I tried 25+ Vegan Protein Powders with my Sensitive Gut to find the Best One

by Caroline van Kimmenade

When you have a sensitive gut, making changes to what you eat can get all kinds of complicated. When you add vegan protein powders into that mix, it gets more complicated still. Is there such a thing as an enjoyable vegan protein shake? Might there even be a best vegan protein shake that you’d look forward to drinking?

A few years ago, a trainer at my gym told me to eat more protein. But with a mostly vegetarian diet, not being able to eat (much) cow’s milk products, or (any) gluten, and not doing well with any kinds of added sugars or fruits mixed with other foods… adding some extra protein felt like a huge conundrum.

(Since this is a long article, you can also navigate it using the index instead of reading it in order)

My Previous Vegan Protein Powder Attempts

For a while, I added neutral-tasting protein powder (like pumpkin seed protein powder) to pesto and hummus and soups, and I carefully tracked my protein intake. I had a spreadsheet that would calculate proteins. It had a big list of items that I eat, and all I had to do was input how much of something I’d had, to see how much protein that added up to.

Let’s just say, it was really hard to even get to 80% of what was recommended for me by my trainer. I basically had to prioritise protein at every single meal: lentil pasta, peas, nuts, lots of feta, as much fish as I could stomach… and I’d notice after a few days that my body got completely “fed up” with all the extra protein. In short, I wasn’t able to keep it up.

So this year, when I got an inner nudge to revisit my protein intake I knew I’d have to find a different way. Even when you stick with it, adding a few scoops of protein powder here or there doesn’t really add up. So the most logical step would be shakes – except when I tried a few of those previously, I thought they were all disgusting. Ugh!

Yet then I thought, maybe, just maybe, if I really try a lot of different ones, flavored shakes could be an option for me after all? My gut has slowly been improving and while there are still many food sensitivities I have to steer clear from, I have been able to stomach things better than I used to. These last few years have also seen a huge increase in food-sensitivity awareness. There are far more products available that are gluten free and that have alternative sweeteners.

Time to go PRO 🏅 and do some serious Vegan Protein Shakes Testing!

So I decided to go for it, google around, and order a bunch of different products to try out. Further below are my preliminary results. I say preliminary because as I am writing this, there are additional brands and samples underway by post.

In the video below, I walk you through my preliminary results, and I also discuss some things that I’ve learned about a sensitive digestive tract that might be helpful for you.

Further on in the article, I go into more detail on why you might want to eat more (vegan) protein (and my reasons), plus I walk you through all the vegan protein shakes that I tested. I figured it would be most helpful to group them under “winners” and “losers” for easy overview. Note that after I finished the video, I tested a whole bunch more powders! So there actually are more winners (7!) than the video suggests.

Taste Bud Disclaimer:

I’ve been eating sugar-free for many years now. That means: no cookies, cakes, pie, dessert, sweets etc and avoiding sauces and drinks etc that have added sugar.

Why? My body doesn’t respond well to most added sugars and something that tastes good in your mouth but then makes you feel bad for hours after, just isn’t worth having.

As a result of this though, my sense of “sweet” has changed drastically. Things I used to love, love, love as a kid I now find disgustingly sweet. Keep this in mind when you hear me say that something is much too sweet (I say that a lot)! If you have a sweet tooth and are used to a higher sugar intake, you might want to select the products that I find too sweet, and avoid the ones I like!

Watch the video below (if it doesn’t show, be sure to accept cookies here )

Some topics discussed in the video, that are not repeated in this article:

08:00 – Why fluids can make the best snack when you’re stressed

11:00 – Brief explanation of Taoist eating principles that have helped me a lot in finding solutions for my sensitive gut.

13:25 – Chocoholism, because chocoolaaaaaate

16:20 & onwards – Your Inner Digestive Expert is always with you! + My testing strategy that you can replicate

Mentioned in the video (22:50) : The Sustainable and Pleasant Diet Detox in the Happy Sensitive Library. To help you make any changes to your diet that you want to make, gently and without the overwhelm. 

If you want to skip to any particular vegan protein powder review directly, just use the menu below:

Best Vegan Protein Powders for a Sensitive Gut: Your Healthy Fix (strawberry-raspberry), Greenpowders (vanilla), Garden of Life Raw Meal (chocolate), Purasana Organic Mix Vegan Protein Sunflower, Hemp and Pumpkin (cacao), Vega Sport Protein (berry), Mattisson Organic Vegan Protein Blend, Paradise Herbs Protein & Greens (unflavored)

All the other Vegan Protein Powders that I Tested with my Sensitive Gut: Dr Murray Superfoods Protein Powder (chocolate), Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein (chocolate), Green Foods True Vitality Plant Protein Shake with DHA (vanilla), Juvo Raw Green Protein, Mattisson Organic Sport Vegan Protein Blend (vanilla), Orangefit, Plantforce Synergy Protein, Purasana Chia Protein Chocolate, Silverback Protein, Sunwarrior Classic Plus Organic Protein Chocolate & Warrior Blend Protein Vanilla, Sunwarrior Classic Plus Organic Protein Vanilla, Superfoodies Brown Rice Protein Powder Green OLD FORMULA, Superfoodies Chocolate Protein, The Honest Earth Performance Protein (raw cacao), The Protein Works Vegan Protein (chocolate mint), Vega Sport Protein (chocolate), XXL Nutrition “Green Protein Powder (chocolate), Your Super Plant Protein, Your Super Skinny Protein, 6D Sportsnutrition: Vegan Protein (chocolate)

If you skip ahead using the menu above, don’t forget to check out my Summary of Lessons Learned as well, so you can more successfully do your own testing!

Why might you be interested in (vegan) protein shakes? Here are my reasons:

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients

More Protein Reason 1

A vague yet clear inner intuitive nudge to eat more protein

I know that may not sound meaningful to some people but I make a point of listening when my intuition tells me to make some changes.

Changes that, in this case, had been in the pipeline for a few years (as ideas) but that were hard to act on before. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time and your intuition will bring old ideas back up when perhaps now is the time to act on them.

Protein supplements can help improve mood, sleep and even support weightloss so if your intuition keeps pushing you towards protein, there may truly be a good and scientifically-supported reason!

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients

More Protein Reason 2

Aches, pains and tiredness after working out that could be improved with supplemental sports nutrition

There are two ways to deal with this problem: exercise less or see if there is some nutritional adjustment that could help.

I don’t think I am over-exercising and I found it more and more annoying that I’d get cramps and fatigue even though working out is clearly good for me too.

Interestingly, while my mother is a P.E. teacher, we never had any conversations or habits at home around supplementing your diet depending on your workout. The first time I saw a friend take a magnesium supplement after going for a run, I felt like I was observing a strange new ritual!

So in short, it’s taken me a long time to come around to the idea that perhaps it’s normal to supplement, especially when you get muscle aches and cramps, even if you are not a professional athlete. Somehow I had it in my head that only people who work out 8 hours a day every day need to make special adjustments to their diet and everyone else should just make do with a sandwich and some orange juice. (I mean protein shakes, isn’t that something only guys at the gym take when they want to body build?)

Looking back on how I was raised, I definitely grew up with an odd brand of food poverty. I know from my own experience and also from what clients tell me about how they were raised around food, that that kind of conditioning runs deep! How your parents teach you to eat becomes the norm and it can take a long time to realise that perhaps it’s not working for you.

