For the past month (and longer really) I have been doing my own little study of vegan protein powders and meal shakes. For this feature, I requested samples from a few top brands - many of which were suggested by your guys, so thanks! I have been introduced to a wide variety of new products and want to share my findings and current personal favorites with you.
In my book 365 Vegan Smoothies, I do not talk extensively about vegan protein powders, but I do include a "scoop of your favorite protein powder" in a few of the recipes. So if you plan on buying my book, or are a vegan smoothie lover already and looking to supplement your blends with protein, this guide will give you a few great brands to look for and try for yourself.
Enter the wide world of vegan protein powders: Vegan Protein Powders for Smoothies Guide: 20+ Amazing Brands, and my personal top 8 favorites.. (Oh and a small giveaway too..)
Sample Giveaway. Because I do have A LOT of samples leftover, I am doing a grab-bag giveaway. A mish-mash of the leftover, unopened products I received. One winner. I will personally throw an armful of awesome samples into a pretty box and ship it off to you. Enter at very bottom of guide.
The product for you? Everyone is different. I will repeat myself, but these are simply my highlights and thoughts. Your experience with these products may differ. Check out: Ten Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying a Vegan Protein Powder on Babble.
Why Protein Supplements? Before we dive into protein powder, I wanted to pull some professional advice on just why and when a protein powder might be important. Here is what vegan Registered Dietitian Ginny Messina had to say when I asked her. Love her insight..
"Getting enough protein is important for overall health and especially for keeping bones and muscles strong. Most vegans won’t have any trouble meeting protein needs as long as they include several servings of legumes—beans, peanut butter and soyfoods—every day. Sometimes protein intake can use a little boost, though—if you’re eating a reduced calorie diet, for example, or if you need a high-protein snack after exercise. And there are times when you need a fast and convenient source of protein. In all of these circumstances, protein powders can be especially useful for vegans. " - Ginny, Vegan RD - The Vegan RD
..Thanks Ginny! That is awesome advice. Especially in this spring and summer season when some people are "dieting" or boosting their workout routines for spring. You still want to make sure you are getting enough protein. New vegans especially - pay attention to your new diet and how you are fueling your body.
Protein for me.. Personally, I have gone through more than a few years where (looking back) I was NOT getting enough protein as a vegan. It was hard for me to build and even retain my muscle mass. I actually had a doctor call me "skinny fat" at one point! But it wasn't really my fault. I wasn't eating enough whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. And while veggies and fruit do contain protein, I needed more of those protein-rich plant foods in my diet. OR at the very least I could have been adding protein to my smoothies. Cut to years later (NOW!) and I am so thankful that my diet is more balanced, energizing, healing and nourishing. And even in the past year, since adding a few protein-powder-boosted smoothies to me diet a week I have seen that my body is able to retain and build muscle more easily. (But that is just MY experience .. everyone is different and only your doctor can advise you on protein needs.) So lets begin..
The Guide: My Method.
Step One: Samples. I collected my samples. Loads of them.
Step Two: Tasting. I began taste testing the products. I usually tried a different brand or flavor every day so that I was not overloaded with protein and nutrients. On the labels, pretty much every product says that it can be blended with water and enjoyed. Personally I just do not like the taste of any protein powder blended with water. So for my taste tests I blended with unsweetened or vanilla almond or soy milk OR in my daily smoothies.
Step Three: Data collection. After tasting the brands I started an Excel sheet for the data collection portion of my analysis. I collected close to 50 values for each product. Was is non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, did it contain spirulina, how much protein, cost per serving, flavor options and more.
Step Four: Wait. Soak it in. I spent the next few weeks just really seeing which brands I came back to and used. Which ones I craved and actually enjoyed adding to my daily routine. Everyone is different, but my tastes definitely gravitated towards personal favorites.
Step Five: Sharing. Oh boy. How do I share ALL this info I have collected in one blog post!? For each brand's featured product I gave a few label fact highlights as well as my personal opinion. If you want further detailed facts about these products, please visit their websites. Lastly, I decided to do my "FAVORITES" Awards. You can see those at the bottom of the guide.
Step Six: You! This is where you come in. I am willing to taste test and review more brands that I may have missed. Companies and product fans feel free to add info in the comments section. And again, if you totally disagree with my opinion, totally fine! Just leave a respectful comment with your taste review and to share with other readers. I would love this post to grow and the discussion to continue.
Vegan Protein Powders for Smoothies: My BIG Guide
These reviews are based on my personal opinions plus facts from the product labels. You experience may differ greatly as everyone has varying tastes and needs - I welcome your helpful comments and personal product experiences and favorites in the comments section. And be sure to see my "favorites" list at the bottom!
