PlantFusion: A New Era in Plant-Based Proteins

Plant vs whey protein. A battle for the ages.

There has long been skepticism surrounding plant protein compared to its animal counterpart. Plant proteins can be difficult to digest and can lack complete amino profiles that are needed for muscle building and overall health. But that’s where PlantFusion enters the picture.

PlantFusion is a cut above. Their protein powders specifically address the issues commonly associated with plant-based powders. They contain protein sources linke sources like pea, amaranth, quinoa, and artichoke, which contribute to a well-rounded amino acid profile.

On this episode, Ed sits down with Phil Vigeant, CEO of PlantFusion. They chat about what sets PlantFusion apart and why their product is a great alternative to whey protein.

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Phil Vigeant 0:02
In general proteins are, again, directionally are generally they’re harder to digest than many other macronutrients that we take in, right, like carbohydrates and sugars. So even some of the animal based ones you’ll find, like dairy. So I personally was somebody that had an issue with a lot of dairy right, the more if I eat a lot of dairy, I don’t have a serious allergic problem, like I’m gonna anaphylactic to it. But it definitely creates more mucus, more congestion, and for me, more bloating, and so forth. And that was really one of the reasons why plant food we discovered or created plant fusion one, as a user, to say, you know, I was one of those people that wanted to supplement my diet protein, I wanted to whey did not settle with me, well, probably like some of the other plant proteins that you’ve used did not settle with you. And so it wasn’t an option for the reasons we already discussed. So the question became, how do we get a well rounded complete protein that can give a complete spectrum of amino acids and mitigates most logistic issues?

Ed Jones 1:07
I’ve not truly endorsed plant based proteins in the past due to multiple reasons. But one thing is, sometimes it didn’t agree with me sometimes there were other reasons. But we have Phil with us today from plant fusion, that is going to put a new angle on this welcome, Phil, to nutrition world podcast. Thank

Phil Vigeant 1:28
you, thank you very much. And it’s really great to be here. And hopefully I can add some value to your listeners into everybody’s education about plant based protein is an alternative. Yes.

Ed Jones 1:38
And there were some weaknesses in most plant based proteins that I feel after talking to you a couple of days ago, and looking at your product. Again, when we’re at the convention down in Florida a few months ago that we are confident. And I’m confident that I could recommend this product for a lifter and athlete and older person, a younger person, almost anyone because the weaknesses I have always found in plant based protein proteins to convert to a usable protein, build muscle do all the things we want. It sounds like you have determined how to overcome that. Is that correct?

Phil Vigeant 2:17
Yes. Yeah, that is it. And I think that, you know, we look at it and don’t say, I think like you do in your nutrition practice. And as you work with clients, and your pay patients already comes into your store, we try to take possession of this is better than that. But we also know that we have a lot we all have, you have many different types of consumers coming into your business and your outlet and your store. And they have different lifestyles. And it’s not always a one size fits all, what might work really well for you may not work well for me or vice versa. And so to your point, one of the biggest things we looked at as we were developing plant fusion many years ago, was the fact that not everybody. I mean, whey protein is a great source of whey protein, even casemates and other animal based proteins, meat, chicken, etc. Those are great sources of protein. We’re not as a plant protein advocate, we’re not anti those where you say, hey, there’s some other options out there, that when you look at a myriad of social issues, could be religious issues could be allergies, etc. There’s a host of reasons why many people can get the benefits of a great well balanced, well rounded with a well rounded, I’ll use the term complete protein, that if they can’t take animal protein for one reason or another. So that’s sort of premise seven, I can go into more details and just give you specifically at what we thought about when we started to develop the form developed the product and what our sort of thesis or theory is behind it. And why we did what we did.

