Healthy DIY Soylent Recipes with Organic, Real Food Ingredients

Soylent runs a website with thousands of DIY recipes.

I spent over an hour searching for one with 100% real food ingredients (no gums, fillers, additives, sugars, etc.).

I couldn’t find a single one.

So naturally (pun intended), I decided to make my own.

In my Soylent review, I answered the question, “Is Soylent good for you?” (spoiler alert: the answer was no).

In this post, I’ll show you how you can create your own healthy DIY Soylent recipes.

Let’s get started …






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My 4 Criteria for “Healthy”

1. 100% organic, plant-based, real food ingredients.

2. No added sugar.

3. A balanced macronutrient profile (carbs, fat, protein). 

4. 400-500 calorie range. 

Quite the challenge to pull off, right?

Here’s how I did it … and how my DIY recipes compare to Soylent.

INGREDIENTS

soylent ingredients
Red Flag #1: when you can’t pronounce 95% of the ingredients. (click to enlarge)

For carbs, I used oat flour, maca, real fruits and fruit powders, and other high fiber, real food sources.

Soylent uses maltodextrin, a GMO corn-based thickener and other processed starches you can barely pronounce. Just look at their ingredients label, you guys: Soylent is a science experiment gone horribly wrong … not real food.

I used higher quality, healthier sources of fat like olive, coconut, and avocado oils in my recipes. Soylent uses sunflower, canola, and algal oil powder. These oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids (the kind that promote inflammation).

For protein, Soylent uses soy protein, which has some pros and many cons. All 3 DIY recipes use Pure Food Protein. Yes, it’s (obviously) the protein I sell. Yes, I think it’s the best plant based protein powder on the market for many reasons.

But use whatever protein powder you want, especially if cost is your biggest concern (more on this below). The type of protein powder type doesn’t make or break the recipe … just watch out for the ones that use chemicals and cheap additives though.

COST

At $1.54/serving, Soylent is cheap. Like, so cheap I have no idea how they make money. So if you’re looking for a cheap meal replacement and don’t care about ingredients/nutrition, Soylent is a great deal at least!

These healthy Soylent alternative recipes are much more expensive at $3-6/meal. Couple things to note about that though:

1. I used all organic ingredients, so you can probably save a couple bucks if you don’t buy organic if cost is a concern.

2. To knock the price down even more, buy whole fruits and seeds instead of the powders I mention below (for example, in DIY Soylent recipe #1 I wanted to create a full powdered version so I used banana powder but in recipe #4 I used a whole banana, which was much cheaper).

I recommend a high-powered blender like a BlendTec or Vitamix if you go that route. This is the Vitamix I have. It’s a couple years old but saves you a few hundred dollars compared to the new models.

Although I’ve included links to ingredients that are the best deals I found on Amazon, Costco is another great place to get deals on many of this stuff (except Pure Food … we’re only available on Amazon and here on our website … for 20% cheaper if you Subscribe & Save, I might add, which decreases the cost/serving substantially).

So long story short, if you don’t have time to cook a full meal, scoop up the awesome ingredients below and try my homemade Soylent recipes.

Healthy Soylent Recipe #1

DIY soylent recipe
My meager phone photography skills don’t do it justice, but this recipe was the best tasting, in my opinion.

Ingredients:

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 496
  • Fat: 34 grams
  • Carbs: 33 grams (7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar)
  • Protein: 20.5 grams

Price:

$5.32/meal (496 calories)

Healthy Soylent Recipe #2

homemade soylent
This recipe has just 2 grams of sugar (plus 17 grams of fiber)!

Ingredients:

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 522
  • Fat: 25 grams
  • Carbs: 52 grams (17 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar)
  • Protein: 25 grams

Price:

$5.28/meal (522 calories)

Healthy Soylent Recipe #3

healthy soylent alternative

 Ingredients:

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 494
  • Fat: 33 grams
  • Carbs: 30 grams (12 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar)
  • Protein: 24 grams

Price:

$5.40/meal (494 calories)

Healthy Soylent Recipe #4

homemade soylent recipe

Ingredients:

Nutrition:

  • Calories: 506
  • Fat: 20 grams
  • Carbs: 60 grams (10 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar)
  • Protein: 26 grams

Price:

$3.13/meal (506 calories)

Final Thoughts

I think Soylent is a brilliant idea. I love the concept of a meal replacement drink that meets all your nutritional requirements. But Soylent’s ingredients and nutrition facts are garbage. Their last batch of powder actually got recalled because a bunch of people experienced vomiting and diarrhea (yikes!).

I’ll be updating this post in the coming weeks with more DIY Soylent recipes as I work on my new real food meal replacement product … join my email list if you’re interested in getting new recipe updates or getting a free sample of the new product when it’s ready. I’m experimenting with many of the ingredients you see in this post!



(This is the 2nd of a 2-part series. Read the first post for my full Soylent review.)

Soylent Ingredients and Nutrition Facts Review and Analysis

Before I get into my ingredients and nutrition facts reviews and analyses for Soylent’s protein products, let me say this …
I love the idea of Soylent: a convenient, inexpensive way to get a full meal.
If you take a closer look at the ingredients and nutrition panel though, there are a few red flags you need to be aware of if you care about the foods you put in your body.

In this Soylent review, you’ll find out exactly why.

Click/tap the links below to jump to each section …


What Is Soylent Made Of? Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Review

I’ve reviewed a lot of different protein powders. If there’s one single piece of advice I can offer when deciding for yourself whether a product is “healthy,” it’s this:

The nutrition facts and ingredients are the only objective sources of truth.

Let’s have a closer look at the nutrition facts for both Soylent bottle (liquid) and pouch (powder). We’ll start with Soylent Drink.

Soylent Drink 2.0 is the current version of their liquid ready-to-drink bottle, which is now available in three flavors: Original, Cacao, and Nectar. 1.8 is the current version of the powdered formula. Here are the nutrition facts labels for each:

Soylent 2.0 Drink Nutrition (Original):

soylent 2.0 nutrition

Soylent 2.0 Drink Nutrition (Cacao):

is soylent healthy

Soylent 2.0 Drink Nutrition (Nectar):

soylent nectar nutrition facts

Soylent 1.8 Powder Nutrition Facts:

soylent 1.8 powder nutrition facts

Upon first glance, you might think these are healthy.

