Tag Archives: vegan

Grain Free Vegan Protein Balls

vegan grain free protein balls recipe

It’s not often you find a protein balls recipe that’s vegan, grain-free, Paleo / keto-friendly, has no added sugar, requires no baking, and still tastes delicious.

But that’s exactly what we’re bringing you with this new recipe. As you’ll see on our recipes page, we’ve made several variations of protein balls before but this one is quite unique.

It has a combo of several “superfood” nuts and seeds, including pistachios, walnuts, flax, chia, and coconut. Toss in some Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder with Probiotics and you get a nutritious, guilt-free snack or dessert that kiddos will enjoy too (my 6-year-old had a blast preparing and eating these, as you’ll see in the pics that follow).

Health-wise, here are just a few of the perks:

Health Benefits:

Ingredient

Health Benefits

WalnutsWalnuts can help you improve cognitive (brain) function and also reduce the risk of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes, which are risk factors for the development of dementia.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071526/

PistachiosPistachios have a high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. Among nuts, pistachios also have a lower fat and energy content and the highest levels of K, γ-tocopherol, vitamin K, phytosterols, xanthophyll carotenoids, certain minerals (Cu, Fe and Mg), vitamin B₆ and thiamin.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26148925/

FlaxFlaxseed is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid, the lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside and fiber. These compounds provide bioactivity of value to the health of animals and humans through their anti-inflammatory action, anti-oxidative capacity and lipid modulating properties.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/

CoconutCoconut meat contains MCT oil, or medium-chain triglycerides. That’s the extract that people put in smoothies and coffee. MCT oil has unique benefits. It seems to lower two key hunger hormones, cueing a person to eat less. And MCTs convert more easily into energy compared with other sources of fat, like animal meat, so athletes consider it workout fuel.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/

ChiaChia seeds contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Aside from this, the seeds are an excellent source of polyphenols and antioxidants, such as caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and others.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31861466/

DatesStudies have shown that dates have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992385/

Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder Pure Food Plant-based Protein Powder contains a multi-source protein blend that’s just as effective as whey with the digestive side effects. And unlike other plant proteins, it’s 100% organic, high in fiber and contains no sugar.

Protein Balls Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pistachios (shells removed, of course)
1/3 cup flax meal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 T chia seeds
4 dates
1 T coconut oil (or other oil for greasing your pan)
1 tsp. vanilla powder or extract (optional)
Flaked salt (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. If your dates are hard or dry, place them in a bowl of hot water and cover to rehydrate. Let ’em sit for 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  2. Add the walnuts and pistachios to a food processor and pulse for a minute or two until the nuts reach a fine “meal” consistency (there should be no visible large chunks remaining).
  3. Remove the seeds from the dates and add to the food processor. Pulse until they’re fully chopped (about a minute should do).
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, along with 1-2 T of water. Note: add the water 1 Tablespoon at a time. You will only need a little bit to make your mixture nice and sticky for rolling.
  5. Once all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the mix feels slightly wet, grease your pan and start rolling into balls.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

These will last for 7-10 days if you keep them refrigerated.

Nutrition:

Assuming you make 10 protein balls with this recipe, here are the nutrition facts for each ball:

Calories: 155

Fat: 12 grams

Carbs: 7 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Protein: 6 grams

vegan grain free protein balls recipe

no bake protein balls

Shakeology Reviews: An Unbiased Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

Most Shakeology reviews have one thing in common: a vested interest in selling Beachbody products. 

That’s because they’re all written by Beachbody “Coaches.” [side note: I was a Coach for a short stint several years ago, so I’m very familiar with their marketing methods.]

While I do sell a plant protein powder of my own, my analysis/review of Shakeology’s products is unbiased because I use three objective criteria when evaluating their protein powders: 1.) Ingredients, 2.) Nutrition, and 3.) Cost.

Here’s the thing …

Shakeology actually has a lot of good stuff in it.

And, it’s probably the best tasting protein powder I’ve ever tried.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason for that, as you’re about to see.

Scroll below to see my Shakeology review …

Researching Plant Protein Powders?

CLICK HERE to get our FREE Google Sheet comparing 30+ brands by nutrition, ingredients, and cost.

Shakeology Reviews

Similar to my other plant-based protein powder analyses, I am judging Beachbody’s Shakeology protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste. It tastes freakin’ great, as I’ve already mentioned. If taste is your only criteria when choosing protein powders, then this one’s a winner.

But if you also care about what’s in it then read on, because in the next section I’ll provide an analysis of Shakeology’s products as a whole and tell you the 5 things that concern me most about it.

