Author: DrLaurieND

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

Newsflash: PlantFusion makes a ready-to-drink version of their shake — and I cannot WAIT to review it!!

shake

What’s In It?

The Pro’s

  • Stamped for approval in ALL main categories for a healthy beverage: gluten free (wheat free!), dairy free, rice free, soy free, vegan/no animal, making this a highly hypoallergenic formula (which means great for more people, and easy to digest and tolerate for those with allergies).
  • Certified nonGMO, meaning there are no lingering genetically modified organisms in your beverage aka a super clean way to get your protein and nutrients!
  • More protein than competitors, and less sugar = more of the good stuff (but not too much), and less of the bad stuff (the LESS sugar the better!)
  • Protein in the formula is a clever combo of pea protein isolate (I do wish it wasn’t a processed isolate), artichoke (great source of nutrients and fiber as well), sprouted amaranth (power-grain), organic sprouted quinoa

Is there any sneaky stuff hiding in the formula?

  • Alpha Galactosidase: what is this really long word? A super cool enzyme that helps break down and digest carbohydrate-rich foods especially cruciferous green veggies like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower which typically cause gas and bloating.
  • Bromelain: I’ve RAVED before and I’ll RAVE again about this digestive enzyme from pineapple, chosen likely due to its super protective abilities which enhance digestion, calm inflammation, heal infections, mitigate joint pain, ease allergies, asthma and even speed up recovery post injury.
  • Glycine: a muscle-building, brain-boosting amino acid that benefits your whole body! Great choice here. It also supports gut health, regeneration of collagen, promotes healthy sleep and calms the nerves. Ahhh…
  • Selenomethionine: selenium is an awesome choice of trace mineral chosen to protect your heart, thyroid health aka metabolism and prevent cancer.
  • Evaporated cane sugar: at least it is nonGMO sugar cane, but still…
  • Certainly not an all organic formula, including synthetic vitamins such as their Vitamin E, Vitamin A as beta carotene, folic acid and cyanocobalamin (wish they used folate and methylcobalamin for higher quality and better absorption into the body instead!)

The Con’s 

  • Carrageenan: this thickening food additive, although derived from seaweed and seemingly innocent, can cause quite a few side effects including inflammation, insulin resistance, various digestive concerns, immune imbalance and even some types of cancer. Best to avoid products that contain it.
  • Natural Flavor, Natural Vanilla Flavor and Natural Vanilla Non-Dairy Creme: what’s with all the flavoring? Did you know that ‘natural flavors’ are completely processed and made up of 100+ chemicals? How on earth can you call this natural?!
  • Fructose: one of the WORST ways to sweeten a formula! Why’d they choose fructose?! You might be more familiar with the term high fructose corn syrup, because they are processed in the SAME way, and the liver must work extra hard to metabolize this type of sugar since our other cells cannot do it. When our cells cannot absorb or metabolize fructose or glucose, and have become resistant to insulin, we are setting up a metabolic storm: prediabetes, leaky gut, obesity, heart disease, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased mercury levels, etc…. Too much fructose in your body also contributes to fatty liver disease, which is just one of the myriad of scary down-stream effects this type of fruit sugar can have on our physiology. Do not consume products with fructose if possible.
  • Sunflower Oil: an inflammatory omega-6 oil that one should not be consuming on a regular basis, especially if we are to be eating clean diets that mitigate inflammation, aka with a Mediterranean-style diet packed with omega-3 fatty acids along with colorful fruits and veggies, fresh wild caught fish, raw nuts and seeds, avocados and olive oil (plus organic red wine and dark chocolate!!). YUM!

I feel that this is a REALLY tricky formula to evaluate. I really, REALLY wanted to fall in love with it, but the ready-made shake just isn’t quite all the powder was designed to be. I would have to grade this product a B- due to the long and intricate list of Con’s listed above, despite the fact that there were so many GREAT additions which tried to make this formula stand out from the crowd.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

Ready for more?! Herbalife is a HUGE MLM company… let’s see how their doTERRA TrimShake product compares to the competition in terms of nutritional content according to their label, sourcing and quality of ingredients. Is it truly as Slim & Sassy as they claim?