Ed Jones 3:43
Well, one of the issues with myself is lack of digestibility. So I think there’s about three issues, why I don’t use plant proteins, but I may now I will now as an add on option to my whey protein in the future. So when I do plant proteins, and some people are perfectly fine, and some people have sensitivities, I tend to feel it not digesting as well as I would like I I kind of sometimes feel bloated, a little bit of gnawing sensation. I’m not super sensitive, but I’m modestly sensitive. And so I just kind of gave up on it. But with your product I seem to do much better. Why is that?

Phil Vigeant 4:22
Well, I think there are a couple of different things. It’s hard to know for sure what was what proteins you were taking and what was causing that. But obviously one of the most one of the original, I’ll call it plant proteins, although I didn’t use the term back in the day and you’ve been in industry for a while so you’re familiar with it, which is soy and soy itself is a very gassy although it is plant based by definition. It’s also tends to be it’s a very it’s a common allergen. It’s why it’s you find it listed on foods and other supplements where it’s there. We have to disclose that as part of an FDA right because so many people have an allergy to it. And so if you had taken anything let’s say for instance with soy in it, that’s what One reasons why it gets very gassy and bloated. And I actually had that same problem myself years ago, when I would take soy protein I grew up in a health food store, back in the 70s, and 80s. So I was very acclimated and used to soy and tofu, and products like that, that were non animal based sources of protein, even independent of supplementing with your diet with it. And so I think that one of the issues is that soil though it’s characterized as that and besides other estrogenic concerns and issues that people have, as a fighter, estrogen, the issue is that’s just that is a hard one specific digest. So that’s one issue that may have come up. Another issue is that, in general, proteins are, again, directionally are generally they’re harder to digest than many other macronutrients that we take in, right, like carbohydrates, and sugars. So even some of the animal based ones you’ll find like dairy. So I personally was somebody that had an issue with a lot of dairy if I ate, the more if I eat a lot of dairy, I don’t have a serious allergic problem, like I’m an anaphylactic to it. But it definitely creates more mucus, more congestion, and for me, more bloating, and so forth. And that was really one of the reasons why plant food we discovered or created plant fusion one as a user, because I say, you know, I was one of those people that wanted to supplement my diet protein. I wanted whey did not settle with me, well, probably like some of the other plant proteins that you’ve used did not settle with you. And so it wasn’t an option for the reasons we already discussed. So the question became, how do we get a well rounded complete protein that can give a complete spectrum of amino acids and mitigate some of those logistic issues, but wanted to specifically address your question. One of the reasons you shouldn’t have a problem with plant fusion, and any of the products that we have is that we always put additional enzymes in the product. And we recommend that for anybody who’s ingesting proteins, even big heavy meals around Thanksgiving, holidays, so forth, it’s good to take digestive enzymes to just help support and break down protein in particular, because they they do tend to just have more difficult, they tend to be harder to digest or break down and create more of that gas and bloating. But we always add enzymes, that’s one issue. And that’s one thing, one reason why you probably didn’t experience a problem. Another thing that’s unique about plant fusion relative to most and many other plant proteins is we don’t use rice. And soy rice is it is a, although it can be a good source of protein. It first of all, the taste and texture that may have been a little unsettling for you. rice protein is very bitter, it’s typically very grainy, granular, doesn’t have a very good, but I would say texture to it. And that causes a lot of problems for people just in terms of the experience, they just don’t enjoy it, right. Even if it goes into the stomach, well, they don’t enjoy the experience because it is so gritty, and granular. So that’s another issue we don’t use, we always had enzymes, and we always, and we never put any rice protein in there. And that’s one of the most common sources of plant protein out there.