*In no particular order*
1. Vega One
Label: Flavors: chocolate, vanilla, chai, berry and natural. Light and creamy, easily dissolvable, stevia-sweetened (no sugar added), 135 calories, $2.50 - $3.60 per serving, protein: 15g (pea, seed, hemp, rice blend), fat: 3g, carbs: 11g, fiber: 6g, gluten-free, contains greens, 1500mg greens blend, contains chlorella, contains probiotics, I billion CFU, contains added digestive enzymes, 300mg, soy free, contains maca, contains omega-3, 6,821mg (flax/chia), contains antioxidant blend, contains inulin.
My Review: One of my vegan friends described Vega One Chocolate as her go-to protein shake, "It tastes good and it is the only one I can drink. I toss it in a shake once a day." Simple right? I think that is the beauty of this product. One scoop and you are assured of a plant-based nutrition boost. Beyond just protein. Vega One is a nutritional shake that really does have it all. It contains 15g protein per scoop, plus 50% daily intake of a variety of vitamins and minerals, probiotics, green superfoods and more. I love the chocolate and chai flavors best. The flavor is sweet and defined, to taste like a treat. I serve my husband the chocolate flavor in shakes and he loves it. The cons of Vega One are that it can be quite pricey at first glance, however if you really are using this powder in place of say a multivitamin and others supplements, the price is pretty fair. As for the taste, it blends up smooth, light and frothy, no clumping at all. However, I think the stevia adds a slight aftertaste. It is almost too sweet to add to a really sweet smoothie, but it can easily perk up unsweetened plant milk or add texture, nutrients and flavor to a moderately sweet smoothie. I always use unsweetened or plain vegan milks with Vega One. (Again, I do not blend any of these products with water, I just don't enjoy the taste or texture.) Last thing, Vega is a company I admire because they have marketed their product so well and your truly do not need to be vegan to gravitate towards understanding and loving it. Brendan Brasier, puts a face to the brand and that gives me more security as a consumer to want to try the product and follow the brand .. and ask questions if I have them!
Bottom Line: High Quality, Fuss-Free, Wide Range Nutrients with a Sweet Treat Taste. If you are worried about the nutrients in your diet, try adding a scoop of Vega One to a smoothie once a day.
Vega One on Amazon
2. Sun Warrior, Warrior Blend - vanilla tasted
Label: Flavors: chocolate, natural, vanilla. Also available in "classic" protein blend. Blends fluffy/dissolvable with some clumping, stevia-sweetened, calories: 80, $0.90 - $1.50 per serving, protein: 15g (pea, cranberry and hemp), fat: 1.5g, carbs: 4g, fiber: 1g, raw, gluten-free, soy free, Allergen free.
My Review: I had never tried Sun Warrior until this review, but SO glad I did. It really does have a unique creamy, fluffy taste and texture like no other brand. Warrior Blend comes in chocolate, natural and vanilla, is sweetened with stevia, but I found less of an aftertaste than most stevia-infused brands. The flavor has a malt-y quality that is hard to describe. My shakes became extra creamy and milkshake-like when I added WarriorBlend vanilla. The one con is that is really does clump up in the blender if you are not careful. So I suggest adding it slowly while blending at a low speed. The end result is fluffy, lovely and quite unique. Sun Warrior also has a classic blend which uses raw sprouted whole grain brown rice as the protein source. Also yum. But I prefer the warrior blend. I have only tried the vanilla flavor (that is the sample sent) but I am eager to try the chocolate and other products like greens and more. UPDATE! I tried the chocolate! Very tasty. Creamy and very light chocolate flavor. I think I like the vanilla better, but both are impressive.
Bottom Line: This fluffy-textured, ultra-creamy, uniquely delicious-tasting protein powder has a long line of super fans for a reason.. (It rocks!!)
Buy it on Sunwarrior or on Amazon
3. The Ultimate Meal
Label: Just one variety offered, no specific flavor. Easily dissolvable, sweetened with stevia, calories: 160, $1.70-$2.80 per serving, protein: 17g, fat: 5g, carbs: 12g, fiber: 8g, 85% organic, gluten-free, contains greens and 2500mg organic spirulina, soy free, non-GMO, contains organic rice, pea, millet, amaranth, quinoa, boasts high-quality C sources, milk thistle, sprouted broccoli, coral calcium used, horsetail herb, nettles, co-enzyme Q10, Chromemate, No ingredients from China, kosher, no stimulants, no salt, no nuts, no yeast, no sugar or fructose, ("no gimmicks, just the ultimate ingredients")
My Review: This product is REAL. And the name really does say it all. High quality assured and painstakingly made "perfect" by product creator Sam Gerard. I was introduced to this product about seven years ago, a friend had it in her pantry and I was drawn to the unique label and branding. After being reintroduced to the product I have to say I still love it. And nutritionally, I appreciate it more than ever. I exchanged a few emails with product creator and company CEO Sam Gerard and found him to be incredibly passionate and firm in his stance that his product was without a doubt the BEST on the market. (I guess you can try for yourself as decide, right?) "Each scoop contains everything you need for the ultimate meal." I will agree the ingredients are IMPRESSIVE. There is a very generous amount of superfood spirulina (2500mg) and it contains milk thistle, sprouted broccoli and more unique wellness ingredients. But my favorite part about this product is THE LABEL and all it tells you about what is inside. This brand truly understands that quality and sourcing MATTERS. The flavor? When blended in a delicious smoothie, I enjoy the nutty, malty, slightly grassy flavor. Zero aftertaste. The cons: The texture is slightly seeded for those of you who are seeking something smooth. And this product is not as easy to find as some others on this list. Also, it only comes in one "flavor" so for picky eaters, you will have to blend it with your own creatively flavored smoothies. (I think 365 Vegan Smoothies can help you there!) I'm sure Sam would be upset that this is not the ONLY product in my pantry, because I really do like to change things up, but it is one of my favorites and probably my leading pick for transparent sourcing/high quality at a fair price. I also love how the label reminds you to "chew" your smoothie to inspire proper digestion.
