LivWell Plant-Based Protein

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I know what you’re thinking…another vegan protein powder. As public perception shifts towards the many benefits of opting for plant-based nutrition and athletes in particular notice that they can recover and perform at higher levels when they switch to a vegan diet the market is becoming super-saturated with plant-based protein powders which can leave your head spinning. I have to be honest in saying that my interest in LivWell piqued when I learned that the company is based out of Philadelphia, PA – close to my home town. I always have much love for Philly and anything that comes from this fine city so I had to check it out.

The story is one I can definitely get behind as an athlete who cares a great deal about the quality of the fuel I’m putting in my body. The founder is a fitness and wellness enthusiast who grew tired of corporate influence over the food industry and began to question the quality of the ingredients going into some of the products he was consuming. After months of research, consulting and experimenting he came up with his own vegan protein powders that boast only high-grade, organic, 100% plant-based ingredients.
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Before I get to the fun stuff, the contents of LivWell Protein are definitely worth talking about. I’ll start with the protein sources:

Brown rice – 95% protein, fast absorption, aids muscle recovery, all 20 amino acids, lean muscle gains
Yellow peas – 80% protein, high levels of BCAA’s, high in lysine & arginine, healthy circulation, collagen formation
Sacha inchi – 60% protein, high in tryptophan, brain boosting, fatty acid omega 3, easily digested
Hemp seeds – 50% protein, packed with fiber, fatty acids, sustained absorption, easily absorbed

What you’re getting:
– 17 grams of complete protein
– state-of-the-art cold processed
– powerful amino acid profile (with all 20 amino acids)
– smooth texture
– fast & slow digesting proteins for sustained intake
– 3rd party lab testing of every batch – no heavy metals
– packaging made with recycled material
– free from soy, gluten & dairy
– no artificial anything – flavors, sweeteners or preservatives
– USDA Certified Organic – non-gmo, free from any synthetic fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics and chemicals
100% VEGAN 🙂

Now onto the fun part…testing the product! The first thing I noticed was the pleasant smell of both flavors when I opened the packages – this was a good sign! You can tell there is nothing artificial in these powders. LivWell uses organic wild vanilla bean pods and Ecuadorian raw cacao for natural flavors.

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I started with one of my simple yet delicious smoothies – chocolate peanut butter banana. 1 cup of Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 heaping Tbsp of peanut butter, and 1 serving of LivWell Raw Cacao protein. I can tell you that the protein tasted as great as it smelled! And what I really noticed is how smooth it was – there was no chalky or grainy consistency that you sometimes find with protein powders. I was off to a great start!

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Next up I decided to use the Wild Vanilla Bean protein in my classic Protein Pancakes (topped with banana and peanut butter – do you notice a trend here?) One word: delicious!

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Then I went onto LivWell’s Instagram page which showcases so many amazing recipes it’s hard to choose where to start. However once I saw Vegan S’mores Protein Milkshake I was sold. I used 1 cup of Califia Farms unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 serving of LivWell Raw Cacao protein, 4 pitted dates, 1/4 cup cashews, and I topped it with aquafaba marshmallow fluff.

For my last taste test it was an easy decision when this Raw Vanilla Protein “Donut” recipe popped up on their IG page. Wow. These were super-easy to make and the flavor is incredible. I will definitely be making them again…and again.

Raw Vanilla Protein “Donuts”

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 soaked medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 scoops LivWell vanilla protein
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • pinch of sea salt
  • Icing:
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients (except icing ingredients) in a processor until a dough forms.
  2. Roll into balls and freeze for about 20 minutes.
  3. Melt icing ingredients and roll balls into the icing once cool.
  4. Freeze balls again until solid and continue rolling balls in icing and freezing until desired icing is achieved (I rolled them twice).
  5. Store in fridge or freezer.


Credit: LivWell Nutrition

My verdict? I’m definitely sold on this protein and will be purchasing both flavors. The taste is superior, the texture is unlike any other protein powder I’ve tried, and the ingredients are clean and pure. Bonus: I’ll be supporting a local PA company! If you’re interested in trying LivWell you can order yours here. And make sure to check out their IG page if you’re looking for fun new ways to use their protein powders. Enjoy!

 

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What Vegan Athletes Eat

Thankfully the longtime question “where do you get your protein?” is fading. I think it’s becoming quite obvious that 1) people, even athletes, think they need way more protein than they really do, and 2) you can meet and exceed your daily protein requirements on a plant-based diet.
pyramidThe question that I am constantly asked is simple: “What do you eat?” It is a question I love. It shows that people are curious about my diet and really want to know more about it. I am always happy to discuss food 🙂 Since it is asked of me so often, I decided to share some of the main staples.

