Soy-free vegan protein powders are hard to come by. Those that do exist can be, pardon the pun, hard to swallow. Most have a chalky, gritty texture that is hard to mask and an overpowering aftertaste that’s even worse than whey. Adding insult to injury, most companies think the solution to these problems is to just dump a ton of artificial or natural sweeteners into the product, making them cloyingly sweet or worse, almost chemical in taste.
Vega One is not most protein powders, nor is Vega most sports nutrition companies.
What sets Vega apart as a company is that plant-based nutrition is its focus. This isn’t a company that is offering a vegan option among an array of non-vegan products. This is a vegan sports nutrition company created by Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier, who – according to company literature – set out to prove that plant-based athletes could be serious contenders in the professional triathlon circuit. Brazier is not only a top athlete in his field but also author of the popular Thrive book series (Thrive Fitness, Thrive Diet, Thrive Food), which showcases the benefits of plant-based living.
What sets Vega One apart as a protein supplement is that it’s not just good for being vegan, it’s actually good. I was originally put off of trying Vega One because of the price point. A two-pound tub retails for close to $70, though online discounts make it available for as little as $60. Still, it’s a good $10-$30 higher than the other protein supplements I’ve reviewed. Forgive me if I sound trite, but it’s worth every penny.
I purchased a complete set of Vega One samples, which included single-serving packets of every protein flavor, nutritional bars and “SaviSeed” snacks. I have yet to try a single item that I didn’t instantly love. Available protein flavors are natural, chocolate, berry and French vanilla.
The French vanilla protein powder taste like cake batter, blends up creamy and has barely any discernible aftertaste, despite being sweetened with stevia. The only odd thing is that it’s green, thanks to a green blend of chlorella, alfalfa, broccoli, spinach and kale. Each 135-calorie serving has 6 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein sourced from pea, sacha inchi, hemp and brown rice. I prefer protein powders with 20 grams of protein or more per serving, but this one is just too tasty to quibble over 5 measly grams.
Vega also has a line of products specifically formulated for performance athletes. I don’t train hard enough to need Vega Sport, but I look forward to trying them in the future just to see if they are as good as the Vega One line.
If my endorsement isn’t enough, talk with my 3-year-old. She drank over half of the shake I made earlier today using the recipe below. Her thoughts? “Mmmm….I love this peanut butter ice cream, Mommy!” And then she ran upstairs to brag to her dad that I made a treat “just for us girls.”
Vega One Peanut Butter Cup
- 1 scoop Vega One French vanilla
- 2 tablespoons PB2
- 1 small banana
- 1 cup ice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cacao
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Dump all ingredients in a blender and mix on high until smooth and creamy, increasing or decreasing the amount of water according to preference. Enjoy!
Nutritional Info: Each shake provides 276 calories; 39 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams fat; 22 grams protein; 12 grams fiber and 13 grams sugar.
*Photo courtesy Flickr creative commons.
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