Here’s where this review gets a little ugly though if you’re a Soylent fan.

Each “meal” has between 9 and 15 grams of added sugar. Newly proposed recommendations provided by the WHO encourage limiting added sugar to less than 5% of your total energy intake each day. That’s just 100 calories’ worth of sugar (or around 25 grams) for someone who eats 2,000 calories per day!

So 60% of the sugar you’re supposed to eat in an entire day is in a single serving of Soylent Powder!

According to Soylent’s website:

The Soylent recipe is based on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and is regulated as a food by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Uh, call me crazy, but where does the IOM (or any other respectable health organization) recommend 15 grams of added sugar in a single meal?!

But this isn’t even the worst part.

We haven’t gotten to the ingredients yet …

Soylent Ingredients

First, I’ll call your attention to this graphic from Soylent’s website:

soylent review
Thanks, Soylent, for being “transparent” about your low standards for ingredients. Source: www.soylent.com

As you can see, the ingredients in Soylent are:

  1. Not organic (which means there’s a high likelihood there are chemical pesticides and herbicides in your meal replacement shake)
  2. Not kosher-free
  3. Not GMO-free (Soylent actually says their products are “proudly made with GMOs“)
  4. Not allergen-free

Here are the complete ingredient lists for Soylent’s current releases of their Drinks and Powder:

Soylent 2.0 Drink (Original):

soylent ingredients - bottle

Soylent 2.0 Drink (Cacao):

soylent drink - cacao

Soylent 2.0 Drink (Nectar):

soylent nectar ingredient list

Soylent 1.8 Powder Ingredients:

soylent powder ingredients

These sounds more like chemistry experiments than real food.

There’s a lot of cheap fillers and additives in those ingredients lists but I want to call your attention to a few, in particular, you might want to consider avoiding …

Click on the links below to read about the potential dangers and side effects of the following Soylent ingredients. I’ve summed up each in parentheses too.

  • Soy Protein Isolate (cheap protein source usually produced from GMO and chemical-ridden soybeans; derived using petroleum-based hexane; common allergen and cause of inflammation)
  • Natural Flavors (the 4th most common ingredient on food labels; consist of a “natural” extract combined with potentially hundreds of chemical compounds that food companies don’t have to disclose, thanks to the FDA)
  • Maltodextrin (GMO corn-based starch used to thicken processed foods)
  • Soy Lecithin (GMO soy-based thickener/emulsifier that may promote inflammation)
  • Sucralose (artificial sweetener that caused cancer in animal studies; still approved by the FDA for some crazy reason)

What Does Soylent Taste Like?

I didn’t case for the taste for either Soylent bottle (2.0) or pouch (1.8). It’s kind of like a thick, malty mush. Not gag-worthy by any means but not good either. The Cacao and Nectar Drinks tastes better but that’s because they use so-called “natural” flavors (see link above).

I’ve heard that earlier versions were too sweet so they reduced the sweetness level in the latest version. It’s still too sweet for my liking.

Its grey color is a little off-putting for me but this may not be an issue for others.

I realize this is only my opinion about how Soylent tastes and not a very objective answer. If you’d like to hear what others have to say, check out the answers to this question on Quora: What does Soylent taste like?

Soylent Price

One of Soylent’s biggest draws is its cost—it’s pretty cheap. This comes as no surprise when you look at their list of unhealthy, processed junk ingredients.

Here’s how much Soylent costs:

Soylent Drink 2.0 Original Price: 

$34 for 12 bottles ($2.83 per 400 kcal serving) or $32.30 for 12 bottles with a monthly subscription ($2.42 per 400 kcal serving)

Soylent Drink 2.0 Cacao Price:

$39 for 12 bottles ($3.25 per 400 kcal serving) or $37.05 for 12 bottles with a monthly subscription ($3.09 per 400 kcal serving)

Soylent Drink 2.0 Nectar Price: 

$39 for 12 bottles ($3.25 per 400 kcal serving) or $37.05 for 12 bottles with a monthly subscription ($3.09 per 400 kcal serving)

Soylent Powder 1.8 Price:

$64 for 35 meals ($1.83 per 400 kcal serving) or $154 for 35 meals with a monthly subscription ($1.54 per 400 kcal serving).

Soylent Recall

It seems like every time I blink, there’s another Soylent recall …

Soylent recalled their 1.6 Powder in late 2016 after it made a lot of people sick.

Then 1.7 was released after a messy dispute with one of their ingredient suppliers.

Just a month later, they released version 1.8, adding “soluble corn fiber,” which they claim is a “truer source of fiber to the consumer,” whatever that means.

Then 1.8 was recalled due to “undeclared allergens.”

Mistakes happen in the food industry, I get it. But that’s a lot of recalls in a short amount of time.

Soylent Review: The Final Verdict

My Soylent review can be summed up in three words:

Not. Real. Food.

Sure, it satisfies your daily calorie requirements—but it may do your body more harm than good because of all the artificial, processed, junk ingredients.

Look for a meal replacement powder with ingredients sourced from organic whole foods instead.

This is the first of a two-part series. Check out the next post: Healthy DIY Soylent Recipes with Organic, Real Food Ingredients






Compare Cost, Ingredients, and Nutrition for 30+ Plant Protein Powders With Our FREE Google Sheet

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Compare 20+ of the Best Plant Protein Powders By Ingredients, Nutrition, and Cost

compare plant protein powders reviews

When it comes to choosing a plant protein powder, it’s a highly individual affair.

Your age, activity level, health goals, pre-existing conditions, and budget all play a part in determining the best plant-based protein powder for you.

For our reviews, we analyze objective criteria like nutrition, ingredients, and cost.

