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Category: Nutrition Reviews

About Time Ve

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A guy I shared a VT mountain with for about 20 hours this past winter, at the Winter Death Race, has been ranting and raving online about an awesome protein supplement company. In pics he is always sporting their shirts, etc. I’m pretty sure he’s one of those cool ambassador types, lol! So, I started digging around and reading what people thought about it, and then I noticed they had a plant based line of proteins on top of the other protein mixes they carry. Hmmm…

About Time was gracious enough to send some samples over to test out and here’s what I got for ya.

First, let’s knock out the nutrition facts, which I poached from the About Time website:

About Time Ve™ contains: 24 grams of plant based protein from peas, pumpkins, and brown rice
Essential branch chain amino acids
Infusions of coconut oil powder for healthy essential fatty acids
Digestive enzyme blend
No gluten, no sugar, and just 1 gram of carbs Sweetened with Stevia
Natural flavorings, including Vanilla, Chocolate and Cinnamon Spice

Read more

Review: Vega

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The past year has been a bit of a struggle diet wise. After dealing with some health issues, ie. high cholesterol, and some shifting personal opinions, I went whole food plant based. I have not been perfect, it’s taken some major steps to get where I’m at now. I’m not going to go into that whole thing about plant based, veganism or vegetarianism and try to sway your opinion on it, what you believe is what you believe and you have the right to eat whatever you want. This review, like any other review on this site, is meant to make you aware of a product that has worked for someone. I’m sure with the over 3,600 members that there will be another #WFPB person, so hopefully this review will help them when it comes to supplementation.

PHEW!

mac-200x300Vega has been used far and wide by some of the worlds greatest plant based athletes. Ranging from the NFL, the MLB, the NHL to Triathletes, Runners, Olympians, Ultra Runners and even MMA fighters; Vega has become the supplement of choice for them. These are not the type of folks you think of when you think WFPB athlete, there is still that image in everyone’s mind that we are frail and skinny. It’s not the case, look to your left at Mac Danzig, season 6 winner of the Ultimate Fighter. That guy fights with the best of them now and has been a contender year in and year out.

So, Vega… Yes, if you know anything about this product line one of the first things that jumps out to you is the price. In doing research about Vega I saw all sorts of people talking about how pricey it is and how they can get this or that somewhere else. Having used the product now, and other companies products, there is a major difference in quality. Not only the quality of ingredients, but the quality of taste. There’s a reason why it costs a little more; it works. To hammer home that point, you get what you pay for. Having tested others and dealing with gas, bloating and a general bad gut feeling, I’m going to put down a few extra dollars to make sure I’m getting what I want out of a product.

unnamedLately I’ve been using VegaOne on a daily basis. I have found I have more energy, I’ve been more alert and focused. The biggest thing is my recovery from running has been lessened. I’m not an every day runner, as I sometimes wish I could be. So if I go a couple days between runs my legs are toast. Since using VegaOne that time has been cut in half! That’s amazing results and helps me get out there more. Here just a brief bit of whats in it…

  • 50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals
  • 15 grams protein
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 1.5 grams Omega-3s
  • Antioxidants
  • Probiotics
  • 3 servings of greens (the new formula has 6 servings of greens per scoop)

ProductPage_PreWorkout_Family_LemonLimeThey don’t just make VegaOne though, they have products that every supplement company has, including a pre-workout energizer. I’ve used it a few times to get me out the door when my “Procrasti..N8” brain gets going. It’s a clean energy, as you can imagine. There are no jitters, no sugar crashes. If you’re a gym person looking for a pump, this is not it. If you are looking for a stim, this is not it. It IS clean energy without any artificial stuff, it’s meant to do one thing and that is to help you push through your workout, whatever type of workout that is.

I’ve used a bunch of different products in this genre and have to say, hands down, Vega is my favorite. Not only are the products great, but so are the folks that work for them. Whenever I’ve had questions or concern, whether it be via e-mail or even on Twitter, they are always gracious and extremely helpful.