So far, I’ve already noticed that a special sports recovery drink makes a HUGE difference. Gone is the after-sports slump and grumpiness. Who knew? (Lots of people apparently…that’s why they make these products!)

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients

More Protein Reason 3

A healthy replacement for something else… (like chocolate)

As a chocoholic, I do go overboard with chocolate at times, ahem. So I am definitely keeping an eye out for chocolate protein shakes that can be a healthy swap for too much chocolate. This is one of the reasons I ordered a lot of chocolate flavored ones!

When you realise that giving up chocolate is not an option but you are looking to make a healthy upgrade, chocolate flavored protein shakes could be just the thing. The ones I tried all had real cacao (not artificial flavoring).

This healthy upgrade strategy has two parts to it:

  • Firstly, the chocolate you are consuming in the form of protein shakes is healthier than a chocolate bar, chocolate ice cream etc. Yes, you get the cacao but you also get more good nutrition per calorie (and not just sugars and fats).
  • Secondly, I don’t know about you but my chocolate cravings can seem endless at times. And when you then consume chocolate in a form that doesn’t fill you up fast, you can keep on eating! When you have a chocolate protein shake, it will typically leave you feeling satiated much more quickly. That means your chocolate cravings go away more quickly.

(Update: after 2 weeks of having protein shakes, my chocolate cravings have disappeared. That is: when chocolate cravings come up, a chocolate protein shake works fine and I find myself walking straight past chocolate in the shop without struggle.)

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients

More Protein Reason 4

An easy and healthy snack

Let’s face it, sometimes you’re just too tired. Too tired to make something, or too tired to chew even. A snack can be just what you need to get the mojo to cook a good meal, stay away from fast sugars or tide you over until dinner time (More on this topic in the video – at 8 minutes into the video!).

drawing of cow and almond super hero for whey versus vegan protein shakes

Why Vegan Protein Powders and Not Whey?

1. A cow’s milk sensitivity

Full disclosure, I tested some whey powders too. However, as someone who is sensitive to cow’s milk I can only have so much cow’s milk products before I get symptoms.

I am happy that after several years of having had to avoid cows milk products entirely, I can have butter and cream again. Yay! But this enduring sensitivity does mean that it’s smarter for me to not make cow’s milk my go-to food staple for anything. Since protein shakes would be something you’d have every day, I knew I needed to find a vegan protein shake that I really liked.

2. To save the planet?

Personally, I think you need to eat what works for your body. Some people swear by eating lots of meat. Others (like me) have never been enthusiastic meat eaters.

I was happily vegetarian for several years until suddenly, I started developing cravings for fish. Ever since, I’ve been eating fish (and very few meats) again.

There are plenty of arguments to make that vegan foods feed more people than animals do and that if more people ate vegan more often, there’d be more food for everyone and less pressure on the environment.

Definitely a good reason to be open to trying vegan foods! (After all, for many people the hesitancy is just habit and not true physical preference)

How I mixed my vegan protein powders for testing

Before I share the results, just a note that I mixed all protein powders with rice milk (sweetened with coconut). I didn’t try mixing them with water because I assumed the taste would be worse. I wanted to give these powders a shot at putting their best vegan foot forward!

In the beginning of my testing journey, I would add a full portion of protein powder to rice milk and shake… Only to discover very quickly that that’s a fast way to go through your rice milk when the shake is disappointing and you need to throw it all away! So moving forward, I tested a teaspoon full of powder mixed with ricemilk first.

drawing of lentil winning miss universe for protein powders

The Winning Vegan Protein Powders

All protein powders that made the winning list taste good (according to me, so that’s debatable 😉 ) meaning no chemical flavor, nothing too sweet, and no bitter and grainy protein taste or texture.

They also all feel good in both tummy and head. No bloating, tensing up or foggy feelings allowed! I know I don’t and can’t speak for everyone but since I have a very picky gut, I think it’s safe to say that if it works well for me, it would likely work well for many other people with sensitive digestive systems.

Without futher ado, here they are, in no particular order…

drawing of pea protein winner

Vegan Protein Powder Winner:

🥛 Your Healthy Fix

.

(Available in Europe, USA, Australia)

A vegan strawberry milkshake!

.

I became intrigued by the story of how Your Healthy Fix came to be.

The owner and inventor, Esther, experienced a bloated gut and hazy feeling in her head from most vegan protein powders, so she developed her own that include digestive enzymes, fibre, and a few superfoods. Uhm, relatable!

I ordered her 3-flavor vegan protein shakes sample pack (strawberry-raspberry, vanilla, chocolate).

yourhealthyfix strawberry raspberry

I tried the strawberry-raspberry flavor first and was pleasantly surprised!

Tasted just like a strawberry milkshake.

I got a little bit of a bloated feeling in my gut at first but that went away after 15 minutes and I swear I could feel my navel chakra spinning (happily) after. My shoulders also relaxed.

The chocolate and vanilla flavors were much less of a success for me unfortunately. The vanilla was very very sweet (too sweet for me). It had that stuffy and heavy taste that a lot of vanilla flavored products have. The chocolate was also too sweet for me. I suspect it had a lot of vanilla in it.

protein base: pea and hemp protein

probiotics: no

enzymes: yes – multi-enzym complex (amylase, protease, cellulase, lactase, lipase)

other ingredients: gluten-free corn, rice and millet, baobab powder, acacia gum Fibregum, beetroot powder, guar powder, natural flavor (strawberry), natural flavor (raspberry), sweetener: steviol glycocides

Some mail oddities:

  1. The 3 small sample bags arrived folded in bubble wrap, inside a box, inside an even bigger box, when they could have been delivered through the mailbox in an envelope! (What’s that about?)
  2. While my samples arrived within 4 working days (France to the Netherlands) as advertised, my big strawberry-raspberry protein powder order took 3.5 weeks to arrive. I contacted Esther twice and she reached out to GLS twice until it finally got delivered. Just to say: even if this were your fav, you might want to pick an additional powder that is easier to get in case you have to wait long on shipping.

Cost: This was definitely one of the most expensive testers I’ve ordered so far, with the three 1-portion samples + shipping coming to 17 euros and 10 cents.

For regular bags the cost per 100 grams is: 7.48 euros

(big orders are discounted though plus you get a first-time 10% off coupon)

Protein per 100 grams: 48.4 grams

Amino acids profile: no info

drawing of pea protein winner

Vegan Protein Powder Winner:

🥛 Greenpowders Vegan Protein Powder

.

(Only available in the Netherlands)

Fresh and simple!

.

Greenpowders have a very straightforward shop with a single product. Their vegan protein is a mix of pea, brown rice, pumpkin protein and added B12. There are two flavors: vanilla and “coffee caramel macca”.

Not being a coffee person at all I ordered their vanilla and I was pleasantly surprised! I am not a huge vanilla fan, I often find it too heavy, musty and sweet. Yet Greenpowders Vanilla is pleasantly sweet (but not too sweet) and the vanilla has a very fresh taste to it.

This has become one of my vegan protein favs. The first time I drank it, my shoulders noticeably relaxed.

They also make a serious effort to make their packaging as eco-friendly as possible.

Unfortunately for most people reading this, Greenpowders looks to be available in the Netherlands only. Shipping is super fast though (next workday) and always free. Their tester pack is 6.95 euros for 3 samples.

