If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you’ll know that I LOVE a smoothie. You may have also noticed that when I use a protein powder it’s a vanilla flavoured one 99% of the time. Aint no shame in being ‘vanilla’ in this area of my life! Hah!

The reason I usually buy vanilla is that it adds a little flavour and sweetness to my smoothies without being too in your face and it allows me to play around with flavour combinations a lot more. If I want to make a smoothie chocolate flavoured, all I have to do is add a little cacao powder. I find that many unflavoured protein powders, especially the plant based ones, tend to taste rather chalky and I also need to add a lot more sweetness to my smoothies, which can sometimes really bump up their impact on blood sugar. Not ideal.

So if you’ve ever stood in the protein powder aisle at your health store, scratching your head and wondering which one to invest in, I’m here to help!

Before I dive into my favourites, I just want to say that protein powders are not an essential part of a healthy diet. BUT, if you’re extremely active, plant-based, recovering from injury,surgery or illness, or if you are extremely hungry, trying to build muscle… these are some of the cases where a protein powder can be a beneficial addition to your diet.

Ok lets dive in. These are all quite readily available brands in South Africa.

Body by Wild – Raw Vanilla Vegan Protein

I love the MINIMAL ingredients in this powder:

Non-GMO Pea Protein Isolate, Sodium Chloride (Salt), Natural Sweetener : Stevia.

Literally three ingredients. No fillers, weird preservatives and other scary things that we can’t pronounce. It’s got a generous 25g of protein per serving. There’s 28 servings per container and at R299 off their website, it’s one of the most affordable powders around.

I haven’t tried their collagen whey protein yet, but if you’re not vegan or sensitive to whey, I think it’s probably also a great buy.

Phyto Pro – Thrive Daily Protein in Vanilla

Again, another plant-based powder with very clean ingredients:

Raw GMO-free Pea Protein Isolate, Raw Madagascan Vanilla Bean Powder, GMO-free Xylitol, Stevia (Rebaudiana Leaf) Extract and Himalayan Pink Salt

This one can be a little bit sweet for some people… but I’m ok with it!

Again a very good 20g of protein per serving.

A big tub which contains 45 servings will set you back R660 if you’re ordering off their site.

Kauai – Grass-Fed Whey Vanilla Protein

This is the protein powder that I have most recently been using. I didn’t use whey protein for a very long time because I was scared of what the dairy would do to my skin and also because I try not to consume animal products unnecessarily. I read an interesting post by a wellness expert weighing up the pros an cons of plant-based protein vs whey protein powders and it convinced me to give whey another chance… I have really been enjoying its extra creaminess in my smoothies.

It has a complete amino acid profile, particularly branched-chain amino acids, which stimulate muscle growth and maintenance. If you can handle whey give it a try… I have heard their plant-based protein is pretty good too – also a very minimal and clean list of ingredients.

This powder also contains 20g of protein per serving.
Ingredients are: Grass-fed whey protein concentrate, flavouring, salt, steviol, sunflower lecithin

Their protein powders are available at Dis-chem, Checkers and Pick n Pay. At R199,99 for a 500g tub of the Whey and R159,99 for the Plant Based 500g tub they come out tops in value for money!

Wazoogles – Vanilla Sky Protein

I’ve used this product many times over the years and I really love it. You get a bonus hit of superfoods like maca, mesquite and lucuma, as well as chia seeds for added fibre and Omega fatty acids. The caveat is that there’s only 12g of protein per serving, but if you’re not an elite athlete or severely protein deficient, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

The ingredients are super clean and mostly organic:

Organic raw chia seeds*, organic raw hemp protein powder*,organic raw maca root*, Organic wild-harvested mesquite, Organic raw lucuma fruit*, Madagascan Vanilla Pod, French grown, water extracted yellow pea protein.

A 1kg bag which has 30 servings will cost you R499 directly from their site

Ancient Nutrition – Bone Broth Protein – Vanilla

Ok I splashed out on this one a few months ago, because I was curious. When I say splashed out…

It’s R1080 for a 20 serving tub. Yikes. I know. I just really respect Dr Axe – the creator of Ancient Nutrition – so I wanted to try this out. Bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin and a very specific amino acid profile, which have been shown to help heal the gut, boost immune system, improve hair, skin and nails; as well as helping with joint pain and of course muscle recovery. This powder contains 20g of protein per serving.

It has quite a strong sweet vanilla flavour, but when blended into smoothies it was super rich and delicious.

There is a ‘Pure’, unsweetened variety which is favourable for people on a Paleo diet, as it doesn’t contain any additives.

This one has good ingredients, except for the Xanthum and guar guar gum, which have been known to cause digestive issues in some people…

Ingredients: Chicken Bone Broth Protein Concentrate, Natural Vanilla Flavour, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Stevia Extract, Monk Fruit Extract.

For the price, I think I’ll stick to adding plain, unflavoured collagen powders to my smoothies and beverages instead though!

So there you have it… my top 5 vanilla protein powders. I only featured powders that are available in South Africa and ones that I have tried. I’m sure there are plenty more amazing options out there. I’m really dying to try protein powder made from crickets – it’s the most sustainable and easilly digestible… apparently!

Drop a comment and let me know which one is your favourite!

If you think I’ve missed out on an awesome powder, please let me know!

Have an awesome day!