Reflex Nutrition Vegan Protein

Although it is perfectly possible for vegans to get all the protein they need through a healthy balanced diet, it can be useful to use a supplement when trying to build muscle.

I really like Reflex Nutrition’s Vegan Protein powder. It comes in 3 flavours: Chocolate, Strawberry and Smooth Fruits. I’ve only tried chocolate as I’m not usually a fan of fruity protein shakes.

I chose this brand primarily as I was trying to avoid excess soy in my diet, as I worry about excessive phytoestrogens (plant hormones). I do eat soy, but I prefer my shake without. This one is make from pea protein.

They state “The vegan sourced protein in Vegan Protein is made from a patented manufacturing process. The unique and environmentally friendly process extracts pure European pea protein from Pisum Sativum using water and no chemicals. This provides what Reflex Nutrition believe to be the perfect instant mixing vegan protein powder that is highly digestible and directly comparable to the best animal sources of protein like whey, eggs and milk. This great tasting instant mixing product provides 74% protein that has 98% digestibility and a great amino acid score of 95%. Vegan protein is free from artificial colours and sweeteners and is made using earth-friendly Deep Green energy.”

‘Deep Green Energy’ sounds like a marketing ploy to me, but otherwise the powder is really good. It mixes well and has a nice taste and consistency, it does taste plant-like, but that’s to be expected, and I’m glad it doesn’t contain aspartame. It has the added bonus of digestive enzymes and it’s even probiotic.

Ingredients: Pea Protein (~93%), Cocoa Powder, Flavouring, Thickener (Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Sweetner (Steviol Glycosides), Enzyme Complex (DigeZyme ®) (Amylase, Protease, Cellulase, Lactase, Lipase), Bacillus Coagulans (LactoSpore®).

I buy mine from Amazon for £28.69 per 2.1kg, which is really good value. This rate is only offered to me as an Amazon Prime member though and usually it retails at £53.99, which is, a lot. I’ll keep buying this brand for as long as I can get the discount, but once the price goes up I’ll probably look for something else. I do think it’s worth the full price, as a 2.1kg tub contains a whopping 84 servings, but I just can’t afford that right now.

I follow the instructions and mix 2 scoops (25g) with 300 ml of water, and I add a metal shaker ball to my drinks bottle to use as a shaker. It states to drink 2 – 3 per day but I only drink one on workout days and I’m seeing results.

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Engevita Nutritional Yeast

This is another must for vegans, alongside a daily vitamin B12 supplement, this stuff is a great way to get more into your diet. Plus it contains a whole host of other vitamins and minerals too, including: Thiamin B1, Riboflavin B2, Niacin B3, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Biotin, Pantothemic Acid B5, Iron and Zinc. Be careful not to overdo it though, you can overdose on certain vitamins, especially if you’re already taking a multivitamin. I generally aim to have around 1 – 2 tbsp per day, but it’s so yummy it’s hard not to eat more.

The flakes resemble fish food, but don’t worry they don’t taste like it. It’s great for making a vegan ‘cheese’ sauce, as it has a salty, cheesy and slightly nutty flavour. It’s also awesome in soups and sprinkled onto salads. I personally enjoy a little bit over mashed avocado on toast.

I buy mine from Holland & Barrett, they charge £3.29 for 125g. It may seem a little pricey, but when you consider how expensive cheese is, I think it’s more than worth it.

Virginia Harvest Ground Linseeds (Flaxseeds)

On a vegan diet this stuff is really quite important. You can get Omega 3 ALA from other sources but I’m currently finding this to be the most cost effective option. I found this in Sainsburys at £2.50 for 200g, which is a lot cheaper than supplements, tho I am still considering a supplement too. It states to use 2 tbsp per day, but I only use one since I get some Omega 3 from other sources (walnuts, walnut oil and rapeseed oil to name a few). Since a tbsp is around 10g this bag lasts me around 20 days.

The linseeds are tasty added to porridge and mashed avocado. They can also be added to soups and smoothies too if you want. I prefer to add them after cooking, I’m not sure if the heat does make a difference to the oils, but I like to err on the side of caution.

I do add whole linseeds to salads and buy bread which contain them, however the body can’t really digest the whole seeds properly to extract the oils, which is why I buy a ground version too.