Dutchies Discount: By the way, you can order a regular bag (750 grams) at 4 euros off by visiting the shop through my link here. The discount might not show in the shopping cart popup (that’s a glitch they are working on), but it will show automatically on the final payment page.

protein base: pea, brown rice, pumpkin

probiotics: no

enzymes: no

cost per 100 grams: 3.86 euros

protein per 100 grams: 74.8 grams

amino acids profile (per 100 gram): alanine 3.15 g / arginine 6.59 g / aspartic acid 6.87 g / cystine 1.16 g / glutamic acid 12.02 g / glycine 2.89 g / histidine 1.67 g / isoleucine 3.11 g / leucine 5.64 g / lysine 4.27 g / methionine 0.75 g / phenylalanine 3.65 g / proline 2.92 g / serine 3.43 g / threonine 2.43 g / tryptophane 0.62 g / tyrosine 2.62 g / valine 3.61 / or: see here

drawing of pea protein winner with pink background

Vegan Protein Powder Winner:

🥛 Garden of Life – Raw Organic Meal Chocolate

.

(available in (online) stores in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Spain, HongKong, Japan, Taiwan, Australia)

A worthy chocolate replacement!

.

Garden of Life didn’t have any samplers available, so I was stuck buying a big tub! However, I felt somewhat confident that even if the taste might not be great, it would sit well in my gut because of all the probiotics added. So worst case scenario, I could add something to improve the taste, or just pinch my nose and make do.

I tried the Raw Organic Protein Chocolate and the Raw Organic Meal Chocolate.

Both have additional probiotics, enzymes and plant extracts. Both feel good in my tummy and in my head. However, for whatever reason, the MEAL blend has a much better taste. A worthy chocolate replacement. The “protein chocolate” is much too sweet to my taste.

All details below are for the Raw Organic Meal Powder:

protein base: pea, sprouted brown rice

probiotics: yes – lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus bulgaricus

enzymes: yes – lipase, protease, aspergillopepsin, beta-glucanase, cellulase, bromelein, phytase, lactase, papain, peptidase, pectinase, hemicellulase, xylanase

other ingredients: 44 Superfoods, 21 Whole Food Vitamins and Minerals

cost per 100 grams: 6.3 euros

(This is for a 509g tub. They also have a 1017g tub which works out to about 5.82 euros per 100 grams. Garden of Life is constantly running promotional offers though, so you can usually get this for much less. Prices can vary per webshop but their own website tends to be the best value. When you purchase through their own webshop using my link here, you get 30% off your first purchase. Or use code: CAROLINE-R6L )

protein per 100 grams: 54 grams

(compare: GOL Protein Chocolate has 66 grams of protein per 100 grams)

amino acids profile: no info

Vegan Protein Powder Winner:

🥛 Purasana Organic Mix Vegan Protein Sunflower, Hemp and Pumpkin – Cacao

.

(Available in Europe)

A worthy chocolate replacement!

.

This is the only vegan protein mix in this list with an actual sugar, and not a sweetener like Stevia. It contains a mix of pumpkinseed protein, sunflowerseed protein and hemp protein, plus cacao and coconut blossom sugar. That’s it!

(Careful: there is another Purasana protein mix that contains peas and is chocolate flavored too, the packaging looks almost exactly the same!)

This blend is great example of my protein learnings, summarised at the end of this article:

1 – It doesn’t have pea or rice as a base
2 – It’s a mix of different proteins.

… hence, you can expect it to digest well. And it does! Plus, the taste is good, chocolatey and not too sweet.

cost per 100 grams: 5.15 euros

protein per 100 grams: 58 grams

amino acids profile (per 100 gram): alanine 1.95 g / arginine 6.32 g / aspartic acid 4.43 g / cystine 0.49 g / glutamic acid 7.89 g / glycine 2.05 g / histidine 1.2 g / isoleucine 1.7 g / leucine 3.21 g / lysine 1.33 g / methionine 0.09 g / phenylalanine 2.51 g / proline 1.62 g / serine 2.25 g / threonine 1.38 g / tryptophane 0.12 g / tyrosine 1.6 g / valine 2.85

drawing of winning pea protein

Vegan Protein Powder Winner:

🥛 Vega Sport Protein Berry

.

(Available worldwide)

Vegan Berry Milkshake!

.

This was a “high-risk” purchase as there were no samples available and the only purchase option I had was a 801 gram package!

But hey, we love living on the edge here at Happy Sensitive HQ (and I had multiple looks at the ingredients and they looked to be the kind that would work well for me).

So, what’s the verdict?

It’s excellent!

Very fruity – with true fruit taste – and very creamy too. Sweet enough but not too sweet and it feels good in the tummy.

When you look online you’ll hear many people saying good things about this one, which is why it was on my tester list.

Vega Sport has a mix of pea, pumpkinseed, sunflower seed and alfalfa protein. It has probiotics and turmeric and it has 71 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Taste wise, it really tastes like a good milkshake that was made with real fruit.

probiotics: yes (not specified)

enzymes: no

amino acids profile (per 100 gram): alanine 3.09 g / arginine 6.18 g / aspartic acid 8.09 g / cystine 0.71 g / glutamic acid 14.28 g / glycine 2.86 g / histidine 1.9 g / isoleucine 3.57 g / leucine 6.18 g / lysine 5.23 g / methionine 0.71 g / phenylalanine 3.81 g / proline 3.09 g / serine 3.57 g / threonine 2.62 g / tryptophane 0.71 g / tyrosine 2.86 g / valine 4.05 g

cost per 100 grams: 5.50 euros – 7 euros** (cheapest option is iHerb – get 5% off via this link)

**This is much cheaper in the US at about $5.60 per 100g than it is via a local Dutch import company. So if you’re in Europe, you’re better off buying via iHerb if they have it in stock. iHerb is a good company to order from because all import duties are paid upfront at checkout, so there are no surprises.

Vegan Protein Powder Winner

🥛 Mattisson Organic Vegan Protein Blend

.

(Available in Europe)

This powder really is the surprise of the month!

.

I was at best hoping for something that digested well, that I could make my own tasty blend with.

I fully expected I’d need to add some things to make this one taste good. But, surprisingly, it has a light, pleasant nutty taste of its own that blends perfectly with my rice-coconut milk. Really, it doesn’t need anything more! Whoohoo!

This is also a good protein to mix with your own greenjuice. (I had a fav for that previously, but then the product was “updated” ) The greenjuice I make is a mix of leafy greens – like spinach, kale, bok choy, salads – with cellery and carrots or beets (for some sweetness) and 1 lemon (per liter juice). I then mix equal portions of greenjuice and rice milk, and mix in protein powder. You can also add some berry powder like Maqui.

protein base: pea, rice, hemp, almond, pumpkin, sacha ichi, sunflower seed

probiotics: no

enzymes: no

cost per 100 grams: 4.74 euros (you can get it for 3.75 euros in discounted shops)

protein per 100 grams: 67 grams

amino acids profile (per 100 gram): alanine 3.1 g / arginine 5.8 g / aspartic acid 6.3 g / cystine 0.9 g / glutamic acid 11.5 g / glycine 2.9 g / histidine 1.7 g / isoleucine 3.1 g / leucine 5.1 g / lysine 3.4 g / methionine 1.5 g / phenylalanine 3.3 g / proline 2.6 g / serine 4.4 g / threonine 2.5 g / tryptophane 0.7 g / tyrosine 1.6 g / valine 4.4 /

Vegan Protein Powder Winner

🥛 Paradise Herbs Protein & Greens unflavored

.

