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The Best Clean & Whole Food Protein Powders in 2024

May 22, 2024

Getting enough protein in your diet is incredibly important to your overall health and wellness. If you’re looking to meet your protein intake each day, one of the easiest ways to ensure you’re meeting those requirements is by adding the best clean & whole food protein powder to your daily regimen. There are so many protein powders on the market but many are low quality, made with synthetic ingredients and contain added fillers. When you’re trying to focus on your health, you don’t need to be adding unnecessary gums and fillers to your body. That is why it is so incredibly important to source a quality protein powder and why I am sharing my very favorite options after years of testing different options.

* This post may include affiliate links. This means that products purchased from certain links will generate a small commission (At no extra cost to you). As always, I will only recommend brands that have passed my seal of approval and that I truly love. Thank you for supporting this little holistic space on the internet. *

How to find the Best Clean Whole Food Protein Powder

For many years I steered clear of protein powders due to poor ingredient quality, added fillers, enrichment from synthetic vitamins and poor quality sweeteners . Many of the brands had ingredient lists that were long and filled with chemical pseudonyms that I couldn’t pronounce. I knew that if I was going to use a protein power, it had to be made from high quality whole food sources. Most people who are looking to hit their protein goals are health conscious to begin with but potentially unaware that most protein powders are poor quality. Toxic synthetic protein powders might help you hit your macros but could also be inundating your body with unnecessary ingredients.

Not to mention, if this was something I was going to be supplementing with daily then I wanted to ensure there were no extra fillers, artificial sweeteners or gums. While it may not be as damaging to consume these things here and there, it’s so important to ensure that the things we consume often or use daily are free from harmful ingredients.  At the time I wasn’t sure if this type of protein powder existed. And for the longest time I could not find one that ticked all the boxes. That was until I stumbled upon a small handful of whole food based companies that ensure quality and purity in their products. I am going to share my favorite protein powder companies below so you can compare and see which of the options may be the best fit for you.

But first, I’ll share the standards that I followed to vet these protein powders and what you should be looking for when choosing the right option for you.

  • Whole Food Based: If I am going to be consuming a protein powder as a form of food or to take the place of a meal, then I want to ensure it IS food. I look for full ingredient lists that aren’t hidden from the consumer and ingredients that I can pronounce and understand. I don’t want to be sourcing powders that are chemical soups regardless if they are aiding in hitting proper macro nutrient goals.
  • No Synthetic Gums or Fillers: Gums and Fillers have a tremendous impact on our gut health. Gums are typically used as emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickening agents which bind the ingredients in a protein power together. Guar gum in particular is generally used to create a creamy texture in the powder but these gums carry some unwanted side effects such as: low blood sugar, flatulence, skin irritations, bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, etc. They can also interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins and medications. Fillers that are added to protein powders are known as ingredients that do not naturally occur within the protein source. They’re usually added to bulk up the products and save the manufacturer money. Some common fillers that you can be on the look out for in your protein powders are: dextrin, synthetic maltodextrin, various gums, preservatives, dyes, and SYNTHETIC amino acids. Note: whole food sources of protein will contain good pure sources of amino acids naturally which is what you want versus synthetic sources. The reasons you want to avoid fillers in your protein powders (aside from them being unnecessary) is their side effects which can include gastric distress, bloating, constipation, reflux and overall impairment of your gut health.
  • Grass fed Standard: Animal based protein powders are superior when it comes to absorption, nutrient profile, and their ability to be used by the human body. That being said, you want to ensure that the cows they source these protein sources from like whey isolate or beef isolate are grass fed. Grass fed bovine products are always higher in nutrients and they don’t carry the toxic burden from alternative feeding options like chemical laden corn, soy or grain feed. These alternative options are devoid of nutrients and used to fatten cows quickly but they are not their natural diet and create poor quality product. Cows that are grass fed produce higher quality meat and milk products. If using a protein powder sourced from whey or beef isolate, I always opt for grass fed to ensure top quality and avoid unnecessary chemicals that are commonly found in cheap feed options.
  • Delicious Taste: Last but not least, you want to enjoy your protein powder! There are many companies that create protein powders that are subpar in terms of taste and if I am going to be consuming this often, I want to enjoy it. I have tested MANY whole food protein powders and a number of them will never make it to this list because they are not palatable at all. The protein powders I have listed in this article below are all delicious and enjoyable.


The Top 3 Best Clean & Whole Food Protein Powders


Best for: Clean Whole food based protein powders, both whey and vegan options, biggest variety of flavor options

Ingredients: Since they carry both Grass-fed whey as well as vegan options, I’ve included an ingredient deck for each in the chocolate flavor to compare.

