I hate being a vegan cliche, but when I get serious about keeping soy out of my gluten-free plant-based diet, I have to be extra diligent about getting enough protein. Beans, quinoa, amaranth, nuts, seeds, and vegetables are all staples of my high-protein regime. But I also like having a super-quick option that I can whip up between stepping off the elliptical and picking Westley up from preschool. Enter protein powder.
My go-to protein powder is Living Harvest Organic Hemp Protein Powder (I gave up on ever making Naturade's Soy-Free Veg Protein Booster taste bearable). It tastes nutty, a little bitter, and definitely "health-foody." It took some getting used to, but I've found it goes really well with smoothies that include nut butter. Oh, but it's not pretty.
Peanut Butter-Banana Protein Shake
In a blender, combine:
4 Tbsp Living Harvest Hemp Protein (Organic Original Formula)
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter (I like Whole Foods' 365 brand)
1 medium ripe banana
1 cup water or non-dairy milk
(I don't typically include nutrition information for my recipes, but with a protein powder shake, knowing that you're getting good nutrition is the whole point.) When blended with water, one shake provides:
Total fat: 11.5 g
Saturated fat: 1.4 g
Sodium: 47 mg
Total carb: 40.9 g
Fiber: 8.7 g
Protein: 27.6 g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 21%
When I started researching gluten- and soy-free vegan protein powders online, it seemed like everyone was raving about Sunwarrior. Bodybuilders in particular seem to be big fans, and if anyone knows about quality protein, it's bodybuilders! Sunwarrior protein was also supposedly very smooth—which my go-to hemp protein powder is definitely not. Grainy protein powder was doable in a nut-butter shake, but not in a fruit smoothie.
I finally broke down and bought a bag of Sunwarrior Protein (it's not cheap!), and tried it for the first time this morning.
In a blender combine:
1 scoop Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein (Natural)
9 large strawberries, frozen
1 1/2 cups mango chunks, frozen
1 Tbsp unrefined, organic coconut oil
1 cup water, coconut water, or non-dairy milk
When blended with water, one smoothie provides:
Total fat: 16.2 g
Saturated fat: 12.2 g
Sodium: 64 mg
Total carb: 57.5 g
Vitamin A: 38%
Vitamin C: 273%
Unfortunately, I thought Sunwarrior protein tasted similar to the awful Soy-Free Veg stuff, at least when blended with fruit. The smoothie was fine (and filling) but not something I'm excited about making again. I'm going to give this protein powder a try in my standard nut-butter-and-banana concoction, perhaps with a little vanilla extract thrown in for good measure. When in doubt, make your protein shake taste as much like a milkshake as possible!