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What’s the Stuff Made of?

Upon first glance, the label seems quite nice with their complex protein blend comprised of pea protein, quinoa and amaranth. All delicious gluten-free grains mixed together into a grainy combo despite the fact that we aren’t sure how much of each grain is actually in each scoop.

Also, if you scroll down on the ingredient list, you will see potato protein powder. Cool idea/concept, even in terms of nutrition — but is this white or sweet potato?! The source of potato is likely GMO though, so I wouldn’t jump the gun here, especially since potatoes make number 12 on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.

Pro’s

  • Zero added sugars
  • Ashwagandha: One of my all-time FAVE adaptogenic herbal ingredients is used in this formula. If you aren’t familiar with it yet, you should be. Adaptogenic herbs help your body bounce back from/recover from stress, which we all experience throughout the day. To help mitigate the long-term detrimental effects of stress on our physiology and metabolism, using some type of adaptogen can be extremely helpful for most people. Other benefits may include better sleep and more energy throughout the day — who wouldn’t benefit from that?!

Con’s

  • Nowhere on the label did they include anything about the sourcing of their ingredients, meaning that this product is not certified organic nor is it guaranteed to be free of GMO ingredients which are likely lingering throughout this formula.
  • Fiber content is slightly below average at 4g/scoop — try to aim for at least 25g/fiber in your diet each day! You would need at least 6 scoops to barely achieve this dosage of critical fiber each day, and that is WAY over the top.

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Laura chose the vanilla flavor this week, and despite their use of ‘fancy’ fiber aka fibersol-2 and guar gum, these numbers/ingredients aren’t too impressive.

  • According to their site, fibersol-2 is “digestion-resistant maltodextrin is a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent containing 90 percent dietary fiber” — aka a highly likely GMO product bulking up the powder itself. We do not want to add any type of hormone disruptors to our diets, especially on a regular or daily basis, so please look for products with the nonGMO stamp of approval.
  • Sunflower — sunflower WHAT?! Sunflower seed? Sunflower oil? Ground up sunflower? Very unclear.
  • Natural flavors — learn more info about how natural flavors is one of the most vague terms currently allowed to be listed on labels, as these can be made up of over 100 different compounds and are as far from natural as one would imagine.
  • Vitamins and minerals — seems like they put in lots of thought for their product, although these are purely synthetic forms of the vitamins/minerals depicted by the fact that they are not directly food-based
  • Zinc oxide — did you know that this shake includes an ingredient you may also find in your sunscreen?! YUCK!
  • Vitamin A acetate — extremely hazardous according to the EWG since it is synthetic
  • Vitamin B12 — which form is used? Likely the cheapest one, which also happens to be absorbed into the blood stream the worst.
  • Folic acid — can be toxic for some who lack the enzymes to metabolize, so please only choose folate when it comes to the critical B vitamin (not folic acid)!!!

Overall Impressions:

Grade C- will be given to this product, due to its efforts to try to create a thoughtful ‘gluten-free’ product, but lack of depth into sourcing and quality for it’s other main ingredients, including non-organic and GMOs lingering throughout — not to mention stuff you’d find in your sunscreen!

 

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone!

This week we are featuring a brand I am very excited about: Burt’s Bees. I don’t know about you, but when I think about Burt and his Bees, I think about lipgloss, organic baby cotton clothes, toys and even bedsheets. But protein powder?! This is a brand new venture for them and I look forward to getting deeper into their product. Here we go…

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Looks super cute and fun, right?! Vanilla flavor, organic pea protein, plant-based protein shake.. they have all the key buzz words. So far, so good…

The basics: GRADE A

Sodium: 210mg, or 9%, meh. Aim for less than 6-8% whenever possible for sodium.

