What is a meal replacement?

What is a meal replacement?

Meal replacement products are beginning to make a name for themselves in the nutrition world. With the abundance of quick and easy meal options increasing, provided by fast food/chain restaurants and premade “budget meals”, we have started to realize how many of us are simply filling rather than fueling ourselves. There is a well documented correlation between the increased availability of processed ingredients, and the increase is autoimmune disorders, obesity, mental illness, and cardiovascular diseases (2,3,4,7,9,11). Our digestive systems have become inflamed, due to a lack of microbial gut health, and our endocrine systems have become overwhelmed by an onslaught of indigestible, or unusable, processed sugars and unhealthy oils.

It’s not outrageous to say that most people know they would feel, and operate, better if they gave up processed foods and transitioned to a diet consisting of untampered, natural foods- but there are two important problems with non-processed foods; They are typically expensive and NOT convenient. Consequently, unhealthy processed foods were developed in reaction to these two problems. Now, we can get food “fast” and we can get food “cheap”... But “fast and cheap” usually means there’s going to be a crash down the road.

Meal replacement products have been developed by health professionals and nutrition companies in order to provide an alternative to the “fast and cheap” options that have been causing serious health issues for so many of us. Most meal replacements have taken all of the best components of known superfoods, along with the truckload of vitamins and minerals they contain, and loaded them into a single easy-to-use meal.

VADE Nutrition’s Plant-Based Meal Replacement was developed by taking meal replacement innovation to the extreme. It’s good to have 26 vitamins and minerals, 10 superfoods, 16g of pea-protein, and no added sugars in a meal. But it is really good to have all of those meal qualities wrapped up in a single-serving vegan meal replacement shake that is as accessible and portable as a meal can be. VADE took their nutrition-dense vegan meal powder and encased it in a dissolvable food-grade film (a lot like a vitamin capsule) all while limiting the cost per serving right around $2.00. An entire super-meal, ready to mix on the go, for $2.00. You can shake up your breakfast with one hand, while you stuff the dollars back into your pocket with the other… all in less time than it would take to place your order in the drive-through.

Meal replacement and gut health

Buckle in, you’re about to read the word “gut” a lot...and, I know, it’s not pretty...but we can gut it out together.

Believe it or not, our “gut” is more than just a complex bundle of pipes and tubes for food to travel through in order to be turned into tomorrow mornings... “activity”. The whole of our digestive system contains a 100 trillion member microscopic community- a metropolis of microorganisms, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi, all interacting with each other. The interactions between these microscopic lifeforms, and the food we take in, produce the chemical reactions that allow our bodies to absorb nutrients, regulate hormones, and even support immune responses and brain function. This microbial community is called the gut microbiome (4,5)

The gut microbiome has moved on to the main stage of conversations regarding overall health and wellness. The gut is linked to nearly every aspect of our physical and mental health. The issue is, our gut microbiome is fragile- and many of the foods that we find most accessible contain ingredients and chemicals that do not support, and even damage, our gut microbiome (1,2,4,5). The type of meals that make up the bulk of the standard american diet have been designed and marketed by food companies who use cheap, manufactured, ingredients in order to increase profitability rather than health and wellness. These manufactured ingredients have been wreaking havoc on our gut microbiomes. When the interactions between the microorganisms in our gut are negatively impacted by ingesting these ingredients, our body's systems begin to fail. If these microbial systems are disrupted, major issues can develop- not only for digestion itself, but for our overall wellness (4).

Our gut is hardwired directly to our central nervous system through the vagus nerve. This is how our gut communicates with the rest of our body. 90% of the vagus nerve fibers send messages from the gut to the brain, not the other way around. This means that imbalances in the digestive system, caused by damage to the gut microbiome, immediately impact countless other systems operating within our bodies (2,3,4,9).

When we decided to develop a meal replacement, we knew that we wanted to create a product that fortified the gut microbiome. So, we researched the foods, vitamins, and minerals that contain biologically active compounds which are known to support the beneficial microbes and suppress the detrimental microbes in our gut. Clean fats, microgreens and grasses, dietary fibers, as well as vitamins D and B12 (6,8,10) are some of the main “gut healthy” ingredients that we have added to our Plant-based Meal Replacement.


  1. Lower Postprandial Thermogenic Response to an Unprocessed Whole Food Meal Compared to an Iso-Energetic/Macronutrient Meal Replacement in Young Women: A Single-Blind Randomized Cross-Over Trial
  2. Gut microbiome: an intermediary to neurotoxicity
  3. Making Sense of … the Microbiome in Psychiatry
  4. Defining the Human Microbiome
  5. The human microbiome project: exploring the microbial part of ourselves in a changing world
  6. Effects of high doses of vitamin D3 on mucosa-associated gut microbiome vary between regions of the human gastrointestinal tract
  7. The Potential of Gut Commensals in Reinforcing Intestinal Barrier Function and Alleviating Inflammation
  8. Establishing Boundaries: The Relationship That Exists between Intestinal Epithelial Cells and Gut-Dwelling Bacteria
  9. The Influence of Probiotic Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms, Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress Parameters and Fecal Microbiota in Patients with Depression Depending on Metabolic Syndrome Comorbidity—PRO-DEMET Randomized Study Protocol
  10. The Role of Functional Foods, Nutraceuticals, and Food Supplements in Intestinal Health
  11. Ultra-processed Food Intake and Obesity: What Really Matters for Health – Processing or Nutrient Content?

References not cited:

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