Why are some protein powders not suitable for vegans?
For many years there were hardly any protein powders suitable for vegans. They usually contained whey protein, derived from milk. There are also several other protein sources that can cause problems. So can vegans eat protein shakes? The answer is “yes” if they avoid these ingredients:
- Whey protein – the most common animal product
- Beef protein
- Albumen – a protein derived from egg
Some protein powders will also contain other ingredients, such as digestive enzymes and probiotics. These can also be derived from animals, so are unsuitable for vegans.
Best vegan protein powders
I’m delighted that the situation has changed dramatically over the last few years. There are more and more vegan athletes, who find that their recovery is better on a vegan diet. Better recovery means the possibility of more, and more effective, training. Even the main producers, such as UK Bulk Powders, have added vegan lines to what they sell.
Here are my reviews. (Please note I have no link to any of these producers either financially or in any other way.) I find that all protein shakes are best made and left for at least half and hour before drinking.
I really like the Revolution Foods range. This is partly because their whole range is vegan. They have protein shakes, mass gainer shakes, superfood blends, digestive support and much more. I haven’t tried the whole range yet. My favourite so far is their premium blend Wild Berry Flavoured Vegan Protein Powder. It contains bio-fermented pea and UK hemp proteins. This gives 22g of protein and 113 Kcal per 30g serving. The potent anti-inflammatory agent, curcumin, is also included. The instructions tell you to mix it with a milk, but I prefer it just mixed with water. Sometimes I add some frozen berries – blueberries, fruit of the forest, strawberries or raspberries.
I also like Bulk Powders Vegan Protein Powder. It comes in different flavours and I particularly like the Chocolate and the Strawberry. This is mixed with water. Each serving provides 23g of plant-based protein from pea, rice, pumpkin, flax and quinoa protein.
I took a bag of Strawberry flavoured on a recent business and tourist trip to Russia. I was worried that I might struggle to find vegan food to eat, as I had a very tight schedule. It was certainly difficult while I was at a business conference in Moscow. I wanted to eat out with colleagues that I rarely see. Some days I would have a protein shake before I went out in the evening. Then I didn’t mind if my meal was very limited.
I then did a tourist leg to St Petersburg and found a wonderful vegan restaurant called Mir via Happy Cow. (This is a great vegan resource when you are travelling.) It was wonderful to have such great vegan food, but I was very happy that I’d taken my protein shake with me.
Homemade vegan protein shake recipe
After I’ve finished the gym and before I bike home I usually sit and drink a homemade vegan protein shake. It’s very simple to make and one of the cheapest, wholesome shakes you can make. And it’s just three (or four) ingredients:
- 30 gms of Good Hemp Raw 50% Protein – you could, of course, use other brands
- 250 ml of coconut milk
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder (optional)
I put this in a Nutribullet and whizz it till everything is smooth and creamy. Hemp is a great source of protein. It’s also very good environmentally as it is extremely resistant to insects, so it is naturally grown organically.
You may well find other great protein blends that you like – it’s definitely a matter of personal taste. But there are two things you definitely need to know. A vegan diet is fine for even elite athletes. You will be bedazzled by the range of vegan protein shakes available now.
I regularly post short videos of me lifting weights in the gym on my Instagram feed #fitover70 #veganfitness