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Garden of Life is a natural supplement company that relies on whole food ingredients. There are several different protein powders, from grass-fed whey to creamy proteins made with oat milk to vanilla chai-flavored vegan options. 

RELATED: Best Vegan Protein Powder

We tried the Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder in the vanilla flavor over the course of several weeks, rating it on a variety of different factors, including taste, solubility, price, third-party testing, and customer experience, that are outlined in our comprehensive supplement testing methodology.

In this Garden of Life protein review, we’ll dive deeper into our experience, and make recommendations on who we think will love this protein powder and who might want to skip it.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

We’ve Tested More Than 70 Protein Powders

Protein powders are one of the most popular sports nutrition supplements, which means we’ve tried a lot of them. Over the years, we’ve tested more than 70 protein powders, as well as many premade protein drinks and meal replacement shakes. To standardize things, we rate them all on several factors and share those honest results with you. In addition to personal experience with these supplements, our testers also have formal education and training. We’re a group of certified nutrition coaches, personal trainers, and CrossFit-L1 trainers who know a thing or two about what makes a protein powder great.

Garden of Life Protein

Garden of Life Organic Vegan Sport Protein Powder

GGR Score: 3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Multi-source vegan protein powder
  • NSF Certified for Sport, certified Informed Choice for Sport, Non-GMO Project-verified, USDA Organic, and gluten-free
  • Includes BCAAs, probiotics, and antioxidant blend

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30 grams protein per serving
  • NSF Certified for Sport and certified Informed Choice for Sport
  • Probiotics for immune support

Cons

  • Only 2 flavors
  • Very mixed reviews on taste and blendability
  • Pricey at nearly $2 per serving

Bottom Line

Garden of Life Plant-Based Protein has a relatively high protein content and a variety of other healthy ingredients, but this comes at a cost; it is more expensive than other vegan protein powders.

A Quick Look at Garden of Life Protein Powder

Garden of Life is a whole food supplement company. That means all products are derived from natural food sources, rather than synthetically made. In addition to prioritizing whole foods, Garden of Life has strict guidelines for banned ingredients. They don’t use any artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, or sweeteners. They carry a boatload of certifications, too (more on that later). 

The protein powder specifically is USDA Organic, Informed Choice certified, NSF Certified for Sport, and Non-GMO verified. And while this is all great, we wanted to know if it also tasted good. So let’s get into it.

Before You Buy

  • This is a plant-based option, with a blend of five different proteins.
  • There are 15 grams of protein per scoop.
  • It also contains a “recovery blend” and probiotics for gut support.
  • It comes in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry (but the strawberry flavor can only be purchased at Sprouts).

Is Garden of Life Protein Powder Worth It?

The Garden of Life protein powder has a lot going for it. It has a fully organic ingredient list and it combines five vegan proteins to provide all the essential amino acids and BCAAs. But it’s pretty pricey and you have to take two scoops to get a protein dose that’s comparable to some other brands. 

As with any protein powder, we think some people will love it and others won’t. Here who it’s great for and who should skip it.

Great for:

  • Those looking for a complete vegan protein powder
  • People who are used to the earthiness of vegan proteins
  • Anyone who values a full organic ingredient list

Not recommended for:

  • People who prefer whey protein
  • Those who want a smaller serving size (and higher protein per scoop)
  • Shoppers on a budget

Garden of Life Protein Powder Specs

Price per serving$3.15
Serving size2 scoops (42 grams)
FlavorsChocolate, vanilla, strawberry (select locations)
Calories per serving160
Protein source Organic pea protein, organic sprouted navy bean, organic sprouted lentil bean, organic sprouted garbanzo bean, and organic cranberry protein seed
Protein per serving30 grams
Carbs per serving4 grams
Fat per serving1.5 grams
SweetenersStevia
Third-party tested?Yes

Experience Using Garden of Life Protein Powder

Former GGR senior staff writer Amanda Capritto tested the Garden of Life Protein Powder over the course of several weeks and had some pretty strong opinions about it. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s worth noting that Amanda is not vegan and generally prefers whey protein powder. Those who are used to vegan protein powder may have a more favorable experience. 

Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein 1

(As a side note: We’ve tested the Garden of Life grass-fed whey protein and really liked it. We gave it an overall score of 4.3, with ratings of 4 out of 5 for both taste and solubility. We also tried the Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder and thought that was decent, too.)

RELATED: Best Organic Protein Powder

Price Per Serving

The price per serving is high. The protein retails for $60 and there are 19 servings per tub, which comes out to $3.15 per serving. When putting together our best protein powder roundup, we found that good proteins typically range from about $1.50 to $2 per serving, so you’re definitely paying a premium here.