Then we’ll look at the complete nutrition facts and ingredients for each product separately.

Let’s jump in …

Shakeology Nutrition Summary: All Products

Calories160-170
Grams of Protein16-17
Protein Source(s)Regular Shakeology: Whey protein isolate, pea protein, sacha inchi, flax, chia, quinoa

Shakeology Vegan Protein: Pea protein, oat protein, rice protein, chia, flax, quinoa

Grams of Sugar6-8
Free of “Natural” FlavorsNo
Free of Gums & ThickenersNo
OrganicNo
VeganYes
Cost Per Gram$.10

 

Here are 5 things I wish Shakeology would improve:

  1. Shakeology’s products are not organic.
  2. Shakeology shakes have an average of 6-8 grams of sugar per shake.
  3. At $.10/gram, Shakeology is one of the more expensive protein powders on the market. (Note: I use cost per gram to account for different serving sizes).
  4. Most of Shakeology’s non-vegan shakes contain whey protein isolate. Whey protein may do more harm than good for many people with dairy sensitivities or allergies.
  5. Shakeology has “natural” flavors. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has an awesome web resource that evaluates the safety of the most common food additives. In its “Safety Ratings,” CSPI says natural flavors “may trigger an acute, allergic reaction, intolerance, or other problems.”
is shakeology bad for you
source: https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine

Click here to get my FREE report on the dangers of natural flavors.

Next we’ll break down the nutrition facts and ingredients for each of Shakeology’s products/flavors separately.

Shakeology Protein Shakes Nutrition and Ingredients

Alrighty, let’s start with the good. I actually love a lot of the ingredients in Shakelogy:

  • Seeds: chia, flax, and quinoa
  • Greens: moringa, chlorella, kale, spinach, and spirulina
  • Probiotics/digestive enzymes
  • “Adaptogenic blend”: ashwagandha, maca, etc.

However, like I said above, there are 5 major issues I have with Shakeology’s products:

  1. They’re not organic. Any “superfood” that’s not organic may be sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides and other chemicals. In fact, Shakeology found itself in hot water a few years back when Dr. Oz. issued a warning about the lead levels in their products.
  2. Sugar content. 6-8 grams of added sugar is just too much for a 160-170-calorie protein shake for non-athletes. If your body isn’t using that sugar during exercise, it will get converted into fat.
  3. Price. At $.10/gram, Shakeology is one of the more expensive protein powders on the market. It retails at $130 for 30 servings.
  4. Whey protein. For people sensitive to dairy, whey is not a good protein choice. Read my article Whey Vs Plant Protein. Shakeology does make several vegan proteins, as you’ll see below … but they all have 6-8 grams of sugar, depending on the flavor.
  5. “Natural” flavors. Natural flavors can contain hundreds of different substances–many of them chemicals–and still be called “natural.” Here’s what the EWG has to say about them:

Consumers may be surprised to learn that so-called “natural flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA.  Flavor extracts derived from genetically engineered crops may also be labeled “natural,” because the FDA has not fully defined what that term means.

Shakeology has four different flavors that are available in both whey and plant-based options: chocolate, vanilla, cafe latte, and strawberry.

shakeology review

Let’s have a look at the nutrition facts and ingredients for each, starting with the vegan ones, which I recommend over the whey protein based shakes.

I highlighted areas of concern in red below …

Beachbody Shakeology Nutrition Facts Labels

Vanilla Vegan Protein

beachbody shakeology vanilla vegan protein powder
7 grams of sugar in a protein shake is way too much unless you’re a hardcore exerciser! It doesn’t matter is it’s “organic cane sugar” or high fructose corn syrup … your body processes these the same way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder

beachbody shakeology chocolate vegan protein shake
Added sugars, gums, “natural” flavors…these are all questionable ingredients.

Vegan Tropical Strawberry Protein Powder

shakology plant based protein shakes
This one has 8 grams of sugar per scoop. That’s 16 grams per standard 2-scoop serving…over half a day’s worth of sugar!

Cafe Latte Plant Based Shakelogy Shake

beachbody shakology

Chocolate Protein Powder (Whey)

shakeology chocolate nutrition facts

Vanilla Protein Powder (Whey)

shakeology vanilla nutrition

Strawberry Protein Powder (Whey)

beachbody shakeology nutrition label

Cafe Latte Protein Powder (Whey)

shakeology ingredients

Shakeology Reviews on Amazon

Shakeology’s Chocolate flavor is rated 3.1 out of 5 stars by reviewers on Amazon.

