So in the interest of full disclosure, I tell you that strawberry protein is not my favorite thing. Or at least not as a protein shake.
As such I could be accused of…lollygagging…with this product review. I like to review protein powder both straight up (as a protein shake) and then play around with it. I already did a little of that with my Strawberry-Mint & Cheesecake Protein Pops, but today I decided to hone in on shakes. Mostly because I haven’t posted a protein shake in a long, long time..
So let’s talk about that.
I still drink protein shakes. Yes I do! Quite often actually. But I feel like every shake I drink either already exists on this blog or in the Bariatric Foodie Guide to Perfect Protein Shakes and thus I have a generally “been there, done that” attitude towards them (translation: In my mind most of my protein shakes aren’t blog-worthy.)
But I know some of you guys simply stop doing protein shakes after while post-WLS. I actually had a conversation with someone on the BF Facebook page about this the other day. The sentiment expressed was that the person didn’t want to rely on shakes for their protein for the rest of their life and wanted to get protein from real food. I can respect that. Given the choice between a protein shake and a juicy steak, I choose the steak every time! (Even though, yes, it will mean silent death if I so much as eat one bite too much.)
That choice – between shakes and so-called “real food” – is not why I still drink protein shakes though.
I still drink protein shakes because I face another choice. The choice between a strawberry cheesecake protein shake and an actual slice of strawberry cheesecake. Now generally I’m #TeamSalty but I get a hankering for sweets every now and again. That’s where shakes tend to save me! I am a sugar dumper so eating traditional desserts is not a good idea. I am also fairly sensitive to high levels of some sugar alcohols, found in many sugar-free desserts, so they can be dicey too. The safest, yummiest, most indulgent choice at the end of the day is a well-crafted protein shake.
And that, my Foodies, is why, eight-and-a-HALF (the half is important) years post-op, Nik still drinks protein shakes.
But I digress. Let’s talk about BiPro.
BiPro USA is my whey protein of choice. I love, love, love their unflavored and I use it a lot here on the blog. I’ve also tried their French Vanilla and chocolate. So when they told me they were coming out with a new flavor, I was pretty jazzed. What could it be? See, when I was a new post-op you got protein in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry. You wanted anything else? You mixed it yourself. But now, Foodies. Ugh. Do you know how lucky you are to have so many choices???
Anyhoo…I excitedly counted down the days until my call with them when alllll would be revealed. The day came and I waited on the edge of my chair until they told me the new flavor would be…
No disrespect to BiPro, but that was sort of an anti-climactic moment. Because in my head every protein company has had strawberry protein since the beginning of time. Plus…I’m not that big a fan of strawberry protein!!! But I was willing to take one for the team and try this. (By the way, when I say team I mean you, not BiPro!)
But there are a few things about this strawberry protein that are, in fact, different. And I think you’re going to like them. So let me stop rambling and just jump into the review!
BiPro is pretty much known for being on-point nutrition-wise. They don’t do artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners or artificial colors (we’ll explore those last two in a moment). So here’s the official BiPro Strawberry Nutrition label (this is for the 2 lb. tub).
Just a reminder for new Foodies of what Bariatric Foodie considers a high-quality protein supplement:
- Between 70-120 calories per serving
- Has 1 gram of protein for every 10 calories
- Has at least 50% fewer carbohydrate grams than protein grams
So as you can see, this protein passes with flying colors. Let me also tell you the ingredients list for this protein (by, the way you can find out nearly everything you want to know about this protein on the BiPro website). But for your convenience, here are the ingredients: whey protein isolate, strawberry powder (that is, dehydrated strawberries), natural flavor (this is a blanket term but in general natural flavoring usually refers to a collection of ingredients that were extracted naturally from foods using a cooking process), citric acid (comes from the juice of citrus fruits and is used for flavoring), sunflower lecithin (comes from – obviously – sunflowers and is a very effective supplement for the brain/nervous system), stevia extract (sweetener).
I like that there’s only a few ingredients and for the most part I know where they came from. That’s definitely a mark in its favor!
So like I said…BiPro doesn’t use artificial colors for its protein. That’s not a diss on any protein company that does, because I totally get why you would. Check it out.
You look in the can and you see white powder, with little red flecks in it. At this point I’m like, “ok I will take their word for it that this will taste like strawberry…” The smell is also supportive of it eventually smelling like strawberry so I was hopeful. For you guys, I mean. Not me. As I will say ad nauseum throughout this review, strawberry protein is not usually my thing!
Ok so after doing a dig that would rival anything going on in Egypt, I found the scoop! (Do you guys tend to have that same problem? I usually end up with powder all over my hands. If I was smart I might use tongs.) And the powder is still white. But we are keeping the faith, Foodies. Do you have faith? If so, can I get an AMEN!!! (Sorry…I got carried away. Moving on…)
AHA! Do you see? In the upper right hand side of my blender cup? RED!!! It’s red! Red, red, red. Beautiful, strawberry red. It’s about at this point where I feel like no matter what everything is going to be ok.
