Using protein powder as a part of your daily routine is a great way to ensure you’re getting the recommended amount of protein in your diet, as well as essential vitamins and minerals that provide a tonne of health benefits, both internally and physically. If you’re new to the supplement world, it can be an overwhelming task trying to figure out which protein powder is best suited to you and your goals. It can seem even more difficult if you have added dietary needs and are looking for vegan-friendly or dairy-free products, with so many of the protein powders on the market made of animal products—in particular whey protein, which is sourced from cow’s milk.
Thankfully, these days many health food brands have taken everyone’s needs into consideration and have created a range of protein powders that are specific for those living a vegan lifestyle and are still wanting the benefits of a protein powder but from plant-based sources.
In this blog, we are going to delve deep into vegan protein and look at its various sources, uncover the benefits of vegan protein powder and discuss any side effects of using a vegan protein powder in your diet.
To get a quick snapshot, some of the benefits of using a vegan protein powder include:-
- Helps with general gut health and digestion.
- Assists with muscle growth, strength building and weight management.
- Can improve overall heart health and mental well-being.
- Boosts the body’s immune system.
- A rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals and nutrients, essential for healthy bodily function.
But first, let’s look at Happy Way’s vegan protein powders…
HAPPY WAY VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER
At Happy Way, our vegan protein powders are 100% natural and filled with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients. Our vegan protein powders contain either a plant protein blend of rice and pea protein or hemp protein. The combination of the two plant-based proteins provides higher quantities of certain essential amino acids which are required from our diet to maintain healthy bodily functions, making it a complete protein. Hemp protein is also considered a complete protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids.
Besides being a plant-based source of protein, our vegan protein powders are also gluten-free, non-GMO and created with the highest quality raw, ancient and organic superfood supplements. At Happy Way, we love to use organic ingredients because not only are they in their truest form and of superior quality, but they’re bursting with nutrients that haven’t been covered with chemicals. Our vegan protein powders are free from nasty preservatives, artificial flavours and sweeteners, delivering only nutritional goodness!
Some of the ingredients we use in our vegan protein powders are:-
- Rice protein – for easy digestion, quick absorption and considered allergen-free.
- Pea protein – for muscle growth, weight management and overall heart health.
- Hemp protein – for improved gut health, heart health and mental well-being.
- Coconut flour – for better digestion and heart health.
- Chia seeds – for antioxidant goodness.
- Psyllium husk – for weight control and general intestinal health.
- Maca powder – for increased libido, boosting energy and endurance.
- Stevia leaf – for plant-based sweetness.
- Himalayan rock salt – for increasing strength.
Check out our range of vegan protein powders here.
BEST PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER IN AUSTRALIA
At Happy Way, we’ve created a range of vegan protein powders that nourish the mind and body—promoting a positive and natural lifestyle, whilst also supporting sustainability, being that they have a lower impact on the environment during production. Not only do they provide a heap of nutritional benefits, but they’re available in a range of delicious flavours, squashing the theory that to eat vegan means to sacrifice on flavour! The only problem you’ll have is deciding which one is your favourite—which is why we’ve listed them from most popular, and given you some further insight into each flavour, to help you make your decision.
Happy Way’s Like A Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder is made with a plant-based blend of rice and pea protein, which when combined, provides all of the 9 essential amino acids needed from our diet to maintain healthy bodily function. With coconut flour to help with digestion, and chia seeds which are packed with antioxidants, the smooth and creamy taste of this vegan protein powder makes it your go-to flavour for shakes, smoothies and baking!
With the combination of pea and rice protein, this Happy Way favourite is a rich source of protein, boosting your strength and energy levels to help you get through your day. Using all-natural sweeteners, and organic cacao to deliver that rich chocolate flavour, this plant-based protein powder will satisfy the needs of chocoholics everywhere!
Made with hemp protein isolate which boosts the immune system and overall heart health, Happy Way’s Cacao Mint Hemp Vegan Protein Powder delivers an earthy taste and is a great flavour to add to your smoothies and baked treats. Packed with vitamins and minerals, this vegan-friendly protein powder is a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids which deliver numerous health benefits such as assisting with weight management, reducing inflammation, and supporting mental health and overall brain function.
Combining 2 delicious flavours—chocolate and hazelnut—this vegan-friendly protein powder gives all those Nutella fans their nutty, chocolate fix without all the sugar guilt! With Happy Way’s plant protein blend of rice and pea protein and organic cacao powder for all the chocoholics out there, this one boosts strength, enhances endurance and is a great source of antioxidants.
