Monthly Archives: December 2016

Arbonne Protein Powder and Shakes Reviews

While doing research for this post and looking at Arbonne protein powder reviews online, I had some reservations. I’m friends with people who sell it, and they’re generally very passionate about Arbonne’s shakes and other products. And I sell a plant-based protein powder of my own, so this opens the door for some potential bias.

So first off, let me say I’ve always thought of Arbonne as a good company.

But the goal of every review post I write is to present the facts based on my analysis of the nutrition facts label and ingredients list.

Unfortunately, I was not impressed with what I discovered about most Arbonne protein powder and shakes. See below for my short and full versions of the review …

best plant-based protein powders

Arbonne Protein Powder Review (Short Version)

Similar to my other reviews, I am reviewing Arbonne’s protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste.

This is what I look for in a healthy protein powder:

The ingredients Arbonne uses in its protein powders are not as clean as you might think.

Here’s proof …

arbonne protein powder review arbonne essentials daily protein boost arbonne shakes
Arbonne Protein Shake Mix Arbonne Essentials Daily Protein Boost Arbonne Ready to Drink Shakes
Calories 160 50 180
Grams of Protein  20  10  20
Protein Source(s)  Pea protein, rice protein, cranberry protein  Pea protein, rice protein, cranberry protein Pea protein, rice protein, cranberry protein
Grams of Sugar  9  0  11
Free of “Natural” Flavors No Yes No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No Yes No
Organic No No No
Vegan Yes  Yes Yes
Cost Per Gram  $.06  $.06  $.08

Look guys, I’m not trying to bash Arbonne … just giving you my honest review based on the facts. And the facts, unfortunately, are quite clear:

All Arbonne protein shakes except Arbonne Essentials have sugar, gums, flavors, and other junk.

The Arbonne Essentials Daily Protein Boost actually looks like a decent product and I like the protein blend. It’s unflavored though and not organic.

Arbonne Protein Powder Reviews (Full Version)

On its website, Arbonne says:

By integrating the most beneficial botanical ingredients from nature with the principles of green chemistry — we craft products with integrity, expertise and innovation.

“Green chemistry” is kind of an oxymoron if you ask me.

Arbonne also has an “Ingredients Policy” page that has a picture of a pretty lady (this is called “aspirational marketing”, a clever psychological tactic) along with words about how “pure,” “safe,” and “beneficial” their products are:

arbonne protein reviews

After reviewing the ingredients in Arbonne’s protein powders and shakes, my problem is not what they formulate without, as stated above … it’s what they formulate their protein powders with.

If you dig into the ingredients list on Arbonne’s flavored protein powders and shakes, there are some things clean eaters should be very concerned about:

1. Arbonne Shakes Have Way Too Much Sugar

Take a look at the sugar content in two of Arbonne’s protein products:

  • Arbonne Protein Shake Mix: 9 grams
  • Arbonne Ready to Drink Shake: 11 grams

Cane sugar is the #2 ingredient in each of these after the protein blend. Huge red flag. Might as well drink a milkshake.

2. All But Arbonne Essentials Protein Powder Have “Natural” Flavors

Natural flavors are chemical-filled junk and they’re definitely NOT natural. Read my article “What Are Natural Flavors?” if you want to know more about this mystery ingredient.

Bottom line: “natural” flavors can contain hundreds of different ingredients that food companies don’t have to disclose to you. Many of these are chemicals in standard “flavors.” Not saying Arbonne uses them but it’s worth asking them where their flavors come from and how they’re made.

3. Arbonne’s Proteins Have Corn, Gums, Gillers, and Other Highly Processed, Artificial Ingredients

Arbonne Protein Shake Mix and Ready to Drink contain a laundry list of these additives. That could spell bad news for your body because these processed thickeners, fillers, gums, and fibers can wreak havoc on your gut.

One ingredient they use that really bothers me is corn starch (also called maltodextrin), which is used as a thickener. I assume Arbonne doesn’t use GMO corn. But most corn that’s not organic is genetically modified. And corn is one of the “Big 8” allergens that many people should be avoiding. Side Note: it’s worth a trip to an Allergist to see if you test positive for an allergic reaction. I had no idea that I was allergic to corn and dairy because going to see one!

