The Cruelty-Free Review

A review of compassionate products, foods, and recipes

Vega One Nutritional Supplement

on June 28, 2012

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!

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55 responses to “Vega One Nutritional Supplement

  1. Great review! I’ve never personally tried to use it as a meal replacement- I’ve always just added it to smoothies or water for a nutritional boost. I haven’t tried the vanilla, only the chocolate and natural. I agree with most of what you said though- blends well in milk, although it does give things a certain gritty feel. I also only ever use half a scoop/day. My body has a hard time digesting a full scoop- I learned this the hard way. But I love it for it’s nutritional stats and use it a lot when I know my day won’t give me opportunities to make stellar food choices.

    Thanks for the shout out by the way 🙂

    • Anytime 🙂 I actually bought a few packs of the recovery fuel today after posting this, as well as a couple of the energy bars and the pre-workout energizer. I guess I’m turning into a bit of a Vega junkie!

  2. Seriously helpful, in-depth and clearly thoughtful review. I tried the old version of Vega and while I liked how full and energized it kept me, the flavor just didn’t justify the expense. I guess I might have to at least try a little sample pack of the new version.

  3. Barb says:

    Nice review! After listening to The China Study Jason was ready to kick his Whey and Casein powder habits, and he looked at Vega. He consumed about 30 lbs of it a day (slight exaggeration) so it was too pricey.

  4. vegancharlie says:

    I actually like Vega but you are right that price is totally a deterrent especially for the money scrounging college kid. But I tend to stretch mine out too. I’ve never had that kind before I’ll have to give it a try my last protein powder was a bust (still a big chunk of it in a jar on my fridge). Since i actually trust Vega to be good this review just helps with that to buy or not to buy decision. awesome review

  5. This is such a great review! I didn’t realize both you & Veggie Nook had recently written about Vega One!

  6. […] to know a little more about Vega Products? Check out The Cruelty-Free Review for a comprehensive review of their nutritional shakes! Share […]

  7. Mama's Word says:

    Thank you for the review as well. I have just started a new regime and I am limited to the products and choices I can make by my demographic. I am a Northerner in Canada and access to all choices are not available. I reviewed a few choices in the local pharmacy today and wanted to continue my research online to make an informed choice. Protein+ was another choice for vegan shake options. Do you have any experience or opinion of that brand of shake. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you again for your help.

    • Thanks so much for visiting and I’m glad my review was helpful. Unfortuantely I have not used Protein+ so I can’t comment on it but I commend you for doing thorough research. Really I think that’s your best bet to finding a product that fits your needs, especially when it comes to products you can only get online. I did weeks of research before buying Vega because I wanted to make sure it was worth my money. Good luck with your regimen and I hope you find a product that works for you.

      • Mama's Word says:

        I actually compared protein values and the list of ingredients and it seemed as though Vega One was the one that contained all the essential ingredients. That being said I went with your recommendation of the Vanilla Chai…I am a huge Chai tea drinker and that perked my taste buds as well.
        The first day I tried it with clear cold water and I must say it was less than appealing. Mind you I am not a fan of cold water. I figured I would have to experiment with this to get it right. The second day I tried mixing it with 1/2 cup V8 Strawberry Banana and 1/2 cup water. It was a better taste but too sweet for my liking. So today I tried it with coconut water and it was bang on! I loved it. It went down easy and was not too cold for my liking. With the weather we have been experiencing in the North -51 degrees Celsius it is hard for me to even want something cold to drink. Someone suggested I try mixing it with warm almond or coconut milk. It sounds good, I was just curious if it would manipulate the integrity of the ingredients to warm them up. Have you had any recipes for such a warm drink? Just curious.
        Thank you for your response, greatly appreciated!

      • Wow, I never thought to try it with coconut water. That sounds great! As for the warm drink, I’ve never tried it that way but a quick scan of Google search results show that using it warm doesn’t change the integrity of the mix; some people even said it mixes better in warm liquid. If you come across a recipe that you like I’d love if you shared it!

      • Mama's Word says:

        That is awesome news, thank you and I most definitely will! Cheers!

  8. Nathan s says:

    Hi, just thought I would leave my 2 cents, as I have tried both the Vega One and Proteins+ from genuine health. Let me first say this, the experience is just what happened to me, and everyone is different. I started with Vega One powders as it seemed to be heavily marketed and people I knew took it. I used it as a general supplement while I was working out to get the extra daily’s and proteins. I started getting bad bloating and horrid gas from using it, an issue I find to be common among my friends who were taking it – but they did not care to do anything about the issue. I decided to do a little more digging and asked my naturopath what she recommends. Her recommendation was to switch to the proteins+ blend.. I can say, after several months of use, I am extremely satisfied and now also use greens+ along with my protein shakes. Although Vega One uses many “hot” ingredients such as devils claw, they are not really following a particular protocol on proper doses based off research.. That is the reason my naturopath had me switch. Although there is more stuff in the Vega, there is no research to suggest more is better.. Just marketing. Any way.. Hope this helps someone but really everyone is different and take what you like : )

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. I think you just proved the point that it is vital to do thourough research and go with what works for your body. I’ve read that some people experienced similar stomach issues with Vega. They do have a warning about it on the label and thankfully I didn’t have any of those problems.

