Protein Powder Reviews

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 25, 2011

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My Naturopath recently suggested that I increase my protein intake at breakfast after looking at my daily food log and finding that I was coming up short on occasion. Breakfast is usually my meal that’s lowest in protein (lunch and dinner are fine) and he thought that an increase in breakfast protein could help with my energy levels and workout recovery. Knowing that I’m a vegan, he suggested using protein powder as an easy way to sneak in more protein.

I’ve tried all kinds of protein powders and tend to go through phases with them. Sometimes I use them every day for a week and other times I fall off the wagon or just forget to buy it when I run out. I think part of the problem is that I’ve never been able to find one that meets all of my needs. I’m really picky with protein powders! Sometimes they have sneaky artificial sweeteners, too much sugar, taste like dirt, or they just don’t have as much protein per serving as I’m looking for. If I’m going to fork money over for powder, it better be high in protein!

I said I would give his protein-boosting breakfast challenge a try and set out to find the perfect protein powder once again. I remembered Ashley saying that she was really happy with the Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder, so I thought I would give it a try since she gave it rave reviews.

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The specs of this protein powder:

  • 17 grams of protein per serving (per 1/4 cup scoop)
  • Only 80 calories per serving
  • Less than 1 gram of sugar per serving
  • No fillers, artificial flavours, or synthetics
  • USDA Organic
  • Probiotic and enzyme blend
  • Recyclable container

 

That is a lot of protein per serving for very few calories!

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Ingredient list:

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The nutritional profile:

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One thing I really like about this protein powder is that there’s no added sugar. I like to be able to control my own sweetener in my smoothies (hello, frozen bananas), so this is a nice change.

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What about the taste?

Well, let me just say that it’s pretty earthy, but certainly not the worst protein powder I have tasted (hemp, I’m looking at you).

Don’t expect to add this protein powder into a smoothie without any fruit/sweetener and enjoy the taste. That’s to be expected because there’s no sugar to cover up the taste like in other powders. I would say it’s quite easy to mask the taste with a frozen banana or other fun ingredients. Once I added my normal smoothie ingredients, it was fine!

What I don’t like about this protein powder:

  • I’m sure there is iron in this powder, but they don’t report it. As a vegan, this is crucial info for me to know.
  • It’s expensive to buy from a natural food store ($40-45), but I found it online from Iherb for $27.97 and you can probably find it cheaper.
  • Very slightly chalky and earthy tasting, but again, I don’t think this is a deal breaker for me. It’s much less chalky than some powders I have tried.

 

I also picked up this Heartland Gold Brown Rice Protein Powder to compare it to the Garden of Life Brand. Compared to Garden of Life, this gives me much more bang for my buck. It has 40 servings per container vs. Garden Of Life’s 28 servings. It’s also about $8 cheaper too.

At less than $1 per 16 grams of protein, I’d say this is a cheap source of protein!

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This protein powder has just one ingredient: Organic Compliant, Sprouted, Non-GMO, Brown Rice Protein Concentrate! It’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. I think this would be comparable to the popular Sun Warrior Protein Powder as it’s 100% sprouted brown rice.

It’s 80 calories per scoop and 16 grams of protein. It also has 40% of the RDA for iron which is good for me to know as a vegan.

I also love that it’s a Canadian company based out of Toronto. I was not able to find a website for them though! Suspicious…

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The cons?

It’s a bit more chalky than the Garden of Life protein powder, but only slightly more chalky. This was me comparing them side by side, mind you. The flavour is still earthy (remember- it’s unsweetened), but it’s less earthy tasting than the Garden Of Life powder. Unlike GOL, it’s not a complete protein source, but as long as I get a balance of protein sources over the day, it shouldn’t be an issue.

I still have yet to find my perfect protein powder, but I think these are two decent options weighing the pros and cons. I will definitely buy them again.

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With one scoop of powder you now have a high protein smoothie base of 17 grams of protein. Add some chia seeds and other smoothie ingredients and you have yourself a smoothie that’s 24-25 grams of protein per serving.

As for my energy levels? I’ve noticed that I don’t get as hungry before lunch as I used to and I seem to be more focused and alert in the morning. I think it’s probably a better balance of carbs/protein/fat for my body’s needs.

Are you a protein powder fan? Which ones have you tried and loved or tried and hated?

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

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Christine June 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I’ve been buying Vega One for some time now and I really enjoy it. I was recently told by my Pilates trainer that Perfect Fit Protein is also really good but I haven’t looked at the nutritional information.

