Protein and Recovery Shakes

Arbonne Essentials Protein Shake

A blend of pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, and rice protein in a meal replacement-style formula (not that I would ever replace a meal with a protein shake…), including a bunch of vitamins and minerals as well as some superfoods like kelp and ginseng. Sweetened with sugar cane and stevia leaf extract, and contains a few other thickeners and salt. Lovely taste (I have only tried the chocolate flavour mixed on water), mixes up smooth and rich, making it a perfect beginner protein shake or an everyday shake – personally, after training I mix one scoop with one scoop of cheap unflavoured protein to increase protein content, dilute the richness, and stretch the value for money!

[Click here to find out about getting a 20% discount on your orders]

Bioflex BioLife 100% Vegan Protein

A blend of rice and pea protein sweetened with stevia – just 3 ingredients plus one more depending on the flavour you choose.

A very average product, tastes a bit chalky, texture is a little gritty, ingredient list isn’t all that exciting. But it’s another option out there for vegans, and by no means the worst of them!

Eyzprotein Sprouted Raw Wholegrain Brown Rice Protein

Until this product, I only knew of Sunwarrior offering raw protein. The ingredients are almost identical, but I found this product to taste better than Sunwarrior – admittedly, I tried Ezyprotein in vanilla and Sunwarrior in chocolate so it’s not a fair comparison, but I think you can still judge the base taste.

I think this is a good product, but for the same price you can get their “Silk” Superfood Blend so I don’t really see the appeal of the straight-up protein.

Ezyprotein “Silk” Superfood Blend

I’ve never been particularly fussed about the whole raw thing, and even less so about so-called “superfoods”. However, if I can get the amount of protein I’m after in addition to a wide variety of wholefoods, then why the hell not? The main source of protein here is raw sprouted wholegrain rice protein, naturally sweetened with stevia, but over 20 other ingredients are included in the formula.

Now, this product tasted incredible at the Australian Fitness Expo – really smooth and creamy, no pastiness or chalkiness – but when I mix it with water it is one of the chalkiest shakes I have ever had. So I’m not sure what they mixed it with there, but that made all the difference! However, it is still tasty and causes me no digestive issues, and is all raw, all organic, all Australian-grown (it’s an Australian company), hypoallergenic, claiming to have 98% digestion efficiency, and with an impressive 27g of protein per serving at 130kcal, I think this is a great product.

The only drawback is the price (and, for non-Australian residents, the fact that at the moment it is only available in Australia), but it might be worth investing in a tub and incorporating a couple of servings per week into your usual supplement routine.

Garden of Life Raw Protein

Very average taste, texture and nutritional profile – tastes vaguely chalky, texture is vaguely grainy, 90kcal for 17g is pretty standard among raw protein blends. As far as flavours go, I was disappointed by the vanilla chai, vanilla was again totally average, and chocolate was possibly my favourite (surprise surprise).

However the ingredients list is nice, with a whole list of organic raw sprouted wholefoods as well as probiotics and enzymes. Not a bad product, but I think there are now similar products out there which taste far better and will do a similar job.

Good Hemp Nutrition Diet Shake

I have come to not expect much in the way of pleasantness from hemp protein, but this surprised even me with how unpleasant it was to drink. At 110kcal, I would expect more than just 10g of protein, but with added oats, oat fibre, and rice flour, this is intended to be more of a meal replacement than just a straight up protein shake. Not quite for me, I’m afraid.

Herbs of Gold Green Power Protein

I don’t know how these guys made pea protein taste so good, especially not when it’s combined with a bunch of greens powders.

I’m a bit wary of greens powders, figuring I get enough greens through my food intake, doubting how much benefit there is to ingesting such small quantities, and they are normally very expensive. However, this shake provides 20g of protein for under 100kcal, which is a great ratio, as well as 3g of fibre, and fairly dependable ingredients such as kale, spinach, broccoli, beetroot, pomegranate and green tea, to name a few.

I think this is a highly nutritious product, but more importantly it mixes to a smooth and frothy and incredibly delicious shake. I didn’t experience any bloating or gas, and felt genuinely healthy whilst taking it regularly. Unfortunately it is pretty expensive compared to other options, but I would definitely consider buying this occasionally for a bit of a health boost.

Martin & Pleasance Vital Protein

Generally mixes well to form quite a thick and frothy, but not gritty, shake. An alkaline shake with 18 amino acids, sweetened with thaumatin, it provides over 20g of protein for under 100kcal which is a pretty good ratio.

The vanilla flavour doesn’t taste artificial at all, and though it doesn’t entirely mask the flavour of the pea protein it is actually quite pleasant and blends really well in smoothies with banana or frozen berries.

Martin & Pleasance Vital Protein Green Coffee

(I am listing this as a separate entry as I consider that the addition of green coffee makes this a slightly different product.)

This literally blew my head off with how good it tasted that I barely even stopped to read the nutritionals before I bought it. I have never had a coffee-flavoured shake though so maybe that had something to do with it.

