Sifting through protein powders

Hi all! I am asked frequently on the brand of protein powder I use. I thought I’d take a moment to write up some of my favorites.

I’ll try anything once (after careful consideration of course)! Over the last several years I’ve tried: Vega, Perfect Fit Protein, Drink Svelte, Muscle Milk (ready to drink), and most recently, GnarlyI’m going to outline them for you below, and I’d love to hear your comments or experiences with any of these!

Let’s begin by understanding what you DON’T want in your protein powder. This will help you sift through dozens.  Most of this should be self-explanatory. As always, conduct your own research, particularly on Carrageenan. I am not a fan, and I switched off the varying almond milks (Almond Breeze) that used it because I noticed my stomach always hurt after I would drink it. I normalized that feeling until I did some research on the thickening agent and decided to ditch it for good. Don’t be fooled by natural and organic products either – I’ve found it in Horizon Organic chocolate milk..

I grabbed this great meme from CalNaturale, they make Drink Svelte (read about them below).

Avoid these ingredients in your protein powder.

Avoid these ingredients in your protein powder.

Plant-based protein vs whey protein

This is an important distinction. As I have been moving my diet towards a plant-based, more clean one, I reach for vegan protein options. Vega and Perfect fit give me that option. I was worried if I’d go plant-based, I would be missing out on important muscle-repairing elements.  Surprisingly, Vega protein gave me remarkable results. I had no issues mixing it with water, almond milk, or a smoothie. I need to make sure it will blend well with everything. Since I’ve first tried Vega, they’ve come out with an entire new line, bars and pre-workout mixes. I’m excited to give the new items a go-around.

Plant-based Protein

Vega (1 scoop = 15g protein): 

Vega all-in-one

Vega all-in-one

      • 50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals
      • 15 g protein
      • 6 g fibre
      • 1.5 g Omega-3
      • Antioxidants
      • Probiotics
      • Greens









Perfect Fit Protein (1 scoop = 15g protein):

Perfect Fit Protein

Perfect Fit Protein

I’ve been a Tone it UP Team member for years now, and have been really excited to watch them grow (got to meet one of the girls in California!). So naturally, when they developed their own protein powder (made from brown rice), I was instantly sold! It literally has 5 ingredients (6 if you buy the chocolate flavor)!  

I’ve tried this protein with water, in a smoothie with almond milk, with my almond milk latte, in a protein pancake, and as a replacement for flour in baking. My preferred method to use this brand is in a fruit smoothie or in a protein pancake. I found it to be rather clumpy in almost all the other recipes, unfortunately.

We formulated Perfect Fit with you in mind – delivering 15 grams of delicious Organic, Vegan, Raw protein per serving.  In addition, Perfect Fit is Fat Free and does not contain cane or beet sugar, gluten, dairy, lactose, soy, corn, any of the 8 major allergens, or GMOs.




I much appreciate that they post the amino acid profile. Amino acids are what make your protein complete – they are building blocks!  As a vegan / vegetarian, it is extremely important to ensure your protein is complete by combining foods throughout the day to meet your daily requirements (animal protein is a complete source). This is why I would often turn to Perfect Fit Protein for a smoothie, or protein pancake. As you may or may not know, there are about 20 amino acids the body needs daily, 9-11 of them are essential, meaning the body cannot produce them automatically, so it is up to you and your healthy diet to gather them throughout the day. Now let’s put my personal training knowledge to some use here and get into some detail about why this even matters! There are two types of amino acids you may find listed in your protein powders: Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and Essential Amino Acids (EAA). Both are important, yet have different functions.


The BCAAs (which are essential amino acids) are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are metabolized quickly in your muscles (other amino acids are metabolized in your liver), hence for performance athletes or those looking for muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth),  BCAAs are a must.

Whey Protein

Muscle Milk (ready to drink) (1 shake = 18g protein)

How many of you drank a free sample after a race? That’s where I first tried and enjoyed the protein shake. It has a nice rich chocolatey or vanilla flavor. HOWEVER, take a look at this lofty ingredient list and you will go searching elsewhere instantly. Sorry! Enough said about this one…

Muscle Milk  Ready to Drink

Muscle Milk
Ready to Drink


Drink Svelte Protein Shake (1 shake = 14g protein)

I recently stumbled upon these lovely shakes on Instagram (where everything is hot these days!). These are perfect for on-the-go, and are super clean. I will definitely try other flavors. They are pricey, but if you want clean, on the go, GMO-free protein, this is a viable option.

One of several flavors ready to drink.

One of several flavors ready to drink.


Have a look:

              • 11g protein
              • Only 180 calories
              • Certified Gluten-free
              • Dairy-free
              • 5g fiber, 20% daily value
              • Only 6g sugar, sweetened naturally with stevia
              • Made with organic complex carbohydrates for sustained energy
              • Non-gmo soy
              • Vegan
              • Convenient, reclosable cap

– See more at:

Gnarly (2 scoops = 25g protein)

The Whey & The Pump

The Whey & The Pump

Gnarly protein is very new to me. They pride themselves on being clean, sourcing grass-fed GMO free New Zealand Whey Protein. No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. I bought a $10 pack of samples and got 4 packs of 2 different flavors of protein and few Gnarly Pump (a pre-workout drink). I consumed everything easily – no clumping, no aftertaste. I happened to be tooling around their website and saw that carrageenan was listed as an ingredient, so I emailed them. Here’s what a rep emailed to me today:

I’m pleased to let you know that you CAN like them more, because carrageenan has been removed from all of our Whey products in our last productions run. So you can order just the plain Gnarly Whey Gnarly Feast, or the Gnarly Slim, and carrageenan will not be an ingredient. Thank you for alerting us as well because it was still listed on our website and we will be taking that down. 


Great news for me in search of a clean recovery protein!

Here are some of Gnarly Whey Nutrition’s highlights:

  • 25g Superior Protein (per 2 servings)
  • 5.5g BCAAs (per 2 servings)
  • 4g Glutamine (per 2 servings)
  • Gluten Free
  • Sweetened Naturally with Trulicious®
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors, or Sweeteners


So, at the end of the day, it looks like I have a few options, depending upon what my needs are, and what I’m making. Let me know your thoughts, and what you have tried and liked!






3 thoughts on “Sifting through protein powders

    • Hi Michelle
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve only tried Perfect Fit and Sunwarrior brown rice proteins. Are there specific ones you were looking for? Let me know, thanks!

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