Website: The Ultimate Meal
Bottom Line: The name says it all. This serves up a truly ultimate meal. Hard-core wellness-obsessed vegans (and non-vegans!) will love this product. If you need to know exactly where your shake ingredients are coming from, this is your product. Ingredient sourcing transparency -> big thumbs up.
Buy The Ultimate Life / Meal on Amazon
4. The Philosophie - Green Dream
Label: flavors: Green Dream and Cacao Magic, easily dissolvable, no sweeteners, mesquite adds slight nutty sweetness, calories: 60, $1-$1.25 per serving, protein: 10g (hemp), fat: 1g, carbs: 6g, fiber: 5g, raw, organic, gluten-free, contains greens including spirulina and chlorella, soy free, contains maca, also on label: natural mood lifter and energizer, hair and nail strengthener, more fiber than bran cereal, contains organic tocos.
My Review: I discovered this brand a few months ago while speaking to the founder of Healthy Batch website. He sent me a few samples of this stuff and it was love at first sip. Natural. Real. Local. Homemade-tasting blend. (In a good way!) I just love that this product is local to LA, the owner Sophie is very hands on with all her products and the ingredients are top notch. Love in each bag! Green Dream has a gentle green nutty flavor. I wouldn't drink this alone, as I think it needs some accent sweetness to make it sing. I like to add a heaping tablespoon to my smoothies. Green Dream is a glorious wellness booster. You can read more about her brand on her website. Oh and a little birdie told me that a few A-list celebs LOVE them. (Not surprised.) The con is that these bags are pricey! Oh and be warned, the berry flavor is not vegan so you cannot buy the sampler pack if you are vegan...
Website: Philosophie -- use code LunchboxLove for 10% off all purchases in the Philosophie store! Details on my love of this brand.
Bottom Line: If you love green smoothies, and all things love-infused, give Green Dream a try!
Buy Green Dream
5. Tone it Up - Perfect Fit Protein - Vanilla
Label: Very easily dissolvable yet not grainy at all, sweetened with organic stevia, calories: 70, $0.90 - $1.50 per serving, protein: 15g (organic sprouted whole grain brown rice protein), fat: 0g, carbs: 3g, fiber: 2g, raw, organic, gluten-free, soy free, non-GMO, kosher, free of allergens, simple protein.
My Review: Super simple product with some very appealing qualities. Vanilla flavor is pure and natural. Nothing added except the protein. If you want a very basic protein powder that tastes great, is perfect on-the-go and blends thin and frothy without any grittiness, this is your brand! Plus I just adore the Tone it Up brand. Karina and Katrina are so inspiring and energizing, their personalities even shine through via the fun beachy packaging. This is a product that just makes me kinda happy to use! I really hope they come out with more flavors soon! Great price point too for such beautiful little packages. I spent a few days trying out their Beach Babe workout video, followed with some Perfect Fit in my smoothie, instagrammed and tweeted my results. Genius, inspiring community these ladies have created. Fun fun fun. (Maybe it is the California-born girl in me.)
Website: Perfect Fit Protein
Bottom Line: Simple, yummy, vegan protein powder from the Tone it Up brand. On-the-go perfection.
Buy it on Perfect Fit Protein
6. Amazing Grass - Amazing Meal Original
Label: Flavors: original, chocolate, vanilla chai, pomegranate mango, easily dissolvable meal, no sweeteners added, calories: 90, $2.50-$3 per serving, protein: 10g (rice and hemp), fat: 2g, Carbs: 9g, Fiber: 6g, raw, organic, gluten-free, contains greens, 3100+mg greens blend, contains probiotics, contains added digestive enzymes, soy free, contains maca, contains 25mg chlorophyll, antioxidant fruit and veggie blend, flax seed powder.