Chocolate Grassfed Whey Protein: 100% Grass-Fed Non-Denatured Whey Protein Isolate, Coconut Milk*,  Cacao*, Pea Protein*,  Pumpkin Seed Protein*, Grass-Fed Collagen, Chia Seed Protein*,  Stevia Leaf*, Sea Salt, Monk Fruit* (* Organic Ingredient)

Vegan Chocolate Protein: Watermelon Seed Protein, Coconut Milk*, MCT Oil (MCT Oil, Pea Protein*, Tapioca Starch), Cacao*, Pumpkin Seed Protein*, Chia Seeds*, Sea Salt, Stevia Leaf*, Monk Fruit* (* Organic Ingredient)

Price Range: $3.49 (sample packet)- $59.99 (2.18lb/990g. bag)

Flavor Options: Just Plain (Flavorless), Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Chai, Snickerdoodle, Strawberries & Cream, Coconut Chocolate, Creamy Peanut Butter Chocolate, Lemon Swish, Lucky Mint, Mint Chocolate, Mountain Berry, Roasted Peanut Butter Chocolate, Salted Caramel. (Note: not all flavors apply to vegan protein option)

Protein per serving: 24g. of protein


Just Ingredients is a whole food wellness and supplement brand that was created by wellness influencer,  Karalynne Call, who also had the same concerns over the protein powders and other supplements on the market. She created her brand Just Ingredients because she saw a need for simple yet effective products that didn’t add unnecessary fillers that can cause health issues over time. She now has an entire store dedicated to products made from real whole food ingredients. It’s no surprise that her protein powders are some of the companies most popular sellers.

Beyond that, the ingredients used in each product are chosen carefully for their health benefits and Just Ingredients demonstrates the benefits of each on their website. They have a wide range of flavors which is incredible as many other clean options only have the standard chocolate or vanilla. They are always releasing new innovative flavors and even the odd seasonal flavor throughout the year. I have seen specialty flavors like birthday cake and neopolitan come through every so often and it’s so exciting to see what new options they come up with next.

Just ingredients uses a combination of different protein sources for both their grass-fed whey and vegan options. Getting protein from a variety of sources can be beneficial to your health as they all come with their own set of health benefits. For example, in their chocolate grass-fed whey protein powder they include grass-fed whey protein, pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, chia seed protein, coconut milk protein, and they even add extra beneficial ingredients like collagen and sea salt. In their vegan chocolate protein they include pea protein, chia seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, and watermelon seed protein. You may have never heard of watermelon seed protein but it’s a lesser-known yet nutritious source of plant-based protein, rich in B Vitamins, Omega-3’s, and a wide variety of minerals. It is easily digested and efficiently absorbed. They go above and beyond to really look into options that suit the human body best including rare sources that create a bigger impact on your health.

Just ingredients also completes third party testing on all of their ingredients from the source. The process for their testing begins with collecting all COA and heavy metal test results for each individual ingredient from suppliers. By testing at the source, they guarantee that each ingredient used in every batch of protein meets rigorous safety and quality standards. This ensures that heavy metal levels in each final product fall below Prop 65 requirements every time. This is incredible since many conventional protein powders on the market test quite high for contaminants like heavy metals.

If you are opting for the grass-fed whey protein, know that their whey is top quality from grass-fed cows from New Zealand. New Zealand’s stringent compliance and quality control standards guarantee the highest quality source of 100% Grass-Fed Non-Denatured Whey. Cows graze on nutrient-rich pastures, yielding superior protein quality. New Zealand prohibits GMOs and antibiotics in dairy farming, ensuring natural, wholesome whey. Therefor, their protein powders are both non-GMO and Antibiotic free!

All of their protein powders are free from artificial ingredients, added sugar alcohol, and natural flavors. The protein powders contain a comprehensive blend of 18 essential and non-essential amino acids. Each naturally occurring amino acid can contribute uniquely to overall health, including metabolism, cognitive function, and tissue repair. Their protein powder offers nutritional support beyond muscle growth. Additionally, the diverse range of amino acids helps facilitate better nutrient absorption, maximizing the effectiveness of other nutrients in your diet.

Just ingredients is one of my very favorite high quality whole food based protein powders. My children in particular LOVE these powders and the flavors they carry. They truly are just as delicious as they sound. You can add the powders into smoothies or even just blend them into a little bit of milk. I love the fact that they have such a wide range to choose from. We have gone through a number of them and started by grabbing the Protein Powder Sample Pack that contains 7 different flavors in 14 single serving packets. This is the best way to test out the flavors and see which one you like best if you aren’t quite sure what you might prefer.

