As a new/green explorer and embracer of the vegan/plant-based world, I was very excited to go to Squirrel in South Kensington to talk to Nicole from @FoodPRAgency, Bethan the Vega dietician and Brendan Brazier about Vega’s long anticipated launch in the U.K.
Vega is a plant-based nutrition range and North America’s number one choice of plant-based protein powder. Their products are set to support your will to thrive in whatever it is you want to achieve by adding more nutrients to your diet in a convenient way.
Co-founded by Brendan Brazier – a former professional triathlete and ironman, (who has been plant-based from the age of 15), Brendan went plant-based after trying various diets to help improve his athletic performance. He found that a plant-based diet helped with quicker recovery and an all round better well-being, with improvement in energy levels, skin condition and even quality of sleep. (He’s also a best selling author on plant-based nutrition so the guy knows his stuff!)
Protein is usually associated with weights, bulking, Atkins and mega muscles. Whilst Vega may have come from the brains and brawn of a professional sports person, the products aren’t targeted just at hardcore gym-goers or people who are training. Everyone needs protein in their diet – it helps repair cells and build new ones and they’re important for metabolism, but you don’t need to eat a whole chicken a day to get your requirements.
For me, finding a plant-based protein powder has been an even bigger obstacle to committing to being vegan than letting go of eating poached eggs. I’ve tried dozens and have been continually left with a bad taste in my mouth and a grimace on my face. It’s exciting and reassuring to find a product that tastes good and is equipping my mind and body with the right energy to get me through the day in an accessible way.
I told the team that I was currently just using plain Hemp protein in my shakes (it has a fairly neutral flavour and blends well with green juices.) What’s missing from that is the added nutrients and hemp protein is slow-releasing. Mixed with something like pea protein which is fast releasing will give me more of a balance and would be better for my energy levels.
So what else is so good about Vega?
It’s ‘clean’. When the word first came about, a clean diet implied it was healthy with no additives, no sugar, unprocessed etc. There’s been a lot of misconceptions about the meaning of the word and it’s resulted in a negative backlash of the term.
So just to be clear:
Vega’s definition of ‘clean’ is:
Suitable for vegetarians and vegans
This is printed clearly on all their products to avoid any misconstrues of the term.
The protein powders are low in sugars and made from pea and hemp protein. They are convenient to use – just add to a smoothie, porridge, cereal, pancakes etc and rather importantly, they taste really good!
Whilst the products are plant-based, they’re not just aimed at vegans. They’re aimed at everyone who wants to add essential nutrients and protein to their diets. (Just as vegans need their protein, carnivores need their nutrients!) With this in mind, I’m looking forward to suggesting this to friends who I know rely heavily on whey protein, pre and post workout, but have mentioned issues with digestion and bloating. (Whey can be hard to digest for some people. Vega uses Pineapple enzymes in their products which helps with the breakdown and digestion of the plant protein.)
Vega is becoming a widespread product that breaks down the barrier for people who may be suspicious of plants and what they’re good for. For Vega it’s all about ‘making small, sustainable changes that will make a big difference’ and rather than getting people to eliminate things from their diet, they want people to think about all the goodness they could add to it through things like plant-based smoothies, salads etc. Starting one meal at a time, it’s a sensible and less daunting way to introduce more plant power into the diet of those who fear meat withdrawal. With more people being conscious of how much meat they’re consuming, this could be a great way to help people cut down on relying on animal products for a protein fix.
They’re also conscious about sustainability and having a net-zero carbon footprint, with 100% plant-based ingredients showing their commitment to the planet.
Vega products are NOT a meal replacement. It can be used as part of a weight loss diet plan, but is not marketed for specifically losing weight or being a ‘diet’ food. But if you’re gaining more energy from all the nutrients, you’ll probably be moving around more and have fewer, less healthy cravings.
You can find out more about Vega on their website, where there’s tips, recipes and soon to be a blog. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Vega products are now available in Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic and will be in Holland and Barrett stores and Amazon.com from 1st March. (So maybe instead of giving up something “bad” for Lent, you could make a choice to add more goodness to your diet instead!)
- Vega Essentials (Chocolate or Vanilla) RRP £29.99 (613g tub)
- Vega Clean Protein (Chocolate or Vanilla) £26.99 (552g tub)
- Vega Clean Energy (Strawberry & Grapefruit Infusion flavours) £19.99 (428g tub)
We were lucky enough to get samples of the Vega Essentials (Vanilla) and Vega Clean Protein (Chocolate). With some recipe inspiration from Vega I made 2 delicious smoothies, packed with protein, flavour and nutrients and I’m looking forward experimenting further with the products and incorporating them into my everyday diet.
Squirrel in South Kensington was the perfect venue for such a meet up. An ‘all day fast, casual healthy food and drink concept’, which does breakfast, lunch and all day snacks. They’re not interested in compromising good taste when it comes to making healthy food and have some delicious plant-based options. (I tried the super trash Ginger Spice Warm Grain Bowl and it was misleadingly filling!) Their breakfast is supposed to be really tasty too, I’m definitely opting for the Almond Butter Toast (sans honey) next time!