My Review: Earthy, creamy, frothy, very mildly speckled but not really grainy. The first time I tried this product I wasn't that into the flavor because it was not sweet. But something about the way it tasted as I devoured it swirled into my smoothie and the way it made me feel changed my mind. I fell in love with the vanilla chai flavor! It is nutty and slightly grassy but still tastes very natural with no aftertaste. It tastes amazing in some sort of banana, creamy smoothie. Plus there is a generous dose of amazing ingredients in this product. Plenty of greens without an overpowering green flavor. It is a bit pricey, but you do get what you pay for! And again, the sweetness is very mild, so add some bananas, dates and other fruit or sweetened non-dairy milk to help balance the flavors.
Website: Amazing Grass
Bottom Line: Natural appealing flavor and generous wellness ingredients. Add it to a sweet smoothie to make it sing. Vanilla Chail: love!
Buy Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Vanilla Chai on Amazon
7. The Philosophie - Cacao Magic
Label: flavors: Green Dream and Cacao Magic, easily dissolvable, some texture from the cacao nibs, no sweeteners, mesquite adds slight nutty-sweetness, calories: 55, $1-$1.25 per serving, protein: 5g, fat: 1g, carbs: 3g, fiber: 3g, raw, organic, gluten-free, soy free, contains maca, also on label: natural mood lifter and energizer, 10x the antioxidants of green tea, fights bad cholesterol, more magnesium than 3 cups broccoli, more calcium than glass of milk, high in sulfer the "beauty mineral."
My Review: My husband (the dark chocolate fanatic) LOVES this product. It is not really sweet at all, so the dark chocolate cacao nib flavor shines through. Rich and frothy when blended. Natural flavors. Nothing but good stuff in this cacao blend! The price: not cheap, since I found myself adding more than the 1 tbsp serving size, but worth a splurge. Oh and you can even prepare this blend as HOT chocolate! Bonus.
Bottom Line: If you are not into overly sweet sips and you love dark chocolate and rich cacao nib flavor you will swoon over this chocolate-y blend.
Buy Cacao Magic on The Philosophie -- use code LunchboxLove for 10% off all purchases in the Philosophie store! Details on my love of this brand.
8. Sprout Living - Epic Protein - vanilla lucuma
Label: flavors: vanilla lucuma, chocolate maca, original, thin texture/easily dissolvable, no sweeteners, mesquite adds slight nutty sweetness, calories: 110, $2 per serving, protein: 19g (sprouted and bio-fermented, whole grain organic brown rice protein powder), fat: 0g, carbs: 7g, fiber: 2g, raw, organic, gluten-free, soy free, non-GMO, contains superfoods: lucuma, vanilla bean, mesquite, yacon. Other info on label: non-gritty, non-bloating, low-glycemic, high quality lean protein, BCAA's, full spectrum amino acids.
My Review: This is a brand I spotted on one of my favorite websites: One lucky Duck. I tried it and was instantly in a state of bliss! This product is one of my favorite new "finds" by far. It is basically raw protein with superfoods. Protein source: they use their unique sprouted and bio-fermented, whole grain organic brown rice protein powder. The smoky, nutty, pure vanilla flavor is so simple and natural - I fell in love with it. I have been using this product in the morning as a simple liquid smoothie. I usually add in some spirulina, one pitted Medjool date, half a banana, 2 ice cubes and some almond milk. Super simple, but perfect as a mid-morning pick-up smoothie. It contains some exotic superfoods like lucuma, mesquite and yacon. You can read more about these wellness ingredients on their website. I am SO excited to try the chocolate maca blend too! The texture is a bit grainy, but most all of the rice protein blends I tried have that same fine graininess. Natural-tasting, zero aftertaste, lightly flavored. This product will taste amazing as a protein boost to most of the smoothies in my book and on this site! The only con is that it is hard to track down! If you just want one container, I suggest buying from One Lucky Duck since the shipping seems cheaper than the brand website (from my browsing). I couldn't find it on Amazon..
Website: Sprout Living
Bottom Line: Authentic light and lovely vanilla flavor meshes with unique superfoods and high quality raw rice protein. Pure, raw smoothie enthusiasts will love this stuff!
Buy it on Sprout Living or on One Lucky Duck
9. Arbonne - Protein Shake
Label: flavors: vanilla and chocolate, easily dissolvable/thick and creamy, sweetened with sugar cane and stevia, calories: 160, $2.50 per serving, protein: 20g (pea, cranberry, rice), fat: 3g, carbs: 14g, fiber: 1g, gluten-free, some greens (kelp and alfalfa), soy free, fructose and artificial sweetener free, contains coenzyme q10 and ginseng.
