Over the course of my wellness journey I have tried, and invested in, quite a few vegan protein powders. With allergy sensitivities vegan powders have been a great way to get in quick nutrition on the go. Selecting the perfect protein powder is like dating to find a husband; it takes time and patience (yes I take my nutrition that seriously haha). Keep in mind that everyone has their own unique taste so what works for me might not work for you. But either way I wanted to shed some light on a few of my favorites as I know how daunting it is to show up to the store and have so many options staring back at you. If you’re looking to find a new powder I would recommend buying or asking for samples before investing in a tub. Start small test it out and then find what works for you. Also, keep in mind what you use protein powder for. I use mine mainly in baking and so a lot of the ones on the market don’t work well for me, however, those same powders would be amazing for someone looking to do smoothies and shakes.
To find the Powder that works best for you keep in mind the following:
- Know your goals. Do you need a meal replacement, lean protein source, something for gut health?
- Know how you’ll want to consume the powder; will you be making shakes, smoothies or baking?
- Find the right composition. Look for something with a smaller list of ingredients (unless the list is long because of added vitamin’s and minerals as is the case for some meal replacement formulas like the Metagenics UltraMeal and Douglas Labs). Be aware that often times to get flavour and sweetness companies add a whole lot of junk, additives, or chemicals. For the most part I’ve avoided even trying those powders. The old adage if you can’t pronounce it you, probably don’t want to put it in your body applies here. Also having the protein component at least double the sugar component ( I look at the grams) is something that’s important for me to help with stabilizing my blood sugar.
- Take into account any dietary restrictions, allergies or preferences. Again just because plant based powders work for me doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. Know your body and listen to it, yet another advantage to trying out samples before investing in a whole tub.
As I mentioned, after taking into account all of the above I’ve found that, while I have tried whey and casein powders, the vegan or plant based ones work best for my body. This made sense after finding out I’m allergic to both whey and casein (which I didn’t know at the time). For this reason I’m going to focus on the plant based protein powders today as they are the ones I’ve had the most experience with and from what I’ve seen can be the most differentiated in how they blend, perform and taste.
The vegan brands I’ve tried to date include: Vega, Vega Sport, Douglas Labs, Metagenics UltraMeal, Sunwarrior, Omega Nutrition Pumpkin Seed blend, Perfect Fit Protein and a various array of Costco finds. I’ve tried protein powders that contain solely or a combination of the following: Rice protein, Pea protein, Soy protein, Pumpkin Seed protein and Hemp protein. All have had their flaws and benefits. Below I’ve outlined my thoughts on each of the powders I’ve tried and a review on my current favourite the newly revamped Perfect Fit Protein. Happy Protein shopping!
A few clarifications before we dig in:
- a shake means I shook the protein powder up with almond milk or water
- a smoothie is a blended drink made in the blender usually adding in a banana and some fruit or nut butters
- baked goods are: muffins, protein pancakes, waffles etc.
|Brand||Composition||Overall Benefit||Texture||Taste||Good For|
|Vega – 170cals (46g)/ 20g of protein Vega One Nutritional Shake||Combination: Pea, hemp, flax, Saviseed,
Also in the blend: Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, Spirulina, & Algae
|Has added fruit, veggies and superfoods.||Blends ok in smoothies but is chalky and granular in shakes.||Probably my least favorite. It didn’t blend well and the added veggies give it a really strange flavor that I couldn’t palate. Think vanilla broccoli taste.||Meal Replacement, shakes and smoothies only. Does not bake well, things will not even cook haha. I tried so much with this one to use it up and it just never worked well for me.|
|Vega Sport Performance Protein 131 Cals/ 26g protein||Combination: pea, saviseed, brown rice||Has BCAAs, digestive aids and added supplements to help post workout recovery.||A little chalky in shakes, but blends better overall than VegaOne. Great for smoothies.||A true vanilla flavor, with slightly creamy consistency.||Post workout recovery, shakes and smoothies. I tried baking with this and it was horrible. Not good for baking nothing cooked all the way through, even protein pancakes didn’t work.|
|Douglas Labs – Ultra Protein Plus (Vanilla Bean)92cals (31.6g)/18g protein||Pea Protein||High in protein with a robust vitamin and amino acid profile. Contains a prebiotic with dietary fiber to aid in digestive repair.||Smooth initially. Wouldn’t recommend letting it sit though as it gets goopy and clumpy if it sits for too long.||Creamy taste in both chocolate and vanilla flavors. Think milkshake flavors! So YUMMY. Has a bit of a vitamin taste but it’s not too noticeable.||Digestive health, shakes, smoothies and meal/nutritional supplementation. Does not bake at all as it is too fine of a powder.|
|Metagenics Ultra Meal Rice Supplement, Natural Vanilla 190 Cals ( 52g)/ 15g Protein||Rice protein with added vitamin and minerals.||Somewhat chalky, but overall not too bad. Metagenics has some different protein lines: UltraMeal, UltraGlycemX and UltraMeal® Plus 360 (which is more of a gut restorative).Some of the Metagenics flavors have a strange aftertaste but they are ok.||Nothing too horrendous.||Shakes, smoothies and meal/nutritional supplementation.||Not suitable for baking/cooking.|
|Sunwarrior 100 Cals ( 25g)/ 19g Protein||Combination: pea protein, cranberry protein, and hemp seed protein||Protein with a robust amino acid profile.||The chalkiest of the pea proteins combos I have tried. Didn’t blend well in shakes.||A very minimal taste. Both vanilla and chocolate had minimal flavor to them.||Smoothies and shakes only.|
|Omega Nutrition Pumpkin Seed Protein||Pumpkin seed protein||Protein with robust amino acid profile. Naturally high in magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper.||Granular powder.||Minimal plain/neutral taste.||Smoothies only.|
|Perfect Fit Original Formula – Vanilla||Rice protein||Just the protein.||Coarse powder that is a little chalky in shakes, but smooth in smoothies||Sweet Vanilla Taste. No After taste but stevia flavor was notable.||Amazing for a little extra protein on the go, but wasn’t the best for just mixing with water. Made amazing baked goods and smoothies.|
|Revamped Perfect Fit – Vanilla||Combination of pea and pumpkin seed protein powder.||Just the protein.||Fine moist powder that is light and fluffy. Blends really well.||True vanilla flavouring but not overbearing in any way.||A very sensitive mixture. If you add too much liquid in smoothies, shakes or baked goods it gets watered down quickly because of the finer grain of the powder, but, taking that into account when you use the right proportions it works amazing for baked goods, smoothies and just shaken up with almond milk.|