I feel like I’ve tried every protein powder on the market since 2003, just a few years after I really got into strength training. That’s a bit of an exaggeration–but not much–so I was excited to try the Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein (I got the chocolate one). I’m pursuing the protein powder that tastes amazing (even when I just shake it up with water), has a smooth texture, doesn’t cause bloating and discomfort, and has enough protein to help me easily hit my protein goals for the day.
High standards, I know, but unless I’m in a fitness slump (those happen from time to time) or I’m too sick or injured to work out, I consume protein powder most days.
It was past time for me to give Ancient Nutrition products a try.
Bottom Line, Up Front (In Other Words, TL; DR)
On a scale of “Love It, Could Drink Every Day” to “Oh, No, Straight in the Trash”, the Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein falls somewhere in the middle for me, but I could recommend drinking it every day if you are looking for the health benefits as the ingredient list is superb. It wasn’t too gritty, even when I shook it up with water in a Blender Bottle. After consuming it, I felt fine (no belly discomfort, which is rare!).
That said, the flavor wasn’t great. I wanted a more robust chocolate flavor, which would’ve masked the sweet taste and that weird couldn’t-put-my-finger-on-it, chalky, fruity, burnt flavor.
The overall flavor–as unappealing as I just made it sound–isn’t strong enough to overpower other ingredients, like chocolate almond milk or fruit, so it won’t ruin your snack and tastes great mixed into a smoothie.
I definitely appreciated how easy on my stomach it was, plus the ingredients are fantastic. If you always mix your protein powder into a smoothie and you’re just trying to bump up your protein (as opposed to counting macros and struggling to hit your protein goal), it’s a good one to use. I’m just too lazy to get the blender out every day (mainly because that also includes cleaning said blender).
Here’s a look at the texture:
Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein Review: The Pros and Cons
As I mentioned above, the Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein falls somewhere in the upper middle of my ever-growing list of protein powders I’ve tried. If I were to rank them from most loved to most disliked, Ancient Nutrition would be closer to the “love” end of the spectrum. That’s especially true because many other protein powders often have extra ingredients that I don’t want to consume for one reason or another (for example, artificial sweeteners).
- Fast shipping
- Packaged reasonably well
- Products were in excellent condition when they arrived, sealed well, and had no leaks or spills
- Miraculously didn’t cause bloating or discomfort for me, which is rare, so it seems like a good candidate for those who tend to struggle this way when they consume protein powders
- The flavor is mild enough to hide if you don’t need to just shake it up with water and chug–even chocolate almond milk could do the trick, but it’d be best in a smoothie with fruits and other ingredients
- The packaging looks nice, so it won’t be an eyesore if you need to store it on the counter.
- The texture was incredible, especially for a plant-based protein powder. Whey is still smoother, but this one performed almost as well. There were no clumps to chew (gross), it didn’t stick to the inside of the lid or around the inside of the spout, and I didn’t have to go through the hassle of pulling out the blender to make it work for me.
- I didn’t crave sweets as much as usual, even though I tested this out during a particularly stressful time that would’ve usually had me reaching for ice cream and/or cookies.
- Other options have more protein per serving (though this is within the normal range for plant-based protein powders).
- It’s expensive at $44.95 for 12 servings (you can subscribe and save some money, though).
- It’s slightly chalky, which may still be a deal-breaker for some people.
- Odd taste and aftertaste (even though I chose chocolate, it didn’t mask the less-than-ideal flavor) that wasn’t completely because of the sweetener.
The main feature of this protein powder is, of course, that it’s plant-based, so it’s perfect for people who would like to cut some or all of the animal products from their diets. It’s also good for those who can’t handle whey protein powder for some reason (like digestive issues).
So what else can you expect from Ancient Nutrition’s plant-based protein powder?
- It’s surprisingly smooth when shaken with water.
- Each serving has 15 grams of protein, which is pretty standard for a plant-based powder and a good amount for a snack unless you have exceptionally high protein needs.
- There aren’t any artificial sweeteners, which will be a big plus for those who are sensitive to those or want to eliminate them from their diet for some other reason.
- It’s not just suitable for vegetarians and vegans, but for those who follow the Paleo and keto diets, too.
- It’s non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
- It’s supposed to help reduce stress-induced food cravings (which I did notice).
- It’s low-carb and low-fat.