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Sara July 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Have you tried the Arbonne brand before? We have both Chocolate and Vanilla, it’s completely vegan (along with the rest of our product line) and it tastes great! Not only does it provide 20g of protein per serving, but also 23 vitamins and minerals. Ours can be used as a meal replacement as well, I make sure I have a packet on me at all times for those unexpected moments when the hunger hits. If you’re having trouble with clumps, I find mixing equal parts almond milk and water works for solubility.

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Stacey September 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I add quinoa to just about everything I eat to increase my protein even in my smoothies. I am not a big fan of protein powders and I love quinoa so its a win, win for me :)

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sandi September 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I’ve enjoyed reading your blog from time to time – it always seems to come up when I am looking for information on the improvements I am making to my diet – most recently Heartland Gold Sprouted Rice Protein Powder. To date, its the best I’ve tried – no tummy troubles and thats major for me, Anyway, thanks for your interesting blog

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Brooke September 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm

I just ran across this post looking for breakfast ideas and wanted to share. I’m an Arbonne consultant and all of our products are vegan certified (skin care, makeup, and nutrition) and we have some absolutely amazing protein powders! I would love to send you some for review! I’m not trying to sell things to you, I’m just a fellow vegan and I am able to keep my protein intake up with our shakes. They’re very tasty!

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Brooke September 25, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Just saw the post above. Like I said, it’s great! :)

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Olivia November 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I would check out all the recall and consumer complaint info on Vega. If you are a vegan this company should not be your first (or last ) choice. There is a company called Progressive with makes a Vegan All In One Powder -26 grams of protein and more greens and superfoods than Vega. Cheaper too. Neo Organics makes a wonderful Vegan powder as well. For my money though Healthforce is the best vegan supplement company anywhere.

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Patty December 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

I’ve used vega before and liked the chocolate okay. However I had to blend it with almond milk. I recently tried Arbonne’s pp and the chocolate’s good with just water mixed in. The vanilla grew on me with almond milk. Both are vegan, non-gmo, and gluten free. They have a little stevia and cane sugar in them, but it didn’t affect my blood sugar and the taste was good.

They’re $65 per bag (ca.30 servings). A bit pricey, but it really makes a nice meal replacement.

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Sarah December 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I agree with this blog. The Garden of Life, raw protein is so great! I use the Cocao Kiss and absolutely love it. There are 10 more calories than the unflavoured but I definitely do not find it ‘chalky’. I find it to be more satisfying than the Vega One products.

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PinaColada March 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Growing Naturals Rice Protein has a great texture, a lot of stevia though but I got used to it, I think it’s a great protein powder otherwise. Vanilla tastes better than chocolate.

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anon May 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

In case you are wondering Heartland Gold is just a re-brand of Progressive Nutritional.

https://progressivenutritional.com/organic-brown-rice-protein/

Same stuff. I use it and definitely best bang for your buck. Also, compare the protein/Amino Acid profile with other brands and you will find the heartland actually beats them with margin. Almost close to Whey!

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Andrea Vallejos June 19, 2014 at 3:56 am

I am currently using SACHA INCHI PROTEIN POWDER in my morning smoothies. I have noticed a big positive change in my body and even in my mood. It’s rich in protein with 50% per serving, omegas, vitamins a & e, and lots of fiber. It’s only one ingredient, nothing added and it has a delicious nutty flavor. I love it and they have it with free shipping to all Hawaiian islands at amazonianimportskauai.com
Highly recommend it!

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Janine King August 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Do you have any concern about the news that came out about Raw Protein having high levels of metals? Are you still using the product or have switched to a new one?

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Gaye Halpin January 7, 2015 at 4:18 pm

I’m currently using Growing Naturals rice protein. It’s kosher, gluten free, and contains 24g of protein per scoop at 100 calories. There are approximately seventeen servings per container. It’s a little chalky but almost flavorless, so it works great in smoothies. I think that’s good for the price of $27.99 per container. I’d still like to find one a little less chalky but for now, I’ll continue to use this one.

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Gaye Halpin January 7, 2015 at 4:27 pm

I forgot to mention that the original flavor contains no Stevia or sugar (i.e., 0g sugar).

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Tiffany B February 18, 2015 at 10:56 pm

Hi,
I know this is an older post, but I am wondering as a nursing mother if you use protein powder. I had a baby around the same time as you and I am always afraid about putting strange things in my body when I am pregnant and breast feeding. Any thoughts on what is best? I need more protein and want help :) I am ready for protein powder again, so any suggestions or what you use will be great!

