Superfood: Powders, Pills, or Plants?

I plead guilty (but so do you).

We’ve all done it. Consciously or not. We’ve gone a day without eating our superfood veggies. *Gasp!* And, while we may be juuuuuuuuust fine, going many days or not eating an adequate amount of them can be detrimental to your health.

Too busy to make a salad? Don’t like the taste? No vegetables in sight?!

Never fear!

This day and age there is an answer and an alternative for everything. Many answers, in fact. And, although I do my best to eat an adequate amount of superfoods, fruits, and veggies (because I happen to love them), my interest was piqued. So I went shopping.

Upon venturing to the land of herbal supplements, superfood pills, and whole meal replacement powders, I was shocked at not only the selection, but also the price! These companies must make a killing. I was also very, very confused at what the difference between the majority of them could possibly be. Apparently, it was written all over my face, so a lovely vitamin attendant at the grocery store decided to come rescue me. She explained the difference between the superfood pills, the green vitamins, and the meal replacement powders. With my new found friend we ventured through the isles as I picked out a few things to try.

Garden of Life Perfect Food RAW

garden-of-life-perfect-food-raw-240-vcapsproducts4promo_picHoly choices! This little number, providing ’35 nutrient-dense organic greens, veggies, and sprouts,’ jumped out at me (it being on sale probably helped quite a bit). Additionally it is vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. This product is also part of the Non GMO Project as an added bonus. It’s a capsule that contains ‘RAW veggie juice,’ and the list of foods on the back of the bottle is broken down into 4 categories: RAW Organic Green Juice Blend, RAW Organic Veggie Juice Blend, RAW Organic Sprout Blend, RAW Probiotic & Enzyme Blend. While there were many other options that probably had virtually the same ingredients, the one thing I found was that you have to take a certain amount of capsules a day. The lowest number of daily capsules I found was 5, the maximum 16. Can you imagine popping 16 veggie capsules a day?! You may as well just eat a dang salad! This particular product recommends 8 capsules a day, which is still quite a bit, but hit in the middle of the road of the evils. There was a powder form for this guy, too, but the capsules seemed easier.

Paradise ORAC-Energy Multi-One

Orac-Energy-Multi-One-60-w_Iron-BoxDiffering from the Garden of Life Perfect Food RAW, this one is actually a daily multi-vitamin. It boasts 7 servings of fruits and vegetables on the packaging, as well as the title of a ‘Superfood Vitamin.’ I picked this one up at the suggestion of the vitamin attendant, who referred to it as a ‘hidden gem.’ This is a once a day vitamin, so that relieves you from choking down a multitude of them. It has a very impressive ingredient list, full of vitamins, veggies, fruits, probiotics, herbal extracts, and antioxidants. You have the option to choose the vitamin with or without iron. Although it doesn’t market itself as organic on the front of the packaging, all the ingredients list ‘organic’ in front of them. Additionally, it doesn’t have GMO-free anywhere on the product, so who knows. Because it has much of the same components of the RAW capsules, I would not take the two products together.

Meal Replacement Powders

This section is where I had the most problems. What in the heck is the difference between the brands, the smoothies, the meal replacements, the energizing shakes, etc., AND how would I choose?!?!?!?! My answer from the vitamin lady was very simple: taste, ingredient list, components, personal preference. Well alright then. I decided to look at just the whole meal replacement powders and try some sample packets from 3 different companies.