    • Lette says:

      I too have experienced horrible bloating and gas from Vega One. I’m currently looking for another supplement I can add to my smoothie to keep me full.

  9. Lisa Lease says:

    I would like to give my recipe. I am new to vega one but have tried hemp protein and soy protein shakes for 6 months now. I tried the chocolate vega one and am in love. One scoop of the powder with 8 ounces vanilla almond or coconut milk, 1/2 cup brewed decaf coffee, 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1Tbsp presoaked chia seeds, and a handful of spinach! This is a 5 point meal for weight watchers and keeps me full for 5 hrs. Hope someone out there can enjoy my recipe too.

  10. brian says:

    Just a note to comment on the person who switched to Protein +. This is of course a whey protein based product derived from cows, whereas Vega is plant based. I have just finished reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Foer, and highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about what they eat and where it comes from.

  11. Sandy says:

    Gas and bloating come from the high fiber content. I am so far enjoying Vega, French Vanilla. IT works quick in the clean out process!

  12. ainsley says:

    This was one of the BEST reviews I’ve read of any product. Thank you. I have had Vega for years and was struggling with when to eat it. I will also try at dinner now that I’ve read this!

  13. Kimberly Rose says:

    I only purchased this product after I learned I was allergic to the soy lecithin in my protein powder, It was the worst tasting shake I’d ever had and I couldn’t cover the weird way it made my tongue feel with any amount of skim milk and fruits blended with it. Also, I had my thyroid removed 7 years ago and have a slow digestive tract as it is. After retreating to isolation for a few days from the horrendous gas it gave me ( I couldn’t even walk without passing gas), I actually feared I was going to have to have an impaction removed. It bloated me terribly and I eventually threw it away. I could not even put it in an oatmeal bake without ruining the taste. And to be honest, this is the first nutritional drink (and I’ve had a bunch in my 45 years (20 of them competitive in physique)) that I threw out. I actually like most drinks, from the top shelf brands to the cheap ones. I would never recommend VegaOne. Ever.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Just like with any other product out there, it’s not for everyone! There certainly seem to be a wide range of experiences and effects and sharing them provides valuable information to those who are looking to try Vega.

      • Coral says:

        Thanks for the review!!!

        Before bed, I had a full scoop and tons of water (to feign fullness lol). The more watered down it was, the more pleasant the taste, and obviously, the less grit/chalk. Sadly, I literally was waking up every 10 minutes with gas! I can’t imagine drinking this in the daytime. I wonder if the gassy effect goes away with continued use and a cleaner diet (?) I’m scared to try haha

        Sooooooo, how is your workout journey??? Did you finish Insanity? What were your results?

      • I’ve never thought about trying Vega at night. I often get the munchies before bedtime and sometimes give in to eating handful of chips or whatever snack food is laying around. I will definitely try a glass of Vega to see if this helps. Thanks for the idea!
        The gas/bloating will go away with regular use. Remember, the ingredients in Vega contain much more fiber than most people eat in their typical diet and it does take some time for your body to adjust to that increased load on the digestive system. The same ‘gaseous’ effect happens when people start overloading their meals with veggies, especially leafy greens. Fiber isn’t absorbed by the body; it passes straight through the digestive system and it has to come out as something, right? 🙂 You could try just a half scoop until you’re adjusted then bump up to a full scoop. Just remember, it’s a small price to pay for the benefits you get from fiber; the feeling of fullness and slower sugar absorption, which in turn leads to balanced blood sugar levels and fewer spikes in hunger. And definitely aim for a cleaner diet. Vega is great but still rely on fresh fruits, veg, and legumes for your nutritional needs.
        Thank you for inquiring about my workout journey. I came very close to finishing Insanity. The first 4 weeks flew by then I hit a wall after the recovery week. The workouts became much longer and harder to fit in my schedule and I developed shin splints that made it hard to do any of the plyometric moves which dominate the second half of the series. I did notice my legs becoming more toned and I developed a love for the high intensity cardio style. I do plan on tackling it again. It will always be a welcome challenge. Sadly I ended up putting on even more weight after losing my job last September and even though I’m working now I’ve had to come from even further behind to get to my goal. I have to fit in workouts where I can and Insanity doesn’t fit in the picture now. I do use what I’ve learned from Insanity and do a lot of tabata workouts-doing high intensity cardio for 20 seconds with 10 second breaks in between sets. Insanity set me up well for being able to handle that kind of intensity.

  14. […] Vega. If you haven’t read my review of Vega One or just need a refresher on my thoughts, hop over here, and then keep […]

  15. Dina says:

    can you have Vega nutritional shake in warm water?

  16. I am sitting here with terrible cramps which I only get after consuming Vega One. Does anyone else have this issue? I tried using only half a scoop this morning hoping this would help but it hasn’t at all.

