I’ve found that I recover better and faster when I have a recovery drink immediately after hard workouts. I don’t need to remind you of the recovery benefits of replacing lost glycogen to your muscles – I’m sure you’ve heard it enough times.
Since turning to a more plant-based diet, I hadn’t been using a recovery drink. After spending a fortune on the Ironman, I decided I’d try to go without one for a while. Since I wasn’t training hard, it didn’t matter as much. However, once I got into some heavy marathon training, I knew I needed something to drink immediately following my workouts.
My requirements for a recovery drink are:
1) Vegan (most recovery drinks get their protein from casein or whey)
2) Non Soy Based
3) Contains branch chain amino acids and/or glutamine
4) Tasty & mixes well into a smoothie type drink
After some research, Mike and I decided to try VegaOne’s VegaSport Performance Protein. VegaOne is a vegan supplement company created by vegan pro-triathlete Brendan Brazier and is highly reviewed on many websites. We decided to give it a try after all the hype we’d heard. We purchased a Mixed Berry flavor tub and a Chocolate flavor tub. We knew based on the nutrition facts that it fit 1-3 of our requirements, but we weren’t sure if it’d also be tasty.
One scoop of VegaSport Performance Protein contains 110 calories and 25 grams of plant-based protein! The protein is not soy, rather it is a combination of pea, sancha inchi (a rich, plant-based source of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a key component of serotonin production), sprouted whole grain brown rice, hemp and alfalfa protein. It also contains 5,543 mg of branched chain amino acids and 5,000 mg of glutamine.
After our next workout, we tried the powder mixed just with 8 ounces of water. It wasn’t bad tasting – not many protein shakes are great mixed with water (I can honestly say Shakeology is the only shake I’ve ever tasted that is thick and delicious with just water). However, the next time we blended it with a few other ingredients and it was quite delicious! The drink is definitely drinkable on its own, but I recommend it blended not only for taste, but also for the added carbohydrates (the powder itself only has 6g carbohydrates). Although VegaSport has a lot of protein, it is lacking a bit in carbs which are necessary for recovery.
After some experimentation, my perfect VegaSport recovery drink is:
- 1 scoop VegaSport (6g carbs/26 g protein)
- 1 cup almond milk (16 g carbs)
- 1 full banana (24 g carbs)
- 1/2 cup organic frozen mixed berries (8g carbs)
- 1 tsp Spirulina (2g protein)
Blend and enjoy!
The addition of the almond milk gets the total carbs up to 54 so the carb:protein ratio is now 2:1 instead of 1:4 (3:1 is actually ideal but typically I eat a full meal soon after I have this shake which helps). On early morning tough runs I typically just drink the powder with water and then have a big bowl of oatmeal with banana within 30 minutes of my workout for my carbohydrate intake. When I do an easy workout or run, I usually skip the recovery drink so that it lasts longer.
Do you use a recovery supplement?
I was just looking at Vega as an option. Do u incorporate Shakeology into your diet?
Recently I haven’t been using Shakeology but I have used it regularly before. It’s especially good for an afternoon snack right an hour or so before a workout – I would get so much energy after drinking one!
Thank you. Love your blog BTW. It’s been such a great source of inspiration and real practical information that I am incorporating in my day. I went to a lecture by Karmacow this weekend, it was great. I’m making changes to a plant based diet as well. :). Have a wonderful week.
Glad you enjoy it!! I love KarmaChow!! Melissa has some of my favorite recipes from Tony Horton’s Bring It book and I just got her cookbook.
Jesse - Questionably Texan
I’m incredibly bad about eating/drinking right after a run. I used to make banana smoothies and put in some rice protein, but I stopped doing that for no reason.
I tried a Vega sports drink (can’t remember what it was called, and I’m sure I’d be sued if I compared it to Gator-Ade), but I really didn’t like the taste. And it was zero calories. I need the calories when I’m running! I’m surprised their recovery drink is also so low in carbs.
I love regular Vega-protein smoothies but haven’t tried this recovery drink–which flavor did you enjoy better? Sometimes I think chocolate tastes weird–so i’d be interested in your opinion. My go to recovery mix is Ultragen by First Endurnace (it’s gluten free too). 🙂
I prefer the chocolate when it’s with water and the berry when it’s mixed w/ the banana and berries. I wouldn’t’ say the chocolate is delicious but you only mix it with 8 oz water so it just goes down. It’s definitely not bad tasting!
Is the chocolate chalky? That’s always my concern and why, like you, I often choose berry. Although Vega Tropical Smoothie is my favorite! Thanks for the input!
Hmm…. I’m not sure if it’s exactly chalky…I’d say it is drinkable but not so delicious that I consciously slow down to savor the flavor. It is what it is …and I do enjoy it blended as well with the berries but I usually skip the spirulina w/ the chocolate.
Interesting timing because I just made a chocolate berry Vega shake yesterday after my long run! I’m seeing how it compares to Shakeology. I mixed the chocolate powder with frozen berries, 1/2 a banana, and coconut milk. I like using frozen berries since you don’t have to worry about having any ice handy.
I’ve been looking at Vega for a while but didn’t plop down the money because it was quite pricey at Whole Foods. Where do you get it at?
Also at Whole Foods….it didn’t seem any more expensive than anywhere else unfortunately!