Other Favorite Products from Just Ingredients: Electrolyte Powders, Night Time Relax Powders, Superfood Hot Chocolate, Collagen Peptide Powders, Flavored Water Powders, Elderberry Lemonade Powder, Whole Food Vitamin C Complex, Colloidal Silver Spray, Popcorn Flavor Salts.

Shop: You can Shop Just Ingredients Protein Powder HERE with discount code: HOLISTICVANITY to save 10% off their entire website.

Best for: Non-whey animal based protein. Especially helpful for those who are sensitive or allergic to whey but don’t want a vegan protein source. Minimal ingredients. Allergy friendly. Non-inflammatory.


Chocolate Prime Protein: Grassfed Beef Protein, Cocoa powder, Stevia extract. 

** Unflavored option is stevia free **

Price Range: $63.99 (1.7lb/771g. bag)

Flavor Options: Chocolate, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Strawberry, Unflavored, Iced Coffee

Protein per serving: 21g. of protein


Equip foods is a company that was developed by Dr. Anthony Gustin, a functional medicine and sports rehab clinician. The products are created with minimal ingredients in mind and are free from all of the nasty fillers, gums, and artificial ingredients. Just like the other protein options on here, equip focuses on whole food derived protein sources for their purity, health benefits, and bioavailability.

This protein powder is incredibly unique as many animal based protein powders come strictly from whey. This protein is purely from 100% grass-fed beef protein. Beef protein is packed with the collagen, gelatin, and micro-nutrients your body needs. Unlike other protein powders, it’s not packed with possible allergens found in soy, dairy, egg, or whey. Studies have shown that beef protein provides additional benefits to strength, hypertrophy, and fat loss over whey.  It’s also especially appealing to those who are sensitive or allergic to whey but don’t want to purchase a vegan or plant based protein powder as their alternative. While some may opt for plant based proteins for their own personal reasons, plant based protein powders don’t offer the same nutrient or amino acid profile that an animal based protein powder does.  Prime Protein is also non-inflammatory. Most other animal-based protein powders COULD potentially cause inflammation in certain individuals (such as powders made from egg protein etc.).

Their protein powder has minimal ingredients making it easy to see that there are no added chemicals, fillers, binding agents or artificial coloring or sweeteners. If you’re looking for the purest form of protein on the market, the unflavored option has only 1 ingredient, grass-fed beef.

This may leave some wondering, does this protein powder taste like beef? No. Not at all. They’ve worked hard to ensure that this protein powder will blend up nicely in a smoothie, into different recipes, or with your coffee, etc. It has a pleasant dessert like taste like other protein powders on the market. While I would love to be able to grill up a steak on a whim to hit my daily protein allotment, the time and cost of that practice isn’t feasible. This protein powder creates an easy button for those who want that simple yet incredibly bioavailable and highly nutritious benefits that come from consuming a grass-fed steak. Due to a slight sensitivity to whey, I personally use Equip Prime Protein the most and have a deep love for the peanut butter and salted caramel flavors. YUM is an understatement!

Each bag has a robust amino acid profile. Prime Protein provides complete protein. Below is our amino acid profile. Typical values. Grams per 25g serving: Alanine: 2.2 Arginine: 1.89 Aspartic acid: 1.5 Cystine + cystein: 0.03 Glutamic acid: 2.75 Glycine: 5 Histidine: 0.28 Hydroxyproline: 2.55 Isoleucine: 0.43 Leucine: 0.93 Lysine: 0.95 Methionine: 0.23 Phenylalanine: 0.58 Proline: 3 Serine: 0.85 Threonine: 0.53 Tryptophane: 0.09 Tyrosine: 0.33 Valine: 0.75.

Due to it’s simple yet powerful nature, Equip’s prime protein offers the following standards:

  • gluten, dairy, whey, soy free
  • free from hormones or antibiotics
  • no artificial flavors
  • preservative free
  • sourced from grass-fed cows

Other Favorite Products from Equip: Grassfed Collagen, Grassfed Beef Liver, Blackberry Lemon Pre-workout

Shop: You can Shop Equip Prime Protein Powder HERE and a 15% discount will apply automatically. In case it doesn’t you can add discount code: HOLISTICVANITY to save 15% off their entire website.


Best for: Innovative high collagen bone broth protein powder, grass-fed whey protein with added colostrum for additional health benefits.