So let’s look at the big picture view of all the “red flag” ingredients in Arbonne’s protein powders and shakes. Note all the things I highlighted in red:

arbonne shake review arbonne daily protein boost arbonne ready to drink shake
Product

Arbonne Protein Shake Mix

Arbonne Essentials Daily Protein Boost

Arbonne Ready to Drink Shakes

Nutrition arbonne essentials protein powder nutrition facts arbonne daily protein boost nutrition facts arbonne protein shake nutrition facts
Ingredients  arbonne essential protein powder ingredients daily protein boost ingredients arbonne ready to drink protein powder ingredients

Let’s wrap this up …

Arbonne Protein Powder Reviews Summed Up

Arbonne Essentials Daily Protein Boost is the only product I recommend based on my nutrition and ingredients analysis. I recommend avoiding Arbonne Protein Shake Mix and Ready to Drink Shakes because of the high sugar content and all the highly processed gums, fibers, fillers, and thickeners. Plus, for the price they charge, I wish they would use organic ingredients.

best plant-based protein powders

No Bake Chocolate Protein Balls (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free)

no bake protein bar

Creating this no-bake chocolate protein balls recipe (that will please both vegan and paleo palettes, by the way) stirred up some hilarious mental images of the classic SNL Schweddy Balls skit.

All jokes aside, these protein balls are made for clean eaters. They contain 100% real food ingredients, no added sugar, and are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly.

Best of all, there’s no baking required. You just mix all the ingredients together, roll the dough into balls, and refrigerate it.

My Schweddy balls (sorry, couldn’t resist) are a guilt-free dessert too. One ball will only set you back 122 calories, while delivering a healthy balance of carbs, good fats, and protein.

No Bake Chocolate Protein Balls Recipe (Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

What’s In ‘Em:

  • paleo protein balls ingredients3 scoops Pure Food Raw Cacao protein powder
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup organic dried dates (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1.5 cups organic coconut cream + 1/4 cup water (or .5 cups organic coconut milk powder and 3/4 cup warm water)
  • 1 oz. organic dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao … here’s a good list of bars if you’re dairy free)
  • 2 T slivered almonds


How to Make ‘Em:

  1. Put the dates in a food processor and turn on for about a minute.
  2. Add pecans and pulse 8-10 times.
  3. Stir in the almond flour, protein powder, and coconut milk powder. Turn on food processor for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Use a sharp knife to chop up dark chocolate into fine shavings and combine with slivered almonds in a bowl.
  5. Roll the dough from the food processor into balls. Roll each chocolate protein ball in the bowl of slivered almonds/dark chocolate shavings.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your protein balls into 5 rows of 3 (or however many you want).
  7. Refrigerate overnight. They’ll be ready to eat the next day. They should keep in a tupperware in the fridge for about a week.
vegan protein balls
Here’s what the batter looks like.

Nutrition Facts (per ball … this recipes makes 15 balls):

  • 122 calories
  • 9 g fat
  • 9 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar)
  • 5 g protein

Here’s the final product:

These chocolate protein balls would be a hit at any holiday party (and gives you a funny ice-breaker starter because someone is sure to mention the Schweddy balls skit). Or just make them as a healthy snack like I did. Either way, you’ll be happy you tried this awesome recipe.

See more recipes like this every day when you follow me on Instagram:

Orgain Review: The Truth About Their Protein Powders & Shakes

Finally, the long-awaited, much requested Orgain protein powder review.

Just like my other reviews, in this article I’ll show you exactly why clean eaters should avoid Orgain organic protein powders (and shakes). 

I’ve broken this into two versions: a short version for those who have a limited attention span like me, and the full version for those who want to explore Orgain’s ingredients and nutrition facts a little deeper.

(Disclaimer: I sell a protein powder. This admittedly creates some potential bias. That’s why my reviews focus on Orgain’s nutrition facts and ingredients. At the end of the day, this is just one person’s opinion).

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 20 of the best plant protein powders (including Orgain) by ingredients, nutrition, and cost.

Orgain Protein Powder Review

First, let’s get this out of the way: I evaluate protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste. If taste is your number one priority when choosing a protein powder, then this article probably isn’t for you. I’ve tasted most of Orgain’s products and they taste quite good.