Protein: 15g/serving. Good balanced serving size, and from peas, brown rice and even sunflower seeds. Yummy sounding.

Servings of fruits and veggies: 4.5 — pretty decent in one glass! Their fruit and veg nutrient blend includes tons of colorful fruits and veggies, along with shiitake mushroom for a bonus kick of vitamin D and immune support.

Stamps of approval: GF (gluten free), Soy-free (yippee!!), Non-GMO, Dairy-free. Well done, Burt.

Expiry date: well listed, along with organic, non-GMO stamps.

 

Now for the fun part… What is IN this protein shake, and what is it made of???

Questionable ingredients:

  • Honey powder: maltodextrin (usually from corn, and might contain added MSG or other non-ideal sourcing issues…)
  • Natural flavors: NO way of being actually natural, as they are flavorings
  • Partially hydrolyzed oat flour: some suggest that this form of processing may even be suitable for those with Celiac disease, although the flour is derived by acid or other enzyme.
  • Carrageenan: WHY on earth, Burt, did you include this in your product? I mean, I understand that carrageenan can be added to instill a false sense of creaminess, or flowy texture, but from a health perspective it is a HUGE DANGER as it is carcinogenic — which means get it out of your diet!!!! This filler can be found in many organic ‘health’ foods so please read labels and do your best to avoid products that have this.

OVERALL rating for this product: I wanted to give this a solid GRADE A, although due to the questionable ingredients, I must resort to a final GRADE of A-.

PS Burt, if you’re reading this, you were steps away from a nearly perfect shake — get rid of the carrageenan please!!!!

 

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

This week, let’s explore a brand, which on first glance appears to be somewhat misleading since it promotes some hard-to-miss claims that make it easy for just about anyone to fall for:

  • ‘ZERO BELLY’ — that’s a LOT to promise. Do you really want ZERO belly?? Keeping fit to achieve zero belly fat may be a goal for some people, but the name is a far stretch and can be off-putting for many others.
  • Reduce visceral fat (this is the fat that develops around our organs to prevent acidity, any toxicity etc. from penetrating deeper into the actual organs — yup it’s protective in one sense, but also a scary type of fat that is metabolically active and is considered its OWN organ system!) by 10% — yet another promise that is extremely hard to prove/guarantee. (There are some really cool scales you can find on Amazon that can track your visceral fat, and you can watch the number melt away as you shed weight, especially if you’re following a healthy lifestyle plan that works for you.)

zero belly

Cute how they add a dazzling recipe to the back of the package, though! Makes it easier to get started ASAP. Nice wording too, but all seems a bit too good to be true.

What’s it MADE of?

  • Protein blend of pea protein concentrate, hemp protein — nice choices here, although keep in mind that any concentrates have been highly processed compared to their whole food counterpart.
  • Sweetened with stevia — organic? Likely not..
  • Prebiotic corn fiber — although it says non-GMO, ingesting too much corn in your diet in this form isn’t ideal, especially since the package is not stamped with the official non-GMO seal of approval.
  • Natural flavor — red flag! No ‘flavor’ can be considered ‘natural’ if/when it’s created in a lab.
  • Ashitaba (chal curb angelica keiskei) is a plant that does not have much research supporting its use in humans. Many of the studies, as denoted by WebMD, are done in test tubes and animals, so we aren’t too clear about its’ effects or mechanism of action in our body. That doesn’t make me feel too comfortable… Along with the statement that there isn’t yet enough research to denote safety of this plant, WebMD also claims that this plant is used to treat:

    heartburn” (gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD), stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, constipation, and hay fever. It is also used for cancer, smallpox, fluid retention, blood clots, and food poisoning. Women use it to increase the flow of breast milk.” –>Why would I want this in my smoothies to address weight management?! Especially not on a daily or regular basis.