Made up of just three ingredients (pea protein isolate, green coffee bean, and thaumatin – a natural sweetener), this mixes easily even without a shaker and blends to a thick, smooth, frothy drink that tastes just like sweetened milky latté.

This is the only product I have seen that uses green coffee, known to help with fat metabolism and weight loss.

MyProtein Hemp Protein Isolate

The rumours are true – this is horrible stuff.

However, it does have an impressive amino acid profile, mixes well, and combined with a flavoured protein such as MyProtein’s Vanilla Soy Protein Isolate, is actually quite inoffensive.

Worth having in the repertoire if it’s on sale.

MyProtein Pea Protein Isolate

Cheapest protein powder to my knowledge.

Mixes better than the soy protein but remains a little grittier. The first time I bought this powder a couple of years ago I had to blend it with soy milk, a banana, a handful of cherries and fresh mind from our garden before I could drink it. The taste has now vastly improved, so I buy the 2.5kg bag and mix a scoop of unflavoured pea protein with a scoop of flavoured MyProtein soy protein.

MyProtein Soy Protein Isolate

Mixes well, taste isn’t bad but that chalky soy taste always lingers. Personal favourite is chocolate, then vanilla, then strawberry. Plain is fine – once you get used to the taste you can go half-and-half – and super cheap!

MyProtein Vegan Blend

The most recent addition and wow does it blow the rest of the MyProtein selection out of the water. Soy-free so shouldn’t cause any bloating. Mixes very well despite being ever so slightly gritty, very tasty and completely masks the taste of the pea and hemp proteins, and it’s available flavoured in 2.5kg pouches! Won’t be buying the others anymore I don’t think!

Nature’s Whey Ignite Ultra-V

Most complete vegan all-in-one formula I have found.

40g of protein per serving (I normally take half a scoop), along with a whole list of beneficial ingredients including dextrose, creatine and glutamine. Mixes very well though I add about 50ml water more than they recommend or I find the shake too thick to drink. I recommend the MintChoc!

Pricey, but worth it in my opinion.

Nature’s Whey Ignition-V

A bit more of a “holistic” formula than Ignite Ultra-V, without creatine but with added greens and superfood powders.

This would be my choice of supplement in the UK.

NitroFusion or RawFusion

Soy free mix of brown rice protein, pea protein and artichoke protein. Sweetened with fructose and stevia, so no artificial sweetener aftertaste. Includes an enzyme blend for help with digestion. To my knowledge this is the only powder using artichoke protein!

Mixes well and the chocolate flavour tastes reasonably good though there is a slight pastiness to the aftertaste (from the artichoke, perhaps?). Absolutely nothing special, but a nice option to try if it is readily available to you.

Pulsin’ Soya Protein Isolate

Although this protein is only available unflavoured, it is possibly the least offensive tasting soy protein I have tried. Soy protein is never too bad, but this one has possibly the least taste to it even among all the other bland unflavoured powders. It also mixes very well, but again, soy protein tends to. Remarkably smooth, even though I tend to be lazy and mix my protein in a mug with a spoon. Perfect in combination with MyProtein’s Vegan Blend, which on its own is gritty and quite artificial tasting (though quite delicious nonetheless).

Despite being a little more expensive than unflavoured MyProtein Soy Protein Isolate, you can find this in a few high-street health food stores such as As Nature Intended, so that can be pretty convenient!

Redbak Rapid Soy Protein Isolate

A blend of soy protein and added amino acids and minerals. This is the first “rapid” version of a plant-based protein I have come across. A 30g serving provides just over 100kcal and 25g of protein, so fairly standard (weirdly though, it comes with a 20g scoop).

Like most soy proteins, the taste is fairly inoffensive though more pasty and plasticky than some other soy proteins on this list. The chocolate flavouring is good, however, and with the right type and amount of non-dairy milk, it can be made to taste like chocolate milk. Mixes well in a blender shaker to a smooth consistency.

Bought in Australia, the price per serving is very reasonable. Good value for money in my opinion.

Sativa Shakes Viva High Pro Protein Blend

A blend of pea, soy, hemp and brown rice proteins, sweetened with stevia.

Similar to MyProtein’s Vegan Blend, but with added soy, and free from artificial sweeteners. Not overly sweet, mixes really well, good nutritional profile.

Sativa Shakes Viva Sativa Hemp Protein

Flavoured hemp protein sweetened with stevia. Raw and soy-free. This shake is a little lower in protein than your average protein shake, but is higher in fibre and offers Omega 3, 6 and 9.

Mixes really well, not as gritty as hemp is known for, but unfortunately the bitter hemp taste isn’t fully disguised – tastes fine mixed with a flavoured soy protein though!

Science in Sport REGO Protein

Best-tasting recovery shake I have had.

Mixes well, both chocolate and strawberry are delicious – taste the closest to a milkshake! Not as much protein per serving as I would like, but a nice list of ingredients (maltodextrin, vitamins and minerals).