Note: We do sell our own organic plant-based protein powders. That’s why our goal is to show yo how our products compare to the competition when it comes to: 

  1. Protein Sources
  2. Nutrition (calories, protein, and sugar per serving; sweeteners used)
  3. Ingredients (gums, flavors, fillers used; organic ingredients)
  4. Cost

How We Review Plant Based Protein Powders 

The nutrition facts label and ingredient list are the only objective pieces of information you have to judge most protein powders. 

Here are 5 things we typically look at: 

1. Sugar content

Sugar is sugar. It all turns to fat in your body. So anytime you see added sugar, in your protein powder it’s a red flag.

Bottom line: Avoid protein powders with added sugars. 

2. Artificial sweeteners

Many plant proteins contain chemical sugars like saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. Xylitol is a cheap, processed “sugar alcohol” that can cause serious gut imbalances.

If you see any of those sweeteners, you may want to consider another option. But protein manufacturers are notorious for sneaking so-called “all-natural” sweeteners that may not be so good for you into their products.

If you like your protein a little sweeter, stick with organic monk fruit (luo han guo) or organic stevia extract. 

Bottom line: The best plant based protein blends use organic, real food ingredients and all-natural (or no) sweeteners … not fillers and junk.

3. Other “filler” ingredients (flavors, gums, fillers, etc.) 

Here are a few ingredients you’ll find in the majority of the so-called healthiest protein powders:

  • Natural flavors. Up to 90 percent of “natural” flavors have chemical solvents and preservatives. If you see them on the ingredients list, make sure you ask the manufacturer how they’re made and what’s in them. 
  • Gums. Many so-called clean plant protein powders contain gums like carrageenan, guar, xanthan, locust bean, konjac, and acacia. Gums make vegetable protein products easier to mix and blend … but there are some reasons for concern with some of them. Many people report gut issues and certain gums have been shown in clinical studies to produce laxative effects, gas, and bloating. I recommend people with sensitive guts and GI issues avoid protein powders that have gums.

best vegan protein powder
This is why it’s so hard to find a healthy protein powder–you have to cut through a lot of b.s. to find the hidden junk.

Bottom line: Avoid vegan protein powder with flavors and gums, especially if you have a sensitive gut.

4. Organic ingredients sourced from the U.S. or Canada

Is organic protein powder better for you?

Not from a nutrition standpoint, but if the ingredients in your vegan protein powder are not organic, chances are it’s sprayed with pesticides, and most of these powdered vegetable ingredients come from countries outside the U.S., where regulations may not be as strict.

Pure Food is one of the only plant protein powders on the market that is USA-grown and USA-produced!

Plant Protein Powder Reviews and Comparison Chart

In this section, we’ll share reviews of 20+ vegan proteins and help you compare some of the most popular plant protein brands. Let’s start with the reviews … 

Plant Based Protein Powder Reviews

Plant Protein Comparison Chart (Nutrition, Ingredients, Protein Content, and Cost)

Use our plant protein comparison chart to compare nutrition, sugar content, ingredients, protein source, and cost for 20 brands. 

Click/tap the numbers below to skip to each section.

1

Protein Sources

pure food protein
Organic fermented pea protein Organic sprouted and fermented whole grain brown rice protein Organic hemp protein
PlantFusion Chocolate Pea protein isolate, artichoke protein, organic sprouted amaranth, organic sprouted quinoa
Vega One Pea protein, sunflower seed protein, pumpkin seed protein
Aloha Chocolate Organic pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic hemp seed protein
Skoop Chocolate Organic pea protein, organic rice protein, organic hemp protein
SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate Organic pea protein, organic hemp protein
Orgain Organic Protein Powder – Chocolate Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed, organic hemp protein
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein Organic sprouted brown rice protein
Sprout Living Pea protein isolate, hemp protein powder, rice protein concentrate
Lifetime Life’s Basics Pea protein concentrate, organic brown rice protein concentrate
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha Pea protein concentrate, organic brown rice protein concentrate
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake Pea protein, mushroom protein blend
Healthforce Organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein
Kachava Organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein
Yuve Pea protein isolate, rice protein concentrate
Philosophie Organic hemp seed protein, organic reishi mushroom
Sann Pea protein isolate, rice protein isolate, artichoke protein
22 Days Nutrition Organic pea protein, organic flax, organic sacha inchi
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein Organic brown rice
Boku Organic brown rice, organic cranberry
2

Calories, Protein, Sugar (g) Per Serving and Sweeteners Used

 
Calories
 
Protein
 
Sugar
 
best vegetarian powder
134
20
1
Organic stevia leaf powder
PlantFusion Chocolate
120
21
1
Monkfruit, Stevia
Vega One Chocolate
140
20
2
Stevia leaf extract
Aloha Chocolate
150
18
4
Organic coconut sugar Monk fruit extract
Skoop Chocolate
150
20
1
Organic stevia extract Organic coconut sugar
SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate
100
17
0
Erythritol Organic rice dextrins Organic stevia extract
Orgain Organic Protein Powder – Chocolate
150
21
0
Organic stevia extract
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein
90
17
1
Organic stevia leaf
Sprout Living
110
19
1
Organic red banana Organic baobab fruit Organic stevia leaf powder
Lifetime Life’s Basics
134
22
5
Fructose Xylitol Stevia
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha
130
24
0
Stevia extract Monk fruit extract
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake
110
15
1
Stevia extract
Healthforce
100
17
2
Organic whole stevia leaf
Kachava
220
24
8
Erythritol Oligosaccharides Stevia
Yuve
155
16
2
Stevia leaf extract
Philosophie
55
10
0
Organic mesquite
Sann
116
21
1
Fructose Stevia
22 Days Nutrition
100
16
2
Organic stevia leaf extract
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein
120
25
3
Organic brown rice syrup solids Organic stevia
Boku
120
18
4
Vermont maple syrup Organic lucuma fruit
3

