I don’t know about you but I rather eat my food than drink it…sometimes I need a quick and easy meal that is filled with nutrients to keep me feeling full! There are a lot of different brands and kinds of protein powder. I would say the best way to go about this is break it down to whey protein and plant based protein.
If you are looking to build muscle then whey is probably the best bet for you, which I would love to use but I follow a diary free diet so that’s out for me. Because it is made from milk, whey protein isolate and other whey protein powders are not considered dairy-free. Some powders contain a low levels of lactose, you might still be able to use whey protein isolate powders even if you have mild lactose intolerance or lactose sensitivity.
If you need help to decide if you should go the whey or plant based route, read here for a great explanation of plant based protein powder vs whey. Simplified version; plant protein has a higher nutrient-density (keeping you feeling full) and is more environmentally friendly than whey. But those of you aiming for a muscle gain goal, whey protein may be more beneficial.
Plant Based Protein:
Avoiding whey or casein doesn’t have to mean missing out on protein. In fact most plant based protein powders have 20 or more grams of protein per serving. Soy, pea, hemp, brown rice, pumpkin, sunflower, chia and sacha inchi are all great plant based protein sources. Here you will find a detailed break down of the different types of plant based protein powders. With the exception of soy and quinoa, plant proteins are typically low in one or more essential amino acids; it is best to have a plant based protein power that is a blend to fill in the missing amino acids. Soy although is a great source of plant protein does have a few down falls, in the Untied States it is generally grown as a GMO crop. If you are looking for a soy protein try to find a NON-GMO brand. GMO stands for genetically modified organism, they are organisms that have had their characteristics changed through the modification of their DNA (not naturally). Also, anyone like myself who has a thyroid disorder soy is not recommended because it can interfere with medication absorption.
Blended Plant Protein:
Different powdered plant proteins sources are sometimes combined to be sold as blends, these could have added flavorings or sweeteners. An advantage of blending plant proteins is that it can provide optimal levels of all essential amino acids into one product. A common blend example would be pea protein may be combined with rice protein. The pea protein supplies lysine, in which rice protein is low while rice protein supplies methionine, in which pea protein is low so they help balance each other out. Quinoa protein is commonly used in combination with other plant proteins, too. It’s one of the few complete plant proteins, soy being the other.
Plant based protein powder reviews:
What is a good plant based protein powder? Well I would say most are good you just have to find what works best for you, all the powders I am talking about below are dairy free gluten free protein powder!
- Garden of Life: They have tons of options, raw organic meal, raw organic protein, sport protein, protein and greens, fit for weight loss and also a whey protein option. I love this brand, they use organic ingredients and it doesn’t contain any sugars compared to other brands. I have used the raw organic protein vanilla, unflavored and chocolate and also the vanilla raw organic meal shake. The meal shake has 2 grams less of protein but the sodium is significantly less also! Unfortunately we had to stop buying this brand because my husband found out he was allergic to rice, and this brands main ingredients are pea and brown rice protein.
- Orgain: This is another organic plant based protein powder blend with no sugar, offering vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter and unflavored. I have only tried the vanilla, vanilla is always my go to because it is good by its self or can be dressed up with some berries or a banana. I didn’t have any issues with this brand and it is probably the lest expensive clean brand out there but again the ingredients didn’t agree with our family so we switched.
- Vega: Vega has a lot of options as well and since I have tried this brand they came out with a spot line too. I enjoyed the taste of their vanilla and caramel, but did not continue to buy it because my husband didn’t like it we try to only buy 1 kind and use it up then deiced what is best for next time!
- Truvani: I would say this is the lest well-known brand but don’t let that full you! With less than10 simple ingredients being USDA organic and No stevia this plant based protein powder will blow you away! They use as few ingredients as necessary from the best sources possible and contains NO artificial or natural flavors. This is a clean as it gets, made of pea protein, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, monk fruit and then its flavors! Truvanis flavors include: vanilla, chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, and banana cinnamon. This is company is more on the pricey side compared to some others I have mentioned and it does have 2 grams of sugar (coming from the Monk fruit) but right now it is what works best for my family with all of our food allergies we have been dealing with!
- Ancient Nutrition: This brand has some different protein choices, I know I have been talking about plant based protein but I want to bring up 2 other kinds they offer. If you are dairy free like me but not necessarily vegan they you might want to try a bone broth (vanilla or chocolate) or a collagen protein powder(unflavored). I have tried both from this company, the taste of the collagen was fine but didn’t blend in well with all liquids, same for the bone broth. I will say the bone broth really kept me full for a long time, I used it daily and had great results with it but after a month or so I was becoming really bloated, I eliminated a few things and then finally this power. Still, unsure why it was bothering my stomach (I am very sensitive) because the ingredients were good but this just goes to show everyone reacts differently, know your body, find what works for you. If you are bloated it means something, don’t ignore it.
- Aloha: I am a lover of Hawaii and anything with the Aloha spirit, reading the incidents this seams like a good product. I have read good reviews but not tried it. I am including it though because it seems to be a newer brand (at least in my area) that keeps popping up. So if you want to give it a go, there are great protein sources in it but it does have 5 grams of sugar per serving which is why I haven’t and won’t try it.
- Amazing Grass: I have not tried their protein either but I have tried their collagen and greens. They use some organic sources but not all.
So what is the best meal replacement protein powder?:
Hand down Garden of Life’s raw organic meal! I hope my husband gets his gut health under control so we can start using this one again!
So what is the best tasting plant based protein powder?
Truvani, we love all the flavors! Vanilla can be plain or mixed with fruits or other greens. The chocolate peanut butter is great and I have used this or the chocolate to make protein balls too!
If you have a favorite please share it with the rest of us!