Sainsbury’s Vegan White Chocolate Easter Egg

So this. This was an excellent decision. If you remember Caramac bars, the old Caramac bars, before the company was taken over and they changed the recipe, if you remember and love the old Caramac bars, then you’ll love this. I’m aware I’m posting this on Easter and it’s unlikely these will be in stock now until next year, but it tastes so good I can’t not write a review. Plus, I’m really hoping Sainsburys will continue to stock bars of vegan white chocolate.

The egg isn’t huge, with the pack weighing in at 65g, and it’s expensive at £2.50. I don’t mind though, it’s an Easter treat and it’s nice to not miss out on the festivities.

The chocolate is creamy. I’ve had other vegan white chocolate in the past and the texture was a bit ‘plastic-y’, or powdery, but not this. They’ve really hit the nail on the head with this one. I find regular dairy white chocolate to be a bit sickly sweet, however I thought this egg was a little less so, which I enjoyed.

Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Inulin, Maltodextrin, Maize Flour, Coconut Oil, Soya Lecithin, Flavourings. (The box states flavorings are from natural sources.)

All in all a great vegan Easter egg. I hope I can get one next year too!

Note: Sainsburys do sell other free from chocolate bars and these are much more reasonably priced at £1.00 per 100g.

The Adventure Begins

She awakens ready to face the day, the first day of a vegan lifestyle. Excited. Apprehensive. Hungry.  A few words that accurately describe how she’s feeling right now. It’s April 10th 2017, the adventure has began.

6 days have passed, it’s Easter Sunday, I’m taking the day off from uni work and it feels like a good idea to post an update.
So far, I haven’t encountered any major hurdles. I’ve spoken about my choices with my closest friends and family, but I don’t want to brag about it or make it seem like I’m preaching. I’ve been spouting a lot of vegan facts, much to the annoyance of my best friend, ‘Margaret Marshmallow’, but it’s just so exiting to learn about all the celebrities I didn’t know were vegan (coming up in a later post) or the best ways to absorb maximum nutrients from our food (also for a later date). My boyfriend, ‘Pumkpin’, has been really supportive, for which I am very grateful.

Simple things I’ve been enjoying so far are included in a list at the end of this post.

I’ve been using a vegan protein shake on workout days; although vegans can get all of their protein from natural sources, if you’re trying to build muscle a supplement can help. I like Reflex Nutrition’s vegan protein powder.

As it’s Easter I of course went out and bought a vegan Easter egg, I chose Sainsbury’s own brand vegan white chocolate egg. I made the right choice. This thing is amazing.
Later, I’m making an Easter treat of vegan pancakes, cooked in walnut oil and served with hot cherries and vegan chocolate sauce. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes, and write up a recipe if it’s as awesome as I’m hoping it will be. – UPDATE: The pancakes were delicious but a little stodgy, so more experimentation needed before a recipe is posted. 🙂

A point of interest: I subscribe to emails from Plant Based News, and this morning I awoke to an alert about the media writing about how a dairy-free diet is bad for us. This is a topic I’ve thought long and hard about, and done extensive research into, and I personally no-longer feel that I need to worry about it. The article cites mixed messages, if you’re interested have a look for yourself.
I can only state what I feel is right for me and if you are thinking of becoming vegan but are worried about this, make sure you do some research to find out what you are most comfortable with. I believe we can be healthy without dairy, but it is up to you to decide if you agree.

Finally, I encountered the hurdle of alcohol. It’s something I always kept in my mind as a vegetarian, but now I’ve committed to a stricter ethical lifestyle I want to pay more attention to this. I’ve discovered that cider often contains gelatine, and beer is made using isinglass (dried swim bladders of fish). The Barnivore website is a great tool to find out what is and isn’t vegan/vegetarian, and I’ll be creating a list of things I’ve found and enjoy. So far I’ve discovered Badger Ale’s Tangle Foot and Hopping Hare are both vegan, but not all Badger Ales are, so check first.
Most spirits are vegan and I’ve been drinking gin and vodka, both Sainsbury’s and Co-op label their products as vegan.

That’s it for now, going to post a few product reviews and link them in here, then I’m going to make those awesome cherry pancakes I’m dreaming of.

