Better than Expected: Vega Protein Smoothie

In my quest to find a protein shake that won’t make my cholesterol go up and will leave me full for the morning (and actually provide, you know, protein) I have taken on a challenge to compare a variety of shake mixes. You can read about that here.

This review is for Vega Protein Smoothie in Viva Vanilla.  This is the *only* shake mix that got 3 or more thumbs-ups from the Facebook/Twitter request for recommendations, and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.

vegaThe flavor: undeniably vanilla with no pretensions and no aftertaste.  For the most part I blended it with soy milk (hey, extra protein!) but the instructions say it can be mixed with water and I tried that today — again, not bad.  I can definitely taste the flavor difference from my original shake but I’d be happy to substitute this permanently.

The texture: this is where things get interesting. I know the internet hates this word but here we go: moist. The protein powder itself is incredibly fine but also moist, and as a result if you are, say, working with a borrowed blender, be prepared to blend longer than a granular powder. Also, when mixed with psyllium husks if you don’t get the proportions just right you end up with an incredibly thick shake once it’s stood for a bit.  I’m a sip-while-puttering person myself, so that was an unpleasant surprise.  I fooled with the ratios and discovered the following: mixed with 8oz water and 2tbsp husks, it’s fairly watery and holds its consistency.  Mixed with 8oz of soy milk and 1tbsp husks, it’s a decent smooth shake (not watery but not stuck solid, either). Mixed with 8oz soy and 2tbsp husks, get ready for a spoon.  If not thoroughly blended you get pockets of pasty goo, I’d say it took about 1.5-2 minutes of solid blending to get the right consistency.

nutritionfactsThe vitals: This has 15 grams of protein (so about 3 less than my comparison point) but zero cholesterol and only 80 calories. Ingredients include broccoli and pea protein but the powder itself is a bland looking ecru and you’d never know you were eating vegetables (for those of you who like to be healthy but have an aversion to green things). (I have no such aversion). No fat, and 4 grams of carbs, not bad.

The performance: I stayed full each morning to lunchtime, which was the requirement, and that included morning runs for the most part.

The cost: you can get this off of Amazon for slightly under $13, for 12 servings; so slightly more than $1/serving.

Grade: A-.  Negative points for slightly less protein per serving and for texture toying. Would use again, but I’m on to the next blend. Stay tuned!


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