Vega One Review: Awesome Whole Foods Plant Based Nutrition

When I wrote my green superfood powder buying guide Don Randall from the comments wrote:

I hope you could provide your opinion on Vega One, which used to be called Vega Complete Whole Food Optimizer, manufactured by Sequal Naturals. I’ve been using it for several years, along with Hemp Pro Fiber by Manitoba Harvest, and Brown Rice Protein by Heartland Organic Functional Foods.

I just recently got some and had the chance to play around with it for about a week, and here’s what I think about it.

*This review was updated on 07/18 after consideration of some other factors that were left out of the original review. I made a few errors in my reasoning, as pointed out in the comments.*

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the company mentioned in this article, and my opinions are entirely my own. Everything I say is meant to inform and help consumers make better decisions.  I own a supplement company that makes a similar product, but feel strongly that all companies mentioned do their best to serve their customers to their fullest abilities. It’s possible that someone may have experiences different from my own.  If I make a claim about a product it’s restricted to facts that can be easily substantiated and verified to be accurate. If I state an opinion I make it clear that it’s only that and others may have different experiences.

So with that being said, let’s get rolling……

Vega One Nutritional Shake

Vega One Nutritional Shake

A Brief Overview of Vega One

What It Is: It’s an “all-in-one” whole foods supplement that combines all the major food groups/nutrients into a single powder that can be mixed with other foods. The mixture includes:

  • protein
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • greens
  • probiotics
  • high ORAC berries

What’s Good About It?

  • High quality ingredients
  • No allergens
  • Decent taste (I think)
  • Environmentally friendly business practices
  • 100% Vegan

After taking a closer look at Vega and how it compares to other competition I’ve decided that it’s an impressive product and is a good choice for people who are looking for something that includes protein, greens, and other nutrients.

How Is It Different Than Vega Whole Food Optimizer?

Vega One used to be called Vega Whole Food Optimizer. The biggest difference seems to be that Vega One tastes better, has more servings per bottle, a smaller serving size, and a slightly different mix of nutrients.

Overall Vega One has a better texture than the Whole Food optimizer, more protein, but less high end green foods.  More spinach and sacha inchi, less chlorella and spirulina.  In general it tastes more “shake-like” than previous versions of the Vega product.  This change will of course make it more pleasing to newcomers, but might offend the sensibilities of some Vega customers who are a little more health conscious.

Of course, don’t get me wrong…..it’s still really good for you, but spirulina and chlorella are considered top shelf superfoods, so it’s hard to skimp on them and not lose a little bit of quality.

If you’re curious about the differences in nutrients between Vega One and Vega Whole Food Optimizer there are some useful threads at the company website.

Here’s one written by a nutritionist: http://www.vegacommunity.com/profiles/blogs/vega-one-a-nutritionists-perspective?xg_source=activity

According to this review there’s 750 mg less of chlorella and 250 mg less of maca, but added chia seed, inchi protein, and milder tasting greens which helps improve the flavor. The servings per bottle also increased from 15 to 20, making the $$/serving more affordable, although the serving size itself went down from 2 30g scoops to 1 42.5g scoop. If we’re comparing 30 oz tubs, then the original Whole Food Optimizer had 900g in one bottle and Vega One has 850g.

Vega One’s Components

To understand the value of the Vega One Shake, it’s best to break it down to its individual components. It goes like this:

  • Protein: 15g
  • Omega 3: 1.5g
  • Greens: 1.5g
  • Berries: 0.2g
  • Digestive Enzymes: 0.3g

I got the information from this page.

When looking at the list of individual ingredients there’s a lot to like.

Chia seeds  are a very nutritious superfood that aren’t usually found in all-in-one mixtures, and inchi protein is beneficial not just for its completeness but smooth texture. It’s one of the reasons Vega One tastes better. The tradeoff between more greens and berries and less chlorella is a matter of personal preference. We all know chlorella is a rockin’ nutrient, but I know from personal experience lots of people desire a nice taste and texture when they take these things, because they know that’s the difference between doing it consistently or not at all. And it’s not like broccoli, kale, and spinach aren’t incredibly good for you. Chlorella’s more expensive but price doesn’t always equal nutrient superiority.