My Review: I have tried the pre-mixed vegan shake from Arbonne and kinda hated it because of the soup-y texture. So I was not expecting much. But these shake packets are actually pretty tasty if you want a super sweet, dessert-like flavor. They blend up super creamy, silky and thick - so I advise adding some icy ingredients to make everything more frosty rather than too thick. My husband who only likes the rich chocolate flavors enjoyed his Arbonne banana-pb shake I made him. The cons: I personally think the flavor tastes a bit processed and not so "natural" - no nuttiness or grassiness - but if you want basic sweet chocolate flavor, try this one. This shake basically includes a wide array of vitamins and minerals along with vegan protein. Bonus: no stevia aftertaste at all.
Bottom Line: Fans of Arbonne will be happy to see a vegan protein shake in their catalog. Sweet, aftertaste-free flavors will be appealing to palates that favor sweet over grassy/nutty/natural.
Purchase Arbonne via a rep: Jennifer or Lesley (UK-based)
10. Vega Energizing Smoothie
Label: Flavors: Berry, Tropical, Chocolate, Almond-Vanilla.. Easily dissolvable, sweetened with stevia, calories: 92, $1.20-$1.70 per serving, protein: 10g (pea, seed, hemp, rice blend), fat: 2g, carbs: 8g, fiber: 5g, gluten-free, contains greens, 1000mg greens blend, contains added digestive enzymes, 300mg, soy free, contains flax seed, inulin. One serving equilalent to 2 servings of veggies.
My Review: I love the Vega Energizing Smoothie! The Vanilla-Almondilla flavor is my favorite Vega shake product. I just love the flavor. There are not any other "almond" flavored shakes out there so I really love this. It doesn't contain the wide range of nutrients like VegaOne, but it does contain 10g protein and 1000mg greens blend and more. Just like Vega One, its protein is a blend of pea, seed, hemp and rice. The cons are that it doesn't contain loads of excess nutrients, but if you just want some extra protein, flavor and sweetness to your smoothie or non-dairy milk - give this a try.
Website: Vega Energizing Smoothie
Bottom Line: Each scoop adds a dose of bold, alluring, cravable flavors and high quality plant-based protein. Sweet, simple, fun and energizing.
Buy Vega Energizing Smoothie on Amazon
11. Paradise Herbs - ORAC Energy Protein and Greens
Label: not sweetened, dissolves with some grittiness, meal style blend, calories: 113, $1.70-$2.30 per serving, protein: 22g (non-GMO Pea Isolate), fat: 1g, carbs: 3g, fiber: 1g, high amount of organic ingredients, contains greens, 3560+mg greens blend, contains organic spirulina, 625mg - chlorella 500mg, probiotics, I.2 billion CFU, soy free, contains maca, 62.5mg, contains organic veggies, Nature's C with Qpower, Mushrooms, Super antioxidants like green and white tea, grapeseed extract, organic berry blend, liver cleansing and tonic support, Imperial Adaptogen, gingerzyme and Aminogen.
My Review: This unsweetened meal-style blend is loaded with goodies, Greens, protein, superfoods and plenty of extras like probiotics, maca, mushrooms and more. The flavor is grassy and nutty, no sweetness so you really need to add this one to a sweet flavor-ful smoothie for it to taste appealing. But once you do that you will be happy about all the goodness you just consumed. This is an award-winning product and perfect for those seeking a wide array of nutrients without all the flavors and sweeteners on top.
Website: Paradise Herbs
Bottom Line: High quality protein and superfoods all in one unsweetened scoop. No nonsense, diverse wellness blend.
Buy Orac Energy Protein Powder on Amazon
UPDATED 8/16/14 - Paradise Herbs: Paradise Herbs Maca Up Protein Powder, Vanilla, 452 Gram
I LOVE this product. I am always looking for protein powder with maca included and this very minimalist blend rocks my world. Clean vanilla flavor, light and easily blends without adding too much thickness. Other good stuff included likeAminogen enzyme formula and oat bran fiber. 2000mg maca per 32g serving, 21g pea and brown rice protein. 121 calories.
12. Garden of Life - Raw Protein
Label: flavors: vanilla chocolate and unflavored, (also a raw meal variety, but that sample was not sent), easily dissolvable yet dusty in texture, sweetened with stevia (no sugar added), calories: 90, $1-$2 per serving, protein: 17g (raw organic sprouts and sprouted rice), fat: 4g, carbs: 4g, fiber: 3g, raw, organic, gluten-free, contains greens, including chlorella, probiotics, 250mg, contains added digestive enzymes, 250mg, non-GMO, enhanced with VitaminCode vitamins, no fillers, artificial flavors or synthetic nutrients.
My Review: This product is protein and VitaminCode vitamins added. I was really excited to try it since it says it is the #1 selling protein supplement. But I was pretty underwhelmed by the very bland flavors, dusty texture and lack of thickness to the protein powder. I tested the chocolate flavor first but had to check the bag because it really didn't taste like chocolate. It didn't look like chocolate either. I then tried the vanilla and it had sort of the same flavor. Now I actually LOVE Garden of Life products - I always seem to buy their digestive enzymes and probiotics, but this raw protein just didn't live up to the hype. It wasn't bad, in fact it had a nutty, mild, nice sweet flavor. But I was just expecting SO much more. Pro: good value.