Find them on the web at http://myvega.com/ or follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/VegaTeam

Review: Tailwind

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After running the Leadville 100 and coping with what the founder of Tailwind, Jeff, calls a “gut bomb”; Tailwind was born.

Some of us can cope with just water or electrolytes in our hydration packs and supplement calories with gels, gummies and bars. Hell some guys like Dean Karnazes can run all night, order a pizza  and have it delivered to him while running, and still not puke all over his shoes. For others that dang GI tract is not happy with that mess and can create a mess all of its own.

Tailwind was created to not only hydrate runners, swimmers and adventurers but to also provide clean calories that would settle decently and allow an athlete to perform at their best.

tailwindbagI’ve used Tailwind on a couple runs now and tested it to its full capacity at the 2014 Spartan Race World Championship Beast in Vermont. We all know “on paper” it said the race was 13-14 miles, but GPS data shows it was really anywhere from 16-17 miles. Regardless, it was grueling and if you were not prepared it was going to be a long day. Who am I kidding? For those of us that WERE prepared it WAS still a long day ! But I digress…

I filled my hydration pack with 70oz of water and 2 scoops of Tailwinds Organic Berry flavor and headed toward the starting line. Because it was hard to carry around the whole bag of Organic Berry, I brought along a couple sleeves of the one serving pouches to add later on. One of them had caffeine, how exciting! The flavors were clean, not overwhelmingly sweet which can be a detriment at times, I’m not looking for good taste to be honest, I am looking for results.

I was using a different product two weeks earlier and while that product claims it fought off cramps and the like, I still found myself cramping a bit. That worries me as I knew this Beast course was going to be nearly double the distance and a million times harder as far as elevation goes. I had come to terms with the fact I was going to cramp at some point, even with this new product I assumed it had to happen at some point.

Am I glad I was wrong! I did not cramp, not even once!!

nutritionfactstwHow did it settle as far as digestion went? Well I didn’t barf, so that’s a good thing, right? Honestly, I wasn’t sure about Tailwinds ability to supply the amount of calories I was going to need so I did bring a few Quest bars with me. For these types of races ole Quest bars and I have been inseparable so, yeah I had a few. That said, the calories I got from Tailwind helped keep a continuous stream of energy coming. I really only ate the bars when I knew I was going to need them. It took my 10 hours to finish the race, I didn’t think I wasn’t surviving on the liquid alone. Although, it’s been pointed out to me, had I added more scoops throughout the day I could very well have received my caloric needs.

Hydration? I felt great! I did play it safe and started hydrating days before the event, with Tailwind even that way my system wouldn’t be shocked with a new product on race day. Not once during the race did I feel like I was becoming dehydrated or anything, I felt great. Now if Tailwind could only do something about all the downhill descents and the damage it can do to one’s knees, I can dream right?

Like I said though, it was great to have a constant source of energy coming in, so hydration and calories? Yeah, that’s a no brainer!

I like the fact it is a small outfit over there at Tailwind. They take the time to listen and understand what your needs are. Heck, my bag even had my name hand written on it, made me feel all warm and tingly! lol!

I know one thing for certain, Tailwind will have my back this January at the Winter Death Race, it will be the only thing (minus the water) in my hydration pack!

Product info: http://www.tailwindnutrition.com/

Rating: Excellent, highly recommended!

 

Review: Pacific Health Labs

pacific-health-logooriginally posed on nespahtens.com

Took me a couple months to give these products a true test. Pacific Health Labs were extremely generous and I really wanted to put the products they sent through a complete evaluation process. Having enough, I was able to stack them when necessary to see the true benefits.

First, a little about Pacific Health Labs, taken from their site:

Pacific Health Laboratories, founded in 1996 by two prominent scientists, started with a singular purpose – to help athletes achieve their personal goals. We never lost sight of that mission. Collaborating with some of the world’s top nutritionists, biochemists and sports scientists, our research and products have reshaped sports nutrition. Our discoveries help muscles work stronger, faster and longer and are an integral part of the daily training and race regimens of athletes at all levels.

