A Diva’s Secret Sauce – Protein Powder

My PCOS Diva journey began when I picked up  Kathleen DesMaisons’, Ph.D. book, “Potatoes Not Prozac” over 12 years ago.  It was my pivotal “AHA” moment.  I was in a state of crisis – my sugar and carbohydrate cravings were spiraling out of control.  I wondered why I was in control of so many areas of my life, but yet I had no control over sugar and simple carbohydrate cravings.  In her book, Kathleen DesMaisons outlines, “7 Steps to Cure your Sugar Dependency”.  The first step is to have  breakfast with protein every day. I was never a big breakfast person. Most of the time I just had a cup of coffee and if I did eat something, it was usually a bagel or muffin with coffee. No protein there! Well maybe I would put cream cheese on my bagel.  But you can hardly call cream cheese a protein source.  Dr. DesMaisons recommended drinking a shake for breakfast for those who didn’t like breakfast in the morning. She provided her recipe for  “George’s Shake” in the book.  (She now sells a George’s Shake powder that is soy based – you don’t want to use it – see my post about soy for an explanation) I started making a variatiton of the this shake and experimented with different protein powders.  This shake was the beginning of my journey back to health.  The added protein in the morning made a huge difference in my energy levels and mood and I slowly began to gain control over my cravings.

Over the years, I have tried many different protein powders.  I started with soy and then found a soy/whey mix called Aria that I used for years until I found Jay Robb Whey Protein.  I love the taste of Jay Robb Whey Protein and the fact that it is sweetened with stevia. However, after doing so much research on dairy  (see my post about the dangers of dairy for PCOS) recently and discovering what I think are the downsides of dairy for women with PCOS, I started to question my whey protein choice. Whey is a byproduct in the production of cheese.  Rather than discard the liquid portion of the milk that remains after cheese has curdled, producers further process whey into a variety of forms, including whey protein powder.  Whey protein contains lactose which can causes digestion issues.  I also discovered that whey is very acidic.

I wanted to find a protein powder that I felt confident recommending – something organic, that tastes good, is high in protein and low in carbs and sugar and won’t break the bank. I have taste-tested many different powders and finally found a product  that I am excited to share with you.

Growing Naturals makes an organic, sprouted, whole grain, raw, brown rice-based protein isolate powders.  Wow, that is a mouth-full.  But this product is now my go-to choice for my morning shake.  It has a non-chalky, silky texture and the chocolate tastes good mixed in just plain water – that is the real test of a tasty powder,  as anything can taste good in a fruit smoothie. It also comes in vanilla and natural flavors. I have been using the vanilla in my plain yogurt, oatmeal and gluten free pancakes too! Growing Naturals Brown Rice Protein Isolate is a complete protein with a 98% correlation to whey. A complete protein contains all 8 essential amino acids, that is amino acids that cannot be synthesized within the human body, and need to be supplied by the diet.

Growing Naturals Rice Protein is:

  • Organic: Pesticide and chemical free. No genetically modified organisms. Never irradiated.

  • Raw: Low heat process. Undenatured.  Organic enzymes.  Natural enzymes intact.
  • Sprouted: Rich in digestible energy. Bioavailable vitamins and minerals. Increased enzymes.  Improved amino acid complex.
  • Brown Rice: Allergen free. Vegan. Perfect digestibility.  Excellent bioavailability.  Complete amino acid profile.
  • 24 grams of protein per serving.
  • 4 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram sugar per serving.

I love the single serving packets.  I can put them in my purse and always know that I have a high quality protein source available when I am in a pinch and all that is available is fast food or pizza. I just mix the protein powder with some cold water and I am good to go!

I contacted the folks at Growing Naturals to tell them I was going to endorse their product on my web site.  They were super nice and let me know that if you sign up as a “Growing Groupie” you will get  a 20% discount on your first order in the promotional code area of the ordering form.  Try it for yourself.  Maybe you will have an AHA moment too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 25 5: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  • amy b.

    Do you know if this protein powder is safe to eat while pregnant? (I have PCOS and Hashimoto’s and recently found out I’m PREGNANT!!)

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      That is great news! I don’t see why it wouldn’t be safe. Good quality protein is important during pregnancy. But when in doubt ask your doctor.

  • RRod

    I discovered your website today and I love it! I’m not a breakfast person but I could easily do a protein shake. When I make them I use 1 cup 2% milk, muscle milk vanilla protein powder, frozen mixed berries, half of a banana, handful of spinach leaves and chia seeds. But the more I read about PCOS and dairy… I should remove milk. I’m also going to try the Growing Naturals powder. Do you think my other ingredients make a balanced breakfast though? I’m also going to try switching from coffee to green tea in the morning. Thank you for all this helpful information. You rock!

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I think it sounds like a great breakfast but would switch to non-dairy and a vegan protein.

  • http://www.betsysbasictraining.com Betsy

    I love this product! I make my shake in the morning and it keeps me satisfied on my busy day. I recommend it to my clients as well.

