The time has finally come; my review of Vega One Nutritional Shake. I have been using it now for about a month and a half so I have had a lot of time to put together what I hope is a thorough, fair, and informative review. A few caveats to keep in mind: I am not a dietitian. Any recommendation or health information I offer is made using sound research. Always consult with a doctor before starting any new supplements, particularly if you have any health problems. Please let me know if there are any questions or clarifications needed about any of the information I provide. Also, I have not in any way been compensated by Vega for this review. All products were purchased by me and the opinions I offer are completely my own. This review is for the Vanilla Chai flavor but Vega also offers berry, chocolate, and neutral flavors.
For anyone not familiar with Vega One I will start with a brief overview. Vega offers 100% plant-based nutrition and contains no soy, dairy, or gluten, making it ideal for those with food allergies or restrictions and vegans. One scoop of Vega powder offers 15 grams of protein, 6 grams fiber, 1.3 grams Omega 3, 50% of the daily recommended vitamin and mineral intake, probiotics, antioxidants, and 3 servings of greens. It can be mixed with any liquid to make a shake and can be used as a meal replacement. The complete list of all the ingredients can be found here, as they are too numerous to list. Suffice to say that this shake provides nutrition from a broad spectrum of sources.
My initial intention in using this product was as daily meal replacement during my weight-loss journey (I say journey because it makes it sound fun; it’s been anything but). With only 136 calories per serving it seemed like a great way to feel full without packing on calories. The first problem I encountered with this approach was the price. Vega is very expensive. One container has 22 servings and costs $39.99. Making one serving every day would result in spending about $70 per month. That’s a luxury a lot of people can’t afford and certainly one I couldn’t, so I revised my plan to using it only on work days, which cut me back to only 3 servings a week, thus extending the use a great deal.
As for the taste, I actually like it. As I said, I’ve only had the Vanilla Chai and I mix it with Silk, but I can definitely taste the vanilla. Robert has even tried it a few times as breakfast before a hike and he liked it too. He just couldn’t get over the ‘chalkiness’. I don’t think any protein shake will ever be completely free of that grittiness. I just expect it so it doesn’t bother me but certainly someone who doesn’t like that should try some of the smaller packs of Vega before committing to an entire container. That would be a hell of a way to waste 40 bucks.
I started off by using it for breakfast. I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination so I prefer simple meals. Throwing some powder and Silk Fruit and Protein into my blender bottle is as easy as it gets. Unfortunately the effect of fullness didn’t last as long as I had hoped and by 10 o’clock I would be in a hypoglycemic fuzz, consuming anything to get my body back in balance. Not exactly the best way to try and lose weight. My theory on why the shake didn’t fill me up for long is because of the Insanity workouts I do in the morning. Those workouts put my body into a high metabolic state, thus consuming carbs and proteins much quicker than normal. Vega is meant for sustained nutrition, not a recovery fuel, which would typically provide a higher ratio of carbs to protein to promote muscle repair and replenish energy. Our bodies digest carbohydrates first, followed by proteins, then fats. Vega One only contains 12 grams of carbs, so they used up quickly after a workout and then the body burns through all the protein. So I switched up the plan and began using it as a snack between meals. I would eat a breakfast, usually a bowl of Kashi and soy milk, and then around 10 drink half of the Vega. Lunch would follow around 12 or 1, then the rest of the shake around 3 and dinner between 5 and 6. I work from 9-9, so I have to plan my meals well, especially since I rarely actually get a lunch break; I just eat when I can. This worked out well as I was staying full between meals, but I was still snacking too much after dinner. I think the time I ate the most calories was between 4 and 9. A few chips here, a piece of candy there. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to keep my calorie count too high.
That left one other strategy to try and that was using the shake as dinner. I still eat breakfast, and then snack on some fruit and nuts before lunch. My lunches are big; usually a large bowl of veggie pasta salad or regular salad with some seitan. I eat the most calories now at lunch and then have an afternoon snack. Then I have my shake for dinner. This has become my ideal meal plan because my body digests the shake properly, keeping me full and not craving food at eight o’clock at night. It also helps that I’ve rid my locker of chips and sugary granola bars! And since changing to this method I have lost a few pounds!
Vega One is not meant as a weight-loss supplement but combined with proper diet and exercise it is a very effective aid to provide balanced, sustained nutrition with limited calories. It simply is the best product on the market that offers such a wide array of benefits. But it is not for everyone. Obviously the price is a big hurdle to get over. Also people who already watch their diets carefully probably know exactly what nutrients they do and don’t need and Vega One may be more than what is needed. Some people don’t believe in a shake as a meal; I was told by someone when I started using it that “If you can’t chew it, it isn’t a meal.” I don’t agree with that; however it is important to realize that Vega One should not replace a sensible diet, and I would never use more than one serving a day. There is such a thing as supplement overdose and it’s not a good idea to try and get all nutrients from a pill or powder. That having been said, people who are looking for a complete, convenient nutritional supplement would be hard pressed to find anything better. I do recommend only starting with half a scoop for the first few days, to see how your body reacts. I didn’t notice any side effects, but some might experience digestive issues if they are drastically increasing some of the nutrients (like fiber) from their normal diet.
Vega offers a huge line of other products including energy bars, on-the-go smoothie mixes, and an entire line dedicated to fueling before, during, and after performance sports. Gabby at The Veggie Nook has actually reviewed the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator, which helps the body recover quicker after intense workouts. I am hoping to try this soon, maybe when in two weeks when I get into the really hard workouts of Insanity. The Vega website also contains recipes that use Vega but don’t involve smoothies, like raw carrot cake and quinoa salad.
I hope this gives anyone who has been considering adding Vega to their diet some useful information. I did plenty of research before deciding to purchase Vega and I suggest that everyone else do the same. I can honestly say I am glad I use it and it has become an integral part of my diet. If anyone else has used it, I’d love to hear how you think it works!