Since we were kids, most of us know that Protein is a vital component of a complete meal and healthy diet. You probably remember everyone says, especially our parents that Protein would make us big and build the muscles that we need to be strong – like Popeye! In fact, in every household, protein-rich foods like roast chicken and beef steak are a staple during meal times.
In Science, we learned that Protein-rich foods are part of the five food groups. Protein is the building block of life which consists of amino acids our bodies use in every intrinsic body process. It is actually recommended to eat 1-3 servings of foods from this food group a day, depending on our age. We can get protein by eating a variety of lean meat, chicken, and eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, legumes and tofu – yes, variety is the key. Lean red meats are considered as the main source of “complete” Protein as they contain the optimal amounts that your body needs. However, we were only allowed to eat 7 serves of meat in a week mainly because eating more than the required amount may increase the risk of cancers and heart diseases. On the other hand, protein plant foods are not really “incomplete” as they say, it’s just that they are more heart-friendly and will not contribute to weight gain.
That being said, many have shifted to being vegetarians. If that has been the case, how could you testify that you are actually eating just the right amount of Protein your body requires? Or if you are a vegan looking to bump your protein intake, how are you going to double the missing parts? Fortunately, there are plenty of plant-based protein powders out there that we can rely on to be the sources of protein in our diets. Protein powder can be used as a meal replacement and also as ingredients in baked goodies as well as minimizing the guilt after eating! Let me introduce to you some of my favorite plant-based protein powders that are guaranteed safe and effective (and yummy) which I highly recommend for vegan people!
Top 10 Plant-based Protein Powders
Purely organic that is free from gluten, soy free, dairy, carrageenan, and no artificial ingredients. It is perfect and ideal for healthy and on-the-go nourishment for everyone, including kids. In fact, Orgain Organic Plant-based Protein powder was awarded as 2017 Cleanest Packaged Food Award.
Highly recommended meal replacement especially for people with a busy lifestyle as it contains a high level of protein and nutrients. Orgain contains chia seeds that are rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. This protein shake powder is great to mix with water or milk post workout or while you’re on the go through your busy day while getting all the nourishment that you need. Orgain plant-based protein powder contains 21 grams of organic protein and 5 grams of organic fiber per serving.
- Contains fiber and probiotics for better digestion
- Easy to mix
- Does not cause stomach irritations
- Perfect for people who want to lose weight
- If you have allergies with iron, it is recommended that taking this supplement with precaution.
- A bit on the grainy and chalky texture
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard contains complete, organic and plant-based Protein to support muscle recovery. It is sourced from organic pea, rice, and Sacha Inchi proteins. Its outstanding ingredients are the complex ancient grains and pomegranate powder. Not only it enhances your muscle strength, but also your immune system as it contains 100% daily value for Vitamin C. Despite its excellent flavor, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard contains no artificial flavors and sweeteners. This protein powder is perfect and easy to mix with other ingredients first thing in the morning and before and after a workout. A container is good for 19 servings.
- Has 21 flavors to choose from
- Delicious and easy to mix with other ingredients
- Helps muscle to recover after a workout
- Has a strong sweet taste
- Not suitable for kids, for adult use only
Optimum Nutrition offers a hassle-free and effortless way to fill in the protein and nutrition gaps that we face daily due to our busy lifestyle and diet choice. It is made from Veggies and greens with ingredients like spinach powder, organic kale powder, and broccoli that give 20 grams of complete protein from a multisource plant-based blend. I love that Vega uses vegan protein, packs nutrients into their products and uses Stevia so there’s no added sugar or strange artificial sweeteners. If you are like me who aims for weight loss, this is probably my recommended product because each scoop of Vega Protein & Greens has 110-120 calories and 0 grams of sugar. The Vega Protein and Greens gives out 21 servings in each tub.
For an added bonus, the mother brand, Vega, has their own Youtube Channel and active social media team with videos of different recipes you can do with their plant-based protein powder. From smoothies to baked goodies, you can find everything in their Recipe Center section on their website.
- Easy to mix and blend with any ingredients
- Contains a good portion of fiber that aids in better absorption of nutrients and digestion
- Tubs are only half full
- The seal includes hole by the manufacturer to exclude passage of air, oxygen, or other gases.
- Does not contain Vitamin C
Plantfusion is a line of high-quality complete plant protein that aids in muscle stress and recovery, balancing appetite and improving energy. PlantFusion provides an easily digestible proprietary blend of pea, artichoke, sprouted organic amaranth and sprouted organic quinoa proteins, as well as a proprietary enzyme blend to ensure digestion, absorption, and bioavailability of the essential components to support those with sensitive stomachs. This company makes their own protein powder in their own facility ensuring the highest quality and efficiency of their own products. This is an amazing protein supplement overall – clean, healthy and tastes great!
