Inside: Gain insight into dairy free meal replacement shakes, how they can benefit you, some of the best ones on the market, and more.
There was a time when I literally preached the dangers of dairy to all who crossed my path. I’m talking handing out pamphlets and everything!
“Cow’s milk is for baby calves, not humans! It leaches calcium from your bones, and it’s full of pus!“
Yeah, I was pretty hardcore with it. But that was a long time ago and I’ve since lightened up quite a bit.
However; I still have a strong feeling that animal products, including milk & milk-based foods such as whey protein/meal shakes, should be minimally-consumed.
So, yeah, I totally get where you’re coming from if you happen to be:
- vegan or vegetarian and you don’t want any animals harmed in the making of your shake
- avoiding dairy for health and dietary reasons, or…
- lactose-intolerant and don’t want your shake giving you the bubble guts
In the past, I posed the question…
“Do dairy free meal replacement shakes even exist?”
(hence, the URL of this article)
And of course, the answer was (and still is), “Yes, they do.” But they didn’t always. Hell, I remember a time when you could count them on one hand, there were so few.
During that time, dairy-free shakes were up & coming and the whey shake guys began trying hard to sell the masses on how much better whey protein was than plant-based.
Oh, but NOW…
Many of those same shake companies have decided to jump on the dairy/whey-free band wagon. I guess they’ve since had an “awakening” that more and MORE people are foregoing dairy for one reason or another.
Or, maybe they’ve become aware of how many people are getting sick from drinking their shakes.
Either way, now there are a lot more dairy free options to choose from and trying to decide which one(s) to go with can be daunting.
Today, I’d like to help you choose a good dairy free meal shake by informing you of:
- what the whey should (and should not) be replaced with
- whether or not plant protein is better than or as good as whey
- if milk free shakes can be used for weight loss… or weight gain
- what’s out there in terms of choices and which ones are best
What Should You Replace Whey With?
As you’re doing your research and looking into whey free shakes, you’re going to find out, if you haven’t already, that a lot of dairy free meal replacement shakes are soy-based.
And if you what I know about soy, you don’t want that in your shakes either.
But don’t worry, there are other viable sources of plant proteins other than soy, such as:
- green pea
- brown rice
- sacha inchi
I’m sure there are others, but those are the most popular ones used in non-dairy protein powders and meal shakes.
Is Plant Based Protein as Good as Whey?
You know by now that the experts can’t agree on everything. So you can definitely expect varying answers, based on who you ask.
For example: If you ask a vegan authority, they’re going to all but damn you to hell if you go any route other than plant protein. And those authorities who are staunch meat eaters are going to tell you how much of a weak little wuss you are if your protein isn’t whey.
I’m exaggerating, of course, but you get the picture.
But I visited the guys over at Australian Men’s Health, and here’s what they had to say, which I found surprisingly unbiased:
“A clinical study in 2013 showed that brown rice protein was equal to whey protein when it came to; building muscle, gaining strength, and aiding in recovery. As well as providing great results, plant based protein is a lot easier for the body to digest than dairy products so you won’t have the same unpleasant, smelly side effects as whey.
Whey protein is a complete protein has a complete amino acid profile whereas plant based proteins tend to be deficient in some some amino acids. Just like no one plant can give you the same nutritional value as meat, variety is required.
For example, by having a combination of brown rice and pea protein, you’ll get all the amino acids found in whey – just without the farting.”
So, if you’re going with a whey-free shake, be sure it has at least TWO different protein sources so you’re covered in the amino acid department. That way, you’re sure to get as much, if not more, benefit as you would from a whey shake.
Are Plant Based Shakes Better Than Whey?
I honestly think it depends on the person. Some people can handle whey protein and others, not so much. You have to be in tune with your own body enough to know which one is best for you.
One thing I do know for certain: physiologically, our bodies can assimilate plant-based foods better than animal-based, if for no other reason than the fact that we don’t produce large enough quantities of hydrochloric acid to break down large amounts of the uric acid animal protein produces. This is, in part, why some people end up with gout.
