Prep Time: 10 minutes
When it comes to vegan protein powder, there seems to be some complaints that just about everyone has: chalky texture, unpleasant aftertaste and difficulty mixing in water. Vegan 1 has two out of three nailed.
Manufactured by Nutrition53 – the founder and CEO of which is none other than NFL legend Bill Romanowski – Vegan 1 produces a smooth, pleasant tasting shake that offers 10 grams of protein per scoop. That protein is derived from peas, potatoes and chlorella. There’s no gluten, no soy and no GMOs. I like that it includes probiotics, fiber and a whole-food complex blend that supplies antioxidants and micronutrients.
My belief is that the only optimal protein supplement for bariatric post-ops is the one that you can see yourself drinking day in and day out for the rest of your life. Not everyone needs protein supplementation beyond two years after surgery but some of us do. And when it comes to drinking protein shakes, taste is going to make or break every product on the market.
For me, taste issues are most commonly caused by the sweeteners used. I think that manufacturers go overboard when sweetening supplements. The end result is chemical aftertastes from artificial sweeteners or bitterness from excessive amounts of stevia.
Vegan1 was the first vegan protein powder that didn’t make my stomach lurch. In my opinion, that’s because it’s sweetened with a mix of cane sugar and stevia. With only 3 grams of sugar per scoop, even a two-scoop shake falls well below the average post-op’s threshold for dumping (usually 10-13 grams). Though I can detect the bitter aftertaste commonly associated with stevia, it doesn’t overpower my shakes like with other brands.
In most cases, my tests of Vegan1 turned out really well when mixed with a blender. My attempts at making a protein mocha with chocolate Vegan 1 and coffee proved disastrous. The powder never fully dissolved, despite my varied techniques and the coffee seemed to enhance the bitterness of the stevia. I also found that mixing Vegan1 in water – even with a blender – was not an enjoyable experience. My shakes were icy instead of creamy and separated faster than I thought reasonable. However, adding banana seemed to offset that issue.
Keeping those two shortcomings in mind, I would still rank Vegan1 among the top protein powders in the non-soy category.
My favorite flavor is chocolate. It’s rich-tasting and not overly sweet. The chai flavor isn’t bad but the cinnamon flavoring used is more like cinnamon candy than cinnamon spice. I keep both in my pantry and find myself using them daily, usually in the following recipes that I’ve created to maximize my post-workout recovery time.
Vegan1 Chunky Monkey
2 scoops Vegan1 chocolate protein powder
8 oz water
1 cup spinach
2 tablespoons PB2
1 frozen banana
Nutritional Info: 280 calories; 37g carbohydrate; 7g fat; 27g protein; 10g fiber; 19g sugar
Vegan1 Milky Way
½ cup spinach, chopped
½ cup romaine lettuce, chopped
1 ½ bananas, sliced
1 scoop Vegan 1 chocolate protein powder
1 scoop Vegan1 chai protein powder
4 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 oz cold water
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Nutritional Info: 364 calories; 63g carbohydrate; 7g fat; 24g protein; 13 fiber; 35g sugar