(Ships worldwide)

You have to give this healthy a chance!

.

O.k. I lied to you. According to my own rules for this test, this powder should taste great. After all, it’s a winner, right? But hear me out…

Yes, this powder has a terrible taste: that combo of both the green grassiness of greenpowder and a deep and overpowering bitterness… BUT wait those 3 seconds until it lands in your gut!

It felt like my digestive tract just did its first acapella concert (and that’s a very good thing, not a diarrhea metaphor). If heaven tasted bitter for 3 short seconds, you’d still want in, right?

So even though my mouth did a little “ew” dance, I could hear my gut whooping with joy and yelling “welcome! come on down!” Seriously, go and drool over the impressive ingredient list here.

Plus, I did some experimenting and when you add some liquorice powder, raw cacao and the usual rice milk sweetened with coconut (or something similar) you can make this taste good. Really, this is not like those other greenpowders that promise health but don’t make you feel healthy.

protein base: pea

probiotics: yes

enzymes: yes

cost per 100 grams: 4.73 euros (via iHerb, for the 454g tub – get 5% off with this link)

protein per 100 grams: 67 grams

amino acids profile (per 100 gram): alanine 2.8 g / arginine 5.6 g / aspartic acid 7.6 g / cystine 0.5 g / glutamic acid 11.3 g / glycine 2.5 g / histidine 1.5 g / isoleucine 3.1 g / leucine 5.5 g / lysine 4.8 g / methionine 0.6 g / phenylalanine 3.6 g / proline 2.7 g / serine 3.3 g / threonine 2.4 g / tryptophane 0.6 g / tyrosine 2.4 g / valine 3.3 /

drawing of winning vegan protein

Winning Vegan Protein Powders Summary

Prices for the winning vegan protein powders ranged from 3.86 euros to 7.48 euros for 100 grams. (1 serving is usually about 30 grams, so this is the cost for approx 3 shakes).

Protein content ranged from 48.4 grams to 74.8 grams per 100 grams of powder.

Below is an overview of the different winners including the kinds of protein each has, whether it has probiotics and enzymes, any special ingredients, the protein content per 100g, the cost per 100g and which parts of the world they ship to.

brandproteinincludesprobioticsenzymesprotein per 100gprice per 100gships to
yourhealthyfixpea and hempbaobab, fibrenoyes48.4g7.48 eurosEurope, USA, Australia
greenpowderspea, brown rice, pumpkinB12nono74.8g3.86 eurosNetherlands
purasanasunflower seed, hemp, pumpkin seedcoconut blossom sugarnono58g5.15 eurosEurope
vega sportpea, pumpkin
seed, sunflower seed, alfalfa
turmericyesno71g5.50 to 7 eurosWorldwide
paradise herbspeamushrooms, superfoods, adaptogensyesyes67g4.73 eurosWorldwide
garden of lifepea, sprouted brown ricesuperfoods,
wholefood vitamins and minerals
yesyes54g6.30 eurosWorldwide
mattissonpea, rice, hemp, almond, pumpkin, sacha ichi, sunflower seednothing elsenono67g4.74 eurosEurope

Amino Acids Comparison

A big criticism of plant protein versus animal protein is that animal proteins are “complete” and plant proteins aren’t. That means that when you eat fish, meat or eggs, you get the right combo of essential amino acids (these are 9 amino acids our bodies need to get from food because we can’t produce them ourselves).

Plant proteins are known as “incomplete”. Though soy, quinoa and chia seeds do have complete protein, most plant foods only have some essential amino acids, lacking others. That means that in order to get complete protein, you need to mix and match different plant foods.

Typically, many vegan shake products will have done the mixing and matching for you. Some list the amino acid profile of their product, but some don’t. But what do those numbers mean anyway?

I took a list of the ideal milligrams of amino acids per gram of food protein from the American National Academy of Medicine and compared it to the listed aminos in the five (out of 7) winning powders that listed an amino acids profile. To get those numbers, I took the grams of amino acids per 100 gram powder, divided by the grams of protein (per 100 gram powder), to find the quantity of amino acid per gram of vegan protein.

ideal mg of
amino acid /
gram of
food protein
greenpowders
(mg)
purasana
(mg)
vega sport
(mg)
mattisson
(mg)
paradise
(mg)
histidine182220.726.725.322.4
isoleucine2541.629.350.346.346.3
leucine5575.455.38776.182.1
lysine515722.973.750.771.6
methionine + cystine2510+15.5 = 25.51.6+8.4 = 1010+10 = 2035.89+7.5 = 16.5
phenylalanine +tyrosine4748.8+35 = 83.843.2+27.6 = 70.853.7+40.3 = 9449.3+23.9 =73.253.7+35.8 = 89.5
threonine2732.523.836.937.335.8
tryptophane78.32.11010.49
valine3248.249.15765.749.3

mg of amino acids per gram of food protein comparison. numbers in red are less than ideal.

Vegan Protein OUTDATED Winner:

Superfoodies Brown Rice Protein Powder Green OLD FORMULA (Europe only)

Superfoodies (Netherlands) (European site) have a few different protein powders.

I first ordered their “protein green” because of all the additional plant extracts and probiotics. It has an unusual taste, yet, it quickly became one of my favs for mixing with fresh green juice! The unusual flavor with fruity flavors popping up was perfect with bitter/lemony green juice.

Unfortunately, they changed their formula and removed the probiotics 😭😭😭. I found out the hard way when I ordered a new batch and the ingredients on the label were different from before. I contacted the Dutch Superfoodies helpdesk and they confirmed that the new formula no longer has probiotics. Since I’ve tried another one of their protein powders with the same base protein, and that didn’t go well, I already know this new recipe won’t work for me.

Possible fix? The helpdesk suggested mixing the new protein green with their greenjuice (which contains the same probiotics as their protein used to) but honestly, adding greenjuice with more greenjuice with “used to be good” proteinpowder… why?? Plus, I’m not a fan of that much superfoodgrass in one drink. Beyond a certain point, it just makes me throw up. The small amount of wheatgrass in their protein mix was fine. I don’t want any more.

Thankfully I’ve since found a good replacement in the form of the Mattisson Organic Vegan Protein Blend.

old ingredient list: fermented brown rice, banana, lucuma, passionfruit, chlorella, matcha tea, carrot, cucumber, xantam gum, pectine, coconutwater, kale, spinach, wheatgrass, red beets, acerola, broccoli, alfalfaleaf, stevia glucoside, blue berries, acai, probiotics (ingredient list doesn’t specify which ones but their helpdesk said it’s: Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus: 25 miljard cfu per gram of bacterial strains)

The Worst Vegan Protein Powders I tried

I’ve split this section into three-ish parts. First are the powders that digested fine, but needed a taste makeover.

Next are the powders that tasted o.k. but made me bloat or gave me a headache.

Lastly and worstly are the powders that tasted terrible and gave me adverse body reactions too.

Protein Powders 2nd Place:

Digested Fine! But Need a Taste Make-over 🤷‍♀️

Tastes differ. If I thought something was too sweet or not good on its own you might still want to try it.