Website: Garden of life
Bottom Line: Underwhelming "flavors," and high quality ingredients merge in this high selling product.
Buy Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein on Amazon
13. Beach Body Ultimate / Shakeology
Label: Flavors: tropical strawberry, chocolate, Smooth and easily dissolvable, meal replacement or supplement, sweetened with natural sweeteners (blend of erythritol, oligosaccharides and natural flavors), calories: 160, $3.50-$5 per serving, protein: 16g (brown rice, chia, flax, amaranth, quinoa, sacha inchi), fat: 2g, carbs: 21g, fiber: 4g, gluten-free, contains greens, 1000mg greens blend includes spirulina and chlorella, contains probiotics, contains added digestive enzymes, soy free, contains maca, antioxidant/superfruit blend, adaptogen herb blend, fruit powder blend, phytonutrient/supergreens blend, msm. Claims: lose weight, reduce cravings, feel energized, improve digestion and regularity.
My Review: Sweet with bright bold flavors with NO aftertaste. Texture is smooth, creamy, fluffy. Super drinnkable for picky palates. The chocolate is rich and ice cream like and the tropical flavor is super fruity and inviting. Pure taste but a bit on the bold side for those who want to taste the flavor. I had never heard of this brand until a reader told me that I had to try them. You have to order the shakes online via "coaches" since this product claims to really makeover your life by giving you more energy, helping you lost weight and reduce cravings, etc. I am not big on claims like those. Miracle foods do not exist. But I did try the shakes. And loved both flavors. My husband loved the chocolate shake. He would gladly slurp down one of these without any effort. Delicious and infused with whole food ingredients and high quality everything, Shakeology is a bit on the pricey side, but if it is guaranteed to impress! No, really. Try it for 30 days and if you don't LOVE it and see results, they will refund your money. Update: I recently signed up as a "coach" because my husband is obsessed with the chocolate flavor .. and I now get a great discount on the price. I can't wait to see how he feels after a month of these shakes everyday! I will be adding the chocolate packet to a wide array of my vegan smoothie recipes.
Website: Shakeology - vegan flavors!
Bottom Line: Delicious flavors that exceed your expectations, but will the bold product claims do the same or let you down? (You tell me, Shakeology users)
Buy it from Coach Brianne - Coach Website
14. Xymogen Opti-Cleanse GHI
Label: Flavors: Vanilla Delight, Chocolate Mint, Chai, Creamy Chocolate, easily dissolvable, sweetened with evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, stevia, calories: 210, $4.75 per serving, protein: 26g (pea protein isolate, rice protein concentrate, glycine, L-glutamine, taurine), fat: 5g, carbs: 16g, fiber: 3g, gluten-free, soy free, flaxseed, pomegranate extract, lemon bioflavonoid complex, quercetin, turmeric, ginger root, watercress powder, green tea extract. Allergy free. Helps body respond to inflammation. Contains 5-MTHF. Supports gastrointestinal system, hepatic function and cytokine balance.
My Review: Xymogen products can only be purchased via a licensed health practitioner so you will need to go through their website to find someone local to you if you want to try the products. Though the brand is not vegan, a few of the products are labeled vegan. They have FitFood Vegan Protein as well as this formula which I was turned onto by a wellness practitioner a few years ago. I love it. The flavor of the vanilla delight product is delicious. Like a melted ice cream cone. No aftertaste since it contains real sugar sweeteners. This stuff is not cheap, and you do have to buy it through a doctor. But if you are looking for an intense formula with vegan protein an other ingredients to improve gastrointestinal health and inflammation, this product is worth a look! I really do love it.
Bottom Line: This intense vegan protein and nutrient formula is created by doctors and sold by health professionals. Not cheap, but impressive all around. If you have any sort of GI issues, this stuff is worth tracking down via a Xymogen-selling practitioner.
Locate a Xymogen Health Practitioner on their Website
15. Plant Fusion - Phood
Label: All-in-one meal shake, flavors: vanilla, chocolate caramel…, creamy/easily dissolvable, sweetened with erythritol, stevia and lo han duo. Calories: 200, $2.25-$3 per serving, protein: 18g (pea, artichoke, amaranth, quinoa, algalin), fat: 7g, carbs: 17g, fiber: 6g, gluten-free, contains greens, contains probiotics, I billion CFU, contains added digestive enzymes,109mg, soy free, contains a land and sea EFA blend, 5,187mg, organic superphood energy matrix, wholefood vita/mineral/greens complex, hypoallergenic.
