Because I’ve done several reviews of protein powders, meal replacement shakes and otherwise cheap, unhealthy and overly processed quick fixes, I’m often asked about which protein powders I recommend. Here are my reviews and the products I do not endorse:
To be clear, I do not recommend meal replacement shakes. Protein shakes are not meals, they are essentially just a supplement to your diet. They’re mainly a good option for post workout. They are not a good option in lieu of an actual meal.
I’d also like to point out that my preference is real food post workout. I personally do not consume protein shakes daily and do not recommend them for everyone. However, I acknowledge that they can be helpful for those who are regularly performing strenuous workouts, trying to gain muscle or who just have trouble eating post workout. They’re also great as a snack, which is how I consume them.
For example, we keep protein in the house because my husband drinks a shake immediately after his workout. He gets up at 5 am, goes to the gym, works out really hard, drinks a protein shake to rebuild muscle and then also eats an actual meal after he showers. This is a great way to use a protein shake.
So back to my favorite protein powders.
My favorite protein source for shakes is grass-fed whey. It contains a great vitamin and mineral profile, it contains all essential amino acids (which plant-based proteins do not) and it’s easy for most people to digest (though not everyone).
I also like transparency, so it’s important for you to know that none of these companies are paying me to write this. However, the links to the products do go to Amazon, who I am an affiliate for. These reviews are my opinion, I would never recommend a product I do not fully endorse (which is why I recently turned down an offer from a pretty big plant-based protein company).
Naked Whey is a protein powder that I have not tried yet but I just ordered. It’s one of the more affordable protein powders and literally has one ingredient: grass-fed whey. The whey is cold pressed, non-denatured and a great option. I love that it only has one ingredient and is so affordable.
The other thing I love about this protein is their transparency and the fact that they share where they source their whey: which is in the good ol’ US of A! It’s really important to me to buy from small, local, pastured farms. This whey isn’t local to me, but it is from small, pastured farms in California.
SFH Protein Powder
We normally use SFH. This whey is grass-fed and has a low lactose content. The protein non-denatured and simply contains grass-fed whey concentrate, sunflower lecithin, and stevia. Some people don’t like the stevia, others do. So it’s really a preference here. It’s on the more expensive side and I’m not entirely sure where they source their whey from, which is why we’ve made the switch to Naked Whey.
Promix is another great option for a grass-fed whey protein powder. It’s also derived from California cows. It contains a very small amount of sunflower lecithin and is pretty affordable. Promix is non-denatured as well. I plan on trying this after trying the Naked Whey. I love that they also source their grass-fed whey from American farmers.
Wait, you’re recommending a plant protein?? Yep.
Garden of Life Organic Plant Protein
For a long time, I haven’t recommended plant-based proteins. This is mainly because they are grain-based, difficult to digest and lacking in amino acids or nutrients. Granted, this protein is a bit lower protein and a bit higher carb, it’s a good option for those who can’t do dairy. It’s grain-free and has no sketchy ingredients. It’s the most easily digestible plant-based protein I’ve ever found.
While I don’t recommend collagen as an exclusive protein powder, it’s a great addition. It contains ten grams of protein but I actually don’t recommend collagen for the protein content. I recommend it for:
- gut healing
- hair growth
- reducing inflammation
- nail growth
- preventing wrinkles
- improving/preventing stretch marks and cellulite
- bone health
- joint health
- you can read about all the benefits here
Because of all these reasons, it’s a great addition to your protein powder. It’s sourced from grass-fed cows and is all-around a wonderful product.
Some other great additions to a shake include Garden of Life Raw Organic Greens Powder, Aquatic Greens (insanely healthy), raspberries (low in sugar, high in fiber), raw cacao and wheatgrass.
You may be wondering why I haven’t recommended a beef or egg-based protein powder.
It’s simple, I haven’t found a source for grass-fed beef protein or organic/pasture raised eggs. CAFO beef and chicken yes, properly raised beef and chicken, no. Keep in mind that how an animal was raised and what it ate directly affects the nutrition of the food and therefore your body. So as of now, no recommendations for beef or egg protein powder.
Honestly, you don’t need expensive meal replacement shakes sold to you from people who know next to nothing about nutrition. I know these types of products seem like an easy way to lose weight and keep it off, especially with all of those promises they sell you – but it’s all bullsh*t.
The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat well, nourish your body, exercise, reduce stress, have fun and get good sleep. These are the keys to not just weight loss, but a happy life and loving your body. You deserve the best nutrition, not some meal replacement shake that is full of GMOs, synthetic vitamins and cheap protein sources like inorganic whey or soy. You are better than that.
Meal replacement shakes may work in the short-term, mainly because you’re creating a huge calorie deficit, but the reality is that it’s not sustainable in the long-run. Majority of people on meal replacement end up gaining all of the weight back, and often more. Eat real, whole, unprocessed foods. Add a protein powder if you need to. I guarantee this will work better than any meal replacement shake.