One thing that needs to be said, and probably has your ears perked up a bit, although they are a “lab” and do “scientific research” to develop these products, it doesn’t mean they are synthetic. You can skim their ingredients and see most, if not all, of the ingredients are natural. The last thing I want to put in my body is some unnecessary chemical. Every time I take a supplement that is what concerns me most, as I try to eat as cleanly as I can. With that to the side now…

pacificenergyshotLet’s get into it with the Body Glove Energy Shots. These look a lot like 5-Hour Energy drinks because in theory, they are. Of course they are exclusive to Pacific Health, and their team came up with the concoction, but the idea is the same. When you need a pop of energy it’s simple, open the top, slam it back and wait. The rush that comes on is clean and non-jittery. For whatever I was doing, whether it was a work-out, a run or headed off to work with a sleepy head – these shots made a difference. Loaded with 140mg of caffeine I sure as hope they would have!! Without the jitters, and not feeling like I was completely tweaked out I could focus and get done the things I set out to do.

pacificgelNext up we have some gels. At this point I have tried a variety of different gels from a multitude of companies. Some are really thick, some to runny, some are just outright gross! Pacific sent a variety of flavors of their standard gels and a pack of their 2nd Surge gels which were chocolate espresso flavor. The latter was absolutely amazing. Let me stress that, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. The flavor was fantastic and the boost was spot on. Consistency was great, nice and smooth and not gritty or to watery. Easily you can take these out of a pack, open them and squeeze em all while running or staying in motion. The flavor variety pack was great and came in chocolate, key lime, citrus orange, raspberry cream, strawberry kiwi and vanilla. The only one I really couldn’t get on board with was the orange which was kind of acidic. I loved the key lime and it was probably my favorite, besides the 2nd Surge chocolate espresso of course!

pacificbarThey sent a bar too, the Accel Recover Bar. They reminded me of a brownie bar. Nice and thick, not extremely dry which happens a lot with packaged bars. They were amazingly nourishing and I felt full after a run or workout. rather than down a recovery drink I had these bars with a glass of water and felt more than happy with them. These are not meal replacement bars, or breakfast bars, they are meant to be eaten after exerting yourself ie. a workout, a run or any other sort of physical activity. They are for recovery and having had a bunch of them, felt like they achieved their goal. I do not have the science to prove it, they are the scientists, but what I can do, and am talking about here, is based on experience.

detahraceboxSome of the products, such as the gels and bars, even made their way to the Winter Death Race via the Spahten Express. I had put some gels in, bars, energy shots and some Accelerade in the care package. Keith Glass, Death Race veteran, had this to say “I consumed everything they (the Spahten volunteers) put in front of my face. They were fantastic… Gels were great on the trail, instant energy boosts…” Death Race tested, Death Racer approved!

One other product worth mentioning is Accelerade. This is a powder and when mixed with water tastes like Tang and is supposed to work like Gatorade or other similar products. Like they say on their site “why waste money on glorified sugar water”. That said, coming from Pacific Health the mix is meant to support you not fatten their bottom line. Here’s a couple bullet points from their site in regards to Accelerade:

pacificaccelerade• You will have 29% more endurance.

• You will rehydrate 40% better.

• Your muscles will recover 40% faster.

• You will lower your perceived exertion.

It comes in a variety of flavors. Besides mixing in a bottle it can be added to a bladder and I did just that many times in my hydration pack for long runs. With Accelerade added I felt like I could run longer, and did. My longest run to date came when I had this in the pack. Take that for what it’s worth.

As with anything, these products may not be for you. I know lots of people that are all about supplementing and then those that aren’t. You choose. For me, based on my experience with these products, I know they work and will gladly use them again. I hope you found this review helpful. For more info and discount use NESPAHTENS15 for 15% off and free shipping, check out http://www.pacifichealthlabs.com/

Review: PlantFusion and Phood

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Review courtesy of Over And Under It

This review is not a comparison to other proteins specifically, ie. whey or soy, because they are completely different. PlantFusion products are dairy free (no whey) and are strictly plant and or grain based (no soy). If you want the whey comparison then you can look here for a sell sheet they have on their site.