My Review: This all-in-one meal replacement blend reminds me of Vega One because it really contains a wide array of nutrients and superfoods and more. I loved the taste and texture much more than the Plant Fusion protein powder. It was much creamier and the vanilla seemed more pronounced, probably from the texture. This is a great all encompassing meal replacement from the popular Plant Fusion brand. Fans of the protein powder will love this meal replacement/nutrient boosting blend.
Website: Plant Fusion
Bottom Line: Fans of Plant Fusion will be happy to enjoy this meal replacement blend with sweet, subtle, appealing flavor and creamy texture.
Buy Plantfusion Phood Shake on Amazon
16. Plant Fusion - Protein with enzymes
Label: Flavors: vanilla bean, chocolate raspberry, cookies and cream, unflavored, berry,dusty powder/very easily dissolvable, sweetened with fructose and stevia, calories: 120, $1-$1.40 per serving, protein: 21g (pea, artichoke, amaranth, quinoa), fat: 2g, carbs: 4g, gluten-free, contains 100mg added digestive enzymes, soy free, non-GMO, contains organic amaranth and quinoa, gentle on stomach, low glycemic load.
My Review: I was REALLY excited to try this product. I simply adore the logo and packaging and had been ogling those perky green canisters in Whole Foods for a long time now. I was especially excited about the Cookies & Cream flavor! And while I did enjoy the product, the flavors were not as authentic and defined as I was hoping for. The texture is really dusty which can be a bit annoying when scooping. But overall the shake dissolved really well, had an appealing light natural sweetness and little aftertaste. The quality is awesome and the price is impressive. I have found that many people who have sensitive stomachs rave about this brand on review websites. So while I wish the flavors lived up to their names a bit better, I do love the simplicity of the ingredients, blendability and lack of aftertaste.
Website: Plant Fusion
Bottom Line: Sensitive tummies may love this simple, easily dissolvable plant-based protein brand with a variety of fun flavors. Just watch out for the dusty texture and subtle flavoring.
Buy PlantFusion on Amazon
17. Manitoba Harvest - Dark Chocolate Hemp Protein
Label: Flavors/Varieties: Dark Chocolate, Vanilla, Hemp Pro 50, Hemp Pro 70, Hemp Pro fiber, easily dissolvable, some graininess, sweetened with organic palm sugar, calories: 120, $0.90-$1 per serving, protein: 8g (cold milled organic hemp protein powder), fat: 2.5, carbs: 17g, fiber: 10g, raw, organic, gluten-free, soy free, non-GMO, raw, 1750mg omega 3-6-9, 1.4g omega 3-6 uses fair trade cocoa powder,
My Review: I have long been a big fan of Manitoba Harvests "Hemp Hearts" raw hemp seeds but I never knew that they had these snazzy, colorful protein powders and hemp protein blends! I really loved the flavor or the dark chocolate. It uses real sugar so there is no aftertaste. The hemp is a bit grainy but blends well into a smoothie and doesn't taste bad - just kinda earthy. I loved the fiber blend as well. And the packages are in my favorite colors .. kinda the colors of my website actually! The dark chocolate has a rich cocoa flavor and natural sweetness that I loved. I actually got my husband to drink a hemp shake, now THAT was a success story!
Website: Manitoba Harvest
Bottom Line: If you want a solid hemp-based protein powder, check out the selection from Manitoba Harvest. Dark chocolate: sweet and delish!
Buy Manitoba Harvest Dark Chocolate Hemp Protein Powder on Amazon
18. NutriBiotic - Organic Vanilla
Label: Flavors: organic vanilla, chocolate, mixed berry, plain, spectrum shake.., blends slightly grainy since rice-based, but easily dissolvable, no sweeteners added, calories: 60, $0.31 - $1 per serving, protein: 12g (enzymatically processed rice protein from certified organic sprouted brown rice), fat: 0g, carbs: 2g, fiber: 0g, organic, gluten-free, soy free, non-GMO.
My Review: Nice solid rice protein brand with flavored and organic options. Gentle grainiess (like all rice-based proteins seem to have) but very easy to dissolve and enjoy. The rice lends a natural sweetness. Subtle flavors accent the protein. Nutribiotic also carries a wide array of supplements, superfoods and body products.
Bottom Line: Solid rice protein blend with appealing accent flavors. Light and basic.
Buy Nutribiotic - Vanilla Organic on Amazon
* 19. Oriya: Unsweetened blend of organic whole grain brown rice, organic hemp, organic sprouted chia seed protein. High quality product with no added flavors of fillers. Raw, organic, non-GMO. Good stuff. Buy Superfood Protein Medley
* 20. BioChem: I tested their vanilla and chocolate vegan protein powders. Pretty basic protein with good flavor. Nothing really wow-ed me about the product, but a good solid protein boost if you are a BioChem fan.
