nutritionally-either with too much added sugars, too little protein and not enough vitamins. Vega beats out their competition in both categories.
I've been a long-time fan, and sometimes tell people my goal in life is to move to Vancouver and work for both them and Lululemon. But in the meantime I'll keep enjoying their delicious, nutritous products. I was delighted before my birthday with this amazing package of Vega goodies- their newly launched Vega Sport Line. This line launches off their regular vegan supplement line with increased emphasis on timing of nutrients and increasing recovery time-two things essential to all athletes. Brendan Brazier is a vegan world-renowned triathlete who worked with Vega to develop this line. I'm a huge fan of his books- Thrive Fitness and Thrive and recommend them for their quality nutritional information and recipes. But this line is superb and I just couldn't wait to share it!
Note: You probably won't need Vega Sport if you're walking or going to yoga (which are both excellent forms of activity), but rather for sweat-dripping-down-your-forehead-rawrrrrr exercise.
Pre- Exercise- 20-30 minutes prior to exercise your body needs simple carbohydrates-sugars-to gear up and give you that instant energy you need.
Vega Product: Pre-workout energizer: brown rice syrup gives your body the sugar it needs, with additional green tea and yerba mate for an extra boost. The lemon-lime flavor taste great. I grab this if I'm doing a long workout immediately after getting up-when it's super easy to grab while still half-asleep and if I'm in a rush.
During exercise: If your physical activity is less than an hour, you don't need to worry about eating or drinking anything besides water during exercise. However if you are working out for over 60 minutes your body is going to need additional simple carbohydrates (sugars) to help maintain energy levels, and prevent you from relying just on muscle or liver glycogen. Usually liquids or gels are easiest (unless you're an ultra marathoner no one really wants a pb&j while working out).
Vega Products: Electrolyte Hydrator. A non-calorie electrolyte supplement that uses stevia instead of aspartame or splenda. I prefer lemon-lime to pom-berry.
For longer workout there is the Endurance gel. With sugar from dates, and fat from coconut oil this is great for endurance events like half and full marathons. This is was the one product that I did not like-the taste is not something I would want mid-exercise. But I tend to shy away from anything berry flavor so it could just be me.... for now i'll stick to the Clif gels....
Post Workout: The correct post-work out meal-eaten within 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise will help to reduce recovery time. A 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, as well as additional compounds like antioxidants, electrolytes and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation is the ideal meal to help muscles heal and increase in strength faster.
Immediately after exercise-Your window of opportunity for optimal muscle recovery is within 30 minutes of ceasing activity. If you work out away from your kitchen, it's important to remember to pack something. Again you want a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carb to protein (PB & J meets this one. Or look at the nutrition label. 30g carb to 10g protein, etc). You need more protein than carbs to give your muscles glycogen to store, but some protein facilitates better glucose
Vega product: Recovery accelerator: 4:1 ratio of carb to protein, and I loved the tropical flavor. This powder also has turmeric and cayenne which are super anti-inflammatory spices!
After exercise: within 1-3 hours is when you want to replenish your protein stores to help build back muscles. Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are the best type of protein to aid in muscle re-synthesis.
Vega Product: Chocolate Sports Protein Powder is a blended plant based protein of brown
rice, pea and hemp. I like this much better than a whey or soy protein because it's more whole food-not just isolated compounds. It's also extremely allergen friendly and easier to digest. BCAA. This protein powder has a delicious creamy taste that i have been unable to find in any other vegan powders. It even passes the "boy-test". I made my "lil" brother try the smoothie:
(14 years old, but has surpassed me in height and activity level. He's currently in both basketball and hockey and spends 16 hours a day running around)I blend 1 scoop with 1 banana, almond milk as a base and mix in any combination of: espresso shot (for the morning), peanut butter, almond butter, frozen dark cherries, mint oil, cayenne powder.
Chocolate coconut protein bar. This is the most delicious vegan protein bar I have ever tasted. I'm obsessed with it. 240 calories, 15 g of protein (pea, and whole grain brown rice), 4 g of fiber, gluten free.
The only downfall to Vega? Their price tag may make this product not an option for a lot of people. But I truly believe that you get what you pay for, and this is definitely one instance where they have pulled above and beyond their competitors and are well worth the splurge.
But because I love Vega and all of you oh so much there's a Giveaway!
I want to share the Vega love, so will mail one winner an assortment of products from the Vega Sport Line (shown above). Entering is very simple:
- 1 entry for commenting below on your favorite way to refuel after exercise
- 1 entry for tweeting "Enter @ElizabethEats #giveaway of @VegaTeam Sport http://tinyurl.com/7gzm4gt #vegan #athlete"
I'll pick a winner next Friday, December 23rd-right before Christmas Weekend and will have it out to you before the New Year-that's my little way of saying thank you this holiday season! Here's to you and yours!