Inspired by the world’s obsession with Biscoff, we’ve created our very own Caramel Biscuit flavour that will have you reaching for your afternoon smoothie instead of that biscuit dunking at coffee break! With hints of cinnamon and smooth, luscious caramel flavours—all from natural sweeteners—this vegan-friendly protein powder is made with rice and pea protein and filled with nutrients that increase energy, support a healthy immune system and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Our first flavour collab with Happy Way ambassador and fitness superwoman Ashy Bines, our Triple Choc Fudge Vegan Protein Powder is a staff favourite for a reason! Made with rice and pea protein, plus our superfood mix of psyllium husk, chia seeds and maca powder, this protein powder is ideal for all your choc baking needs and delivers that rich, luxurious chocolate flavour that all sweet tooths will love!
Following the successful Ashy Bines Triple Choc Fudge flavour, we teamed up again to create this perfect combo of chocolate and caramel in a vegan-friendly protein powder! Being that our rice and pea protein blend absorbs quickly, it allows for boosted strength, improved digestion and assists with muscle growth, recovery and repair. With organic cacao and all-natural sweeteners delivering that choc/caramel flavour, this one is bound to be one of your favourites when those sweet cravings kick in.
Better than a Bounty bar and without all of the guilt, this smooth, creamy chocolate flavour with a splash of coconut will take you away to an island paradise in no time. Using our rice and pea protein combo with organic cacao for that chocolatey goodness, this vegan protein powder is packed with a superfood mix that will deliver a tonne of nutrients, all designed to give you the energy boost you need to get the most out of your day!
WHAT IS VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER?
Vegan protein powder is made from protein sourced from plant-based matter, making it a great option for those who want to increase their daily intake of protein but are opposed to animal products or have sensitivities to dairy. Some of the most common sources of plant-based protein are:-
Converted into a powdered form, each source of vegan protein contains various levels of protein as well as varying nutritional benefits. This is why it’s important to consider your dietary and lifestyle needs when choosing the best vegan protein powder for you and which source of protein is going to support you best.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANT-BASED PROTEINS?
As mentioned above, vegan protein powder can be made from a variety of plant-based sources and each will have different benefits. It’s also important to note that like whey and other forms of protein, vegan protein powder comes in three main varieties—protein concentrate, protein isolate and protein hydrolysates.
Protein concentrates are roughly 70-80% pure protein and are made by removing protein from the original source using heat and enzymes. They’re generally considered to be more flavourful and still contain some levels of fats and carbohydrates. Protein concentrate also has a higher nutrient content.
Protein isolates have a higher level of protein—roughly around 90% pure protein—as most of the fats and carbohydrates are removed, but can be considered lower in nutrients than protein concentrates.
Protein hydrolysates are the fastest absorbing form of protein as they are broken down further with heat and enzymes, allowing them to be absorbed more directly by the body. Hydrolysate can be great for those with digestive issues and for performing athletes who are focused on muscle recovery and repair, but it can be the most expensive of the 3 options.
At Happy Way, our whey protein powders are made with protein concentrate and our vegan proteins are made with protein concentrate and isolate. We use a plant-based blend of rice and pea protein in most of our vegan protein powders, and we also use hemp protein.
See the breakdown of each plant-based protein below.
- Rice protein is allergen and gluten-free, considered easy to digest and contains a reasonable amount of protein.
- Most rice supplements are derived from brown rice as it offers higher protein than white rice.
- Assists with muscle growth, strength building and weight management.
- Is sustainable and environmentally friendly.
- Contains 8 of the 9 essential amino acids, missing lysine which is found in pea and hemp protein.
- Pea protein is made from yellow split peas and is ideal for someone who wants to build muscle as a part of their fitness training.
- Is a great source of iron and good for heart health.
- Assists with weight loss and weight management.
- Contains all 9 essential amino acids—histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
- Works with many diets as it doesn’t contain high allergen ingredients such as peanuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, cows milk, wheat or soy.
- Can promote a feeling of fullness, just like dairy-based protein powders.
- Hemp protein is one of the most popular vegan proteins as it contains all 9 essential amino acids and is also one of the easiest to digest.
- Is a rich source of fibre that will assist with gut health and digestion and is believed to help reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
- Has high levels of minerals (magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper) and antioxidants which are great for your health.