* 21. Vibrant Health Pure Green Protein: Wide array of impressive ingredients, but I am not a fan of the grassy and uber-nutty flavor. Protein from yellow pea, alfalfa, rice. Gritty texture and blends a greenish-brown color. This product is more about the ingredients and less about the taste, texture and look-appeal. Vibrant Health has some very hardcore green products, but although they have solid labels - the flavors are always too grassy for me.
* 22. Nutiva: Another brand of basic hemp protein powder. No petroleum solvents used in processing. Solid product if you just want hemp and nothing else. Raw and organic. Nutiva does have a flavored HempShake, but that sample was not sent so I have not tried it.
23. Ka'Chava Tribal Superfood Whole Body Meal.
Label: Flavors: vanilla or chocolate, includes ingredients for: sustained hunger, lean muscle, hunger control, digestive health and mental focus, low glycemic index. calories per serving: 200, Price: around $4.60 - $5.15 per serving, protein: 24g (yellow pea protein, whole grain brown rice, sacha inchi), fat: 2.5g, carbs: 25g, fiber: 9g, vegan, gluten-free, soy free, no-dairy, no preservatives, no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors, made in the USA. Contains: 1.5 servings of omega 3 EFA, 600 million probiotics, 10 sources of super-greens, 1000mg adaptogens, 26 vitamins and minerals (around 50% RDA of most!)
My Review: This is a major contender for amazing meal-in-a-glass smoothie powder. Not only does it contain a big boost of plant-based protein, but also all the stuff I crave like vitamins, minerals, greens, probiotics, fiber and MORE. Ingredients like chia seeds, maca root, camu camu, acai and mushrooms. The flavor is very mildly sweet. It does contain stevia, but it doesn't really taste like it. I found the aftertaste to be invisible or incredibly mild. The texture is very fluffy and creamy - very similar to SunWarrior in the fluffy sense. I wish it dissolved a bit thinner, but if you like body in your protein powder, this delivers! I am so glad I found out about this brand because it is not one I have seen on store shelves, it is only available online right now. Great discovery!
Bottom Line: All-in-One meal powder with easy-to-love flavors and a fluffy, body-ful texture. One stop shop with each vibrant, power-packed, plant-based scoop! Love it!
Buy it: Ka'Chava Chocolate -- Ka'Chava Vanilla
Finally, here are my personal favorites awards...
My Personal Top 9 Favorites: (full info, web links and more above..)
* The Ultimate Meal (solid, transparent sourcing & labeling, highest quality assured)
* Vega - VegaOne Chocolate or Vega Energizing Vanilla Almondilla (Amazing brand, solid & delicious products, one scoop a day! Sports-geared products as well.)
* Sun Warrior - Warrior Blend Vanilla (I have yet to try the chocolate, but this uber-fluffy texture and unique flavor has me swooning)
* Sprout Living Epic Protein - Vanilla Lucuma (Simple, raw, natural, LOVE it.)
* Cacao Magic, Berry Bliss or Green Dream by The Philosophie (All top notch quality, ingredients and pure fresh homemade flavors. What the 'in the know' cool kids are blending for sure.) I adore this brand. It is just amazing, delicious, real, clean, pure and super high quality. Try it and get hooked. Sophie is on it!
* Perfect Fit Protein (on-the-go and basic pure protein)
* Ka'Chava Complete meal in a glass! Super fluffy with absolutely zero weird aftertaste. Loads of great stuff in here.
* Manitoba Harvest (Seeking hemp protein? Try this! Dark Chocolate, yum..)
* Amazing Grass - Amazing Meal - Vanilla Chai (I love this blended in sweet smoothies, solid ingredients.)
* Shakeology - My husband is obsessed with the chocolate and the tropical is really unique and delish. Money-back guarantee too.
(special mention to the Xymogen Vegan protein products, but you do need to purchase via a health practitioner - not in stores.)
* Maca Up by Paradise Herbs. Love this blend that included pea and rice protein plus a generous dose of maca!
Want 365 vegan smoothie and shake recipes? Secure your copy of my new book 365 Vegan Smoothies! Fan on Facebook for updates! You can also try my Spirulina Shake with any of these Protein Powders! Spirulina is another AWESOME wellness booster for shakes.
Disclaimer: Thank you to all the companies who provided samples for me. This is not a sponsored post and taste reviews are my personal opinions. Many of the products listed are indeed dietary supplements and contain added superfoods, vitamins, minerals and more. Always, always, always chat with your doctor about whether or not these products are right for YOU. Everyone is different and everyone has varying health needs and concerns. This guide is not meant to cure or diagnose any condition or disease, this is simply a guide to help you discover a few options as a consumer. Also, most of the products reviewed were sent as samples. I purchased a large chunk of these products on my own as well, to be thorough. I receive a small percentage from Amazon referral purchases.
Posted by Kathy on 4/21/2013