Waaayyy back in September I blogged about Vega protein powders, with the goal of blogging my reviews and opinions on every protein powder I try. I’m behind.
Today let’s talk about Garden of Life! Two of their proteins I’m in love with, the other two are “meh.”
Garden of Life is great about providing supplement options for people following a raw lifestyle. The Raw Protein (with 17 grams of protein and all amino acids per serving) is a raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free protein made from brown rice protein and a whole buncha sprouts: amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, garbanzo beans, lentil, adzuki bean, flax seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, chia seed, and sesame seed. Raw Protein also contains a probiotic and enzyme blend to aid in digestion and comes in six flavors: Original, Chocolate, Vanilla, Vanilla Spiced Chai, Energy (Yerba Mate), and Marley Coffee; however, you’ll only find the last two at Whole Foods Market.
Because of the raw sprouts, this is not a smooth protein; a Blender Bottle is not going to work it’s magic on this baby. You gotta put in an actual blender, Ninja, Vitamix – something. The Original Raw Protein is a great option if you are staying away from all sweetners and mixing in your own fruits and veggies, because there is absolutely no taste, only texture. The Chocolate and Vanilla are fine, and the Vanilla Spiced Chai has the most terrible Stevia after-taste of any protein I’ve ever tasted. I would say, if you want a Chai taste, sprinkle cinnamon in the Vanilla, and there ya go. My top picks are the Energy and Marley Coffee. I’m a coffee addict, and if you mix it with cold coffee, almond/coconut milk, and chocolate flavored greens, you have yourself a little mocha latte. The energy has a nice, subtle cinnamon taste. Be prepared to poo.
Taking the Raw Protein a step further, the Raw Meal is an actual meal replacement, with one serving (2 scoops) being 300 calories. In addition to the protein blend, you also get Millet Sprout, Kidney Bean Sprout, Flax and Coconut Blend, Oat Grass juice, Spirulina, Chlorella, Alfalfa Grass Juice, Barley Grass Juice, Wheat Grass Juice, Strawberry, Cherry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Enzymes and Probiotic Blend. This also comes in the above six flavors, but you gotta get to Whole Foods if you want the Energy and Marley Coffee.
The Raw Meal is ridiculous, and here’s my problem with it: If you only use one scoop, you make a fine, normal smoothie, but you miss out on all the nutritional benefits. If you use the two scoops to get a full 300 calorie serving, you make pudding. If you’re making pudding with the Raw Meal, then you are golden. But trying to drink this thick, chunky goop kicks my gag reflex into action. Ok, wait. There was this one emotional time I blended in a [gluten-free] brownie and scoop of peanut butter to the Chocolate Raw Meal. I questioned my life choices after that, but it tasted alright.
Aaaaaand…if it’s any indication of how terrible the Vanilla Spiced Chai is, I heard many Whole Foods stores discontinued this flavor from their shelves. I’m not lying when I say it’s bad.
Be prepared to double poo.
Raw Fit is great. Last year it was my #1 go-to. It comes in four flavors: Marley Coffee, Original, Chocolate, and Vanilla. All four taste really yummy and have a smooth texture. There’s no problem throwing it in a Blender Bottle on the go. I don’t understand it because Raw Fit contains the same sprouted, raw protein blend as the Raw Protein and Raw Meal, and those two are not smooth.
The Raw Fit contains 28 grams of protein per serving (what???) along with Green Coffee Bean Extract, Ashwaganda, Baobab, Cinnamon, Alfalfa, Daikon Radish, and Probiotic Enzyme blend to help manage stress and support healthy blood sugar levels. It doesn’t say it’s a meal replacement, but with that much protein and 170 calories per serving, it fills me up like a meal. The only downside is there’s only 10 servings per container and falls in the $27-$45 range, depending on the retailer.
Organic Plant Protein
This line of protein is new this year, and I’m in love. It is SO good. You’ll notice this protein is not raw, but still organic, vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. Are you following the Paleo diet, or looking for more Paleo friendly options? The Organic Plant Protein is also grain-free. The 15 grams of protein per serving comes from Pea, Flax, Chia, Pumpkin Seed, Baobab, Cranberry, and Moringa. Right now there are only four flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Energy, and Smooth Coffee. The Organic Plant Protein is smoother than the Fit. These also provide 10 servings per bag, but fall in the $18-$23 range.
Due to my sensitive digestive issues, I noticed a huge difference when I switched to grain free protein – less bloating, feeling lighter, more energy. Many people aren’t affected by grains, but if you are, consider trying a grain-free, gluten=free protein.
Something to keep in mind for all four GOL proteins, the Energy blend includes Yerba Mate extract, B12, and cinnamon for that energy boost. The Marley Coffee options actually have coffee in them; be advised if you have any caffeine sensitivities.