Ed Jones 7:54
And rice contains sometimes more lead, which I’m also very concerned about, because whey seemingly has almost nothing and when anything’s grown from the earth, you have some possibility of small amounts of that. And you know, tiny amounts, yes, is cumulative, but we have to deal with what we have to deal with. And because of the massive amount of requests for plant protein, because of evidence that does suggest that it may help us to be healthier on levels, because we need to add more plant based foods to our diet, real foods not processed. There’s a huge influx of people who just want the plant based protein. And I’m perfectly fine with that. I mean, we really try hard to carry the very cleanest products, but even the cleanest of some of our plant proteins skid still can cause a little grief in the digestive tract. And again, digestive enzymes, which we sell a tremendous amount of for everybody past sometimes past 25 years old, they help your body to do what it’s supposed to do, if it was optimal, and that is take big pieces of food molecules, protein, fats and carbs, and break them down into the individual components. So the body, the gut, the blood, everything, the liver can all use it, process it turn it into what we are, and to the many multiple levels of you know, body chemicals that make us who we are in fuel our body. And so I want and we needed this really desperately is a plant protein that is low in lead. That’s this is it, and also functioning as a whole food. Because I won’t call whey protein a whole food, it’s a food, and I like it, but it’s not what I would call a whole food. The plant based proteins would be more of that. And because you’ve also added what we call some other amino acids and again, amino acids. When you take a protein, you break it down to its smallest individual components. There’s these things called amino acids. Well they have to be complete in order to create a protein that’s usable and if you just ate rice as a food you’re not going to have that you just ate beans as food you won’t have have that. But when you combine foods you can, but it’s still not super efficient. But you made it super efficient by adding other amino acids, didn’t you? It’s

Phil Vigeant 10:08
right that we did. And I’ll just one thing I want to touch on is the comment about rice and heavy metals. And you’re absolutely right. And I’ll just so you know, the we don’t, by not using rice, we not only avoid that gritty, granular flavor, we also really mitigate the amount of heavy metals. And two of the issues with rice are one because like you said, it’s grown actually in water very close to the ground, so it’s going to naturally absorb more minerals. But a lot of the world’s rice supply also comes from countries where there are some really serious environmental concerns, and which magnifies those issues where you just don’t have the cleanliness of the soil, the water, etc. And that just enhances those issues. So it’s not an opinion, it’s a fact that rice does have many more heavy metals in it than really any other source of protein I’m aware of. I’m not I’m not aware of every one of them. But by far, it’s the one of most dense. And keep in mind that when we take any plant, right, and we concentrate it down, or anything way, and we concentrate it down to enhance the protein level or concentration, which is what we do with pea and rice and amaranth and so forth, you also want to concentrate in other things that are in there at times. And that’s why it’s also a bigger issue in rice protein. And let’s say if we were just having a good plate, a healthy plate of brown rice, with a good healthy meal, our concern won’t be as much because we’re getting, like you said earlier a whole food, we’re not concentrating down other unwanted components may be of that race at that point. So we’re not saying rice is bad brown rice is a great complex carbohydrate, just like whole grains are but taking in that forms of protein, it can be an issue for that reason. But back to your point about the amino acids, I think that one of the genesis of the product was first, how do we get a good allergen free protein, right? That was one of the first parts, then how do we also get it as close to an animal based protein as possible, like a whey protein, which is a great source of protein. And so there were there were two things we did one was, we added other other, I’ll say plant or vegetable based proteins, because with any of you actually kind of just touched on this before, if you get a good cross section of different sources of protein, you’re going to get a more complete, you’re inherently going to get a more complete protein or amino acid profile, right, because not every plant and every every source of even animal based proteins are gonna have the same exact ratios of these amino acids. And that’s why it’s important to eat various sources of protein in general, not just one source all the time. What we did was in addition to adding additional plant based ingredients to the plant fusion product, in addition to pee pee is one of the primary sources was we did add those Bret what we call the branched chain amino acids, which I’m sure you’ve talked about before, I know you’re well aware of them. And it’s leucine, isoleucine, and valine. And those are three of the those BCAAs, as they’re often referred to. They’re very common. They used to be very common just for sports, nutrition advocates, you know, people that were working out exercise like you competing, etc. By the way, I can’t believe you’re competing, you look great. I always know you’re in shape. Competition, so congratulations. And best of luck to you on that. But I think you’ll find that BCAAs are have been a staple for those that are very interested in building body muscle mass. And I think as you know, it’s changed from people like you that might want to take a lot of BCAAs to help increase your muscle mass to people that are sarcopenia, which is the you know, it’s just the breakdown of of muscle as as we all get older, that’s become a major concern. Right. And it’s not it’s not it’s an issue that wasn’t even on the mainstream health care’s spectrum, it was even on their their line of sight going back 20 years ago. And now it’s very commonly diagnosed. And it’s one of the reasons why they’ll say even somebody who is elderly may not be physically fit, just lift some weights right to help mitigate sarcopenia it also helps build and mitigate osteoporosis. So we’ve learned over the last 20 years or so that all these things are critical and adding and having a complete protein which means a well rounded source of all these protein sources, including BCAAs is critical. So to your point, we added additional those additional amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and veiling to make it so that the protein rate or the amino acid ratio to your point earlier is very, very similar. So just as a simple example, in this these are average numbers because natural variations occur. But for instance, if you looked at a really critical BCA, brushing amino acid like isoleucine, the average way supplement might have as much as close to 1490 milligrams of isoleucine where a plant fusion would have 1480 So it’s literally only 10 milligrams off. Conversely, you could have a little bit more veiling in a plant fusion supplement than you might have But they’re very close. I mean, you’re splitting hairs when you look at the doses. But the bottom line is it’s a very complete source and gives, we also use a vegan vegan source of these amino acids, for those who are vegan are concerned about not having any animal based products, because that’s one of the reasons people take a plant protein. So we were passionate about trying to make it as close. And as equivalent to an animal based protein and give those who choose to live either a plant based diet, a vegan diet, there could be even religious restrictions or other things that causes them not to want to have an animal based product. But it comes as close as we could possibly get it to that so you can get a very what they call complete protein.