Best Uses

Ultimately Vega can be used for just about any reason.

I mean hey……it’s condensed plant food. Practically everybody can use more of that.

Vega’s customer base also seems to be smart and well versed in good nutrition, so I’d guess most of them don’t need much advice on how to proceed. However, given its diverse array of nutrients I think there are two uses that best take advantage of Vega’s ingredients:

  • Breakfast – Either as a replacement when you’re on the run or as a supplement to make sure you are more full, the addition of protein and EFA’s seems extra useful here.
  • After A Workout - People have this perception that eating poorly is excusable after you work out. Not true.  Just the opposite.  Protein is particularly important since your muscles are broken down and need to repair themselves. The combination of protein + condensed plant foods is super potent after hitting the gym.

Comparing It To Other Products

For the well informed supplement shopper there are a few dimensions to consider when comparing Vega to other products. I was not well informed and messed this up when I first wrote this review.  Vega is a unique product and it can’t be compared to pure greens powders or protein powders, particularly since it has high standards for its ingredients that  are unique unto their own. When looking at suitable alternatives, the following criteria should be met:

  • It should be vegan (if that’s important to you)
  • It should be a combination of greens + protein + additional nutrients like EFA’s and chia (or something else), and not just one thing or the other
So with that in mind, here’s a quick comparison between Vega and two other products that fit the bill: Amazing Grass Amazing Meal and Shakeology.
Brand Vega One Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Shakeology
Price Per Bottle $69.99 $69.99 $119.99
Price Per Ounce $2.33 $3.00 $2.70
Price Per Serving $3.50 $2.33 $4.00
G/Protein Per Serving 15 10 15
Number of Ingredients 24 20 49
Price On Website $69.99 $69.99 $129.99
Price On Amazon $55.49 $61.42 N/A
Price on iHerb $54.99 $54.99 N/A
Price on Vitacost $57.70 $61.42 N/A

*Information On How I Arrived At This Information Is Explained At The Bottom*

In my opinion the most important metric of affordability is the price per ounce since serving and bottle size is up to the manufacturers discretion. Weight has no bias. And in this dimension Vega is the most affordable in addition to the other nice qualities the product has.

So would I buy Vega?

Absolutely.

If you’re looking for a meal replacement powder then it’s a good way to go, especially when you stack it up to its most comparable competition.

That was the mistake I made before.  I either compared it to greens powders or protein powders, but not vegan greens + protein powders, and along these dimensions it compares very nicely.

The company also has a strong ethos of environmental sustainibility, and is backed by Brendan Brazier, who’s a remarkable man by any standards.  He moreso than anybody else has been an advocate for plant based nutrition and is walking proof of its awesome powers.

I’m just an idiot writing on a blog.

So if you’re curious, then I’d definitely recommend taking it for a spin.

What have you got to lose?

Notes About The Table:

For this comparison I used the original blend of the Amazing Meal, the Natural Vega One and the Tropical Strawberry Vegan shake from Shakeology.

To find price per ounce I multiplied the servings in the bottle by the serving size in grams and used a conversion factor of 28.35 to go from grams to ounces.

For example on its label Vega lists one serving size as 42.5 grams.  42.5×20=850.  850g/(28.35g/oz)= 29.98 ounces.  $69.99/29.98= $2.30/oz.  This might create slightly different results than if you took the listed label size of the bottle from the manufacturer, but should still be very close.

To determine the number of ingredients I used this label for vega, this label for Amazing Grass, and this label for Shakeology.

To determine the number of ingredients I did not count vitamins and minerals as an ingredient, and did not count an ingredient if it was listed as an “other ingredient.”  (For example on the shakeology label I didn’t include tapioca and beet juice powder since it wasn’t listed on the main part of the label).  I counted each digestive enzyme as an ingredient and each probiotic as an ingredient.

If there are any corrections to be made please let me know!

Turbocharge Your Body With 38 Different Superfoods

  • Raw, Unprocessed, and Non-GMO
  • Grass Juices That Alkalize Your Body
  • Medicinal Herbs That Revitalize Your Immune System
  • Adaptogens That Increase Your Energy
  • Probiotics That Aid Digestion And Detoxification
incredible greens

What Others Have To Say

---So What Are You Waiting For?---

About Jonathan Bechtel

Owner of Health Kismet, maker of Incredible Greens, a green superfood supplement that combines 35 different raw greens, herbs, probiotics, grasses and fruits into a sweet tasting powder.