- You can bake with it or add it to smoothies if you don’t like just using water or milk in a shaker cup.
Cravings Are Gone
I didn’t even know this was supposed to help with cravings until I’d tried it twice. Then I read it, and it hit me–I hadn’t been reaching for cookies, ice cream, or any junk food. That was huge because I’ve been dealing with larger-than-usual amounts of stress the past couple of weeks and I usually cave and eat sugar. I haven’t even craved the sugary coffee drinks it’s so easy for me to grab on the way home from picking my daughter up from school.
It’s definitely not because of the flavor here, even though I got the chocolate one. If you’re craving chocolate, this won’t even begin to take care of it from a flavor standpoint. The flavor is so weak, but then again, it does mix well with other smoothies, so you can ‘pump’ up the chocolate flavor quite a bit.
Thoughts on the Price
This is one of the major sticking points with this one, in my opinion. You get 12 servings per container. If you like it and want to drink it every day, you have to buy not one, not two, but three containers to cover a month. You’ll have a little leftover to help you out the next month.
Plus, it’s on the pricey side. If you subscribe and you’re willing to buy six tubs at a time, you can get the price down to $28.87 each. Want to get three at a time so your month will be covered? It’ll cost $30.56 per tub.
I get it. The ingredients are high-quality. It can be worth it (especially if you are not snacking as much).
If you’re on the fence about trying Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein, maybe these Q & A’s can help.
Answer: Yes, Ancient Nutrition Organic is Certified USDA Organic.
Answer: Dr. Josh Axe is a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition. Jordan Rubin is the other founder.
Answer: No, but the FDA doesn’t approve protein supplements, so other brands aren’t FDA-approved, either.
Answer: Healthline offers a list of the best plant-based protein sources. This is a broader list than protein powders, so there are things like seitan, tofu, beans, etc. However, seeds (and chia seeds, specifically) are there, and they’re found in the Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein.
Answer: They’re more unsaturated and could help lower the risk of heart disease, compared to other types of protein.
Answer: Yes, Ancient Nutrition tests for heavy metals, pesticides, and more. You can read more about their process on their About page.
Narrowing your options down to just a few protein powders that could be right for you hinges on asking yourself a few questions:
How Much Protein Do you Need?
If your protein needs are on the low end, or you get pretty close to your goals with your regular meals and snacks, you might be okay with a supplement that contains around 15 grams of protein. Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein would work well for you in that case.
Suppose you are fine with other types of protein powder, like whey, and need more protein (or struggle to hit your goal with your regular diet). In that case, you might prefer to look elsewhere, where you can get protein powders and shakes that provide 20 to 45 grams of protein in one serving.
However, be aware that many of those have a much more complicated ingredients list than Ancient Nutrition and may contain things you’d rather not consume. Always check your labels beyond the macros.
Do you Prefer Plant-Based Protein Powders, or are you Open to Anything?
As I mentioned above, if you don’t need or prefer a plant-based protein powder, you might be able to get more bang for your buck from another kind of protein, from another brand. You’ll have to consider the ingredients and other macros, though, to decide what fits your lifestyle, dietary preferences, and budget.
How do you Plan to Use Your Protein Powder?
Texture and flavor come into play here. Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein has a smooth texture, especially for a plant-based protein powder, even when mixed with water. The taste turned me off, though. I wouldn’t buy this one if I were the type of person who wanted to toss some protein powder in her gym bag to mix in a blender cup with water post-workout. If I were the type who always has a smoothie for breakfast or after a workout, I would consider it because the flavor is mild, the ingredients are excellent, I felt great after I drank it, and the taste would be overpowered by whatever was added to the smoothie or shake.
Do you want a strong flavor, or is milder better?
Personally, if I order a chocolate protein powder, I want a strong cacao flavor. I know that’s not everyone’s preference, though. You might like this one if you like a mild flavor that you can hide in everything from protein pancakes to late-night “dessert” shakes or protein ice cream. Suppose you want a more robust flavor (probably because you want to mix it with water). In that case, you’ll probably be happier with a different protein powder.
Does it need to taste good and mix well when it’s just shaken with water or some type of milk or juice?
