The Paleo Paramedic and the Shakeology Controversy

I have always been fairly active.  In high school, I was the goalie for our girl’s hockey team; I played softball in the summertime, and threw shot put and discus for our track team.  In college, I joined the track team for a year as well as played a little rugby in my spare time.  I was active, but not really physical fit.  After college, I started my career as a paramedic.  After a couple years paramedicing, I found out that I had some back issues.  It was kind of an either you get fit and strengthen your core….or you might not be able to be a medic anymore.  Of course my choice was get fit.

I dabbled in the gym here and there.  I dropped around 60 pounds doing the elliptical, treadmill, and Insanity.  This was really my first taste of the Beachbody programming.  I liked it…a lot.  July 2011, I was introduced to CrossFit, and also tried my hand at the Paleo way of eating.  I fell in love with CrossFit on Day 1.  I think many of us in public safety are addicted to adrenaline.  It was a perfect fit.  Paleo…was more of a challenge.  I did strict Paleo for 30 days. I lost a little weight, had more energy, noticed clearer skin, allergies were better… It was tough though, and I didn’t stick with it.  I tried to figure out why my first paleo experience didn’t last. I think what it was, was that I became bored with it. Chicken and spinach, steak and spinach, tuna and spinach. Same thing over and over and over again. Boredom.

Fast forward to the January 2013. I evaluated my diet. It was full of processed foodstuffs. I always justified eating poorly. “Oh, just a little treat…I worked out today.” I realized that this just wasn’t acceptable. I needed to change things up. Around the beginning of January 2013, I decided to go back to Paleo. Fairly strict Paleo, actually. This time, I decided that I was going to put a little more work into it. I made a commitment to making Paleo my lifestyle…not just a “diet.”  Around this time, I joined a challenge group of accountability put on by my good friend Laura, of Fully Fit.  Through this challenge group, I also decided to try this Shakeology that all my friends were talking about as well as purchase the fancy new T25 workout.   Around this time, I also started a blog and Facebook page.  I became the Paleo Paramedic.  I really just wanted to create a place to post pictures, recipes, motivation, and thoughts on just being fit.

Within a week or two, I noticed a difference.  I felt better.  That was the biggest change.  More energy was the biggest one.  I felt focused and awake all day long.  HUGE change.  Better sleep was also a positive side effect of my lifestyle change…which also leads to more energy.  My skin became clearer.  My allergies were better.  My clothes became looser, and I started to drop weight and inches.  Ok, I’m sold.  Once in a while, I will have a cheat…or treat.  I remember the first time I had a cheat after beginning my Paleo journey.  It was something at the fire station…something biscuity or wheaty.  Man oh man was I miserable.  I felt bloaty, gassy, crampy.  I had heartburn and I got the hiccups.  This was when I realized that I never knew how good my body was supposed to feel.  By eating Paleo, taking out the things that have tendency to cause these symptoms, I felt good…great even.  Ok, this Paleo/ Shakeology combination really is a win!

This time around, I put a little more work into it. I make a point to make at least one new Paleo recipe a week. This time, Paleo isn’t a chore. Eating is fun. I actually eat probably better, more exciting meals than before.

Then there’s Shakeology.  I fell in love with Shakeology right away.  It truly is a fantastic product.  Packed FULL of ridiculously clean ingredients into one little scoop. Fruit, vegetables, protein, anti-oxidants, probiotics, calcium, iron, vitamins…do I need to go on?  Besides, who doesn’t love a shake every day?  There was one thing though that kept bugging me.  It’s not 100% Paleo.  While it IS full of real food and clean ingredients, it still had a thing or two (i.e. quinoa) that I wasn’t sure about. I felt like as the “Paleo Paramedic,” I couldn’t completely promote or endorse…or really even talk about a product that I wasn’t entirely sure I believed in.

I really thought hard about my views on Shakeology.  I did research.  I read the Beachbody forums…I read the Paleo forums…I talked with smart people who know nutrition.  Finally, after about a year of my eating real food journey, I came to a decision.  I’m good with Shakeology.  I feel good when I drink it and notice a pretty incredible difference in the way that I feel when I don’t.  A couple things.  1.  I don’t get sick. I don’t call in sick to work for illnesses anymore.  My sick time bank has been looking pretty plush lately.  2.  When I skip a few days of my Shakeology shake, I feel ridiculously lethargic and it’s hard to focus.  Severe lack of motivation.  3. Testimonials. One of my friends told me that she swears by it.  Before drinking Shakeology, she would feel bloated beyond brief and feel really pretty miserable.  She tried changing her food up, she changed her workouts, she tried this, tried that…no improvement. BUT, since drinking shakeology, really since the first week of drinking it, she has felt great!  Testimonial after testimonial after testimonial, you hear of stories like that.

