As more and more people are committing to a strictly vegan lifestyle, you may start to wonder what the fuss is all about. While I have not yet fully comprehended the fuss, I want to quickly clear up a misconception surrounding veganism.
With any fad diet comes lots of misinformation. You may have mistakenly believed that it would be tough to get your needed daily intake of protein. However, don’t fret quite yet.
If you want to retain (and even add to your muscle mass) while going vegan, you certainly can with some careful planning.
Meat is not the only source of protein on the planet! There exist many great companies producing a fine alternative — fully vegan protein powder supplements.
In this article we look at a few of these brands, but first . . .
What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Vegan?
Being vegan is much like being a vegetarian as you avoid meat, but you are taking it a couple of steps further. Vegans consume vegetables, fruit, nuts, and such, just like vegetarians. However, they avoid all dairy, eggs, and other foods that come from animals. In fact, there are numerous vegans that avoid all products that may be directly (or indirectly) linked to animal cruelty, including clothes, shoes, and make-up.
How Do Vegans Get Their Needed Protein?
While it is, of course, more difficult to consume enough protein while leading a strictly vegan lifestyle, it is not impossible once you establish your eating habits. For instance, tofu has quite a bit of protein in it, as do all of the possible nuts and nut butters that you can purchase at virtually any grocery store. Beans are always a good source of protein as well, right along with quinoa and other grains. And if you love your green veggies, you can’t go wrong with peas and broccoli.
Still, If You Want to Build Muscle . . .
You have to up your protein intake. Those that have spent serious time trying to build muscle understand that this is done in the kitchen, not the gym. More than likely, you will have to supplement your diet through protein shakes. And if you are going vegan, your choices are severely limited, but there are some great-tasting totally vegan protein powders out there that you may have not come across.
1. Naked Pea Protein Powder
Naked Nutrition is a company for which I have vouched for years. They deliver a level of quality and care unseen in the supplement industry.
The makers behind Naked Nutrition understand that customers seeking their supplements are very health conscious — and for good reason. With the rise of dangerous supplements, unethical marketing, and downright false labeling, one cannot help but be wary. The best way to dispel these concerns is to keep the ingredients easily identifiable and low in number.
Naked Pea Protein Powder, as suggested by the name, is simple, effective, and made from only one key ingredient— 100% Yellow Pea Protein with zero additives. All other ingredients are GMO-free, growth-hormone-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and sugar-free.
Being a vegan protein powder does not necessarily mean having the word “vegan” printed on the label. Keep in mind that large supplement companies are labeling products vegan and charging a bit more as it is the “in” thing to be at the moment. Naked Pea is an example of a product that avoids this label but is still completely vegan and will not break the bank.
The five-pound container of Naked Pea protein powder contains 76 servings with 27 grams of protein per serving. Soy-, gluten-, and dairy-free, the only ingredient in Naked Pea is yellow pea protein.
Now, for the taste. Most people think there is not much of a flavor at all. In my opinion, a tasteless protein powder is better than one that tastes good as it allows for customization. You can mix just about anything you want with to obtain the flavor that’s best for you. Fruits, vegetables, cocoa extract, or whatever your heart desires.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this brand, but for the sake of having more options, here are some other vegan protein powders!
2. Vega Clean Protein
If you prefer a product that is vegan beyond any doubt, this is the one for you!
Vega Clean Protein consists of a mixture of plant proteins from hemp, pea, pumpkin, and alfalfa. It has 45 servings per container with 25 grams of protein per serving. With a choice of chocolate or vanilla, you are bound to find one you like.
On Amazon, this powder has an almost perfect rating, with many people singing its praises for the taste.
If you want a meal replacement, I would suggest blending one scoop with a banana, half a cup of oatmeal, and a tablespoon or organic peanut butter.
3. Vega Sport Premium Protein
At 30 grams of protein per serving, Vega Sport Premium Protein contains more protein per scoop than the other two powders in this article. It also offers a few flavor choices, with mocha, peanut butter, and chocolate seeming to be three of the top choices. It does contain a few more calories than many other vegan protein powders available, but in return, you get more protein, which is a fair trade-off.
How to Make a Basic Protein Shake
Making a protein shake is fairly straightforward. You have a couple of ways to go about it.
If you plan to mix the protein powder in water, a shaker bottle will do just fine, but if you plan to add vegetables, fruits, oil meal, etc., you will definitely need a good blender (this is the one I use). You simply add some sort of liquid with a scoop or two of the protein powder. Most people who are vegan tend to just add water and some ice with it. Be sure to mix it up well; otherwise, the powder will settle down at the bottom, and you will have to scrape it up with a spoon to get all the protein possible.
Why Does Whey Protein Usually Taste So Bad?
This is definitely a misconception. If you have been drinking protein shakes that taste bad, then you haven’t experienced the variety of protein powders available from different brands. For instance, if you judged all salads the same way simply because someone screwed up your salad once, you would probably not be vegan now. There are good-tasting and absolutely disgusting protein powders out there. The trick is to find the ones that offer the most protein without additives, are available at a good price, and won’t kill your stomach an hour after you drink it.
How to Make Protein Shakes Taste Better
Now, you are speaking my language. I’ve been drinking protein shakes for more than 20 years, and I have learned quite a bit along the way. The truth is that regardless of how poor the protein shake tastes, you can always make it better.
Still, in this scenario, you probably want to stay vegan, so there are fewer options. For one, mixing it with almond milk instead of water will give it a little sweeter taste if you desire. Next, turn it into more of a smoothie than a protein shake by adding some fruit like bananas and strawberries. Plus, with peanut butter being vegan-friendly, you can add a couple of tablespoons of this tasty substance into any of your shakes.
Rather than looking at it as just a shake, make it a meal replacement by adding all of these things. And sometimes, with vegan shakes, the texture may be a little tough to take. If this is the case, put away the shaker cup and blend it up until it is smooth enough for your taste buds.
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