What’s in Shakeology? And WHY?

Hi, my name’s Darin Olien and I’m known around here as Shakeology’s Ingredient Hunter.


When I first started developing Shakeology I began to ask myself a series of questions, which would ultimately determine what does, or does not, go into Shakeology.

Questions like:

  • What do most bodies require in this day and age?
  • What’s not being delivered in food today (even in high-quality, organic food)?
  • Where are the gaps in nutrition that need to be filled for the majority of people?
  • What’s wrong with the food we currently eat? And why do we even need a shake with that much nutrition anyway?

From those questions I was able to determine what ingredients needed to go into Shakeology, and why.

The hardcore reality is that our food supply today lacks nutrients. The nutrient density of our food has continued to plummet over the years due to the fact that the value of money has completely trumped the value of quality. Unhealthy food = unhealthy people. It’s an insane thought, but absolutely true! The facts are well documented.

For starters, because farm production has been pushed beyond its natural limits, soil’s nutrients have been depleted! Crops of nonnutritive foods have replaced nutrition-dense foods, and pesticides and genetic modification are wreaking havoc with the chemical and genetic markers that have evolved over the centuries. That means we’re putting more food into the pipeline that has LESS of what we need, and MORE of what we don’t need. On a biological level, our bodies hardly recognize the food we are swallowing.

Since those are the ugly facts, you really need to ask yourself: “How do I expect my body to live tirelessly, vibrantly, and with the power to defend itself from disease if my body is running on watered-down fuel?” It’s like putting dirty gas into the tank of a Ferrari. What a waste of such a beautiful sports car!

If you really want your health to improve, you need to be completely aware of what you’re eating and drinking and how it’s fueling (or NOT fueling) your body. And only then can you make different choices. Smarter choices. Healthier choices.

So when it came to developing Shakeology, my goal was to create something that not only tasted incredibly delicious, it would nourish the body inside and out. Beyond the instant gratification of something tasting good on your tongue, I believe that everybody truly desires to be fed more nutrition. To have more energy. To feel healthy and fit. To have their digestion running like clockwork. To feel amazing—day in and day out!

The result—a supercharged, multivitamin- and protein-rich health smoothie called Shakeology. As important as the ingredients in Shakeology are, what drove their inclusion was the body’s need for five vital ingredients.

These 5 vital ingredients are the cornerstones of Shakeology’s creation:

1. Whole foods – So many supplements on the market are just fragmentations of the complete matrix of real food. Think of it like taking the most popular scene from a 2-hour movie and calling THAT the movie. It’s incomplete without the character development, plot, and nuance that make it a holistic experience. The same goes with food. On a biological level, your body needs the whole “movie” to get the complete benefit of the vitamin or mineral that is the star.


You just cannot replace or re-engineer the incredible balance and creation of whole foods. That’s why we selected high-quality, potent foods, herbs, grasses, and ingredients, and then processed them minimally to preserve their integrity, phytochemicals, natural vitamins, minerals, alkaloids, phytosterols, etc. This was a huge aspect of Shakeology getting the whole, deliverable nutrition in bioavailable ways.

2. Vitamins and minerals – We included quality nutrition from potent and varying whole-food sources (“nutrition, right off the vine” as I like to call it). And then we backed that up by adding in a well-balanced vitamin and mineral profile since whole foods fluctuate from crop to crop. 

3. Enzymes – Enzymes are critical for optimal health. But since enzymes flood the food only in the last days of ripening before harvest, enzyme supplementation is critical for the majority of people. Even if you eat all raw foods, the enzymes are still low. And cooked food has zero active enzymes.

Why enzymes? Enzymes have been called “the Fountain of Life”! They are behind every single process in the body! Yes, everything requires enzymes! The labor force of the body that digests, absorbs, allows for signals to be sent, creates new blood cells, etc., is all governed by enzymes. You would be shocked at how starved your body has been for enzyme support. That’s why the addition of these vital forces to Shakeology was so critical!

4. Prebiotics and Probiotics – We’ve all heard about foods with additive probiotics, like yogurt for instance. Did you know that your body can actually manifest its own probiotics if you feed it prebiotics? With the way people eat today they have created a thriving environment for unhealthy bacteria in the body. The prebiotics of the amazing yacon root (which I will get into in future posts) is food for the “healthy” bacteria, and in turn creates an environment for healthy probiotics to flourish.

By getting our internal “ecosystem” in balance, you have the potential for a vibrant, thriving body and life! It’s complex, and even difficult to fathom an ecosystem inside your own body, but it cannot be underestimated. You need prebiotics to help you foster probiotics!

5. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) – MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, milk, fish, and grains. But within hours of harvest, MSM changes and is virtually gone—which is why it’s very difficult to get MSM naturally. Back in the “ancient days” man pretty much ate what he picked immediately. But today, it’s picked, processed, packaged, and palleted for months before it hits the table. Which means, by the time food gets to you, MSM is loooooooong gone.

harvesting vanilla shakeology

harvesting vanilla shakeology

But why is MSM important? MSM is critical to the connective tissue and the fluidity (or space) between cells! MSM gives them “room to breathe.” When the body becomes very rigid, tight, painful, and stiff, oftentimes MSM is at very low quantities in the body. Since we are not eating our own foods immediately after harvesting, we MUST supplement this vital component, or the body has a hard time staying healthy and flexible on a cellular level, which translates throughout the body on a biomechanical level.

So there you have it, the top 5 reasons why we included what’s in Shakeology.

Your body can’t run on empty. It just simply CAN’T! And since food is its fuel, we created an incredibly nutritious and delicious shake that truly does fuel your body with what it really wants, needs, and requires. So let’s raise our blenders and toast to a much healthier and happier you!



  1. Shelley Carlson says:

    In the vegan mix, it says that whey is replaced by oat protein,and
    I HAVE a very high sensitivity to both milk as well as gluten. I cannot even eat gluten free oatmeal. Is the oat protein derived from oatmeal sources,
    Or from wheat grass. Please let know as soon as possible, I’ve got some ALLERGY CONcERNS

    • Shakeology is gluten free, Shelley….. but it is manufactured in a plant that also processes milk, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soy ingredients. I have many clients on vegan shakeology who can’t tolerate gluten and no one has ever had a problem…but it sounds like you are HIGHLY sensitive so I would be nervous to recommend to you:( If I can help you in any way please don’t hesitate to contact me!

  2. Chris N Amanda says:

    Some supplements I can’t take because they contain trace ingredients from shell fish. Does shakeology have any of that?

  3. Amazing! I love it, thank you. This better educated me so I can in turn share this info with my clients, family & friends. Thank you again! I am always stressing the importance of whole, organic and nutrient dense foods but it’s not always easy to explain the differences and the dangers of modern grown food. Shared & saved 🙂

  4. Chris N Amanda says:

    Thank you!

  5. Judy Blazenko says:

    I would love to try your many different flavors of shakeology, but being highly allergic to dairy products, I’m wondering if they do contain any dairy? Or would I be best with your vegan line.
    Thank you.

    • Hello Judy I sent you a message via Facebook! But here is the information you were asking about! I would personally recommend vegan and not take the chance of triggering your allergy.

      Chocolate, Greenberry, and Vanilla: Because needs vary for each person with lactose-intolerance, it is recommended you check with your doctor first. However, the whey protein in these formulas is whey protein isolate, which is over 90% pure protein leaving only 10% of the ingredient where some lactose can be found.

      In addition, Shakeology is loaded with digestive enzymes and Lactase is one of them. Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down lactose and is found in over-the-counter products like Lactaid. So, given that Shakeology is made with whey protein isolate and includes Lactase means that it may have a higher likelihood of being acceptable for most people with lactose-intolerance.

      Tropical, Strawberry and Chocolate Vegan: Because the vegan formulations are made with plant proteins rather than whey (dairy), they are the ideal choice for someone with lactose intolerance.

    • Shakeology does have whey protein. If you are allergic to dairy, Shakeology vegan either Chocolate or Vegan Tropical Strawberry are both delicious.

    • Karen Kristen Gentry says:

      Do the vegan line!

  6. Kate Green says:

    The chocolate and vanilla shakes are tasty but so very sweet. There is some type of artificial sweetener in there that makes my tongue feel strange — kind of makes me salivate a little and I can’t get rid of the taste/sensation. It’s the same response as when I have too much artificial sweetener or stevia — not nice. Plain old sugar doesn’t do it.

    • Tina Tufarolo says:

      There are natural sweeteners in there like Stevia, but nothing artificial. Stevia does have a different taste than table sugar.

  7. Vicki Morris says:

    Interested but would like to see the nutritional info. Can you please tell me where to find it. Thank you.

  8. Is there soy as an ingredient and if so, how much?

    • No, Shakeology is soy-free. You can go to the “flavors” tab of this website and see any flavor’s ingredients for an exact list

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