Plant-based protein powders are like the holy grail of bodybuilding in the sense that we all know that plant proteins are better for the environment and easier on our gut health, the later being a huge factor for bodybuilders and fitness freaks who are drinking shakes on the daily.
After over a decade of consuming nothing but whey concentrate my anus and underwear were begging me for another option that didn’t result in the unrelenting diarrhea that plagued me wherever I went, putting a huge damper on my non-gym life.
Sure, getting some corn phylum husk soluble fiber to mix into your protein shake is one option to improve your digestive health, but at the end of the day dairy is just a digestive-intensive protein to break down because of the lactose.
There is a misconception that you are either 100% lactose intolerant or 0% lactose intolerant but it’s actually a spectrum, as many moderately lactose intolerant people CAN digest dairy but it still results in some unpleasant bloating or occasional diarrhea. To avoid discomfort and to operate at peak efficiency it may be worth at least trying out some dairy-free protein options to see if your life improves or not.
Plant proteins like pea, soy, or rice are available and some companies make a solid product but all too often plant proteins struggle to compete against dairy-derived blends on texture and flavor.
Some rare brands however are able to find the perfect balance between A) high protein content B) easily mixed/non-gritty textures and C) a delicious flavor.
Naked Nutrition has established a reputation as being a reliable sports nutrition company. In many ways I see them as the Optimum Nutrition of the next century.
That’s no dig on O.N, I’ve used their products for decades now and they’re reliability in quality control is something to be respectful of no doubt. That said legacy companies like O.N has remained relatively stagnant over the last decade or so there are companies like Naked Nutrition that are orienting their product lineups towards a newer younger demographic that has different requirements for their nutrition.
Naked Shake Has Got Transparent Labelling
The whole “proprietary blend” fad used to obscure the use of cheaper less effective ingredients does seem to be dying out as consumers are demanding more transparency in their supplement labels and this is a great thing.
Unfortunately there are still some companies out there trying to prey on naive consumers with dishonest or incomplete ingredient lists. Naked Nutrition’s whole mantra is being “naked” as they have nothing to hide.
The Naked Nutrition vegan protein shake blends use a ultra-refined pea protein as their dominant protein source however there is none of that traditional dried pea flavor you get with cheaper pea proteins.
Each serving contains 20 grams of protein and the scoop size is actually quite small so doubling up your scoops to hit 40 total grams is easily doable in a standard sized shaker cup.
Naked Shakes also have complete amino acid profile breakdowns on every bottle so you can make sure for yourself there’s plenty of anabolic amino acids like Leucine, Icoleucine, and Valine. My Blueberry Muffin blend had 1907mg of Leucine, 1080mg of Isoleucine, and 1,140mg of Valine per scoop. Since I doubled my scoops I was getting 3,814mg of Leucine, 2,160mg of Isoleucine, and a whopping 2,280mg of Valine per shake.
Furthermore the transparent labelling shows you that Naked Nutrition uses coconut sugar for the sweetener (over synthetic sweeteners) and real lemon and blueberry juice for the flavoring. All around, just like with their pre-workouts and recovery supplements Naked Nutrition delivers on their name by being upfront and honest about what they’re putting in their product which is deserving of respect.
Flavor, Solubility, Texture
So, we know that Naked Nutrition uses quality ingredients and is transparent with their labels, great. But a shake is only as good if it tastes good and mixes well. Anyone serious about lifting who has had to drink their way through a 10 pount jug of bad tasting or gritty protein powder can attest to how disgusting that can be. As such, finding something that is actually enjoyable to consume is critical in maintaining a strict daily intake of supplemental protein.
I’m not sure how Naked Nutrition processes their pea protein but it’s some of the best I’ve ever had. The texture is so light and so fine that it’s almost dust-like and admittedly this can make for a little messier of a process when it comes to scooping it out.
But I think it is this super light texture that makes it wonderfully easy to mix. You can use just water but I found for the best texture and smoothest creamiest flavor a blend of 80/20 water/milk to result in the best shakes.
If you’re trying to avoid dairy completely you could swap out the milk with coconut milk or soy/almond milk which I also tried and which resulted in equally if not slightly tastier shakes. Mixing plant protein with exclusively water just doesn’t taste the best in my opinion, even with the added MCT powder that Naked Nutrition puts in their protein shakes.
The lemon blueberry muffin flavor was spot on. As someone who would list lemon poppyseed muffins as their one of their favorite breakfast foods I was skeptical at this flavor option initially given the complexity of trying to capture a lemon blueberry muffins complex flavor profile in a simple protein shake but Naked Nutrition managed to pull it off wonderfully.
My favorite shake recipe was an 80/20 split of water/milk with a spoon of fiber tossed in for good measure and then two scoops of Naked Nutrition vegan protein shake. The net result was a smooth creamy delicious shake that was a treat to slam after a grueling workout.
Naked Nutrition seem to rotate through their flavors so there is always something new to try. I’d very much like to try the strawberry banana and the pumpkin spice shakes that they have available at the time of publishing this. There is also a PB Blueberry that sounds downright sinful.
Is Naked Nutrition Plant Protein Worth It?
Do I have any complaints? I suppose compared to some dairy proteins powders the ultra-fine texture is a little messier, so after mixing up your shake you’ll probably have to wipe up your counter top and wash your hands, which isn’t a big deal and well worth it as the ultra-fine pea protein dissolves wonderfully leaving a smoother grit-free mouthfeel.
I do also wish that Naked Nutrition would put in more powder per jug. Like if you’re going to use such a large container why only fill it up half way? Just fill the thing up and charge more I’m fine with that.
There’s no way to get around the cost. If you want a quality plant based protein that isn’t full of cheap fillers, that mixes well, and tastes great you’re just going to have to pony up and spend a little more. If you can’t afford a vegan protein powder and don’t have any digestive issues with whey then that will always be a cheaper way to go.
If you are looking to give your gut a rest though and don’t mind spending a little more then I highly recommend Naked Nutrition’s plant based lineup. The only other brand that has been equally impressive in terms of plant based proteins would be The Plant Era which should also be a consideration on your list.
At the end of the day when you factor in your vitamins, your pre-workouts, your clothes, lifting shoes, fish oils etc you’re inevitably going to have to spend more money than the average person to support your diet in a way conducive to anabolic growth so spending an extra $10 or so for an ultra premium protein powder that you actually look forward to drinking is a worth investment in my opinion.