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The Best Vegan Protein Powders

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A friend of mine recently asked for a recommendation of protein powders, since she's trying to eat more vegan meals and is worried about getting enough protein. The truth is, there's lots of high-quality vegetarian and vegan protein powders out there, but there's also plenty that are filled with cheap fillers, and finding protein powders that aren't dairy based and filled with whey (milk protein) can be challenging.

When it comes to selecting vegan protein powders, I can't say this enough: read the label to know what you're getting. You might be surprised to find sugar or other cheap fillers listed as one of the top ingredients. This may or may not be a concern for you, but you need to know what's in your protein powder! Here's my personal favorite vegan protein powders.

1. Best for everyday protein: Hemp protein powder

Yes it's green. Get over it. Hemp protein is a great option for vegetarians and vegans, and it's reasonably priced enough to be a good everyday option. As an added bonus, hemp protein is also high in fiber! Though getting enough fiber is definitely not something most vegetarians and vegans need to worry about! I like Nutiva brand hemp protein powder, since it's high-quality (check the ingredients list - nothing in there but 100% hemp protein!) and reasonably priced, compared to other brands, and I keep two of their products on hand. One is their regular hemp protein powder, and, when I can find it, I like to use their hempshake powders, which are perfect for making smoothies and shakes. Hemp protein is a great source of everyday protein for vegetarians and vegans, and, since it's made from cold-pressed hemp seeds, it's also a great source of raw protein for raw foodists.

2. Best for protein and nutrition: The Ultimate Meal

It may seem a bit gimmicky, but The Ultimate Meal really lives up to the hype. This stuff gives me just as much energy as a cup of coffee - but even better. The directions on the can say to blend the powder with an apple for fiber and a banana for flavor and texture, and if you do, the taste is pretty good. As a plus, this mix is all raw vegan protein and sugar-free. It's not cheap, but it's well worth the price, in my opinion. You've been warned - the natural energy this stuff give you can be addicting! You'll feel so good that you'll want to keep coming back for more. Plus, the founder of the company is a pretty amazing person who offered me quite a bit of mentoring and inspiration when I was a young and aimless vegan trying to figure my way in the world years and years ago.

3. Best for superfood power: Green protein powders

I've yet to find a green protein powder that truly tastes good, so I tend use them only rarely or just a little bit in moderation when I feel I need an extra boost. Usually, I'd rather just add fresh raw greens to my smoothies and leave it at that, but green protein powders do provide a host of nutrients that you won't find even in the greenest of kale and reddest of chard, such as barley grass, wheat grass and spirulina.

4. Best for sports performance: Vega's sports protein blend

Vega Sport Performance protein powder is a popular choice amongst vegan athletes, which makes sense, as the company was founded by a vegan athlete, triathlete and Ironman Brendan Brazier. If you're a serious athlete looking for maximum recovery fuel, this may be the protein powder you want to try. Vega also makes a vanilla chai flavored protein powder which I've really got to try!

5. No protein powder? No problem!

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Need a high-protein shake right now but don't have any protein powder on hand? No problem! You can blend up a high-protein vegan drink using a few things you might have on hand or can find at just about any corner store. Soak some nuts, then add them to your regular smoothie. Add a container of high-protein soy yogurt or yes, even silken tofu. Another great idea? Try a green smoothie! Here's a few high-protein vegan shakes you can make without protein powder:

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