Protein shakes are a great way to recover after a workout and plant-based or vegan protein powders have been trending lately. But which protein powders are the best of the best? What kind of proteins are these shakes and powders using, anyway? Here we’ll break down the different types of plant-based proteins and how they differ and which companies are using them the best. So take a peep below to figure out which type of plant protein is best for your body and recovery.
Not all athletes are the same, and some of us just need the extra protein! So depending on your level of exercise, whether you’re training for an Ironman or just like going on casual runs around the neighborhood, there’s a protein shake or a meal replacement shake for you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that soy protein is the only powder that contains all the amino acids you need for a complete vegan protein shake, so if you’re opting for hemp or pea protein, be sure to mix in a nut butter or extra source of amino acid.
Made exclusively from peas, this protein powder is made from drying and grinding peas into a fine powder, mixing it with water, and removing the bulk of fat, fiber, and starch. It is then dried and ground into a pea protein isolate, and when made into a fine powder will usually give you 21 grams of protein per 27 grams of a serving. But the pea protein is high in amino acids except for methionine, so you still need to supplement with whole foods.
Soy protein has long been hailed as the most controversial protein of the bunch, but even so, it contains all the amino acids you need for one perfect shake. Having been dried out from defatted soybean flakes that have been washed in alcohol or water to remove the sugar and dietary fiber, the soy protein isolate will give you 23 grams of protein per ounce. But what are the real benefits in relation to the controversial aspects of soy? Many people argue that it does not help you build muscle as much as a whey protein does, but overall it is the best vegan alternative.
Hemp has become a popular option in recent years because of its fine nutty taste and complete protein ratio. It contains all nine amino acids but only has about 15 grams of protein per once — much less than pea or soy protein. Although many people prefer this less processed option, it contains low levels of the amino acid lysine, which may affect some people’s choice in using it as a plant-based protein powder.
BROWN RICE PROTEIN
This is the least popular plant-based protein powder option considering its low amount of lysine, which makes it not a complete protein. It’s still a decent option, but you’ll have to supplement with more whole foods to balance it out.
Now that you’ve gone over the different types of vegan proteins, check out our list below of the best plant-based protein powders for your complete workout recovery shake.
1. Vega Sport Premium Vanilla Pea Protein Powder
Vega has long been an outstanding choice for the vegan community and their pea-based protein is of high quality for any athlete looking for an alternative option from whey or casein. Their vanilla option has a mix of pea protein, pumpkin seed protein and organic sunflower seed protein. There are 30 grams of protein per serving. Vega is an excellent choice for any athlete, especially their line of Sport Premium products.
2. Garden of Life Sport Organic Protein Powder
Garden of Life’s pea-protein-based powder is an excellent vegan option. It also includes organic sprouted navy beans, garbanzo beans and organic cranberry protein. It’s mixing all of your favorite foods into one ultimate plant-based protein powder, so you can make the best shake possible after a hard workout. Recover well with Garden of Life. It has 30 grams of complete protein per serving.
3. Orgain Organic Protein Powder Bundle
Combine the joy of vanilla protein powder with superfoods and you’ll have the ultimate vegan shake on your hands. Orgain protein mixes are made from pea protein, brown rice, and chia seeds for a well-rounded vegan diet. The superfoods bundle pack means you’ll get an extra dose of your daily nutrition, or more of what you’re lacking. The organic superfoods blend includes organic veggies, herbs, greens, berries, ancient grains and fruits. Add a scoop to your protein shake to enhance your diet.
4. Naked Pea
Naked has a few plant-based protein blends on offer and the pea protein is a delicious option for those looking for an alternative to whey or soy. Naked only has one ingredient in their pea protein and that’s pea protein. So if you aren’t a fan of the taste, spice it up with pumpkin seeds or mango chunks from the freezer. There are no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors in their protein so you can be assured that what you’re buying is what you’ll be eating. Made from yellow peas grown organically on farms in the US and Canada, Naked has 27 grams of protein per serving.
5. Sakara Life Protein Powder
Sakara Life is a protein and superfood brand that celebrities love. Add optimal leafy greens and protein to your diet in one easy scoop and watch as your skin begins to glow. Sakara protein contains a blend of organic pea protein, hemp protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, and organic sesame seed protein as well as a long list of other foods we should all really be eating. This is an excellent choice to spice up your diet with superfoods and vegans proteins to live your best life.
6. KOS Organic Protein Salted Caramel Coffee
KOS protein is made from pea protein, flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seed protein and combined with the delicious taste of salted caramel coffee for an extra punch. Enjoy coffee as much as your protein shakes? Now you’re in luck, KOS is one of the few companies that has successfully combined pea protein with coffee. KOS has many other flavors as well so choose your favorite. There are 20 grams of protein per serving, making it an excellent choice for any athlete.
7. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant-Based Protein
The Gold Standard is the preferred name for Optimum Nutrition because of its commitment to a plant-based lifestyle. In this 100% plant-based protein powder, there are proteins such as pea, brown rice, organic sacha inchi protein. There are 24 grams of protein per serving. Try out the Optimum Nutrition chocolate flavor for a unique take on a vegan diet.
8. ALOHA Plant-Based Protein
ALOHA has a blend of pea, brown rice, pumpkin seed and hemp proteins for optimal taste and amino acids. It contains 18 grams of plant-based protein per serving and is a keto-friendly option for that specific diet. If you’re interested in blending more than one vegan protein, this is an excellent option for anyone seeking a good protein shake.
9. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein
Nuzest is another excellent choice for a plant-based protein powder. It uses yellow peas grown specifically in the south of France and boasts of a smooth and delicious flavor. If you’re into pea protein but trying to avoid the pea flavor, this might be the right choice for you. This is a low-carb and high-protein powder with 25 grams of protein per serving. A great choice for anyone seeking a plant-based diet.
10. Gains in Bulk Raw Nutrition Plant Protein
Gains in Bulk utilizes brown rice protein and ancient grains as well as many other natural vegan ingredients like chia seeds and flax seeds to create a delicious plant-based protein powder for a vegan-friendly diet. It is a soy-free product and packed full of fruits and veggies to create an ultimate package of superfood. Since it is a brown rice protein though, be sure to supplement with more whole foods for all of your amino acids.