If you follow a vegan or plant-based lifestyle and love to exercise, the chances are you might not be getting enough protein from food sources alone. Cue: vegan protein powder. Vegan or plant-based protein powders come in a range of different forms including, soy-based protein, pea protein powder, hemp protein powder, and mixed protein powders.
Protein powder is worth adding to your diet as it helps to aid in muscle recovery and refuel your body post-workout. Over the last few years, plant-based protein supplements have become much more accessible (and better-tasting), so there’s really no excuse to not fuel your body with the right kind of nutrients.
Read on as we unpack everything you need to know about vegan protein powders and how you can incorporate them into your routine.
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First up, what is protein, and why do we need it?
Protein is required in your diet to support your overall health and aid with fat loss and muscle gain, meaning if you’re someone who likes to exercise, protein should be a crucial part of your diet. Our primary source of protein comes from food sources like meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, dairy and seeds — however, it can be hard to get enough protein through food alone, especially if you’re plant-based. That’s where supplementing your diet with protein powder comes in. You can add protein powders to a range of foods like yoghurts, porridge and smoothies to ensure you’re getting the right amount of essential amino acids without having to binge a bunch of chickpeas.
So what exactly is vegan protein powder?
Vegan protein powder is just like your regular protein powder just without animal bi-products. Regular protein powders like whey and casein typically contain dairy, whereas vegan protein is usually derived from things like soy, pea and brown rice.
Are all vegan protein powders the same?
Short answer, no. While they are all vegan formulas, they’re all derived from different plant-based sources, including mixed, and deliver a diverse variety of essential amino acids and protein servings. When choosing a vegan protein powder that’s suited to your diet, there are a few key things to keep in mind: Look for powders with at least 15-20 grams of protein per serve, check that they have a clean ingredients list, cater to any intolerances and have been tested by a reputable third party.
Where can you buy vegan protein powder in Australia?
Below, we unpack different plant-based protein powders so you can pick the right one for you.
Soy protein powder
Soy-based protein powders are known as complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids that the body can’t make but needs when it comes to protecting your muscle tissue. Although the protein count varies between brands, most soy protein powders have around 20 grams per serve and have much of the fat and carbs removed.
Pea protein powder
If you prefer to avoid soy-based products, pea protein powder has fast become another popular plant-based alternative. Pea protein comes from split peas, a legume that’s high in essential amino acids and particularly high in branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs, which is great for repairing muscle damage caused by intense or strenuous exercise.
- Vital Plant Protein Pea & Hemp Powder Blend, $38.71
- Now Foods Sports Pea Protein, $29.78
- Vega Sport Premium Protein, $69.73
Hemp protein powder
Hemp protein is a vegan superfood powder made from ground hemp seeds and tends to contain less protein per 100g than milk-derived protein. So you might need to incorporate a little more into your morning smoothie to make sure you’re getting enough.
- Healthy Care Pure Vegan Hemp Protein & Greens Powder, $12.99
- Ananda Food 100% Aussie Hemp Protein Powder, $23.95
- Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Yeah! Protein Powder, $42.01
Mixed protein powders
Many vegan protein powders are made from a mixture of different plant-based proteins, like brown rice, pea, hemp, chia seeds, flax seeds, and quinoa. Vegan protein powders often combine a variety of plant-based protein sources so that you can receive the right amount of essential amino acids and protein necessary for a well-balanced diet.
- Dose & Co Collagen Protein Powder was $39.99, now $20
- Naked Harvest Chocolate Swirl Thrive Protein, $49.90
- Biochem 100% Vegan Protein, $49.77
Oh, and if you need a good protein shaker, this two-pack from Amazon is only $18.69 right now.