Vega Energizing Smoothie: a video review!

Last week, I received four samples of the new Vega Energizing Smoothie to taste and tell you about!

Vega smoothie powder

I’m always looking for quick, healthy, portable snacks; snacks I can eat or drink quickly between classes and clients. While most mornings, I have time whip up a protein shake for later in the day, sometimes, morning drama (I have 3 kids to get out of the house…) robs me of those precious moments with my blender.

Vega Energizing Smoothie would seem to be the perfect solution. Designed as an ‘on-the-go’ drink, all you need to do is combine the powder with one cup of cold water, shake and sip. Keep a couple of packets in your gym bag or purse and you’ll never be tempted to grab a coffee shop muffin again!

Each package contains 2 servings of vegetables. They’re all-natural and plant-based, with no sugar, gluten, dairy or soy. Throw in some fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and about 10 g of protein and you’ve got a great, less-than-100-calorie snack!

I sampled four flavours; ‘Bodacious Berry’, ‘Tropical Tango’, ‘Choc-a-Lot’ and ‘Vanilla-Almondilla’. Don’t you just love the names?

I made a little ‘taste-off’ video for your enjoyment (if you don’t have the 1:02 minutes to watch, I’ve re-capped my comments about each flavour below).

  • Bodacious Berry; I mixed this one with water, and although I loved the berry flavour, it did leave a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. I blame the Stevia. I’m a ‘super-taster’ and always need Stevia-sweetened powders to be mixed with something that masks the taste. If Stevia doesn’t bother you, you will love this flavour!
  • Tropical Tango; Rather than using water, I blended Tropical Tango with pomegranate juice (full of anti-oxidants!). To be honest, I couldn’t taste the tropical flavours over that of the juice. Although the powder appeared to mix well, there was a gritty residue at the bottom of my glass when I’d finished. Not really a problem for me, but I know that some of you are sensitive to texture.
  • Choc-a-Lot; Obviously the chocolate package had to be mixed with non-fat milk! The taste and consistency were very similar to a slightly thickened glass of chocolate milk. Fabulous flavour and no gritty residue. A huge thumbs up!
  • Vanilla-Almondilla; I had wanted to combine this one with unsweetened almond milk, but couldn’t find any in the fridge, so used water instead. Again, the consistency was smooth and non-gritty, but I found the flavour to be a bit over-powering. Very, very vanilla-y.

My favourite? Obviously the Choc-a-Lot! Vega Energizing Smoothie packets will make a great addition to the ‘emergency food’ kits in my car and gym bag. And I’m curious to try it as a replacement for whey protein powder in my favourite espresso, peanut butter and banana shake!

Did you know that Vega is having a ‘Get Energized Photo Contest‘ on Facebook?

There are lots of great prizes to be won, including the Grand Prize (since they’re using my last name, ‘Grand’, don’t you think I should win?) of a Yoga and Surf Retreat for 2 in Mexico! You can win over 110 prize packs with a total of $30 000 just by submitting a photo of yourself, holding a Vega Energizing Smoothie packet, doing something that energizes YOU! Head on over an enter. You can also win my ‘liking’ others’ photos and Tweeting about the contest!

Hint: if you see a Tweet from me today about the contest, Re-Tweet it! Not following me on Twitter? Better rectify that oversight right now!

Go snap that picture and best of luck!

Have you tried the new Vega Energizing Smoothie yet?

If so, which flavour was your favourite?

Disclaimer: Vega sent me samples of their product to taste and review. I received no other compensation. All opinions in the above post are mine and mine alone!

 

The Vega Sport performance system: a way around whey

One of the perks of being a fitness blogger and FitFluential Ambassador is the opportunity to try new workout products.

Several weeks ago, Vega Sport emailed me asking if I might be interested in trying their sports nutrition system; a combination of supplements to support the nutritional needs of athletes before, during and after their workouts. The products are completely plant-based making them appealing to athletes looking for an alternative to whey.

Given that (1) they’re a local company (Vancouver, B.C.), (2) my friend Mel had just finished raving to me about their protein bars and powders and (3) I’ve been looking for a product to help me get through the second of two back-to-back cardio classes, I was happy to agree!

The box that arrived in the mail was quite small, but ingeniously packed. Check out this video for my initial reaction.

Inside I found enough product to Prepare (pre-workout energy powders), Sustain (gels, electrolyte hydrators, bars) and Recover (recovery accelerator, performance protein powder, protein bars) for three complete workouts, and then some.

Along with the product was a small manual explaining what each product was for and when (before, during or after a training session) it should be taken. (This is a big selling point for me; I’m one of those people that reads the manual cover to cover before trying to set up the new PVR machine. I appreciate a well-written manual!).

