Protein powder is by no means necessary. However, I find it makes it a whole lot easier to get enough protein in my diet.
Most protein powders on the market are made of whey: the proteins that are left after making cheese. Any vegans or persons with lactose intolerance won’t/can’t consume it. The next most popular choice is soy protein. Even without a soy allergy, this isn’t a great choice because it is highly processed soy which doesn’t make it the healthiest choice. So what else is there?
There are multiple protein powders that are gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. This includes brown rice, hemp, pea, and blends including these. I personally think that most brown rice proteins taste like chalk and hemp protein taste like dirt. I haven’t ever had straight pea protein, but I don’t imagine it would be the tastiest stuff on the planet. If you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and try some of them out.
After trying out a handful, I’ve found one brand that I will forever use: Sunwarrior. The classic and the blend are interchangeable in recipes. The classic protein is just brown rice protein, but it hardly has a chalky taste and is good in most applications, but I especially like it in the peanut butter protein bars recipe that is below. My absolute favorite is the protein blend. It’s a mixture of pea, cranberry, and hemp with coconut oil. It’s my preferred for smoothies like in the recipe below.
Besides tasting good, I love this brand because:
- It meets my dietary restrictions
- It has few ingredients
- It’s non-GMO
- It’s sweetened with stevia
- It’s raw
- It has a complete amino acid profile
- It’s easy to digest
Crispy Peanut Butter Protein Bars
3 3/4 cups brown rice puffed cereal
2 scoops Sunwarrior Protein Powder or protein of your choice
3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty hanging over the sides to fold over the bars.
2. Combine brown rice cereal, protein, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. Melt together the buttery spread, brown rice syrup, and peanut butter in a small saucepan or in a microwave-safe measuring cup in the microwave (1 min).
4. Stir in the vanilla extract.
5. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the brown rice cereal mixture and combine well.
6. Press mixture into prepared baking dish. Fold over the plastic wrap to cover the bars and weight down with another baking pan and something heavy or press down well with your hands/body weight.
Set aside to cool completely before cutting.
Makes 9 bars. Approximately 9g protein/bar.
This is my go-to smoothie recipe. Not much sugar, some greens, antioxidants, and protein.
1/4 cup natural apple or orange juice
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
A small handful of lettuce or spinach
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries
1 scoop Vanilla Sunwarrior Protein Blend or protein of your choice