Review: Vega One Nutritional Shake

When I last left off, I told you about a clean, low calorie, but gross tasting protein shake (Perfect Fit). I’m happy to report that I finally found one that I like: Vega One.

vega one nutrtional shake

Vega One Nutrtional Shake – 12 serving size

A couple of months ago, they had a call for bloggers to apply for their blogger campaign, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to be obliged to write a positive review, especially after the not-so-Perfect Fit. Now I regret it! Whole Foods had it on sale for 40% off and I was curious, so after checking out the label, I went ahead and bought it. Since I’d be mostly mixing it with other ingredients, I bought the “natural” flavor.

At a quick glance, the label looks impressive:

  • vegan! no dairy
  • no GMOs
  • 50% of vitamins and minerals
  • 3 servings of greens
  • probiotics
  • omega 3’s
  • 15g protein
  • ingredients list includes protein from hemp/pea/brown rice, plus flax seeds, chia seeds, broccoli, kale, spinach!

It is around 140 calories per serving, which for me is a little bit high since I’m mixing it with other things but if you get a flavored kind and don’t add mixer, that’s pretty good.

For my first test, I made the exact same carrot juice smoothie as I did using the Perfect Fit powder – so that I could do a fair comparison, and because I already had a big bottle of carrot juice. The difference was huge. The Vega shake was smooth, not sandy like Perfect Fit. The sweetness is also very light, whereas the stevia in Perfect Fit feels like it coats my mouth and stays there forever. In fact, I think my favorite thing about the Vega shake is that the level is sweetness is just right. It seems natural, not like sugar substitute.

Next I tried to the mixing test to see how well it would mix without a blender. I put a scoop in a shaker bottle with a blender ball, added carrot juice and water, and shook it up. It definitely wasn’t as good as blending it with banana (that’s expected) but it was better than I expected. It was mostly smooth except a couple of crunchy bits, which is not as gross as it sounds. If you’ve ever added ground flax seeds or wheat germ to a smoothie, it was like that. I didn’t mind it. I had to keep shaking it up though because a lot of the green vegetable sediment would start to settle on the bottom. Definitely not a deal breaker.

For smoothies, I’ve only made the “carrot cake” smoothie using a half scoop of Vega, 1/2 cup of carrot juice, 1/2 banana, handful of spinach, and cinnamon. I think it clocks in at around 200 calories. Even after the 40% off, it was $24 for this 12-serving size. There is a larger size, which is 24 servings for $70 (reg)/$42 (sale). You get what you pay for though. We all know that high quality food costs more, and your supplements are no exception. I can justify buying it at this sale price, but at full price ($40 for 12 servings) I couldn’t do it. I guess I better go stock up while it’s on sale!

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A review of Perfect Fit Protein Powder

In a perfect world, I wouldn’t need protein shake or meal replacement shake (I am learning that they are two different things). Meal replacement shakes are filled with chemicals and fake ingredients, which I normally try to avoid. However, I have to go with what works for me. I’ve tried for years, but I just find it too hard to eat real food for breakfast on weekdays. I still do the instant oatmeal packets but without protein or fat, I get hungry. If I don’t plan ahead with my smoothie, I end up not eating until like 10 am and then I might cave and get something really cheesey and unhealthy. So shakes are my compromise. They keep me in line.

The first protein shake I tried was Whole Foods 365 brand. It was good for adding to my vegetable shakes, but it didn’t mix well by itself without a blender. It was also too sweet for my taste buds. Then I tried GNC Lean Shake 25, and I thought it was perfect. The Cookies & Cream flavor tastes delicious, mixes with a blender bottle, and actually keeps me full. I even brought packets of it when I traveled. Then I noticed that it gave me acne. Like, really bad. I hadn’t seen it that bad since high school. I think it may be because the protein comes from milk. As I finished up my tub of Lean Shake, I started hearing more about mixes with plant-based protein sources such as peas and brown rice.

A few months ago, I got sample packets of Perfect Fit Protein. Perfect Fit Protein powder is an invention of the Tone it Up girls, which has an entire subculture/movement/cult on its own. The protein powder looked good on the outside:

perfect fit protein powder

Perfect Fit by Tone It Up

perfect fit protein powder

Perfect Fit Protein Powder – no sugar, 70 Calories, 3g carbs, 15g protein

The nutrition info looks good, and the ingredients list was nice and clean. The protein comes from brown rice and it’s certified organic! First, I used two packets to make their “famous” protein powder pancake, which skinny chicks on Instagram fucking love. It was very gritty, even in pancake form, and I couldn’t get the overwhelmingly sweet aftertaste out of my mouth.

perfect fit carrot cake smoothie

Carrot Cake Smoothie with Perfect Fit protein powder

Next I tried it in drink form. I made their recipe for a Carrot Cake smoothie. Long story short: still disgusting. I had to chug it down. It was so gritty even though it was blended up with the banana. Gross. Do not buy this.