Free of Natural Flavors & Gums/Thickeners

FREE OF NATURAL FLAVORS
FREE OF GUMS/ THICKENERS
PlantFusion Chocolate No (natural chocolate flavor) No (silica, xanthan gum)
Vega One Chocolate No (natural chocolate flavor) No (xanthan gum)
Aloha Chocolate
No (xanthan gum, organic sunflower lecithin)
Skoop Chocolate No (organic flavor, natural flavor) No (organic acacia gum)
SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate No (organic chocolate flavor blend) No (organic guar gum)
Orgain Vegan Protein Powder – Chocolate No (natural flavor, organic natural flavors) No (organic guar gum, organic acacia gum, xanthan gum)
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein No (natural chocolate flavor, natural vanilla flavor)
Sprout Living
Lifetime Life’s Basics No (natural chocolate flavor)
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha No (natural chocolate mocha flavor) No (konjac gum, guar gum, tara gum)
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake No (natural cocoa flavors with other natural flavors) No (natural cocoa flavors with other natural flavors)
Healthforce
Kachava No (natural chocolate flavors) No (alkalized cocoa, xanthan gum, guar gum)
Yuve No (natural flavors) No (corn starch powder, guar gum, xanthan gum)
Philosophie
Sann No (natural flavor) No (glycine, guar gum, lecithin)
22 Days Nutrition No (organic chocolate flavor) No (organic chocolate flavor)
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein No (organic flavor) No (organic guar gum, organic gum arabic, organic sunflower oil)
Boku
No (organic guar gum)
 
4

Organic Ingredients, Probiotics Added and Cost Per Gram

Organic Protein Sources
Probiotics Added
Cost Per Gram
protein powder review
Bacillus coagulans
0.06
Bacillus coagulans
0.06
PlantFusion Chocolate No No
0.04
Vega One Chocolate No No
0.05
Aloha Chocolate No No
0.08
Skoop Chocolate
Lactobacillus plantarum Lactobacillus bulgaricus
0.11
SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate
No
0.06
Orgain Organic Protein (Chocolate)
No
0.02
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein No
Bacillus subtilis Lactobacillus bulgaricus
0.04
Sprout Living
No
0.07
Lifetime Life’s Basics No No
0.04
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha No No
0.03
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake No
Lactobacillus, Saccharomy ces, Bifidobacterium longum
0.10
Healthforce
No
0.06
Kachava No
Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lactobacillus acidophilus
0.08
Yuve No No
0.08
Philosophie
No
0.11
Sann No No
0.07
22 Days Nutrition
No
0.11
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein
No
0.06
Boku No No
0.09

 

 

Final Thoughts: What Is The Best Plant Based Protein Powder?

“Best” is subjective and depends on your unique health goals and needs. If you value ingredients and nutrition over taste, then the criteria for finding the healthiest protein powder are pretty simple:

1. Look for ingredients that are organic and come from whole food sources you can pronounce without any sugar and additives like fillers, gums, or flavors.

2. Find out the amount of protein per serving, the protein sources, sugar content, and cost per serving in grams. 

Is Pure Food Protein a Good Fit for You?

Here’s me being (probably too) honest: if you’re looking for the best tasting plant protein powder, Pure Food isn’t it. We don’t add sugar, artificial junk, and chemical-ridden flavors to make our product taste better.

But if you’re done settling for “average” protein powders and the junk ingredients that wreak havoc on your body and want to try a product that will actually have a positive impact on your health (and the world), then give Pure Food a try. We offer a money-back guarantee, so there’s nothing to lose!

Not only does Pure Food have the best ingredients, it’s the best value for the money at $.06/gram (the same price as Vega, which is NOT organic and has all types of fillers, additives, and “natural” flavors).

Try Pure Food Protein Now Save

Get Our FREE Google Sheet Comparing Cost, Ingredients, and Nutrition for 30+ Plant Protein Powders

 
 
 

Whey vs Plant Protein: Benefits, Side Effects, Risks, and Myths

Whey vs. plant protein: it’s a topic of much debate. In this article, I’ll break down the science and tell you about some of the pros and cons of each you may not have known about.

First, a quick story …

One of my favorite ways to exercise over the last 25 years has been resistance training. In my teens and twenties (I’m 40 now), after every workout I’d choke down a whey protein shake.

I’d always feel super bloated afterwards. And by the time I reached my thirties, my gut was a complete mess. I saw countless doctors, including several GI specialists, and spent some time in the hospital trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

In addition to discovering I had an autoimmune condition called reactive arthritis caused by a food borne pathogen (salmonella), I learned I was one of the 65% of people who can’t digest dairy properly. Yet I was exposing my gut to dairy-derived whey and casein protein powders on a daily basis for years!

Now, as someone who studies food science and reads clinical studies in his free time, I know this story is anecdotal. It’s just one example that doesn’t lend much credibility to the plant vs whey protein argument.

However, once I started digging into the science, I found that while whey may be an effective source of protein for some, for others it may be doing more harm than good.

So in this article, we’ll look at:

  1. What whey protein is and how it’s made.
  2. The potential benefits, risks, side effects of using whey and plant proteins.
  3. The criteria I recommend when choosing protein powders.

Click on each button below to navigate to each section.

 

What Is Whey Protein?

Milk contains two types of protein: casein and whey. Whey is found in the watery portion of milk. When cheese is produced, the fatty parts of the milk coagulate and the whey is separated from it as a by-product.

Q: Is Whey Protein Vegan? 

A: No, whey comes from cows so it’s therefore not vegan.

Whey Protein Benefits

Whey is a well-absorbed source of protein that’s very useful for hitting targeted daily protein goals.

Its benefits include muscle gain (in conjunction with resistance training), limiting muscle loss during low-calorie diets, and modestly limiting fat gain during periods of excessive calorie intake.

These effects aren’t exclusive to whey protein but it will likely be more effective than most other protein sources per gram.

Whey Protein Side Effects, Drug Interactions, Dangers, and Risks

Harvard Medical School says that one of the possible side effects of dairy-based proteins like whey is digestive distress.

People with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose can experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they use a milk-based protein powder.

A 2020 research review published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism said:

Chronic and without professional guidance use of whey protein supplementation may cause some adverse effects specially on kidney and liver function.