Formulation

For a plant-based protein powder, the formulation is stellar. It has a protein blend of five types of protein: organic pea protein, organic sprouted navy bean, organic sprouted lentil bean, organic sprouted garbanzo bean, and organic cranberry protein seed. 

RELATED: Best Pea Protein Powder

Since most plant-based proteins are not complete proteins, blending proteins like this can help ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids. This blend also provides 5.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which is considered an effective dose1.

Two scoops provides 30 grams of protein, which is on the high side for a “serving,” but it’s worth noting that many other protein powders have 20 to 25 grams per single scoop. 

If you want to use a single scoop to stretch out the tub, you could bump up the total grams by making a high-protein shake with this powder as the base and adding additional whole food ingredients like chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and/or peanut butter. But of course, that takes extra work and isn’t as convenient as shaking up some protein powder in a shaker bottle.

In addition to the main proteins, this powder also has a “recovery blend” that includes superfoods like organic tart cherry and organic turmeric, and 2 billion CFUs of probiotics. This can provide additional health benefits like enhanced muscle recovery2, reduced inflammation3, and digestive support4. The superfoods also boost vitamins and minerals, so this protein powder has small amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, and manganese, to name a few.

RELATED: Best Iron Supplement

It’s sweetened only with organic stevia and doesn’t have any added sugars or unnecessary fillers. The flavoring depends on which one you get, but Garden of Life uses organic vanilla flavor for the vanilla powder, and organic chocolate, cacao, and carob for the chocolate flavor.

One downside is that there’s no unflavored version, but to be honest, it would probably be too chalky to get down anyway.

Taste and Solubility 

This is where things take a turn. The TL;DR is that Amanda didn’t like this protein powder at all and said that because of the taste and solubility, she could barely get it down. She rated it a 2 out of 5 for both of these factors, and had some pretty strong opinions to share. 

Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein 2

“No. no no no. I do not like this protein. It tastes like…dirt with a side of leaves. I mean it is made out of plants, to be fair, but there are better options out there. Maybe chocolate would’ve been better. It’s hard for a flavor as subtle as vanilla to mask the taste of organic sprouted navy beans, I guess,” she says.

As for solubility? She reported that the protein powder did not blend well and there were “chunks everywhere.” She mixed it with water, almond milk, and 2% milk and didn’t have success with any of the liquids, calling the finished product undrinkable. 

Side Effects

Now back to some good news: Amanda didn’t report any physical side effects when drinking this protein powder. 

Because it’s dairy-free and doesn’t contain erythritol (a sugar alcohol that has the potential to cause digestive upset5), it’s likely well tolerated by many people. 

Third-Party Testing 

Garden of Life takes third-party testing very seriously, so Amanda gave it a 5 out of 5 here. Not every supplement they make has all these certifications, but the sheer amount does speak to how seriously they take third-party testing. Some of these certifications include:

  • Certified USDA Organic
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Certified Carbonfund
  • NSF Gluten-Free Certified
  • Certified Vegan
  • Certified Gluten-Free
  • Informed Choice
  • MSC Certified
  • NSF Certified For Sport
  • Certified B-Corp
  • PETA Cruelty-Free and Vegan

As mentioned earlier, the protein powder specifically is USDA Organic, Informed Choice certified, NSF Certified for Sport, and Non-GMO verified

Comparison to Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein 

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein

Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4.27 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • A rice and pea protein powder 
  • Rated with 4.3 stars on their website
  • Comes in 2 flavors 
  • 24 g of protein per serving
  • Organic product with minimal ingredients

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives
  • Organic and vegan
  • Only 5-7 ingredients
  • Reviewers love the taste
  • 24 g of protein per serving

Cons

  • Only 2 flavors
  • Stevia can cause GI issues for some
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

This organic rice and pea protein powder is a good choice for people who want a clean plant-based protein option with minimal ingredients.

Transparent Labs is one of our favorite brands, and the company makes a vegan protein powder that has similar merits: There are no artificial ingredients, it’s gluten-free, and USDA Certified Organic. Lauren Strong, certified personal trainer and GGR staff writer, tested this product and rated it a 3 out of 5 for flavor and 4 out of 5 for solubility, putting it ahead of Garden of Life’s protein in these categories.

Here’s how the two stack up to each other.