That said, the mix-ability is quite different. Do not expect the same result. This stuff is not creamy, again there is no dairy. I can say it is smooth, absolutely smooth and mixes within a few shakes. Beware though, it’s such a finely ground powder that if you mix with a spoon, which I did with yogurt, it’ll go everywhere!

I mixed this mostly with water, personally I don’t drink milk. I used my shaker each time, but did not put the insert in and this blended perfectly. I have read reviews that say there was a “grit” to this when it was blended but I didn’t notice that – at all. Like I mentioned, this was very smooth.

Having used water, it seemed to digest a lot better than many other powders. Other proteins can make you really gassy, or maybe it’s just me. Either way, I didn’t feel distended, bloated or any other adjective you can come up with that refers to the fact your belly is full of noxious gas. But I digress from the childish flatulence speak. Toot!

Each flavor was quite unique, it being plant-based it definitely has a distinct taste. When blended with other fruits, peanut butter, or whatever it of course takes that flavor on, but there is no mistaking the fact this stuff is different than what you’re used to. I enjoyed the flavor, it wasn’t overly sweet as it used a minimal amount of stevia.

Besides just blending with water, or fruits, I’ve been on a protein “pudding” kick. It’s simple, add a serving of your favorite powder in a 1/2 cup to a full cup of yogurt. I prefer Trader Joe’s greek yogurt, so I mixed it with a pouch of the chocolate raspberry Plantfusion and let it sit in the fridge overnight. At lunchtime the next day it was ready. It was nice and thick, had a pudding like feel to it, and was tasty as could be. Of course having it with the yogurt it was quite filling, and the chocolate raspberry was awesome.

With water it was also satisfying. I didn’t feel like I just ate a multiple course meal, or a cup of protein pudding, but I felt satiated enough. When I added other ingredients to the shake, that changed of course. I added a banana and some peanut butter to the chocolate flavor, amazingly yummy to say the least.

One of the major selling points is that PlantFusion produces their powder in a manner that has the least amount of affect on the environment as possible, it is free of allergens such as soy, glutens and nuts. And while I’m not trying to debate with anyone, a product free of GMO’s is extremely important to me on a personal level. PlantFusion is just that, GMO free.

All in all, I am extremely satisfied with PlantFusion products and this may very well become my go to protein!

Energy Bits and the Health Benefits of Spirulina and Chlorella

I love the power of social media. I’ve been spending more time on Twitter than I have in the past, and was recently followed by Energy Bits (Twitter).

Energy Bits is new to me, so I dug in to learn some more. The company was founded on the idea to bring a product of health and wellness to the masses. After, as they say on their website, they learned that 97% of chronic illnesses were brought on by certain nutritional deficiencies, they wanted to find something that could make health and wellness easy.

They found algae was the answer they were looking for! Yes, that green nasty stuff that you would not think of as valid source of anything nutritional. Their specific algae choices are spirulina and chlorella.

Turns out that countries all over the globe, especially China, have been benefiting from algae (and seaweed) for years.

From Wikipedia : China consumes more than 70 species, including fat choy, a cyanobacterium considered a vegetable; Japan, over 20 species; Ireland, dulse; Chile, cochayuyo. Laver is used to make “laver bread” in Wales where it is known as bara lawr; in Korea, gim; in Japan, nori and aonori. It is also used along the west coast of North America from California to British Columbia, in Hawaii and by the Māori of New Zealand. Sea lettuce and badderlocks are a salad ingredient in Scotland, Ireland, Greenland and Iceland.

Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein. It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.

Spirulina’s lipid content is about 7% by weight, and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA). Spirulina contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3′-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.

Chlorella is an attractive potential food source because it is high in protein and other essential nutrients; when dried, it is about 45% protein, 20% fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5% fibre, and 10% minerals and vitamins. Mass-production methods are now being used to cultivate it in large artificial circular ponds. It is also abundant in calories, fat, and vitamins.