Another study found that long-term high protein diets, particularly those high in meat and dairy protein, led to increased incidences of:

  • Bone and calcium homeostasis disorders.
  • Renal function and liver disorders.
  • Cancer.
  • Coronary artery disease.

As mentioned above, up to 65 percent of people are lactose intolerant, and obviously if you have a known allergy or sensitivity to milk or milk products, you should avoid whey protein powder.

Whey Protein Drug Interactions 

Whey protein may interact negatively with certain drugs, including:

  • Albendazole (Albenza). Avoid using whey protein if you are taking this parasite-killing drug. The supplement might delay or hinder the drug’s effects.
  • Alendronate (Fosamax). Use of whey protein with this drug used to prevent or treat osteoporosis might decrease absorption of the drug.
  • Certain antibiotics. Use of whey protein with quinolone or tetracycline antibiotics might decrease your absorption of the drug.

Whey Protein Myths

The biggest whey protein myth you’ve probably heard often is that whey is more effective for improving our body composition (losing fat, building lean muscle).

The common argument is that whey is more “bioavailabile” than plant protein, a scientific term used to describe the extent to which a substance is absorbed in your body.

Here are three standard measures of bioavailability:

  1. Biological Value (BV), which measures how efficiently your body uses protein, doesn’t take into account several key factors that influence digestion and interaction with other foods.
  2. Protein Efficiency Ratio Value (PER), which measures the effectiveness of protein based on animal growth, has only been demonstrated in animal studies—which means it doesn’t necessarily correlate to humans.
  3. Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAA) is a measure created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to more accurately measure protein digestibility in malnourished people.

It’s true most plant proteins have PDCAA scores far below whey’s perfect 1.0. But plant proteins can be combined to create amino acid digestibility scores just as good as whey.

  • A 2021 study found that whey and plant protein were equally effective in supporting lean muscle gains.
  • A 2019 study showed similar body composition improvements after taking whey and pea (plant-based) protein for 8 weeks.

Contrary to popular opinion, whey protein is not better than vegan protein for weight loss either.

Examine.com offers up this conclusion based on clinical studies:

The influence of whey protein on weight per se is highly unreliable, and is subject to the overall context of the diet. Protein in general can aid weight loss attempts and is required to build lean mass, with whey not having any demonstrated benefit over other protein sources.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23107546

https://examine.com/supplements/whey-protein/#effect-matrix

Plant Protein Dangers

So plant protein powders like rice, hemp, pea, and soy must be better for you, right?

Not necessarily.

Some are actually worse.

Here’s why:

  1. Many of the supposedly-healthy plant proteins used in foods today are processed using hexane, an explosive chemical neurotoxin that can damage your central nervous system. Using hexane is an efficient and highly profitable way for food manufacturers to remove oil from plants.
  2. Vegan protein powders that aren’t made with organic ingredients are likely to contain potentially harmful pesticides and herbicides. Since most of these plant proteins come from countries where pesticide use is not enforced, your healthy protein shake is more likely to be a chemical cocktail.
  3. Most vegan, gluten, and dairy free protein powders are made using high temperature processing methods, which destroys the healthy nutrients in the plant and makes it harder for your body to digest.
  4. Plant protein powders are higher in heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and arsenic than dairy-based proteins.

The Final Verdict: Whey Vs Plant Based Protein

Here’s my advice based on my extensive research and personal use:

Whey protein is probably safe for most people but may come with side effects, particularly for those with a reduced ability to digest lactose (an estimated 65% of the adult population).

That’s why if you’re lactose intolerant or feel any ill effects from whey, we recommend trying plant-based / vegan protein powder options instead.

Choose plant-based protein powders that are:

1) Multi-sourced (a combination of plant protein sources like rice, pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, chia, etc.).

2) Are low in sugar and have some dietary fiber.

3) Are grown in the U.S. and Canada.

When in doubt, ask the manufacturer how their proteins are made and where they come from. If they won’t tell you this information, it’s time to pick another protein powder, whether you’re protein of choice is whey, plant, or anything in between.






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Is Stevia Natural? Here’s the Bitter Truth

A few years ago, I discovered a seemingly miraculous “all-natural” sweetener called Truvia. It seemed too good to be “true” (pun intended): mild taste, didn’t cause cancer, derived from plants, and none of the fat-promoting calories of regular sugar. I wanted to know: what the heck is stevia? Is stevia natural and safe? And what are the best and worst types of stevia?

Turns out powder from the real stevia plant is a far cry from the “stevia” found in nearly every food product on store shelves.

If you eat food that contains stevia on-the-regular, you’re going to want to pay close attention as we cover a very brief history of stevia along with its health benefits and the best and worst types of stevia.

What is Stevia?

The Stevia rebaudiana plant hails from South America (Paraguay), where its leaves have been used for centuries to sweeten beverages and make tea.

is stevia natural

Is Stevia Safe?

There are over 400 studies that showcase stevia’s ability to lower blood sugar, promote weight loss, prevent cavities, and maybe even help prevent certain types of cancer.

But there aren’t a whole lot of studies on its long-term health effects. One study showed when rats were fed high dosages of stevia, it reduced their sperm production. This led the FDA to reject the stevia plant for use as a food ingredient in the 1990s.

However, several highly-processed, chemically-extracted compounds from the stevia plant were approved and granted FDA “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status: rebaudioside A in 2008, stevioside and rebiana extracts in 2009, and purified stevioside in 2011.

It’s yet another puzzling example of the U.S. food system at work.

What Types of Stevia Are Healthy and Natural and Which Aren’t?

If you prefer to eat real food instead of chemically-altered versions of real food, it’s probably a good idea NOT to listen to government agencies influenced by “Big Food” lobbying groups. Use this simple list (ranked from best to worst) when buying products with stevia instead.

BEST

Organic Whole Leaf Stevia (or “Green Leaf Stevia” or “Ground Stevia Leaf Powder”) – Whole leaf stevia powder is simply dried, ground leaves from the actual stevia plant … and that’s it. This is the least processed of all types of stevia and the type that has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy. It definitely has an earthier, slightly bitter taste because it’s in its natural state, but you only need a tiny little pinch to sweeten your favorite recipes.

