For a long time, vegans didn't really have a lot of options when it came to protein. Of course, the omnivorous masses could have just about anything they wanted and the vegetarians could still rely on dairy-based supplements, vegans had a tougher time.
Dedicated vegans also have to consider the fact that animal products are sometimes hidden in less obvious places. The entire process, then, was a challenging exercise.
Over the past few years, though, the market has been pretty thoroughly saturated with vegan options – to the point where the new challenge is, not finding an appropriate vegan protein powder, but selecting from the many available products.
In that search, you are likely to encounter “raw” vegan protein powder pretty often. What is it? What are the benefits?
As the title clearly states, this class of protein powder is vegan – meaning that it is totally devoid of animal products. This could include the obvious, like whey, casein and egg proteins and the more stealthy thickeners, flavorings and emulsifiers that are derived from animals in one way or another.
The tricky part, for many people, is the adjective “raw.” Surely, any plant-derived product is raw, right? Unfortunately, no.
In order to convert rice or peas or hemp or soy into that convenient protein-rich powder that you through back before and after your workouts, the plant needs to go through a whole host of processes.
Often, this involves heating or some other potent manipulation. A product that endured minimal intervention during this preparation is referred to as “raw” meaning that it is still as close to its natural state as possible.
But what are the benefits of raw vegan protein powder? For one thing, the protein – and other nutrients provided by the supplement – are left entirely intact. This means that all of the beneficial amino acids that you're looking for when you take the aforementioned supplement are actually still present in useful levels.
It's important to realize, however, that protein powders have the potential to deliver more useful nutrients than just their namesake macro. Depending on the source, there can be a host of useful phytochemicals (substances produced by plants) that can improve everything from immune function to cardiovascular and digestive health.
This should not be forgotten when selecting a protein powder, as they can help you in ways that are often ignored. These substances are often damaged or totally removed in processing.
When a product is truly raw, though, you can be sure that you're getting the full benefits of the source.