Vegan Meal replacement – what I’ve settled on (Updated Oct 16, 2013)

Ensure and Boost seem to be the most popular choices for those coming out of surgery, as they offer an easy to digest, “nutritionally balanced” option for those with digestive difficulties or with restricted ability to eat solid foods (i.e. new ostomates). Unfortunately, neither of the brands offer a vegan option.

Note: Since I originally wrote this post in 2013, a ton of vegan meal replacement products have come to market.

I started looking for similar products in vegan versions, but came up short. Most of what I found were either meal replacement BARS or simply protein powders.

I did, however, run into two options that I felt were acceptable.Vega One Shake and the President’s Choice brand of Soy Protein (may only be available in Canada).  I’m sure there are other options, depending on where you live, but these were the two that I felt most comfortable with.

Ultimately, I settled for the PC Soy Protein for the following reasons:

  • Cost.  At only $0.83 a serving (vs. $2.87 for the Vega), this was a clear advantage.
  • Complete nutrition. The PC Soy Protein, while short of vitamin D (more on this later), had a very robust nutrient offering without overdoing it.
  • Flavor.  I like the way the Chocolate tastes.  I’ve had vega before and found it very hard to get down. While the PC product isn’t exactly a “silky smooth, chocolate experience”, it was easy to swallow.

Now, keep in mind that what you decide to mix these powers in will have an impact on the nutrition profile. I’m using nutrisoya brand Nutra soy milk.  It has more calories than almond and rice milk and offers a thicker texture, which I like.  It’s also fortified with vitamin D (which makes up for the lack of in the PC product) and B12 (among other things). You can use other non-dairy milks, but keep in mind that you’ll want to be getting in as many calories as possible during your post-op healing phase.

I will discuss this product with the nutritionist post-op, but I’m confident that they will have no problems with it.

If you can’t find the PC brand protein powder in your area, look for a similar product that is fortified – there’s no use getting a plain protein powder, if you leave out the rest of the good stuff you’ll need to heal.

PC Soy Protein
PC Soy Protein

UPDATE (Oct 24, 2013): I received a call back from Loblaws, and they confirmed that their PC Protein Powder “does NOT contain any GMOs”.  They’ve also confirmed this in an email to me :)

UPDATE (Oct 16, 2013):
I’ve contacted Loblaws to inquire about their PC Protein powders and find out if they use GM soy. I’m waiting to hear back from them, but I fully expect the product to have GMO’s in it, as it’s not an organic product.  I try to avoid GMO’s as often as possible, but in some cases, I have to weigh the risks to benefits.  Considering that protein powders aren’t something I’d normally use or even recommend for long-term use, I’m comfortable using these products for the short-term, post-op healing. If there are concerns about using GMO, I’d suggest that you either look for organic protein powders.  I’ll be writing a blog entry about proteins and how to get them on a vegan diet, and will include non-soy sources as well.

Question: If you’ve found another product that works for you, please feel free to comment.

8 thoughts on “Vegan Meal replacement – what I’ve settled on (Updated Oct 16, 2013)”

  1. Kate Farms offers plant based nutrition shakes which were recommended by a nutritionist after my UC diagnosis. I used to have subscriptions for regular deliveries of the Chocolate and Coffee flavors. The pros are: VEGAN!, nutritionally complete (330 calories, 16g protein, and more), tasty, ready to drink, fast shipping, great customer service. The cons for me are: the cost of $3.80ish per carton, and the shortage of recycling centers that take tetra pak containers. There is a center about 15 miles from my home that takes those (rinsed) tetra paks, but it ends up being a lot of bulk to deal with.
    I’ve gone back to Orgain Plant Based Chocolate powder with soy milk, and will probably stick with that as long as chocolate is okay for a colostomy.

    • Great info! Good find.

      Re: chocolate. I find that chocolate tends to thicken my *ileostomy* output, but I wouldn’t expect it to cause issues with a colostomy.

      • Haha, thank you for the reminder. I need to update my vocabulary. I meant “ileostomy”. Good to know why chocolate can be tricky – I’d prefer to keep it in my diet if possible.

  2. My neighbor brought me 3 large containers of Orgain protein powders, they had several flavors and it’s Vegan, organic, gluten-free, sweetened with stevia and no soy. Drinking it for the first time, the chocolate peanut butter is excellent. Can be found at some health food stores and can be ordered off of Amazon website too. Can be mixed with water or milk, I am drinking it with almond milk.

    • That one is completely vegan, so yes. There have been a LOT of new products on the market over the years. I suggest trying a few different ones, especially if the flavor doesn’t work for you.


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