Flavoring (and Sweetening) Your Own Protein Powders



People sometimes say to me that the recipes here and in the Protein Pow cookbook contain far too many different flavors of protein powder. They say to me, “argh, I want to try all your recipes but I can’t afford to buy all the different flavors of protein powders you use!”

My response to them?

You absolutely don’t have to. Buying a bunch of different flavors of protein powder (especially of the same brand) is an utter waste of money. So don’t ever do that, OK? All you ever need is one (unflavored) or two (vanilla or chocolate if what you’re mostly making are chocolate-flavored recipes) flavors, max.

“OK…” they’ll then say, “but… then…won’t I miss out on a ton of recipes?”


Not if you understand and get to know The Tree of Pow. It’s a tree that’s here to save you money – and set your creative spirit ablaze!

I actually love to talk about The Tree of Pow at our cooking workshops. I just stand there, arms going nuts trying to paint the tree in the air with its different branches, sub-branches, and foliage.

“Imagine the bark of the tree,” I tell people, “is an unflavored protein powder. You can do ANYTHING with it: you can flavor it vanilla” and I gesticulate a branch going up the side of the tree “or you can flavor it chocolate” and I paint another branch going up the opposite direction.

“From then onwards, you can go completely nuts with your flavorings!”

What I try to draw up in their minds is the tree below (click on it to make it bigger).



Here are a few examples example of how you can think about flavoring (and sweetening) your protein powders.

  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice = plain sweet protein powder
  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice + vanilla essence = vanilla protein powder
  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice + cocoa powder = chocolate protein powder
  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice + instant powdered coffee or coffee essence + vanilla essence = latte protein powder
  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice + cocoa powder + instant powdered coffee or coffee essence +/-vanilla essence= mocha protein powder
  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice + vanilla essence + banana flavoring or banana powder = banana protein powder
  • Unflavored protein powder + your sweetener of choice + strawberry flavoring = strawberry protein powder

You get the idea.


Approaching your protein powders creatively this way is great because you can do away with any and all artificial sweeteners if you want! Say goodbye aspartame and ace-K (i.e. acesulfame potassium) especially. They’re prevalent in flavored protein powders because they’re cheap for manufacturers to use. But are they healthy sweetening options? I don’t think so. Nein. No way, Josef.

Sucralose, erythitol, and processed stevia are a lot better options. They’re still lab-derived and in that sense ‘artificial’ (e.g. you can’t find them in nature they way you do in a bottle or pack) but they’re an OK low-carb option, in moderation of course. If you want to go fully ‘natural’ with your protein powders though, you can sweetener them using whole fruit (dates are amazing!), whole leaf stevia concentrate (just know it’s pretty bitter!), coconut sugar, date syrup, or honey/agave.

This is actually the reason why this year’s Protein Pow workshops are conducted only with Pulsin Protein Powders – because they feature zero flavorings and sweeteners so people can sweetener them however they like best: naturally, using honey, agave, or coconut sugar, or in a more low-carb way by using stevia, sucralose, or one of Sukrin’s many low-carb sweeteners (like Sukrin gold).


The Tree of Pow frees up your mind completely. Suddenly, with only a basic understanding of ingredients, you can create ANY FLAVOR of protein powder. For example, you feel like making a chai flavored whey protein? You can. You want to create your own chocolate mint flavored powder? All yours, baby.

All you need, besides your sweetener of choice, is flavorings. These can be natural or they can be ‘artificial.’ Below is list of both to accompany The Tree of Pow.

NATURAL FLAVORS (aka Nature’s Flavors): These can be added to the vanilla, chocolate, or the sweetened ‘plain’ branch of the tree

Vanilla essence
Chai spice
Banana powder
Freeze-dried strawberry powder
Lemon juice or zest
Coconut essence
Orange oil or orange zest
Rose water (if you want to go a bit exotic with your flavors, this one is great!)
Instant Coffee
Instant Coffee Substitute (like this, for that ‘malty’ flavoring)
Peanut butter powder (this adds a bit of extra protein to your starting protein powder too!)
Almond essence

ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS (aka ‘Natural flavorings): These too can be added to the vanilla, chocolate, or the sweetened ‘plain’ branch of the tree

Imitation caramel
This whole flavor pack from True Nutrition
Banana flavoring
And pretty much all of these beauties – I recommend them highly!


“What about the protein powders though, Anna? If I could get just one kind, which one should I go for in order to create most of your recipes?”

Here I’d say go with two: get an unflavored whey protein powder and a pea protein powder, plain. If you look at The Protein Pow Substitution Chart, you’ll see how having these two powder will enable you to make a massive array of  both sweet and savory recipes.

And you don’t need much else, you know? Bid farewell to the idea of getting a huge array of different kinds of protein powders. You just don’t need to turn your kitchen into a warehouse! They take up space, they cost money, and with the Tree of Pow you just don’t need them all.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

PS: I’ve stuck this article up in the top menu of proteinpow.com, beneath the INFO tab. That way, you can access it whenever you want!

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