THE BEST VEGAN PROTEIN POWDERS THAT WON’T UPSET YOUR GUT
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, nutrition is something I’m super passionate about. I spend hours researching products before I buy them and read the ingredient labels of everything so I know EXACTLY what I am putting in my body. This may sound extreme and a bit crazy but when you read ingredients labels you soon realise just how much junk is added to our food. From sugars, to fillers, binders, thickeners and preservatives.
Out of all the superfoods, health boosters and baking ingredients I have in my little kitchen cupboard, the one I take most care in choosing is my protein powder. Why? Because so many are full of questionable ingredients that can irritate my gut and leave me feeling bloated and heavy.
You probably don’t know but a few years ago I developed, and was close to producing, my own vegan protein powder, so I know a thing or two about protein formulations, ingredients, sourcing and what makes a great quality protein powder.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PROTEIN POWDER
I recommend plant-based protein powders, especially if you experience gut issues such as IBS or leaky gut as whey protein is a by-product produced when making cheese, meaning it contains lactose which can cause digestive upset if you are lactose intolerant or have a sensitive gut.
Secondly whey (i.e dairy) is an inflammatory food which is not ideal for anyone with an inflammatory condition such as acne, arthritis, or auto immune diseases.
Plus, plant sources of protein contain fibre to support healthy bowels.
Consider this a check list for picking the best protein powder that won’t upset your gut:
★ A GOOD DOSE OF PROTEIN. It kind of goes without saying that if you’re buying a protein powder you want it to be a good source of protein. 15 – 30g of protein per serve is ideal for optimum support of muscle protein synthesis (process that stimulates muscle growth and repair).
★ CLEAN PROTEIN SOURCES. Such as pea, hemp, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sacha inchi seeds, quinoa and brown rice.
It’s a bonus if the protein source is sprouted or fermented as this can increase the amounts of beneficial plant compounds, vitamins, and minerals that are present. It may also reduce anti-nutrients that can interfere with your body’s absorption of amnio acids, and other nutrients. Basically, sprouting or fermenting will make the protein easier for your body to digest.
Check for certification such as ‘Informed Sport’, ‘GMP’ (good manufacturing practice), ‘organic’, ‘GMO free’, or ‘heavy metal tested’, to ensure you are getting a good quality product.
★ DIGESTIVE ENZYMES & AIDS. A protein powder is obviously designed to be high in protein, therefore it helps to have enzymes or plant botanicals that break down that protein, so your body can better absorb and utilise it.
You’ll often see an ingredient like ‘Digezyme blend’, or amylase (to break down carbohydrates), protease (to break down protein), lipase (to break down fats), cellulase (to break down plant / fruit / vegetable cellulose), or some proteins contain bromelain (extracted from pineapple to aid protein digestion), or papain (from papaya to assist in protein digestion).
Peppermint, ginger or fennel are sometimes added to aid digestion and reduce symptoms of gas, bloating and discomfort.
★ INGREDIENTS TO AID RECOVERY. Exercise can be intense and demanding on your body, these ingredients can help you recover quicker and workout harder:
BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) delay fatigue during exercise so you can push harder, reduce exercised induced muscle soreness, and support muscle growth and repair.
>>Anti-inflammatories like turmeric and Ceylon cinnamon to reduce exercise induced muscle inflammation.
>>Adaptogens such as maca, ashwagandha, reishi, or cordyceps to reduce stress and aid endurance.
>>Electrolytes such as sea or Himalayan salt, or coconut water to rehydrate your body.
★ NATURAL SWEETENERS. Many protein powders contain added sugar, which is going to destroy all that hard work you did in the gym. Commonly added sugars include: maltodextrin, crystalline fructose, corn syrup, sucralose.
After years of trying sooooo many vegan protein powders (because whey i.e lactose, really upsets my stomach) I have found some great non gritty, smooth textured options that actually taste good. These protein powders will help you achieve your goals, rather than leaving you a bloated gas ball (cus ain’t nobody got time for that!).
REVOLUTION FOODS. The raw sport version in salted caramel is my go-to protein powder; I’ve been using it for years and add it my breakfasts as well as my baking. It’s made from bio-fermented pea protein and quinoa, plus it contains BCAA’s, the electrolyte sea salt, apoptogenic maca and digestive enzymes.
FORM NUTRITION. This is one of the first whole food protein powders I tried that didn’t irritate my gut. The powder is silky smooth. It contains digestive enzymes, anti-inflammatory curcumin (from turmeric), and a probiotic. It’s one of the sweetest protein powders I’ve tried as it is sweetened with stevia and thaumatin.
VIVO LIFE. This company is all about sustainability, they are carbon neutral and all their packaging is biodegradable. Their protein powder features only the best quality ingredients including Madagascan vanilla beans, gelatinised maca, freeze dried acai, or freeze dried Ecuadorian banana powder (depending on the flavour your pick). Bonus, this one is Paleo friendly as it’s made from bio-fermented pea and cold pressed hemp.
SUPERNOVA. An apoptogenic protein powder made with ashwagandha, red maca, wild chaga and camu camu. It also contains ingredients to support gut health such as psyllium husk and agave inulin (a prebiotic to feed good gut bacteria).
TROPEAKA. An Aussie protein made with pea, brown rice and sachi inchi protein that features a gut friendly blend of dandelion, cardamom, turmeric, liquorice and aloe vera.
Psssssst. For more healthy living & nutrition tips, check out my eBook ‘7 DAYS OF PALEO’.