Vega, Sport Protein & Supplements Variety Pack
While shopping for some supplements I decided to pickup the Vega Sport Protein & Supplement Variety pack not knowing much about it other than it was vegan and contained the usual items one might expect from a pre, intra and post work out supplement collection.
Coming from someone who got heavily into bodybuilding (when an omnivore) I am in rehab from supplement addiction. Its all too seductive to expect a bunch bars and powders to do the work a carefully crafted whole-food diet can deliver but I still love the convenience and let’s face it, novelty that these products offer.
Reading the ingredients prior to using the supplements I was happy to see that in addition to being animal product free they also contain all natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners which is something I am trying to avoid where possible.
Lets go through what you get and my experience with them. I used the entire system on the day of a 20k trail race in order to really put it through its paces and then again on a fairly moderate day of training including two runs and a gym session.
Vega Sport Pre-Workout energizer
Ok, so as someone who is a coffee fiend and had his fair share of bodybuilding pre-workout rocket fuel In time I am used to pre-workouts that give you a massive buzz and make your muscles feel like they are going to burst out of your skin. This is not that. Which to be honest is probably a good thing.
That said it is hard to say if its doing anything. True both times I did have good energy levels but I would have regardless. Without the rush you get from excessive caffeine I cant tell how much to credit the supplement. To me the ingredients like green-tea, devil’s claw and ginger don’t really seem like acute performance enhancers, sure some of the ingredients are great in a plant based diet but are they going to make me run faster?
For one thing, they sure do taste like no other pre-workout I have tasted. Herby and natural (you can really taste the turmeric root) much more preferable to the regular artificial “berry” cocktail you get with a basic gym pre-workout.
Vega Electrolyte Hydrator
I have been intentionally using electrolyte supplements less mainly due to wanting to avoid unnatural crap so it was nice to have something other than water in my handheld while racing. Again it tasted much more natural than the regular sports supplement which was much appreciated.
Vega Recovery accelerator
I assume this is meant to take the place of something like glutamine as a post workout amino acid but also be a better ratio of carbs to protein than a regular post workout protein shake would be. Again its impossible to say how effective it is in recovery but it tastes great and has a very interesting ingredient list like maca root and again devil’s claw.
Vega Performance Protein
Now we are getting to the good stuff. Of the sports supplements that are most like real food and have been shown to do what they say protein powder is up there. I have experimented with a few plant based proteins since going vegan and the results have been mixed. Vegan performance protein is one of the best I have tried. It mixes well,not chalky, tastes good, its not too sweet and has not got any artificial additives which is great it also have a few different sources for its protein (did I see pumpkin seed protein in the ingredient list!).
Vega Protein Bar
These protein bars made the buying the whole box worth it. For one its hard enough finding a high protein animal- product-free protein bar (or drink or anything ready to consume) anywhere, but when they taste far better than any other protein bar I have tasted you know you’re onto something good.
Even protein bars than contain dairy or other animal products (from memory) tended to taste dry and artificial but these bars taste like indulgent but wholesome treats! Its funny how most of the non-vegan protein bars contain soy protein where the Vega protein bars are based on rice and pea protein.
I tried the chocolate coconut and chocolate peanut butter flavours and although both were great the peanut butter flavour was hands down the best protein bar I have tried, vegan or not.
As someone who is trying to eat a diet based on whole foods as much as possible products like this should be used sparingly. Some of the ingredients In the pre and post work-out powders seem unnecessary and more like pixie dust than anything useful but perhaps I just have not seen the studies that back up the devil’s claw effectiveness. For the sake of convenience and just plain taste I would recommend both the protein powder and bars to anyone looking for a vegan protein source after a race or hard work out.
If you have a vegan, trail running or any other product you want me to review let me know!