Note that REGO Rapid is not vegan as it contains whey. Nor are their bars (hint hint!).

[Update – SiS currently no longer offer any vegan protein shakes]

Sunwarrior Classic Protein

There seems to be a lot of hype around this brand. They use bio-fermented raw sprouted whole grain rice protein, which is sweetened with stevia in the flavoured versions, so it’s great for raw or high-raw vegans.

I was really excited to try it out because of everything I’d heard, but I can’t say it is anything special taste-wise. Mixes well and tastes decent but is by no means the best chocolate-flavoured protein shake I have tried. I’m not sure using raw protein would particularly affect or enhance digestion, so I fail to see what the draw is apart from the fact that it’s raw.

The recommended serving size of 22g provides 80kcal and 17g protein – at a more standard 30g serving size that would yield 23g of protein for just over 100kcal, which isn’t a bad ratio.

XMP Pure Soya Protein

My first protein shake!

Mixes very well, tastes decent, average price. Good for a beginner starting out with a protein shake.

Others available that I have yet to try:

Reflex Vegan Protein – soy-free, gluten-free protein powder

Sci-MX PRO-VX – vegan all-in-one recovery formula

11 thoughts on “Protein and Recovery Shakes

  1. Kathryn Voce says:

    Hi
    I am transitioning to a vegan diet and I am trying to track down a decent tasting vanilla flavoured protein available in the UK, do you have any suggestions? Also any suggestions for good food recipes or food sources? Any help would be greatly appreciared

    • greatveganexpectations says:

      Hey Kathryn,
      Firstly, congratulations on making the choice to transition to a vegan diet!
      For the protein powder, I would narrow it down to two options: 1) MyProtein Soy Isolate which is the only one (to my knowledge) of their vegan proteins available in vanilla flavour. The cheapest of its kind available, quick dispatch, and perfectly acceptable taste. Or, 2) Vital Pea Protein in vanilla, which I personally think tastes better, and is more digestible, but is a little more expensive at £30ish per 500g. I am a retailer of Vital Pea Protein (because I like it so much) so you can buy it through me if you are interested.
      My favourite easy high-protein meals include tofu, but its preparation can take some practice! I like it diced and cooked into a curry with sweet potato, spinach, and coconut milk, marinated and seared along with fresh grilled veggies, or crumbled into a tofu scramble which I will normally have with a sweet potato. Linda McCartney frozen sausages are also a quick and easy high-protein meal if you are into convenience foods. Otherwise, just add a few spoonfuls of legumes (chickpeas, any kind of bean, any kind of lentil) into whatever you’re cooking and a variety of vegetables including greens, and you should be doing OK for protein, carbs, calories, fibre, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. I have a few meal ideas on the blog but they are few and far between. My only advice would be to enjoy your food, start exploring new grains and pulses and vegetables that you may not have used before and have fun with it – that’s how my diet became more varied after going vegan! Check out the blogs in my blogroll too (my all-time favourite is ohsheglows.com) which are full of inspiring recipes! Also, sign up for the UK Vegan Food Swap (search for it on my blog for more info), and please don’t hesitate to email me at claire [at] greatexpectationsfitness [dot] co [dot] uk and I can give you some more personalised advice 🙂
      Good luck with the transition and do let me know how you get on!
      Claire x

      • Kathryn Voce says:

        Thanks for this Claire, I sent you an email but haven’t received a reply so I’m wondering whether I got the address right! I was wondering whether the MyProtein Vegan Isolate could be used a shake on it’s own or will it need to be mixed with other powders? What sizes is the Vital Pea Protein available in?

      • greatveganexpectations says:

        Hi Kathryn, I’m so sorry, I had an issue with my email address where no emails were coming through, but I have resolved it now! Do feel free to resend the email if you’d like, but in the meantime I can answer your questions; any of the MyProtein powders can be used on their own or as a combination depending on what you prefer – as for the Vital Pea Protein, I have it in 500g tubs, but I think the unflavoured protein may be available in 1kg tubs if that’s what you’re after. Thanks for getting back in touch and I’m so sorry about the lost email!

  2. Melanie says:

    This is sooooo helpful! When I started working out a bit more seriously I wanted to go for a vegan protein powder straight away – however, the one I purchased(And fell in love with) has been sold EVERYWHERE for months now! So this definitely help my search, thank you so much! 🙂

  3. Ikem says:

    Fantastic review. Thanks for putting in the time on this.

    Claire, were you able to try Myprotein Vegan Blend with just water? I’m interested in the unflavoured as it has a higher protein count.

    Thanks
    Ikem

    • greatveganexpectations says:

      Hi Ikem, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you!
      I did indeed usually mix the MyProtein Vegan Blend with just water; though it was chocolate flavoured. My tastebuds were very used to protein powders at the time, and I found it OK, but even then I wouldn’t have been brave enough to take the unflavoured on just water!
      My advice would be not to worry about a few grams of protein here or there, and pick something you’ll enjoy drinking!

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