Maybe you like super sweet. Maybe you mix your protein powders with fruit anyway and wouldn’t notice a bitter taste.

If a powder digests badly, there’s not much you can do but if the taste is wrong, it might be fixable!

Below are these “second place” vegan protein powders. Some are merely far too sweet, some have that terrible protein taste and might be harder to salvage (add a lot of coconut blossom sugar?) but either way, they need a bit of work to make them work.

🤷‍♀️ Vega Sport Protein Chocolate – If chocolate were fake news, it would taste like this.

I really expected this to be a slam dunk. Obviously, I already knew their Berry version digested and tasted great! So it only made sense to later order their chocolate flavor as well.

Right? Wrong. This powder does not taste good. It’s far too sweet and reminds me mostly of vanilla (Where is the chocolate?? No really, where is it?)

Since this isn’t my first what happened to the chocolate flavor??? rodeo – I’d prepared by ordering a bag of cacao as well. I mixed protein : extra cacao at about 3 : 2 and that creates an interesting dark chocolate flavor.

So, definitely salvageable. Pfew.

🤷‍♀️ Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Chocolate – aw, that’s just too sweet of you!

As mentioned in my Garden of Life winner review, I found the protein chocolate much too sweet. It digests great though!

After some experimenting (including blending it with water only – which really reminds you that you’re drinking a powder, not great) I settled on mixing the protein chocolate with a simple almond protein powder. That worked! It diluted the sweetness, without losing the taste.

I also tried stirring in some greenjuice powder that I had lying around. That worked great too. Made it a little less sweet overall and you didn’t taste the greenpowder. So if you have some wheatgrass, chlorella or other super green super *ugh, ugh* disgusting amazing health powder lying around somewhere… go ahead, throw it in (I added just a teaspoon per serving).

So as long as my Raw Organic Protein Chocolate tub lasts, I’ll be mixing it with other things. (Pfew! Expensive purchase saved!) Interestingly though, adding extra cacao did not work at all. I can’t understand why, but it just created a strange taste, not a good taste, no matter how much or little cacao I added.

🤷‍♀️ SunWarrior Classic Plus Organic Protein Chocolate and the Warrior Blend Protein Vanilla – keep fighting that protein taste.

Sunwarrior say about their product:

“The next generation in plant-based protein is here, breaking through the constraints of other protein powders. Warrior Blend is an easily digestible, nutrient filled superfood perfect for anyone who wants to amplify their health and fitness.”

For both Sunwarrior Classic Plus Organic Protein Chocolate and the Warrior Blend Protein Vanilla I wrote in my notes:

“You know when you have a t-shirt that is nice and long but then you wash it and it shrinks? You can still wear it, kind of, but it doesn’t fully cover your belly. So every time you stretch or move, your belly peeks out from under your shirt and you get a bit of a chill. That’s what this protein shake is like. The added flavour kind of covers the protein taste, but not really. So you take a sip hoping it will be o.k. but then the bitter and harsh taste of the protein powder keeps peeping through. Not a good experience. No averse belly or other reactions though.”

Sunwarrior has sample packs. Since I ordered the samples, I didn’t bother trying to mix this with something to try and make it taste better.

Vegan Protein Powders that Tasted Good 😋 / O.K. 😐 but Digested Badly 🥴

If something doesn’t digest well, there’s not much you can do except avoid it.

All the powders listed below went into my donations box (if I had more than a single tester bag). If you know someone with a strong gut who likes vegan shakes, I’d be happy to send this your way if you/they cover shipping (details here)

😋🥴 The Protein Works Vegan Protein Chocolate Mint – If After Eight mints were a protein drink, this would be it!

I very very much wanted this vegan protein powder to go down well once I’d had the first sip. It tastes amazing! Unfortunately, it doesn’t digest amazingly.

At first I just got a light cloudy feeling in my head. Yet, after half a shake, 15 minutes later, the slight cloudy feeling had turned into a headache and my belly felt bloated.

So into the donations bin this one goes 😭 but I’ll be doing some experimenting with adding fresh mint to other chocolate protein shakes!

😐🥴 Plantforce Synergy Protein – That berry taste was o.k. for something that made me hate this experiment.

I ordered the chocolate, berry and vanilla sampler. ThirdWaveNutrition (the Danish company who make this product) say about plantforce:

“Great natural taste (…) The plant based proteins are easy to digest without suffering from digestive discomfort, which can be common in regular milk based protein powders.” 

Easy huh? Well, let’s talk about that. I tried the berry version and the taste was o.k. Not great, but o.k. However, the shake gave me a headache right away and after 15 minutes some serious bloating set in.

I vowed that this was the last time I was going to take a shot on a new protein powder! My tummy felt terrible for hours. Needless to say, I skipped the chocolate and vanilla flavors and moved them straight to the donations box.

😐🥴 Orangefit – they’ve added a CrossFit mentality to their shake

Orangefit (website) makes many of the “recommended protein” lists, at least here in the Netherlands (they ship worldwide). I ordered a few of their flavor samples: mango-peach, banana and chocolate (they also have vanilla and strawberry).

Their mango-peach was o.k.-ish taste-wise but you could really smell the pea protein (not good). I also needed to drink it with lots of breaks. Like I needed to catch my breath from the sheer effort of drinking this. Wait, wasn’t this supposed to help me recover after a workout, and not be a workout? 🤔

The banana shake had a chemically fruity flavor but the taste was overall o.k.-ish for a chemically fruity flavor. The shake gave me a light foggy headache though.

I didn’t try the chocolate flavor because I’d already decided orangefit was out of the race. Booyah!

Though, Orangefit pro-actively disagreed with me on that! Yes, you didn’t know this but drinking protein shakes is all about mindset. Thankfully, Orangefit is only too willing to share that wisdom.

Shortly after placing my order and well-before receiving my samples, a “mental prep” email slid into my inbox entitled (translated): “What you need to know before you start”.

In the email, Orangefit’s Tip no.1 was that “healthy isn’t always delicious” and that you’d probably need to get used to the taste of their product but that after 3-5 shakes, you wouldn’t want it any other way, just like 98% of all their customers.

Huh.

Isn’t that interesting.

It’s as if they knew that I wouldn’t like the taste, or the digestion effect but instead of pro-actively taking their product back into the lab to improve it, they took the lazier route.

Guys in suits gathered around the conference table and decided: “Boys! We can MAKE our customers like our product! It just takes a little marketing! Get into their head! Make them feel like utter weirdos who give up too easily if they don’t learn to love us!”

And that’s why they’re called Orangefit you see. You think it has to do with being fit, while in reality, it’s about being fit (jammed) into the orange box.

Now, those statistics… I’ve really been wondering about those… They must have gathered (I assume) a crowd of 50 testers, inside the orange box (Is it like a Crossfit Box? Nobody knows). And at the end of the experiment, 49 of them learned to love the product. Through sheer determination they made it through offputting flavours and mental fogs until….after 5 shakes exactly, the fog lifted, the bananas sang, the peaches celebrated…

That one person who didn’t learn to love them was apparently, my doppelganger.

Seriously though, I respect the “give it a shot” prep. I just think it can be done in a much less condescending way. And you know, a headache is a headache. There’s no learning to like that.