Ed Jones 15:36
I love that. And rarely do I do a podcast where we just really focus on a product, it’s more about empowering with just more information about lifestyle. But on this case, I felt it was important, because one is I’ve really kind of steered away from plant based proteins. And I think that’s unfair to the public. If they’re asking my opinion, I’ve been saying no, you just need to do weigh you just need to do why well I’m that’s not really respecting the people who want plant based who may be religion may be just sensitivities this that whatever. And I wanted something to offer that was making up for the weaknesses that I have seen in most plant based proteins. And it sounds like your plant fusion has done that quite well. Again, I go back to right now my hero of the probably 2024 Is Dr. Peter A T and his book outlive the reason that so much he deals with sarcopenia, which is loss of muscle it because occur starting about 35 years old, and we start losing one to 2%, you don’t see that at 40 and 45, you start seeing it about 50. In most cases, the one of the primary relationships between your body and your mortality is the loss of muscle. I mean, that’s why when they test people’s hand grip strength, there’s a direct correlation to how long you will live? Well, it’s not really about hand grip, it’s about how much muscle Have you lost, because you can you know, if you if you lose 50% of it, from the age of 35 to 60, you’re not looking too good. But you can maintain that through two things. One is doing weight training. And secondly is consuming protein and those branched chain aminos is you know, people who don’t know about it, those are the king players on muscle recuperation. They really are. And I actually don’t take any extra branched chain because I just do way but I mean, even this morning at the gym, a guy was drinking his drink. And I said, Yeah, I’m doing my my branch chain aminos after my workout, because it’s so common. But this is important for senior citizens who are playing pickleball I don’t care what you do. And aging alone, we’re fighting the ravages a father time, I mean, Father Time put us on this earth for one single reason that is to procreate. That is to extend this species. Well guess what, past 35 years old, we’re pretty disposable to Father Time. So we have to come up with a plan, a plan of action to create this, this centenarian decathlon, that if you don’t do it, I mean, it’s never too late to do it. First off, I’ll say that you could do it at 70. But it’s better to do it the earlier parts of the of the scheme, and part of this will have to be consuming minimum, one half gram of protein per pound of body weight to me, ideally, get close to three fourths to one gram, I weigh 175 pounds, I’ve tried to consume 175 grams of protein on most of my times, I’m gonna do a little bit more for this contest. But you don’t need that. But somewhere, you know, getting close to your body weight, you cannot do that without a drink. In my opinion, we’re not going to be eating that much food to probably do that. So I do a protein drink every single morning. And I do add a few things to it like psyllium and MCT oil. I do that every morning. And I just end up green matcha powder. Those are the four things I put in there. And it works very well. It gives me the energy I need for the gym, I get up very, very early. And I just there’s nothing that can replace the protein and people who start the day with carbohydrates, I’m sorry to say you will raise your insulin, which means your body fat will go up and everything starts cascading downward. When you have elevated insulin levels. I’m not talking glucose, I’m talking insulin. So I do almost no carbs in the morning. And to do that, you got to have a protein and I mix it in water. But you know, I like I liked the taste. I tasted your protein at the show in Florida. And it did very well. Now, again, let’s repeat what are the sources of your protein P and one P

