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.
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.
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.