. If you’re in for the pumps, I’d suggest going with a pre-workout instead, more specifically one without beta alanine to avoid any discomfort or itching that might chip away at your focus.
Can You Drink Protein Shakes on Rest Days?
You should ensure that you consume the recommended amount of protein every single day, which includes rest days.
Just watch your total calorie intake depending on your fitness goals and you’ll find that protein shakes are extremely easy to slip into any diet. Whether you’re out to grab a protein pill, or blend a tasty protein powder smoothie, it’s all up to you really.
But then, remember what we mentioned previously about being careful with creatine-laded options, some gym rats are quite keen about taking creatine on their off days, and so should you.
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
You can learn more about Fitlifefanatics on our About Page