Vega One

Item-Vega-One-Large-Tub-Chai_Large-USAI have heard a lot about Vega, but have never tried it due to how expensive it is (as with all of these products). Some people swear up and down it’s amazing, so I’ll give it a go. Vega proudly states that it is a plant-based whole food. With their Vega One Nutritional Shake, they claim that it is: Good for your body and the planet, Vega One Nutritional Shake is the clean, plant-based choice to fuel your healthy, active lifestyle—without compromise. Made from natural, whole food ingredients, Vega One is a convenient, all-in-one supplement, packed with: 50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals, 15 g protein, 6 g fibre, 1.5 g Omega-3, antioxidants, probiotics, greens. Vega One is free from dairy, gluten and soy, and contains no added sugar, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

Here are the Supplement Facts for their Vanilla Chai flavor:

Vega One Nutritional Shake Vanilla Chai Supplement Facts

 

Garden of Life RAW Meal

raw mealThis one came highly recommended by a random lady standing next to me at the store. As with their Perfect Food RAW capsules, these products are also vegan. On their website, they explain that RAW meal ‘Contains 26 superfoods from RAW organic seeds, sprouts and greens, RAW Meal provides 34 grams of protein, 9-15 grams of fiber and a healthy 2.5 grams of fat making it an excellent choice for “weight conscious” individuals. RAW Meal also offers 20 Vitamin Code vitamins and minerals providing at least 100% of the Daily Value of 16 key nutrients. Just as important is what’s NOT included in RAW Meal. It is gluten-free, dairy-free and lactose-free. It has no fillers, no synthetic nutrients, no artificial flavors or sweeteners and no preservatives.’

Here are the Supplement Facts for their Vanilla flavor:

Garden of Life RAW Meal Vanilla Supplement Facts

 

Amazing Grass Amazing Meal

amazing mealI hadn’t heard of this brand before. They are 100 percent organic and market their product as plant-based. There’s not much I could find on their website about their product description, although I think they’re assuming that people are smart enough to recognize a meal replacement when they see one, without spelling it out for them (rightly so). Clicking on different flavors provides you with more information. For example, their Vanilla Chai flavor states: ‘Amazing Meal Vanilla Chai is a naturally balanced source of protein, antioxidant & phytonutrient rich superfoods, cleansing fiber, digestive enzymes and probiotics in a delicious vanilla chai flavor. Each bottle contains 15 servings. 11 grams of complete protein; 6 grams of fiber in every serving; Full spectrum of Green SuperFoods wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa & kale; Organic Super Fruits Goji & Acai berries; Great source of chlorophyll, antioxidants and essential fatty acids; 100% whole food nutrition no fillers or isolated vitamins.’

Here are the Supplement Facts for their Vanilla Chai flavor:

Amazing Meal Vanilla Chai Supplement Facts

Realistically, it can be hard to get all the servings of superfoods, fruits, and vegetables that you need every.single.day. Hard as you may try, there might be something lacking in your diet. I’m not sure if these pills and powders are the answer; I like to think that the real thing is better in every way. I’m willing to try some, though, and see if they make any sort of impact on my health, energy, and overall well-being. Obviously, I don’t plan on mixing the vitamin with the green capsules with the meal replacement shakes. (As always, if you’re unsure of how something will affect your health, talk to your doctor)

I’d like to hear from you! Do you use any sort of green superfood booster in your daily routine? If so, what do you use and why? Leave a comment!

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  • stee

    I tried two flavors of the Amazing Meal – pomegranate mango and original. Both were nasty. Musty, chalky, gritty even in a smoothie with plenty of yogurt and fruit. Nothing covered it up. I think I’ll stick to eating real food to get nutrition and if I don’t get all the new trendy nutrients, I’ll be ok. I’m old enough to remember when beta carotene was the thing you had to get more of, and calcium and more recently, probiotics.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19230115 Melissa Schaaf

      I felt like good old Vanilla and Chocolate flavors would be a good start. I have yet to try that brand, though. I’ve definitely heard some are better than others. And, while these may be the ‘trend’ for now, I’m willing to try and see why. Thank you for the feedback about the flavors! Chalk is NOT my favorite texture. :)

  • Kat Foley

    I just had the Vega One Berry flavor the other day and though it looked kind of gross and I wasn’t holding out any expectations on being impressed I thought it was really great tasting. It was a sample pack so I’ll be heading to the health store to pick up my own supply soon. The cost is definitely a downer though.