  • Anna

    Hi Amy,

    Really interesting information. I’ve been using a whey-based protein powder and not getting the results I’d hoped, so maybe lowering dairy will help. Have you done any investigation into pea-based proteins?


    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I have looked into them but didn’t find one that tasted all that great. If anyone has suggestions please send them my way!

  • MARY

    Was there an expiration for the first time order discount? I just went to place an order and the discount code PCOS20 is not a valid code.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      It shouldn’t be expired. It may be cap sensitive. If you are still having problems please email me amy@pcosdiva.com and I’ll contact the folks at Growing Naturals. Thanks!

      • MARY

        Worked this evening when I signed back on. Didn’t do anything different, so maybe there was a glitch of sorts. Thanks

  • Kirstie

    Hi there! I just discovered your website today and it is GREAT! I just ordered some protein powder from growing naturals and I used your coupon code…thanks so much! Just wondering…do you think this shake can be used as a meal supplement? For example, if I had one of these for breakfast or for a lunch I would only eat 2 other meals, correct? I was also wondering your opinion on greek yogurt (I usually eat Chobani brand) because that is high in protein but now I am not sure if I should be eating that after reading your dairy article…

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Yes you can use it to substitute one meal. I would try to do organic plain greek yogurt and sweeten on your own with stevia and fruit. I think a few servings of yogurt a week is okay as long as it is organic. Yogurt is a fermented food and can be very helpful.

  • AshleyJ

    I was diagnosed a few months ago and have been struggling to find non diary, whole grain options to fill in the gaps of my diet. (First two weeks on steamed veggies alone just wasn’t cutting it!)
    I came across your website today and just reading you journey … the same questions that are popping up for me, you’ve got covered here. God bless you. … This protein mix has me so excited to make a smoothie … I can’t wait till my order gets here.


    is it good for type 2 diabetes

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy


  • Michelle

    This product contains guar gum and gum arabic which can be a problem for those who are soy allergic or sensitive.

  • Tanian

    “(Full disclosure here: I did NOT accept any money and I am NOT an affiliate of this product – I want to remain impartial)”

    I REALLY appreciate that!!! I’m finding it hard to find good sources to manager my PCOS without being sceptical whenever a brand name appears. Thank you for staying neutral and having our (us PCOS divas) well being in mind :)

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Thanks Tanian-
      I have been offered big bucks to become affiliates for products but I really don’t feel right taking money for a product that I am suggesting for PCOS – I think it diminishes my credibility.

  • Jessica

    Do you know if this is available at any stores or online product only?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Right now this is an online product.

  • http://www.freshlyprimitive.com Deborah Johansson

    Hi Amy, Loving your website and I can’t get to bed because I just want to keep reading. Have been looking for a good protein powder and would really like to try this. Just tried the code (even cut and pasted it) and it doesn’t work. Do you think it’s still valid?



    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I am sorry Deborah – I have emailed Growing Naturals about this but have not heard back. I will keep trying!

  • Destiny

    I havent tried this yet but with all the great feedback from your website i am going to try it. I’m married to a true italian so the high protein low carb diet my doc has me on is tough because he loves pasta. so the protein powder maybe an excellent source for me. Also i LOVE cottage cheese and that is a high protein food…..makes me happy.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Try spaghetti squash – if you don’t overcook it it makes a great pasta alternative!

      • Andrea

        Amy, what do you think about the Dreamfield Pasta?

        • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

          Andrea- Dreamfields isn’t something that I eat. I have heard from Divas that they love it however. I choose to eat small amounts of gluten-free pasta.

  • Sabrina

    Just discovered this site! I am a single women with pcos and ha dwelt despondent my whole life trying to deal with this syndrome. I have been using a whey protein for years in my breakfasts but have never noticed improvements. I would like to try this powder. It have also heard about pcos women using egg white protein powder as well. What is your opinion on this?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I like the idea of a vegan protein powder – I’m not sure I would use egg white (it is a major allergen too)

  • candice

    Dose the Vegan Protein Powder have Soy in it? and the Jump start.. I can not have any kind of Turkey ground beef or tofu at all.. Can not eat pork. so How much can I do with the Jump start life.. I have also found out about 2 month ago, egg Yoke do not LIKE me.. I end up getting Ill.. Just want to know?? I want to get back to feeling like a woman. =0(

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Hi Candice-
      There is no soy, pork or beef during Jumpstart week. There are eggs in the jumpstart but you can certainly just use the whites. Hope you’ll join us!

  • Sylvia

    Just got this and I am staying fuller longer and dropped 2lbs, love it! Thanks Amy for sharing the knowledge!!

  • Andrea

    Thank you for this info. I have always found most protein powders to taste chalking no matter what I mixed them with, I will for sure try this.

    Thanks – love your site!!

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Andrea I hope you like it as much as I do!