  • Might be a typo on their packaging, but organic inulin is in parasyntheses along with the bacillus strain — was this on purpose? Not sure what this even means.
  • Lacking information on organic sourcing of ingredients, along with nonGMO certification stamp for their use of ‘non-GMO’ corn.
  • Although the site makes tons of claims about the quality and efficacy of their probiotic strain GBI-30 6086, this SINGLE strain, Bacillus coagulans, is merely one in a sea of trillions of other probiotics living in our gut maintaining the health of our immune system, which makes me skeptical as to how on earth this one single isolated strain (does this strain even survive on its’ passage along the digestive tract and throughout the gut?!) make all the difference for your digestion? I remain highly skeptical, and uneasy.
  • Rule of thumb: To make any difference in our gut, I like to recommend products that include at minimum 7-10+ different strains of probiotics.

Overall GRADING: This product receives a B- since it uses herbs that aren’t supported well in the research for weight management in humans, there is only one single strain of probiotic used in the whole blend, no stamps of organic or nonGMO approval which would step it up in terms of quality of ingredients, including corn. Too many claims made that might lead the consumer astray. Lack of transparency! Typos on their packaging.

Despite the GRADE B-, this brand is getting such a relatively high grade since it was creative in its’ marketing and use of plant-based power to achieve reduction in weight.

Fingers crossed that it tastes good without lingering aftertaste!

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

Hi guys! Hope you had an amazing weekend. Just got home from a quick weekend getaway to New York for a wedding at one of the city’s most stunning venues, the Botanical Garden, and now I feel somewhat refreshed and ready to go. 😉

This week we will take a peek into Arbonne’s Essentials version of a Shake Mix. I don’t know about you, but when I think about this company I think of makeup, and lotions — not necessarily food. Let’s see how their version of the shake hold up against the competition.

vanilla front arbonne

Right off the bat, you can see that they labeled using the Vegan and certified GF (Gluten-Free) stamps, which is nice that they put some thought into their ingredient quality and proudly stand behind their product. I was not able to locate what the third stamp signifies, however, and what it means to be tested by GI Labs. Please do let me know!

vanilla

Purely looking at the Supplement Facts (left-hand side of the packet) you can see that there are 9g of sugar in each serving, which is a relatively hefty dose of sugar to indulge in all at once — and especially considering that it comes from sugar cane (eliciting a HUGE surge of insulin from your pancreas and thus crash afterward — a very dangerous pattern setting up metabolic imbalance at the cellular level).

Lots of the so-called nutrients included in the packet are synthetic, and likely not derived from botanicals, but rather oil or corn starch… The reason I say this is because they list the vitamins and minerals with all of the least absorbable, cheapest non-active forms of each nutrient, which makes the body work REALLY extra hard to TRY and convert them to active form, and the dosing is probably so low that the body retains little to NONE of the good stuff that is supposed to make this drink ‘good’ for you. For instance, cyanocobalamin is the least absorbable form of vitamin B12, and folate is given as folic acid — neither of which we want to consume in these forms. They do nothing good for our cells!

I do, however, commend the brand for utilizing key antioxidants in their G-PLEX, great for cleansing and cellular repair, including Coenzyme Q10 (but I am not sure which form they are using and which type and how much!!) — which is fat soluble and better absorbed since they’ve added some flax seed. Flax seed on the other hand, is quite delicate and doesn’t fare well when blended or broken down in any way, and goes rancid if not refrigerated once ground up. The shelf-life is probably not so great with this product, and you should not consume it anywhere near and certainly not past the expiry date.

Alfalfa, kelp powder and ginseng, albeit are great medicinal ingredients, but where are they sourced from?? This is a VERY pertinent question — since ginseng comes in many varieties, and can serve different purposes in the body depending on quality and dosage especially. Kelp is an AWESOME source of iodine and trace minerals fabulous for the thyroid, but how much is actually in there?? We aren’t told on the label.