- Contains essential fatty acids—omega-3 and omega-6—which improve heart health, mental well-being and are good for metabolism.
- Soy protein is plant-based and great for vegetarians, vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
- Sourced from dehydrated soybean flakes, soy protein is free from cholesterol and low in fat.
- Soy is considered a complete plant-based protein as it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids.
- Considered a rich source of nutrients, it does however contain phytates, which can decrease the absorption of minerals in the body.
- Helps with muscle growth and strength but does not perform as well as whey protein.
WHY CHOOSE PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER?
Incorporating a plant-based protein powder into your daily diet is a great way for those who are living a vegan lifestyle to ensure that they’re still getting the necessary intake of protein and the essential nutrients needed to live a healthy way of life. Using a plant-based protein powder is not only great for vegans who are consistently active, want to build and maintain muscle or are professional athletes, but it’s also great for those who want to manage their weight or are lacking protein in their diet. Using a vegan protein powder is great for individuals who are lactose intolerant or have issues with allergies as they can be easier to digest, promote overall gut health and help to boost metabolism.
Even for those that are not following a vegan diet or lifestyle, choosing a plant-based protein powder can be a great option for many reasons. Alternating between a whey protein powder and a plant-based alternative can be great for digestive and gut health, as well as offer a more diverse intake of nutrients into your diet. Rotating your protein powders can also help to minimise the likelihood of developed food sensitivities and reactions from consuming the same type of protein day in and day out.
In the past, whey protein formulas have been considered better than plant-based protein because they’re considered complete proteins, meaning they contain the essential amino acids necessary for protein synthesis. However, at Happy Way, our vegan protein powders consist of a plant protein blend and contain all 9 essential amino acids that are necessary for our diet—helping to build and support muscle growth and repair.
Lastly, another reason to choose plant-based protein is that it’s often considered the better option when it comes to baking and creating delicious homemade treats! The consistency of vegan protein is generally thicker and tends to absorb liquids better than whey, and protein blends such as rice and pea can be less ‘chalky’ in flavour than other plant-based options.
For some of our go-to Happy Way recipes, check out our YouTube channel or @happywayrecipes on Instagram.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER
When looking for a vegan protein powder that’s best suited to you, the first step is to look at the ingredients and where the plant protein is sourced from. Being that vegan protein powder can be made from a variety of plant sources, it’s important to make sure that you choose one that will agree with your body and dietary requirements, and not cause any digestive issues. You also want to make sure that it’s a complete protein—meaning that it contains all of the necessary nutrients and amino acids needed by the body. Usually, with a plant-based protein powder, this will mean using a combination of 2 proteins, such as rice and pea, to ensure that it's considered complete.
Although many protein powders claim to be vegan, when reading the ingredient list it’s important to check that there are no traces of animal products listed like eggs, milk, bone broth, collagen or meat isolates.
Protein powders that use all organic and non-GMO proteins are best as they won’t be contaminated with any pesticides or contain harmful toxins. When shopping for a vegan-friendly protein powder, look for simple, recognisable ingredients on the packaging and avoid anything with artificial flavours, preservatives or sweeteners—all-natural is best! Lastly, to gain maximum benefits, ensure that your protein powder contains approximately 20-30 grams of protein per serving.
At Happy Way, both our whey protein powders and vegan protein powders are all-natural, non-GMO and made with organic superfood supplements. They’re filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and free from any artificial ingredients, delivering only the best quality for optimal energy and health benefits.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER?
A GOOD SOURCE OF PROTEIN
Proteins are considered the building blocks of the human body and are vital in our body’s growth process, as well as for maintaining healthy bodily functions. Using a plant-based protein supplement in the form of a protein powder is a convenient way to get your daily intake of protein as it’s absorbed quickly—not only providing nutritional benefits but performance advantages also. Athletes, bodybuilders, weightlifters and even those who suffer from chronic illness may need to increase their intake of protein. It’s recommended that women 19 years and over have 46 grams of protein daily and 56 grams for men of the same age.
Whilst animal proteins are considered a higher source of protein and a complete protein, being that they contain all of the essential amino acids, hemp and soy protein are both also complete proteins. The other option is choosing a protein powder with a combination of plant proteins, like our rice and pea blend, as when the 2 proteins are combined they create a complete protein—ensuring you get all the nutrients and essential amino acids needed from your diet. The other benefit of plant-based protein powders is that they tend to be richer in fibre and antioxidants than animal-based protein powder.
