Probably the most overwhelming section in any health food store is the protein powder aisle. There are tons of brands, types, shapes, sizes…and if you don’t know what you’re looking for it’s easy to give up. But have no fear! I’ve tried a whole bunch and will be your imaginary friend with you in that aisle.
TYPES: here’s the breakdown:
whey – from the liquid part of cow’s milk. You may see “New Zealand Whey” which means it comes from cows living in New Zealand (New Zealand is renowned as a very clean place for dairy as their standards prohibit antibiotics, hormones, GMOs in feed, and in general NZ is a beautiful green place to live so the cows are very happy with their year-long lush grass supply). You may also see “whey isolate” which means the whey protein has been refined an extra time or 2 to reveal the ‘purest’ whey).
goat milk protein powder – exactly what it sounds like. Milk from goats, dehydrated and made into powder. Goat is a smaller animal so people sensitive to cow dairy sometimes find it easier to digest.
vegetarian sourced proteins – pea, hemp, quinoa, rice, soy, sprouted brown rice, chia seed, flax, pumpkin seed. These are all excellent vegetarian sources of proteins made into powders. Anything “sprouted” usually is better digested, and contains extra enzymes + nutrients because sprouts (i.e. baby plants) need lots of energy to burst themselves into full-grown adult plants.
BEST TASTE = of the brands I’ve had, the best tasting ones usually are whey based (sorry vegan folks :() So far my winner is New Zealand Whey (by Ergogenics Nutrition). Close second is Ancient Grain blend by Prairie Naturals (has quinoa, millet and other grain proteins).
BEST VEGETARIAN OPTION = Sun Warrior Blend – Vanilla. I find the regular pure protein version of this very plant-y, but the blend version vanilla flavour is delicious! Contains pea, cranberry seed and rice proteins.
BEST NON-VEGETARIAN OPTION = Progressive Harmonized Protein – Vanilla flavour. The whey protein comes from NZ milk, plus they add digestive enzymes and support to help your body utilize the protein. (fyi – this brand just came out with an organic whey protein too, yipee!)
Bottom Line: when choosing any protein powder, first think about your needs (vegetarian? body builder? just need an extra boost?), then ingredients (is it flavoured with a list of ingredients you can’t pronounce?), and finally look at the source of how it was made! The energy at the start of the food chain influences the energy you get when ingesting it 🙂