It seems there are all kinds of “powders” you can consume in lieu of food these days. The thing is, few of them can truly substitute for a good meal.
Protein powders are high in protein, but have little else.
Meal replacement powders are pretty well-rounded, but generally too low in protein.
Greens powders have the vitamins and antioxidants you’d get from vegetables, and maybe some of the fiber, but almost no calories.
Ka’Chava combines the functions of all three of these: it’s a high-protein plant-based meal replacement powder, with added greens powder plus some miscellaneous adaptogens, minerals and antioxidants added in. It’s also organic, vegan, GMO-free and gluten-free, for the food purists.
Combining the functions of a plant-based protein powder, super greens powder and meal replacement shake, along with a few other supplements, it’s the first true all-in-one meal replacement powder I’ve seen that would actually substitute for a healthy, balance meal that’s high in fruits, vegetables and protein.
Why Ka’Chava Is The Best Plant-Based Protein Powder
One thing bodybuilders have long known, but most non-bodybuilding health junkies don’t, is that animal protein is consistently better than plant-based protein.
There are a few reasons for that. Fairly well-known is that animal proteins tend to have a better and more complete mix of amino acids, including higher levels of essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids.
Less well-known is that animal proteins are also easier to digest, and thus more bioavailable. Thus, 20 grams of animal protein usually equate to as much digested protein as about 30 grams of plant protein.
As a result, plant-based proteins are more likely to be oxidized– burned for energy– rather than used to build and maintain muscle tissue. Even if you don’t want to get big, you still need to care about this, because maintaining at least an above-average amount of muscle mass will keep your metabolism strong to prevent creeping fat accumulation, make you look better, and help you stay strong and active into old age.
Ka’Chava fixes this problem in a few different ways.
First, the overall protein content is quite high for a plant-based supplement at 25 grams per serving. Mix it with something like almond milk and that gets up to 30-35 grams.
Second, it uses a diverse mix of organic plant-based protein sources: pea protein, brown rice protein, sacha inchi (a kind of seed, also known as mountain peanut), quinoa protein and amaranth protein. That provides a complete and balanced mix of amino acids that comes fairly close to what you would get from meat.
Third, Ka’Chava has some added digestive enzymes, including proteases, to help you digest all of this protein. The total amount is quite low, at only 50 mg for for the whole blend of protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase and lactase. Digestive enzymes are usually dosed in the hundreds of milligrams.
However, liquid foods like protein shakes are easier to digest, and the overall volume of a protein shake is low compared to a full-sized meal, so it’s still significant and enough to significantly increase the bioavailability of plant-based proteins.
Our Ka’Chava Review
Our Top Pick For The Best Meal Replacement Powder By A Mile
Ka’Chava powder is available in both chocolate and vanilla– chocolate is the original flavor, and still the more popular of the two. As mentioned, the flavor is strong enough to taste good whether you mix it with water, milk, or a plant-based milk substitute such as rice or almond milk.
Ka’Chava is organic, GMO- and gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free (of course), and also soy-free, for those who worry about phytoestrogens in soy. At fifteen servings per bag, you may find yourself consuming a bag every month or so. And that’s good– this is one of the most convenient, healthiest, and lowest-calorie “meals” you can eat.
Ingredients in Ka’Chava
Aside from the protein and digestive enzymes, there’s a lot going on here.
Ka’Chava has 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving, but that includes 9 grams of dietary fiber. That’s a lot of fiber, especially for a liquid meal replacement, and that is very good for both your intestines and your heart. With only 14 grams of digestible carbs per serving, Ka’Chava is on the low end for vegan meal replacement shakes.
There are also 7 grams of fat, including 4.4 grams of saturated fat. That may sound high, but it works on the assumption that vegans– unlike meat-eaters– are usually getting too little saturated fat, rather than too much. That’s smart– you need fat, and saturated fat in particular, to have healthy testosterone and estrogen levels.
There are also a couple grams of omega-3 fatty acids per serving. You can never have too much of that.
Overall, Ka’Chava only has 240 calories per serving– remarkably low for a meal. And yet Ka’Chava is quite filling, owing to the mix of macronutrients– the high protein and fiber content, and inclusion of some carbs and fats for satiety. As research shows, having high protein and fiber and some fat (more isn’t better) makes meals more filling.
There’s also an extensive mix of fruit and vegetable extracts in here– almost 7 grams per serving. That provides you with an extensive mix of vitamins and antioxidants, roughly equivalent to eating a meal with about 2 servings each of fruits and vegetables.
Minerals are also included in abundance, but these are mostly artificially added rather than coming from plant extracts. In point of fact, vegan diets tend to be deficient in many minerals (though they actually have a lot of magnesium, which is important) as well as some vitamins. Ka’Chava is formulated with vegans in mind, so it includes generous quantities of the micronutrients that vegans need, particularly zinc, iron and B vitamins.
Along with acting as a protein, greens and meal replacement powder, you can think of it almost like a multivitamin formulated specifically for vegans and vegetarians. In fact, Ka’Chava is arguably the best multivitamin for vegans.
There’s also the aforementioned digestive enzyme blend– again, not much, but enough to make the nutrients significantly more bioavailable.
Ka’Chava includes an adaptogen blend, which is something you don’t normally see in protein or meal replacement products, and only rarely in greens powders. It includes a mix of medicinal mushroom powders (most notably reishi) as well as cordyceps and maca root powder.
This is a pretty low dose– it’ll probably do a little bit to reduce stress, boost your mood and maybe your libido. It probably wouldn’t be noticeable in and of itself, but more so adds to the overall sense of well-being you’ll get from Ka’Chava.
Finally, Ka’Chava has a small probiotic blend including inulin and two varieties of lactobacillus. Like the digestive enzyme blend, this comes in at 50 mg, so it isn’t much but also isn’t quite insignificant. Notably, it synergizes well with the fiber content of Ka’Chava, which will act as a prebiotic, feeding the probiotics– as well as the helpful gut bacteria you already have– and helping them to grow more numerous.
How Does Ka’Chava Taste?
In short, really, really good.
Most greens powders taste like vegetables dusted with chocolate, rather than actually tasting like chocolate. Ka’Chava is one of the few I’ve tried that actually tastes like chocolate (I haven’t tried the vanilla).
Most greens, protein and meal replacement powders also taste too weak and watery when mixed with water– I invariably find I need to mix them with milk to give them enough flavor. Now you certainly can mix Ka’Chava with milk or almond milk– it even has a bit of lactase in the digestive enzyme blend– but it tastes just fine mixed with water.
The texture is great too, as long as you blend it thoroughly. The high volume of power per serving makes a blender necessary though– a whisk, even one of those handheld electric whisks, won’t blend it well enough. You’ll need a good blender to really enjoy Ka’Chava, but the good news is you can mix it with whatever liquid base you prefer.
Where To Buy Ka’Chava
Ka’Chava is available from the Ka’Chava website as well as a variety of brick and mortar health food stores.
However, it is also available on Amazon and we recommend buying it from there– it’s actually a little bit cheaper when you factor in the shipping cost of buying directly from Ka’Chava, plus shipping is faster and more reliable through Amazon.