When most people think of protein to fuel workouts and build muscle, big black buckets filled with whey normally comes to mind. That’s understandable. Whey was pretty much the only protein supplement available for years and did a good job of providing balanced amino acids, despite some of the disadvantages and side effects that came along with it. Whey is a highly processed animal by-product that can irritate allergies, cause gastrointestinal problems, lead to bloating, and may even trigger fatigue with the heaviness it leaves behind. People put up with these side effects because there weren’t very many other options.
Then soy protein hit the market as an alternative to whey protein powder. Unfortunately, despite being a plant-based product, soy has plenty of downsides similar to whey. It is still an allergen that many people can’t tolerate. Soy is also full of phytoestrogens that are similar to human female hormones and these tend to mess with our hormone levels. People were forced to choose between two proteins that left them feeling unhealthy.
All that changed the past ten years. The demand for better alternatives to whey protein powder and also to soy has driven a revolution in healthier sources and types of protein. New companies were born and evolved around a more natural and holistic approach to getting all the essential amino acids an active human needs. These new proteins rely on clean, healthy, and raw plant-foods, the original source of solar energy, to provide the best alternative to whey protein and soy.
Whole grains, legumes, and nutrient-dense seeds have fueled mighty civilizations throughout human history. The Romans, Aztecs, Incas, Chinese Dynasties, and Egyptians relied on the power of grains and seeds to drive their armies and build monumental buildings as a testament to their power, buildings that have stood for thousands of years against weather and time. Hempseed, flax, chia, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and legumes have been rediscovered as healthy protein alternatives. Unlike wheat, these grains and seeds are also free of gluten, yet another allergen for many people.
To preserve the natural and beneficial enzymes, improve digestibility, and boost the bioavailability of these plant-based and vegan alternatives, they can be found raw, sprouted, and even fermented before they are dried and powdered at cool temperatures. Blends of these protein sources ensure a balanced mix of the essential amino acids our bodies require to build muscle, drive metabolism, and repair cellular damage. Gone are the side effects. Sprouted and fermented foods are easy to digest and do not result in bloating, gastrointestinal distress, heartburn, gas build up, a heavy feeling, or fatigue, so nothing slows down your workouts. There is no need to worry about allergens or hormone imbalances.
These vegan protein powders are also just as effective as whey when it comes down to their muscle building, athletic performance enhancing, and recovery boosting powers. A recent study showed that rice protein works as well as whey. Pea protein and hemp protein, with their complete amino acid profiles, should be as effective too.