Here are the most helpful positive and negative reviews:

Most Helpful Positive Review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Some people love it, some hate it. We Love it!
I had been wanting to try shakeology for a long time. But the price was just too high for my budget. I have a few friends who are “coaches” and have tried to sell to me. But again, it’s just been too expensive. My financial situation has improved a little and I was encouraged by a friend to at least give it a try. The sample box is $29.95 +shipping and tax. I live in a state that doesn’t have sales tax, luckily, so that saved me a few bucks.

5 days passed and I got my package in the mail. At this point I was really excited to try it and see how it tasted and how it affected my eating habits throughout the day. Let me share with you that I love food. I’m over-weight, but I’m not terribly over weight. I’m 5’5″ and weigh about 160lbs. My ideal weight is around 135-140.

The first day, I tossed a packet of the regular Chocolate flavor in my blender bottle with 16oz water and 4oz 1% (cows) milk and about 5 ice cubes and blended the holy hell out of it. I had read some reviews prior to purchasing about how it smelled better than it tasted. This kinda worried me when I smelled the powder and it smelled gross. Uh-oh, I thought, this is going to be a bust.

BUT IT WASN’T! For a meal replacement shake, it was pretty good! I took a couple drinks to really get a feel for the shake. This is something I could stand to drink everyday. I had my boyfriend try it, he really enjoyed it as well, which is surprising because he is relatively picky AND doesn’t like many healthy foods. So the fact that Mr. Picky also stated he could stand to drink a shake everyday, says something.

The only thing we both noticed was the artificial sugar after taste. It’s not terrible, but you notice it.

I have also tried the Strawberry, Vanilla and Vegan Chocolate. They’re all good. I haven’t tried any of the fancy recipes that you can find on the Beachbody website or Pinterest, I’ve blended them all plain.

As far as food cravings and my food intake throughout the day. I used to eat upwards of 2100-2200 calories per day. I’m a avid snacker and again, I love food. Since starting Shakeo, I’ve been able to keep my calories around 1400-1500 each day. It hasn’t done much in the way of energy, but that could be due to the fact that I’m trying to cut down on my coffee intake and replace it with Shakeo. I will try to come back in the end of June and post an update on if I’ve had any significant help with losing weight from Shakeology.

Most Helpful Negative Review:

1.0 out of 5 stars New formula ruined it
I drank Shakeology for years. I stuck with either the regular chocolate or vegan chocolate. I realize it was very pricey; but, it offered a good amount of nutrition and did a great job curbing cravings so I was willing to pay. I loved it for a long time. In fact, I looked forward to drinking a shake each day. It took care of any cravings for sweets that I had and filled me up. It was a fantastic meal replacement when I was on the go. However, a few months back, I noticed a much different taste to the shakes. I called to see if I had gotten a bad bag or something. I was informed that there was a new formula and that is why it tasted different. The new formula makes the taste so bad that I can’t stomach a couple of sips of it (that is why I cannot give this product more than 1 star). I can’t even describe it, it is just horrible. I am so disappointed in this change. I have yet to find something else that take care of my cravings and fill me up like Shakeology used to.

Bottom Line: Is Shakeology Good for You?

Even though I have strong opinions about protein powders, I tried to remain as unbiased as possible in my Shakeology reviews.

From a nutrition standpoint, there are some really nice ingredients in Shakeology: quality protein sources in their plant-based ones along with a nice mix of adaptogenic herbs, mushroom powders, and other superfoods.

However, the problems I have with Beachbody’s Shakeology shakes is they a) are not organic; b) have 6-8 grams of sugar per serving, c) contain flavors, and d) are not cheap.

There are definitely worse protein powders you can buy, and the Chocolate Vegan flavor is the “cleanest” of the bunch when it comes to ingredients, based on my analysis.

But for the money, I recommend sticking with an organic, plant-based protein with 100% real food ingredients instead.

Best Plant Based Protein Powder Reviews / Comparison Chart

First off, let’s get this out of the way: the best plant based protein powder for you may be completely different than me.

Your age, activity level, health goals, pre-existing conditions, and hormones all play a part in determining the right powder for you.

Generally speaking though, there are two pieces of objective data we can use to evaluate “the best” protein powders:

1.) The ingredients, and 2.) The nutrition facts.

For this review, we analyzed the nutrition and ingredients for 20+ of the (supposedly) healthiest and best plant based / vegan protein powder brands.

