Protien powder that doesn't break the bank. Or my stomach.
August 9, 2012 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Palatable, affordable, and hypoallergenic protein powder: too much to ask?

My doc says I need to get a lot of protein in my diet and recommended 2 smoothies a day with at least 25g protein each.

I'm allergic to gluten, casein, egg, soy and rice (among others) which limits my choices of powders. I was told to check out i5 and Opticleanse GHI but either of them would cost about sixty dollars a week! And both contain rice, which seems weird to me. Hemp is also an option, but I can't seem to find any reviews.

Ideally the flavors would be neutral so I can mix it with fruit (or chocolate) and not too grainy. Has anybody tried anything they like? Is hemp or rice better? Is it worth it to break the bank on the powders suggested by my doc?
posted by gilsonal to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There is pea protein powder but IMO it is pretty revolting, sorry.
posted by elizardbits at 9:33 PM on August 9, 2012

Response by poster: Since my doc seems to think some rice powders are okay, please suggest any rice powders you like and I'll try clearing them with him.
posted by gilsonal at 9:45 PM on August 9, 2012

High quality protein powder is spendy. It just is. That said, explore pea protein with your doctor as elizardbits suggested. As she also points out, it does not have a great taste and you'll need to add more fruits and chocolate than you might think to counteract that taste.
posted by ilikecookies at 10:11 PM on August 9, 2012

Best answer: You might want to try True Nutrition's Custom Mix. Or ask your question on their forums. That forum is populated with some pretty knowledgeable protein mixers.

Note: I have no affliation with True Nutrition other than being a satisfied customer
posted by 26.2 at 11:26 PM on August 9, 2012

Does your casein allergy prevent you from using whey protein?
posted by sciencegeek at 11:33 PM on August 9, 2012

We get the NOW brand pea protein powder, and have never noticed an unpleasant taste.
posted by Slothrop at 5:27 AM on August 10, 2012

Hmmn - are you by any chance sensitive to peanuts/tree nuts? I mention this because I did a lot of cooking with peanut flour back in the day (basically, a powdery version of all the solids in peanuts, sans all the fat) and it was both SUPER high-protein and fairly cheap, at least compared to protein powder. If it wouldn't hurt your system, it might be worth a shot!
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:54 AM on August 10, 2012

I use Vega One shakes, which are made from plant-based proteins (pea, hemp, rice) and are gluten, dairy, and soy free. Maybe ask your doctor about it, because they use sprouted brown rice protein, which may or may not trigger your allergy. They only have about 15g of protein per shake, but you could probably add something to it to boost that. I add unsweetened almond milk, which doesn't add much in the way of protein, but makes the flavor better. They also have a VegaSport protein powder, which has 26g of protein per serving.
posted by bedhead at 7:49 AM on August 10, 2012

I have used this Vitacost brand pea protein and it's not bad. I mixed it with frozen berries, yogurt, and water, and it's not unpleasantly grainy. I have tried a few hemp protein powders and they are all super gritty with an unpleasant taste.

I currently use Garden of Life Raw Organic protein powder, but it has rice in it. It's sprouted though. Does that make a difference for you?

I also like adding a tablespoon of brewer's yeast to my smoothies. A tablespoon adds 4 extra grams of protein without affecting the taste too much, plus it gives you lots of other vitamins. Two tablespoons tastes bad though!

Vitacost might be a good resource for you. They have a lot of different options, discounted prices, and many reviews. (I have, however, found better prices at Amazon on some items, especially if you sign up for their "Subscribe and Save" program.)
posted by apricot at 9:17 AM on August 10, 2012

Are you on a restricted diet where the protein has to be in powder/smoothie form? 3 ounces of chicken breast (about half a chicken breast, or a little under the size of a deck of cards) has 25 g of protein. A can of light tuna has 40-45 g of protein.
posted by hat at 9:55 AM on August 10, 2012

Response by poster: I don't think I can do whey unless the maker certifies it is casein free, and I gather the process isn't perfect. I'm not sure how the sprouted rice goes, but I'll be asking my doc next week.

Because my GI tract is unhappy with me right now, the shakes are supposed to be easy on my gut, and allow me to mix in some powdered supplements they want me taking two to three times a day. I gather that the ones I was recommended are broken down more than regular food would be? At this rate, I'm going to be spending more on vitamins and supplements than food for a while, not even including the protein powder.
posted by gilsonal at 12:00 PM on August 10, 2012

Best answer: I have very similar allergies to yours (just add corn, oats and nuts)

The only two real options are pea-protein and hemp protein. I read reviews on amazon for Nutiva hemp protein vs. pea protein and the reviews were that the hemp tastes better. Nutiva is a good brand, it has a finer texture, it's easier to mix in. I got some to try- it's green, tastes kind of mild earthy taste. Personally I thought it was OK, but it definitely would be better with chocolate or frozen fruit, if you can.

Nutritionally, I think hemp is better than pea protein because it's a complete protein, with a full complement of amino acids. Especially since you're using the shakes as a supplement to your diet. And if you're allergic to rice, I would recommend avoiding stuff derived from rice. I'm only mildly allergic to it, but eating gluten-free stuff that had a lot of rice in it made my health worse.

Oh also, if you can afford it, I'd recommend Enjoy Life chocolate chips. They are made in a dedicated casein-free and soy-free (and nut free) facility. It took me a while to find out traces of milk were worsening my allergies, but the higher price was worth it to me.
posted by Aliera at 2:30 PM on August 10, 2012

I haven't tried this so can't vouch for it, but thought of you when I read this today:
Gelatin: A Healthy Protein Powder
posted by apricot at 9:48 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

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