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?