In the world on Vegan nutrition, supplements, meal replacements and the like are generally frowned upon. This diet is perfect, supplements are for people who don’t eat enough veggies. etc.
This was my belief as well. The vegan diet is the human diet, to supplement is to imply otherwise..
Well i’ve been playing around with this idea for the past few months. This all started with a shout out to the supplement triphala by High Carb Hannah in her book “Clean and Lean” (If you use my code KarmaKaii you get 10% off your order of this, or any of her Ebooks). I purchased some on Amazon and noticed and immediate improvement in my digestion. My supplement free self began to consume triphala daily, and I was improving because of it.
a few months later I started to experience a string of quasi related symptoms such as a rash, insane sugar cravings, stomach issues, I felt exhausted and was in a constant state of brain fog. I was also struggling with constantly feeling freezing I had headaches for the first time in years, and was just feeling all around icky. It was decided I was struggling with a bout of Candida, probably brought on by 26 years of antibiotic abuse, starting with my chronic ear infections as a kid, and being cemented in by my “pre treatment” for mitral valve prolapse before I could go to the dentist. (more about the link between MVP and Candida here, and here)
In a search for how to treat this issue I found supplementing with apple cider vinegar, and probiotics. Strangely my onset of symptoms was about a week after I STARTED taking ACV. This lead me to think the “flare up” was really Herxheimer reaction. That is to say that I wasn’t getting worse, I was getting better, and my symptoms were a reaction of my body shading the toxic waste of this fungal infection. At Dr.s reccomendations I started Supplementing again, this time with probiotics to help balance back out my tummy bugs and regain some homeostasis. I currently take this one. I began to feel like myself again (although, I believe the final nail in the Candida coffin has been drinking a daily serving of Kombucha tea or water Kefir. =)
What does any of this have to do with meal replacements? Well, having benefited immensely from taking Triphala, probiotics, apple cider vinegar and kombucha, I realized my prior stance on supplements was a little ridiculous. No one has a perfect diet. No diet contains everything we need. Many diets are “good enough” but even those are missing pieces. I fell in love with Garden of Life as a company (check out their website, they make wonderful products) and I decided to allow myself to try meal replacements again.
I bought a few packets of protein/meal shake powders and decided to see what I liked. Heres my verdict:
Vega one is one of the top known vegan meal replacement shakes, it boasts “20g plant-based protein, Veggies & greens, 50% DV of 12 vitamins and minerals, 6g fiber, 1.5g Omega-3 ALA, Antioxidants vitamins A, C and E, 1 billion CFUs probiotics (bacillus coagulans), 160 calories, No sugar added*”
a 19 serving container will set you back $60. Its a pretty nutritionally sound shake, and have 50% of the daily value of a long list of vitamins all coming from whole plant foods.
Flavors “Chocolate, Vanilla Chai, French Vanilla, Natural, Berry, Coconut Almond and Mocha”
I’ve tried everything but Mocha. My verdict: Tastes like chemicals and Stevia. Honestly. I enjoy plain steamed kale, plain raw greens. I love healthy things. This doesn’t taste healthy though, it tastes sickly. I mistakingly bought a tub of Natural, thinking it would be less offensive after trying almost all the flavors. I’ve been fighting to finish it for months.
Garden of Life “Raw Organic Meal Shake & Meal Replacement” & Raw Fit
As I mentioned, I’ve come to LOVE this company and their products. So testing this product out was a no brainer. it packs a similar nutritional profile to Vega one. “20g of Clean Organic Plant Protein per Scoop—all from 13 organic sprouted grains and seeds, Loaded with 44 Superfoods, 5g of Organic Fiber and Only 1g of Sugar, 21 Whole Food Vitamins and Mineral, 1.5 Billion live probiotics plus enzymes to support digestive health” Its also much lower in fat, Raw, and does not contain artificial flavors or sweetners. NO STEVIA.
28 servings for $50 so you’re getting 1/3 (ish) servings for $10 less.
Nutritionally and cost wise Garden of life is the clear winner, but what about taste?
Flavors: Chocolate Cacao, Vanilla, Vanilla Spiced Chai, and Unflavored.
Flavors I’ve tried: All.
Verdict: Delicious. These shakes suffer from the typical “gritty” texture that comes from a plant based meal replacement, but i honestly am not put off by this one bit.
I purchased the Unflavored, since I like to mix my shakes with coffee, fruit, chai concentrate, PB2, or cacao, depending on my mood. Unflavored allows me to do this without concern. if I had the kitchen space I’d buy all the flavors though. Vanilla Spiced Chai is particularly good.
I physically feel more energetic and less hungry with these shakes in my life. It also jives with my minimalist lifestyle, as I now only have to plan out 1 meal a day, less stress, more time. These shakes break down to being pretty damn cost effective too, which is wonderful. Adding these shakes to my life has been a great addition and I intend on keeping them around for a while.
.. Do you take supplements? or drink meal replacements? which ones?