Comments

  1. to be fair to the vega one…. the old WFHO serving size is 2 scoops. ironically, a “single serving WFHO” pouch is a single scoop, so it has half of the tub’s serving size nutritional stuff. I buy the pouches when I go on business travel. berry vs berry….vega one does win on taste and texture. WFHO chocolate is disgusting. WHFO vanilla chai is pretty good. th chlorella is better taken as a separate supplement, as that is what makes WFHO a little difficult to drink and look at. my 2 cents

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Tan,

      It does seem like the Vega folks decided to make One more “shake-y” and a little more mainstream, at the expense of some its nutrition enthusiasts.

      I’m unlikely to take a chlorella supplement by itself, and actually don’t mind the taste, so for me excluding something like that would be a downer.

      All in all, I do think Vega One is a taste improvement, and mixes a little bit better than WFHO. My $.02.

  2. I’ve been drinking the whole food optimizer for months now and honestly it is the best drink mix nutrient wise that I have ever tried, taste wise not so much but you know something works when you’re willing to drink it every morning even though the taste is awful. Haven’t tried the Vega One yet but will be ASAP sounds like they improved the taste and texture which will make it easier to get down. I pay 54.00 for a large tub of vega one online at the C. Vitamin Shop…..This makes it even more worth my while as I have seen the stuff priced as high as 80.00 a tub at other retailers.

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Everybody seemed to like the Whole Food optimizer. Aside from the dip in Chlorella and Maca, I don’t think there are huge differences….but those are pretty rocking differences!

      My biggest problem with the Vega shake in general is that it primarily provides protein, and protein is fairly abundant in most people’s diets, which makes it hard to justify the price.

      You can buy good protein powder for less than $30. Spirulina, Chlorella, etc, are much more remarkable and hard to find, so I’d rather get a supplement that emphasizes those types of nutrients instead of throws them in on the side.

      Just my $.02

  3. Andy Coughlin says:

    I have been using Whole Food Optimizer for about a year now, with great results i believe it is the best product on the market (by far) for what is actually inside. My $0.02 (Canadian) cents worth. Looking forward to trying the “One”.

    • How is you vega taking going currently? I sort of believe this product gave me food allergies, i like talking with people who take it.

      • Jonathan Bechtel says:

        Nicke,

        I don’t take Vega currently. When I did like it, but I really can’t say anything about food allergies. I’d recommend reading my comparison of Vega, Garden of Life RAW Meal and Amazing Meal:

        If you’re looking for other alternatives it’ll give you a good place to start.

  4. Gulfira Jabbarov says:

    Sorry, but I do not understand how you can compare IsoFlex and Syntrax Essence with Vega One. Those two are whey proteins and Vega One is plan based. I just think that when people are looking for reviews they are comparing similar product and in this case you can not say that. I am not defending or promoting one or an other I just try to stay away from whey. I’ve tried Vega One Chocolate shake today and the only thing that I can say that it is taste very good comparing with other plant based proteins but it is very expensive for my wallet. So, I guess I will keep looking for my favorite protein.

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      The point was to compare the unit price of the protein in Vega with other high end protein powders to get an idea of how Vega is expensive. You’re right that an ideal comparison would be compared to other plant protein powders.

      I’m not sure if that would significantly change the information presented, but it would be more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

      • apples to apples not oranges to apples- You know better Jonathan Bechtel. Consumers are informed and can tell a bitter and jealous competor . . . . . hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

        • Jonathan Bechtel says:

          Mark, you’re right….it was a bad comparison. I changed it up to other products that were more comparable, and in that light Vega appears a better value than I gave it credit for and changed my opinion accordingly.

          Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

  5. Had vega one for the first time …very good all the way around. Like it very much compared to others that I have had.

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      I’m glad you liked it. Just curious….what others have you tried so far and how did they compare? It would be useful to know for others reading this thread.

  6. thanks for this review. i’ve been looking for a shakeology alternative because shakeology is so ridiculously expensive. i’m sure the ingredients are worth it since everyone raves about it but i like the vega product line, esp since it’s plant-based.