Anyways …

When I analyze whether a protein powder is “healthy” or not, I look at the only two objective pieces of information you will see on any protein powder package:

  1. The Ingredients
  2. The Nutrition Facts

The ingredients and nutrition facts label will help you answer these important questions:

  • Do they use organic, real food ingredients?
  • Any allergens or inflammation-causing soy, dairy, or gluten?
  • What about fillers, natural flavors, and gums? (these are all warning signs of a cheap, highly processed protein powder)
  • How much protein does it have per serving?
  • What are the protein sources?
  • How much sugar is added?
  • What other sweeteners (real or artificial) do they use?

Orgain’s ingredients and nutrition facts information for their protein powder and shakes reveal a lot:

orgain organic protein review orgain organic protein powder Orgain Nutritional Shake Orgain Vegan Nutritional Shake Healthy Kids Shake Orgain Slim Protein Powder review
Orgain Organic Protein Powder Orgain Meal Powder Orgain Nutritional Shake Orgain Vegan Nutritional Shake Healthy Kids Shake Slim Protein Powder
Calories 150 220 250 220 200 150
Grams of Protein  21  20  16  16  8  20
Protein Source(s) Organic brown rice protein, organic pea protein, organic chia seed, organic hemp protein Organic brown rice protein, organic pea protein, organic chia seed  Organic milk protein concentrate, organic whey protein concentrate  Organic brown rice protein concentrate, organic chia seeds, organic flax powder, organic hemp protein concentrate Organic milk protein concentrate, organic whey protein concentrate  Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed
Grams of Sugar  1  1  12  9  13  1
Free of Natural Flavors No No No No No  No
Free of Gums & Thickeners No No No No No No
Organic  Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vegan  Yes Yes  No Yes  No  Yes
Amazon Review Rating  4.3  4.3  4.2  4.1  4.2  4.4
Cost Per Gram  $.02  $.04  $.10  $.08  $.09  $.05

Let’s start with what I like about Orgain …

  1. Orgain only uses Organic ingredients.
  2. The plant-based protein sources in Orgain vegan products are solid.
  3. Orgain was developed by a medical doctor and cancer survivor.

However, when I analyzed the ingredients list on many of Orgain’s products, there were some things that concerned me:

1. Sugar content

The sugar content in many Orgain Shakes is quite high:

  • Orgain Original Shakes: 12 grams
  • Orgain Plant-based Shakes: 9 grams
  • Orgain “Healthy” Kids Shakes: 13 grams

Orgain uses LOTS of different sweeteners. Tap/click the following links to learn about some of the negative health effects of each:

2. “Natural flavors

The Environmental Working Group says natural flavors are:

Unspecified mixtures of as many as 100 flavoring substances and solvents, emulsifiers, and preservatives.

Food manufacturers are only required to list “flavors” on their ingredients lists, without revealing the original sources or chemical mixtures of these flavors.

Long story short:

Your natural flavors may not be natural at all Click To Tweet

To learn more about this mystery ingredient, read my article “What Are Natural Flavors?“.

 

So let’s look at the big picture view of all the junk ingredients in Orgain’s products … I’ve highlighted ingredients that I personally avoid:

orgain protein review Orgain Meal Powder Orgain Nutritional Shake Orgain Vegan Nutritional Shake Healthy Kids Shake Orgain Slim Protein Powder review
Product Orgain Organic Protein Powder Orgain Meal Powder Orgain Nutritional Shake Orgain Vegan Nutritional Shake Healthy Kids Shake Slim Protein Powder
Nutrition orgain vegan protein powder nutrition facts orgain meal nutrition facts orgain nutritional shake nutrition facts orgain vegan shake nutrition facts orgain kids nutrition facts orgain slim nutrition facts
Ingredients orgain ingredients - organic protein blend orgain meal replacement ingredients orgain original shake nutrition facts orgain ingredients - vegan shake  orgain kids shake ingredients orgain slim ingredients

Phew, that’s a lot of red flags! Let’s sum up this review …

Orgain Reviews: The Final Verdict

Orgain’s sugar-free products are cost-effective and contain all organic ingredients. 

However, many of their products contain 10 grams or more of sugar per serving. The average American already gets plenty of sugar (82 grams per day).

I recommend sticking with one of their sugar free products or looking for a plant-based protein powder instead.

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 20 of the best plant protein powders (including Orgain) by ingredients, nutrition, and cost.