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What Are Vegan Protein Shakes?

Vegan protein shakes are a plant-based alternative to traditional protein supplements, designed to support muscle repair and growth without animal products. They typically derive protein from sources like peas, rice, and hemp. Rich in essential nutrients, they're a convenient choice for those pursuing a vegan lifestyle or with dietary restrictions. Wondering how they can fit into your fitness regimen? Let's examine their benefits further.
Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins

Regular exercisers often turn to protein shakes to build the most muscle while keeping fat-building carbohydrates low. When these people are living a vegan lifestyle, devoid of not just meat but meat products like eggs and milk as well, the need arises for special vegan protein shakes. These drinks not only use special plant-derived protein powders, but also dairy substitutes like soy or coconut milk to give a punch of pure protein to hard-working vegan muscles.

Soy and rice protein powders are widely available from health food stores. These are typically no more expensive than egg- or dairy-derived protein powders from whey, milk or casein, creating vegan protein shakes from powders that are no more pungent than the alternatives. Not only are these plant-based powders used by exercisers who are vegan or vegetarian, but also those who are gluten- or lactose-intolerant.

A rice protein shake is a vegan alternative to other protein shakes.
A rice protein shake is a vegan alternative to other protein shakes.

According to the Bodybuilding Web site, vegan exercisers can get the protein they need to build muscle. It just might take a little more effort. The site states that building muscle requires at least 1 g of protein each day for every 1 lb. (about 0.45 kg) of lean body weight. This latter number can vary widely, depending on how much fat a person is carrying on his or her frame.

Vegan protein shakes may be prepared with vegetable protein powders.
Vegan protein shakes may be prepared with vegetable protein powders.

Besides the powders, other ingredients commonly found in exercise shakes must be eliminated to make vegan protein shakes. Though recipes vary widely, the ordinary class of shakes often contain eggs or egg whites as well as some type of milk or cream to make the drink a bona fide shake. As replacements, vegans will add foods like bananas, peanut butter and oatmeal, in addition to coconut or soy milk, to keep the consistency and taste of their shakes as true to form as possible.

Many people are allergic or sensitive to the whey and lactose found in dairy products.
Many people are allergic or sensitive to the whey and lactose found in dairy products.

Just as many vegan protein shakes can be concocted as protein shakes. One example that leaves out milk all together is a Creamsicle®-style shake with vegan protein, banana, orange juice, ice, artificial sweetener and vanilla extract. A simple banana or chocolate protein milkshake that utilizes milk might blend soy or coconut milk with ice, vegan powder, sweetener, and banana or cocoa powder.

Not every vegan exerciser resorts to vegan protein shakes. Some add powder to various low-fat and low-sugar desserts or energy bars, or they simply buy vegan protein bars or desserts from a health food store. Vegans may even disguise the powder in soup or a gravy. Still, others are content to stock up on protein the old-fashioned way: by consuming non-animal products rich in protein. These foods include soy-derived meat substitutes, seeds, beans, tofu and nuts.

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    • A rice protein shake is a vegan alternative to other protein shakes.
      By: Deymos
      A rice protein shake is a vegan alternative to other protein shakes.
    • Vegan protein shakes may be prepared with vegetable protein powders.
      By: lculig
      Vegan protein shakes may be prepared with vegetable protein powders.
    • Many people are allergic or sensitive to the whey and lactose found in dairy products.
      By: lidante
      Many people are allergic or sensitive to the whey and lactose found in dairy products.