Food is a big part of travelling. Trying new foods and restaurants is hugely enjoyable and it’s always interesting to find out about locally grown products and how they are prepared, and taste.
Sometimes though it’s a good idea to carry a few favourite foods with you for those times when what you need simply isn’t to hand, for one reason or another.
I’ve tried a number of protein powders, mainly those made from ‘real food’ and without a lot of nasty additives. Previous vegan products have tasted too ‘pea-like’ and often had a rather unpleasant grainy texture. The whey versions are sometimes too claggy and the flavours diluted.
It’s always a good idea to buy single-serve sachets, and in varying flavours, of a particular brand before deciding which one you like as they vary enormously in flavour, texture and ingredients. Recently I tried a couple of Purition protein powders, a Strawberry whey version and a Cocoa vegan sample.
Purition protein mixes contain wholefoods although not organic. Both of the flavours I tried have more or less identical ingredients, except that the Strawberry mix is made with whey protein isolate and the Cocoa is made with hemp protein. Both contain apple pectin and are further sweetened with Steviol glycosides, a sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana and native to Brazil and Paraguay.
Usually, I use a NutriBullet to blend a smoothie or protein shake. A good hotel would be probably be accomodating enough to have your breakfast blend made up for you in the kitchen, rather like asking for a jar of baby food to be warmed. In this instance, though, I tried different methods. Firstly, a glass screw-topped jar as this would be to hand on a self-catering break. Coupled with some vigorous shaking it worked well. A non-BPA water bottle would be another option on the move. If push came to shove you could simply stir the mix vigorously into a glass of your preferred choice of milk. All methods gave a slightly different result in terms of texture but no difference in flavour.
I used hazlenut milk with the Cocoa vegan shake and both organic dairy milk and almond milk (separately) with the Strawberry whey mix. All combinations produced a smooth result, partly because the mixes are not in a powdered but rather a granular form.
The screw-topped jar worked almost perfectly despite the tough little sesame seeds remaining whole but I liked the crunchy texture. Using a blender gives the smoothest shake and a little froth which is lacking in the other versions but that’s not a deal-breaker. Note: the recommendation is to mix the single-serve (40g) sachet with 200ml of a milk of your choice which is a small glass and might not satisfy a big appetite as a meal replacement.
Flavour and Aroma
There was practically no detectable smell of chocolate in the glass. Between 80% – 90% of what we taste is actually smell so this was disappointing. In fact, any chocolate flavour was overpowered by the strong taste of fruit in the mouth. There was also a slightly bitter apple aftertaste that lingered. The naturally-sweet hazlenut ‘milk’ in the vegan shake, coupled with the Stevia, possibly contributed to the overly sweet finish.
I made different mixes using organic semi-skimmed dairy milk and organic almond milk. There was a light strawbery smell in the glass but again the overriding taste on drinking was fruity apple and there was the same aftertaste.
Of the two flavours tried, the Strawberry whey mix was creamier in both the dairy and nut milk versions. As mentioned the smoothest finish was achieved using the blender. The ‘shaken or stirred’ versions made for a nutty finish which I enjoyed, although it’s better nutritionally if seeds are ground or they (ahem) can pass right through the body intact.
Purition protein mixes are made from wholefood ingredients and in the UK which is a bonus, meaning less travel miles and support for a UK business. The makers claim to be the first UK wellness and nutrition company to use chia seeds grown in Britain which is another positive. If I were drinking protein shakes regularly, however, I would prefer the ingredients to be organic where possible. However, the mixes have no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, flavourings or fillers which is reassuring.
While I make my own wholefood protein shakes and fat coffee at home these little sachets offer an easy solution for the occasional quick meal replacement or a pick-me up while travelling.
I didn’t have enough mix to experiment further by adding different ingredients such as fresh fruit and some favourite superfoods. The folks at Purition have a recipe section online with further ideas. Adding a banana to the blender could be a good option with, say, a spoonful of nut butter. On balance the fact that the mix is all natural makes for a healthy option when travelling and a good base for creating a shake to suit individual tastes at home.
Prices. Purition Discovery Box choose any six flavours for £13.50 (40g single-serve sachets). Original range including dairy-free £22.95 (500g bag). Purition Golden Smoothie £24.95 (500g bag).