So, in short, while Shakeology isn’t 100% Paleo, it’s still a clean food product. Gluten-free, non-GMO.  Real food.  Real good (ok, grammar police.  I know.  It just sounded good to write).  I’m good with Shakeology.  It’s truly a great product and I am totally ok with talking about and sharing about. The Paleo Police may cringe…but that’s ok. This stuff works for me. It’s a part of my Paleo.

Now that the Paleo Paramedic Shakeology controversy has resolved, I’m just here to talk about clean eating and fitness. You don’t have to eat Paleo…honestly, I recommend just eating real food. Clean eating is a pretty cool thing. When you’re not eating a diet full of processed garbage, you just feel…good. When you’re not eating processed sugar, food tastes amazing. Fruit literally tastes like candy. It’s like your taste buds are alive. While I do CrossFit 5 days a week and a Beachbody DVD (Insanity, T25, P90X3…) the other 2 days a week, it doesn’t meant that this is the only way to be active.  Really, I’ve found that as long as you get moving, you’re golden. Start out slowly and work your way into something a little more challenging. Just get after it.

I’m committed to this stuff now.  Clean eating and fitness.  It has become who I am.  I am dedicated and passionate about it all.  That’s my story.  It’s my clean eating and fitness journey.

jour·ney (n): an act of traveling from one place to another. Synonyms: adventure, trek.



15 thoughts on “The Paleo Paramedic and the Shakeology Controversy

  1. Thank you for this! Great read and put my mind at ease.. I love Paleo and love Shakeology and didn’t want to feel bad about it or feel like I was cheating on Paleo. 🙂

  2. Yes thank you for this! I have gone through the 21 Day Sugar Detox and loved it. I have thought really hard about Paleo but was sorta turned off by the really harsh comments about Shakeology, which I love as well. It’s nice to see we can come to conclusion that is not so black or white. You have a new fan here! Thanks so much!

    • Thanks for the comments! Paleo is good. I believe that wholeheartedly. That being said, I don’t think one needs to be 100%. Shakeology is one if those areas that I personally believe is an “acceptable cheat.” Paleo is about feeling better. 🙂
      On that same note, Paleo looks different for everyone. Do what Works for you!

  3. I know this was written a while ago but I’m fairly new to this paleo journey and like you was wondering about shakeology. Glad I found your page to answer my doubt☺️

  4. I’m 100% on board! Thanks for your post! I’d be interested in your thoughts between the regular Shakeology – which has whey protein, and the Vegan Shakeology – which has a combination of rice protein, pea protein and something else I can’t remember. I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, but I’m wondering if you think one is “cleaner” than the other? Maybe it will just come down to how our bodies react to whey products, but I’d love to know if you have experience in trying the vegan shakeology or if you think it might be a good option.

    • Beth,
      Thank you for your commrnts!

      I haven’t tried the vegan Shakeology….yet. Personally, I think you nailed it when you said it depends on how your body tolerates it. Shakeology itself is full if good stuff. The Vegan option just has some slight changes. I don’t necessarily think that one is cleaner of another, but that’s just my opinion.

      I have a couple friends who, for some reason, get sick from regular Shakeo but are able to drink the vegan shakeo just fine. Try it out and see. I’d be curious to hear what you think!

  5. Thank you for writing this! I’ve been eating “paleo-ish” for over two years now and it’s changed my life! I’m a runner, blogger, fittness-junkie who loves real food! I’ve been a Beachbody customer for years now. I’m in the process of becoming a Beachbody coach now and the ONE thing holding me back is Shakeology. I just had this nagging thought that Shakeology isn’t paleo and how can I run a “paleo” blog and promote Shakeology?! But it’s okay if it’s not Paleo! I drink wine and that’s not Paleo 😉 If Shakeology works for me then that’s enough! Your post really has made me feel better about this conflict in my head. Thanks so much 🙂

  6. Hi, thank you so much for this post. I’ve been drinking chocolate Shakeology for a little over a year and absolutely LOVE IT! But for some health reasons, I decided to go Paleo as well. I’ve been struggling about staying with Shakeology because I enjoy it so much, but at the same time it’s not Paleo. I did switch over from regular Choc to Vegan Choc and was wondering what shakeology you drink? Thanks!

  7. Hi! Thanks for this! I used to drink the regular chocolate shakeology for over a year and then this past April, I decided to go 100% full committed Paleo and have felt great since! BUTTTT i want to reintroduce Shake-O back into my life but I am also very conflicted bc it does contain some non-paleo ingredients. So my questions for you is, which shakeology did you end up drinking? regular or vegan? which one do you feel better after?

  8. Hi there! Thanks for this post. I love my Shakeo and I’m struggling with the same. Do you do vegan or regular? I did regular for years… But now I’ve been doing vegan. But I think my eczema is reacting to the oat protein… Thoughts?

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