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Powder to the People

In the market for some powdered goods to add to your breakfast? Oh, stop thinking about powdered doughnuts! We’re talking protein and green tea powders here. Like a lot of you out there, I’ve never been one for adding protein supplements to my smoothies. I never even make smoothies, for that matter. But I was up for a new challenge, so I went to town experimenting with my breakfasts. Read on for my novice take on two powders (and a forever-changed view of smoothies!).

Vega
VegaAfter Jenn’s rave reviews about the Vega Whole Food Smoothie infusion, I just had to give the company’s latest product a try to see if I, too, could have my own personal “crack breakfast.”

The company’s new product, the Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer, boasts insane nutritionals. This plant-based protein power is higher in calories than the smoothie powder, but for those 220 calories you’re getting insane nutritional benefits: 26 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, and 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. To keep the added calories down, you could use the 100-calorie snack pack like I did or just use one scoop (the recommended two-scoop serving is a huge amount of powder).

While the powder is made to be nutritionally complete by just adding water, I balked at the idea of drinking a powdered drink straight up. Meaning, I kinda freaked and said, “Oh, hell no.” So for my first attempt, I decided to use my Natural flavor packet in a banana-strawberry-pineapple smoothie. While the powder adds a slightly grainy texture to the concoction, it was not bothersome to me or my picky husband. And the taste? Heck, my smoothie was so packed with delicious fruit that I couldn’t even begin to tell you how the powder affected it—perfect!

And because I was curious, I just had to try one of the powders on its own, with just H2O. I think I was nervous and distracted, because I didn’t manage to get the lid on correctly before I shook the drink to mix it up, thus spraying my kitchen with chocolate-flavored water. Once ready, I looked into the mixture with apprehension. A chocolate-flavored drink that I knew wasn’t chocolate milk? This would be interesting. My teeny-tiny sips of the drink actually tasted chocolaty and sweet, but also had a “from the earth” tinge. A few sips I could do, but I know there’s no way I’d be able to choke down 8 ounces of the stuff. In a banana smoothie? Sure thing.

Jenn was right that these powders do turn your smoothie a bit of an off color, but the taste is anything but off. And she was right: Starting your day with a Vega smoothie is highly satisfying.

Matcha
MatchaSource1I like green tea. Flavorful, but not too flavorful, it’s the perfect light drink to sip on when I’m craving something warm and low-cal. Given my strong like for green tea, I was interested in trying matcha, a powdered green tea that can be whisked as tea or added to recipes.

After reading Matcha Source’s directions for the tea, I got out my trusty teaspoon and added one scoop of the sifted (yes, you have to sift) powder to 1.5 ounces of hot water and whisked it until it was foamy. Now, 1.5 ounces isn’t much water. At all. And the tea was very green. Because I do anything for you readers, I took a sip. Holy green tea, Batman! Less like a green tea, this is more like a high-strength green tea turbo shot.

After I took my sip or two, I read the Matcha Source literature, which said that the taste of matcha is “grassy and full-bodied.” That it is. You can experiment with the ratio of water to powder, but I have a feeling I’d need a lot of water. Oh, and for thicker tea, you can go with 1 ounce water to two scoops of powder. That just makes me laugh.

Because of my above smoothie experiment with Vega, and because it says so on the Matcha Source pamphlet, I gave the powder a try in my morning smoothie. Now that I can get behind! While it changed the color of my smoothie, the fruits in the smoothie toned down the strength of the powder, making this a much more tolerable way of getting my matcha on. You could also go with a more neutral-flavored smoothie base (yogurt, sugar and ice cubes) to get more of a green tea effect.

And why would you want to drink matcha anyway? Because it’s chock full of nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and detoxifying chlorophyll—that’s why!

Powder Conclusion
While there is no way on earth I could drink a powdered drink or thick green tea on its own, throw it in a smoothie and I’m golden. This experiment also got me out of my flawed thinking that smoothies were such a pain to make, what with needing a blender and all. Smoothies for me are now a way to start off my day with a filling, fruit-filled meal. Adding protein powder is a sure-fire way to round out your breakfast and keep you full enough to get you to lunchtime. As long as I’ve got a stock of frozen fruits, yogurt and bananas, a smoothie is just one blend away. —Erin

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