Whey Protein Alternatives

January 24, 2011

in Blog, Food Products, News, Facts, Fitness

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend!  We spent most of it around the house and Sunday doing chores.  Ick!

Today for “News, Facts & Fitness Monday”, I wanted to talk about protein powder alternatives.  protein shaker.jpg

I notice that nowadays more people are becoming sensitive to dairy products.  Myself included.  Strange thing is, Whey seems to be ok for me at the moment, even though its a dairy protein.

Many people that are lactose intolerent find they are ok with whey protein powders because majority of them are lactose-free.  But it depends on the brand and sometimes you need to experiment a little.  If you are trying different types, just be sure you buy them from a store that you can return them if the don’t agree with you.  Some of the symptoms might include:  intestinal discomfort, bloating, and in more extreme situations, diarrhea and vomiting. Some people also get rashes.

Since I’ve had problems with whey before, I’ve tried many alternatives. This is what I’ve liked the most.  Of course, this is just my personal opinion and what I’ve liked.  I must admit, whey protein tastes good, and some of the alternatives don’t.  So for me, its about finding a good alternative that still stands up in the TASTE department!!

You’ll also notice I use a lot of whey protein, egg whites or both in recipes to up the protein content.  For me, I believe that to lose fat and gain lean muscle, its best to have protein at each meal.

Here, in my opinion, are the best alternatives….

1) Brown Rice Protein
I think that brown rice protein probably has the best texture/taste if you can find a good one.  If you see whey protein powder in a recipe and want a substitution, I would recommend using the brown rice protein and perhaps some extra stevia for sweetness if you are using an unflavored one.

Brands I’d recommend:
Sun Warrior Rice Protein Vanilla (US)
Prairie Naturals Brown Rice Protein Vanilla (Canada)
North Coast Naturals Brown Rice Protein (Canada)

2) Soy Protein
Many people are trying to get away from soy (read a great article I found about soy vs. whey), but it still is a good alternative in the taste department.  It is quite smooth (perhaps not as grainy as the brown rice protein) but it is THICK.  You will need to add a lot of extra liquid to get it a good consistency.  I find if you use a soya protein, best to get it in a chocolate flavor or add unsweetened cocoa to it.  Makes it taste much better.

Brands I’d recommend:
Optimum Nutrition Soy Protein (US/Canada)
Prairie Naturals Soy Force in Chocolate (Canada)
North Coast Naturals Soya Protein (Canada)

3)  Hemp Protein
Not a big fan of the hemp protein on its own, just because of the STRONG taste.  I love the nutritional profile of it, but even with fruit, stevia and almond milk, it doesn’t mask the prominent flavor.  I would much prefer to eat hemp hearts, which is the raw hemp.  It is sooo yummy and is like eating raw nuts! 

4) Mixed Formula’s
Some prducts contain hemp that are a mix of hemp, pea and brown rice proteins.  More of a complete formula.  They are usually higher in calories, carbs and fats, so you’ll just have to watch the ‘extra’s’ you put in.  Most are already flavored too.

Brands I’d recommend:
Vega Shake & Go Smoothie (US/Canada) *BEST TASTING lowest calorie!!
Vega Whole Food Optimizer (US/Canada)
Vega Whole Food Smoothie Infusion (also has greens)  (US/Canada)

5) Pea Protein
I found it to be similar to hemp.  Pretty strong taste…not so yummy.

6) Egg White Protein
If you can tolerate eggs, the egg white protein has more of a whey type consistency.  It can actually be on the watery side, so you would add less liquid than using rice, soy or hemp.  This could also go really well in recipes (in the powdered form)

Brands I’d recommend:
Egg Whites International (US/Canada)
Optimum Nutrition Egg White Protein (US/Canada)
Jay Robb Egg White Protein (US)


Ok, so in recipes (muffins, cookies, protein bars), go with the egg white powdered protein or brown rice protein.  For protein shakes, any of the above recommendations.  I do want to stress that with most brands (aside from the Vega which are already flavored) you will need to add fruit, unsweetened almond breeze, and perhaps some vanilla stevia drops (like NuNatural).  Then you will have an AWESOME shake that you will enjoy having on a regular basis!!

Shameless Plug!  Don’t forget to enter the NuNaturals Stevia Contest, so you can WIN some of their great stevia drops to try in your shake concoctions!




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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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