😐🥴 Sunwarrior Classic Plus Organic Protein Vanilla – The Sands of Time.. they hurt

Sunwarrior is one of the oddest brands I’ve tested because I got very different results for two flavours of the same kind of protein powder. It’s all very confusing and mysterious.

Sunwarrior Classic Plus Organic Protein Vanilla has a pretty nice taste actually! A tad sandy, but creamy and not too sweet. You do get a tiny sense of the bitter protein powder but it’s ignorable. Unfortunately it does give me a headache though and not only does it bloat it my tummy, it also hurts my gut. (Odd because for the chocolate flavor of the sunwarrior plus I got no adverse body reactions.)

😋🥴 Your Super Plant Protein – a creamy headache

This vegan protein powder from YourSuper (website) creates a shake that is creamy and has a good taste. There is a very light vague banana flavour. Unfortunately it also gave me a light headache and a bloated feeling.

😐🥴 6D Sportsnutrition: Vegan Protein Chocolate – The Tour de France happened inside of me.

6D Sportsnutrition (website) feeds all kinds of European pro athletes. But it seems, none of them have sensitive guts.

Ok I admit, I was getting a little cocky. I believed/hoped/prayed that I had developed “which vegan shake will work for me” intuition… so I ordered a big tub (the only size available).

Man – did I regret that. The taste was o.k. Not great, but o.k. You could taste a tad of the protein bitterness through it all, but not enough to be really offputting. However, this powder really made its way through my gut. At first I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad – I could feel it roaming around down there but after 20 minutes came the final answer in the form of a headache.

Maybe the pea + rice protein base should have been enough of a warning… but it had added enzymes as well and no additives other than cacao powder and sweeteners. Too bad!

I actually tried mixing this with the Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Chocolate, to make it go down better, but that didn’t work. Then I put the tub up on my neighborhood Nextdoor app (for free!) and nobody wanted it. I’ll hold on to it for a bit in case I run into any iron-stomach fitness buffs (Know any? I’m happy to ship this your way)

😋🥴 Juvo Raw Green Protein – “Ground control to major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on”

I ordered a sample (NL) of this because… it has an amazing list of ingredients:

“Highly Digestible, Hypoallergenic Protein quality plant protein sourced from Brown Rice
Protein, Hemp Protein, Spirulina, Quinoa, Millet, Amaranth and Flaxseed. A Blend of Powerful Organic Raw Ingredients Freeze-Dried to Preserve Enzymes, Vitamins & Minerals. High in phytonutrients. Antioxidants from a blend of 10 berries, 7 Alkalinizing Green Sprouts plus Grasses, Veggies…” ooooh, aaaaaah…. you get the idea.

The taste is very neutral, mixed with my rice-coconut milk, it didn’t taste like anything at all. The powder blended perfectly with the rice milk, no issues there.

However, with such a diverse mix of different proteins and only rice (no pea) protein I would have expected this to digest MUCH better.

At first, it wasn’t too bad. A little bloat and mental haziness. But after 10 minutes or so, ouch! This powder really hurt my gut. I also ended up in that lightly spaced-out place you end up in when your gut is just super unhappy.

(Thankfully, my order of Captain Kombucha arrived that same day and that brought me right back to earth and made me feel a whole lot better. Pfew! Aye Aye Captain!)

Juvo is – I’m deducing from a quick google search, available worldwide. It’s a great idea, but I unfortunately don’t agree with the claimed “highly digestible” quality of it. Or rather, it doesn’t agree with me.

😐🥴 Green Foods True Vitality Plant Protein Shake with DHA (vanilla) – Is chest bloat from proteinised air a thing?

With enzymes, probiotics and a protein blend of pea, brown rice and hemp, with added spirulina, barley grass and chlorella… what could go wrong?

A whole lot apparently.

The taste of this powder is neutral. So neutral that after adding it to my rice milk, I had to doublecheck that I actually added it. I didn’t taste it at all, and it also dissolved perfectly. So far, so good!

At first, this powder seems to digest o.k. I say o.k. because it did give me a non-enthusiastic “meh” feeling right away. But what’s a little “meh” when you’ve just ingested a “complete and balanced vegan meal replacement for optimal digestion and health”? Well, I soon found out.

The best I can describe it is “chest bloat”. Like you’ve taken in too much air. But really, it’s probably my diaphragm having a moment like when you’re startled and hold your breath. So as I am writing up this review, I’m making myself do full belly breaths until – ah, there it is. Breathing normally again, but still feeling spaced out.

Based on the ingredient list, this vegan protein powder looked like a no brainer (in a good way) but unfortunately it turns out to be ‘no bueno’ instead.

😐🥴 Mattisson Organic Sport Vegan Protein Blend (vanilla) – almost nothing doesn’t go down so well after all

At first, this vegan protein powder seemed to digest o.k. It was another “meh” experience for sure but I couldn’t pinpoint any isssues from a few sips.

The taste was almost neutral, like powdered nothing with a slight vague hint of vanilla. The powder blends well…it smells o.k. So I blended a full portion into a shake and when I got halfway, that’s when the headache hit.

This powder is a blend of pea, rice, hemp, almond and sunflower protein. It also has matcha, moringa and turmeric and a few other ingredients. A fine list of ingredients, but unfortunately, this is another one for the donation box.

😐🥴 The Honest Earth – I am bloating away, away… and this company left a bad taste in my mouth

This company found me on Facebook, with an ad for “plant based protein powder that doesn’t taste like sand + no more tummy bloating”. The powder has added digestive enzymes and a few other digestion-boosting ingredients. A serving contains 30 grams of complete protein. Their peas are sprouted…

“If you’ve been looking for an honest, 100% natural, nonsense free, dairy free source of complete protein then this is it.” – they say about themselves on their website.

Sounds good right? So, what’s the verdict? I tried their “raw cacao” flavor (they also have vanilla coconut). The taste is o.k.-ish. Unfortunately, it made me bloat a lot. In fact, I could still feel the bloat a few hours (and lots of water) later. This protein also gave me a hazy headache that got worse over time.

Aaaaaaaand…..that’s on top of the headache that the company already gave me upon ordering!

I debated whether to include the details on that but I know that if I just write “a crappy company with crappy customer service that is definitely not nonsense free”… that doesn’t tell you much. Plus, their own website is filled with only the most sparkly and wholesome reviews. So I’ve given them an additional review section below to warn other internet surfers. It’s quite a saga though so feel free to skip to the next review.

Worst Company Award interlude

The Honest Earth – worst vegan protein powder company award 🏆

I’d never heard of The Honest Earth before (not even in my extensive google search for vegan protein powders).

Maybe that should have been a clue 🤔 (?) but I later found out that they are a very new company that started out on Kickstarter late 2019.

Their Facebook ad that popped into my feed had a deal for 2 bags + shipping for $40 USD and it sounded like they had a good vegan gut-friendly product. I did a little googling and found that normally they charge about $40 for a single bag.

Since they don’t have small tester bags, this was pretty much my shot at trying them out. And like I outlined in the section above, they seemed worth the gamble.

Their FB ad had an extensive funnel with many upsells and downsells. As I navigated my way though and put in my creditcard info and confirmed the purchase of 2 bags, I was told not to close the page, because my order wasn’t final (or something like that).

Then I was taken through several more upsell pages, all of which I said “no” to (as far as I know). Yet, on the final confirmation page, another bag was automatically added to my order for $30! Yikes! And there was no way to undo it. This was much more than I planned or was willing to spend to try out a product!

