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If you want optimal nutrition, don’t settle for sub-optimal food and to that end, let’s take a look at the best grass-fed whey protein supplements on the market today. We will evaluate them.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Protein powder is no longer an item exclusively used by people obsessed with fitness and muscle-bound guys in your gym’s weight room. Research has continuously proven that more protein is critical for good health, and protein powder is an easy way to add it to your diet.
In particular, whey protein powder is considered the gold standard:
- It provides a complete amino acid profile
- Though it’s dairy-derived, it’s incredibly digestible and doesn’t typically bother people with lactose intolerance
- It generally’s relatively cheap and easily accessible due to its popularity
The problems with whey protein powder, however, come from how it is made.
Grain-fed cows are less nutritious than those that are grass-fed, which translates into all of the food products they produce, including the milk that makes the whey.
- Ethical treatment of their cows – after all, grass-fed cows should be happier than grain-fed, industrially raised cattle
- Ingredients – less is better, organic is best
- Taste – you won’t use it if it tastes like chalk
- Processing – from agriculture to the actual creation of the product
- Peripherals – does the powder contain added nutritional benefits, and anything else that the company does that’s a cut above the rest.
Before going into the list, it’s crucial to understand how whey protein can benefit people other than athletes and bodybuilders.
In general, whey protein has specific age-protecting effects, benefits on gut health, and a handful of other metabolic functions from which nearly every person can gain benefits.
Protein is satiating, as it takes longer to digest, and about 25% of the total calories in protein are used to process it in the body.
This makes it simply a better macronutrient to focus on for weight loss.
Specifically, when whey protein is paired with moderate resistance training, it preserves and grows muscle, which aids in metabolic functioning and stokes calorie burning.
Skeletal Muscle Preservation
In older adults, the loss of bone mass and skeletal muscle causes a decrease in height and resilience to falls, injury, and so forth.
Easily digestible whey protein can slow down this process significantly, making these groups of people more robust and ultimately enhancing their mobility.
Blood sugar control
Out-of-control blood glucose isn’t just a problem for diabetics – a large portion of the population suffers from metabolic syndrome, which is the precursor to type 2 diabetes.
This issue is arising because we overeat sugar.
Whey protein blunts the absorption of glucose into the blood and can increase muscle mass when paired with moderate exercise.
This makes your body more insulin sensitive and better at combating the insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.
Best Whey Protein Powders
The grass vs. grain debate rages over meat, but people realize that filling cows with grains is not healthy for them or us.
Grains are full of inflammatory agents, and the fat they create on cows (and in dairy milk) is full of omega-6 fatty acids.
When our bodies have an imbalance of omega-3 to omega-6, it causes havoc from inflamed arteries to leaky gut syndrome, arthritis, and a host of other conditions caused by inflammation.
- Grass-fed protein has higher naturally occurring iron, manganese, phosphorous, omega-3s, and linoleic acid levels. Cows should eat grasses, not grains, and ancestral diets – for people and animals – digest better and provide more nutrition.
- Cows allowed to roam and eat grass are treated better and have better, healthier lives. Animals raised in feedlots don’t get to move and have to be pumped full of antibiotics to improve their resilience to easily transmitted pathogens from cramped quarters.
- Farms that utilize grass feeding and finishing, especially when they’re organically certified, have better environmental practices. By allowing the animals to graze at their own pace, the land is worked and enhanced by, well, cow dung. The trampling the cows create as they move helps improve soil composition and primes it for better growth, creating stronger root systems and less runoff.
10. Amazon Elements Grass-Fed Whey
Of course, Amazon has a grass-fed whey protein brand, but it’s quite good. The sourcing is organic.
The packaging is exceptionally transparent – they state the cows are fed grass in the summer and siloed grass in the winter, along with a mix of vitamins and minerals to supplement what they’re missing from not eating fresh grass.
The cows are also not treated with rBST, which is a big deal, and they even warn you of the age-old battle protein users must face: “serving scoop included but may settle to the bottom during shipping.”
Amazon Elements Grass-Fed 100% Whey Protein Isolate Powder’s benefits are similar to the others on this list, but the biggest reason you might be inclined to buy here is the price.
It’s a high-quality protein powder made from ethically treated, grass-fed cows, and it’s very cheap compared to others.
No, Amazon isn’t as humane, ethical, or environmentally conscious as Mattole Valley or Opportuniteas. Still, it’s a good way to foray into grass-fed whey without breaking the bank on the outset.
- Organic and grass-fed whey.
- Bigger ingredients list, including xanthan gum, stevia, and “natural flavor,” which can mean just about anything.
- It’s not the cleanest, but they’re transparent about it, which is good.
- Non-GMO ingredients, certified by third-party verification.
- Dairy from Irish cows.
9. Naked Nutrition
When they say “naked”, they mean it – Naked Nutrition produces some of the most basic, clean grass-fed whey protein powder in existence.
It’s not gussied up with artificial flavors, colors, or even sweeteners. It is organically produced on small dairy farms in California, and extremely basic – nothing but high-quality nutrition.