Phil Vigeant 19:31
amaranth, quinoa and we use a little bit of artichoke. And so those are the main sources of protein. And we we have some products that you mentioned coconut before where there’s obviously a little bit of naturally occurring in there and we’re actually working on a product that I don’t know if we’ll be able to develop it but chickpeas becoming a very attractive source as well because it also that also has a different amino acid profile, but we don’t have any any of that. Like you. I do a lot of work on ingredients. on the research side, and actually I’ve traveled all over the world looking at different ingredient sources and, and we’re hoping to continue to find additional plant based sources that offer that complete mix. But in the meantime, right now, it’s artichoke, quinoa and amaranth along with the P, the P is also just so people know in terms of sourcing of ingredients. Most peas are grown in Canada and northern Europe, the climate, the climates, there are, first of all, the general environment there is very good. And most of the peas grown in the world, obviously, the other than being used in the food source. Peas have always been a really good source for fiber, and starch that is used in other applications, like noodles in Asia, and so forth. So part of the processing of the pea protein, the raw material comes from companies that were already extracting the pea, and using some of the starch for other food applications around the world globally. And this became a great outsource or place. Any usage for the protein out, I’ll say output that, that they would have as they would take a pee and start to extract it down into his different macronutrients. Interesting enough, also, you’re talking about the benefit of protein. And taking the morning you’re you’re spot on, the science is overwhelming that everything from mental focus, acuity, all those things are starting your day off with a high protein breakfast, regardless of the source of that protein is critical. And it’s interesting, because one of the products that you carry there in your store, and I’m not, I’m not trying to be solicitous or sell, but it was interesting, but one of the genesis of it, it’s a product called Inspire that you have there in your store. And it also has branched chain amino acids in the product. But that product is designed for women say, Well, why is it designed for women? Well, number one, a lot of women are looking for a source of protein. And they’re looking at a lot of women disproportionately by plant protein, because generally speak and a lot of them really complain about the issue of gas and bloating, you men tend to not have as much of a concern about it. Whereas for women, that’s a much more sensitive issue, and they’re much more aware of it. So that’s one part of the product. But the interesting thing about Inspire is it was designed by a woman, Jennifer Cooper, who’s a well known research scientist in the industry. And her position was, I’m a scientist, and I’m a woman, the number one issue that I have to deal with as a woman is hormone issues. And I the way I feel the way I think the way I look at the world even is affected by how my hormones are balanced. She said the two things that I can do besides supplements and other things to help balance hormones that I can can take control of my life, to mat help manage my hormones in the beginning of the day is one exercise. And to start with a high protein diet. So it doesn’t matter who the person is, it doesn’t matter if they’re just they’re very young and just started the menstrual cycle, it doesn’t matter if they’re older and going through menopause. And everything in between. That’s the number one that’s her advice as a as a clinician, as a person who really studied the science on it. And as a woman, she’s like, if I exercise and I take protein the morning, I know I’ve given myself the best jumpstart doesn’t mean I’m not gonna have problems, it doesn’t mean there aren’t issues it’s still gonna have, but I will mitigate them to whatever degree I would have if I hadn’t done those two things. So that’s what that the product inspires designed around, which is just again, I’m not trying to sell the product, but just share with everybody that there are products out there like this is protein is not just for people that want to be fit, and look great on the beach protein is for all of us, as we’ve talked about. And it’s everybody from older generations that might be running the risk of sarcopenia to women who are just dealing with very normal hormonal issues throughout the course of their whole life, let alone the course of a monthly cycle and other things they very often deal

