My favourite vegan protein supplements

Protein supplementation can be very important to us vegans. Though it is perfectly possible to consume enough protein from your regular diet, it can be very nice to sometimes just slurp a protein shake with 20+ grams of high-quality protein without too many calories.

Some people also have difficulties to stomach the amount of food needed to get to the needed amount of protein. 

Besides that, it's probably also important to realise that a protein supplementation can give you not only the right amount of protein, but the right types of protein. More specifically, the essential amino acids humans need to efficiently build and maintain muscle mass. I explain all of this here

So though most of you don't need convincing that a protein supplement can be effective, you often wonder which brand is best and which type you should be drinking. I find a few aspects important when choosing protein supplements:

  • Price - Paying too much for protein supplements is a waste. You should always balance price out against the other factors. 
  • Quality - A high quality protein source is important to get the right amount and type of nutrients you need.
  • Flavour & Ingredients - I think 95% of you guys agree when I say your shake has to taste at least okay. If it taste's like lab waste, I'm not buying.  Ingredients can also be very important. Eco-friendly ingredients would be ideal. 
  • Vitamins & Minerals - Some protein supplementations have added vitamins and minerals. How nice is that!
  • The company itself - I often choose to support a company with a good reputation when it comes to its products. A bonus to me would be if the company is involved in eco-friendly projects or has eco-friendly products. A 100% vegan company gets double bonus, of course :) 

So taking these into account, I have got a small list of my favourite protein supplements ready! You should definitely choose from this list, they are in my opinion really great supplements! I've tried all the supplements below and I don't recommend anything I wouldn't use myself. Click on the product names to go to their website.

My Protein Vegan Blend 

MyProtein is a trusted commercial brand many gym-goers know, use and trust. I've been a long term client and I've been mostly satisfied about their products. A downside to this blend can be taste. It's good, but it can feel very "grainy" to some drinkers. The price is great though and the quality is also very good. Great for people with soy intolerance, as it's made of everything but soy. 

My rating: 7/10

 

Bloomfoods

Bloomfoods is an amazing startup with a great protein shake. It tastes really good(!!), it's 100% eco-friendly and it has a lot of added vitamins and minerals. Though the protein content is relatively low (27 grams per 400 calories), it's a really great way to get high quality nutrients in your diet. It's very affordable and the company is of course completely plant-based. 

My rating: 8.5/10

 

Body & Fit Soy Protein Isolate

Body&Fit is a very competitive commercial brand with a variety of products. BF doesn't only sell it's own brand, it re-sells almost every popular brand in the fitness industry. Because it's commercial, you'll find especially affordable products. The quality is often pretty good. It's not a vegan company, but the vegan range had been growing and that's really good for the commercialisation of vegan products. I support that!

My rating: 7/10

 

Sunwarrior Raw Protein Blend

Sunwarrior is a company that is very popular in the US. It's dedicated to the plant-based lifestyle and combines a raw-food approach with this as well. A very committed and planet-friendly company with high-quality protein supplements. Vanilla and chocolate taste especially great! This brand is probably the most delicious brand I have tried so far. The ingredients are of course raw and eco-friendly.  

My rating: 8/10

 

MyProtein BCAA/L-Leucine

MyProtein is not new anymore, so I'll skip that part. BCAA's and L-Leucine are very important supplements, especially for vegans. Though they taste a little bit chemical, it's a sacrifice worth making for the benefits of the supplement itself. You should always use BCAA/L-leucine in addition to another protein supplement. Don't take them together though, you will get a very horrible taste (been there, done that)

My rating: 8/10

So this is my small list of favourite protein supplements. I will definitely add more lists of other stuff you should definitely try! Think about different vitamins & minerals, protein bars, vegan snacks and anything else that will help you towards your goals. Are there other lists you would like to see? Let me know in the comments or feel free to e-mail me!

Vegan on a budget: 10 essentials

I've often heard fellow vegans (and non-vegans too!) complain that it can be very expensive to eat high-quality vegan food. Even my clients sometimes ask me for cheaper brands or ask me to take a low budget into account. Coming from a family of 5 and being raised by a latin-american minded mother kind of makes you automatically go trough life looking for the best deals. Especially when it comes to food. I am not paying a lot of money just to see two grains of quinoa on my plate with a side of parsley-infused air. I want good food and I want a lot of it! 

That's why I want to share some savviness with you all. These 10 things are a must for anyone actually, who want to get more bang out of their buck when it comes to food. 

Visit local markets and non-luxury supermarkets. You don't always have to buy the most expensive brands to have high quality products. Most products have a very similar quality, so you won't even notice you are using a less expensive brand. This obviously doesn't apply to every single store or every single product, so try experimenting a bit. Canned products can often be very chemical if you buy the cheapest brand available. Same goes for bottled products. The best place to discover all of this is is in a non-luxury supermarket. Less popular supermarkets have a lot of these products and will save you a ton! Also, visit your local market to find great deals on fruits and vegetables. You can often negotiate with the farmers or the salesmen if you buy enough of their products. 

Have oats for breakfast. Oats are super cheap and will last you a very long time. Just 50 grams of oats is enough to make you a firm bowl of oats. So a package of 500 grams will last you 10 days! It also tastes great with a bunch of other products: peanut butter, fruits, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, coconut and a lot more! Super easy, super cheap and super tasty!

Eat pasta and rice instead of quinoa and bulgur. I've personally never really felt much for the quinoa hype. It was expensive and it didn't fill my tummy. I mean I enjoy it from time to time, but that's a rare occasion. Eating pasta and rice makes much more sense when you are living on a budget or don't feel like paying for overpriced bird seeds. Rice and pasta are among the cheapest products in the supermarket. A kilogram of rice from a cheap brand can cost you up to €1,- and pasta just €0.60 per package. It's genius, really. It might not be that genius if you bulk-eat these though.

Bulk buy everything. Most markets give you a discount or free products if you make a large purchase. Try buying in bulk. Keep an eye on discounts and bulk buy those too. Especially products that don't go bad very fast should be bought in this manner! Think of frozen goods, canned food and grains. 

Tofu and Tempeh are not too expensive. If you just buy the commercial brand. Watch out though, you don't want to eat a block of chemical waste. Make sure you are just not buying overpriced tofu. It shouldn't cost you more than €2,- per pack of tofu. Artisan tofu doesn't taste that great most of the time anyway.

Buy raw beans and prepare them yourself. Most vegans eat quite a lot of beans and lentils. The reason is simple: these beans are packed with precious proteins, vitamins and minerals we all need. However, canned beans can be expensive sometimes. Or tofu, if your budget is pretty tight. Consider buying raw beans and preparing them yourself. You usually have to pour warm water onto them, let them soak up for 8 to 12 hours and then cook them for an hour or two. You can do this a few times a week and then storing the cooked beans in containers. Freezing them in might be an option, but I personally don't think that will taste like much. 

Search online for (online) vegan supermarkets. I can't stop saying this guys: thank goodness for technology and google! Everyone's got a smartphone with internet connection nowadays, so use it to your advantage. Search for the nearest vegan supermarket (though sometimes expensive!) or look for online webshops selling vegan products. Sometimes you can buy products in bulk, saving yourself a lot of cash!

Buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Since you will need a lot of these because you are super healthy (right?), you can buy frozen fruits and veggies. These are often much cheaper than their fresh counterparts. However, frozen fruits and veggies can sometimes contain higher vitamin and mineral counts due to the fact that frozen goods are often frozen as soon as they are harvested. Fresh fruits and veggies often have to travel quite a distance before they can be sold. 

Have a budget dinner party. If you are on a tight budget, dining out can be a nightmare. Though I love having a good time at a restaurant, sometimes some of us just can't afford it. The solution to this can be simple: have a dinner party at your house or at a friends house. Ask people to team up and make some tasty courses so you can all have one seemingly luxurious dinner party! Decoration and music is also essential. You'll feel the same great ambiance of a restaurant while saving yourself a panic attack once you look at your current account. 

Cut back on fruit juice, soy coffee or soda and drink water or tea instead. Drinking your calories is overrated anyway, so switch up to water or tea instead of all the other options. It may save you a lot of money and a lot of calories as well.

Which tips did you already know about and which are new to you? Let me know in the comments below. Share this with anyone who spends way too much on food! :)

Going vegan? 7 things you need to know before doing it.

Thinking of going vegan or cutting back on meat? That's great, I salute you for your effort on making yourself, all animals and the planet healthier and longer lasting! 

If you're like me, you're looking for reliable information about what you really need to do in order to go vegan or to eat as plant-based as possible. As you are changing your diet, you should know that it's also important to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Eating vegan means you will have to make sure you get the necessary nutrients from the right sources. 

You also need to know how to find food wherever you go and how to stand up to sceptical people. My 7 essentials to going vegan!

There's vegan food literally everywhere. And I do mean everywhere! You just have to know where to look and how to find it. Most supermarkets sell a bunch of vegetarian and vegan products. Plus, you will always find fruits, vegetables, grains, pasta and other products that are almost always free of animal products. Feel free to ask someone at your store to lead you to their vegan product section. It might amaze you what they have. There's vegan food even in McDonald's! The key to knowing what and where is preparation. Google is your best friend. And www.happycow.net is your other best friend. You can see which restaurants serve vegan meals in your area. 

credits to Eric Helms.

Watch your calories and your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake. Don't fall for a detoxing regime or a crash diet. Make sure you still eat enough calories a day to keep your body functioning properly. In my recently published e-book, I explain what nutrients you need and why you need this. You need enough proteins, carbohydrates and fats to properly function as a person and as a sportsman. You need to make sure to eat enough products and the right products. I usually recommend about 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight, 30% fat intake (sometimes higher!) and the remainder should be dedicated to carbohydrates (usually about 35-55% of your diet). Download an app to track your nutrient intake, for example FitSociety or MyFitnessPal. Keep track of your food for a few days and adjust accordingly.

Don't hesitate to ask for help from your fellow vegans. Asking for help is always a strength and never a weakness. Ask around for tips and tricks on how others do it. Ask around which restaurants or supermarkets are a right fit for you or how to deal with popular problems vegans encounter. However, make sure you are not following all of the advice coming from a non-professional. It requires the right knowledge of nutrition to give someone proper nutritional advise. Missing essential vitamins and minerals can cause milder symptoms like fatigue, muscle cramps and bad skin and can progress to more serious symptoms like a weaker immune system, heart disease or muscle wasting. 

Watch your vitamin and mineral intake. As I said, proper vitamin and mineral intake is very important! Though some would like you to believe it is very complex, it can be quite simple. Make sure you are eating a great amount of different vegetables. Though most countries advise about 250 grams of vegetables each day, be a bit more bold and double that dosis. Eat at least 500 grams of vegetables each and every day. Make sure you switch things up every day as well so you have sufficient intake. Since most vitamins and minerals are water soluble, a high enough dosis should last about 3 days before your body dumps the rest in your urine. Eat nuts and fruits as well! Tracking can be very important here as well. MyFitnessPal can help you to track the most important nutrients as well! Taking a multivitamin will also make sure your intake is adequate. 

It's okay to go at your own pace. Everybody is in a hurry nowadays. Take your time to adjust accordingly. If you want to go cold turkey that's amazing! But if you want to phase out different products over time you are also welcome to do that. My advise to people who find it difficult to let go of certain products is to find proper alternatives. Don't wanna miss out on steak? There are vegan steak. Don't want to give up chicken? There is vegan chicken. Can't seem to let go of cheese? There is also a vegan option for that! Thank you science!

Supplement on vitamin B12 or eat vegan products with vitamin B12. Though I have covered the topic of vitamins, there is one vitamin in particular that is vital to vegans. Vitamin B12 is a vitamin found mainly in meat and some other animal products. But because we don't live in the stone age anymore, there are more simple solutions to vitamin B12 than to eat meat. Get yourself some B12 supplements or eat products that are infused with vitamin B12 (like Vivera). 

There will be rude people. But don't let rude people get to you! If you want to eat more vegan or are actually on the way to becoming a vegan, GOOD FOR YOU! Many other men and women are doing it and are pretty successful at it. I've been vegan for two months now and a flexitarian for a few years. I've always had people talking smack to me. And that's okay, society has let us strongly believe veganism is outrageous. It takes people time to get used to the fact that the only outrageous thing is that we aren't all doing a wee bit more effort to keep ourselves, other animals and the planet itself healthy and longer lasting. Keep calm and explain why you are doing this. If you want to be an activist: go ahead. But if you are like me and you don't enjoy schooling people in public, just remain calm and explain what it is and that you are just fine. Ask for your friends, family and colleagues to respect the way you eat and live. 

Share this with anyone who is thinking about going vegan or someone who needs some support in their journey to (eating more like a) vegan. I'm curious to know: are you vegan or considering being a vegan? Let me know in the comments below!