Tag: plants


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


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.



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!!!!



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 — 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!!!