My friend Kelly (who’s Gluten Free Athlete Profile you can read here) emailed me the other day that a Spinning (TM) student of hers had given her a packet of Vega Sport Performance Optimizer. This product is gluten, dairy, and soy free-and so we were intrigued. The Vega company was founded by Brendan Brazier, who is a profession Ironman triathlete and also a vegan. The Vega product line included the aforementioned sports optimizer, as well as a protein/meal replacement type shake, a smoothie mix, an EFA oil blend, and 2 types of bars. I vaguely think that I have seen at least one of the bars in Whole Foods, and will be checking into that today. All of the Vega products are made of plant based whole foods, and Vega is free of most common allergens including artificial sweeteners, corn, dairy, gluten, soy, wheat and yeast. Hooray!!
Kelly was kind enough to send me her review of the Lemon-Lime flavor of the Sport Performance Optimizer, which I will provide you with in a second. But first-a look at the nutrition.
Here are the nutrition facts from the label:
Per 1 serving (18g):
Calories 70, Fat 0.5g (1%), Saturated 0g + Trans 0g,Cholesterol 0mg, Carbohydrate 16g (5%), Fiber 1g (4%),Sugars 12g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A (8%), Vitamin C (4%), Calcium (2%), Iron (4%).
So taking a quick look I see some fast acting carbohydrates (the sugars) which could certainly help give you a boost for your training session.
Here are the ingredients:(they have them listed as “”medicinal” and “non-medicinal”
Medicinal: Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera) seed, 500 mg; Kombucha(fermented Camellia sinensis) leaf, 500mg; Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) leaf, 167 mg; Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)leaf, 100 mg; Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) root [3% rosavin],
100mg; Ginseng (Panax ginseng) root [4% ginsenosides],100 mg; Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) root,
150 mg; Turmeric (Curcuma longa) root [95% curcuminoids],53 mg; Ginger (Zingiber officinale) root [5% gingerlos), 10
mg; Sodium (Sodium citrate), 57.5 mg; Potassium (Potassium citrate), 50 mg.
Non-medicinal: Organic sprouted whole grain brown rice syrup, organic palm nectar,beta carotene, organic spinach leaf, natural lemon flavor,natural lime flavor, citric and malic acid.
So let’s do a little explanation as some of those may be unfamiliar.
Although Coconut Oil is listed as the first ingredient, it can’t be too much as the fat content is only .5 grams. Kombucha is a component of fermented green tea that may potentially boost immune function. Yerba Mate is a tea, as is the green tea. This will give a little caffeine, although not much as Yerba is caffeine free. Rhodiola is an “adaptogen” which may help with recovery. I like the sodium and potassium, this will help with electolyte balance.
You’re getting your sugars from the brown rice syrup and palm nectar.
So ingredients look pretty good, nutrition is fine if you are looking for a quick energy (sugar) boost pre-workout. The digestion rates of the two carbohydrates are reported to be both fast and long acting.
Here’s Kelly’s review:
“I tried the Vega Sport Natural Plant-based Performance Optimizer this morning. I am pleased to report that I did not suffer any adverse (GI) effects which would have made themselves known in the first 20-30 minutes after taking it. Here was my experience. This product mixes well with water leaving only a few clumps at the bottom of the glass which will stir out easily. It emits a pleasant lemon smell, but its appearance is a bit off-putting. It’s an odd murky-brownish color, but it does have red beets as an ingredient among other things. There are not chemical additives that will require online research to find out what the heck it is before you drink it. Appearance aside, the taste was not nearly as strong as the lemon scent and I found it to be a very pleasant, smooth, lemon iced tea sort of flavor. It is certainly one of the best-tasting supplements I’ve used that have been plant based. I wasn’t sure about how much energy it might deliver compared to something like WTF Pump’d (an ALRI product) or another nitric oxide releaser, but it it packs a solid wallop in the energy department. I used it as a pre-workout supplement and proceeded with my workout as normal. I would certainly use this product again, and do intend to make a little visit to Nature’s Bin tonight to see if they happen to still have any in stock. I now know why this stuff sells out in the blink of an eye!”
So there you go folks. And Kelly is a trustworthy reviewer
The Vega product line certainly seems very promising for those with multiple food allergies, or those who choose plant based nutrition. I will certainly be checking them out more closely.
Have any of you used Vega? What did you think? Post up in the comments! Also, if you would like to be a guest reviewer please contact me and let me know, or if you are interested in being profiled as a Gluten Free Athlete.
As always-for help in negotiating the minefield of nutrition information, please sign up for my free nutrition guide below.
I’m off to Whole Foods to look for Vega!
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