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      I’m glad you liked it! Vega is a good product/company in my opinion. The shakeology brand is very unique in many regards, but the unit price is higher than others. I think I’m going to try and schedule a more in depth comparison of different all-in-one powders here before too long. Let me know if you have any questions.

      • I have also been wanting to try shakeology, but the cost is also an issue. Thanks for the comparison!

        • Jonathan Bechtel says:

          No problem! After breaking down the $$/oz comparison Shakeology is not as expensive as you might think, but Vega is definitely more affordable.

  7. I can’t understand how anyone can think this stuff actually tastes good. It’s the worst tasting protein powder I’ve ever had (I’ve tried the chocolate and chai). I literally made me throw up because of the horrible taste and texture

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Mandy,

      It might just be my vantage point. I don’t take protein powders very often on my own, and usually stick to greens/plant powders. So from this point of view I thought it tasted fine, particularly since Vega One seems to be more “shake like” than vega whole food optimizer. I can understand how someone used to taking traditional protein powders might find the taste/texture a little unusual. Sorry about the bad experience!

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Mandy,

      I’d also recommend to give the product some time if you’re new to these sorts of things. Many people who are new to whole food plant supplements at first can find them a little disarming. Starting with a low dose and gradually working your way up might help you get accustomed to it. It’s also much more than just a protein powder, which is probably why it tastes so different.

  8. Vega One Vanilla Chai is very delish! We bought some after sampling some at Whole Foods and paid 69.99 for the 30oz. After we got home of course my husband found it on Amazon for $41! I feel like it is not only very good for you but great tasting. I feel like I am getting some sort of veggies in my that I otherwise wouldn’t! I will continue to buy, only on Amazon!

  9. Tried the vanilla chai and it tasted great and, oh yeah, its good for you :)

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Yes indeedy :). The new Vega One does taste much better than Whole Food Optimizer IMO.

      • nanoStamford says:

        I was looking for a nutrition & price comparison among vegan protein powders and found your blog and read the last month. I recently became a fan of Vega One Vanilla Chai after trying many products. I mix it with Vega Performance Protein Vanilla to combine the nutritional content and it’s easier to have one canister to go to. I rely on them for breakfast and lunch almost every day and find they are delicious and provide all the energy I need for running and lift weight-lifting. I buy them online when they’re on sale and usually pay $51.99 for the large Performance and $39.99 for the Vega One. The Vega Smoothies are wildly expensive and lack the nutritional content of the other powders. I like the Vega One Vanilla Chai because I can put some in a ziploc and mix it in a hotel with some almond milk or cold water. All the other vegan proteins I tried tasted awful. That’s much more than my 2 cents.

  10. I received a free single serving sample of Vega One Chocolate. I’m not one who eats only a plant based diet, but just trying to eat healthier. When I opened the package I made the mistake of smelling it (horrible) and knew that there would be NO way I could drink it mixed with water. Therefore I blended it with chocolate soy milk, banana and some ice. The first swallow was ‘different’ but got better with each swallow. I drink a lot of green smoothies with fresh fruits and vegies. My opinion is that this would make a great alternative when traveling. Hope this info helps someone out.

  11. Do you know if this product has been linked to any headaches? I’m a migraine suffer and can’t find a post workout supplement that will not give me a migraine. I started with probolic sr – only because my husband had it at home (should’ve done research on it!), and that gave me horrible migraines, I immediately stopped it, and got it out of my system.. the next one i tried was stronger faster healthier, that also gave me headaches. Now I just have coconut water and a fruit (post crossfit workouts) and feel it’s not enough to refuel my body… i’m an on the go working/soccer mom squeezing in workouts and in the hunt for post (and pre) workout supplements that will NOT trigger a migraine. I also tried shakeology.. I get a discount (part of BB), and didn’t get headaches, but don’t think it’s good for a post workout, it’s more of a meal supplement.

    Thanks for the blog, this was informative.

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Candy,

      I think Vega and Shakeology are fairly similar in terms of what they offer. They’re both more or less vegan meal replacement powders that have a combination of veggies, fruits, protein, fiber, etc. The only major difference is that Vega has essential fatty acids and I do not believe this is true of shakeology.