Sweeteners used in PlantFusion are all natural and has benefited those with high cholesterol, diabetes, or those struggling with digestive conditions. The natural sources of essential amino acids used in PlantFusion, such as sprouted organic quinoa, pea, algae protein, provide complete protein and gives protection for the heart and overall health.
- Contains no rice and no soy ingredients
- Low sugar and low fat
- Free of major allergens
- Fills you up in an instant and manages your appetite for hours
- No gritty aftertaste
- Too sweet to taste
- Does not blend and mix well
Organic plant-based protein is one of the purest proteins you can get and you can be confident with Garden of Life’s Organic Sport Plant-Based Protein as it is backed up with many certificates. Their certification provides assurance that there are no banned substances in their product and you are only given clean and complete nutrients.
You only need a single serving with 2 scoops mixed with 12 oz. water to get all that protein goodness to help reduce post-workout recovery time. Take it within an hour after a workout or throughout the day. It contains tart cherries, apples, turmeric, goji berries, and blueberries that not only aid in fast recovery but also makes the protein shake taste good!
- Complete and clean protein
- Repair and restore muscles, supporting faster recovery
- Promotes better immunity and digestion
- No fillers, no synthetic ingredients
- High in anti-oxidants
- Suitable for people allergic or intolerant to dairy
- No added sugar, soy, or tree nuts
- Slightly expensive compared to other protein powders in the market
- If you are caffeine allergic or generally dislike coffee, you have to note that the chocolate flavor has naturally occurring 7mg of caffeine per serving.
- Mix reviews on taste. Some like it and some have grown to like it, while others simply do not.
This plant-based protein powder is both a weight loss and fitness supplement in the form of a protein shake. It can be a nutritious meal replacement by itself especially for those pursuing a healthier lifestyle. It contains ingredients such as spinach leaf, flax seed, Alfalfa herb extract, whole broccoli, whole berry fruit with additional ingredients such as enzymes and probiotic blend, organic protein blend from brown rice protein and pea protein, cane sugar for taste and organic cocoa powder for the chocolate variety shake.
- Affordable supplement and protein powder
- Plant-based and completely organic
- Controversial ingredients – the product is said to contain fillers, additives, and thickeners
- Questionable taste – some reviewers don’t find the taste favorable; they categorize it as chalky
Sun Warrior was launched in 2008 with a commitment to making the best plant-based protein and superfood supplements. This Warrior Blend Organic Protein contains organic and non-GMO ingredients made from pea, goji, and even hemp.
Only one scoop contains 30% of your daily intake and contains Vitamin C too. This protein powder is recommended and highly enjoyed by vegans.
- The taste is fine, nuttier than vanilla just like the other vanilla vegan protein powders
- It mixes well with water
- Low in carbs yet high in iron
- A few consumers complained about the texture
- There is no inclusion of rates of the ingredients so you really cannot know how much is included per serving
NOW SPORTS has been a company that caters to athletes since 1968 so their reputation is proven and tested. They are one of the first companies to adhere to standards when it comes to manufacturing supplements as fraudulent products are rampant back in the days.
It contains soy and milk to give that natural taste to it. Those who work out should take it within an hour after training to get its maximum benefits.
- It doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame potassium
- It is wheat free, gluten free, doesn’t contain fish, egg, nor shellfish
- The most common complaint is taste is lacking and then there is also a bad aftertaste
- Some report it doesn’t mix very well
Enough said this product is made of clean and lean protein in its purest form – all natural and free from the bad stuff. It is 100% vegetable and is suitable for a Paleo diet. It contains low carbohydrates and high in protein, is GMO-free and allergen-free as well. There are 5 great flavors to choose from – Smooth Vanilla, Rich Chocolate, Wild Strawberry, Real Coffee, or the Just Natural.
- Smooth and easy to mix
- Reviewers say this is the best tasting, most delicious protein powder in the market
- There’s no sugar added but it is sweetened with Katemfe fruit from West Africa
- Like most other pea proteins, this tends to be lower in the sulfurous amino acids and methionine so you need to consume more meat if you consider taking this
Naked Pea is a plant-based protein made exclusively from raw yellow peas – yes, only one ingredient. It aims to make nutrition understandable and simple. Naked Pea is loaded with essential amino acids that have no artificial sweeteners or colors and free from soy, gluten, and dairy. There are 3 different flavors of Naked Pea: Unflavored, Chocolate, and Vanilla.
- Mixes perfectly
- No “bloaty” feeling
- Too fluffy texture
Do Plant-based Protein Powders help with weight loss?
Going on a high-protein diet helps reduce weight by taming hunger and appetite for hours after eating. Protein increases production of hormones (Peptide YY and Glucagon-like peptide-1) which makes you feel full and satisfied while reducing Ghrelin or known as “hunger hormone” affecting your appetite.
