Run Oregon Test Kitchen: Comparing three Vegan Protein Powders

Hey everyone! It’s been several months since you’ve heard from me. I’ve had to take some time to address a few health issues and to have surgery. I’m feeling better and have been able to exercise again, which means I’m able to run. The crummy part of all of it is that my body is back to square one while my mind thinks I’m still in shape for 10K’s and half-marathons.

In addition to some of these minor setbacks, I’ve had to adjust my nutrition quite dramatically, which means no wheat (non-celiac intolerance), dairy or soy. I guess you could say I’m on sort of a “Paleo” type diet but not. Making these changes means finding a protein powder that doesn’t contain dairy or soy and is gentle on my digestive system.  I decided I’d get a few different types to try and review them here. My review is completely independent and I was not sent samples to try. I also decided I’d review the powders by themselves (meaning just mixed with water) and in a smoothie, to give the best and most fair reviews I can. I also chose the same flavor to keep things consistent.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein

  • Nutrition:  110 calories, 22 grams of protein; 3.8 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) per Serving. Also contains probiotics and enzymes to aid digestion. .USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified.
  • Ingredients: Made from 13 raw sprouted proteins; pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, etc, 2.5 grams of fat per serving and mg. of sodium and 2 grams of carbohydrates. NO sugar! This protein powder is sweetened with Stevia leaf extract.
  • Cost: A bit more on the expensive end at $46.99 for a 20 serving  (21.096 Oz) container on the company’s website. It can be found at local health food stores and Amazon for a few dollars cheaper.

Thoughts: The smell was pleasant and light. I mixed my first packet with cold water and using a shaker bottle, it blended easily with just about 15 seconds of mixing. As with all protein powders, if you let it sit for a bit, the powder will settle so make sure to shake it up before drinking. On a scale of 1-10 for grittiness, I’d give it a 3. There was little grit and the texture was smooth; totally doable in just plain water. However, in a smoothie?! This stuff made it taste like a milkshake! So rich and creamy! Pro tip: mix with pineapple-coconut juice, kale, spinach and a few berries for a heavenly treat.

Would I repurchase? Yes! I felt that the nutritional value really made up for the cost being more on the expensive end.  Since I don’t use protein shakes very often, I feel that I could justify the higher cost. This can be found on sale at times, so if you don’t want to commit to a big container, the individual serving packets can be found at New Seasons for 2/$3.50 for a single-serve (1.09 oz.)  on occasion. Not bad!

OWYN (Only What You Need) Ultimate Wellness Plant Based Protein

  • Nutrition: Ingredients Free from Top 8 Allergens . 140 calories, 20 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat and 300 mg. of sodium, 8 grams of carbohydrates  and 4 grams. sugar- NO Stevia, sugar is alcohols or artificial flavors. Each scoop contains a full serving of organic greens and 1B CFU’s of probiotics. Non-GMO Project verified.
  • Ingredients: Chia, organic cane sugar, pea protein, rice protein, and flaxseed to name a few.
  • Cost: $21.99 for a 17.6 Oz container (14 servings) on OWYN’s website. OWYN has a variety of flavors, like Dark Chocolate, Cold Brew Coffee, Strawberry Vanilla and Turmeric Golden Mylk to name a few.

Thoughts: This was probably the tastiest of the bunch. Grit was minimum and it fairly well, but not as well as Garden of Life. I do NOT recommend mixing it with water though, as it was not very palatable. Mixing with milk of some type or in a smoothie would be best.

Would I repurchase?  Maybe. This one is a toss-up. It was tasty in a smoothie but not mixed plain with water. In order for me to commit to something like a big, expensive container of protein powder, it needs to taste good by itself and mixed in something.

Genuine Health’s Organic Fermented Vegan Proteins +

  • Nutrition:  120 calories, 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat and probiotics to aid digestion. USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified.
  • Ingredients:  Made from 7 different protein sources; organic spirulina, organic mung bean, organic yellow pea kernel, organic pumpkin seed, organic flaxseed, organic hemp and organic brown rice. Organic natural vanilla flavor, organic stevia leaf extract (steviol glycosides), xantham gum.
  • Cost: $34.99 for 21.16 oz. An individual sachet can run you anywhere between $1.50-$3.00 at individual retailers. You can buy it from the company’s website here. Available in vanilla, chocolate and unflavored & unsweetened.

Thoughts: I have a very sensitive gut and take probiotics daily as part of my supplement regimen. Fermented foods are great, but in excess can cause discomfort so I was a little skeptical. The fact that this contains Stevia as a sweetener was a red flag as the artificial sweetener can case gas. After reading a lot of positive reviews about how this protein powder doesn’t feel heavy in the gut and won’t cause excess gas and bloating, I decided to give it a try. The grit was about average and not too bad. The vanilla taste wasn’t as sweet as I anticipated and didn’t cause stomach issues.

Definitely one you want to mix in juice, water, nut milk or a smoothie as it’s not palatable with water alone.

Would I repurchase?  Most likely. The price is right for what it offers nutritionally (see the company’s website for the full list of ingredients and nutrients) and the taste isn’t off-putting. Definitely came in 2nd place as a favorite. As a side note: this company makes supplements for a whole host of health concerns. My mom uses their fast joint +care with fermented turmeric.

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