There are many reasons why individuals choose for themselves a vegan diet and lifestyle including food allergies, intolerances, personal beliefs, religious doctrine and even simply to be more healthy.
Quick Look at Our Top Picks
- Best Rated: Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
- Best Tasting: Vega Protein & Greens, Plant Protein
- Best for Weight Loss: MRM – Veggie Elite Performance Protein
- Best for Budget: Garden of Life Organic Vegan Protein Powder with Vitamins and Probiotics
- Best Organic: PlantFusion Complete Plant Based Protein Powder
- Best for Bodybuilding: OPTIMUM NUTRITION Gold Standard 100% Organic Plant Based Vegan Protein Powder
- Best for Women: NOW Sports Pea Protein Natural Unflavored Powder
- Best Unflavored: VeganSmart Plant Based Vegan Protein Powder by Naturade
- Best Soy Free: Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake
- Best Vegan Non Gmo: Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder
It may sound impossible that a vegan diet can actually improve your health. When you talk about removing essential amino acids and proteins, not to mention many vitamins and nutrients that are naturally supplied to us via animal products, many people think that this is counterproductive to living a healthy lifestyle.
The fact is, however, that when you approach a vegan diet as more of a lifestyle change, and put in the effort to carefully regiment your diet to provide you with the proper nutrients it can actually be a very healthy alternative. You cannot get lazy with your choices, but need to consider which foods have the nutrients you need to keep you not just full but healthy and energized.
Vegan diets can be even more healthy than an average person’s diet when it is properly administered.
If you are adding in nutrient rich foods, ensuring that you get all of the vitamins and proteins that you need, then your diet can be healthier than those for example who consume a lot of red meat.
Some choose to go vegan due to intolerance or allergies that they have to foods, the main culprit being the dairy industry. Roughly 65 percent of the population has developed an intolerance to dairy, which has lead to the rise of alternative sources, such as milks made from plants, and protein powders as well.
Many vegans turn to protein supplements as a way to ensure they are getting adequate protein in their diet. Because they have cut out animal products they are missing naturally, easily procured proteins, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line.
Our top 10 selections for vegan protein powders
Do vegan protein powders actually provide enough protein?
While you may have turned to protein powder as an excellent source of protein and amino acids, you may have run into the issue that some of the more popular powders on the market are whey powder which is milk-based. There are also egg-white and collagen powders that you need to beware of because they are not vegan friendly.
Many of the products you see may be animal-based and do not seem vegan friendly, but rest assured there is a wide market for vegan protein powders. Plant-based powders made from soy, rice, peas, hemp, seeds and mixed plants provide ample protein in a powder form that you can use to supplement an everyday lifestyle or to add to your active, on the go lifestyle.
Protein powders to avoid if you are vegan:
- Whey protein: This is a protein powder that is milk-based.
- Egg-white protein: As in the name is made primarily from eggs and therefore is not conducive to the vegan lifestyle.
- Collagen: If you are not familiar with the word may trip you up. When you read the ingredients closely you will see it is made from extracting protein out of the skin, bones or scales of animals, not something you want if you are looking for a vegan protein powder.
Vegan protein powders to consider:
- Pea protein: Pea protein is a highly concentrated source of protein which is made by drying and crushing yellow peas to create the powder.
- Soy protein: Maybe soy protein is something you are familiar with as soy has been a popular alternative for vegetarians and vegans for some time. This protein is filled with amino acids.
- Hemp protein: This form of protein is not for everyone, but is made from the seeds of a cannabis plant but before you let that scare you, it cannot actually get you high. Hemp protein is not a complete protein but dos offer you many other nutrients such as iron, which is a nutrient many vegetarians and vegans have to be conscious about.
- Seed protein: Because seeds are in every product and can be made from hemp as above mentioned, pumpkin, chai or sunflower seeds as they all contain high levels or protein.
- Mixed plant protein: This is a blended form of protein made of a few different plant based that are ground to provide you with protein, amino acids and nutrients that you need in one protein powder.
- Rice protein: Rice protein is made out of brown rice and while it is not a complete protein when combined with a healthy diet it should act as a great supplement by giving you a boost in the protein and some amino acids that you are lacking
There are many plant sources that provide more than enough protein to give you energy for an average day and even for a highly active lifestyle. These plants have been turned into protein powders to make it that much easier to access the nutrients that you may be lacking.
It is important for you to know yourself well, to know if you are truly lacking in protein before you decide to just jump in and take supplements. You do not need to spend the money or effort to give your body something it already has enough of.
How do i effectively implement a vegan protein powder into my diet and exercise routine?
As already touched on, you should first make sure that you actually need added protein in your diet. Check the foods you are eating to see how much protein is already in your diet against what is required for your height, weight and activity level.
While the recommended amount of protein for an average adult male is approximately 56 grams a day and for an adult female is ten grams less, that does not mean it is one size fits all. It is better to calculate for yourself what is best for you and to understand how well your body reacts to protein supplements and if you have any allergies for example to soy.
Once you have ruled out any issues it is fairly easy to add in protein powder supplements as you can mix them into your yogurt, shakes, smoothies and some can even be added to coffee or tea. You can use them before or after a workout or just as a snack meal replacement.
We do not recommend to drink protein powders in lieu of eating on a regular basis, as protein powder is not a cure-all and not supplement or vitamin is designed to take the place of a balanced diet and regular meals. As in the name it is a supplement to be used in addition to what you are already consuming.
For specific instructions on how much powder to mix in with how much of a liquid you can typically find instructions on the packaging of the protein powder. There is generally a small scoop provided in the jar, bag or box of protein powder that will help you measure out the amount you need.
Special considerations that were taken to create this list
- Organically produced: These products are high ranking on our list and being organically produced is the top consideration. Many who are seeking out vegan options have already made many changes in their lives to incorporate natural, non-GMO products that have little to no artificial or chemical additives.
- High in protein content: The next consideration we take in is about the amount of protein and is obviously important because if you are seeking a protein supplement it is because you are lacking it and therefore the protein powder you select should be adequately filled with protein. While they may not all be complete proteins, they should still offer you a high amount of protein per serving.
- Having as many branched amino acids as possible: This is something that is important because amino acids are the building blocks of protein. You cannot have enough protein without having enough amino acids.
- Minimal added sweeteners: This consideration goes along with the idea that you are wanting a supplement to be more healthy. Some powders do not have the absolute best flavor but can be mixed with other things to make them taste better and we find that is a better alternative than adding unneeded sugars into your diet.
If you are looking to make a change to a more organic, natural lifestyle or if you have already been living on a vegan diet then not only the quality but the substance that make up your protein powder is very important. Finding all natural, organic products that are USDA approved, and free of GMO’s is going to be the way for you to go.
Protein powders on this list are made with little or no sugar and without artificial sweeteners which is good for your health, but perhaps bad for the taste. The best suggestion for this is to know ahead of time that protein is not a sweet tasting substance, and that by mixing it with something other than water will help to improve the flavor.
The powders designed for vegan living are not limited to only vegans and are great for the population at large. The powders are easier for the body to digest because they are plant based which the body already knows how to process.
Vegan protein powder is a good supplement for those who are lacking in proteins or else burning through them during workout and exercises.