I want to start adding protein powder into my routine, but I have some food intolerances and don’t always trust the ingredients listed on those big tubs of processed protein. Is it possible to make your own at home? —Jon L.
You’re right to be wary of those overly processed protein supplements. Consumer Reports tested 15 of the most popular brands and found that all of them contained heavy metals like arsenic and lead. While most had relatively low levels, some clocked in as nearly toxic—bad news, considering consumers take them up to three times a day.
Many commercial formulas use either whey concentrate or isolate, both of which are derived from milk. That means it’s not the best option for those with dairy or lactose intolerances (whey is notorious for causing “protein farts”—gross, but good to know if you have a sensitive stomach).
And even if whey doesn’t bother you, or you’ve found a vegan product that’s free of allergenic ingredients (I love Vega or Garden of Life), it’s nice to have the chance to customize your own protein powder.
This basic recipe works nicely—hemp, chia, and spirulina are all excellent sources of vegan protein, and chocolatey cacao has antioxidants and adds flavor.
Here’s my favorite vegan protein powder recipe; it’s so easy to make at home and comes together really quickly, so you can make it one serving at a time or do a big batch for the week. Plus, it packs in 20 grams of vegan protein plus essential amino acids you need to rebuild muscle. The recipe makes one to two servings—for a denser, more high-protein shake, you can use all of it at once.
Yields: 1 to 2 servings
Active Time: 1 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
In a spice grinder, blend the chia, hemp, and spirulina into a fine powder. Transfer powder to a bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. To make a protein shake, add to 1 to 1 ½ cups of almond or coconut milk and blend until smooth.
Store in an air-tight container in the pantry for up to three months.
If you want to mix it up and throw in some extra health benefits, here are some of my favorite add-ins.
All of these good-for-you ingredients pair perfectly with the basic recipe above—go with whatever sounds good to you on any given day. For example, in the video we added in maca powder for a bit of extra energy and mood-balancing.
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