Aside from that, there are also the concerns that many people have with lactose intolerance, although some protein and meal replacement shakes utilize whey isolates, which are said to not produce that effect.
But one thing I’ve noticed is the fact that a lot of people simply feel sick from drinking whey and/or soy-based protein or meal shakes.
I wrote a blog post on the topic and, to this day, it’s one of my most popular posts. A lot of people find it when searching, “protein shakes make me sick” or something along those lines.
So, this is one reason some may consider plant based powders “better”.
Can Non-Dairy Shakes Without Soy Be Used For Weight Loss… or Weight Gain?
Here’s the thing…
You could lose weight replacing two meals with two Snicker Bars, but you can bet your two sweet butt cheeks you’d end up malnourished, unhealthy, and so hangry, not even a Snickers would satisfy you.
My point is, it doesn’t matter the protein source – whey, soy, or brown rice & pea – if you replace two of your usual meals with a shake AND eat sensibly for your third meal and all snacks and beverages in between… you can typically lose weight.
But, again, you’ll want to make sure whatever shake you choose is actually good for you and will give your body the necessary nutrients it requires for optimal results.
What If You Want to GAIN Rather Than Lose Weight?
A lot of people don’t know this, but you can use meal replacement shakes for weight gain simply by using them as a meal supplement rather than replacement.
In other words… eat your meals as usual, but drink a shake or two between or alongside those meals.
You’d probably have to be pretty ravenous to consume that much shake, so it’s probably best to make sure you’re active in order to build up an appetite.
A Few of the Top Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free Shakes
Below are a few of the top-rated dairy-free meal replacement shakes (that are also soy-free) so that you can get an idea of what options you have available:
Pure Trim Mediterranean Wellness Shakes
- ingredients based on the Mediterranean diet: reportedly one of the healthiest diet in the world
- 21 grams of plant-based protein for healthy muscle growth
- 500 mg plant-based calcium
- probiotics & prebiotics to promote good digestive health
- contains antioxidants, anti-aging, and anti-stress ingredients
- essential fatty acids blend for healthy skin, hair & nails
- delicious flavor with a smooth & creamy texture
- each shake is an actual meal that keeps you full up to 4 hours
- listed in the PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference – US) &
CPS (Compendium of Pharmaceuticals & Specialties-CAN)
*these are the shakes my family and I drink*
- All-in-one nutritional protein shake with 20g complete protein from organic pea protein, organic quinoa, organic hemp protein & chia.
- 7 alkalizing greens, 9 nutrient-dense fruits & veggies, 4 carbs, less than 1g of sugar, 3g of fiber.
- 2 full servings of fruits & veggies per serving. Alfalfa, Spirulina, Chlorella, and Acai.
- USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free
- Add one scoop to 12 Oz or more to your beverage of choice, craft the ultimate smoothie or add to your favorite recipe.
- 15g of pure, highest-quality Tri-Plexd plant-based proteins
- Natural satiety ingredients optimized for weight-loss
- 5g of hunger-quenching fiber
- Phenomenal taste
- Sugar, soy protein, gluten and dairy free
- Naturally sweetened
- easily digested organic vegan protein
- meal replacement shake for weight loss, muscle building, muscle repair and optimal health – without the discomfort of bloating or grassy/chalky aftertaste
- Organic, 100% plant based protein
- Verified GMO-free, Certified soy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free
- Great substitute for breakfast, post workout drink and as a healthy snack
This short list of top-rated dairy-free meal replacement shakes is nowhere near exhaustive, but they’re a good start.
Getting the Most From Dairy Free Meal Replacement Shakes
Here’s a brief recap of what we previously discussed:
- Do your due diligence and research soy before settling on replacing your whey-based shake with a soy one.
- If utilizing plant-based protein shakes, be sure the shake contains at least 2 different protein sources in to ensure you’re getting all necessary amino acids.
- When using meal replacement shakes for weight loss; replace two meals with a shake and make sure your third meal, along with snacks and beverages are as healthy as possible.
- If you want a meal shake for weight gain, use it as a supplement to your meals rather than a replacement.
- Choose a shake that is going to be good for you with wholesome ingredients