I have recently received lots of questions regarding vegan options as far as protein powders. We also have clients with bodybuilding goals that also happen to be vegan or vegetarian. Traditionally, there were not a lot of good sources of protein for muscle recovery if you did not consume meat or whey protein. You were not going to sit and eat 10 servings of broccoli or six servings of legumes.
Veggie burgers became very popular as an alternative. Even for a while, I consumed them on a regular basis, during my three month stint as a vegetarian. However, within the past year and a half, I have strayed away from most of the veggie burgers. Many are highly processed with several ingredients most of us cannot pronounce, and the main protein source is GMO Soy. With the exception of cultured tempeh, I have strayed away from products with any kind of soy, due to the health risks they are associated with and soy’s ineffectiveness as a post-workout protein. Soy Protein powder also fell under the same boat of ineffectiveness.
So what does someone with a vegan diet and needs muscle recovery do for protein? Enter several vegan protein powders that have exploded in popularity in the past few years. Here are a few I personally recommend and consume on a regular basis. None of the products contain artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
MRM Veggie Protein:
MRM Veggie Protein has been a staple in my everyday routine. It was something I was searching for in terms of what constitutes an enjoyable, yet beneficial protein experience. There are no artificial colors or flavors. Instead, it is sweetened naturally with Stevia. The total protein per serving is 22g, and it has proteins consisting of organic brown rice, hemp, and pea protein isolate. For a vegan looking for muscle recovery, you need a good mix of pea and rice proteins. There are omega 3s and 300 mg of High ORAC fruit and vegetable properties as well. It has all the essential amino acids, and it is easy on the stomach. Amazingly, it actually tastes pretty good…almost too good to be true! I have tried the vanilla flavor so far. I even find myself taking a scoop or a half of scoop when I have a sweet tooth. It fills that void without having to reach for junk food. It mixes very well in a shaker. For 15 servings in a 20.1 oz container, you are looking at around $20-$23 usually. Sometimes you can find deals as low as $14 on sites like Amazon.
Vega Sport Performance Protein:
Vega Sport has an excellent taste. The chocolate flavor has my vote for best tasting protein! I can honestly say, I never craved a protein shake before I tried this one. I usually just gulped down the protein, pretending I liked the taste, and reaped the benefits. With a tri-protein blend of pea protein, brown rice protein, and Saviseed protein, you get 25 grams of protein per serving and all the necessary amino acids as well. It mixes very well in a shaker and even with a spoon and a cup. Vega Sport Performance Protein is a little bit on the pricey side, typically running at $50-$60 for a 29 oz tub, but it is well worth the price.
Now Foods Pea Protein:
This is 100% pure pea protein with 26 grams of protein per serving. It has no flavor and you need to use more liquid to mix the powder compared to most other protein powders, or it will have a thick, pudding-like texture to it. We recommend either mixing this powder in a blender with fruits and vegetables or shaking it in a shaker with some stevia. We recommend not stirring this particular protein. We personally recommend shaking it with a serving of So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer. With the thickness of the Pea Protein and the great taste of the creamer, the end result tastes almost naughty, but it is very healthy. This protein is mid-range in price. It usually costs $28-$30 in stores, but usually $20-$22 and sometimes lower online for a 2 lb tub.
Nutribiotic Rice Protein:
This rice protein is very concentrated. One teaspoon will provide 12 grams of protein. It comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, Mixed Berry, and Plain. It mixes in easily. It is very easy on the stomach. It does not have a lot of flavor, but it is drinkable on its own, meaning you probably will not gag. If you throw in a packet of stevia as you shake or stir this protein powder, it really brings out Nutribiotic Rice Protein’s Flavor. You can usually find this protein between $16 and $23 for a 1 lb tub.
Garden of Life Raw Protein:
In particular, the Vanilla Spiced Chai and the Chocolate flavors are excellent. The protein comes from 13 raw and organic sprouts. Here are some of the benefits of Garden of Life Raw Protein:
It may be a bit gritty when you mix it in a shaker or stir it with a spoon, but not in a bad way like creatine powder does. At 17 grams of protein and only 90 calories per serving with great taste, there is no reason you cannot ditch the simple carbs and make the switch today to Garden of Life Raw Protein for your next snack! Online prices range from $25 to $30 for a 22 oz. tub, and up to $40 in some stores. Definitely stick to buying online for Raw Protein!