Run Oregon Test Kitchen: Left Coast Raw protein shakes

Fruit smoothies are one of my favorite snacks (or sometimes meal replacements), and I am always looking for ways to add protein to the fruit while maintaining the fruity flavors I enjoy. Protein powders and shake mixes are readily available, but the kinds of powders that are both dairy free and free of sugar and other sweeteners are much harder to find.

Left Coast Raw shake blends are produced in Bend, Oregon, and they are 90% organic, 100% vegan, soy free, and gluten free. They are lightly sweetened with MonkSweet (a blend of Monkfruit and Stevia). Since some of these sweeteners cause digestive problems in some people, it’s important to be aware of the kind of sweetener before adding any new protein powders to your diet. To give all flavors equal chance of wowing me, I tried one each day, prepared with 12 oz unsweetened almond milk, before deciding to add other fruits to the shake. All shakes contain a base amount of plant proteins and other nutrients, but the different shake flavors have added ingredients:

Farmers Market Shake Blend contains (among other things) spinach and kale, which give the drink a green hue. Blended with almond milk, the drink tasted a bit earthy (a flavor I have noticed with other plant based protein powders), but blending in half a cup of frozen strawberries added just enough fruity to balance out the veggie.

Dawn Patrol Shake Blend contains a lot of greens and grains, and when I blended it with almond milk, the drink was a beautiful grass green. Straight up from the blender it tasted alright, but after addition of a banana and half a cup of frozen strawberries, it was delicious and refreshing.

Cascade Berry Bliss Shake features raspberries and blueberries, and this mix was my favorite flavor before adding fruit. I again chose a banana and strawberries, and the bright purple drink was my lunch that day.

CocoaMotive Protein Shake is a chocolaty mix of cocoa and the base protein sources. I really wanted to like it, but even after adding a banana and some ice, it tasted slightly bitter to me. This is an experience I have had with other chocolate flavored shakes as well, so as always, your mileage may vary.

Off The Leash – Green and Off The Leash – Red are energy shakes that contain 40mg of caffeine from green tea. The green drink features spirulina and grain grasses, while the red drink contains pineapple and raspberry.

All flavors of the shakes are available in single serve, six serving, and twelve serving pouches. Off the Leash has about 90 calories per serving, the other four are between 150-190cal per serving. Dawn Patrol, Cascade Berry, and Farmers Market start at $3.24/serving; CocoaMotive and Off the Leash start at $1.99/serving. You can save up to $1/serving by subscribing to auto-delivery of the 12 servings bulk bags. I highly recommend ordering a sampler pack first ($12 with free shipping) to find your favorite blend.

Overall, I loved that this was a local company and that they are committed to whole foods as opposed to God-knows-what powders. Read below for their story. I’ve never been one to do the whole shaker-bottle-and-water thing, so it wasn’t surprising that adding some whole or frozen fruits really kicked things up a notch for my taste buds and body. I would definitely purchase these again!

Company: Left Coast Raw

Products tested:

About the Company:

We started Left Coast Raw with the goal to make our shake blends similar in nutrition and taste to the smoothies you make at home in your blender with fresh fruits and vegetables. The challenge is providing you with comparable nutrient density and complexity in a powdered form you can easily make at home, at work or when you hit the road. Powdered fruits and vegetables require dehydration. Excessive heat during this process will compromise the nutritional benefit from the fruits or vegetables. Freeze drying maintains the native nutrient potency, taste and color characteristics. Freeze dried powders are more expensive to produce and cost more to use but if your goal is to provide maximum nutritional benefit then freeze-dried powders are what you use. Organic farming practices revive and restore nutrient rich soils and promote a healthy environment. Our shake blends are 90% organic with the goal of 100% soon.

This past summer, 2018, we became a Certified Benefit Corporation for Good in Oregon. Our first move was to eliminate our plastic tubs and replace them with commercial compostable food grade packaging. These pouches are much lighter to ship and we are able to use smaller boxes saving materials and fuel.

We are vegan certified by Vegan.Org. and are gluten, soy and dairy free. All the vitamins and minerals in our blends are from the native plant source. We don’t fortify our blends or Nutrient Facts with isolated minerals or vitamins.

You know that shake you made at home with the fresh fruit and veggies? Did you add natural flavors, erythritol, acacia gum, creamer base, ascorbic acid or xantham gum?  Yeah, we don’t use any of that stuff either.

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