Good news: I bought a new protein powder and used it in the same exact smoothie recipe. It was sooo good! More on that tomorrow.

Bucket Brewery

On Saturday morning, I was on my way to a birthday party for my friend’s 1 year old son and we decided to stop at a new-ish brewery to pick up beer for the party. When we walked into the Bucket Brewery, the super nice employees offered us a free tasting of their 4 beers. Oh, and it was only 10 am. Oops.

bucketbrewery_3

Red cups!

They like to decorate their mini kegs:

Bucket Brewery, Pawtucket, RI

Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket, RI

Bucket Brewery, Pawtucket, RI

Bucket Brewery in Pawtucket, RI

Thank goodness the beers were all relatively low in alcohol volume. Drinking that early took a toll. Even though it was probably 12-16 oz of beer total, I felt kind of crappy the whole rest of the day.

The beers were great though. With all of the breweries we visit, a lot of them tend go wild with big flavors. Not that I know much about how to talk about beer, but I felt that these were flavors were subtle and balanced. I chose the Pawtucket Pail Ale for the party, since it was smooth and light and seemed like it would go well with food. If you randomly find yourself in Providence, stop by the Bucket Brewery!

Restarting January

I feel like I missed out on the energy of January when everyone was diving into their new year resolutions and joining fitness challenge groups. I didn’t want to start a hardcore workout regimen or cut calories during my marathon taper period. And now that the marathon is over, I can’t do much because I’m still injured!

My foot pain went away but I still have pain in the back of my knee when I try to run. I also have a slight cold, which everyone says is common right after a marathon. It’s also pretty common because I live in the arctic circle right now. All of that has kept me from running, even though all I want to do is run! After doing 26.2 miles I felt so confident to do 3 miles lol and now I’m losing that momentum.

I didn’t want to go too long without moving around, so this week I started Shaun T’s T25 workouts. Background on T25: If you are on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a Beach Body coach showing off amazing transformation pictures and pushing their shakes and DVD’s on anyone with eyes. This T25 program (along with P90X, Insanity, and Asylum) is part of their package. I borrowed it, so I did  not pay $140 for the set. Basically you do a 25 minute workout, 5 days a week for 5 weeks (25 days, see?). When I looked up reviews on the program, I couldn’t tell the difference between a lot of peoples’ “before and after” pictures. That is to say, I’d kill to look like their “before” pictures. Womp womp. I don’t want to go balls-to-the-wall and aggravate my knee right now, so instead of going to kickboxing classes I figured I have nothing to lose by trying out these workouts and modifying them to be low impact.

I’m on Day 5. I think I’m not doing it “right” because I have found it hard to work up a sweat. Maybe I’m too worried about jumping too hard and making too much noise. That said, I just did the ab workout and I’m already feeling sore! I haven’t done abs in forever so it feels good.

I’m also starting to adjust my eating habits. I had slipped back into eating flour and grains and even though I didn’t gain weight between Thanksgiving and New Year, my stomach felt bigger. After only a few days of reducing wheat again, I already feel the belly bloat going down and that feels good too! I can’t decide if I should just eat what I feel or go into a full-on diet program, ie counting calories, straight paleo, or whatever the flavor of the month is. I feel like I keep saying (writing) the same thing – I go about a month of eating really good, then it fades away until I notice again and I announce I’m turning over a new leaf. I want to get out of that stupid cycle, but given that I lost 5 pounds all year in 2013… *shrug* Of course, I am actually proud of a lot of my 2013 accomplishments – I gained a lot of muscle doing kickboxing, lost many inches, and definitely made diet changes that stuck. Oh and you know, trained for a marathon.

I’ve reached a state of comfort – comfort with my body, being active as part of my normal lifestyle, and eating lots more vegetables. I think back to how many years I spent hating the way I looked, hating getting dressed some days because I felt so fat. I think about that stuff less and less now. I’m also comfortable with how my life is going in general. I’ll update on that later because I’m waiting on good news but I have a couple of good projects that are going to earn me a thousand karma points. But I’m not the kind of person to rest in the status quo; I always have to push boundaries! This year is gonna be big, I can feel it.