MEDIOCRE

Stevia Extract (or “Stevia,” “Stevia Leaf Extract” or “Organic Stevia”) – Many brands (particularly those marketed as “healthy” and “natural”) use stevia extract. Don’t fall prey to the hype though—this type of stevia still goes through rigorous processing (and often bleaching) to extract certain compounds from the stevia plant. Plus, most food processors add an excipient (filler) that’s usually derived from a genetically modified product (i.e., maltodextrin, a processed starch made from GMO corn).

WORST

Truvia, PureVia, Stevia in the Raw – These are the types of stevia to avoid because of the extensive processing and added GMO ingredients.

Truvia, for example, goes through a patented 42-step processing method.

All commercial brands of “stevia” use chemical solvents, GMO derivatives, and/or other processed sweeteners. I wouldn’t touch the stuff. Eat Local Grown has a nice breakdown of several chemically-derived forms of stevia to watch out for.

Avoid these types of processed, GMO-laden "stevia"
Avoid these types of processed, GMO-laden “stevia”

The Bottom Line: Is Stevia Natural?

organic whole leaf stevia powder
This is what real, all natural stevia powder is supposed to look like!

Organic, whole stevia leaf powder in its natural state is a healthy, green, all-natural sweetener. But the FDA actually doesn’t allow it as a food additive.

The stevia most food companies use is a chemically-altered, bleached, stripped down version that’s likely to contain GMO fillers. Any time you see “stevia”, “stevia extract”, or even “organic stevia” on a food’s ingredients list, you may be getting a processed, inferior sweetener that’s NOT real food.

My advice:

Stick with products that use organic stevia extract, and ask the manufacturer if there are any other fillers used.

That is the only type of stevia that is 100% natural, safe, and healthy! And you only need a teeny tiny bit of it.

P.S. We only use organic stevia extract in Pure Food Protein. Learn more about each of our ingredients.

Before You Ever Set Another New Year’s Resolution, Do This

For the past two years I have done something to start each year that has completely changed my life.

It’s far different and far more impactful from the boring old goals and resolutions.

Here’s what you’ll need before you start:

  • A pen and piece of paper (or a computer)
  • 30 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time

Next, do this:

  1. Visualize where you want to be one year from today. Don’t know how to visualize? Here’s an awesome video from Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte. Or check out this article from Jack Canfield.
  2. Write a letter to yourself as if all the things you visualize for yourself have already happened (I included an example of a letter I wrote to myself at the bottom of this post).

When you’re writing, focus on the things in your life that matter most: family, career, health. Really try and visualize and feel what it would be like to have those things happen.

In the book Switch, Dan and Chip Heath say that creating a clearly painted picture of where you want to be (they call it a “destination postcard”) combined with the right habits is the key to achieving big goals.

This letter to yourself will serve as your destination postcard. And once you develop that clear picture of where you see yourself going, then it’s time to create some goals to help you get there (I wrote about the new science of goal setting on Entrepreneur a while back … it’s definitely worth checking out).

Most people just go straight to goal setting, then get discouraged when they don’t pan out.

You need to set your destination postcard first.

Ever since I started writing a letter to myself the last two years, I’ve been blown away by what I’ve been able to accomplish.

Not everything I wrote down came true, and certain events will play out far differently than you planned. But it’s incredible how many of the things I wrote down did come true … and every single one of the most audacious, seemingly-impossible ones have also begun to take form in my life.

The science world is only just starting to understand the power of imagination, visualization, and intuition. We don’t know how they work … but we know they do work.

So I ask you: what have you got to lose? 30 minutes out of 525,600 you’ll have this year?

Try writing a letter to yourself, read it once a week so that seed you planted cultivates and grows, and report back to me in January of next year. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Here’s an example of a letter I wrote to myself in January 2014 if you need some inspiration. When I re-read it in January 2015 it was pretty cool:

 

Oh what a year it’s been for you. The best year of your life, in fact (you said the same thing last year, so hey, you’re on a roll). 
 
You’ve always dreamed big. But for a long, long time it seemed like something was missing for you, right? 
 
This was the year of change. 
 
The year you finally started applying the knowledge from the thousands of hours of research, writing, and hard work.
 
You’ve always been a dreamer. 
 
And this year your dreams became reality. 
 
You took calculated risks, and they paid off. You invested your money and time wisely. You learned how to be “productive” instead of just “busy.” You put yourself outside your comfort zone.
 
And holy shit, you finally achieved the thing you’ve been working toward for the last 5 years: you’re a self made man.
 
You still have lots ‘o work to do. But the days of feeling unfulfilled with your career are behind you. 
 
You did it. 
 
You officially run a business online. You do what you love. You’re helping people. And you’ve finally found something you can put your heart and soul into. 
 
That’s pretty sweet. Well done. 

Most importantly, you just had your first child. I won’t spoil the surprise and tell you whether it’s a boy or girl. You always detested the people who said, “You’ll understand when you have kids.” 

As much as it pains my pride to admit this, they were right.
 
Having a child was the most significant moment of your life. 
 
You see the world in a new light. You’re a teacher. A guardian. A dad.
 
Everything’s a little different now. In the best way imaginable. 
 
You filled a piece of you that was missing for a long time. You absolutely love it.
 
And your wife. Watching her become a mother has been one of the most beautiful displays of love you’ve ever witnessed.
 
You’re more in love with her than you’ve ever been, and she with you. 
 
You two have a life of wonder ahead of you. 
This year you made some amazing memories with your family and you feel blessed and grateful for this time every day.
 
I look forward to you reading this and being astonished about how much of it is spot-on. 
 
The biggest lessons from the last year were:  Time is a gift. Use it wisely. Don’t waste it on things that don’t serve your higher purpose and lead you to your aspirations. Dream bigger than big.  
 
And this note will serve as proof that you can do whatever the hell you want in this world. 
 
You done well…but you’re not even close to being done. 
 
You won’t believe what the next year has in store.  

