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More natural alternative to "Ensure"?

I'm not sure if any one here is familiar with the "Ensure" beverage, but it is basically a meal-replacement shake. It is high in carbs and protein, and I am looking for a more natural version of this. "More natural" I am defining here as using real, less processed food, as opposed to whatever they put in ensure. (I have read the ingredients, but I have no idea what most of it is, I am still basically clueless when it comes to this kind of stuff)

Background info: I have taken up running in the morning, and I like to go pretty soon after I wake up. But, my blood sugar is so low in the morning most of the time that I feel really groggy, dizzy and basically unable to preform unless I have something in my stomach. The reason I have been using ensure is that it is high in protein (which is very important to me for various reasons (flexitarian diet, trying to build muscle, trying to grow my hair out, etc.)) and easy to digest carbs which means when I am running it's not bouncing around in my stomach and giving me an ache. I also liked it better than other products because of the taste, texture and because it has a lot of vitamins and minerals which some other products don't have.

I am not necessarily looking for a specific brand, though I am not opposed to that, because I do enjoy making my own alternatives to a lot of these kinds of things. I am pretty proficient at making smoothies and similar things, and the thought has occurred to me, I am just at a loss of what exactly to put in it if I do make it myself.

So, basically what I am asking is does anyone know of a way I can make or buy some kind of liquid, easy to digest, high protein, high carb runners breakfast shake?


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2009 09:30 am (UTC)
You might try a smoothie with something like yogurt (or soy yogurt) and some fruit (maybe a banana) and maybe a little crushed flax seed or crushed nuts or something like that to give it a little more protein. I personally like to make smoothies of vanilla yogurt (I buy the Stonyfield Farms organic probiotic stuff), a banana, and some orange juice, but that might be a little too heavy on the carbs and a little too low on protein for your purposes.
Sep. 9th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)
I second this recipe!

I'm a runner too and sometimes have this problem. Also, the heaviness in your stomach may just be because you're not waiting long enough after you eat.
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I used to eat oatmeal before running in the morning. It sits really well in your stomach and gives you energy.
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
I used to do the same thing. I did plain unsweetened oatmeal with some raisins added and it seemed to keep me going quite awhile. I actually found this to be better than having too much liquid sloshing around.
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
I'm a runner and I like to take a vial of ginseng and royal jelly before I go out. It improves my endurance and makes the run more enjoyable.

My favorite is Root To Health - Ginseng, American with Royal Jelly Alcohol Free (10 vials). Wow, here's a multipack!

I make my meal replacement shakes with Nutribiotic Rice Protein. This link shows a 3 lb jar plain but it is available in 1 lb. It comes in plain, chocolate, or mixed berry. I mix the plain with carrot and beet juice.
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Note: ginseng and royal jelly vials ... don't buy the ones with alcohol. Trust
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
The smoothie/shake suggestions are great, but I'll suggest adding a couple hard boiled eggs to them. It's a very easy to digest and absorb form of high quality protien, and when it is blended into a nice smoothie, you don't even taste it. Some of my favorite smoothies are frozen banana, frozen mango, frozen peach, and apple juice plus 2 hard eggs combinations.
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Quinoa is not as easy to eat as an Ensure drink, but it's a complete protein and I love it for breakfast (I make a quinoa-steel cut oats-brown rice-barley hot cereal with almonds, flax, and dried or fresh fruit).
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Along the lines of what others have suggested, experiment with smoothies. I usually make a breakfast smoothie with a scoop of some kind of protein powder (soy, whey, vegetable, brown rice, hemp...I've tried a bunch of kinds), silken tofu, or yogurt as the protein element. Then I add in a tbsp of freshly ground flaxseed or a tbsp of flax oil, some kind of non-dairy milk (lately homemade oat milk), and a handful of whatever frozen fruit I have around (assorted berries, peaches, pineapple, whatever). I also sometimes add a handful of green leafy stuff if I've got it (baby spinach seems to affect the taste the least).

The brown rice protein powder so far has affected the taste of my smoothies the most in a negative way (tastes chalky no matter what), but that could just be the brand I got. The chocolate whey protein powder has tasted the best (I get one that's sweetened with stevia). The other kinds were in between. Silken tofu and yogurt don't really add or detract anything from the flavor in my mind.
Sep. 9th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
I'm big on treating the cause and not the symptoms. Are you checking your blood sugar in the morning, and seeing that it's actually low? A basic glucometer runs about $20, and it's worth it if you're thinking that you're hypoglycemic upon rising.

If you're just hungry, that's a separate issue and it's OK to treat the hunger. Hypoglycemia as a fasting number requires a consult with an endocrinologist.
Sep. 9th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
I used to eat yogurt and banana before running. I never found it too heavy.
Sep. 9th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
I do a smoothie with whey protein powder, brewer's yeast and flaxseed. The base is kefir, a banana and some berries or other fruit. This works well for me.
Sep. 9th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Banana Delicious Smoothie (2 Servings)

2 Bananas Calories (per serving): 238
1 container (6 oz) Fat-Free Lime Yogurt Carbohydrates: 55 g
1 c Limeade Protein: 6 g
½ c skim milk Fat: 0.5 g (saturated fat: 0g )
2 c Ice

Berry Banana Smoothie (2 servings)

1 c (8 oz) soy milk Calories (per serving): 219
½ c fat-free vanilla yogurt Carbohydrates: 34 g
1 c Frozen berries Protein: 8g
1 Banana Fat: 6g (saturated fat: 1g )
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Sep. 9th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Vega - the best performance drink ever. The chocolate is gross but the new Chai flavour is delicious as well as the berry and natural flavour.

Vegan, all natural, no allergies in it and loads of minerals and vitamins. The maker of it is raw food vegan as well.

Sep. 10th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC)
i have this every morning and have for several years...great stuff...gives me good energy...i also like the sports drink stuff they have out now too...though the yerba mate gets me a little wired...
Sep. 9th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
If you're like me and too lazy to make your own, I find the Naked Protein juice drinks pretty good.
Sep. 11th, 2009 01:29 am (UTC)
remember that molasses milk you like? throw some of that soy protein (you think you'll never use) in it and let it sit in the fridge over night. by letting it sit over night the soy will have time to autolyse and not create a gritty texture and the molasses should cover the taste. and if you still can't stand the taste of the soy, milk has decent protein as it is, but you could think about powdered whey protein instead because it comes from milk.

but also keep in mind the occasional rant would spill about how the average American overdoses on protein and maybe you don't actually need to add protein to your morning glass of milk.

Sep. 11th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
First of all, when and why did you join this comm? Not that I'm not glad to see you here!

Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, esp. since my problem with the protein is how gritty it is.

Also, I have been tracking my protein intake since I stopped eating so much meat, and I am usually at the low end of my recommended intake, so I have a little room to add some more.
Sep. 11th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
thats why i told you to leave the soy to soak overnight. it won't be so gritty if you give it time to hydrate itself.

oh, and i joined a long time ago to keep an eye on the crazy idea's these nut jobs might be giving you. mostly i think they over complicate the natural lifestyle.

try not to over complicate your pre-run liquid breakfast, if it takes more than the 30 seconds it takes to open a bottle of ensure you might get distracted and not actually get around to running.
Sep. 13th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Sorry, I'm coming into the convo late. I found a great shake powder called Alive at Whole Foods. You can mix it with yogurt and toss in some ice and fruit of your choice, and it is excellent. The ingredients are excellent.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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