SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight is ON: Vega

On our journey toward finding the perfect shake, we found Vega @target and figured we would start here. Go Canada! This is a Canadian company based out of BC, very transparent with ingredients, social media savvy, too. Their customer service via Twitter (@vegateam) was awesome, as they answered my questions within 24 hours. Nice job.

Everyone is concerned about getting enough protein, and cutting out sugars. So let’s dig deeper.

Protein content is 20 g/serving from pea protein (the body can only absorb so much at once, so too much protein isn’t always a good thing!). Pea protein is a great source of plant-based protein, which I am a huge fan of, and especially since peas pack in extra powerful greens to clean our your insides, and are low on the allergenicity scale (peas are on the EWG’s site for the Dirty Dozen) as most can tolerate this plant protein when compared to cow’s milk and whey protein for instance.

Perks Grade: 4.5/5

  • Non GMO — we don’t want anything sneaking around in our shakes!
  • Gluten free — nothing to clog up our digestion, mood and other
  • Plant-based — go plant power!
  • No soy or dairy ingredients — low allergenicity, and super clean energy power
  • Spirulina — added cleansing, green power
  • Digestive enzymes: bromelain from pineapple (bonus to help you digest what you are ingesting!)
  • Customer service was wonderful, highly engaging and responsive
  • Calcium from marine algae — this form of calcium will be much more absorbable than from other places, including the old myth that milk has tons calcium! False. Here is what @vegateam told me in regards to their sourcing:

“The organic marine algae that we use is made from a wild-harvested marine red algae harvested in the Atlantic Ocean. A particular species of marine algae (Algas Calcareas) draws calcium and other minerals from sea water by attaching itself to pieces of seaweed and digesting the minerals from the water. As the tiny algae attaches to the seaweed and collects the minerals it slowly grows in size, eventually growing to about the size of your hand. When fully-grown, the algae naturally washes up on the beach, where it is collected in small, sustainable batches. After being picked and cleaned on shore, the plant is minimally processed by being dried by the sun and ground within 48 hours.”

  • Vegan — friendly for all if not most diets
  • 100% recycled bottle — great for the environment!

Ingredient Grade: 4/5

B vitamins:

No specification for type of Vitamin B12 — thoughts on various B12, B6 sourcing, folate (a much more useful form of this B vitamin than inactive folic acid). I would have liked to see more on the type of vitamins found in their formula, aka are they in their activated states?

For instance, Vitamin B6 can be phosphorylated (activated) in the body into the P5P form, which is much more bioavailable in the body, which means it works on many, many more of the enzymatic pathways found in the body at the physiologic level providing ultimate benefit for your nervous system, bone health, red blood cell formation, energy production, and the list goes on.

B12 on the other hand gets methylated into its active form and works wonders in your body. Methylcobalamin is the most bioavailable form in your body, much more so than cyano-, hydroxo-, etc. Which is supplied in this formula? Not too sure since it is not clarified.

Allergenicity Grade: 4.5/5 (higher means great choice for those with allergies)

  • Sugar content: 1g/scoop, and no sugar added (ALWAYS LOOK AT THIS FIRST!!!!)
  • Natural vanilla flavor — thoughts on ‘natural’ flavors, aka what on earth is a natural ‘flavor’? I feel that this term is somewhat of a myth, as the flavor has to come from somewhere, and in this case sourcing is not specified. Ideally, we do not want any additional flavors of any kind coming into our diets, for the most clean and pristine insides and out possible.
  • Sea salt — I’d like to know which type of sea salt they use!! We love pink Himalayan and grey Celtic salts, as they are packed with minerals straight from the earth, that help balance thyroid function and metabolism via electrolyte balance and so much more.
  • Stevia extract — does this formula include plant-based stevia or is it powdered? Did you know that you can grow your own Stevia! Eating the leaves or plopping them straight into a cup of your favorite TEA is amazing and so much fun for you and the kids. DIY sweetness 🙂
  • Monk fruit extract — great antioxidant but without the added sweetness calories
  • Xanthan gum — neutral ingredient, binding agent and complex sugar molecule, although some with digestive issues might want to stay away from this ingredient in particular
  • Acacia gum — neutral, and pretty harmless gum (demulcent, soothing agent) which is soluble in water and is basically a long sugar chain
  • Sunflower seed oil — why is this included?? (halfway down the list) — thoughts on where ingredients rank on the list of ingredients i.e. first vs last, you want your ingredient list to top out with the highest concentration of what you want at the top of the list!

-Greens: 3g/ serving (pretty decent and yummy sounding)

  • Tons of fresh fruits and greens listed

-Fiber: 16% DV ~ plant-based fiber is awesome!!

  • Flax
  • Hemp
  • Inulin from chicory root

-Omega-3: 1g (a bit low, but at least there is some, likely from the healthy fatty seeds)

-Calories: 130 cal/serving (pretty average but great as its own meal on the go!)

***Overall Grading for VEGA Shake: A***

Let’s get our hands on some Vega and start creating some awesome recipes, Laura. Anyone have any fun suggestions to get us started?

Cheers to delicious & nutritious shakes,

Dr. Brodsky

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