Protein types are interesting and somewhat fun: pea protein isolate (too bad it is so broken down!), cranberry protein and rice protein. If this formula were to be made organic, I would be able to trust it a lot more, seeing as the next ingredients in the list are sugar cane (yikes!), then sunflower oil. This is an omega-6 highly inflammatory oil that we do NOT want any extra in our diet, especially if it is processed and not labeled nonGMO as in this case.

Corn starch is an interesting place to hide sneaky ingredients, including GMO ingredients, so I tend to avoid anything with corn that isn’t clearly marked and stamped with the non GMO seal of approval.

Gummy gum gum. Guar gum I have spoken about before as an emulsifier that is a pretty good source of fiber, but can be allergenic for some people and cause GI disruptions in others. We do not want a steady or regular dose of this in our diets if we can avoid it, as it is also found in many toothpastes, lotions, baked goods, medications, shampoos and more. Gum acacia is yet another fiber source from plants, but can cause similar types of allergic reactions in some susceptible people.

Overall, not overly impressed with the vanilla, nor surprised, but the quality of this product doesn’t excite me whatsoever. Lackluster nutrient quality mixed with some potential GMO ingredients, inflammatory oils and cane sugar just doesn’t sound like something I want to consume in my diet — EVER!

Overall GRADE C for Vanilla shake powder.

Now for the chocolate…

arbonne chocolate

All is the same as above, except they add cocoa powder to make it a chocolate ‘flavor’ — but they don’t tell us they type or quality of their cocoa, which actually does make a HUGE difference in terms of taste, health benefits for the body, and more.

Again, Arbonne includes too much of the oily sugars to make this product considered nutritional or beneficial for the body — but they were certainly headed in the right direction using pea protein, cranberry and even rice protein in their mix.

Grade A for ingredient creativity! Definitely on the right track though, keep up the great research! 😉

OVERALL Grade for chocolate and vanilla flavors: C. Lack of quality of ingredients/nutrients, actual ingredients used (sugars, oils, etc), sourcing of ingredients/synthetic, lack of disclosure of GMO or organic status, nutritional value. 

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT — Happy Mother’s Day!

Last week was PlantFusion’s regular plant-based blend, and they got a pretty good grade. Now let’s upgrade to their Organic Plant Protein and see how they do!

I am a huge proponent of you are what you eat, AND digest. You can eat anything your heart desires, but what are you really getting out of it? The more nutrition you pack into each meal or snack, the more there is to get out of it, whether it be more nutrients, minerals, vitamins, all which help your body run optimally for health and wellbeing.

This is why I encourage you to be as picky as possible when it comes to the quality and sourcing of the food you eat. Eating organic doesn’t always mean best, but it does assure you that your food has been held to some degree of quality based upon avoidance of various chemicals or pesticides that can linger into our diet, and one step further is eating foods with the non GMO label, which helps ensure that our strawberry is actually JUST a strawberry, for instance, without any additional genes or DNA spliced in for added color. Make a pledge to EAT REAL FOOD, and you cannot go wrong.

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The above pic is from their website, as they outline their use of cleaner, plant-based protein which is a great place to start. When you use the power and energy of plants to power your day and your muscles, you can rest assured that the body can utilize it more effectively, and thus assimilate more nutrients from it. This is the point: eat foods that nourish you. Avoid junk that is hard to break down and gather nutrients from.

Many of the whey proteins and isolates from other brands pose a large challenge for the body, and this over time, can create allergenic reactions, and more, throughout the body. The immune system is being challenged when it has other more important things to do, like searching out, tagging and destroying cancer cells, among a myriad of others. Let the immune system to its’ job by avoiding typically allergenic foods (think soy, gluten, corn, nonGMO food, etc) and instead nourish your cells with the good, clean stuff.