If you currently use (or are looking to find) a healthy plant-based protein powder, here’s some bad news:

99 percent of plant based protein powders we analyzed (even the “best” organic protein powder brands) have chemical additives, fillers, gums, and/or sugars.

If you want to find the ideal plant protein powders for your health, our reviews will reveal:

  • Why most whey and vegan protein powder brands are not what they say they are (and 5 questions you should always ask to find the cleanest and healthiest ones). 
  • Why most vegan protein powder reviews you find online are biased. 
  • What several top health experts (including a world renowned cardiologist) look for in their protein powders. 
  • How 20+ of plant protein powders compare in terms of ingredients, nutrition, and cost.

This review is massive at nearly 3,000 words … so we broke it up into three sections. Scroll down or click/tap the green and grey boxes below to navigate to each section.

 

Note: We do sell our own organic plant-based protein powders, which of course means we’re biased. That’s why these reviews are NOT based on subjective criteria like taste; rather, we will look at how our products compare to the competition when it comes to: 

  1. Protein Sources
  2. Nutrition (calories, protein, and sugar per serving; sweeteners used)
  3. Ingredients (gums, flavors, fillers used; organic ingredients)
  4. Cost Per Gram of Protein

Why Most Plant Based Protein Powder Brands Are BAD for Your Health

Protein manufacturers spend lots of dough to convince you their products are “clean” and healthy. We’re talking millions of dollars on marketing and fancy packaging with bogus health claims.

But fear not, because there’s an easy way to cut through their b.s. and find out if a protein shake is actually good for you. The first step:

Read and understand the nutrition facts and ingredients in your protein powder.

It’s the only objective piece of information you have to judge whether the ingredients are “clean” and “healthy” or not. Here are 5 things to look for on the nutrition panel/ingredients list:

1. How many grams of sugar do you see?

Sugar is sugar. It all turns to fat in your body. Doesn’t matter if it’s from honey, maple syrup, molasses, or coconuts (although I do enjoy raw honey in moderation).

Bottom line: [bctt tweet=”Avoid all protein powders with more than 1 gram of sugar.” username=”nutritionguy”]

2. Which artificial sweeteners do they use instead of real sugar?

A “clean” plant protein should definitely not contain chemical sugars like saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose anymore. But protein manufacturers are notorious for sneaking so-called “all-natural” sweeteners that may not be so good for you into their products. Here are a few to be wary of:

best vegan protein powder Avoid these so-called “natural” sweeteners.
  • Xylitol is a cheap, processed “sugar alcohol” that can cause serious gut imbalances.
  • Monk fruit (luo han guo) is a popular sweetener many protein powder companies use. It’s commonly made using ethanol chemical resins and often contains GMO fillers. Organic monkfruit extract that doesn’t contain extra fillers is a good sugar-free sweetener (the taste can be extremely bitter when companies use too much though, which is often the case). 
  • Stevia. The stevia most protein companies use is chemically-derived and loaded with fillers. Organic stevia leaf extract is the cleanest … you just need to find out how it was processed (no bleaching!) and whether or not it has excipients (ask the manufacturer!).

Bottom line:

The best plant based protein blends use organic, real food ingredients and all-natural (or no) sweeteners … not GMO fillers and junk.

And again, 1 gram of total sugar should be your limit per serving.

3. What other highly-processed ingredients (flavors, gums, fillers, etc.) do they add?

Here are a few ingredients you’ll find in the majority of the so-called healthiest protein powders:

  • Natural flavors. Up to 90 percent of “natural” flavors have chemical solvents and preservatives. If you see them on the ingredients list, make sure you ask the manufacturer how they’re made and what’s in them.
  • Gums. Many so-called clean plant protein powders contain gums like carrageenan, guar, xanthan, locust bean, konjac, and acacia. Gums make vegetable protein products easier to mix and blend … but there are some reasons for concern with some of them. Many people report gut issues and certain gums have been shown in clinical studies to produce laxative effects, gas, and bloating. I recommend people with sensitive guts and GI issues avoid protein powders that have gums.
  • Lecithins. The most common way to make lecithins involves using a petroleum-based neurotoxin called hexane. Avoid powders with this cheap soy- and sunflower-based filler … or at the very least make sure it’s organic if your powder has it.
plant protein comparison chart
plant protein comparison chart This is why it’s so hard to find a healthy protein powder–you have to cut through a lot of b.s. to find the hidden junk.

Bottom line:

[bctt tweet=”Avoid vegan protein powder with flavors, gum, or lecithins if you have a sensitive gut.” username=”nutritionguy”]

4. What types of protein do they use?

Whey has long been considered the gold standard for packing on muscle.

