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Kate Magill
(lapedestrienne) - F
Protein Powders... on 08/10/2010 09:36:43 MDT Print View

...or other lightweight protein options for vegetarians/vegans? (cross-posting from G-Spot)

I'm on a quest for a high-quality, not bank-breaking protein source that I can use for backcountry travel. I don't eat meat and can't do dairy, so whey protein is out. I prefer to avoid soy, though I do eat Clif-type bars in a pinch because they're almost always readily available when I'm resupplying. The problem with bars: they are heavy, use lots of packaging, and still have quite a high carb:protein ratio.

What I think I want is a protein shake, preferably rice protein based, that tastes decent and mixes easily with water. Most people, it seems, use protein powders as supplements to smoothies, so flavor and texture don't matter as much, but some of the ones I've tried (Rainbow Light, Proventia) are absolutely terrible when made with just water.

Currently, I'm using Spirutein powder, which tastes okay, but does contain some soy which upsets my stomach if I drink more than one scoop's worth. Does anyone have ideas, or alternatives to a powder/shake?

If I'm going out for more than a few nights, my protein deficiency starts to catch up with me and I get serious joint pain. I'm not interested in adding meat to my diet, and I've tried taking cheeses, but just can't eat enough dairy in one shot to get substantial protein from it. Most of the reviews of protein supplements online are from bodybuilders, whose requirements are somewhat different from those of a backpacker.

I've experimented with a lot of different approaches to my hiking diet, and try to keep it as close as possible to my home diet (morning muesli, nut butters and whole grains throughout the day, supplemented with fruit-nut-seed-chocolate trail mix) but still can't seem to get enough protein (and probably not enough calories for that matter), so now I'm looking at supplements. Advice?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Protein Powders... on 08/10/2010 10:07:25 MDT Print View

Take a look at what you eat first. If you are eating a diet with plenty of whole wheat pasta and beans, quinoa, etc you are getting a good amount of protein right there. Rice on the other hand...not a great choice for that. What you may be suffering from is not enough calories. Do you add oil to your meals when hiking?

Plot out what you need gram wise for protein for your height/weight/level of activity and then work on your menu rather than just a menu first.

If you want to make "shakes" taste better yogurt powder really, really helps cover up the taste of protein powder. Shakes can be good but they can also not sit well in some people's stomachs if they take off uphill after chugging one ;-)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Protein Powders... on 08/10/2010 10:12:42 MDT Print View

Have you tried either hemp or pea protein powder? I get a dark chocolate hemp protein powder that's pretty good. I also have a recipe for protein balls that I backpack with -- made with chocolate protein powder, almond butter, coconut and dried fruit. Not exactly light, but exceptionally tasty! The Ultimate Meal is also a tasty powder, but I've only had it when mixed with a banana and half an apple, not sure how it would be without that.

Kate Magill
(lapedestrienne) - F
hemp, yes! on 08/10/2010 10:49:22 MDT Print View

Yes, I do like hemp protein a lot, but can't find any flavored varieties locally--I love the Manitoba Harvest chocolate kind, but have to order it online as the local place only stocks the straight unflavored stuff. In the past, I've just dumped a bunch of hemp powder into my muesli instead of using it as a drink, but what I'm looking for now is something to use mid-day or post-hike.

Sarah--you're absolutely right about calorie intake; I am low on both counts (maybe sometime I'll post the spreadsheet I have going), and part of my thinking is that drinks might be the easiest way to boost my calories throughout the day without just overloading on foods that are mostly starch or sugar... we'll see.

Adam Kramer
(rbeard) - M

Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
Re: hemp, yes! on 08/10/2010 11:48:08 MDT Print View

"dark chocolate hemp protein powder...I also have a recipe for protein balls that I backpack with--made with chocolate protein powder, almond butter, coconut and dried fruit"

i think i ate one of those before the phish shows in atl...good stuff

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: hemp, yes! on 08/10/2010 11:58:59 MDT Print View

"but can't find any flavored varieties locally"

My local store carried the unflavored Manitoba Harvest as well, I asked them if they'd stock the chocolate flavor, they offered to order it for me (and did). FWIW.

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Protein Powders... on 08/10/2010 16:36:34 MDT Print View

Sarah wrote: "If you are eating a diet with plenty of whole wheat pasta and beans, quinoa, etc you are getting a good amount of protein right there."
How much protein are you figuring is a good amount?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Protein Powders... on 08/10/2010 16:54:58 MDT Print View

"What I think I want is a protein shake, preferably rice protein based, that tastes decent and mixes easily with water. Most people, it seems, use protein powders as supplements to smoothies, so flavor and texture don't matter as much, but some of the ones I've tried (Rainbow Light, Proventia) are absolutely terrible when made with just water."

Kate,

Have you considered soy protein powder? It's right at the top of the list of desirable protein sources for humans, as I just posted in the "quinoa thread". Google "soy protein amino acid profile". One of the hits returned will be Wikipedia. Their writeup on soy protein should tell you enough to make a choice, or not, but it's definitely something you should look at from the sound of your post.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Protein on 08/10/2010 20:42:25 MDT Print View

It depends on the person really.

It is shocking though just how much protein wheat based pasta has in it - 14 grams for 4 ounces at minimum along with much needed fiber. While not vast, when one adds in beans/legumes it goes up quickly. Considering one is breaking up their intake over the day if one is getting 20 grams per meal they are doing fine.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
.. on 08/17/2010 00:42:04 MDT Print View

What about Ray Jardine's elusive corn pasta for protein? I have no idea what it would be, but just throwing it out there since it's reputedly great in so many other nutritional areas.

As for mixes, I'm with you...so many taste horrible in just plain water. I'm looking as well.