Throw Out the Diet Shakes and Eat an Egg Instead
The new year has begun and for many of us, our fresh start has us feeling a little pudgier thanks to the holiday season, where we gave ourselves license to eat / drink / and be merry to the max.
That overindulgence often leads to a desire to go on a drastic diet in order to make up for the damage caused by all those extra helpings of holiday cheer.
Those diets might include caloric restriction by way of - *gag* - meal-replacement shakes.
(You know the drill - a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a 'sensible' dinner - whatever that means.)
Don't do it.
It's not going to work.
You're going to be hungry / nauseated (because how many chalky "chocolate supreme" shakes can you really stomach?) and it will lead to bingeing.
Trust me, as someone who binged for 30 years, I know that of which I speak. (I also have a diploma in Holistic Nutrition with a specialization in Sports Fitness Nutrition.) 
So just don't do it.
Now for those of you who are determined to do it anyhow, I'm going to outline a better way.
Alright, wait. Before I do, let me say again that I don't think you should go on a calorie restricted diet.
It will lead to all kinds of f*cked up behaviour with food; it will drive you insane and will almost inevitably lead to bingeing.
That being said, I understand that the idea that you can just tell someone not to do something and they’re not gonna do it is delusional. (Here’s looking at you, authoritarian parents everywhere!)
So if you're going to attempt to restrict your calories, forget the shakes; eat low-calorie, high-protein, moderate-fat foods instead.
|Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Before I go into further details, let's talk about those meal-replacement shakes, shall we?
To put it bluntly, they're total garbage; a veritable chemical sh*t-storm. You should not be putting that trash in your body.
The first five ingredients of a very common meal replacement shake are as follows: 
- Milk Protein Concentrate
- Canola Oil
- Cellulose Gel
Fine. But you can get that from the tap. For free.
Milk Protein Concentrate
Are you still downing dairy? If you are, how about a better quality dairy protein, like Whey Protein Isolate.
According to Idaho Milk Products, a concentrate has a protein content of 40-89%, while an isolate has a minimum protein content of 90%.
Isolate is more expensive which is likely why it's not used in these shakes.
Mmm....yummy... I don't know about you, but I definitely want to be downing canola oil for breakfast and lunch.
According to the Non-GMO Project, "Today, the vast majority of the canola grown in North America is genetically modified."
Statistics: 95% of US canola and 97% of Canadian canola is genetically modified - like they said "the vast majority."
This is not a healthy fat.
A bulking agent and a food preservative. It's a highly-processed carbohydrate extracted from corn, potatoes, rice, wheat, or tapioca.
According to PUBMED, it leads to the promotion of intestinal inflammation.
Let's add that to the grocery list!
A thickening agent and food stabilizer; it prevents the separation of oil and water-based ingredients. (So that you don't have puddles of canola oil in your 'healthy' meal-replacement shake.)
So, tell me why you need to be ingesting this product?
OK, NOW BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING
Hopefully I've convinced you not to do buy those meal-replacement diet-shakes.
If you're going to attempt to restrict your calories - and again, I don't think you should - forget the shakes; eat low-calorie, high-protein, low-to-moderate-fat foods instead.
If you want to do this the healthy way, with convenience built in, here's what I propose: eat an egg instead. Specifically hard-boiled eggs; there's something very satiating about hard-boiled eggs.
Let's start by comparing nutritional facts: 
|Image Credit: Author
Now this comparison assumes that the quality of the proteins and fats are the same, which they definitely aren't. Eggs contain high-quality protein and healthy fats, which, as we've already outlined, the diet-shakes do not.
Eggs are considered to be a complete high-quality protein source because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. "Essential" means that the body cannot produce them on their own which is why we need to include them in our diet.
Most of the nutrients are found in the yolk, which is why you should eat the whole egg.
If you have access to and can afford organic eggs, of course that’s your best bet, but a regular grocery store egg is far better than a diet-shake any day.
YOUR POTENTIAL OBJECTIONS
Boil a dozen eggs ahead of time using The Pioneer Woman's method which ensures easy-peeling. Grab-and-go from the fridge any time you need. Carry them in a Tupperware with a mini ice-pack. 
Hands down, eggs are cheaper. Even if you buy organic.
Here in Canada, a 4-pack of prepared diet-shakes costs $12.00 = $3 per meal.
A dozen organic eggs costs $8.00 = $1.33 per meal (2 eggs).
If you buy conventional eggs, the cost for a dozen is $4.00 = $0.67 per meal. (2 eggs).
Eggs for the win!
It has been scientifically proven that the cholesterol in food does NOT affect blood cholesterol.
"Dietary cholesterol has been a topic of debate since the 1960s when the first dietary guidelines that limited cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg/day were set. These recommendations were followed for several years, and it was not until the late 1990s when they were finally challenged by the newer information derived from epidemiological studies and meta-analysis, which confirmed the lack of correlation between dietary and blood cholesterol.
...there is no evidence that eggs play a role in the development of CVD." [cardio-vascular disease]
Not only is Cholesterol not "bad" - according to Healthline, it's "vital to human life."
|Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash
Hopefully I've convinced you not only to NOT be drinking those diet-shakes, but to regularly start eating eggs.
If you're trying to limit your caloric intake, and want to do it in a healthy way, few things are healthier and more satiating than hard-boiled eggs.
Want something to go with your eggs? How about mini-cucumbers, baby-carrots, or an apple? Those are all whole foods that will support you nutritionally, while being kind to your waistline.
Remember, when it comes to food, if the ingredients aren't things your grandma would have stocked in her cupboard or fridge, you probably shouldn't be eating them.
Nature knows what it's doing.
|Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash
 Although I have a diploma in Holistic Nutrition, I'm not a doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician before undertaking a new health care regimen. I only offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for better health. In the event you use any of this information for yourself, I do not assume responsibility for your actions.
 I can't specify the product because it would be defamatory, but a quick Google search should come up with the little red and white bottles of which I speak.
 Nutrition facts for Eggs can be found here. Nutrition facts for Nutritional Shake cannot be cited because it would be defamatory, but are available through a Google search.
 This is NOT an affiliate link. I promote the things I like because I like them and want to share with others.
 For more on cholesterol, you can read:
The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan That Will
 I do not work for nor receive any financial benefits from egg producers. I just really like eggs, both from a nutritional standpoint and a yummy and satiating standpoint.