HELPS TO BUILD MUSCLE AND ASSISTS WITH REPAIR AND RECOVERY
Consuming a protein powder helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass in the body, which is why it’s so popular amongst athletes, gym-goers, bodybuilders and anyone who is looking to increase their strength and muscle mass. Like whey protein powder, plant-based proteins contain BCAAs (when 2 plant sources are combined to make a complete protein) which are essential amino acids absorbed rapidly in the body. These are needed to stimulate protein synthesis, which is necessary for increasing muscle growth and strength. It’s believed that rice and pea protein produce similar results to whey protein, with regards to body composition and performance, and that it really comes down to dietary requirements and your own personal preferences.
Another advantage of incorporating a plant-based protein powder into your daily routine is that it will help with recovery post-exercise. Enjoying a protein shake or smoothie following your workout will assist with repairing any muscle or tissue damage, enabling a boost in performance and the continued development of muscle. It will also help you to recover quickly, allowing you to train more frequently with fewer aches and pains.
PROTECTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Being that the Happy Way vegan protein powders are made with a mix of organic superfoods, they provide a multitude of benefits that fight off illness and disease, helping you to live a healthy and happy life. Superfoods are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that not only boost your energy but can also help to lower cholesterol and maintain overall blood and heart health.
ASSISTS WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Using a vegan protein powder can assist with weight loss and weight management as it can help to control the appetite, promoting a feeling of fullness and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer periods. Some people believe that this is even more apparent in vegan protein powders than in whey protein. A protein powder that contains all 9 essential amino acids will also assist with controlling weight as they’re absorbed rapidly by the muscles in our bodies, rather than being broken down by the liver. This provides a great source of energy during exercise, enabling you to train for longer periods, resulting in the loss of weight and a decrease in fat.
Incorporating protein powder into your daily diet can help you to lose weight but it shouldn’t be looked at as a ‘magic powder’—it needs to be consumed along with a healthy diet and physical activity. Whilst enjoying a smoothie for breakfast or protein shake throughout the day can fill us up and lower our appetite, preventing the need to snack or overindulge, having an excessive amount of protein and not burning calories through exercise can affect your weight-loss efforts. It’s also important to not use protein powder as a substitute for all meals in your diet—consuming whole foods will allow the body to gain the necessary amounts of vitamins and nutrients needed for optimal physical health and mental well-being also.
REDUCED RISK OF ALLERGIES
Plant-based protein is a great option for those that are lactose intolerant or suffer allergies to whey or dairy products, but still want the added health and physical benefits of incorporating a protein powder into their daily routine. Soy can also be a common food allergen so if this is a concern, ensure you choose a plant-based protein powder that’s perhaps made with rice, pea or hemp. If you’re unsure and have any allergens, intolerances or sensitivities to certain ingredients, we recommend that you seek advice from a healthcare professional to help you make an informed decision and to choose the best product that suits your needs.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS OF PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER?
There are very few side effects to using a plant-based protein powder, but it’s important to check the ingredient listing to make sure it’s made with all-natural, organic ingredients, with no artificial sweeteners, additives or preservatives. If the ingredients are not organic, your protein powder could contain harmful pesticides and chemicals that could cause health problems down the road.
Using a vegan protein powder daily does not cause you to gain weight, however, they need to be consumed along with a healthy diet and exercise program. Diets that are rich in protein are said to promote fat loss rather than weight gain and including protein powders into a well-balanced diet can help to control the appetite, increase calories burned during exercise and even assist with losing unwanted belly fat.
As with anything in our diet, it’s important to consume everything in balance and moderation so we’re not taking in more calories than we need for energy. Any calories consumed in excess can be stored as body fat, leading to weight gain. It’s recommended that you stick to somewhere between 20-30 grams of protein per serving, as anything over 30 grams can not only cause an increase in weight but kidney issues also. Because protein is not stored in the body for later use like carbs and fat, the kidneys have to remove any excess protein from the blood and they can become stressed if this happens often. Not only is it a waste to consume large amounts of protein per meal, but it can cause damage to the kidneys long term.
It’s important to take the recommended serving per day of protein powder and keep in mind the best times to enjoy your shake or smoothie to gain the maximum benefits.
IS PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER BETTER THAN WHEY?