      So if Shakeology doesn’t give you any trouble then I don’t think Vega would either. In my opinion the use cases for both products are fairly similar too.

      • For post workout?

        • One thing I found that is a sure trigger for migraines is Splenda (aka Sucralose). It’s been established clinically to increase the frequency of migraines in migraine sufferers, and much to the dismay of people like yourself, is included in many diet, low-sugar, and “nutritional supplements”. I did notice that Vega One uses Stevia (as opposed to sugar, or splenda), which I’ve had better luck with from a migraine standpoint. I have NOT tried Vega One yet, but I didn’t see much that *should* trigger a migraine.

          • Jonathan Bechtel says:

            J,

            Thanks for adding this. It’s been my experience that the majority of supplements use Stevia rather than Splenda for sweeteners. Personally I like supplements that use it and I haven’t found anything that’s especially troubling about its medical side effects. Do you know of any?

  12. Can I drink vega I m losing weight does it helps in it
    N I workout 1 n half hr 5 days a week

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Rabia, I don’t believe is specifically designed as a weight loss supplement but due to its high nutritional value it’d certainly help balance your diet.

      • Is there any side effects???

        • I order it now
          Excited :)
          When is the best time I should use in the morning or after my workout,after how many min

          • Jonathan Bechtel says:

            To answer both of your questions….using it at either time of the day is fine. If it were me I’d use it when I had the least ability to eat something comparable.

            So if I was busy in the morning and didn’t have enough time to eat breakfast I’d take it then. If you’re starving after your workout and then gorge then after the workout is a good idea.

            As long as you don’t have allergic reactions to any of the ingredients then you shouldn’t have to worry about side effects. But please be aware that I don’t work for the company, and I’m talking based on my own experience, so if you have specific questions then I’d recommend talking to someone affiliated with the company.

          • Can we do 3 days cleanse programme like shakology with vega all in one nutrition ???

          • Jonathan Bechtel says:

            Rabia,

            I don’t see why not.

          • Sry didn’t understand :( wht u said

  13. Taylor says:

    Beautiful, Beautiful review!! Seriously thank you. I was searching for a thorough and informative review of this product and am soooo happy I stumbled across yours! So far I’ve tried the Vanilla Chai and Chocolate, both delicious!

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Thank you Taylor! Vega One is a very unique product. It’s much better than traditional meal replacement powders, and has blazed a path for this type of product. There have been other entrants into the market, but it still occupies its own niche within the market. Very glad you found it useful.

      • Apart from the Vegan aspect of Vega One – can it be compared to healthy meal formula from Herbalife or is this a silly question? Also do you know how many calories is in 1 serving if Vega one?

        • Jonathan Bechtel says:

          I like the Vega shake specifically because of its high ingredient quality and lack of filler that’s found in many other meal replacement shakes. There’s nothing really lacking and think it would be difficult to concoct a product that’s significantly better. According to its website here: http://myvega.com/product/vega-one-nutritional-shake/, one serving has 140 calories.

  14. I’m not sure how you bypasses the fact that Vega One is not a complete meal replacement!! at only 140 calories per serving… I for one would prefer to have 250 calories, EFA’s, spirulina and chlorella in the shake if it’s to be truly considered an ‘all in one’. Still searching.. anny reccomendations?

    • Jonathan Bechtel says:

      Fair enough about the calories, but my experience is that it does give you a nice feeling of satiety, regardless. I’m not sure of other meal replacement powders that have similar nutritional value but more calories. The ones with a higher calorie count are usually filled with lots of sugar and low quality ingredients.

  15. Do you know if Vega One is supposed to lower blood sugar for a diabetic?

Trackbacks

  1. […] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}The last review I wrote of the Vega One Optimizer has received a positive response, so I’m writing up a review of another superfood powder I […]

  2. […] goodBad/BitterFairGoodBadReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewProduct PageGo To PageGo To PageGo To PageGo To PageGo To PageGo To PageHope this is […]

  3. […] there’s no more need for you to study what kind of protein foods you need, prep it and cook it. It saves time, energy, and this protein shake is equally healthier […]

Leave a Reply