Breakfast
My day absolutely, positively starts with a banana. Bananas are chock-full of greatness. Vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, biotin, copper & fiber. They’re easy to travel with because they come in a cozy little protective shell, and you can find them almost anywhere.
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A banana along with a bottle of Vega Pre Workout Energizer get me ready for my first training session of the day.

After training I enjoy a bottle of Vega Recovery Accelerator and right now my go-to breakfast is homemade muesli. In the winter I’ll go with oatmeal and I’m also a fan of muffins. Muesli is the flavor of the season for me right now.
muesliI mix gluten-free oats, raisins, almonds, coconut flakes, cinnamon and soak it in dark chocolate almond milk. That hits the spot! The oats are a low glycemic carb, almonds provide essential fats and protein, shredded coconut contains selenium (an antioxidant), and raisins provide several essential minerals like potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper and sodium. They are also rich in dietary fibers, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. These micronutrients are very important for an athlete’s recovery. Cinnamon is a powerhouse not only because it is rich in anti-oxidants, but it also has been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and ease muscle soreness.

Lunch
I’ve been on a curry kick lately. Not only because it’s delicious – it’s also a great meal for athletes. Coconut milk is full of electrolytes, ginger is an anti-inflammatory and a digestive aid, curry is good for circulation, and turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory. I have found an awesome curry recipe that is super easy to make and store for lunches throughout the week!
curry

http://vegweb.com/recipes/coconut-quinoa-and-sweet-potato-curry

Another nourishing and delicious meal that a friend shared is super-easy to make in bulk. https://katepaicefroio.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/cabbage-sweet-onion-red-lentils/

Cabbage is a powerhouse for fiber and vitamin K. It’s also high in sulfur which is great for the skin. Paired with the vitamin C content of the cabbage, the phytochemicals in onions improve immunity. Among the benefits of lentils, one of the best is their high protein content. Lentils provide slow-burning energy and are a great source of iron.

If I haven’t pre-made my lunches for the week I’ll go with a big salad of spinach, tempeh, sunflower seeds, and whatever vegetables I have in the fridge. The previous night’s leftovers always work well too 🙂

Dinner
Dinner is where I can really have fun if I have enough time in my day 😉 I could go on and on about wonderful meals I love to try – if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few! For this blog I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. A go-to dinner for me is simple: grain (rice, quinoa, millet), green and/or other veggies (kale, broccoli, squash, brussel sprouts, etc.) and tempeh. I sauté the tempeh in coconut oil and Bragg Liquid Aminos. Quick and easy – covers all the bases.

I am a creature of habit and can easily eat the same thing day after day. Having awesome recipes at my fingertips helps me to branch out and try new things that I rarely have the time to experiment with on my own. Here are some of my favorite recipe resources:

Thrive Kitchen – http://thriveforward.com/thrive-kitchen/
Vegan Richa – http://www.veganricha.com/
Oh She Glows – http://ohsheglows.com/
Nom Yourself – http://www.nomyourself.com/
Post Punk Kitchen – http://www.theppk.com/

Snacks
Who doesn’t love snacks? The word alone makes me smile. Here are a few of my main squeezes. Curry cashews, apples, humus with veggies, sweet potatoes. I sometimes like to make my own trail mix with seeds, nuts, dried fruit. Okay, and maybe some dark chocolate pieces!
cashewAnd I can’t forget the best of the best – avocado. Mother Earth’s most precious gift to me 🙂 Give me a half of an avocado, a salt shaker, a spoon, and I’m one happy girl! It has so many uses, but another one of my favorites is mixed with chia seeds, cocoa and agave as a pudding. As you can tell, getting those EFA’s is important to me. And important to my body. Don’t skimp on those healthy fats!
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If I’m enduring a tougher training block, or even if I feel like my body just needs some extra fuel, a VegaOne shake is the perfect addition to my day. My favorite flavor is French Vanilla and I add a scoop to some water, a big handful of spinach, and some fruit in the Vitamix and I don’t need to worry about my body not getting what it needs! Check out this profile:VegaOne-All-in-One-GraphicI also have a sweet tooth, but eating processed sweets doesn’t fit into my training. Recently I’ve been addicted to these fudge bars that are raw and you keep in the freezer. The perfect snack at the end of my day with 7 simple ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, bananas, almond butter & agave.
fudgie barIt’s as easy as that. Simple ingredients, simple combinations. I’m never left craving anything because I’m giving my body everything I need using clean, whole foods. In the near future I will write about my training and race nutrition. In the meantime, always feel free to ask me any questions. I love food, I love talking about it, and I love sharing ideas!