the spaz of fitness has arrived

Sunwarrior Protein Powders Review

In Food on October 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Despite a childhood love of things milky and cheesy, my adult life has been plagued by a debilitating, severe lactose intolerance. Now, I know people—these awful pretenders—who claim to have lactose intolerance, who may experience a mild tummyache after a few slices of pizza or a bowl of ice cream. But these silly poseurs have obviously never endured the real thing. For me, what began as a mild discomfort after milk-based products worsened over a matter of months. Soon, I could no longer have anything related to anything that touched the idea of something to do with dairy without hours of a bedridden, fetal-positioned Jo, whimpering and wishing for the apocalypse. And still, I can feel the after-effects of dairy for days.

Due to stubbornness and common wisdom, I’ve tried to keep whey protein in my diet as long as possible since all the research I find seems to suggest it’s the most efficient form of protein post-exercise and for muscle production. But my tolerance has gotten worse and worse in these past years… I’ve tried every available brand of isolates and “lactose-free,” but if it’s milk-derived, I tend to experience some amount of misery. These past two years, I’ve just accepted the fact that I’ll be a little uncomfortable on a daily basis because without the shakes, I had a hard time recovering after workouts, and my strength stalled out too frequently. But it’s finally become so frustrating that I decided I could no longer live like that. So, once more, I gave up the whey again and embarked on a search for a replacement.

I happened to remember a few vegan bloggers I followed (back in the pre-Paleo days) and the fact that they all spoke highly of Sunwarrior. I also remembered that it’s “the first completely hypoallergenic protein” and often recommended to IBS sufferers (such as myself). They offer two types of protein powders: their “classic” protein, which is made from raw, sprouted brown rice, and the new “warrior blend,” which includes raw pea protein, raw cranberry protein, raw hemp protein, Coconut MCTs, Fenugreek, Glucomannan, and Leucine. The absolute simplicity of the “classic” formula appealed to me, but I was curious about the difference between the two so I wrote the company, and their generous, responsive representatives were delightful and sent me samples of every single one of their powders in all available flavors (“classic” and “warrior blend” each come in vanilla, chocolate, and “natural”– which is entirely unflavored and unsweetened). I wanted to try them all before I reviewed, so that I could give you a thorough evaluation.

Taste and Texture: I have to admit that I have a bit of an unusual palate after growing up in an Asian household… Though I was surprised by my first sip (more by the sandy texture than the taste), I do enjoy both the classic and warrior powders. The “classic” formula reminds me a lot of rice milk, which we drink in Taiwan. There’s an “earthy” taste to it, but it’s rich and thick and filling. The “warrior blend” formula is a bit thinner, but reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Chinese desserts (or rather, favorite desserts of all time). The Chinese make sweets of adzuki means and mung beans– if you’ve ever gotten “boba” or “bubble tea,” these shops probably offer a “red bean” and “green bean” flavor (which are adzuki and mung, respectively). To me, these shakes taste like the sweetened mung bean soup my mom used to make when I was a kid. The sweetness of both the classic and warrior blend is milder than that of commercial brands, but I actually really enjoy that and think that it makes the shakes much more appealing after a rough workout. The chocolate, I’ll admit, is not very “chocolately,” rather, just mildly sweet. The vanilla flavor comes through really well on the Warrior Blend version, and is probably my favorite flavor. However, all of them are tasty, and I would even drink the natural flavors straight without any additives.

Usage and Effect: The brown rice protein is the first and only protein powder I’ve tried that officially doesn’t upset my stomach in anyway. It’s actually remarkable. The jury’s still out on the warrior blend. Because I enjoy the taste of the vanilla warrior blend so much, I’m hoping I can still have it, but I did experience a little (tiny, tiny bit) of discomfort after my first serving. But I was fine after the second and third, so I’m hoping that it’s a fluke. Nevertheless, I’ve purchased a tub of the chocolate brown rice and I’ve been fine after weeks of that, so I know at least that one is safe. I’ve read a few reviews complaining about mixability, but I haven’t had any problems. It doesn’t dissolve as quickly as some whey powders, but a few good shakes in a blender bottle have worked well for me. Additionally, I’ve felt better-recovered after my workouts than when I don’t take any post-workout shakes. I noticed that I felt sore after workouts if I didn’t have a whey shake afterwards, but both of Sunwarrior’s protein powders seem equally effective as the top-of-the-line whey-based products in helping my body cope with all that I subject it to. It’s too soon now to make any determinate statements about strength gains, but we’ll see in the coming month.

Until then, thank you very much to the lovely folks at Sunwarrior for helping me find an effective, gentle fuel source.

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  1. Thank you so much for this review! I am a recently diagnosed sufferer of IBS and have been desperately trying to find a new post workout drink! This helped me so much!

    • I hope it helps you! Since this review, I’ve actually started to order from http://www.truenutrition.com/ You can customize your order to make sure all the ingredients are safe. The microfiltered whey also doesn’t bother my stomach. I mix it in a custom blend with the pea (gemma) protein to make a thicker shake. If you want to give them a try, you can use the code JOH1041 for 10% off. They’re also very good at answering customer emails if you have any questions about their ingredients. Good luck. For me, it took me over a year to figure out all my trigger foods and to feel like a normal person again. But I got there. My days are pretty normal and my flares, though they still happen, occur much more infrequently than before. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions!

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