Ka'chava Alternatives, Are There Better Plant-Based Proteins?
In their search for a healthier life, many people are beginning to turn to either a plant-based diet or are at least reducing their daily intake of meat. The documentary Forks Over Knives came at a time when obesity, diabetes, and heart disease were rising to epidemic levels, and the multiple cardiologists highlighted in the movie discussing the correlation between the rise in these maladies and our increasing meat consumption hit home for a lot of people.
The issue with making a rapid transition from a meat to a plant-based diet - which 5% of the population has done, with that number continuing to rise - is that the human body still needs certain amounts of nutrients to survive, protein being a big one of them.
Whether you are making the transition totally away from meat or are just looking for a way to add more healthy protein to your daily intake, plant-based proteins can provide a significant health benefit - if you use the right one.
What is a Plant-Based Protein?
As we were built to be omnivores that eat both meat and plants, humans need to consume the various nutrients that come from both worlds. This can present a dilemma for those who move to a totally vegan or vegetarian diet, as certain cholesterols, proteins, precursors, enzymes, and nutrients are essential for a healthy body, yet difficult to find through a plant-based diet.
Plant-based protein helps solve part of this problem, by taking different plant-based elements that contain a significant amount of protein and combining them to put what you need into various supplements. Some may come from mushrooms, split peas, beans, certain grains, nuts, seeds, or other sources.
While they may not be exactly the same as the protein derived from animal-based products like meat, milk, eggs, or fish, plant-based proteins can help add a vital necessity to your diet if you are trying to reduce or eliminate your meat intake.
What is Ka’Chava?
Ka’Chava is a plant-based superfood supplement that has recently become quite popular among participants of plant-based nutrition and those just looking for a healthier alternative to their diets alike. While Ka’Chava doesn’t have the calories to make it a proper meal replacement source, it does have enough nutrients, superfoods, and protein to make it a great addition to your daily intake and perhaps even a replacement for those not-so-healthy snacks that we’re prone to eat between meals.
Ka’Chava comes in five different flavors - chai, coconut acai, matcha, chocolate, and vanilla. The ingredients list is hidden behind their “proprietary blends,” so we don’t know exactly how much of each ingredient is included in their formula, but we do know that they pack a lot of nutrition into every single serving.
The plant-based protein in Ka’Chava comes from organic sacha inchi protein, yellow pea protein, organic whole grain brown rice protein, organic amaranth, and organic quinoa. Its adaptogen blend (adaptogens help your body to better respond to stress) includes organic maca root, organic shitake mushroom, maitake mushroom, reishi mushroom, ginger, and cordyceps mushroom.
Ka’Chava also includes an antioxidant blend, that is packed full of coconut flower nectar, acai berry, camu camu berry, blueberry, tart cherry, blackberry, strawberry, maqui berry, and raspberry. For the omega & fiber in this superfood supplement, Ka’Chava has chia seeds, flax seeds, whole grain oat, and acacia gum.
On top of all of those blends, Ka’Chava also includes a super greens & vegetable blend, a digestive enzyme blend, and a pre & probiotic blend. Ka’Chava only includes two different strains of probiotics in their superfood drink, which is better than none but still could be better.
The superfood supplement provides 25g of plant-based protein in every serving, has 5g of sugar, and brings 240 calories per glass. Some tout that Ka’Chava can be used as a meal replacement, but the calories don’t support that. While we’ve been taught that calories are evil in regard to diets, we have to remember what calories are a measure of: energy.
Our bodies are machines that will only perform to the level that what we put into them provides. If you try to put $1 of gas or the low-octane “cheap stuff” into a supercar, you won’t get very far. Likewise, if you are considering 240 calories enough for a meal, don’t be surprised when you don’t have enough energy to get off the couch.
Ka’Chava is very popular, has a good variety of flavors, and packs 25g of plant-based protein along with tons of nutrients into every serving. But is there a better option for those seeking to add plant-based protein to their diets? That’s what we’ll answer next.
Are there Better Plant-Based Proteins than Ka’Chava?
While Ka’Chava does have catchy marketing and there are a lot of nutritional goodies that go into their product, there is a lot that we feel it leaves to be desired. Here is our list of plant-based protein supplements (all vegan-friendly) that we feel are better than Ka’Chava.
Maximum Vibrance by Vibrant Health
We spend a lot of time going through nutritional studies and trying out various health-conscious supplements. In the realm of plant-based protein supplements, I don’t think we’ve found another that quite stacks up as well as Maximum Vibrance by Vibrant Health.
To begin with, Maximum Vibrance provides total transparency in regards to its ingredients list, which already makes them preferable to Ka’Chava in our book. This may not seem like a pressing issue to you, but for us it really is a big one. The scientific studies that are used to prove the health benefits of certain natural compounds or supplements not only find what benefits they provide but how much of the ingredient is required to give said benefits.