Suppose you need your protein powder to taste pretty good with minimal effort (I won’t say delicious since, well, it’s protein powder). In that case, you’ll want to look elsewhere for a protein powder with stronger flavor that goes beyond whatever it’s sweetened with. Juice and milk could make it more palatable, so it’s worth trying if you’re interested in the ingredients. As long as you have a shaker cup and you’re not relying on a spoon to mix it up, the texture is top-notch.
Alternatives to Consider
Though Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein is a pretty good option, there are several others on the market you might want to compare it with before you decide, especially since they’re not exactly inexpensive. Here are a few plant-based protein powders from other brands that might be worth a look before you buy.
You probably associate Four Sigmatic with mushroom coffee, but they’ve branched out and now offer protein powders. Flavors include Unflavored, Vanilla, Creamy Cacao, Café Mocha, and Peanut Butter.
These don’t mix quite as well in water, but the flavor (I tried the chocolate one) was stronger and more pleasant, in my opinion. I liked shaking it up with dark chocolate almond milk.
You’ll get 18 grams of protein in each of the 15 servings (versus 12 servings with 15 grams of protein each), and it’ll cost $50.00 per tub unless you subscribe.
The Ancient Nutrition brand has more ingredients, but they’re pretty similar overall.
I have a tub of KOS protein powder, but I haven’t tried it yet. What I like about this one, aside from its 20 grams of protein, are the exciting flavor options, like Blueberry Muffin. Other options include Unflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel Coffee, and Chocolate Chip Mint.
The downside to this is you’ll have to use two scoops (which is still only 39 grams, compared to Ancient Nutrition’s 29.6 per serving). Each bag contains 14 servings.
And this one is sweetened with stevia (bummer if you don’t like the taste), there’s also coconut sugar, so it’s less likely to seem overpowering.
Garden of Life has a few different options for plant-based protein powders (there’s also a grass-fed whey one, if that interests you). Their SPORT protein powder (in chocolate) is one of my favorites.
I imagine the Raw Organic Protein Powder tastes similar to SPORT, and it’s probably a better one to compare to the Ancient Nutrition option (apples to apples and all that).
The SPORT blend has ingredients to help you perform better and recover well. In contrast, the Raw Organic Protein Powder has a probiotic and enzyme blend. One scoop gives you 22 grams of protein.
One and done. Each scoop is packed with more tasty benefits than you can shake a shaker cup at: 20g of organic plant protein, with antioxidant vitamins A & C to support the immune system, minerals, probiotics, fiber, omega-3s, and good-for-you greens.
Vega has three options: Proteins & Greens (20 grams of protein, plus greens), Sport Premium (with 30 grams of protein, BCAAs, tart cherry, and probiotics), and Protein Made Simple (with 15 grams of protein and only five ingredients).
Proteins & Greens is probably the best one to compare to the Ancient Nutrition option, but Protein Made Simple is also similar. In this case, Ancient Nutrition has a more expansive list of ingredients, in a good way. You get more servings for a lower price with Vega, though.
This one is new to me, and I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. However, I’ve seen it recommended repeatedly lately, so I decided to check it out.
Choose from Unflavored, Vanilla, and Chocolate, and the 5-lb tub contains 76 servings and only costs $57.99 (less if you subscribe).
Hoping for a lot of ingredients with extra benefits? This won’t be the one for you; it’s just pea protein (plus coconut sugar and natural vanilla flavor or cacao powder, if you choose a flavored one).
Ancient Nutrition Plant Protein is a quality product, and the taste and texture aren’t bad. A stroll through the list of ingredients on this one is a delight.
Though it’s not the best protein powder I’ve ever tasted, I think it’s worth recommending because the ingredients are good, and the amount of protein you get is average for a plant-based powder (I’d personally prefer a few more grams per serving).
I don’t recommend this for people who will only mix it with water, but if you’re the type to mix your protein powder with milk or blend it up in a smoothie and you’re not worried about looking for the most affordable option, give this one a try.
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Crystal Schwanke has been on a fitness and health and wellness journey for more than a decade. She used to do wellness-related ghostwriting work and content writing for several well-known websites.
During this time, she tried all the protein powders, meal replacement shakes and mixes, and workout programs. Crystal’s favorite way of eating is Paleo(ish) and even when she isn’t writing about health and wellness and fitness, she often spends her time researching for the sake of learning. Her goal is to better equip herself so she can build a framework that will allow her to handle anything life throws at her.