The handy guide suggested that since I typically work out for under 90 minutes at a moderate to high intensity, I should take a pre-workout energizer (20 min prior), the post-workout recovery accelerator (immediately after) and protein powder (60 minutes later). On days when I teach two classes back-to-back, I can also include one of the sustain products (between classes).

Click on the photo to see the entire chart

The verdict?

To be honest, I didn’t notice much of an effect of the pre-workout energizer. This might be because I’m usually jacked up on espresso before a morning workout. It might also be due to the energy-enhancers in my daily GNC multivitamin. There’s only so ‘up’ I can get!

However, I loved the protein powders (chocolate > vanilla > berry). I tried two of them shaken with water and the third blended into my standard fruit and spinach shake. I found the powders to mix well and not to have that chalky flavor that cheaper brands often do. What’s more, they weren’t as sweet as some others I’ve tried (they’re sweetened with Stevia rather than sucralose or sugar). I can’t stand an overly sweet after-workout drink.

What’s different about Vega’s Performance Protein (in addition to it being plant- rather than whey-based and being gluten and soy free) is the inclusion of recovery enhancing BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids; 5 500 mg) and glutamine (5 000 mg per serving).

While I already include glutamine in my post-workout recovery plan, this is the first time I’ve tried BCAA’s. Surprisingly, the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) that I usually experience the day following a heavy leg workout was greatly reduced. Coincidence? I think not!

While I like the idea of a recovery accelerator, and I’m sure it played a part in the enhanced recovery I experienced, I found it a pain to have to wait another hour after taking it before drinking my protein shake. For me, it would be easier to have those products combined; I’m usually with a client or teaching a class an hour after my workout and am unable to eat or drink then. I’m wondering if it’s possible to mix up both in the same drink (providing of course, one chooses complementary flavors; Tropical + Chocolate anyone?).

If you only try one product from this line, it’s got to be the Recovery Protein Bars. Both flavors (Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate SaviSeed) were out of this world! I felt like I was having a ‘cheat’ meal. Probably because they were sweetened with sugar (which I’m not supposed to be eating anymore :) ) and had calorie-counts in the low 200’s. For long distance runners or cyclists, those extra calories are unlikely to be a problem and the 15 g of protein and 30 g of carbs a great way to recover from a long workout.

I didn’t try the gel or electrolyte replenishers. Frankly, I’m not an endurance athlete and didn’t see them as necessary for me. I’ll be passing them on to the husband of a client who’s training for an Ironman (and is already a big fan of Vega Sport!).

Do you currently take sports nutrition supplements?

Have you ever tried any of Vega Sport’s products?

Disclaimer: Vega Sport generously provided me with samples of their sport performance system. All comments and opinions expressed in this review are mine alone.

Tuesday thanks: broccoli, Swiss chard and Vega Sport

Thanks so much for all of your broccoli recipes. Keep them coming! I’ll do a round-up next week and let you know which one(s) turned my taste-buds! (Notice how optimistic I’m being?).

And to say thanks, I thought I’d give you a suggestion (with variations) for preparing another vegetable that lots of people don’t seem to appreciate: swiss chard.

As a child, I didn’t enjoy leafy greens that required cooking. Most likely because my mom’s favorite way to prepare them was steamed. Not to knock steaming as a cooking technique, but perhaps not the best way to turn your child into a lover of veggies. Just sayin’ (love you Mom!).

As an adult, I’ve come to realize that there are many wonderful ways to cook vegetables to highlight their distinct flavors and textures. My favorites are stir frying and roasting.

Here’s a recipe for swiss chard that I’m currently loving. It’s quick, flavorful and doesn’t require many ingredients. Get out your greens and enjoy!

Sauteed swiss chard, with garlic, nuts and dried cranberries

  • one large bunch of swiss chard (green or red, you decide), de-stemmed and chopped in large pieces
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp dried, unsweetened cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp toasted nuts (I’ve tried pine nuts, slivered almonds, pecans and cashews)
  • 2 Tbsp grated low fat Asiago or Feta cheese (optional)
  1. Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add pressed garlic and dried cranberries. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring to keep from browning.
  4. Add chard to pan and toss until slightly wilted (2-3 minutes).
  5. Divide among 4 plates, garnishing with nuts and grated cheese.

And finally, a thank you to Vega Sport for the samples of their new exercise supplement line. So many products to try and share with you all! I’ll be doing a review next week, but for now, enjoy the clip below!

Do you use workout supplements?

Favorite brands and flavors?