Take maca root, for example. An adaptogen (a natural compound that helps the body better respond to stress), studies have proven that maca root can enhance mood, increase libido, and reduce symptoms of depression when taken in increments of 3-3.5g per day (3000-3500mg). Maca root is included in the Ka’Chava adaptogen blend, but since the entire blend is only 1020mg, it seems there isn’t likely enough maca to provide its benefits to the supplement - and that’s important if you are choosing a plant-based protein & superfood supplement based on the benefits that it provides.
Maximum Vibrance offers a wide variety of health-inducing benefits to its supplement, but because every single item is listed separately on its label with how much of that ingredient is included per serving, we know that we’re actually getting said benefits with this one. Let’s go through some of those ingredients now.
To start with, Maximum Vibrance only contains 150 calories per serving, meaning that while it also isn’t a good total meal replacement, it would be a great snack replacement or addition to a healthy diet. With 20g of plant-based protein, 4g of fiber (needed for your body to absorb the nutrients in the supplement), and only 10g of carbs and 3g of sugars, the basic components of Maximum Vibrance are already outweighing those of Ka’Chava.
The major protein components in Maximum Vibrance come from the yellow pea, sprouted brown rice, and spirulina - an ancient superfood used by the Aztecs to supercharge their messengers who had to run between the cities to carry messages to their leaders. Maximum Vibrance also contains the three main cereal grasses (wheatgrass, oat grass, and barley grass) in both leaf and juice powder forms, meaning that you’re getting all of the health benefits that they provide.
14 different line items of plant-based micronutrition, 12 different super fruits, 17 different types of antioxidants, nutrients that provide immune support, adaptogens, skeletal support, fiber, liver support, vitamins & minerals, enzymes & tonics, and 25 billion CFUs of probiotics that are derived from 12 different strains are all included in this plant-based superfood protein supplement.
Maximum Vibrance is available in multiple forms and flavors, and the ingredient transparency from the company makes us very happy. Between those factors, the price point, and the wide variety of ingredients spread across each of these vital health-providing groups makes Maximum Vibrance a favorite of ours above Ka’Chava.
Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder
As people began to realize the importance of eating organic foods and reducing their meat consumption, another discovery started to gain a lot of traction among the health conscious. People began to realize that heat has a tendency to denature many proteins and nutrients, meaning that anything that was cooked or had heat applied to it may lose nutritional value in the process.
This gave rise to the raw movement, people who choose not to eat anything that has been cooked or had heat applied to it in the process of preparation. Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Powder follows this same approach in its plant-based protein supplement, as all of the ingredients included are processed without heat being applied. That means that each ingredient has the same nutritional value in the supplement as it did when it went into processing.
Unfortunately, Garden of Life also doesn’t list an exact breakdown of every ingredient amount in their product, so we have to take their word that these ingredients are included in great enough amounts to add a benefit. Per serving this plant-based protein supplement provides 130 calories per serving, meaning that it also isn’t a proper meal replacement but could be used to replace some snacks or provide a boost of protein between meals.
It has 3g of fat, 4g of carbs, and only 1g of fiber. It should be noted that fiber is an integral ingredient that is needed for your body to adequately digest & absorb the nutrients from foods, so you’ll have to ensure that you are getting plenty of fiber from another source. 22g of protein from 13 different sprouted sources isn’t too shabby, and this supplement is dairy-free yet includes a complete profile of all of the essential amino acids, as well as added whole-food, fat-soluble vitamins, probiotics, and enzymes.
Gainful Custom Plant-Based Protein Powder
This is one that we really like because it is so unique & original, but that same fact makes it difficult to include the nutritional values in this plant-based protein because every bag is different. Gainful creates custom & tailor-made protein supplements for its users based on their individual needs.
Every bag of Gainful plant-based protein includes all nine essential amino acids to benefit your whole body, 19 to 27g of protein, and no gluten, soy, fillers, artificial dyes, or sweeteners. The protein in every bag comes from seven different sources, which will be different based on your unique needs and preferences and can be whey, keto, or plant-based to align with your goals.
It works like this: you visit the Gainful website and take a fast & simple quiz. This helps the company know your body type, nutritional needs, dietary restrictions or desires, exercise style, and goal. They then take their base formula and create a protein mixture that is made just for you.
This makes it a little difficult to list their specific nutritional elements since there are so many different permutations and combinations that can be included based on each individual ingredient change. But, as we said, it’s quite unique and different, and something that we’ve never seen in the world of retail protein supplements before.
Ka’Chava has become wildly popular of late, and for good reason. Despite a large amount of spending on their flashy advertising and marketing campaigns, the Ka’Chava product itself is affordable, packs a lot of nutrition into every serving, and comes in a variety of flavors for you to choose from.
We really don’t like that they hide the specific amounts of their ingredient mixture behind proprietary blends, because we believe that health-knowledgeable and conscious consumers should be able to know exactly what they’re getting in every scoop. As we outlined with the maca example above, the company may be touting the benefits of certain ingredients that there just isn’t enough of in their plant-based protein, which gives us pause on using it in our own personal lives.
Maximum Vibrance, however, does outline exactly what is in its plant-based protein supplement. For that reason, while Ka’Chava is a good one, we personally choose Maximum Vibrance as our favorite plant-based protein and superfood supplement.