Ingredients: Since they carry both Grass-fed whey as well as their signature bone broth protein, I’ve included an ingredient deck for each in the chocolate flavor to compare.

Chocolate Bone Broth Protein Powder: Bovine Bone Broth Powder, Organic coconut milk powder, organic cacao bean, organic chocolate flavor, organic maltodextrin (from tapioca root), organic luo han guo (monk fruit) fruit extract, himalayan pink salt, organic acacia fiber CONTAINS: Tree Nut (Coconut)

Chocolate Grass-fed Whey Protein Powder: Grass-fed whey, Bovine Colostrum, Organic coconut milk powder, organic cacao bean, organic maltodextrin (from organic tapioca root), organic chocolate flavor, himalayan pink salt, organic luo han guo (monk fruit) fruit extract, organic acacia fiber CONTAINS: Milk (Whey and Colostrum), Tree Nut (Coconut)

Price Range: Bone Broth Protein: $59.99 (1.26lb/573g. bag) + Grass-fed Whey Protein: $69.99 (1.42lb/645g. bag) ** options for subscription to reduce price per bag **

Flavor Options: Bone Broth Protein: Pure (Flavorless), Chocolate, Vanilla + Grass-fed Whey Protein: Chocolate, Vanilla

Protein per serving: 15g. of protein (bone broth protein), 13g. of protein (grass-fed whey protein)


Paleovalley is a company known for it’s focus on nutrient density and high quality animal based products. They have everything from protein powders to electrolytes, to beef sticks, to organ complexes and more. This company was started by a young married couple who had suffered their own chronis health issues. After digging into research for themselves they discovered the paleo diet and have crafted whole food based products that cater to this way of living. You certainly don’t need to adopt a full paleo lifestyle to enjoy these highly nutritious products though.

They offer two different protein powder options, both made from nutrient dense animal products. There is no option for vegan proteins from this website. There are differences between the two protein powders so I figured I would dig into what makes each of these powders unique. Their Bone broth protein powder offers the benefits of high collagen in every serving. If you are looking to boost your collagen intake this is a great option. It’s a great “easy button” if you want to get high quality bone broth into your system but don’t have the time to make your own. For those of you who want to know how to make your own bone broth at home you can head over to my instructional blog post HERE. It is important to note that bone broth is not a full protein but still has its merits and health benefits. If you are looking for an option to increase protein intake in your diet, I would suggest looking to the other options. Bone broth protein offers the benefit of increased collagen which is incredibly healing to our gut, skin, hair, nails, and connective tissues. This bone broth protein powder is tested against pesticides which is incredibly important since pesticides tend to collect within the bones and connective tissues of animals who are exposed to them. Thankfully, their powder tests negative for pesticides. I love making my own bone broh to sip on but I am not the biggest fan of powdered savory bone broth options. This protein powder offers a sweeter options that you can mix into smoothies but still receive the same benefits. It’s incredibly innovative for those who want an easy accessible yet delicious way to ingest more bone broth.

On the other hand, Paleo Valley’s grass-fed whey protein powder is a full rounded protein that is a great option to increase overall daily protein intake. Their whey is sourced from grass-fed cows containing all 9 amino-acids. The unique part about this protein powder is that it also contains bovine colostrum which is incredibly healing for the human body. I’ve written a full article on the immense health benefits of colostrum which you can read HERE. In summary, colostrum is immuno-protective and very healing to the gut lining. In addition to the colostrum they also add digestive enzymes to the blend which makes it easier on the system overall.

Paleo Valley has a set of standards that they carry across their products but more specifically, their protein powders are:

  • Made from 100% grass fed cows
  • Never given antibiotics, steroids, or hormones
  • Gluten free, grain free, soy free, non GMO
  • Gently processed to preserve fragile nutrients

Other Favorite Products from Paleo Valley: Grassfed Beef Sticks, Pasture raised Chicken Sticks, Essential Electrolytes, Grassfed Organ Complex, Wild Caught Fish Roe, Grassfed Beef Tallow, Organic Spice Bundle

Shop: You can Shop Paleo Valley Protein Powders HERE with 15% discount applies automatically through this link.


I wanted to share these three companies because they are my favorite clean and whole food protein powder options. They taste delicious and offer high quality servings of protein so you can ensure you’re getting the proper amount each day. They don’t contain nasty fillers or synthetic gums. These companies have the highest standards in the industry and all three offer unique options to consumers. I wanted to ensure I offered a vegan option, some grass fed whey options and a non-whey animal protein option to ensure those with diet limitations can still access healthy and high quality protein powders.


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