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Kate February 21, 2015 at 4:28 pm

The least expensive high protein, no-frill protein powder I’ve found after a lot of research is Source Naturals Pea Protein Power. It only contains pea protein concentrate (not isolate, which is less nutritious)–no fillers/sweeteners, etc. , using a water based, chemical free, low temp process. 18 g/protein per 2 T. The latest website that had the best price was pureformula.com.

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310 Nutrition Shakes April 21, 2015 at 6:48 am

Protein is break down into amino acids that promote cell growth and repair.protein needs for health.

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alpha shred May 22, 2015 at 10:24 pm

There’s definately a lot to know about this subject.
I love all the points you have made.

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Protein Powders June 5, 2015 at 5:04 am

Each type of protein powder has specific beneficial properties which make it desirable. Nutritionally and taste-wise, animal proteins are superior to vegetable proteins and far more popular. I prefer classic whey protein (Gold Whey Standard).

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lol July 9, 2015 at 11:27 am

Notice they call it RAW – all capitals. This is not “raw” in the actual sense. It is a marketing gimmick.

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joan December 17, 2015 at 3:58 pm

Aren’t you concerned about the arsenic scare re brown rice?

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Winnie Huprich January 27, 2016 at 12:51 am

I wish they would not put Stevie in this product. Is there a stevia free product available?

Thanx, Winnie Huprich

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Hannah February 15, 2016 at 6:25 am

Hi Angela,
Thanks for your amazing posts.
About brown rice protein my concern is high amount of arsenic which can cause cancer.
I recently watched a bbc program About it which unfortunately even organic brown rice had a very high amount of non organic arsenid .
What do you think about that ?

Thanks

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Stephanie Denisse Allen February 21, 2016 at 3:24 am

I think the protein supplements by Sprout Living are the best out there! Let me know if you have any reviews on it…

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Angela Liddon February 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Hi Stephanie, I haven’t tried Sprout Living, so I’m afraid I can’t offer any reviews on it. It’s great to hear you’ve found a supplement you like, though! Thanks for the question.

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penny March 5, 2016 at 7:24 pm

I ordered Garden of life Raw Protein and should have it this Wednesday. I am surprised that most of you have not tried Life Time Life;s Basics Plant Protein Mix since most of you seem to be vegan. Great with water or as a smoothie. And it costs about $24.00-$26.00 for 15 servings. Contains helmp and Chia Seeds, and a whopping 22 grams of protein. I will post my review after I try this. Was just looking for a change up sometimes and thought this sounded really good for my body. Something I need these days. Trying to get rid of 25 pounds of menopause!!

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Katrina April 4, 2016 at 7:07 am

Has anyone tried Manitoba Harvest’s protein powders? I was using the fiber-dense one for a while in my smoothies, but recently got instructed to start in taking more substantial protein (apparently eating 1/2 a jar of peanut butter doesn’t count…).

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Rose April 8, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Just bought Genuine Health fermented vegan protein
powder- – vanilla flavour
According to the literature – it is highly absorbable – promotes gut health and amplifies nutrition
It was on sale this week at Vita Health( Winnipeg, MB)
Good flavour – mixes easily — like all the various ingredients and high source of protein
In the past, I have tried the Sunwarrior raw vegan protein
Powder- vanilla flavour. But I did not prefer the natural
flavour – found it too hard to disguise the strong flavour
Hope this is helpful
Rose

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Angela Liddon April 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Thanks so much for the info, Rose!

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Nirmala April 12, 2016 at 4:20 am

I don’t like the taste of most of the protein powder which i have tried. Let me try this protien powder.

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Nicola Envers May 2, 2016 at 6:52 pm

I don’t know why it’s literally impossible to find a meal replacement that just… isn’t sweet. Just something that isn’t sweet. No sugar. No sweetener. No stevia. No sugar alcohol. None of that nonsense. Why is this impossible? Why does every meal replacement *have* to be sweet? There is too much science coming out saying, “Hey, remember that sweet thing you liked? It’s killing you” for literally every single fucking meal replacement on this goddamn planet to have some kind of sweetener (“natural” or artificial) in it. Like, really? Do you really think there’s *no* market for something that isn’t sweetened at all, companies?

If people want it sweet, they can add their own goddamn sweetener!

Advertise that it isn’t for little bitches who have to have everything taste like cupcakes and goddamn faeries. Who the FUCK eats a meal replacement because it tastes good anyway? Are you trying to cater to the average American? Or are you trying to cater to the average consumer of fucking supplements and replacements?!

Jesus. Christ.

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Tyler Tafelsky August 6, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Very deep and insightful protein powder reviews. It’s great to hear your perspective. I too am very into plant-based proteins and their nutritional composition.
Keep on – Tyler

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