Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hits and Misses

My typical product reviews feature products that I have grown to like, usually due to exceptional nutritional content or some other unique attribute that strikes my fancy. Today, however, I am going to include a few less-than-stellar products; I don't like every foodie find that passes my lips. What follows are a miss, a hit, and um, a semi-miss.

Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer
Anyone who reads my blog knows that smoothies comprise a large portion of my diet--I have at least one per day! As a result of my infatuation for all things blended, I have sampled a vast array of protein powders. From soy to spirulina to pea to rice protein, I have tasted and enjoyed them all...almost. Recently, the kind people at Vega were nice enough to send me a box full of goodies, including packets of "whole food health optimizer," "whole food vibrance bars," and a sampling of a few other products. The most appealing item to me of the entire assortment was the packet of protein powder, er, "whole food health optimizer." Despite a previous (bad) experience with the berry flavor last summer, I decided to give them another try with the vanilla chai flavor.
Unfortunately, attempt #2 was just as unpalatable. Considering how much I dislike wasting food, it speaks volumes that I poured it down the drain. The taste was chalky, and the plenitude of vitamins and minerals in the mix was very apparent in the flavor. Good try, Vega, but no thanks.
If you're still interested in nutritional stats and product availability, you can visit the Vega website. In addition to the vanilla chai flavor, the whole food health optimizer is also available in berry and chocolate varieties.

Vega Vibrance Bars
Heads up Larabar fans: here's another bar to add to your list! After my experience with their protein powders, I was a little wary about trying Vega's bars. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find them absolutely delectable--and super nutritious! Coincidentally, both times that I sampled the bars were at the airport, as I waited for delayed planes to arrive, and both times, the bars' unique flavors provided momentary relief and distraction from the stresses of holiday travel.
Vega Vibrance Bars are available in chocolate decadence, green synergy, and wholesome original. I first tried the chocolate decadence, and it certainly lives up to its name. It reminds me of Larabar's Jocolat line in that it tastes like a healthful brownie! Organic sprouted almonds, organic hemp seeds, and organic sprouted buckwheat add a pleasant "nutty" texture to the bar. The wholesome original was equally enjoyable with its less rich but still sweet flavor. All varieities contain a wide selection of superfoods including an EFA oil blend, salba, acai, and chardonnay grapes (for their powerful antioxidants and flavonoids). Read more about these ingredients here.
Each bar contains 200-210 kcalories, 9-10 grams of fat (including omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids), 5 grams of fiber, and 9-10 grams of protein (from rice and pea protein).

Other serving suggestions might include: crumbled into yogurt or broken into pieces atop oatmeal.

Amazing Grass
In an effort to create a rainbow of oatmeal, I recently purchased a single-serving packet of Amazing Grass in the berry flavor. This packet turned my oats a vibrant shade of green, due to its inclusion of vegetables as well as fruit extracts. While it achieved its purpose of coloring my breakfast, I am not sure I would purchase it again. Its sweetness was a tad overwhelming, and the overall taste was typical of supplements in that its outstanding nutrition (in the form of vitamins and minerals) creates an off-putting aftertaste. An important note about Amazing Grass is that its vitamins and minerals are derived from whole foods, not synthesized.
Perhaps I will give Amazing Grass another chance by using it in its intended form, a smoothie. Each packet carries a hefty price tag, at $1.99 per packet, although it is available in bulk quantities for less. For more information about Amazing Grass products, click here.
Enjoy your evening!


shelby said...

Thanks for the info chica!! =)

VeggieGirl said...

GREAT product reviews, Miss!! I drink 3 protein shakes per day, so I'm glad to know that the Living Harvest brand is still better ;-) And thanks for the information on the new Vega bars (I DESPISE the other Vega bars).

K said...

Thanks for all the reviews girlie!!

Rachel said...

Your gingerbread tea sounds great.....who makes it?

I have been tempted to try celestial seasoning holiday teas but my friend hated them and thought they tasted strantge-have you tried any? i am use to just black tea and don't have a significant sweet tooth.

Rachel said...

Oh yeah, what type of panini maker do you use? i am also a veggie, do you ask your roommmate not to use it for meat- i am afraid to buy one for that reason.

ChickPea said...

Rachel: The tea is in fact by Celestial Seasonings--I really enjoy it. I have a strong sweet tooth, however, so you may not like it.
I don't actually use a panini maker; I just use a George Foreman Grill. My roomie never has asked to use it, although I think she would understand about the meat thing. We use separate cutting boards and knives as well.