Ed Jones 23:50
with. I am so glad you brought that up because I had actually failed to remember that I had really looked at that product when I was at the convention in Florida. And it is so well put together for a category that some women don’t feel comfortable in like, you know, a woman there who’s 45 years old, standing next to a bodybuilder, they’re gonna grab the same protein. Well, there’s something mental about that, because I want something specific for my needs. And I just love the fact that you have that product. Because unlike that researchers said, I feel exactly the same way when I arm myself. Which I get up at 312 Every morning don’t ask me why 12 But 312 Every morning, I drink my drink about 340 I’m at the gym at 430 It is the game changer for me. It almost doesn’t matter too much. I’m not going to crash my day the rest of the day, probably due to anything and other mistakes I make if I can do that solid protein in the morning, the way that I’ve got it figured out for myself. I can’t lose weight if I don’t start it correctly, which I do this drink six days a week. One day a week I will eat eggs and some very healthy meats that we sell it nutritional world some sausage and things from local farms. But the six days it’s gonna be the drink. And it’s has served me better than any choices I have made in my almost 67 years. And I just recommend it totally I talk about on all the podcasts, all the YouTube all our radio show vital health radio radio show. And I just can’t say enough about it. Because again, and women don’t worry, oh, I don’t want to get bulky, that’s not going to happen is that kind of an old, you know, kind of worry, rumor. But it doesn’t happen if it did a lot of women who would want that because some women want to be muscular and big, it’s not gonna happen. But it can help you to sometimes lean out and it certainly feel better and all of that. So this has been extremely informative. I personally have been certainly convinced that it’s time to take a drive down the plant based protein all now, instead of the whey protein, I’ll totally and I will be endorsing it and giving kudos to let’s try it, I think it’s wonderful, I don’t probably get enough plant based foods in my diet, this would fill a little box for me, by adding plant based into it, I am of probably a more loyal to way than I am anything else. But I’m I will be going back and forth between plant your plant based protein and the whey protein depending on what I want to do, because I do two protein drinks a day. So I’ll do I did one before coming down here at one o’clock and then do one at breakfast. So my plan is to do the plant fusion at one o’clock and I’ll do my way at breakfast. And that’s that’s going to work real well for me and has worked I’ve already done one.

Phil Vigeant 26:36
Well, that’s a great way to do it. It’s funny, we’ve talked so much about taking in the morning, but you just hit on a great issue, which is the afternoon. And I know we’ve got to wrap here but I’ll tell you the the it’s really common even here in our own office, I recommend that people all the time. Your way actually way is fairly sweet. So it actually when you have that afternoon, let go throughout the afternoon crash when they want to go to a candy bar, or a pastry or something that’s very indulgent, because people feel their sugar being affected. Whey Protein is very sweet and plant fusion and some plant proteins are also so it’s a great alternative to some of those more I’ll call them sinful options that you have, that we all kind of want to reach to in that latter part of the day is another another great time to take a protein snack and we’ll be over to dinner versus something that’s loaded with sugar and has all those other side effects and issues that you’ve you’ve already discussed.

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