I tried Mana’s meal supplement for a month and now I see why tech’s elite can’t stop raving about it
Wanna know how good it is? I’m buying more.
If you’ve managed to put on a few pandemic pounds, you’re not alone. I mean, we’ve all got a million other things weighing on our minds right now, so managing to remember to eat, let alone eat healthily, is a struggle.
That’s my story too, with stress and some neurodivergence making it hard for me to remember to eat when I should so that I have the energy I need for the day. Usually, that means snacking on things that I shouldn’t really be snacking on, because what else are you going to do when you don’t feel like or have time to do the cooking?
Well, one other way is using one of the nutritionally complete foods, which come in drink or powder form. Yes, that includes big names like Soylent or Huel, or the brand we’re looking at today.
We’re looking at Mana, which is one of the biggest names in Europe. Now that it’s available in the US, what does it bring to the market that you can’t get from the household names?
So, what is Mana anyway?
Okay, so Mana is currently on the sixth refinement of its all-vegan protein recipe. A 400 Kcal serving has a macro split of 35:21:44 (carbohydrate, protein, fat), and 7g of fiber (in the powder, 4.4g in the premixed drink) from 42 plant ingredients.
That includes six types of protein, with a full spectrum of amino acids, six types of omega-3-containing fats, and eight types of fiber. You get 14 essential vitamins as well, from Vitamin A, all eight B-vitamins, and C, D2, E, K1, and K1; along with 17 minerals that your body can’t get on its own.
You can get it in Origin, which is plain but has a kind of malty, creamy taste, or Choco which is like a chocolate malted. Surprisingly, I found I much preferred the Choco flavor, even when mixed with other things like almond milk or when used in fruit smoothies. Normally I hate the chocolate flavor of any protein drinks, so big points for Mana here.
Also, I’d suggest getting a mix of the powder and the premixed drinks. Yes, the powder is much better value for most of the time, but there is value in having ready-to-go drinks for those times you either can’t or don’t have time to measure out the powder.
So, how does Mana taste?
I’ve still kept off most of the weight from my previous attempt at slimming down, but that left me at roughly 275lbs at the start of my month of Mana. I decided to take a different journey this time, focusing on daily results that were more about how well I felt rather than weight targets. Not that I didn’t do daily weigh-ins, but I only looked at them after the month was over.
The first thing I noticed? The ready-to-drink cartons are surprisingly smooth inside. I mean like thick chocolate milk consistency instead of the chug-because-you-have-to of many other protein drinks. The powder also dissolves nicely and forms a slightly thicker consistency, but the drinks have it beat.
Now, you might have looked at that shaker bottle and wondered about two things – the size of a portion, and the lack of a strainer to break up clumps. Yes, the normal portion is 300ml of water, which gets close to 400ml in the shaker once the powder is mixed in. I kinda feel the bottle is more for having multiple portions when out, so you don’t have to mix more later. It’s easier to grab a premix bottle or two though.
And yes, sometimes it does clump up. It’s closer to when hot chocolate clumps though when you end up with a chunk that melts once it gets into your mouth. It’s not like you suddenly end up with a dried clump that sucks all the moisture out of your mouth.
I’ve really enjoyed drinking Mana for two of my usual three meals a day, and after a month I had a noticeable difference in my daily energy levels. Maybe that’s from being able to grab a drink and refuel without having to cook or deal with the mess after cooking, but I liked the results.
It was also good to know that since a serving was only 400 kcal for the powder or 330 kcal for the premixed drinks, I could grab one at night or any other time I was hungry when normally I’d start snacking on whatever high-fat, high-salt junk was at hand. That’s probably most of my weight loss over this month, and it felt pretty sustainable for long-term use.
Now, with meal replacement drinks like this, those sensitive to increased fiber in their diet might experience some, umm, unwanted digestive effects. Yeah, gas and bloating, and possibly other things. Mana has 7g of fiber per serving so it’s about half of the competition, and I didn’t notice any ill effects during the month.
It’s pretty cost-effective too, from $1.76 a meal if you subscribe to the Family Pack, which has 140 meals inside and costs $246.60 a month. If you buy it as a one-off purchase, it’s $1.96 a meal as you get 10-percent off for the subscription. Can you make that many meals for less than $2 a person? I guess you could, but they all require far more prep work, and won’t have as many minerals and vitamins in them.
So, should I buy it?
Okay, so this time around I only lost five pounds or so in the month I was taking Mana as a meal replacement. That’s okay though, as I’ve noticed other benefits that aren’t just tied to my weight. I used to have a bad mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump, but that’s been completely gone during the month on Mana for two of my meals. I also feel better overall, like I’m getting more nutrition than my previous, admittedly scattershot, diet.
The other thing? I’m going to continue buying Mana to supplement my normal meals because I’ve realized that having an easily grabbed, nutritious thing on hand for when I don’t feel like cooking is a real lifesaver. That also translates to being less hungry when the next mealtime comes around, so I don’t either overeat or snack afterward. Win.
You can get the powder or premix drinks on Amazon, but we recommend if you want to try it first, head to Mana’s website and pick up the tester pack. After all, what’s the point of having tons of a meal replacement that you don’t like the taste of?
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