And it’s true: whey has a lot of clinical evidence that shows it’s a good source for those looking to improve body composition.

However, whey protein brands like to talk up their efficacy without mentioning the possible side effects. And there are lots of them for many folks.

If whey works for you, that’s great. Regardless of whether you choose a whey or plant protein, I recommend sticking with a protein powder with organic ingredients though.

If the ingredients in your protein powder are not organic, chances are it’s sprayed with pesticides, and most of these powdered vegetable ingredients come from countries outside the U.S., where regulations may not be as strict.

Whether you choose a plant-based or animal protein like whey, pay a little more for organic. It’s worth it for the sake of your health.

Bottom line:

[bctt tweet=”If your protein powder isn’t organic, you’re likely drinking chemical pesticides with that protein shake.” username=”nutritionguy”]

5. How are their ingredients processed?

This is a tricky one because protein manufacturers rarely disclose this information.

Most whey protein is made using a high heat, acid-flushed process. Many companies that use plant-based / vegetable proteins also use high temperature processing methods, and some even use hexane.

These high-heat, chemical methods destroy vital nutrients in the plant and are definitely not things you want to be ingesting. 

A small handful of protein manufacturers will disclose how they make their proteins. Most won’t though. When in doubt, ask. If they don’t know or don’t tell you, this is a big red flag. 

Bottom line:

[bctt tweet=”Always ask the manufacturer how their proteins and other ingredients are processed.” username=”nutritionguy”]

Why Most Vegan Protein Powder Reviews You Find Online Are Unreliable

Most plant protein reviews you see online have a vested interest in selling more products.

If you visit the manufacturer websites, you’ll see a cherry-picked selection of 5-star reviews. But these don’t tell the whole story. 

Amazon used to be a good source of unbiased reviews. But companies have figured out how to manipulate these and reward consumers for buying their product and leaving a good review, so these aren’t the best source of unbiased information anymore either. 

As a consumer, it’s up to you to review the ingredients, the nutrition facts, and the company to judge for yourself if it’s worth your investment. It’s no easy feat, and most people just don’t have the time to do the level of research required to make sure you’re not getting a tub full of junk ingredients from China.

So with that in mind, let’s talk about how some health experts choose their vegan protein powders … 

How to Find the Best Protein Powders: What Health Experts Say

I asked several health and wellness gurus, “What are the top things you advise people to look for when choosing protein powders?” Here’s what they said:

Joel Kahn, M.D.

America’s Holistic Heart Doc, University Professor, Founder, The Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity

no whey

“I recommend clean plant-based protein powders to my patients and use them myself in a morning smoothie. When they ask me about whey my answer is “No Whey“!”

Michelle Crowder, N.D.

Licensed Naturopathic Physician

doctor recommended protein

“In general, I recommend that my patients look for real food ingredients in anything they purchase, and avoid ingredients like artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils. If cane sugar or another refined sweetener is listed, it should be organic and one of the last ingredients listed. Look for organic, hormone-free, non-GMO products. Casein and soy tend to be more allergenic than other proteins and should be avoided in general.”

Carolyn Scott-Hamilton

TV Host & Media Personality, Celebrity Vegan Chef, Holistic Nutritionist

Carolyn-Scott-Hamilton

“For me, it must be vegan but after that I look for powders that aren’t full of fillers, sugars and extra junk. I love pure, clean powders that are non-GMO and I know how to pronounce the ingredients ; )”

Alisa Fleming

Founder, GoDairyFree

Alisa-Fleming

“Since protein powder can be a daily food, I think it’s important to be sure you are comfortable with every single ingredient. I may not be as particular about a “once in a blue moon” treat, but if it is going to be in my daily diet rotation, I want to make sure it doesn’t have any questionable ingredients.”

Myra Mingo

Founder, The Happy Health Freak

Myra-Mingo

“I look for vegan protein powders with very few ingredients, no soy or gluten and sweetened naturally without chemicals.”

Samantha Shorkey

Vegan Coach and WNBF Bikini Pro

vegetarian bodybuilder protein

“At this point in my vegan bodybuilding career, I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of the top vegan protein powders. I’ve literally tried ‘em ALL! The ones I tend to gravitate the most towards are of course, the ones that taste good, have a nice texture that isn’t too gummy, chalky or gritty and are high in protein but low in fats and carbs. I prefer to eat my calories rather than drink ‘em so texture and consistency is super important. I want my protein “pudding” to be creamy. I also try to avoid protein powders that are chalk full (no pun intended) of added sugars or fake sugars. Usually the natural sweetness of vanilla and cinnamon is enough for me (and better for staying lean.)”

