plant-based protein

The Smoothie: Protein in its Simplest Form

With the increase of weight-training phenomenons like Crossfit and powerlifting, protein and protein powders are getting a huge surge in the world of nutrition. From nuts to pea protein, plant-based protein powders are crowding the shelves of local health food stores and making their way into smoothies across the globe. But what are all these new protein ingredients and where on earth do they come from? Is one protein source better than another? Let’s take a look at the best plant-based protein powder – and some animal protein powder sources – to learn each powder works.

Working with Whey

After milk has been curdled and strained, a thick liquid remains created as a byproduct of cheese production. Whey, as this liquid is commonly called, is then separated from the fat and processed for consumption. Whey protein is arguably one of the best sources of protein available because it contains a large range of essential amino acids, which are absorbed quickly. Whey protein is proven to help you increase strength, gain muscle, and lose fat. The only problem? Vegans and those allergic to milk need to look elsewhere for their protein supplements.

Boosted with Bone Broth

True, it’s not a plant-based protein, but these days, it seems like bone broth is the magic cure-all. Whether you think it’s ridiculous to shell out upwards of $15 on glorified chicken broth or you’ve hopped on the bone broth bandwagon, the fact is that companies and consumers worldwide are gobbling the stuff up. Take Ancient Nutrition’s Bone Broth Protein. This protein supplement delivers the benefits of homemade bone broth and supports joints, skin, muscles, and digestion. Plus, it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and Paleo-friendly, so it’s suitable for all non-vegan gym buffs. The company eschews chemicals and new-fangled supplements in favor of traditions and nutritional principles that have been tried and tested throughout history.

Pick Pea

Pea protein is the perfect option. Plant-based eaters can add this veggie protein powder to their diets without the unwanted side effects that usually come along with protein powders like bloating and allergies. Pea protein is a “complete protein,” made by drying and grinding peas and legumes into a fine flour and removing the fiber and starch. This leaves you with mostly protein with vitamins and minerals. For a taste of plant-based protein, try Purely Inspired organic protein shake that boasts a whopping 20 grams of pea-tastic protein.

Go Nuts for Nuts

Another plant-based protein that’s lining the shelves is nut-based protein powders. Nut enthusiasts (and the non-allergic) will go nuts for peanut and Brazil nut-based powders. Nuts and nut-butters typically contain a large amount of fat and calories, but turning them into powders removes some of the bad-for-you elements. Take Raw Power’s Brazil Nut Protein Powder that boasts raw, organic, and vegan protein. It delivers the nutrients of Brazil Nuts without the fat calories. PB fit’s peanut butter powder is also a great way to add protein to your smoothies with 90% less fat and ⅓ of the calories of a scoop of peanut butter.

Whatever you decide is best for your body and your diet, these natural protein powders are a great way to bolster your diet and consume some post-workout recovery fuel. Bump your smoothies up to the next level with one of these good-for-your-body protein powders.

And the Best Plant Based Protein Powder Is…

For it’s appeal to the broadest swath of humans and mostly non-allergenic qualities, we choose pea protein as the best plant-based protein powder.

Snack Bags Get a Punch of Protein

When you think about chips, the last thing that comes to mind is probably “healthy snacks” or “foods with protein” — but some health food manufacturers are transforming your favorite guilty pleasure into a new source of foods with protein. Punch up your snack game with these high protein, health conscious chips in a range of crave-worthy flavors. These various protein chips have revolutionized snack food, offering a preferable alternative to nutritionally void, processed munchies.

Skip Chips with Fat and Carbs

Your standard serving of chips — take Lay’s potato chips — packs in 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs, and a mere 2 grams of protein. They’re an indulgence that should be reserved for rare occasions. Now take Quest Protein Chips — a snack that boasts 20 grams of protein instead of empty carbs. With flavors like sour cream and onion, cheddar and sour cream, sea salt, salt and vinegar, and BBQ, you can enjoy your favorite snack without all the guilt. With 130 calories per bag and just 4 grams of fat and 3 grams of net carbs, these macronutrient ratios can be a part of any diet. So how do they construct a chip with such remarkable stats? The first ingredient in Quest chips is a protein blend of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate — the very same blend found in their signature bars. After that, all you’ll find is sunflower oil, dried potatoes, corn starch, psyllium husk, and natural flavors.

