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Review of: Viva Labs Organic Hemp Protein

This has a very pleasant, nutty taste. Let me be clear. I love the taste.

I've tried other hemp powders that leave a bitter aftertaste or are gritty. This is smooth and almost sweet. Like those other hemp-based protein powders, this one caused no ill effects in my digestive systems. That is a statement I cannot make about dairy-based ones, and I have tried at least a hundred different brands or formulations.

Many folks are looking to complement their dairy-based protein powers. That wasn't my goal with Viva Labs Organic Hemp Protein.

this. I tried this product to see if I'd include it among the other vegan protein powders I consume (yes, I will).

My days of consuming a dairy-based protein shake or meal replacement powder are behind me. I've moved entirely to vegan protein powders. These beat diary-based ones in several important ways, such as:

  • Easier assimilation.
  • Really good amino profile, when blended.
  • Micronutrients typically included.
  • Typical dairy toxins (in all but the highest-end dairy-based powders) not present. These include some pretty nasty, endocrine-modifying stuff and at least one neurotoxin.
  • Nice absorption rate, unlike whey. This is critical. Whey hits your bloodstream fast, and you can absorb maybe 20g of it. Most people using whey powders consume more than 20g at a time, and the leftover is converted to fat or eliminated.
  • And (as I understand it) vegan sources mean less work on the kidneys and less nitrogen loss because bioavailability is higher; this might be marginally less. To me what's important is it's not more.
  • No lactose intolerance issues!

Cost is always a consideration, and the vegan powders typically cost less than their dairy counterparts. Not only that, the environmental impact and the water footprint of producing a vegan powder is hugely less than for dairy-based. This product is affordably priced.

I've tested about a dozen different vegan proteins, and they typically mix well (only a couple require much beyond vigorous shaking of a carafe). This Viva Labs Hemp Protein mixes very easily. It's at the high end of mixability. This mixes well by itself and also with anything I add to it. Sometimes, I mix one protein powder with another or mix one with an aminos complex (called FundAminos). Often, I toss in some beta-alinine.

The ingredients panels on the vegan proteins are real eye-poppers. Read and compare the amino profile of any vegan blend to that of any diary-based, and you will want vegan every time. It's like you're taking a BCAA supplement along with your protein, plus getting aminos that aren't branch-chained. Hemp protein is noted for its excellent amino profile.

The real test of these is how a body builder does on them. I've been using vegan powders for over a year, and have gained muscle mass during that time. I do not eat meat, wheat, corn, or soy; those ingredients make up about 80% of the typical American diet and meat is the primary protein source.

So do I get enough protein? I recently had an "age 55" photoshoot, and I was at about 3.5% body fat (it is very hard to measure body fat in that range; body fat scales stop at 5%). Yet really strong; I'm doing flyes with 10lbs more than 2/3 of my body weight (counting both dumbbells) and I do them slowly. This takes unusual strength relative to body weight; normal is less than 1/3 of a man's body weight.

Basically, I am finding you can't go wrong with a vegan protein powder. But some are better than others, and Viva Labs Organic Hemp Protein is one of the best. And that taste! Really delicious.

The only thing I don't like about it is the pouch packaging. While presumably more environmentally friendly than the traditional tub, the pouch makes it tricky to get powder out without slopping some on the counter. I buy my turmeric and my cinnamon in these large pouches, too. My FundAminos comes in a pouch, as does my ChocoBerry Blast. All great stuff, but those pouches mean you have to be more careful when scooping out the product. Also, you also can't stack pouches on top of each other.

That said, a pouch has one ginormous advantage over a tub. You can easily pack it in your luggage or you can ship it ahead to your destination in a mailing envelope instead of a more costly box. For those who really can't stand a pouch, the solution is simple: buy a reclosable, reusable or bin. I have lidded bins just for my cooking flours (which do not include wheat, corn, or soy).




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