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Let’s check out the ingredient list:

Fiber: GRADE A

From what I gather here, they are using inulin which is organic, and a great source of prebiotic fiber for the body (ideal for feeding your but bacteria), as their primary ingredient. Right off the bat you are getting extra fiber to help move the metabolized toxins OUT of your body via the large intestines, and this is a great thing. Some people have trouble digesting inulin, such as those following the FODMAP diet, so make note if you experience any gas or bloating with this formula, and check in with your gut flora balance. Inulin also provides many other health benefits, including:

  • heart health
  • metabolic imbalance
  • weight management
  • digestive upset including constipation
  • IBS and other..

Ingredient Safety: Grade B

Xantham Gum, which I’ve spoken about before, is a stabilizing, emulsifying and thickening agent used in a whole slew of products and foods, lotions, medicines, dressings, toothpastes, yogurts, you name it. Did you know that it is made via sugar fermentation with the help of the bacteria Xanthomonas campetris, and is then alcohol-dried and finally, ground into a fine powder.

I would have preferred them to list the amount they are using in their formula, since consuming less than 15g of the stuff is what is considered safe. Would have given a higher grade here if they told us how much is in the formula, or if they used flax or chia instead!!

Sweetness Factor: Grade A

Organic stevia, if you like the taste, and you cannot go wrong. Ideally they extracted it from a real plant, and sweeten just to taste — and not too much! I am sure Laura can speak more here.. If you want to grow your own Stevia plant, it would be such fun, and you can simply pluck the leaves straight into your tea!

Flavoring: Grade B

Natural vanilla chai flavoring blend? First off, what is in this so-called blend of natural flavors, and where can one find a ‘natural’ (aka from nature!) source of vanilla chai?! It was likely created in a lab, and is false marketing, despite the fact it is organic AND natural.

Overall Ingredients: Grade A

Keep in mind that their ingredient list is considered VERY short and concise, compared to just about EVERY other formula we have examined, and this makes my job easier, and easier for you to read about, learn about and enjoy, too… Nice job.

Silica and Sea Salt: Silica is an extremely versatile mineral, and most of us know it for its’ help in the department of hair, skin and nails. Keep in mind that it is also useful for:

  • heart
  • joint
  • bones
  • digestive
  • immune
  • detoxification
  • cognition

Where can we get more minerals in our diet? High quality sea salt. We prefer pink Himalayan Sea Salt, and Celtic salt which is a nice grey color. Fresh from the earth, containing all of the earth’s precious minerals to feed the teeniest enzymatic pathways throughout the entire body. Don’t skimp out on your salt.

From their site:

“At PlantFusion, we naturally prefer “the whole food” approach.   So instead of using high doses of a few strains of isolated probiotics, we use living fermented foods which contain hundreds of strains of probiotics, enzymes and natural cofactors, just as they exist in nature.  The end result is a broader range of beneficial bacteria to support digestion in a way that you can actually feel.”

  • This is a fantastic philosophy to live by, and is really helpful when thinking digestive health. The more nutrition you get from real, live foods including fermented foods, the better.

“What does PlantFusion Organic have in common with foods like Greek Yogurt, Kombucha, and Kimchi?”

The answer is fermented foods, which have soared in popularity as people take advantage of their ability to improve digestive health and overall well-being.  Digestive issues often are the # 1 difficulty people experience with protein shakes.  Symptoms range from bloating, to gassiness, and even serious cramps.  No matter how it may feel, this is your body’s way of telling you that it does not have the necessary tools to properly digest and effectively use the proteins consumed.   The proprietary fermented foods blend in PlantFusion Organic Protein gives your body the metabolic toolbox needed to actively break down the proteins into shorter peptides and amino acids for easier, more efficient use by the body.  At the same time, the active cultures help normalize the balance of flora in your digestive tract for better overall digestive health.


I really enjoy the simplicity of the site, the quality of the product, the care put into creating this organic formula, and I hope the taste is as good as it looks/sounds. Hopefully, you feel energized and ready to go after drinking this shake, since it’s packed with tons of plant-based ingredients that your body is sure to love.

No added sugar, bonus digestive enzymes, fermented and sprouted foods, and plant-based power. AWESOME.

