When I started my fitness journey, I was using a different protein powder to substitute for one of my protein servings each day. When I became a coach, it was partly because I was buying a Hammer and Chisel Challenge Pack (the BEST way to start, in my opinion, its a great deal - it gives you a big discount where you can at least try Shakeology and see what you think of it). Plus, there's a 30 day money-back, bottom-of-the-bag guarantee from the date your bag is delivered!
So it is from experience that I say Shakeology is a better protein powder. It tastes better, the texture is better, and I feel like I get more benefits from it than I did from "similar" products I tried. I know it isn't cheap ... but you get what you pay for ... and why would you want to put cheap fuel in your BODY? I actually saved up and sold old cell phones and things on eBay to get my Challenge Pack and to sign on as a coach.
What IS Shakeology?
I'll show you what Beachbody says, but I'll also tell you in my own words. I don't use it as a meal replacement ... I know some do, but I can't really speak for that. I DO often use it for my breakfast by adding veggies and fruit to it in the blender. I hide up to two cups of veggies in it on some days when I know it is going to be hard to get those suckers in!
I think of it as a (very tasty, filling, tongue and tummy pleasing) nutritional supplement. I actually stopped taking my (expensive) food-based multivitamin because Shakeology is giving me all of those nutrients.
Have you ever gone on a diet, only to deprive and resist temptation and work and hope and pray and sweat ... only to have the scale laugh at you? I'm telling you, I HAVE. I was hungry. I was grouchy. And I got nothing for my sacrifices. Shakeology basically tells your body "Hey, your basic needs are being met, it's all good!" so that the extra weight you are working on can go ahead and come off. When you go into a calorie deficit and aren't getting sufficient nutrients your body can actually see that as a famine coming and store up ... NOT what most of us are going for.
Food-based nutrients (you may have heard of these if you have done much research into vitamins) are more readily absorbed and used by your body. Otherwise they may pass right through, or your body may simply be unable to use them. What is the point of that??
I actually use the vegan Shakeology now (pity because there isn't a vegan Cafe Latte yet) because I found my stomach preferred it to the whey-based protein. I have been diagnosed with IBS and let me tell you, my daily Shakeology (it has some psyllium ... soluble plant fiber, as well as some pre and probiotics to repopulate a healthy gut) has been keeping my tummy happy! I used to take an OTC supplement to help with that ... so that's one more thing I don't have to buy anymore.
Some protein powders have either a lot of sugar (Shakeology is low glycemic index) or they have artificial sweeteners (Shakeology uses stevia) which is a big no-no if you are clean eating (and a bad idea if you have atrial fibrillation in your family like I do).
While Shakeology isn't labeled organic ... the ingredients are organic. Have you ever looked into what it takes to get an organic certification? It's EXPENSIVE! Yard eggs go up by $2 a dozen ... ranchers have to have double the fences, have a separation between the animals and the road (that then has to be mowed because it isn't being grazed).
Of course it would be ideal to get all our nutrients literally from the food we eat! But there are several problems with that ... it would be nearly impossible to eat that much food, especially when you are operating at a calorie deficit in an effort to lose weight. And our food isn't as nutrient-dense as it used to be; an unfortunate side effect of the way we grow our food (seriously, I'll loan you Food, Inc. or Farmageddon). Plus, that'd be expensive!
So in short, Shakeology is a DELICIOUS way to get the nutrients your body needs so that your feedback systems are giving the green light to let go of extra weight. I've lost 36 pounds in the past 8 months and I have not gone hungry. I get chocolate every day! THIS is something I can do long term, and Shakeology helps support that! Plus it counts as a red container, and I need four of those a day!