Garden of Life Plant-Based ProteinTransparent Labs Vegan Protein
Price per serving$3.15$1.67
Serving size2 scoops (42 grams)1 scoop (32 grams)
FlavorsChocolate, vanilla, strawberry (select locations)French vanilla, chocolate
Protein sourceOrganic pea protein, organic sprouted navy bean, organic sprouted lentil bean, organic sprouted garbanzo bean, and organic cranberry protein seedOrganic rice protein, organic pea protein isolate
Protein per serving30 grams24 grams
Carbs per serving4 grams3 grams
Fat per serving1.5 grams2 grams
Third-party tested?YesYes
Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein 4

Customer Experience 

Garden of Life has a generous return policy, which is part of the reason Amanda gave it a 4 out of 5 for customer experience. If you don’t like the protein powder, you can return it for a full refund within 60 days. You will be responsible for return shipping if the company asks you to send the product back (but they might not).

Ordering Garden of Life Protein Powder

When ordering directly from the website, there’s only an option for a one-time purchase. You can’t sign up for a subscription to save money, but first-time customers can enter their email for 10% off the first order.

Shipping is free for orders over $25 (it’s $4.99 for standard shipping if you spend less than that) and if you order by 3 pm, your order will ship that day. Garden of Life ships to all 50 states and orders typically arrive within two to five business days.

You can also purchase this protein powder through Amazon, in which case all of Amazon’s policies and procedures apply.

Customer Reviews

Overall, customers are really happy with the Garden of Life Sports Organic Plant-Based Protein. It has over 150 reviews on the brand’s website with an average 4.8-star rating, and a whopping 12,500+ reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Reviewers rave about the ingredient quality and the lack of fillers and sugars. They also like the added probiotics for some additional gut support. 

Some say they don’t love the taste and wish there were more flavor options, but overall, most reviewers think it’s at least “OK.”

Final Verdict of Our Garden of Life Protein Review

Our tester didn’t love the taste of the Garden of Life protein powder, but it does have a lot going for it. It’s fully organic, doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients, and has a protein blend that supplies all of the essential amino acids. However, it’s expensive and you need two scoops to get 30 grams of protein. At the end of the day, whether or not you like this protein will come down to personal taste. If you want to try it, we recommend purchasing it from the brand’s site so you’re backed by the 60-day return policy.

  • It’s expensive but has high-quality ingredients.
  • It’s probably a good choice for those who are used to plant-based protein powders.
  • You can try it risk-free.

Full Rating

Garden of Life Protein

Garden of Life Plant-Based Protein has a relatively high protein content and a variety of other healthy ingredients, but this comes at a cost; it is more expensive than other vegan protein powders.

Product Brand: Garden of Life

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 60.00

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.2

Garden of Life Protein Rating

Price per serving – 1
Formulation – 5
Taste – 2
Solubility – 2
Side effects – 4
Third-party testing – 5
Customer service – 4
Customer reviews – 4.4
Buy Now

Garden of Life Protein: FAQs

Is Garden of Life a complete protein?

Yes, because Garden of Life uses a protein blend, it is a complete protein. It supplies all essential amino acids plus BCAAs.

Does Garden of Life protein taste good?

It depends on who you ask. Our tester didn’t like it, but if you’re used to vegan protein powders, you might think it’s just fine.

Is Garden of Life protein powder good for building muscle?

It can be. Typically, we recommend whey protein powder for muscle-building, but this one has a blend of proteins that provide all the essential amino acids and BCAAs. Of course, building muscle always requires regular strength training, too.

Is Garden of Life third-party tested?

Yes, Garden of Life carries many third-party certifications like Informed Choice, NSF Certified for Sport, and USDA Certified Organic.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

1. Santos CS, Nascimento FEL. Isolated branched-chain amino acid intake and muscle protein synthesis in humans: a biochemical review. Einstein (Sao Paulo). 2019;17(3):eRB4898. doi:10.31744/einstein_journal/2019RB4898

2. Hill JA, Keane KM, Quinlan R, Howatson G. Tart cherry supplementation and recovery from strenuous exercise: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2021;31(2):154-167. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0145

3. Dehzad MJ, Ghalandari H, Nouri M, Askarpour M. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin/turmeric supplementation in adults: A GRADE-assessed systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Cytokine. 2023;164:156144. doi:10.1016/j.cyto.2023.156144

4. Bodke H, Jogdand S. Role of probiotics in human health. Cureus. 2022;14(11):e31313. doi:10.7759/cureus.31313

5. Jiang Y, Yin H, Wang H, Tao T, Zhang Y. Erythritol aggravates gut inflammation and anxiety-like behavioral disorders induced by acute dextran sulfate sodium administration in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2023;87(11):1354-1363. doi:10.1093/bbb/zbad119

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