I use protein powder for the convenience factor. Sure, you could eat whole food sources (chicken breasts, lean ground turkey, egg whites, etc etc) for each meal, but sometimes when I'm wrestling my 1-year old to get dressed and scooting my 4-year old out the door for preschool, grabbing a quick protein shake is the easier and more convenient option.
So, the next natural question is, "what protein powder should I get?". There are so many protein powder options out there it can be a little overwhelming! Whey protein, whey concentrate, whey isolate, casein, goat's milk protein, soy protein, egg white protein, rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein....to name a few.
A lot of protein powders are made with whey concentrate. In fact, the protein powder I use most of the time is MRM's All Natural Whey Protein (you can read my review of that protein here). Whey comes from cows' milk, so some people who are sensitive to dairy might have a hard time with whey protein. I don't really have a dairy sensitivity, so most days I use whey protein. Sometimes, however, I like to mix up the protein I eat and use non-animal sources. When that is the case, I turn to MRM's Veggie Protein.
MRM actually has an entire line of Vegan and Vegetarian products. Their Veggie Protein (pictured above) is made from brown rice, pea, and hemp instead of whey. I actually prefer using this protein powder over whey protein when I make my baked goods and have used it in a lot of yummy recipes like my favorite Guilt Free Waffle recipe (click here for the full recipe):
MRM has two flavors: vanilla and chocolate. I prefer the vanilla flavor and then if I am in the mood for chocolate I just add one Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder to my shake. I feel like from a consistency standpoint the whey protein is a little bit smoother, but the taste of the Veggie Protein is really good. I think the first time I tried it, I was a little afraid to taste it. For some reason I was thinking it might taste like blended up vegetables (silly, I know). It didn't taste like vegetables, and tasted really good just like other vanilla protein shakes I have tried.
Some of my friends, Leanna Carr and Ellen Whitney, who also train with Inov8 Elite Performance stopped by the MRM booth at the Arnold Sports Festival a few weeks ago and bought the Veggie Protein in vanilla flavor. If you don't believe me that it tastes really good, here is a screenshot of a text Leanna sent to Whitney and then shared with me:
Here is one way they like to eat the Veggie Protein...looks good!Here is a picture of me with these gals at the Arnold Sports Festival this year. If you aren't following them on Instagram yet you should! @charliebrooke8, @ellen_whitney, @leanna_carr
Ellen's recipes are soooo yummy! I wish I could cook and display my food like she can!
Lastly, you might be asking yourself: does a protein that is vegetable based (veggie protein powder), instead of animal based (whey protein powder) produce as good of results? There was a recent double blind 8-week study done by the University of Tampa in 2013 testing 24 athletes. Half of the group ate rice immediately post exercise, and half the group ate/drank whey protein immediately post workout. The study showed no significant difference between the groups of athletes in recovery, soreness, lean body mass, or muscle mass. The conclusion of the study was, "Both whey and rice protein isolate administration post resistance exercise improved indices of body composition and exercise performance; however, there were no differences between the two groups." If interested, you can read the article here on PubMed.
To summarize everything, I think having a veggie protein to mix into your diet is a great idea. I still prefer the taste and consistency of MRM's all natural whey protein, but I do use the Veggie Protein once a week or so just to try to vary my protein sources. If you want to try it out, you can order directly from MRM's website, or you can add it onto your next order next time you order from Bodybuilding.com or Amazon.com (it is quite a bit less expensive on those sites too).
Have you tried or used a veggie based protein before? How did you like it? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!