Yummy things list: 

  • Porridge oats with ground linseeds. (The linseeds are a great source of Omega 3 ALA, aka flaxseeds.)
  • Mashed avocado for healthy fats, on toast with ground linseeds and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (Nutritional yeast is a vegan’s best friend, among other things it’s good for vitamin B12.)
  • Potato salad with veggies like carrot; celery and olives; seeds for a protein boost; hummus for iron and other vitamins and minerals; and raisins for added nutrients and touch of sweetness. (Dried fruits are packed with goodness, but should be eaten in moderation due to their high sugar content and alongside meals for better dental health.)
  • Raisins are great in cous cous too, I’ll add some of my easy cous cous recipes later.
  • Nuts alongside fresh fruit for snacking. Apple slices topped with peanut butter are a major win. Celery with peanut butter is also surprisingly tasty! In fact, peanut butter pretty much goes with everything. You can buy tasty – but expensive – alternative nut butters too, like cashew and pistachio.
  • Stir fry with various combinations of veggies; kale (I add lemon juice for vitamin C to help my body absorb maximum iron), green beans, leek, marrow, asparagus and mushrooms. Sometimes I lightly season, I also make my own satay (which is great on a few noodles at lunchtime too, edamame beans thrown in, I’ll add recipes later.) I like rice noodles and brown rice for carbs.
  • Thai Green curry with various veggies – get creative . I’ve been using Co-op Thai green curry paste, it’s spicy but delicious.
  • Wraps with salad and hummus.
  • Soy milk yogurts and desserts.
  • Frozen mashed banana instead of ice cream. Easy to do but requires a little patience. Don’t leave it in there for days, it sets like concrete.
  • Nakd bars. (Delicious, vegan and all natural, review coming up – eventually.)
  • McVities mini gingerbread men, Co-op ginger nuts and choc chip cookies – turns out this stuff is accidentally vegan, good for picnics and movie nights. (I might create an accidentally vegan list at some point too, although there are already some great Youtube videos out there on this topic.)

xxx

Bugg’s Vegan Adventure – Phasing In

So this is it, the first blog post. Not only am I pretty new to being vegan, I’m also new to blogging, so please bear with me.

I’m Bugg. I’m currently vegetarian. I’m also trying my very best to be a good Buddhist. For a little more info about me head to the ‘About a Bugg’ page. 🙂

Right. Well. The Vegan Adventure.

Right now, technically, I’m not vegan, not yet.
I hate waste and so I’m using up what I have in first (precisely 4 eggs from the local farm, some organic feta, organic butter and quorn/frozen veggie bits and bobs.. for the food anyway. I’m going to gradually phase into vegan cosmetics and shower/cleaning over a longer period, as I find it a tad overwhelming to face everything all at once).

I have tried living a vegan lifestyle before, back in 2014, and it went alright, but at the time I was still new to being vegetarian and still had a lot to learn about nutrition. Long story short I got scared of deficiencies, started university, got stressed and went back to vegetarian. Since then I’ve striven to eat only organic dairy and eggs sourced from our local (and very lovely) farm, however the guilt over my lifestyle choices is seeping back in and I’m feeling much more up to the challenge of changing my diet, and my life, for good. I’m also more confident to deal with the inevitable questioning from friends and family.

As mentioned on my little about me page, I’d like to try and document my progress, thoughts, challenges, struggles and achievements along the way. I’ll try and post regularly, but I have what could be considered possibly the worlds worst memory, plus I’m not even sure yet if anyone will be interested to read this in any case. I shall do my best.

My hope is to be as honest as possible about my experiences, good or bad, maybe help others thinking of becoming vegan, and perhaps even inspire a few people too. Who knows.

So for now I’m gonna keep looking forward to the first day of officially becoming ‘a vegan’, it’s a little while off for now, but starting today I’m certainly going to try and avoid buying anything else that conflicts with my beliefs.

A final note: I used to be wary of the ‘vegan’ label, socially. There can be a lot of stigma that vegans are are mean and judgmental, and sometimes that is true. But sometimes vegetarians or those who eat meat can also be not-so-pleasant. After meeting numerous vegans I can confidently conclude that the vegan stereotype is not a one-size-fits-all; vegans can be lovely (and not all that crazy) people too, and definitely don’t deserve all the hate.
A message to the less friendly vegans out there: Please stop hating everyone and perhaps everyone will stop hating you. A little bit of patience and understanding can go a long way. ❤

xxx