Best Vegan / Vegetarian Protein Powder Reviews: Compare 20 Brands

Use our plant protein comparison chart to see some of the best protein powder and nutritional shake brands on the market.

All of these guys make claims about being “clean, “healthy” and “natural”. When you start to peel back the curtain though, you’ll see there’s a lot of hidden junk in pretty much all of most popular brands

best plant based protein powder

Click/tap the numbers below to skip to each section or just scroll down to compare 20 vegan / vegetarian protein brands.

1

Protein Sources

pure food protein
Organic fermented pea protein Organic sprouted and fermented whole grain brown rice protein Organic hemp protein
PlantFusion ChocolatePea protein isolate, artichoke protein, organic sprouted amaranth, organic sprouted quinoa
Vega OnePea protein, sunflower seed protein, pumpkin seed protein
Aloha ChocolateOrganic pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic hemp seed protein
Skoop ChocolateOrganic pea protein, organic rice protein, organic hemp protein
SunWarrior Warrior Blend ChocolateOrganic pea protein, organic hemp protein
Orgain Organic Protein Powder – ChocolateOrganic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed, organic hemp protein
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate ProteinOrganic sprouted brown rice protein
Sprout LivingPea protein isolate, hemp protein powder, rice protein concentrate
Lifetime Life’s BasicsPea protein concentrate, organic brown rice protein concentrate
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate MochaPea protein concentrate, organic brown rice protein concentrate
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein ShakePea protein, mushroom protein blend
HealthforceOrganic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein
KachavaOrganic sprouted brown rice protein, organic hemp protein
YuvePea protein isolate, rice protein concentrate
PhilosophieOrganic hemp seed protein, organic reishi mushroom
SannPea protein isolate, rice protein isolate, artichoke protein
22 Days NutritionOrganic pea protein, organic flax, organic sacha inchi
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice ProteinOrganic brown rice
BokuOrganic brown rice, organic cranberry
2

Calories, Protein, Sugar (g) Per Serving and Sweeteners Used

 
Calories
 
Protein
 
Sugar
 
best vegetarian powder
134
20
1
Organic stevia leaf powder
PlantFusion Chocolate
120
21
1
Monkfruit, Stevia
Vega One Chocolate
140
20
2
Stevia leaf extract
Aloha Chocolate
150
18
4
Organic coconut sugar Monk fruit extract
Skoop Chocolate
150
20
1
Organic stevia extract Organic coconut sugar
SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate
100
17
0
Erythritol Organic rice dextrins Organic stevia extract
Orgain Organic Protein Powder – Chocolate
150
21
0
Organic stevia extract
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate Protein
90
17
1
Organic stevia leaf
Sprout Living
110
19
1
Organic red banana Organic baobab fruit Organic stevia leaf powder
Lifetime Life’s Basics
134
22
5
Fructose Xylitol Stevia
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate Mocha
130
24
0
Stevia extract Monk fruit extract
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein Shake
110
15
1
Stevia extract
Healthforce
100
17
2
Organic whole stevia leaf
Kachava
220
24
8
Erythritol Oligosaccharides Stevia
Yuve
155
16
2
Stevia leaf extract
Philosophie
55
10
0
Organic mesquite
Sann
116
21
1
Fructose Stevia
22 Days Nutrition
100
16
2
Organic stevia leaf extract
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein
120
25
3
Organic brown rice syrup solids Organic stevia
Boku
120
18
4
Vermont maple syrup Organic lucuma fruit
3

Free of Natural Flavors & Gums/Thickeners

FREE OF NATURAL FLAVORS
FREE OF GUMS/ THICKENERS
PlantFusion ChocolateNo (natural chocolate flavor)No (silica, xanthan gum)
Vega One ChocolateNo (natural chocolate flavor)No (xanthan gum)
Aloha Chocolate
No (xanthan gum, organic sunflower lecithin)
Skoop ChocolateNo (organic flavor, natural flavor)No (organic acacia gum)
SunWarrior Warrior Blend ChocolateNo (organic chocolate flavor blend)No (organic guar gum)
Orgain Vegan Protein Powder – ChocolateNo (natural flavor, organic natural flavors)No (organic guar gum, organic acacia gum, xanthan gum)
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate ProteinNo (natural chocolate flavor, natural vanilla flavor)
Sprout Living
Lifetime Life’s BasicsNo (natural chocolate flavor)
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate MochaNo (natural chocolate mocha flavor)No (konjac gum, guar gum, tara gum)
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein ShakeNo (natural cocoa flavors with other natural flavors)No (natural cocoa flavors with other natural flavors)
Healthforce
KachavaNo (natural chocolate flavors)No (alkalized cocoa, xanthan gum, guar gum)
YuveNo (natural flavors)No (corn starch powder, guar gum, xanthan gum)
Philosophie
SannNo (natural flavor)No (glycine, guar gum, lecithin)
22 Days NutritionNo (organic chocolate flavor)No (organic chocolate flavor)
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice ProteinNo (organic flavor)No (organic guar gum, organic gum arabic, organic sunflower oil)
Boku
No (organic guar gum)
 