But then my red went away. And I admit…even though theoretically I’m not into artificial coloring..I WANTED MY RED BACK!!! I knew how to remedy this.
Boom. And with an additional, quick blend, we are ready to roll on to…
You all know me. I have to tell the truth. So here was the first thought I had when I tasted my final, blended protein shake.
“I can taste the stevia.”
Now, if you are a stevia fan, that’s probably not a horrible thing. The stevia flavor was not strong. It was not overpowering. But it was there. I am a Splenda girl. (Spare me the pseudo-science, there is not a legit study that has been produced yet that says Splenda is going to kill me and I like it therefore I use it. Great thing about this blog? I don’t force you to! Respect my choice, I respect yours, k?) So all that is to say that I am not fond of stevia and so the flavor stood out to me because I am not particularly fond of it. But that was easy enough to remedy. I added a little Splenda and re-blended and we were all good.
Once I got past that I noticed a distinct strawberry flavor. It was interesting because I think my tongue is conditioned toward artificial strawberry flavors (which is what most foods claiming to be strawberry opt to use). The taste in this protein is that of a just slightly overripe strawberry that’s been dried. I liked that. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of strawberry protein.
All in all, I found the flavor to be legit. I think if you are a person who doesn’t like overly sweet protein shakes, this powder is worth checking out. The sweetness was there but it wasn’t overpowering at all. I imagine if I’d made this shake with water it would have even been just a hint of sweetness.
So we have to talk a bit about the mouthfeel of this protein. One downside of not having a bunch of artificial ingredients is that BiPro doesn’t have what are called “binding agents.” These are ingredients that some protein companies use to help keep your shake stable after mixing. From my experience, the more natural a protein powder is, the faster that sucker separates when you get it in a cup! That doesn’t bug me but if it bugs you, you have a few options:
- A shaker cup. They work miracles! Shake every few minutes for a perfect sip every time and get in some extra cardio!
- Use the Triple X Method to make a triple-thick shake.
- Stir, stir, stir but again…do NOT skim the foam. The foam is the protein. Skimming the foam will reduce the amount of protein in your shake!
Btw, I go over these and some other protein shake fixes in my free downloadable worksheet, “Five Protein Pitfalls – And How to Avoid Them.” Get your copy today!
Spoiler alert: BiPro is not the cheapest protein on the market. And here’s why I don’t mind that.
I’ve learned in my almost 40 years on this planet so far that things made with a good process and of good quality materials cost more. And they rightfully should! If you worked hard to handcraft something of the highest quality would you want to sell that for a pittance? I think not!
That said, BiPro also is not the most expensive protein out there either. Because it can be hard to determine the value of protein, I have started using a measurement I call price per protein gram (check out this post to learn how to use this calculation for any protein source you eat!).
The retail price of BiPro Strawberry from their website is $29.99 for a 1-lb. jar. So let’s do the math:
- There are 18 servings in the jar, so that makes the price-per-protein serving = $1.66
- In that serving, there is 20g of protein, which makes the price per protein gram = $0.08 per gram of protein
This is a measurement you can use against any type of protein, no matter the scoop size. You can even use it to compare protein supplements to the actual protein in food. Ba-da-bing.
To me, a quality protein with natural ingredients is a great thing and if I actually was fond of strawberry protein, I probably would invest. As it stands, I personally am going to stick with unflavored, chocolate and French Vanilla for the most part. Not because I don’t like this particular protein but because I generally just don’t buy strawberry protein.
But since I have this tub…might as well play with my food right? Here are a few ideas.
How to Use This Stuff
I have been having fun with this protein! Here are just a few ways I’ve used it.
You’ll remember of course my Strawberry Mint & Cheesecake protein pops.
This Strawberry Shortcake shake was so simple to make. I used 1 c. milk, 1 scoop BiPro Strawberry protein, diced up three strawberries, used a drop or two of vanilla extract (to amp up the cakey taste of the shake) and crumbled in 2 sugar-free shortbread cookies. I bet this would be amazing with whipped cream. I didn’t have any on hand. #SadFace
And of course what kind of Foodie would I be if I didn’t do a PB&J shake? Point of order on this one. Normally I would not put peanuts on my shake. They can be unwieldy! I had actually attempted a peanut butter drizzle but it sank down, down, down. The peanuts stayed (I’m sure if I’d paid attention in physics I’d know why) so I used them to emphasize that yes, there is peanut flavoring in here!
I made the shake by blending 1 c. milk, 1 scoop BiPro Strawberry, 1 tbsp. PB2 (or any powdered peanuts you prefer), and a little extra sweetener. Now academically I know I should not do this but…I bet this shake would be really yummy with some of those shortbread cookies crumbled on top. (Get thee behind me devil!)
And lastly BiPro has thought up a crapton of things to do with this protein – from shakes to desserts to salad dressing! It’s a free download from their website, so check it out!
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