So I contacted chat support right away and explained there was some kind of mistake.

A few minutes later, I got this response from the owner:

At that point I hadn’t even received an email confirmation of my order yet (I reached out that quickly).

But sure, the titanium box with my order would no doubt have been welded shut by the magical super gnomes in those 4.5 minutes.

I understand completely.

I tried to reason with him (he seemed like someone with little natural empathy so I tried to explain in clear as day detail) and got absolutely nowhere.

After a few brief statements that their Facebook ad funnel “worked normally” and that he tried to contact the warehouse but it was “probably too late”, he completely ignored me.

Even though I was clearly on a roll with my FB funnel manifesto. 🤪

Because as they say on their website: “you talk, we listen!”

So, stuck chatting to a wall I wondered, is “returning it” a decent solution?

Well it would be for most webshops in the Netherlands. Usually, when I make a purchase here and there is some kind of issue, I can send back the (unopened of course) items for free.

But The Honest Earth makes you jump through all kinds of (financial) hoops. Some of these hoops are listed on (one of) their site(s), some you are notified of only once you contact them.

Here are their refund terms:

  1. The customer has to pay for return shipping**. The shipment needs to have a tracking link*** and if it arrives damaged, it’s not refunded**. That leaves as my only shipping option the very expensive 21 euros (USD 25+) shipping that includes tracking and insurance (up to 100 euros) from the Netherlands to the U.K.
  2. Money is deducted from the refund for “restocking costs”*. (for the gnomes, they work so hard!) How much? Well their main site says it’s $9.95 (Which of the 37 kinds of dollar currencies is that? They don’t say) but over email I was told it’s GBP 9.90 per order***.
  3. The customer is not refunded for The Honest Earth’s original shipping costs*. Though my deal included free shipping, their costs obviously weren’t 0. I’ve asked them three times how much would be deducted for that and Aaron finally responded with “8 GBP”****. Their standard EU shipping is GBP 9.99. (11.50 euros) and their priority shipping is double that. I found out by putting something in their regular shopping cart with fake contact details to see what they’d charge for shipping.

If I were to – as Aaron suggested – send back just the one extra bag (that I paid 23.65 euros for), that would actually cost me another 18 euros and 12 cents. In other words, “refunding” would be more expensive than just tossing it in the trash.

Also note that I had to actively hunt down this information!

*listed on their main site only

**listed on their main site and uk site

***they only tell you this over email when you ask for the return shipping address

****only mentioned when I dug deeper and asked questions

The Shipment Arrives!

A week after placing my order, their box of three bags arrived. It was covered in cacao protein powder dust. Not surprisingly, the box didn’t look like the one in their facebook ad. It was just a regular brown box, no uplifting mantras, no brand message… there wasn’t even a packing slip inside.

(🔽 all that brown you see on the bags is powder. The bags are meant to be white, they’re not actually tie-die designs. Despite them wanting to seem like a friendly hippy company.)

Turns out one of the bags (left pic) was open. The powder poofed from the box when I opened it and landed all over my desk.

I tried half a teaspoon of their product from that open bag (I know, brave) to write my review. So yes, just half a teaspoon of their product can give you terrible bloat and a nasty headache (like it did me).

Summing Up The Honest Earth Company

Dear reader, avoid this company at all costs.

The only reason they have so many positive reviews is because they delete / ignore / block the bad ones (I commented on their FB ad and my comment (click for legible screenshot) was removed within 24 hours)

To be clear, I went into all this knowing that I might lose $40 / 35 euros. I was o.k. with that.

What I am not o.k. with is the involuntary upsell of $30 / 24 euros, the abominable “refund” terms and dismissive customer service completely lacking in interest or empathy. When I googled reviews for The Honest Earth, I found one from Craig on Trustpilot with the same “forced upsell” experience I had this month, so I decided to add a review there too. By the time you read this, perhaps more people have left a comment like that.

In the end, even if I were to send back all three bags and get them refunded, I’d end up – after my shipping costs and all the subtractions on their end – with a refund that would amount to significantly less than what I paid for that one upsell bag that I didn’t want in the first place. It’s one of those refund policies that isn’t a refund policy. It’s just there so they can say that they have a refund policy.

o.k. BIIIIGGG breath, and back to other product reviews!


🤐 Terrible taste, not sure about the rest…

If I had been in a lab, they would not have let me get away with a sloppy review like this (“get back in there and test harder!”) but as it is, there are times when my mouth gets veto power:

🤐 XXL Nutrition Green Protein Powder (chocolate) – serve this to end the party and encourage people to go home

This protein powder made from pea, rice and hemp protein is… unfortunately disgusting. I know, I know, that’s just my opinion. I wasn’t able to down more than a tiny gulp. I even saved the shake and tried again the next day and the day after that! But, it’s squarely on my YUCK list. Somehow, the icky protein powder taste just comes right through the added sweetener.

Because I only had a tiny amount, I don’t know how it would have affected my gut or head if I’d had more than the tiniest sip. Plus, the EWWWW sensation just kind of drowned out everything else. Sorry readers, but I don’t want to try more of it just to report on how it affects my gut. *shiver*

XXL nutrition (Europe) is a great company though with many products worth trying. They have small samples for many products and ship fast. It’s just, their green protein… sheesh!

Vegan Protein Powders with Terrible Taste 🤐 and Terrible Bloat 🥴

Sure, just because I don’t love these, doesn’t mean everyone hates them.

Still, if you have a senstive digestive tract, I’d suggest avoiding these!

🤐🥴 Silverback Protein – they made that poor gorilla into a drink

smart people understand why” (their tagline) ahahaha!

Theoretically yes, I understand why: they’ve enriched their vegan protein powder with amino acids, to make it the most complete protein possible (according to them), but I wish they’d spent some more time working on the taste and digestability too. By the way, I’ve come across plenty of brands that make an effort to offer a balanced protein powder – I doubt Silverback is as unique as they claim to be at this!

I tried their apple cinnamon flavour first. At first, the taste was o.k. and the drink was light and pleasant, but after downing 1/3rd of the shake, I needed a ‘break’. The apple flavour had a chemical aftertaste and it ended up giving me a hazy feeling in my head.

The chocolate and vanilla flavoured shakes were way too sweet for my taste and they gave me both a bloated feeling in my gut and a hazy feeling in my head.

Silverback use pea protein. They have no enzymes or probiotics added to their powder (adding those might have helped!)

🤐🥴 Superfoodies Chocolate Protein – Fermented, with Demented Chocolate

You might remember superfoodies from the”outdated winner” category. But that’s for the (old recipe) Green Protein. However, I also tried a sample of their Chocolate Protein and wrote in my notes: “a strange taste that has absolutely nothing to do with chocolate” It also left me feeling a little bloated, with a light pressure in my head. I threw away the rest of that sample bag.

This powder has fermented brown rice as it’s base (just like the superfoodies winner). The Chocolate Protein variant doesn’t include probiotics though (as their old-style green protein does), and this might well be the key difference for me. They boast on their website that if whey powder gives you digestive issues, their brown rice powder doesn’t… except in my case, on its own it clearly does.

🤐🥴 YourSuper Skinny Protein – Who mowed the lawn and made it a drink?