4

Organic Ingredients, Probiotics Added and Cost Per Gram

Organic Protein Sources
Probiotics Added
Cost Per Gram
protein powder review
Bacillus coagulans
0.06
Bacillus coagulans
0.06
PlantFusion ChocolateNoNo
0.04
Vega One ChocolateNoNo
0.05
Aloha ChocolateNoNo
0.08
Skoop Chocolate
Lactobacillus plantarum Lactobacillus bulgaricus
0.11
SunWarrior Warrior Blend Chocolate
No
0.06
Orgain Organic Protein (Chocolate)
No
0.02
Garden of Life Organic Chocolate ProteinNo
Bacillus subtilis Lactobacillus bulgaricus
0.04
Sprout Living
No
0.07
Lifetime Life’s BasicsNoNo
0.04
MRM Veggie Elite Chocolate MochaNoNo
0.03
Body Ecology Fermented Chocolate Protein ShakeNo
Lactobacillus, Saccharomy ces, Bifidobacterium longum
0.10
Healthforce
No
0.06
KachavaNo
Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lactobacillus acidophilus
0.08
YuveNoNo
0.08
Philosophie
No
0.11
SannNoNo
0.07
22 Days Nutrition
No
0.11
Growing Naturals Chocolate Power Rice Protein
No
0.06
BokuNoNo
0.09

 

 

*Note: I usually update this post at least once per month. However, if you see something that looks inaccurate or you’d like me to analyze and add another product, shoot me an email (Scott@purefoodcompany.com).

Final Thoughts: What Is The Best Plant Based Protein Powder?

“Best” is subjective and depends on your unique health goals and needs. If you value ingredients and nutrition over taste, my criteria for finding the healthiest protein powder for you are pretty simple:

1. Look for ingredients that are organic and come from whole food sources you can pronounce without any additives like fillers, gums, or flavors.

2. Find out the amount of protein per serving, the protein sources, sugar content, and cost per serving in grams. 

Is Pure Food Protein a Good Fit for You?

Here’s me being (probably too) honest: if you’re looking for the best tasting plant protein powder, Pure Food isn’t it. We don’t add sugar, artificial junk, and chemical-ridden flavors to make our product taste better.

But if you’re done settling for “average” protein powders and the junk ingredients that wreak havoc on your body and want to try a product that will actually have a positive impact on your health (and the world), then try

The HEALTHIEST plant protein with 100% real food, organic, vegan ingredients +probiotics. 

Not only does Pure Food have the best ingredients, it’s the best value for the money at $.06/gram (the same price as Vega, which is NOT organic and has all types of fillers, additives, and “natural” flavors).

Find Out If Pure Food Is Right for You Save

How to Find the Best Gluten Free Dairy Free Protein Powder

best non dairy protein powderDairy and gluten are two of the most common food allergens. 65% of U.S. adults are lactose intolerant and up to 3% are allergic to dairy … so it comes as no surprise that demand for protein powders that are gluten and dairy free has went up in recent years.

But there are two big challenges if you’re looking to find the best gluten free / non dairy protein powder for you:

1.) The abundance of hidden junk ingredients to be wary of (for example, most of the so-called best dairy free protein powders are loaded with added sugar and mystery chemicals and additives that may be doing your body more harm than good).

2.) Most people are relying on highly biased online reviews, which are cherry-picked by brands. I’ll share my “secret” for making sure you understand the pros and cons of each protein company you consider.

Long story short, just because you buy a protein powder without dairy or gluten, doesn’t mean it’s “healthy.”

In this guide, we’ll share our 5-step checklist you can use to objectively find the healthiest and best gluten free and non-dairy powders for you.

Why 99% of Gluten Free / Dairy Free Protein Powders Are Complete Junk (Even the Organic Ones)

gluten free dairy free protein powder

Most of the time, the best selling protein powder brands are highly processed, pseudo-health foods with very good marketing.

So how do you see through the marketing hype and objectively assess which powders are worthy contenders?

First, you consult the only two pieces of objective information on the food label: the nutrition facts panel and ingredients list.

Most of the time, protein powder manufacturers will add chemical fillers, sugar, thickeners, fillers, and/or other unhealthy ingredients to make the product taste and mix better. 

Here are the “Big Five” questions you should ask to find the healthiest dairy free and gluten free protein powder (or any high protein plant-based foods, for that matter):

5 Steps to Find the Healthiest Protein Powder Without Dairy and Gluten

  1. Check the sugar content. Sugar—no matter if it’s from cane honey, maple syrup, molasses, or coconuts—turns to fat in your body. Eating too much sugar increases your risk of dying from heart disease too. I recommend avoiding all protein powders with added sugar. If your protein is gluten-free and dairy-free yet contains a bunch of sugar, that pretty much defeats the purpose of taking a protein powder. If you like it sweeter, blend your shake with a little fruit instead!
  2. Find out which artificial sweeteners they use. You’ll often discover fake sugars like saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose in non dairy protein powder blends. To see some of the potential health effects of artificial sweeteners, check out this article from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And there’s good reason to be wary of the supposedly “all-natural” sweeteners too. Xylitol and erythritol are highly processed “sugar alcohols” that can cause gas, bloating, and gut imbalances. Xylitol also comes from genetically modified corn. Stevia leaf extract in its natural state is okay, but the stevia most food companies use is a chemically-altered, bleached, stripped down version that’s likely to contain GMO fillers (often with allergens like corn and soy). Monk fruit is another all-natural sweetener that may be a good option for you. Again, just make sure there are no additional dairy-based fillers or additives, which is often the case. When in doubt, ask the company you’re buying from!
  3. What types of protein do they use? Vegan protein powders made from organic pea, rice, hemp, sacha inchi, and pumpkin seed are generally healthier dairy-free sources of protein. Whey and casein proteins are milk-based and have lots of side effects so obviously aren’t good choices for those looking for a dairy free option. Collagen proteins may be another good dairy-free option (unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan). And if your protein powder isn’t organic, you’re probably drinking pesticides with your protein smoothie.
  4. How are their ingredients processed? This is a tricky one because protein manufacturers are hesitant to disclose this information (which is the first sign they’re hiding something). Most vegan protein powders—even the organic ones—are processed using high temperature methods that destroy vital nutrients in the plant and render much of the protein useless. If you have a severe allergy to gluten or dairy, you’ll want to avoid brands that are manufactured in a facility where other gluten- and/or dairy-containing products are produced.
  5. What other ingredients do they add? This is where most protein powders—especially the ones you may have thought are healthy—fail miserably. Here are a few common unhealthy ingredients to look out for:
    • Natural flavors. Up to 90 percent of natural flavors are made of allergens like dairy, soy, corn, and gluten … as well as chemical solvents and preservatives, says David Andrews, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. If you have a dairy sensitivity, definitely ask the company you’re buying from if they use any allergens in their natural flavors (they may not even know!).
    • Many protein powders that claim to be all-natural have gums like carrageenan, xanthan, locust bean. These cheap, processed fillers often have other additives and can lead to gut imbalances and be problematic for those with any GI issues.
    • Lecithins. To make most lecithins, oil is extracted from soybeans or sunflowers using a toxic chemical called hexane. Most are made from GMO soybeans (unless they’re organic).

The Bottom Line: How to Find the Best Gluten Free and Non Dairy Protein Powders for You

There are lots of protein powders available these days without gluten and dairy. But a lack of those two allergens doesn’t make a product “healthy” or “clean,” like most of these brands claim to be.

Learn how to read and understand the ingredients list and nutrition facts label and then use the checklist above when evaluating protein brands.

It’s the only way to see through the marketing hype and know if your protein powder is healthy.

Lastly, as we mentioned above, most folks rely on online reviews when choosing what protein to buy. This is a great approach but make sure you understand that most of the reviews you see are cherry-picked by brands.

Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the full picture:

  1. Do a Google search for “INSERT BRAND NAME + reviews”.
  2. Read the top 3 positive and negative reviews on each review you visit (many of the online retail sites and brand sites will not have any negative reviews so Amazon is usually a good source here).

Compare 30+ Dairy Free Proteins with Our Plant Based Protein Powder Comparison Chart