Nutiva Organic Hemp Shake - Functional Foods

Nutiva Organic Hemp Shake

Nutiva is the creation of author and activist John Roulac, whose book “Backyard Composting” helped jumpstart the home composting movement in the 1990’s; and whose fight against the US DEA, helped mainstream hemp foods in the United States.  Nutiva markets a range of hemp products: bars, oil, seeds, protein powder and shakes; as well as extra virgin coconut oil.  The Hemp Shakes come in three flavors: Amazon Acai, Berry Pomegranate and Chocolate.

Manufacturer’s Description: The powdered shakes contain nourishing superfoods, such as hemp, blueberries, pomegranates, açai and goji berries, maca root, and ramon nuts, that are rich not only in protein but in minerals, antioxidants, and healthful fatty acids. Hemp protein contains 66 percent edestin—easier to digest than soy—and, unlike most soy protein, isn’t processed with hexane solvents.

Product Label:

Serving Size 4 level tablespoons (30g)
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 30
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 5mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Soluble Fiber 2g
Insoluble Fiber 6g
Sugars 3g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2%
Iron 25%
Thiamin 20%
Phosphorus 15%
Magnesium 30%
Zinc 15%

Ingredients: Organic hemp protein, superfood Amazon blend (organic mesquite pods, organic Sambazon® açai, organic maca, organic Brazil nut protein, organic tropical fruit flavor), organic guar gum, inulin from chicory root.

Comments: Ok, I’ll admit it…Nutiva is one of those companies that makes you feel noble just buying their products. Hemp foods are nutritious. They’re green. They’re organic. They promote sustainable agriculture, and provide an profitable alternative for smaller growers. Hemp producers were the underdog in the fight against the DEA (and inclusion of marijuana in the “War on Drugs” never made sense to me, anyway).

But I also have to admit that hemp foods are an acquired taste. Shelled hemp seed is actually pretty good: the seeds are soft, mild-flavored and almost buttery-tasting. But hemp protein powder is relentlessly green and gritty…anyone used to dairy protein powders like whey will be in for a shock. It’s better, however, in the form of shakes such as Nutiva’s.

I picked up a container of the “Amazon Acai” Hemp Shake from for $15.00 – this is the equivalent to 14 servings. There is no sugar (or artificial sweeteners) added to the product, which is probably why the label recommends using vanilla rice milk as an “ideal” liquid to blend it in. Needless to state, rice milk isn’t something I keep around the house, so I picked up a quart at the grocery store, to give the shake mix its best shot.

It’s wasn’t pretty to look at: the resulting shake was greyish, with dark flecks. But it was mild-tasting, with a slightly sweet, vaguely fruity taste. As I expected from my experience with hemp protein, it’s gritty, but nonetheless drinkable. Not great, but not bad, either. It tended to be watery at first (thanks to the rice milk, which is quite thin), but got thicker after standing for a few minutes.

Nutiva Hemp Shakes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and is certainly a more nutritious way to get it than using expensive fiber supplements or “cleansing” products. Hemp is fairly high quality for a plant protein, so is suitable for omnivores as well as vegetarians, too.

[usrlist “Taste:2.5” “Quality:5.0” “Efficacy:4.0” “Value:3.0″ avg=”true”]

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.


  1. For anyone used to drinking various protein drinks to fill up their daily nutrition balance will be positively surprised by Nutiva’s products. They are original in their flavor (which is very refreshing, and goes beyond the usual chocolate, banana and strawberry). The shake has a pleasant texture (not too thick but not too thin and doesn’t make a ‘heavy’ stomach which many protein drinks do). The color is not very inviting (brown), but if you insist on drinking chemical compounds adding nice coloring, Nutiva is not for you.

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  2. I gave this a try with a sample package mixed. I only made it half way thru the shake before I felt nausea. I have no problem with other types of shakes such as milk based or soy based. I sipped some coke classic to settle the stomach which worked and came back to the shake at a later time. Again nausea. I would suggest using a sample size package before buying the full size in case you have a reaction like mine. The flavor left a lot to be desired also. The flavor of the chocolate was simply not enjoyable and tasted both watery and bitter. The taste I could handle simply because I could chug it if needed but the nausea is not normal.

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