*** UPDATE 3/2012 *** These reviews, while accurate at the time I wrote them, are not accurate anymore. Bolthouse stopped making Purely Chocolate and they stopped using apple juice as the sweetener for the Vanilla Chai and now it’s cane sugar. In case you don’t read the comments below, I wanted you to be aware. The Vanilla Chai still tastes good – but personally, I stopped buying these. If they changed back I would buy them again.
Bolthouse Farms has made some heavenly protein beverages. I could not go another day without sharing my findings with you!!! I typically make my own shakes and protein drinks but on a mission one day at Whole Foods, I asked an employee for the best protein powder. She didn’t know so got a couple other employees involved and they both agreed that Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea and their Purely Chocolate soy protein drinks were by far the best tasting. Not what I was looking for (I’m still on my search so if you have any pointers, let me know!) but she sent me home with a small bottle of the Vanilla Chai Tea. Typically, I do like Chai, but can only handle a little since it’s so sugary. However, that day I was hungry so on my way home from Whole foods I shook up the bottle and took my first sip bracing myself for a super-sweet chai blast. Bliss!!! What a great surprise! Not too sweet to where I felt sick, and also the added-protein and thickness made me actually feel satisfied. Typically, if I were to buy a pre-made protein drink, I either don’t like the taste or do not get full and end up eating just as much as I would have with the additional calories of the drink!
More on the Chai in a bit, but on to my real love: chocolate. The chocolate drink is pretty much perfect. It’s not too sweet or bitter, and 8oz has 160 calories and 10 grams of protein. The protein in this actually keeps you satisfied for awhile! I try to eat soy (and everything else) in moderation, but these drinks are doing me in! However, this does make me feel okay after watching a Dr. Oz episode on epigenitcs and pregnancy. Rats exposed to too much BPA could reverse the process of damage to the fetus by eating healthy foods and soy was one of the healthy reversal foods. The ingredients for the chocolate one are: soymilk, apple juice, soy protein isolate, natural flavors, cocoa, gellan gum, calcium, xantham gum, salt pectin, vitamin B2, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12. You really don’t get the usual protein OR the vitamin aftertaste. O took a drink of this (my 2 1/2 year old son) smiled and said, “Mommy, I happy.” I think that pretty much sums it up:) I also got my mom and another friend to try it, who both are quite skeptical of the “health” products I take home, and both loved the flavor as well. My only fear is that this Purely Chocolate flavor is a new product with Bolthouse Farms and I don’t see it on their website. I hope that it continues to sell and stays on as a permanent part of their product line. It’s so yummy that I’m considering using it with a frozen banana as a smoothie in the morning but haven’t gotten that far since I keep chugging it down the second I open the bottle. I buy the 32oz bottles at Target and am hoping they start making a bigger bottle of it!
On to the Vanilla Chai Tea – fabulous! The ingredients are: vanilla chai tea (soy milk, brewed green tea, natural flavors, vanilla extract), apple juice, soy protein isolate, calcium, carrageenan, vitamin c, magnesium, vitamin b6, zinc, iron, vitamin b12. Again, you cannot detect any aftertaste. Like the chocolate, 8oz is 160 calories and 10 grams of protein. I think this is far better than the coffeeshop version of chai, plus, it’s far more nutritious! These beverages are sweetened with apple juice but you really cannot taste the juice inside. I’d like to go kiss the people that developed these drinks. My mom doesn’t like chai tea and I had her try this and she loved it, after making an initial gross face in anticipation of the overly sweet chai. Hee hee. And not surprisingly, my son loved it as well, though not as much as the chocolate! I’d say the only negative in these drinks is the amount of sugar. In 8oz, there are 21g per chai and 20g per chocolate. At least the sugar comes in the form of apple juice, which I deem to be an acceptable sugar and feel better about that than most other forms. It’s funny since I don’t even like drinking apple juice since it’s so sweet- I can only have a little. You mix it with other yummy ingredients and it’s perfect!
Since I am pregnant, I did not try their other protein drink flavors: Hazelnut Latte and Mocha Cappuccino. Yes, I know that when you are pregnant one drink of caffeine a day is fine, but coffee hasn’t sounded good yet so I have pretty much avoided it. I’ve been drinking decaf green tea everyday. There is a little bit of caffeine in the Chai version- but hardly any. Actually, I probably get plenty of caffeine through my chocolate fix!