Protein powders are a convenient way to up your daily protein intake, which is a good idea if you're vowing to make the gym your second home this January. But protein powders are often packed with not-so-healthy ingredients like sugar, sweeteners, fillers, bulking agents and artificial flavours and additives, plus they're usually dairy-based (made from whey or casein), which isn't ideal for everyone.
Fortunately, a number of health companies have recognized the demand for natural, junk-free, plant-based protein powders, and there's now a growing range of products available, from peanut and pumpkin seed powders to hemp and pea. We've selected five 100 per cent vegan ones made with only natural ingredients and no nasty additives. Mix them with water, juice, smoothies, soups or nut milk for a tasty protein boost.
The pumpkin one
Organic Raw 100% Austrian Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder, £10.99 (350 g)
tel: 020 8749 1781
Part of Clearspring's new seed-sourced protein powder range, this vegan and gluten-free product is made from 100 per cent raw and organic pumpkin seeds, with no added ingredients whatsoever.
The whole seeds are simply cold pressed, dried and finely ground in a traditional mill to provide 60 g of protein per 100 g of powder. A sunflower seed powder (49 g of protein per 100 g) and a flaxseed powder (34 g of protein per 100 g) are also available.
The peanut one
Organic Roasted Peanut Vegan Protein,
£23.99 (400 g)
tel: 0203 603 1119
This vegan powder is a blend of organic peanut flour (44 per cent), organic yellow pea protein, organic raw pumpkin seed protein and organic hemp seed protein. There are no sweeteners, flavours, fillers or anything else added, but the taste is great, as long as you're a fan of peanut butter. As well as 66 g of protein per 100 g, the powder provides a complete amino acid profile and is gluten-, dairy- and soya-free.
The Paleo one
Organic Paleo Protein Powder, £33.95 (675 g)
tel: 01423 541 154
Natures Plus has recently launched a range of certified organic vegan protein powders, including pea, sunflower, almond and pumpkin powders, and this Paleo powder, a blend of coconut, flax, sunflower, almond and pumpkin that delivers 44g of protein per 100 g, all of the essential amino acids and is designed for people following a Paleo diet. There's nothing else added apart from a blend of enzymes to help with absorption, and the powder is gluten-, dairy, soya- and yeast-free.
The hemp one
Organic Hemp Protein, £16.99 (454 g)
tel: 0845 072 5825
Certified organic, non-GMO and kosher, this nutty-tasting protein powder is made from hemp (raw hemp seeds), a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that's loaded with amino acids, including the nine essential ones. It provides 50 g of protein per 100 g and is also a good source of fibre, magnesium, zinc and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. The seeds are gently cold-processed, and there are no chemicals, sweeteners, bulking agents or anything else added to make the powder, which comes in a BPA-free container.
The pea one
Pea Protein, £7.19 (250 g)
tel: 01452 729 000
Pulsin does four different plant protein powders (soya, hemp, rice and pea), but this one is the most versatile as it's heat-stable and has a neutral flavour, meaning you can add it to a variety of recipes—sweet, savoury, hot or cold. The only ingredient is pea protein isolate, but it packs a hefty protein punch, providing 80 g per 100 g of powder. It's also vegan, gluten-free and available in 250-g, 1-kg and 5-kg sizes.