Nutrition

I Prefer to Chew My Meals, But I’ve Had 3 of These Meal Replacement Shakes This Week

And counting.
By Austin Letorney
February 16, 2024

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I’m not what you’d call a meal replacement fanatic. In fact, I’m more of an MRE skeptic. Hidden ingredients and boatloads of sugar have always deterred me from supplements like these. So when Ka’Chava arrived in the mail, I wasn’t chomping at the bit to try it.

I was so wrong.

Ka'Chava Meal Replacement Shake

Cons- Doesn’t mix well with the recommended 12-14 ounces of water- 15 servings is light for $70 a bag- You need at least 16 ounces of water to avoid clumping

Pros
  • Great taste without an overload of sugar
  • Nice array of flavors like Vanilla, Matcha, and Coconut Acai
  • Packed with tons of ingredients (85+) and blends (7)
  • Love the mission to save the rainforests
Cons
  • Doesn’t mix well with the recommended 12-14 ounces of water
  • 15 servings is light for $70 a bag
  • You need at least 16 ounces of water to avoid clumping

What Is Ka’Chava?

“Ka’Chava was born on the side of a mountain, in a small kitchen on the edge of the jungle,” reads the back of the packaging. While I couldn’t help but hear the deep bass voice actor for any action movie intro ever, I quickly came back to reality—and realized this was a meal replacement supplement.

Ka’Chava launched in 2014 into a competitive meal replacement market. It has organic superfoods and plant-based proteins—inspired by ancient wisdom, the brand claims—to give you all those nutrients you need in one shake. 

two bags of ka'chava
Ka’Chava’s thick, creamy shake is packed with organic superfoods and plant-based proteins. (Photo: Hone Health)

What’s Good About Ka’Chava Protein Powder

Taste

I felt it appropriate to go with classic Vanilla, as that is my go-to choice for most protein powders and MREs. With Ka’Chava’s variety of fun flavors, I also wanted to give Matcha a try.

The Vanilla was one of the better ones I’ve had. It wasn’t your super sweet vanilla ice cream, but a nice subtle hint of vanilla. As someone who used pea protein and brown rice protein before, I definitely had that chalky aftertaste common with plant-based proteins.

I absolutely love the Matcha flavor. As a big matcha guy anyway, I feel my standards (unrightfully so) are rather high. It was a dumbed-down Matcha flavor, but I say that with love. Too often do I go to my local Dunks and force my way through a sugar-ridden, almond-milk-overloaded iced matcha. But when mixed with just water, this hit the sweet spot of matcha heaven.

Flavors

I was impressed with Ka’Chava’s flavors and a lot of meal replacements settle for solely Chocolate and Vanilla. While Ka’Chava does have those classic flavors, three others in Coconut Acai, Chai, and Matcha are unique and give Ka’Chava that extra leg up on some other competitive brands.

Ingredients

When I flipped Ka’Chava’s package over and saw the nutrition list, I almost fainted. It was like reading a nutritional dictionary. But this was exactly what I wanted to see.

There are 85+ nutrients and plant-based ingredients all packed into seven individual blends:

The best part: It’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free with no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.

The key piece of this meal replacement supplement for me is the Digestive Enzyme Blend. With so many ingredients, carbs, and protein, it’s easy for these supplements to upset your stomach and cause discomfort. With digestive enzymes like amylase (which helps break down carbs), lipase (tasked with digesting fats), and lactase (responsible for breaking down lactose in dairy-rich foods), I found Ka’Chava didn’t upset my stomach at all (1,2,3).

Rainforest Trust Mission

Rainforests cover just 6 percent of Earth’s surface, but more than half of the world’s plant and animal species call them home (4).

A percentage of every purchase of Ka’Chava goes to the Rainforest Trust, a non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting Earth’s endangered jewel and the species that live there.

According to Ka’Chava, they’ve helped protect over 100,000 acres since partnering with the Rainforest Trust in 2017. That’s a meal replacement mission I can get behind.

Protein Shakes

What’s Not Good About Ka’Chava Protein Powder

Texture Issues

Texture and consistency were the same for both the Vanilla and Matcha flavors. I actually mixed these in a 12 ounce glass of water and in a 16 ounce shaker bottle.

The 12 ounce glass of water just didn’t cut it. I got a forearm cramp trying to break up the recommended two heaping scoops into so little water. Surprisingly, what did mix was actually very smooth, but the large clumps leftover were disappointing—and disgusting.

A shaker bottle is the way to go—and probably the most normal—as 16 ounces of water was the sweet spot for a thick, creamy shake. It still required some vigorous shaking, but no clumps put this as a solid A in my book.

Expensive

At $70 per bag, you only get 15 servings. That’s about $4.66 per meal. It should be said you’re replacing a meal so that five bucks isn’t going to waste. But it’s fair to say, Ka’Chava ain’t cheap.

The Competition

Soylent
Looking at other similar brands, Ka’Chava has a tough time competing against some other heavy hitters. Take Huel’s 2-bag offer at $95 and Ka’Chava’s a runner-up. Throw Soylent Original Powder Food in the mix at $70 for 35 meals and it’s tough for Ka’Chava to compete.

Orgain
For a more competitive comparison, Orgain’s Perfect Meal Powder (with similar nutritional info) costs $60 for 14 servings. I’d pay 10 bucks more for Ka’Chava personally.

The Bottom Line

Ka’Chava changed my mind about meal replacement supplements. I was an unfair skeptic before but this whole body meal with organic superfoods and plant-based proteins tastes great and boasts impressive health stats. Oh, and there’s some ancient wisdom in there too.

References
  1. Mount Sinai () Amylase
  2. Mount Sinai () Lipase
  3. Cleveland Clinic () Lactase tablets or capsules.
  4. National Geographic () Rainforest