Sticking to a plant-based diet can be a definite win for health in a whole number of ways. But no diet plan can be perfect. And even the best plant-based diets come with shortcomings of their own. One of them is the inherent risk of failing to ensure a sufficient intake of essential nutrients, especially protein.
Designed specifically to address this concern, meal replacement shakes can help to negate the risk. In this guide, we will take a look at the plant-based versions of meal replacement shakes that vegans can use. And discover what unique benefits they have to offer.
Do You Need a Meal Replacement Supplement to Begin With?
Without a doubt, plant-based diets can provide you with exceptional diversity when it comes to micronutrients. As such, a carefully planned vegan diet plan can cover nearly every vitamin and mineral that there is. Where most plant-based diets fail to deliver, though, is macronutrients.
The majority of foods that plant-based diets rely on lack in nutrient density and contain a lot of dietary fiber. As a result, they fill you up without providing you with as many macronutrients as foods from animal sources can. And let’s face it. There’s only so much plant-based food you can consume in a day.
That’s where vegan meal replacement shakes come into play. Easily fitting an entire solid meal in a shaker, they provide a wealth of quality calories derived from healthy sources. Placed strategically between the regular meals, meal replacement shakes can nicely resolve the issue of insufficient caloric intake.
For the above reasons, vegans are in need of supplementing their diets with meal replacement shakes more than anyone else. Luckily, the plant-based versions of meal replacement supplements can fill this void for vegans. How do they differ from the regular meal replacement supplements?
What Exactly Makes a Meal Replacement Shake Vegan?
At first glance, plant-based meal replacement supplements look a lot like their regular alternatives. Not only do they offer similar ratios of macronutrients and micronutrients, they also come in a number of different flavors. In terms of the ingredients used, though, the difference between the two is drastic.
Unlike regular meal replacements, plant-based meal replacement supplements:
- Contain no animal-sourced components Staying true to the vegan values, vegan meal replacements are free of anything that may be coming from animal sources. As such, they don’t contain whey, casein, egg, or beef protein, and have no animal fats or derivatives like gelatin.
- Use only plant-based sources of fat and protein Vegan meal replacements employ such healthy fat sources as MCTs as well as coconut, flaxseed, olive, sunflower, and nut oils. At the same time, they rely on legumes, seeds, hemp, and brown rice to deliver ample protein content.
- Tend to use more natural ingredients The majority of people who stick to plant-based diets tend to be very conscious of what they eat. Recognizing this, the manufacturers of plant-based meal replacement supplements minimize the number of artificial ingredients that they use.
- Have more organic components Few vegans wouldn’t want as much of their food as possible to be organic. Naturally, the manufacturers of vegan meal replacement supplements cater to this desire. As a result, plant-based meal replacements end up having more organic components.
As the above differences suggest, plant-based meal replacement supplements are very different from their regular alternatives. And not just in terms of their contents. As it appears, vegan meal replacement supplements also seem to be a superior choice.
Key Benefits of Plant-Based Vegan Meal Replacement Shakes
Consuming plant-based vegan meal replacement shakes can help you to:
- Meet your macronutrient needs in a healthy way With plant-based meal replacements, you don’t just get the macronutrients you need. You get them from healthy sources. And you avoid the health problems associated with the excessive intake of animal-sourced fats and protein.
- Enjoy steady levels of energy during the day Like regular meal replacements, vegan meal replacement shakes can help you to feel more energy by balancing your blood sugar. But some of the ingredients that they contain, such as MCTs, can help to boost energy levels on its own.
- Detox the digestive system and body in general Compared to regular alternatives, vegan meal replacement supplements contain fewer harmful ingredients, if any at all. As a result, you don’t end up cluttering your body with the toxins and artificial components that you can avoid.
- Snack with comfort but in a meaningful way Plant-based meal replacement shakes are every bit as convenient to snack with as their regular alternatives. But unlike regular meal replacements, they let you make a difference by supporting less cruelty in the world.
Sadly, not every meal replacement saying vegan delivers these benefits to the fullest. The tips below will help to spot the ones that can.
Tips for Spotting the Best Plant-Based Meal Replacements
If a vegan meal replacement supplement has top-of-the range quality, chances are it uses:
- Only protein isolates Compared to the cheaper protein concentrates, protein isolates have a higher degree of refinement and include less impurities. As such, they are a lot less likely to lead to problems with digestion.
- Only natural sweeteners and flavors Unlike artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, natural sweeteners and flavors, such as stevia and cane sugar, aren’t toxic. They manage to provide a rich flavor without leading to any adverse health effects.
- No gluten and soy Both gluten and soy may act as allergens. While gluten may aggravate problems with joints, digestion, and autoimmune conditions, soy may disrupt the work of the thyroid gland.
- No high-glycemic ingredients High-glycemic components like maltodextrin, dextrins, and high-fructose corn syrup can do a number on insulin sensitivity. They can also be toxic since they are usually derived from genetically modified corn.
Keeping these criteria in mind, you will be able to select a decent plant-based vegan meal replacement supplement that works.
Hopefully, our guide has been helpful to you.