YourSuper (website) sell mostly superfood and herb blends. I purchased their tester set that included 2 protein powders. The Skinny Protein mix contains pea protein, hemp protein, moringa, spirulina and alfalfa.

Think of what raw leafy greens taste like. It’s not terrible per se, but in a salad, you’d add some balsamic vinegar or lemon juice at least. But what if you don’t? Then you know what this blend tastes like. Add a little bloat that slowly gets worse, and you know all you need to know about this powder. O.k. – going to drink lots of water now before I start feeling like a balloon.

🤐🥴 Purasana Chia Protein Chocolate – Mama Mia, what happened to the chia?!

I don’t understand how this could be such a disappointment. Chia is a complete protein and I eat chia seeds all the time! Plus, chocolate is such an easy flavor, isn’t it?

This product only contains three ingredients: “organic partially defatted chia powder”, organic cacao powder and natural flavor (chocolate). Yet, the taste was bad – not very chocolatey and hard to describe. This powder also made me feel bloated. Not hugely, and there was no headache, but enough to not feel good at all drinking a shake from this.

I tried this a few times because it was hard to believe my own bloating. (Am I really feeling bloated? What’s really going on with this powder?) I also tried improving the taste by adding cacao but that just made it worse! So much so that I threw it away.

🤐🥴 Dr Murray Superfoods Protein Powder Chocolate – Too sweet, with a surprise gut stab.

This is a blend of pumpkin, flax and sunflower protein. It’s also very very sweet (too sweet). While that would be fixable by adding something to it, this powder is sneaky because at first it seems to digest fine.

Then after a few minutes, a light fogginess sets in. A few minutes later that starts to turn into a light headache and after 10 minutes or so I felt bloated and my head hurt.

All of this despite the fact that it contains no pea protein, no rice protein, and has probiotics added (bacillus coagulans). Really, the ingredients are more than decent, but nevertheless, this one didn’t work for me.

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients

Summary of Lesson Learned:

My Vegan Protein Recommendations and Tips:

.

If you have a sensitive tummy like me and you need or want to do your own experimenting, there are 3 aspects of vegan protein powders that I recommend paying attention to:

1 – What is the BASE of the vegan protein powder?

Pea protein is (in my experience) hardest to digest and while rice is supposed to be easier, rice-only protein powders often give me issues too.

Pea protein is very popular, especially in sports blends. It’s considered a superior protein for building and repairing muscle. However, with a little searching you’ll find protein powders made of all kinds of proteins.

Of course, don’t take my word for it! Just take note that if you’re ordering multiple protein powders and they e.g. all have pea as a base… you’ll probably respond the same to all of them. So, it makes sense to order one pea powder first to see if you digest it well. If it turns out that you don’t digest pea protein well, look for a protein powder with a different base, that has a mix of protein types, or that has probiotics added.

2 – Is the protein powder a mix of different proteins?

Some vegan protein powders are a mix of different kinds of proteins, some are made from mostly one kind of protein. Some brands will use one protein (often pea) as a base, and then possibly supplement with aminos from different sources to create a completer protein.

Other brands have chosen for a mix of different protein powders from the start, to create an ideal mix of amino acids.

In my experience, blends of multiple kinds of vegan proteins are easiest to digest.

3 – Does the powder have added enzymes and probiotics?

Enzymes and probiotics make these proteins much easier to digest. If you can pick a brand that includes them, I’d recommend doing so.

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients on purple background

The Fool-Proof Start of your Vegan Protein Shake Journey:

Based on my experience,

if you have a super sensitive gut and could only try ONE protein powder

I would pick one that either:

  • does not include pea nor rice protein + is a mix of different proteins
    OR
  • it has pea or rice protein but has enzymes and probiotics added.
  • To be super safe you might want to start with a protein powder that has no pea and no rice, that is a mix of different proteins and that has enzymes and probiotics… but so far I haven’t found a single vegan protein powder that fits that bill!

This is not a hard or fast rule though, because Greenpowders has pea and rice and no enzymes or probiotics, yet I digest it just fine! Ultimately, you will need to try things to be sure.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Best Vegan Protein Shake:

If you’re aiming for the cheapest vegan protein shake you can handle, I’d recommend opting for a protein blend (point 2) since this will mostly digest well even without any enzymes or probiotics.

  • If you’re in the Netherlands, try Greenpowders or Mattisson (google for the lowest priced online shop) since they both have an amazing amino acids profile and are the most budget-friendly of all the winners.
  • If you’re in Europe, try Mattisson.

Overall though, digestive health is so important for your overall health that I really think it’s worth paying extra for a vegan protein shake that you like a lot and that feels really good in your gut! A little extra support now goes a long way and can prevent bigger medical expenses down the road.

In the end, you can ingest all the nutrition in the world, but if you don’t digest it well, you don’t really benefit from it! So even though brands will tend to toot their horn about what is IN their protein powders, the first thing you need to check for yourself is which protein powders you digest well.

In the end, you’d get more nutritional value from a powder that has less perfect protein, but that digests well, than you would from a “superior” product that makes you bloated and gives you a headache.

Of course, all this factors into the cost too. In the end, you need to divide the cost not by how much product you “get”, but by how much nutrition you actually digest well.

(Do ignore what websites say about how “easy” their vegan protein is to digest. Many of the protein powders that gave me bloat, boasted about how easy to digest they supposedly were. On the other hand, founders who created their own vegan protein powders because many available powders gave them bloat, are a different (more hopeful) story.)

drawing of vegan protein shake with happy ingredients

Thanks for reading all this way! I hope you found my findings helpful.

If you need to make some dietary adjustments of your own but you’re struggling because it’s all so overwhelming (the overwhelm is valid!), I also recommend doing my short course: The Sustainable and Pleasant Diet Detox. It’s a step by step strategy for changing what you eat, without getting stressed out by the process.

In that course (that you could easily finish in a short afternoon), I don’t tell you what to eat (that’s up to you!) but if you know you need to make some changes, I share a strategy for making those changes successfully without overwhelming yourself!

The Sustainable and Pleasant Diet Detox course is part of my Happy Sensitive Library of courses. Take a look at all that’s included here. I also share lots of tips and strategies for better sleep, handling stress and lessening overwhelm in the Happy Sensitive Library. As well as courses on the Language of Energy Sensitivity, How to Stop Getting Overwhelmed in Crowded Spaces and much much more. One simple membership gets you access to everything.

“I just wanted to quickly say how much I love the library, or more the contents and effort and knowledge you put in it! It’s really helpful and you make complex information really accessible. Thank you!” ~ Eva, Germany

photo of library

P.S. If you live in the Netherlands and have a friend/partner/someone who can eat pretty much anything, and who likes vegan protein, I’d be happy to ship all my testing “leftovers” if you send me 10 euros for shipping!

That includes 13 small (sealed) sample bags from various brands in various flavors and a few bigger tubs (Purasana chia protein, 6D sports, dr Murray, The Protein Works, Green Foods True Vitality, Mattisson Sport and 3 bags of The Honest Earth) that have just a few tablespoons at most missing. (All in all that’s about 5.5 kilos of protein powder!)

Just contact me here with the address and I’ll send you a paypal link.

Article Index

Share to spread the happy sensitive inspiration
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Email this to someone
email
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Pin on Pinterest
Pinterest
Print this page
Print

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post: