Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Faves & Fails: Protein Edition

Today I'm talking protein.  Throughout the past year, I have been making a conscious effort to get more protein in my diet, because I know I have been delinquent with it in the past.  By incorporating more protein, I have seen positive results in my body and energy level.  I get protein from whole food sources, but I also really like protein shakes.  I know people have mixed feelings about supplementing with protein shakes and powders, but I personally think they have their place in a balanced diet and especially in people who lead active lives.  I think they taste great and kind of remind me of what milkshakes used to taste like.  (I really have no idea though considering I haven't had a real milkshake in at least 20 years!)  I like refueling after workouts with protein shakes because they serve to rehydrate as well as aid in muscle recovery.  As I've mentioned before, my favorite vegan protein powder is Plant Fusion and I'm addicted to their Cookies N Cream flavor. 
But recently I've tried a few other protein sources which I'm going to review today.  We've got some new faves and some fails!
1.  Peanut Butter & Co
I've apparently been living under a rock because up until a few months ago I never dipped my toes into the 'flavored' peanut butter category.  Yep, that's right I usually eat regular ol' PB.  However, I had been hearing about the above brand for awhile and back in November I finally picked up the above 2 varieties from Peanut Butter & Co.  I am IN LOVE with the Dark Chocolate Dreams variety.  I have literally been living off this stuff since I discovered it. I don't even know how many jars I've consumed in the past two months.  It's not overly sweet because the chocolate flavor just comes from cocoa, not chocolate.  This also makes it vegan and dairy free.  I can't eat similar chocolate spreads like Nutella because they are made with chocolate and milk, so if you are in the same boat as me - rejoice!  I spread this stuff on fruit or occasionally on a piece of toast but I hate to admit that I often just eat a spoonful or two straight out of the jar.  #classy  Now, the White Chocolate Wonderful is another story entirely.  I did not like all!  It tasted overly sweet to me and just had a weird taste.  Being that I also have not ingested white chocolate in about 20 years I don't even remember what it's supposed to taste like, but this was a no-go. I am now looking forward to trying more flavored nut butters from other companies like Justin's Nut Butter and Nutzzo.  
Nutritional Profile per Serving:  170 calories, 13g fat (2.5g sat fat), 12g carbs (7g sugar) and 6g protein
2.  Vegan Protein Powder
When I drink protein powder alone (mixed only with almond milk) after a workout, I always drink Plant Fusion Cookies N Cream, however when I make green/fruit smoothies, I like to add in a vanilla flavored protein powder to get an extra nutritional boost with my fruits and veggies.  My go-to powder for some time has been the brand on the right - Naturade Pea Protein.  It tastes good, is vegan and contains no soy, and it's really cheap on Amazon!  However, I recently had a gift card to GNC and was running low on my Naturade so I decided to see what they offered in the way of vegan proteins.  Turns out, not much.  Most of GNC's offerings are whey based.  Since 2014 is not the year I want to die from a lactose overdose, most of their options were out.  They had a few soy options, which I'm also steering clear of lately.  And they also had egg proteins.  This is a market I've also never dabbled in, so I know nothing about egg based powders.  However, I happened to stumble upon this one veggie option (above left) - Twinlab's Veggie Protein.  I liked the nutritional profile (vegan, non-GMO, no banned substances - wait, what?!) so I thought I'd give it a go.  Unfortunately, the first time I added this to my green smoothie, I could taste it, and not in a good way.  This powder has an overly sweet flavor which comes from their sweetening agent RebA (an all natural sweetener derived from the sweetest part of the Stevia plant).  It also leaves a somewhat strong trace aftertaste.  Oh well, you win some you lose some. I won't throw it out, but hopefully if I cram enough fruits and vegetables in my smoothies I can drown out the flavor.  I think if they would offer this in an unflavored version it would probably fare better. 
Nutritional Profile for Twinlab per serving:  130 calories, 1g fat (0 sat fat), 8g carbs (5g sugar), and 21g of protein
Nutritional Profile for Naturade per serving:  130 calories, 2.5g fat (0 sat fat), 10g carbs (3g sugar), and 20g of protein

Your turn!

What is your favorite way to get protein?

Do you eat flavored nut butters?  What is your favorite flavor/brand?

Do you drink protein shakes or add protein powders to your foods?  What is your favorite kind?


  1. mmmmm, I love Nuttzo. And my favorite protein sources are, well, food. Eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, lean beef. Yum.

    1. I eat a lot of meat but want to try to incorporate more plant based proteins into my diet this year. Yes, I need to get my hands on every crazy nut butter out there this year!

  2. I love Sun Warrior Warrior Blend, Vanilla! :) And I also just tried Vanilla Creme, Vega for the first time the other week and... I already finished the tub I bought - so clearly, it's tasty! ha ha.

    1. Hi there Gigi! I've heard a lot of good things about Sun Warrior but I have yet to try it - good to hear you give it a thumbs up! I also tried Vega awhile ago but I can't remember which flavor. I remember it having a bit of a sweet aftertaste but I think it's time I give it another go bc I see a lot of good reviews for it online.