Healthy High Protein Chocolate Chip Cookie / Brownie Hybrid Recipe

Let me start by saying I’m not known for my baking prowess. My cooking comfort zone is in savory dishes–soups, sauces, salads, and hearty entrees.

Truth is, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (this is known to happen when you stop eating added sugar). However, I do love to splurge on the occasional bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, dark chocolate, or chocolate chip cookie.

The issue with this, as you healthy eaters know, is it’s damn near impossible to find a healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe. Most of the ones I found online still had a boatload of sugar and used some type of refined flour … both no-no’s in my kitchen.

So I decided to create my own recipe for a healthy chocolate chip cookie that was low in sugar and high in protein. The final product turned out more like a cookie/brownie hybrid but it was actually pretty tasty. Here are a some things I did differently to make it healthy:

  • Used a combination of coconut flour and whole grain spelt flour (these are higher in fiber and protein)
  • Used real vanilla bean powder (a nutritional powerhouse packed full of flavor)
  • Used coconut oil instead of butter and vegetable oil (a healthier source of fat)
  • Added a couple scoops of Pure Food Protein
  • Made my own dark chocolate chips by buying a high cacao/low sugar chocolate bar (avoid Godiva and Ghiradelli … they had soy lecithin, a GMO emulsifier, last time I checked)
  • Used organic whole leaf stevia powder instead of added sugar or artificial sugar (I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs … it’s the same stuff that goes into our protein powder. This is the real, healthy form of stevia because it’s the actual ground up leaves of the plant and nothing else … 99% of “stevia” is junk)

Here’s the rundown of what’s in it, how to make it, and the impressive nutrition stat line:

Healthy High Protein Chocolate Chip Cookie / Brownie Recipe

What’s In It:

  • healthy chocolate chip cookie ingredients3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup whole grain spelt flour (any whole grain flour will do here … try almond meal instead if you need a gluten-free recipe)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla bean powder (the real stuff is super expensive but tastes phenomenal … organic vanilla extract works too though)
  • 4 T coconut oil, divided
  • 1 cup coconut/cashew/almond milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 scoops Pure Food Protein
  • 1 (3.5 oz.) dark chocolate bar (the higher cacao content, the better. I recommend at least 70% cacao … I used 85%)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. stevia leaf powder (optional … I used just a tiny pinch but I don’t like things overly sweet … taste the mixture to see if it’s sweetened to your liking then add more stevia little-by-little as your heart desires)

How to Make It:

  1. Mix the egg, flours, and coconut milk together thoroughly with a whisk or mixer.
  2. Use a large chef’s knife to cut the chocolate bar into chocolate chip-sized pieces.
  3. Add the baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, protein powder, nuts, stevia, chocolate, and 2 T of the coconut oil and mix again.
  4. Coat a large baking pan or sheet with the other 2 T of coconut oil.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly across the pan.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here’s what the final product looks like (with my festive Christmas decor in the background):

Healthy High Protein Chocolate Chip Cookie / Brownie Recipe

And the best part … it’s actually healthy!

Nutrition (per cookie … makes 12 total cookies):

Calories: 188

Fat: 12.5g

Carbs: 12.5g (3g fiber, 3g sugar)

Protein: 9g

 

If you have a good healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe … or another healthy dessert you think might be good with some Pure Food Protein powder, send me your recipe and I’ll do some experimenting!

Scott@purefoodcompany.com

P.S. Fashion Santa loves Pure Food.

healthy cookie recipe for santa

How to Find the Healthiest Plant Protein Powder in 3 Simple Steps

You remember those “Where’s Waldo” books? The ones where you had to find the little guy in the striped shirt in the middle of a colorful, chaotic scene filled with Waldo imposters?

That’s kind of what it’s like trying to figure out if all those protein powders marketed as “healthiest” and “all-natural” are actually good for you.

In other words, if you don’t know what to look for and where to look, chances are your protein powder may not be so healthy after all*.

Here’s why …

Supplement brands and their marketing teams spend LOTS of money on “Waldo imposters” (pretty graphics, clever marketing language, deceptive psychological tricks, etc.).

I know this because I was one of the guys they paid to help them create their marketing campaigns.

Here’s the truth they don’t want you to hear:

Most food supplement marketing is deliberately designed to distract you from scrutinizing the one piece of information that actually matters: the ingredients they put into their products.

In this article I’m going to show you how to see right through their b.s. and find the healthiest protein powder for you.

The Problem With Most Protein Powder Brands Marketed As “Healthy” and “All Natural”

When it comes to protein powder supplements, there’s one objective source of truth you can use to determine if a product is the right fit for your health needs: the ingredients list.

Here are a few ingredients, in particular, I found in some of the so-called healthiest plant protein powders (Vega, Garden of Life, SunWarrior, Orgain, and PlantFusion all have one or more of these):

  1. Natural flavors. Natural flavors are the 4th most common ingredient on food labels. Unfortunately, they’re anything but natural. They can actually contain up to hundreds of chemicals and preservatives. Here are a few of the more common ones:
    • Propylene glycol (found in antifreeze)
    • BHA, a known carcinogen
    • Genetically modified plants (GMOs) like corn and soy
    • Insects and bizarre animal products (such as beaver’s anal secretions)
  2. Sugars. Sugar comes in many forms these days, as you well know. Most proteins have some type of sweetener added–whether it’s artificial or “natural” is open to interpretation. For example, some companies use sugar alcohols like xylitol and market them as natural. Sugar alcohols originate from plants, but they’re chemically altered and may cause major digestive distress. Many protein powders that use more “natural” sugars like agave claim to be the healthiest … but they have half a day’s worth of sugar per serving (Shakeology is one example). Choose a protein powder that has 1 gram of sugar or less per serving from all-natural sources.
  3. Additives and Fillers. Avoid anything that ends with “dextrin” (like maltodextrin, a cheap, highly processed food additive usually made from genetically modified (GMO) corn. Protein companies use it to make their products mix easier. Soy and sunflower lecithin are common additives used to thicken protein powders and other foods. To make soy lecithin, soybean oil (GMO unless it says “organic” or “non-GMO verified”) is extracted from raw soybeans using a chemical solvent (usually hexane), then dried and bleached.
  4. Allergens. Dairy, soy, and gluten are among the most common allergens you’ll find. If you’re chugging down whey protein shakes and it’s causing GI issues, STOP. Whey protein works for some people. But for the majority, the cons outweigh the pros.
  5. Gums. Gums are thickening agents that improve the texture of protein powder blends. Xanthan gum, a common one, is produced by bacterial fermentation of a sugar-containing medium. Unfortunately, that medium is usually a potentially allergenic or GMO-containing substance such as corn, soy, dairy, or wheat. On top of that, xanthan gum has been shown to have a laxative effect … you might wanna wear a diaper if your protein powder has it. Be wary any time you see a “gum” listed on the ingredients list of your favorite protein brand.

