Some may do it for the environmental impact, some do it for the nutritional value, some do it for the rights of animals and some do it just to be able to say they are vegan to others. Do we blame any of them? Nope. Veganism has become an incredibly popular diet in the US for its potential health benefits and definite ethical benefits when it comes to the wellbeing of animals.
The average American consumes over 200 pounds of meat per year, with greenhouse gas emissions from the animal agricultural sector accounting for more of the country’s total footprint than the entire transportation sector combined.
Plant-based meat production causes a median greenhouse gas savings of 88.5% when compared with conventional meat production, a statistic that’s difficult to ignore.
However, another popular activity is weight lifting. Lifting heavier weights and building muscle mass has also become a trendy pastime for motivated gym rats who want to work towards a goal. This has begged the question — can you be vegan and build muscle mass at the same time? Are these two things at odds? Are we talking a Troy Bolton basketball star/ musical theater talent situation?
Not at all. While vegan proteins from peas, rice and sunflower seeds aren’t as protein-packed as fish and meat, eating a variety of plant proteins can adequately supplement the essential amino acids your body needs for the protein synthesis and muscle building your body does post-workout.
You can stay plant-based and still meet your weight lifting goals, you just need to pick the right protein powder to go with your routine. There are a few important factors to consider when making your decision including the protein ratio per serving, and the price per weight. Vegan protein powders from seeds tend to be more expensive than those from grains and legumes, for example.
We’ve rounded up our favorite vegan protein powders for their taste, biocompatibility and protein content that are all available to purchase easily online. You can bulk up without having your new muscle mass weigh on your environmental conscience with the following choices.
1. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
This plant-based protein powder boasts a nearly perfect 5-star rating on Amazon with over 10,000 reviews. It includes 21 grams of protein per serving, derived from peas, brown rice and chia seeds among other ingredients. Each serving of this plant-based protein powder also includes five grams of fiber, five grams of net cards, zero grams of sugar and 150 calories per serving. This mix is certified USDA organic, gluten, dairy and lactose-free and contains no artificial ingredients. It can mix perfectly into water, milk or a smoothie or shake and costs about $0.81/ounce, a reasonable price for high-quality protein powder.
2. Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder
This is another highly trusted vegan protein powder brand in the fitness space for its quality ingredients and sport-specific formula. This vegan protein powder includes as much as 30 grams of protein per serving as well as five grams of BCAAs, and five grams of glutamic acid all from a mix of pea, pumpkin seed and sunflower seed protein. This vegan protein powder blend also includes sport-specific ingredients designed to enhance your performance including tart cherry, a critical ingredient for recovery, turmeric extract for inflammation and 2 billion CFU probiotics that also aid in your body’s speedy recovery and resilience.
3. KOS Plant-Based Protein Powder
This KOS vegan protein powder packs all of the nutritional value and plant-packed protein of other options with a delicious chocolate flavor to boot. This powder gets its flavor from infused Peruvian cacao, Himalayan pink salt, coconut milk, and organic stevia and monk fruit to sweeten. The protein comes from a blend of five different types of protein including pea, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin and chia seed. All of the ingredients and USDA organic, gluten, dairy and soy-free. This protein powder is raw vegan-friendly and contains digestive enzymes to help your body break down and absorb the nutritional benefits. It also has 20 grams of protein per serving, with 30 servings per container.
4. Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein
If you’re looking to get bulked up on a budget and stay plant-based, we’ve got you. This pea protein powder comes exclusively from pea protein isolate and is unflavored and unsweetened It’s batch tested for quality and is certified gluten free for those who have dietary restrictions. The plant-based ingredients are non-GMO and the unflavored quality makes it perfect for adding extra protein to your smoothies, shakes and other blends. Each serving contains eight grams of protein and zero sugar, fat or cholesterol. While this mix doesn’t contain as many performance-focused power ingredients as other mixes it’s raw, natural protein that’s easy to mix in with other ingredients for a vitamin-fueled drink before or after a grind session.