  • Kelsey

    Hi Amy, Thank you so much for your amazingly informative website. I am 22 and was recently diagnosed with PCOS and so happy to have found your website! Good to hear you found that vegan protein powder is more beneficial than whey-based powders, because I am vegan. I usually start my day with a fruit/veggie/protein powder smoothie using a vegan protein powder. I haven’t tried the specific powder you mentioned here, but I will soon! I am really interested in your JumpStart Program, but was wondering if it will be an issue that I am vegan? Can the diet plan be augmented to a vegan diet? Do you think it’s healthy to be vegan with PCOS? Thank you again for all your help.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Hi Kelsey-
      Thanks for your kind words. Jumpstart can absolutely be adjusted to fit a Vegan lifestyle. I do believe in some definite guidelines for eating for PCOS but don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to protein for PCOS but I do think everyone needs a balanced amount. I do think that it can be done to be vegan as long as you are eating plenty of legumes, nuts and supplement with protein powder..

  • Allison

    Quick question, I’ve heard that pcos can also be caused or aggravated by oxidative stress, (I know there are plenty of other causes) so trying to get your body to produce more glutathione which is the mother of all antioxidants would help reverse insulin resistance. I have been doing research on organic grass fed undenatured whey protein as a source of glutathione precursors (amino acids?). If instead of that I decide to use this vegan protein source could I be guaranteed the same thing? Will this product help boost glutathione levels in my body?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Good question Allison! I used to always use Whey protein powder and switched to vegan a year ago. I love how it makes me feel and don’t think I would ever go back to Whey. You can also take N-acetylcysteine (NAC, curcumin and alpha-lipoic acid as they help with glutathione levels. I would rather get mine from vegetable sources rather than whey. Per serving, asparagus, avocado, asparagus, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, walnuts, garlic, and raw tomatoes have the highest glutathione content.

  • http://pinterest.com/pcosinformation/ Kristin

    Over the years I have slowly become a vegetarian for many reasons, but have continued to gain weight. At my latest doctor’s appointment she said that is the worst diet choice for me and that I need to up my protein big time to improve my PCOS.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction for HOW MUCH protein I should be having daily with PCOS.

    I have started doing the protein shake from this site for breakfast, but have no idea how much I should be shooting for.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      She is correct, vegetarian is very hard to do with PCOS (although it can be done) I try to shoot for at least 25g at every meal.

  • Lindsey

    Hey Amy,

    I tried the Growing Naturals Rice protein powder (chocolate so far, but I’ve also ordered vanilla) and I like it, but I don’t love it. You mentioned that you taste-tested many other products but the Rice Protein was your favorite. Would you be willing to share the the products that still met your standard (good sources of protein, vegan, gluten free) in case one of those make my taste buds happier?


    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Lindsey you could try Vega or Sun Warrior.

  • Whitney

    Can you use Almond milk instead of water? Or is Almond milk not recommended for PCOS?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Almond milk is great!

  • http://www.pcosdietsupport.com Tarryn – PCOS Diet Tips

    I’m currently trying hemp protein and take it every morning. I’m finding it seems to stabilize my blood sugar and keeps me fuller for longer. Will need to give it time to see the full effects :-)

  • danielle

    Is this protein powder low glycemic? I also have the insulin resistance and have been eating a low glycemic diet.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Yes I think it is a great choice for PCOS.

  • Tonia

    how do you feel about Organic Hemp Protein Powder?

  • Daysi

    I know this post is sort of old… :-) but recently stumbled upon it. I’ve recently visited a nutritionist that specializes in women with PCOS. I’m currently on a plan that will help me lose the weight I’ve gained. I asked her if I could drink protein shakes and she said no. She said that women with PCOS have a lot of testosterone and would only result in me gaining muscle mass instead of losing weight. Do you know how true this might be?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Honestly, that is the craziest thing I have heard. Women with PCOS need protein to keep blood sugar balanced which in turn will help balance hormones like testosterone. My advice would be to find another nutritionist.

  • Daysi

    I thought it sounded crazy too. Thanks!

  • Margaret

    I just wanted to let you know that I came across your site tonight and it was like a breath of fresh air. I was diagnosed with PCOS last October and it has been a struggle to find food alternatives/replacements but this makes complete sense to me!

    Thank you for all of your advice and knowledge- can’t wait to read the rest of your site!

  • Robin Bair

    I don’t have PCOS but do struggle a lot with sugar sensitivity. Do you recommend the Potatoes Not Prozac book? And, do you still use and recommend Growing Natural Rice Protein?

    • http://pcosdiva.com Amy

      I do love Dr. Kathleen Desmaisons. She was very influential in my early stages of my PCOS journey. Yes, I do still use Growing Naturals.

  • Katie H.

    Amy, how do you feel about organic hemp protein?

    • http://pcosdiva.com Amy

      Hemp is a great Vegan protein choice.

  • Noemi

    Hi Amy,

    Would you recommend this protein shake vs the vegan shakeology? I currently use vegan chocolate but it has agave and is so expensive. The taste is great though. Just wondering which you prefer health wise and taste wise.

    Thank you!