The only downside here is that with no additives, it doesn’t mix nearly as well as protein powder that includes lecithin, which binds fats.
This protein powder is one where you should employ a blender to ensure proper mixing – a shaker cup might not cut it, but it’s worth the extra step for the product’s quality.Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder / Naked Whey – 5lb
- Cold-processed – when whey is heat-processed, it can damage and denature the protein. This processing makes it less effective and makes it taste somewhat bad compared to cold-processing, and lab tests show that cold-processing is just as safe in terms of destroying pathogens.
- Organic, meaning no growth hormone, antibiotics, or anything else added to the cows – just grass.
- Safe, humane treatment of the dairy cows involved in producing this product.
- No added ingredients.
So the only downside is it doesn’t come flavored, and it is a bit harder to mix – an easy exchange for no-nonsense, hyper-clean nutrition.
8. Propello Life Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
You’ve undoubtedly seen the grass in New Zealand at some point – every single epic movie is filmed there (hello Lord of the Rings!).
Well, that gorgeous, healthy grass goes into every one of the cows that make Propello Life Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder.
Ethically treated, left to graze on small, family farms, and completely non-GMO, Propello’s cows have created some of the best-tasting and nutritionally dense grass-fed whey protein on the planet.
The ingredients list is relatively small, and it’s all organic, and the best part is the taste – it’s designed to be smooth, creamy and includes natural flavors like vanilla bean and dark chocolate.
If your protein powder has additives, it’s best that they actually do something beneficial!
- Made from Ethically raised cows in what is arguably the most beautiful place on the planet (which is nice for the cows).
- Non-GMO, organic farming practices.
- High-quality, minimal ingredients, all of which have a purpose and improve the product’s nutrition and taste.
- A delicious taste that doesn’t sacrifice the purity of the product.
7. Garden of Life Grass-Fed Whey
Garden of Life Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder is one of the only “truly grass certified” products on this list, which means that independent investigators ensure that the cows that make this whey are only eating grass year-round.
This typically means the whey is sourced from Ireland, but there are other places where cows can graze through all 4 seasons – most cows in North America cannot do that.
In addition to this certification, Garden of Life whey is extremely clean, going so far as to keep their cows spread out to avoid damage to the local environment.
They go beyond this by keeping their herds raised sustainably, and here’s an additional fun fact: every dairy cow in Ireland is uniquely tracked, which means you know precisely where your protein powder came from.
You could, quite reasonably (well, not reasonably but reliably) go meet the cow that made your protein powder. That’s pretty cool.
This protein powder contains minimal ingredients, but one of the biggest benefits of Garden of Life’s product is the inclusion of probiotics in the form of Bifidobacterium lactis.
This makes the protein powder even more digestible and enhances the gut-health benefits of whey protein. Like we said before, if your protein powder has additives, make sure they benefit you.
- Non-GMO, organic, and no wasted additives.
- Gut health benefits from b. lactis bacteria.
- Traceable protein to healthy, Irish cows.
- Certified grass-fed status.
- Humanely treated, life-long grazing cows and sustainable agriculture practices.
6. Built By Strength
Built By Strength Whey Protein Powder is Sport Certified.
Many protein powders are “sport certified,” which means there’s nothing added that could flag you in a drug test for competition.
This is an exhaustive process that ensures no growth hormone or anything else that could cause you to fail a urine analysis is added to the cows’ diets. It’s unfortunate, but some athletes do test positive for simply using whey protein powder.
Again, the ingredient list here is minimal. Still, it’s all-important, from the combination of whey isolate and concentrates to the stevia and sunflower lecithin that bind and flavor the mix.
This product tastes amazingly good, too, with only two natural flavors – Belgian chocolate and vanilla.
These flavors are also ethically and organically sourced, which is a massive deal for a protein powder to focus on.
Additionally, the cold-processed formula mixes better and digests more quickly, making it ideal for recovery or use as fuel during workouts.
- Somewhat higher on the ingredients list, but everything is ethically sourced and intentional – no artificial flavors or additives.
- Sport-certified for those who participate in lifting meets or Crossfit competitions – it’s even Olympic-certified, so you know it’s clean.
- Delicious taste, though somewhat limited in flavors.
- From cows that have had no hormones added.
- Easy-mix formulation makes it ideal for cooking, adding protein to baked goods or oatmeal as well.
5. Promix Grass-Fed Whey
High-quality protein powder with minimal ingredients is what we all want out of life. Promix Grass-fed Whey Protein Powder delivers that to you, with a range of flavors and extreme mixability.
Sourced from small dairy farms and independently tested by third-party verifiers for heavy metals, nutrition composition, and purity, Promix protein is exceptional.
There are only five flavors (or rather, four flavors and unflavored), and they’re pretty pedestrian: chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter.
Additionally, some reviews suggest the taste isn’t the best, but the mixability is excellent.
