“Where do you get your protein from?” – The one question vegans get the most. A vegan lifestyle is not void of protein. As a matter of fact, just one serving of our Coconut Dhal without the flatbread contains approximately 50g of protein. That’s 54.9% of the maximum reasonable estimate for the average man and 66.7% of the maximum reasonable estimate for the average woman. It is also 89.2% of the dietary reference intake (DRI) per day (to prevent deficiency) for the average sedentary man and 108.7% of the DRI for the average sedentary woman. (1) However, the right amount of protein for a person to consume (10-30% of daily food intake) depends on more factors than the DRI. These factors include, but are not limited to, a person’s present state of health, activity level, type of activity, age and if the person is pregnant or not.
So, what are protein powders?
Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein in a dry, powdered form which can be used to increase a person’s daily intake of protein to aid in achieving dietary goals or maximising muscle mass.
Most vegan-friendly protein powders are made from pea protein. Specifically, the protein attained from yellow split peas. The legumes contain all, but one, of the essential amino acids which, unfortunately, makes them not a complete protein source. However, studies have shown that a 50g daily consumption of pea protein results in similar muscle mass increase to consuming the same amount of whey protein daily. (2) In addition to this, studies have also shown that the consumption of pea protein can lead to a decrease in blood pressure for those who are hypertensive (experience an abnormally high blood pressure) (3) and its consumption, similarly to dairy protein sources, triggers the release of several satiety hormones making a person feel full for a longer period hence many protein powders also being advertised as meal replacements (usually the ones containing added nutrients). (4)
It should be noted that, nowadays, a lot of vegan-friendly protein powders contain a blend of plant protein sources in order to create a product that is a complete protein source. These blends could be a mixture of two or more of the following (not limited to) protein sources: pea, brown rice, soybeans, hemp, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, amaranth, quinoa, amaranth and millet.
Any product recommendations?
We have tried a few protein powders, in order to give recommendations to our readers who consider protein shakes to be beneficial to their lifestyles. For the purpose of keeping this post as short as possible, we will be recommending only two brands of protein powders:
- Arbonne: The Arbonne protein powders provide 20g of protein per serving suggestion. They consist of a blend of pea, flaxseed and rice protein which is fortified with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12. The Arbonne protein powders are not just vegan, but also gluten and soy-free for those with intolerances or allergies. If it is made according to directions, it feels a bit thick (probably due to the quantity of xanthan gum) and is rather gritty and powdery when drinking it. However, we feel this can easily be fixed by changing the powder to water ratio or using a plant milk in place of water and dissolving the powder in a little warm water/milk before adding in enough cold water/milk to reach your desired consistency. We believe this protein powder would be a good addition to oatmeal or a smoothie. Arbonne products can only be purchased through an independent consultant.
Recommended Consultant: Ashley Lee
- Juice Plus+: The Juice Plus+ protein powders, which are advertised as meal replacements, offer 18-19g of protein per serving suggestion (varies with flavour). They consist of a blend of a relatively wide range of protein sources, which include soya, chickpeas, rice, peas, amaranth, millet, quinoa, broccoli sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, radish sprouts and spirulina. They also contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12. We only tasted the vanilla protein powder which had both the consistency and taste of melted vanilla ice cream. It can be used to make milkshakes by adding frozen berries or chocolate to it or to increase the nutritional value of homemade vegan ice creams. Another thing we like about this product is that it does not have an aftertaste. Therefore, whatever you eat or drink after consuming this protein shake will not be tainted by its flavour. Juice Plus+ products can only be purchased through an independent distributor.
Recommended Distributor: Yinka and Olivia Rufai (YORLife)
If you try any of these products, feel free to leave your review of them in the comments section. We would love to read your thoughts about them.