Basing on my experience, yes it has assisted with weight loss. Here’s what my daily routine looks like: I make a smoothie for breakfast with ice, banana/avocado/strawberry, and protein powder. I don’t skip this for breakfast. During lunch, I eat a good portion of chicken or fish and as many vegetables as I can stand for lunch and then have a light dinner. As long as you eat plenty of greens and high protein for a day, you won’t feel like starving or craving.
What are the Common Varieties of Plant Protein Powders?
There are various types of plant protein powders such as:
Hemp protein Contains complete amino acids without the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid and the anti-inflammatory omega-6 called gamma-linolenic acid.
Pea and legumes protein A plant-based source of proteins that are higher in lysine and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), and including Vitamin D. It contains soluble fiber that aids in regulating blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss.
Organic brown rice protein Contains high levels of essential amino acid and Vitamin C. It has various benefits like cholesterol regulation and lower blood sugar level. It also increases liver function.
Pumpkin protein Rich in flavor and rich in minerals like Zinc and Magnesium. It is also high in healthy fats.
What are the Benefits of a Plant-based Diet ?
Protects against heart disease. Scientists have been conducted large research to attest to this argument. Surprisingly, a large part of the study showed that plant-based diet aid in heart disease prevention, most especially against coronary heart disease.
Research showed that a plant-based protein diet, which restricts or ideally eliminates all animal-based foods, helps with repair to the artery wall, aids in cleaning blocked arteries, decrease cholesterol levels, and reduces high blood pressure.
May be beneficial against Type 2 Diabetes. Consuming of plant protein can result to lowering of blood glucose level, which may explain the relationship between plant protein and diabetes risk reduction. Besides the glucose level, other related factors that were positively affected by plant-based protein intake are lowered cholesterol levels and a reduced body mass index.
Studies have proved that the link between consumption of meat and having higher risks of developing diabetes could be due to other compounds that are also found in meat other than protein. Unlike plant-based protein sources, lean meat has a higher fat compound which has a direct link to obesity and diabetes.
Supports lowered inflammation and balanced internal pH. The common response after eating a large number of animal products is endotoxemia. It refers to the process wherein bloodstream becomes flooded with harmful toxins or so-called endotoxins. Aside from endotoxins, other harmful components found in meat are hormones, cholesterol and high-density fats, and heavy metals like arsenic and copper which were found to increase risks for various life-threatening diseases hence, the shift to being fully vegetarian even in building muscles. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arterial wall which is mostly caused by consuming animal products like eggs, dairy, and meat.
In general, eating a plant-based diet (including proteins) is considered an alkaline diet. Most meat and animal products are acidic which affects the pH balance of our body. By replacing acidic sources of meat and focusing on vegetables and fruits and plant-based protein, you can balance or improve the alkalinity of your internal pH resulting to improved digestion, and decreased risk for cardiovascular, liver and kidney diseases, as well as prevent cancer.
Tips for Choosing a Healthy Protein Powder
Flavor and Blendability
This one is tricky because for you to be able to compare the flavors, you simply have to try every Protein powder there is. Though it may seem not important, you are going to take this every single day of your life and will substitute for your normal breakfast of toast and hotdogs!
Most of the flavors out there are vanilla and chocolate, which are good to blend with other ingredients like bananas or strawberries. Also, Protein powder isolates naturally does not taste good, it is normal that there will be aftertastes and chalky texture.
Complete with Organic Contents
Since this is a supplement, you should aim to get a complete and plant-based protein. It should always be free from harmful and allergenic ingredients (though effects may be individual). Make sure that they are gluten-free and free from heavy metal contents.
Protein powders must be nutrient-dense that has all the vitamins and minerals to ensure that you get the nutritional requirements every day. To help with your digestive health, it is still better to look for a formula that has dietary fiber or digestive enzymes.
Matches your Needs
How do you decide which is the best protein powder for you? You have to look for the powder basing on your expected outcome or goal.
For muscle growth, choose a protein powder with a high biological value (a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein) like Whey protein and whey isolates. For losing weight or if you want to go-low with diabetes, make sure there are no added artificial sugars. Look for a protein powder that has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates. If you want to go vegan or you have gastrointestinal problems, don’t choose milk-based powder and has artificial sweeteners and gluten. You should also consider options that best suits your budget. It is more practical to buy protein powder rather than ready-to-drink shakes.
You can lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, stroke and kidney disease by eating more plant-based proteins. It can also help you achieve your weight loss goals, and help you reduce inflammation and balance internal pH. In order to supplement your protein intake, you can opt to try plant-based protein powders most especially if you have shifted to pure vegan living. You can get the most out of your protein powder by knowing first-hand what your goals are, whether you want to buff up with muscles or simply lose weight. Protein powder is still not a miracle worker by any means. It is simply a part of the weight loss regime that you should include daily. A good cardio exercise, sometime in a day, will greatly help in burning and toning down those loose fats from dieting. Still, consistency and discipline are the keys to achieve your goals.