When it comes to deciding what’s better between plant-based protein powder or whey protein powder, it really comes down to your dietary needs and personal preferences. Both offer many nutritional benefits and are a great way of getting the recommended amount of protein in your daily diet. Both whey protein and vegan protein will help increase energy, build muscle and support weight loss, but whey is considered to have higher levels of protein and is a complete protein, whereas only soy and hemp plant-based protein is considered complete unless multiple plant sources are combined. Our Happy Way vegan protein powders are made with rice and pea protein or hemp protein, which means they contain all of the essential amino acids and BCAAs needed.
When it comes to digestibility and food sensitivities, whey protein powder can often cause an upset stomach, bloating and gas, in particular to those that are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. Vegan protein powders can be a better option in this case, but it’s still important to check the packaging of your protein powder to ensure that it’s gluten or soy-free, for those that suffer from these allergens.
If you have food sensitivities we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional to determine the best protein powder for you. Another simple way is to try a selection of protein powders and keep a food journal to help you identify and note down any side effects that may arise with specific formulas.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED ON A VEGAN DIET?
Some people believe vegans need to monitor their daily intake of protein a little more closely than non-vegans as often the protein sourced from plant-based foods is digested less efficiently than animal protein. Plant-based protein can also have a different blend of amino acids which are essential for maintaining healthy bodily functions.
That being said, if you’re vegan and planning your diet well, you can absolutely get sufficient amounts of protein from plant-based food sources such as beans, legumes, grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Including a vegan protein powder into your diet can be a great additional protein source and a way to get the necessary nutrients your body needs. Happy Way’s Vegan Protein Powders are not only filled with quality ingredients such as chia seeds, psyllium husk and maca powder, but they also contain all of the essential amino acids needed in our diets.
The recommended daily intake of protein can vary depending on age, gender and body weight but protein should generally make up around 15-25% of your total energy intake.
In Australia, the guidelines for daily intake of individuals aged between 19-70 are:
- Men – 0.84 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
- Women – 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
This equates to approximately 56 grams of protein per day for the average male and 46 grams of protein daily for the average woman.
For further information on how to get enough protein into your diet, read our blog, ‘Finding the best high protein vegan meals’.
HOW DO I USE PLANT-BASED PROTEIN POWDER?
Having a protein shake or smoothie is a great way to get all the nutrients you need that help to protect your immune system, assist with muscle recovery and improve digestion. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they’re ideal to have pre or post-workout, perfect to enjoy on the go and a healthy alternative to afternoon snacking.
If you’re focused on achieving specific health and fitness goals, it’s important to take into consideration the best time of day to consume your protein powder. Using your plant-based protein powder as a part of a pre-workout shake can improve your training by increasing your energy levels and boosting your strength and endurance. Having a smoothie or shake approximately 45 minutes before your workout is best, to ensure you gain all the benefits in the appropriate time frame.
Enjoying a protein shake, smoothie, or protein ball post-workout is also greatly beneficial as it will provide essential nutrients and amino acids to muscles. This will help with rest and repair, reducing the amount of fatigue, aches and pains, and it also assists the body with recovery, which is perfect for those who want to train frequently.
With Happy Way’s vegan protein powders, add 30 grams of your favourite protein to 250 ml of water or your milk of choice and shake to mix well. Alternatively, add 30 grams of protein with water/milk of choice into a blender and include your favourite fruits, oats or even yoghurt to create a delicious smoothie. Both options are convenient ways to get the nutrients you need for your day and are perfect for enjoying when you can’t stop for breakfast or lunch! Keep in mind that if one of your goals is to lose weight, adding a lot of other ingredients to your smoothies will increase the calories.
Here are some handy tips to ensure your protein shakes and smoothies are always in tip-top shape and taste!
- Always ensure you add your liquid (water, milk or even yoghurt) before including the protein powder.
- Use a blender, bullet or protein shaker bottle to mix your smoothie or shake well. Don’t just mix your protein powder into a liquid with a spoon.
- If using a shaker bottle, choose one with a mesh screen or a metal ball whisk as this will help keep out the lumps.
- You can also use protein powder in smoothie bowls, chia puddings, baked goods or even sprinkled over yoghurt and fruit!
- Get adventurous with ingredients! At Happy Way, we love adding nuts, fruits, oats and superfoods with our protein powders to create nutritious, and more importantly, DELICIOUS recipes to enjoy at home, at work or on the run.