After trading some tweets, the person I was speaking with offered to send a sample tin over for me to check out. I received it a few days before the Unleashed OCR Training and figured I would wait until then to give Energy Bits a day in court. So, right before Paul picked me up I popped the recommended amount of bits, 30 of them, and waited. Unlike a pre-workout supplement, there was no “pull me back and watch me go” sensation, but as I started to move about my body felt like ti could sustain the beating it was about to receive.

There were no jitters, there was no crash. I felt like I was just able to keep going. Not like the Energizer Bunny “going and going and going and going…” but a calm and sustained feeling. There were times when I wanted to give up, and I’m attributing this more to sheer will,  but I like to think Energy Bits did help me when I felt like I hit a wall. Ok, I didn’t really hit a wall, I climbed over the darned thing, but that’s besides the point. The key points to me are that it was a clean energy. I didn’t feel bloated afterward, didn’t get gassy (which is always a good thing).

I also used some Energy Bits on a work shift. My job is pretty strenuous, I know that may sound unbelievable as I am a cable guy, but I easily walk a few miles during a shift, climb my ladder (which is 28 feet tall when fully extended) a few times, carry the thing around (it weighs in at 85lbs). Needless to say, I do more than just plug your cable box in or make your internet work. I did not take the recommended 30 bits, but rather broke them up into 3 “doses” throughout the day, which is a ten hour work day. I felt good, again, no crash and no jitters. At the end of the shift I was still full of energy and was not burnt out.

After being impressed with Energy Bits I made a post about them via Facebook and got into an conversation with a friend. She pointed out just how expensive a bag of bits are, they are $115! She mentioned how she could get a half pound of spirulina at a fraction of the cost. So, I e-mailed my contact at Energy Bits and asked him about the price disparity…

In regards to the price – you can find cheaper spirulina, but you risk contamination (due to quality issues with the water in Japan and standards in Chinese production) and the need to take even more. We had someone recently compare our spirulina with cheaper, store bought options (check it out here: http://bit.ly/12LRRTW). The reason ours costs a bit more is due to quality – we have the highest quality control standards and the spirulina is the best of the best. In virtually all cases, these other companies are mass distributors who sell hundreds of products at very low prices. They rely on volume not quality for profits and in almost all cases, they have used inferior strains of algae, inferior growing or production methods, inferior faster drying techniques (that destroy the enzymes and the nutrition) and inferior packaging methods etc.

In a nutshell, you get what you pay.  It will be impossible for the quality of these low price algae to meet the high standards and high quality as ours. As a result you may need to take 4-5 times as much to get the same concentration nutrition that is found in ours. Plus you always run the risk of contaminants being in low quality algae unlike ours which is guaranteed pure. We hold ourselves to be the gold standard. Algae is ALL we do. We are specialists. You always get the best from a specialist. We think people’s health is worth it.

Does this mean I am going to run out and spend that kind of money today? Maybe not. But, if I do have an extra stack of cash laying around at some point and am willing to make a worthy and healthful investement, it will be in some Energy Bits!

ps. Did I mention they are located in Boston? Yeah, reppin’ it New England style!! haha

Food Review: Lightlife Smart Deli Turkey

After trying Lightlife’s Smart Deli Bologna I knew I’d have to try the other deli products. Lightlife’s Smart Deli Turkey is a great alternative to real turkey. Not only does it have the texture, but also the flavor of regular turkey.

I’ve been on a big hummus kick lately and have been using some spinach and artichoke hummus on everything, I figured the Lightlife Smart Deli Turkey would be a perfect match. So I spread some hummus on both sides of the bread (whole grain wheat), some cheese on both sides and some loose leaf spinach. In went 3 slices of the turkey and it was lunch time. Yeah, I was right, it all worked well together and Ive had the sandwich a couple times since making this one. Mmmmm

I didn’t try this on its own, Ive never been someone who enjoys deli meats, or alternatives for that matter, on their own. So I can’t give you an opinion one way or another, but in the sandwich it couldn’t have tasted better for not being the “real deal”.

I’m extremely grateful to companies like Lightlife that have been making it easier for those converting from a meat diet to a veggie diet. They’ve been doing it for a long time and it shows in their products.