3 Simple Steps to Help You Find the Healthiest Plant Protein Powder for You







My rule of thumb: stick with plant based protein powders that have mostly (or all) organic ingredients you recognize as real food.

Conclusion: Most Protein Powder Brands Claiming to Be All Natural Are Anything But

Shopping for the right protein powder brand for you starts with identifying your health goals.

Are you looking for a clean, all-natural ingredients? Then scrutinize that ingredients list and avoid all the stuff I mentioned above.

Do you want to lose weight and/or build some lean muscle? Then choose a powder with 20+ grams of protein per serving and 3+ grams of fiber.

If you’re looking to compare 20+ different protein powders, check out this post.

*Disclaimer: I sell an all-natural, plant-based protein powder called Pure Food.  

CrossFit: The New Scientology?

crossfit pros consThis week the NYT published an article called When Some Turn to Church, Others Go To CrossFit. In it, author Mark Oppenheimer likens CrossFit to religion, and it’s hard to argue with him when you see quotes like this one:

CrossFit is family, laughter, love, and community.

CrossFit, if you’re not familiar, is the one of the hottest workout movements, with 13,000 locations and over 2 million participants. CrossFit’s strenuous Workout of the Days (WODs), which combine Olympic-style weight lifting with functional movement, have been criticized for their propensity to cause injury.

Pros and Cons of CrossFit

I don’t have any affiliation with CrossFit … never been to a CrossFit gym, in fact. But I think it’s pretty awesome for two big reasons:

1. Doing interval training combined with strength training is the absolute best way to lose weight and build lean muscle.
2. The community-based environment is a great support system for anyone who’s had trouble sticking with a workout regimen (aka, everyone).
3. The CrossFitters I know are all in great shape … your friends who do it probably are too.

The whole CrossFit-causes-injury argument is way overblown. CrossFitters push themselves more than other exercisers … and that’s not a bad thing! Injuries happen in every sport and every type of workout, and they’re almost always attributable to poor form when you’re in the gym.

I’ll sum this one up by quoting CrossFit co-founder Greg Glassman in the NYT article:

Three hundred fifty thousand Americans are going to die next year from sitting on the couch. That’s dangerous. The TV is dangerous. Squatting isn’t.

Is Bone Broth Good for You? Here’s What Science Says

Bone broth is all the rage right now. This New York Times article praised bone broths’ “demonstrable nutrition benefits.” Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D. wrote an article on MindBodyGreen called The ONE Trick I Use To Stay Slim: A Nutritionist Explains. Her “one trick” is drinking bone broth. The list goes on.

I wanted to know if bone broth is actually good for you. It seems as if every blogger out there sings the praises of bone broth as a miracle cure for everything from digestive disorders to weight loss … but none of them ever seem to back it up with actual science.

That’s what we’ll do in this article: quickly sum up what actual research says about the pros and cons of bone broth.

Get your spoon ready, because we’re about to dig in …

The (Alleged) Health Benefits of Bone Broth

Here are some of the many health claims I found about the health benefits of bone broth:

is bone broth good for you

  • Heal leaky gut
  • Overcome foods intolerances and allergies
  • Improve joint health
  • Reduce cellulite
  • Boost immune system
  • Make your skin supple
  • Reduce cellulite

Unfortunately, there’s zero evidence to back up any of these claims. David Katz, M.D. Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, had this to say:

I recently published the third edition of my nutrition textbook for health care professionals. The book ran to over 750 pages, and roughly 10,000 references (and yes, it was every bit as painful as it sounds; writing textbooks is not for the faint of heart). Nowhere in the mix did I or my coauthors find, or cite, an article about the “demonstrable nutrition benefits” of bone broth.

One of the biggest benefits of bone broth that advocates tout is collagen, a protein found in the connective tissue of animals. Collagen, they say, can help strengthen your bones, protect your digestive tract, and improve your skin.

Again, there’s no clinical data to support any of these claims though. Most scientists will tell you it’s way overblown.

William Percy, an associate professor at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine, said in this NPR article that:

Since we don’t absorb collagen whole, the idea that eating collagen somehow promotes bone growth is just wishful thinking.

In the same article, food scientist Kantha Shelke says if you want to build collagen, you need more than bone broth:

Eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables is ideal. Plants offer richer sources in collagen building blocks and, in addition, provide nutrients not found in sufficient quantities in meats or broth.

The Actual Health Benefits of Bone Broth

There are two health claims about bone broth that do seem to hold up to scientific scrutiny.

One small study from the year 2000 found that chicken broth may help reduce inflammation and cold symptoms when you’re sick (personal anecdote: I always drink hot tea and broth when I’m sick, and it always helps).

Another small study found that bone broth or soups made with bone broth may help replace electrolytes after intense exercise and aid in post-workout recovery.

Other than that, there’s not much credible evidence that bone broth is actually good for you.

The Bottom Line

Like most health fads, take bone broth’s supposed magical elixir qualities with a grain of salt. Drinking salty animal broth may taste good, but it’s not a magic potion. I love making soups and stocks (here are some healthy soup recipes from my other website) but the evidence simply doesn’t justify all the hype they’re getting.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. David Katz:

The most remarkable thing about the dietary component of lifestyle as stunningly effective medicine is how simple it is. Real food, not too much, mostly plants, to quote Michael Pollan.