5. Genius Vegan Protein Powder
While a bit more expensive, this plant-based protein is well worth the extra money for its smooth texture and protein-packed formula. They’ve created a creamy vegan protein powder that breaks the stereotype of a chalky texture being a part of the deal when you go plant-based, and improved the nutritional profile as well. Their formula has been supercharged with a key ingredient of Velositol, a lean-muscle-building protein known for its fortifying benefits and is 100% lactose-free. Their formula can help your body build muscle, enhance recovery, reduce cravings and boost your satiety as well. It’s great at any time of the day and can be used as a supplement, meal replacement or mixed in with other protein powders in a shake.
6. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Superfoods Protein Powder
BEST ORGANIC OPTION
This organic plant-based protein powder contains 21 grams of protein per serving as well as 50 different organic superfoods per scoop. This specific superfood blend includes ingredients such as veggies, herbs, greens, berries, sprouts and ancient grains. All of which are a great source of food-based vitamins like B6, C, iron, thiamin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. The plant-based protein comes from a mix of peas, brown rice and chia seeds, and contains only one gram of sugar in each serving. This powder has a delicious vanilla bean flavor, is certified USDA organic and is great for an antioxidant boost as well as weight management tool.
7. Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein
MOST PROTEIN PER SERVING
This plant-based protein powder from Garden of Life contains about two billion CFU probiotics to help your body’s immune system stay strong throughout your training. This blend also contains an antioxidant blend to aid in healthy recovery which includes organic tart cherries, organic turmeric, organic gogi berries, organic apples and organic blueberries. With 30 grams of protein and five grams of branched-chain amino acids, this protein powder packs in the nutrition while also helping your body holistically, rather than focusing on only one system in particular. This protein powder is also NSF-certified for sports and Informed Choice for Sport certified.
8. Vega Protein & Greens Chocolate Protein Powder
BEST KETO OPTION
This plant-based protein powder from Vega is keto-friendly and packed with 20 grams of protein per serving to help you bulk up and follow your diet at the same time. Each serving only contains six grams of carbohydrates, much less than other protein powder brands. The protein blend comes from sacha inchi protein, brown rice protein and pea protein, and also includes super ingredients like alfalfa powder, spinach, broccoli and kale. This blend contains no added sugar and is sweetened with stevia, a naturally calorie-free sweetener and is easy to blend in with other complimentary ingredients.
9. Birdman Falcon Vegan Protein Powder
This protein powder is suitable for all human beings — men, women, diabetics, athletes, vegetarians, busy professionals and even those with health issues. It’s a high-quality vegan protein powder with 22 grams of protein per serving and 4.5 grams of BCAAs, probiotics and enzymes. This protein powder mix has a wide variety of plants in it, including pumpkin seed protein, cranberry seed protein, sacha inchi powder and amaranth sprout. A portion of all proceeds go towards animal rights, to take the vegan stance one step further philanthropically, and the formula is chemical, sugar and lactose-free.
10. EarthChimp Vegan Protein Powder
EarthChimp vegan protein powder contains nothing artificial and is packed with superfoods like baobab, flax, turmeric and cinnamon. It’s made with real botanical ingredients like cacao that will leave you feeling fueled, light and and nutritious. This vegan protein powder is made with your gut in mind, with one billion probiotics, digestive enzymes and four grams of fiber. It’s also gum-free and erythritol-free so you can trust that there’s nothing unnecessary or artificial in this mix. With no added sugar, no carageenan, no added salt, no soy, gluten or lactose this formula is one of the most natural, superfood-packed ones we found.
11. Amazing Grass Vegan Protein & Kale Powder
MOST GREENS PER SERVING
We’ve all got to find ways to get our greens in, and this vegan protein powder takes that extra step out of the equation by combining protein powder and greens into one drinkable powder. It includes 20 grams of vegan protein per serving and is completely clean and free of sweetener like stevia, dairy, greens and grains. Each scoop contains one serving of leafy greens alongside your protein, feeding two birds with one seed. The plant protein comes from a combination of peas, quinoa and chia seeds, and the leafy greens include barley grass, wheat grass, kale and alfalfa. It has a true vanilla flavor and smooth texture that combines easily and tastes delicious.