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Gnarly Vegan Vanilla Review
When I heard that Gnarly Nutrition was creating their own vegan protein powder, I was overjoyed! I am certainly not vegan by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve relied on vegan protein powders for years as the only protein powder that didn’t destroy my digestive tract.
I sampled the Gnarly whey protein a few months ago and was extremely surprised to find that it was both delicious and very easy for me to digest. So I tossed out my Vega Sport protein and replaced it with some Gnarly “Chiseled Chocolate” whey protein (and no, I am not sponsored by Gnarly Nutrition. I buy my own bottles of protein powder).
Now, fast forward to my excitement about the vegan protein powder. Yay! OMG! Vegan protein powder! Once again Gnarly offered to send me a sample, and this time I got vanilla. I asked many of you what you’d like to know about the product, so without further ado, here is my honest review based on your questions.
In my opinion, the Vegan Vanilla powder tastes good, but I’m a vanilla girl and tend to love all things vanilla. The vanilla flavor is fairly mild, and for that reason it blends nicely into a smoothie.
When I mixed the vanilla powder with about 10 ounces of unsweetened almond milk, I found the flavor to be neutral with a faint vanilla flavor – aka it didn’t scream “OMG! I’M A VANILLA BEAN!” at my taste buds.
If you like to drink your protein shakes plain, then you might want to consider trying the chocolate or berry flavor. However, if you like mixing your protein powder into a smoothie with other ingredients, then the vanilla makes a great complementary flavor. It would also be a good flavor to buy if you like baking with your protein powder.
The texture of the Gnarly Vegan protein powder is pretty good for a vegan blend. It’s not grainy or chalky like most vegan powders, but you can tell that you’re dealing with a very fine powder.
For that reason, Gnarly Vegan is not nearly as creamy as the Gnarly Whey protein. I used to be a huge fan of Vega Sport, but after trying the Gnarly protein powders, I can’t even swallow a sip of Vega Sport.
This blend contains both chia seeds and cranberry seeds (for nutritional purposes), and that is most likely why this powder is not super creamy. However, blending this protein powder into a smoothie makes for a much smoother texture than mixing it with plain water or almond milk. I would give the texture 4 out of 5 stars for vegan blends.
Gnarly Nutrition is one of my favorite protein powders because they add digestive enzymes to their blends. This helps prevent bloating, abdominal cramping, gas, and other digestive issues that processed protein powders can cause.
So it should come as no surprise that this vegan blend did not upset my stomach at all. Of course that’s no guarantee that your body will react the same way as mine, but if you do end up buying the Gnarly Vegan blend and not liking it for any reason, they will let you return it for store credit minus a 25% restocking fee. See their return policies here.
The Gnarly Vegan blend is a complete protein source that offers small amounts of fat and fibers to help with satiety. To give you an idea of how it stacks up to other popular vegan protein powders, I’ve created a few tables comparing Gnarly Vegan with Vega Sport and Sun Warrior protein powders.
If this is overwhelming or confusing, feel free to skip to the conclusion.
Gnarly Vegan contains more fat and fiber than its counterparts which can keep you feeling satiated for longer periods of time.
As you can see below, Gnarly Vegan is very comparable with Vega Sport and Sun Warrior in terms of the amino acids profile. When looking for vegan protein powders, it’s important to find products that have the 9 essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
In the table below, I separated some of the other ingredients so that you can see what they do. You may notice that Gnarly and Vega Sport both have digestive enzymes to help improve digestion, but Sun Warrior does not.
If you have a sensitive digestive tract, then it would definitely help to have an enzyme blend in your protein, but it’s not absolutely necessary. You can also see that Gnarly Vegan contains more stabilizers, such as guar gum, xanthan gum, starch, and silica.
These ingredients help to smooth out the texture so it’s not too gritty. Vega Sport doesn’t have any stabilizers, which explains why their texture is… the way it is. If you need to avoid these ingredients for any reason, then Gnarly Vegan may not be the best protein for you.
You can also see that Gnarly Vegan has an additional whole fruit blend that I added under flavors, but it was really added for nutritional purposes. You can’t actually taste all those fruits in your mouth when you drink Gnarly Vegan… unless you’re a super taster and tasting is your super power.
As you requested, I tested Gnarly Vegan as my breakfast one morning (since the label does boast that it’s a meal replacement). I made a smoothie with the recommended two scoops of protein, along with a banana and a heaping spoonful of peanut butter (because I’m obsessed with peanut butter).
This smoothie held me over for 4 hours, so I would say that it definitely works as a meal replacement.
Heavy Metal Testing
Another question you guys asked was about the laboratory testing of this product. At this time, Gnarly Vegan has not been tested for heavy metals, but this blend does not include rice protein, which is a common source of arsenic toxicity in some mass-produced protein powders.
Gnarly Vegan is on sale for $51.99 (regularly $59.99) for a 32 oz (2 lb) bottle of protein. The recommended serving size is two scoops, and there are 16 servings per bottle. The cost per serving for Gnarly Vegan comes out to $3.75/serving.
For comparison, I looked up the cost per serving of Vega Sport and Sun Warrior protein powders.
- Vega Sport (in-stores): $64 for 25 servings = $2.56/serving
- Vega Sport (Amazon): $50 for 25 servings = $2/serving
- Sun Warrior (in-stores): $50 for 40 servings = $1.25/serving
- Sun Warrior (Amazon): $40 for 40 servings = $1/serving
The Gnarly Vegan blend appears to be more expensive per serving when compared to other larger companies, but Gnarly Vegan does contain a proprietary prebiotic and probiotic blend that the other products are lacking. Gnarly Nutrition also produces their vegan blend on a much smaller scale than Vega Sport and Sun Warrior, which may explain the higher costs.
Gnarly Vegan is a great vegan protein powder with many added benefits, including digestive enzymes, a blend of pre- and probiotics, and an additional whole fruit blend.
If digestibility and flavor are your main priorities, then I would suggest trying the Gnarly Vegan. However, if price is the most important factor for you and you can tolerate processed protein powders easily, then the Sun Warrior protein powder would make for a wholesome and affordable alternative.
Although Vega Sport is affordable and has a great amino acid profile, the chalky and gritty texture of their powders is not worth the money… in my opinion. That being said, you should live your life however you see fit 🙂
Did you find this review helpful? Is there another product that you’d like me to review?
Leave a comment below and let me know!
Otherwise, I’ll assume that I’m just talking to myself out here in the blogosphere…
Awesome photo from DBJ Photography