Following a plant-based diet certainly has its perks. From reducing the risk of disease, improving gut health, elevating energy, lowering inflammation, reducing carbon footprints, and improving overall health and wellness. However, when it comes to meeting those dietary requirements and hitting your body goals, things can get a little tricky.
Removing animal-sourced protein from your diet can create a nutritional gap when it comes to reaching those daily macronutrient and essential vitamin and mineral needs, which can significantly affect your overall functioning and body goals when maintaining and gaining muscle mass. The good news is that high-quality plant-based protein powders can generally fill the gap with their nutrient-packed formulas. Whether you follow a plant-based lifestyle for specific dietary reasons or simply prefer the taste of vegan protein, one thing is for sure; your body will appreciate the additional health benefits when plant-based protein is used in addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
Let's kick off by saying that even though a product may be labelled 'vegan,' this may not mean it's the healthiest option for you or your goals. Comparing brands and ingredients can get overwhelming with new vegan proteins popping up regularly. When selecting a plant-based protein that will benefit your health from the inside out without compromising on taste, here's what to consider.
What to look for in a well-rounded vegan-friendly protein powder:
1. Determine your goals
Whether you're looking to gain muscle, lose fat, or maintain weight, ensure the vegan protein powder you're choosing complements your body and health goals by checking the macronutrient label. If you want to maintain muscle, you'll want to make sure your vegan protein powder is high in protein, ideally 25g per serve or more.
2. Quality plant-based protein source
While plant-based protein can come from various individual sources, a blend of two or more plant-sourced proteins will generally ensure a higher amino acid profile. Aminos are necessary for crucial processes like the production of proteins, the synthesis of neurotransmitters and hormones, and the growth, recovery, and maintenance of muscle mass. For example, a peanut and rice protein blend will offer a complete amino acid profile and deliver essential nutrients like fibre, calcium, iron, and potassium. Fast absorbing for nutrient recovery, blended vegan proteins provide increased benefits for your post-workout nutrient recovery and repair.
3. Taste and texture
The taste can be a little hit and miss when it comes to quality protein powders. Still, for the most part, peanut-based vegan protein powders offer a delicate, creamy texture and delicious peanutty taste that blends well with oats and smoothie ingredients! "We love a super grainy protein powder,"- said no one ever!
4. Gluten and fillers
Opting for gluten and filler-free protein powder is best to maximise plant-based health benefits, especially if you suffer from digestive issues like bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort. Look for gluten-free, vegan protein powders that are also free from filler ingredients like maltodextrin.
Most plant-based protein powders are relatively low in sugar, which is excellent; however, make sure to check what the actual sweetener is before finalising your purchase. Opt for natural alternatives like monk fruit, steviol glycosides, and steer clear of coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, and artificial sweeteners like sucralose as they can also contribute to digestive upsets.
Bodies need fats. For example, the good ones, like MCT Oil Powder, offer a variety of health benefits, from promoting fat loss, boosting energy, offering antimicrobial and antifungal effects, and more! Opt for a vegan protein powder that offers good fats that fit within your desired macronutrient allocation.
Natural, gluten-free, and dairy-free, our plant-based protein of choice is Vegan Protein, as it makes an epic substitute for whey protein and offers a range of body goal benefits! High in protein and free from artificial nasties, this smooth and creamy vegan protein is a favourite to many, and for a good reason.