Protein powder is arguably one of the most popular fitness supplements on the market. Protein supplements come in liquid and powder format and are either plant or whey based. There certainly isn’t a shortage of options when shopping for this type of a supplement, which can be overwhelming for a beginner. So, here are my tips on how to shop for a protein powder and some things to keep in mind. I will also be sharing my favorite brand of all time and my experience with whey and plant-based options.
I have been drinking protein shakes for years as post workout recovery, as well as for a quick breakfast. I’ve tried whey in liquid and powder formats in years past, but I am currently obsessing over a plant-based powder that I’ll talk about shortly.
Protein is a great source of energy and is responsible for keeping your body working at optimum levels. Protein is important for the growth and repair of body tissues and cells, including muscle mass. Large amounts of protein are required for the body to restore and repair, but unlike carbohydrates and fats, the body doesn’t store protein. This is why many people will eat or drink protein supplements to make sure enough protein is being consumed for the body to do it’s thang!
Whey vs. Plant-based Protein
For beginners in the market looking for a protein powder, it’s easy to become overwhelmed at the options and all the terminology. I want to keep this article simple with an effort to avoid overwhelm and too much information. One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make when shopping for a protein is whether to choose whey-based or plant-based.
What is whey? This protein base is a high quality protein found in cow’s milk. There are other nutrients found in whey, but without getting all scientific, let’s just say, don’t choose a whey protein if you are sensitive to cow’s milk.
I drank whey protein for years, but that’s when I wasn’t as in-tune with my body nor the sensitivity to dairy products I had.
Plant-based (Vegan) Protein
Plant-based proteins are great for those that have sensitivities to cow’s milk. They are often marketed as “vegan”, but you don’t need to be vegan to use them. The base of these protein powders are often derived from different plants, the most popular of them being, pea.
When I started doing my own research years ago, plant-based protein powders weren’t what they are today. Vegan protein powders had a bad rap for being chalky and gritty. The one time I tried one, all of those people were right. It was gross and kept me from wanting to try it again. Eventually, I realized I needed a plant-based over a whey based protein and I was not looking forward to making the switch.
Liquid vs. Powder Protein
Powder is the most popular form of protein, but there are some that come in liquid form as well. Liquid formats are great for convenience and on-the-go busy moms and have long shelf-dates.
There are several varieties of protein that are targeted for different needs. Some are focused on post-workout recovery. Some are formulated to add other nutrients and aimed to be used for the morning or other times throughout the day to ensure you are getting all the proper nutrients you need. Just be aware of your purpose and your goals when shopping to help narrow down options. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance.
MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE PROTEIN BRAND
Okay, so like I said before, I’ve tried many types of protein and I knew I needed to make the switch from whey to plant-based. I was dreading this because of the poor experience I had several years ago. No one wants to drink a liquid stick of chalk. However, I needed guidance so I walked my butt into GNC and asked for help in selecting one. Let me just say, the clerk at GNC recommended THE BEST vegan protein powder. He assured me and I was still hesitant.
I like to drink protein in the morning for an on-the-go part 1 of my breakfast. Equally as much, I also like it post workout to help aide in muscle recovery, so I tried two varieties within the same brand to fulfill each need. It was a tough pill to swallow because protein isn’t cheap. However, this protein powder is worth every penny.
Without further ado…I introduce you to…VEGA Protein.
Vega protein, although plant-based, is smoother than any whey protein I’ve had. The flavor is rich, but not too rich. I’m telling you, this protein gives me motivation to workout simply so I can have my recovery shake. Vega provides a long list of powder products to serve different purposes and is by far the best vegan protein out there. I am working on trying them all. As a woman, I don’t feel intimidated by this brand and don’t feel it is geared towards men. Since starting using Vega products, I have come to know others, both men and women included that also use these products. This post is not sponsored by Vega – just simply information to you if protein is new in your world. I also recommend this brand even if you don’t have sensitivity to whey.
My Favorite VEGA Products
I’ve tried several products from the Vega product line now and they are all great. I even tried one I thought I would be wasting my money on, but it tops my list as a favorite! All of the products I mention below are gluten free on top of being plant-based/vegan. For me, this is amazing because I also have a gluten sensitivity. I will link each of the products via Amazon. Most of the time I find that it is most cost effective place to order from. Each heading is linked to the specific product I am discussing.
This is my absolute favorite. I’ve tried chocolate, vanilla and mocha. Vanilla is my favorite and it’s crazy for me to say because chocolate is typically my go-to. Like I said before, this is so flavorful and smooth. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
This protein powder is great for breakfast to give you a boost of nutrients in the morning. Both chocolate and vanilla flavors are equally satisfying. I typically blend one scoop of this with ice, water and spinach to beef up the “greens” a smidge more. A green drink that tastes good and I’m here for it. On occasion, I will add some peanut butter powder too just to give it a little different flavor that tastes like dessert.
I have terrible digestive issues and am always in search of anything that can help aide my symptoms. This comes in one flavor: Orange Ginger. I am not a fan of ginger so I was unsure about trying this one. I was blown away at how this tastes. Like the others, this protein powder is just as smooth as the rest. I taste no ginger at all and love drinking this as a snack for my gut health.
I loved this as an option because it is doing double duty. It has protein and caffeine all wrapped in one delightful scoop. This makes a great snack that offers a boost of energy.
This one is aimed for a meal replacement and have only tried one container of this one. I enjoyed it and the flavor goes along with everything I’ve said about all the others. The reason I haven’t continued to purchase this one is because the Vega protein and greens satisfies my need and is slightly cheaper.
The market can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to such a vast variety of opinions. Vega is a great place to start if you are just beginning your protein powder journey, and it’s a great option for those looking for a plant-based alternative. The links above are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you purchase through them.