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……
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:
- omega-3 fatty acids
- 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.
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
|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?
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 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!