    • People seem to have radically different reactions to using it for the first time. I have read that people have no side effects at all to those who can’t avoid them regardless of how little they use. Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time.

    • Kolver says:

      I was told that because vega doesnt have “sprouted”grains that it can be hard on your gut. There is another protein shake called raw that has those “sprouted” items. It may be easier to digest.

  17. François Dionne says:

    I used Vega One every morning for more than six months, and the gas/bloating issue never went away, even with a half scoop, so I had to stop using it. This isn’t just about fiber in my opinion; it’s not as if I wasn’t eating right in the first place. Something about the composition of the product is definitely problematic for some people.

  18. Kolver says:

    I actually bought the small container about a month ago. I wasn’t expecting the colour to be green, considering i bought the vanilla flavour. I am not a fan of the texture. It does take some getting used to but i have to think about all the benefits of drinking the shake. When you read the ingredients though i am not surprised at how gritty it stays. There really isn’t anything that will dissolve. I used to use a protein powder called syntha6. That was pretty tasty. But thinking back, was it really all that good for me? I do find that having 1 shake during the day but splitting it up really had helped with my cravings of salty things. Clearly my body is now getting what it needs now.

  19. Toni says:

    I really like Vega One. Using the berry blend right now.

    I have a hard time getting enough protein. I don’t enjoy eating meat and can’t have dairy or soy. I have some major digestive issues after having my gallbladder removed. It all adds up to not enough protein most days!

    I have tried a variety of supplements- from ones like Visalus to others like hemp powders, etcetera. So far Vega One is the one I like the best. Based on taste foremost, then nutrition. I toss a scoop into a smoothie with some frozen fruit and rice milk and call that breakfast. I find it filling enough for my sedantary start to most days 😉

  20. The new vega one is much better tasting then the old one!

  21. David says:

    Thanks for the excellent review on Vega One. I seem to have had the same experience as others with the gas/bloating issues. I have been having protein shakes for years, starting with soy protein but within the last few months have switched to other plant proteins and some whey. I have a protein shake every morning along with a bowl of hot cereal after my morning run or strength workout. My current favorite is VegaSport but I do find it a little too sweet and it does not come unflavoured. I decided to try Vega One to switch it up a bit so bought one sample pack of each flavor. But the first try gave me painful gas, bloating and flatulence (all proteins give me some flatulence but this was extra-bad). I wasn’t sure if it was the Vega One or something else in my diet so I waited a few of days and tried another one with the same reaction. So I took the rest of the samples back for a refund. I have also had the same reaction to pure hemp protein so it could be that component or the greens blend and fiber. I realize it takes some time for your body to get used to the fiber but even trying half servings of the hemp for a few days did not help. I ended up throwing that one out as hopeless.

    But I recently finished a small bottle of Progressive Naturals VegEssential All-In-One and had no adverse reactions while using it. It is very similar in content to Vega One, including hemp protein, but with even more nutrients and antioxidants. It also has more calories but does seem to satisfy me for a longer time. In fact I don’t need to take a multi-vitamin so it offsets some of the higher cost. There are lots of others out there I haven’t tried but this is my 2 cents on these products.

  22. Christine says:

    I use the Vega Protein Smoothie for a high protein/low carb diet (less than 30 grams of carbs a day). It works well as a breakfast meal replacement, then another shake a lunch with a green salad (no pastas or fruits) and olive oil/vinegar dressing or even add a good serving of fish/seafood/lean meat if feeling hungry. Dinner is lean fish or seafood and steamed vegetables.

    When mixing it with water you keep your total calories down. The smoothie provides you with enough protein when following a low carb diet.

  23. Sofia says:

    Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites?
    I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

    • I apologize for the late reply, and thank you for your interest in having me share some info. I have not thought about writing an e-book, and have only been a guest on one other blog, so it is not something I am too familiar with. I will certainly contact you if I feel like it is something I would like to take on though!

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  26. Cynthia nelson says:

    I have started vega one shake its very good but noticed im bloating and gassy plus running to the bathroom. Is this normal? I have celiac and i was hopeing i would feel like thiscleopatrahopkin

  27. wb says:

    Interesting comments. I have been using Vega all-in-one powders for about 4 months now, almost daily, 2 scoops mixed with almond milk and definitely have NOT had intestinal distress every day, but have read on various websites others that have horrible problems. Every now and then (maybe once or twice a week) I do get bloating/gas and maybe twice a month have had liquid diarrhea (no other symptoms, no flu, no illness). Never any vomiting, but that is very unusual for me anyway. I can’t say if it is or is not the Vega; if it is a contributing factor it is weird it doesn’t happen more often. I buy the large tubs, so I think the ingredients I’m ingesting are consistent from drink to drink which makes me think I don’t have an allergy to anything but perhaps just the higher fibre and other factors are related? Not sure but I like the convenience and so I guess it is a trade off.

    • People’s reactions to it really seem to differ so much, and it’s hard to predict if you will or will not have any adverse effects. But like you said, some people like the convenience, so the minor issues are not as much of a problem.

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