The fact that Promix makes this protein powder in small batches and independently verifies their quality makes it a contender for the number 1 spot for the best grass-fed whey protein powder, even if the taste is a little lacking.
- Small batches, rigorously verified for quality.
- Sustainably sourced ingredients.
- Very mixable.
- Lackluster taste kind of hinders it but isn’t a deal-breaker.
- Ethically raised cows.
- Transparent production practices.
4. Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey
We do love a good play on words, and Opportuniteas does a great job blending coffee, tea, and whey protein in a delicious, healthy product.
An ethically sourcing company that donates to non-profits with some of its income, Opportuniteas is excellent for animals AND people.
Their ingredients list is relatively small as well – only flavoring, sunflower lecithin for mixability, and the protein itself. Opportuniteas is one of the best tasting coffee protein powders on the market.
Non-GMO sunflower lecithin is a binding agent that keeps the powder from clumping and improving mixability. The other common type of lecithin used is soy, and many people want to avoid soy for various reasons.
Though sunflower lecithin is an additive, it’s important and not going to impact you negatively, as it’s doubtful you’ll be allergic to it versus other seeds or nuts, and even compared to soy.
- Simple ingredient list.
- Superior mixability for the number of ingredients – fewer ingredients usually means poor mixability, but this is a silky smooth dream with minimal effort.
- Ethical farming practices, happy cows, and organic ingredients.
3. Raw Whey
Raw Whey is a very simple protein powder, including only whey protein from New Jersey grass-fed cows. That’s it!
It’s tested for heavy metals, non-rBST-treated, with no colors, flavors, additives, or chemicals. With its extremely minimal processing, the term “raw” is as literal as it can get for protein powder.
Despite all of that, it still boasts 25g of protein and 6.5g of BCAAs per serving. If you want a pure powder sourced in JERSEY (gotta say it with the accent), and coming only from sustainable farms with no-nonsense or anything weird, Raw Whey is the source for you.
- Nothing added except grass, sunshine, and cow dairy.
- No lecithin but surprisingly mixable due to their processing methods.
- No options for flavors, but if you want clean energy, that probably doesn’t matter to you.
- It doesn’t come with a scoop, which is odd, but you probably have a few lying around.
- Very low carb count and extremely digestible.
- Sustainably sourced from small, local farms.
2. Mattole Valley Matcha Grass-Fed Whey
This one took us slightly aback – matcha isn’t a standard flavor outside of Japan, and we’d never seen it in protein powder before. Don’t get us wrong – the grassy, light, delicious flavor makes logical sense to pair with grass-fed whey protein powder, but it’s just so unique.
Mattole Valley has created a nearly carbon-neutral company that uses the highest level of sustainable products. Mattole Valley wild harvests, which means they harvest as much of their products as possible by not creating long-form, invasive farming practices.
Combined with biodegradable packaging and naturally-sourced ingredients, this is one of the most environmentally friendly and ethical companies currently producing whey protein powder.
Their ingredients are organic, from the coconut sugar to the food-grade Japanese matcha used to flavor the protein. Clean, environmentally perfect, and with humanely treated livestock, you can’t get much better than Mattole Valley.
- Ethical, environmental, organic, non-GMO – this protein powder has everything.
- Unique, matcha flavor will be unlike any protein powder you’ve ever experienced.
- The addition of organic coconut sugar enhances the taste and is all-natural, but does drive up the carb count, so if you’re carb-conscious, it might not be great for you.
- Created right here in the USA, using sustainable ingredients from across the globe.
- Minimal ingredients.
1. Tera’s Organic Whey
Raised in the United States’ dairy heartland, the Wisconsin cows responsible for Tera’s whey protein powder are ethically raised on grass grown naturally and organically.
The cows are never given rBST or antibiotics, and they are free to graze to their little cow heart’s content. Additionally, the flavors and sweeteners in this protein powder are organic and fair-trade sourced as well, making this company one of the most conscious ones on this list.
The flavor is the real winner here – chef-inspired, sourced from the highest quality ingredients (rich Belgian chocolate or Madagascar vanilla bean), and extremely mixable.
Tera’s Organic Whey is probably the best tasting protein powder on this list. It’s helpful that they’re also a very sustainable, ethical, and environmentally conscious company as well.
- Highly digestible and extremely mixable protein powder.
- Ethical and environmentally friendly production.
- Happy cows who can forage on naturally grown grass and plants, never treated with rBST or antibiotics.
- Independently verified for quality and ingredients.
- Delicious flavor.
- Kosher and organic.
Grass-fed is the whey to be (this is the last pun we swear)
Grass-fed whey protein is more nutritious, and the companies that make it go out of their way to use minimal, organic, and ethically sourced, non-GMO ingredients.
With better nutrient density, including strong BCAA and omega-3 profiles, grass-fed protein is simply a better choice. Understanding how important getting enough protein is – for everyone, not just for athletes – you want to get the best, highest quality protein powder you can.
No matter what you choose on this list, you’ll know you’ve made an excellent decision for not only your health but for the animals involved and the planet as well.