OVERALL GRADE A: I am VERY excited to get my hands onto this formula!!!

SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT

The last few shakes we’ve looked at didn’t get the best grades (sorry about that!). Let’s see how the plant-based formula of the week, PlantFusion, holds up against the competition (nutritionally speaking of course). Here’s what the label looks like:

plant fusion

 

Pretty cute looking, right? I mean, I was almost fooled by the look and sound of this brand, smearing PLANT PLANT PLANT all over the container. And when you take a look at their proprietary PlantFusion AA Protein Blend, you just about WANT to love it. Here’s why I gave this section a GRADE B+:

  • pea protein isolate (albeit very stripped-down ingredient, pea protein is one of the highest quality plant-based protein sources currently available AND peas are way down low on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, meaning organic or not, these little munchkins are a great protein choice)
  • artichoke protein: artichoke provides really clean starches, B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, etc.
  • sprouted amaranth powder: what’s the deal with things being sprouted? When you pre-soak your grains overnight, you are actually feeding the little seedlings within, thus releasing the grains’ key nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins and folate, fiber, and other proteins… not to mention that sprouting your grains can lessen the allergenic load on your system — great for those with all types of grain sensitivities. Amaranth is a beautiful little gluten-free seed (like quinoa) that provides an awesome punch of protein, fiber, high digestibility, and amino acid lysine (not found in too many other places) great for energy and muscle protection.
  • sprouted quinoa powder: quinoa contains one of the higher ratios of protein and fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), manganese.. each with a specific role in the teeniest enzymatic pathways working hard to keep your cells young and fresh 24/7. Love it!

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As for the Enzyme Blend, first of all, I am SO impressed and happy that they supply bromelain — one of the BEST antioxidants you can find — that comes from the juicy, tropical pineapple. Only issue is that we aren’t sure HOW MUCH bromelain is actually IN their proprietary blend, as it also contains ‘other’ naturally occurring enzymes. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that helps breakdown inflammation, and is super powerful when it comes to healing all types of digestive disorders, allergies, asthma, sinus infections, and even joint pain. Best when taken AWAY from food for some of these disorders, but that’s a whole other discussion point.

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Technically, they can use as little of the good stuff as allowed to be part of the label, and then the rest or ‘other’ as filler stuff. Too bad they don’t specify how much you get for your $! GRADE B+ for lack of disclosure.

Now, the Other Ingredient List. Luckily, it’s short. But take a look at the first listed ingredient: Fructose! UGH! Fructose when isolated from whole fruit, can potentially harm the body’s metabolism since our cells cannot properly metabolize it; the liver must do it all (similar to alcohol metabolism). Our liver is already busy enough balancing hormones, vitamins, drugs, detoxification pathways, cholesterol molecules, etc. Excess fructose can contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, etc. Too much fructose on a daily basis can potentially lead to overeating since it can stimulate appetite and encourage overeating, and also fatty depositions within the liver — so let’s keep this out of our daily routines, please. GRADE F

Cocoa: they do not mention the sourcing, nor the type — how was it processed? Very vague.

Flavoring: Can someone please tell me where on earth you can find or buy ‘natural’ cookies and creme flavor?? I will buy it! But as of now, this flavor is certainly NOT natural, and the word natural is just as much a bust as the idea that you can find cookies and creme in nature. Too bad.. GRADE F

Silica, guar gum, natural flavor (what? more ‘natural’ flavor? why?), stevia. Nutritionally speaking, very generic ingredients, nothing exciting or worth trying. Keep in mind that if you have a soy allergy, you might not want to try this brand due to the guar gum. GRADE C for potential allergenicity.

Taking all of this into consideration, I am neither excited nor overly interested in trying this product. Maybe their Organic plant-based protein powder will exceed my expectations as we continue to search for the Perfect Shake!!

OVERALL, I rate PlantFusion with a GRADE B-… Going in the right direction, Laura!