Protein in Unlikely Places

And other companies are getting in on the protein chip game. Plocky’s has been satisfying consumers since 1988 with savory snacks made from the finest ingredients with no preservatives. Their PrOTATO Crisps in original flavor with Himalayan pink salt, spicy honey BBQ, and peppercorn ranch are made from simple (and pronounceable) ingredients. You’ll find dehydrated potato, rice protein, modified corn starch, sunflower oil, sugar, soy lecithin, and leavening in these healthful snacks. One serving contains 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein — less protein than Quest chips, but equally sin-free.

SimplyProtein offers crunchy, low carb snacks that’ll keep you fueled and feeling light. SimplyProtein Chips are made with real ingredients and packed with 15 grams of pea protein. The modest ingredient list includes pea protein isolate, dehydrated potato flakes, potato starch, salt, calcium carbonate, organic canola oil, and natural seasonings. In one bag, you’ll find just 140 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 30% of your daily iron intake. These plant based, gluten-free chips are non-GMO and the perfect guilt-free snack.

And clocking in at the lowest calories per serving, Our Little Rebellion’s Protein Crisps are only 90 calories per serving. Flavors like BBQ, buffalo, and wasabi ginger add spice to the potato chip game. You’ll be receiving a mere 2.5 grams of fat and 10 grams of plant-based proteins without the GMOs, preservatives, and gluten that you’ll find in many chips.

Foods with Protein

So what’s the drawback? While these chips offer a much preferable alternative to your standard snack bag, they’re still processed food. No, you can’t nibble on these chips post-workout and expect a nutritional powerhouse. You’re still much better off with a couple of hard boiled eggs, some cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, or a banana with nut butter. But even though you won’t want to add these chips into your everyday diet, they’re still a much better alternative to your typical greasy snack food.


Burgers: A Revolution in Plant-based Protein

plant based burgers

There are few things more satisfying than biting into a juicy, bloody burger — but what if said burger was made from plant-based protein instead of ground beef? A new revolution in vegan protein has begun, and it’s all about the burger. These plant-based proteins “bleed” and resemble actual beef more than any vegan products before. But why are we calling them “meat?” And why would someone who has eschewed eating meat want a product that so closely resembles the thing they’re trying to avoid?

Why Choose Plant based Protein?

Some health-conscious consumers have removed meat from their daily intake for purely dietary reasons. For them, these imitator products are welcomed with a fervor. Products like Impossible Foods’ Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger so closely approximate a beef patty that herbivores can indulge in the very things they’ve had to give up. High cholesterol? Sink your teeth into a juicy Impossible Burger and you’ll barely know the difference. Suffering from an illness that benefits from a plant-based diet? Grill up a Beyond Burger when a meat craving strikes and feel satiated without the side effects.

But should those who have chosen the vegan lifestyle and do so for political reasons be seeking a product that acts like meat? Vegan protein in the form of beans is great — but a burger that “bleeds” seems like it’s copying a product that animal activist’s should be steering clear of. These burgers mimic the very thing that some vegans are adamantly opposed to — so is it better to stick to quinoa bowls and cauliflower cutlets than to attempt to consume a product that resembles all that they are opposed to?

Vegan Protein is the Food Revolution

Health issues aside, the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger are revolutionizing the way we eat. It’s no secret that the meat industry is bad for the environment. Raising livestock for consumption requires a staggering amount of land, food, energy, and water and produces a significant amount of our greenhouse-gas emissions. And red meat is even worse. Beef and lamb are responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as most vegetables and grains, according to Scientific American.

So a burger that approximates meat without the detrimental side effects should be welcome on any restaurant’s menu and on the shelves of every grocery store. Take the Impossible Burger. Scientists, farmers, and chefs collaborated for five years to recreate the perfect beef burger without harming a single cow. By shunning cows in favor of all-natural ingredients like wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes, the Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources. “Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s 100% free of hormones, antibiotics, and artificial ingredients,” according to Impossible Foods’ website. And the secret ingredient that makes the Impossible Burger stand out from its plant-based peers is a little things called heme. Heme, an iron-containing compound, makes meat smell, sizzle, bleed, and is the “magic ingredient” that makes this burger stand up to its carnivorous competition.

Impossible Burgers can be found at several restaurants around the country, but if you’re hankering for a home-cooked patty, look no further than the Beyond Burger. This revolutionary burger was the first plant-based product that looks, cooks, and satisfies like beef without the harmful repercussions, and at a fraction of the price of the Impossible Burger. This patty is made primarily from pea protein, with a “bleeding” element from beet juice.

So how do you feel about lab-made, realistic vegetarian burgers? Would you go veg for them or not?