Guest product review: SooFoo grains blend! »
Funny name, yummy blend. SooFoo, a San Francisco-based, U.S.-grown blend of grains and pulses, is the perfect mix of new-and-exciting with simple-and-nutritious. It’s a great substitute for bland white rice or, in my household, basic, tasteless brown rice. SooFoo is completely organic and it has nine ingredients. Seems like a lot for “rice” type of food until you read them: long grain brown rice, brown lentils, wheat berries, oats, barley, black lentils, rye berries, green lentils, and buckwheat. The folks at SooFoo must’ve been big proponents of Raffi’s “Oats and Beans and Barely.”
Certified organic, Kosher, and vegan, SooFoo is one of the most guiltless products on the market. Their packaging gives some super basic, alliteration-filled suggestions on what to do with the food, such as “sprinkle in a salad,” “stir into soups,” “chuck in chili,” and “toss with tofu” among others. My personal fave is “shower the bride and groom.” I’m totally going to do that next summer. “The vegan from California brought his own hippie rice”—I can hear the in-laws already.
I threw 3/4 cup of SooFoo, 2 cups of water, and 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil into my rice-cooker. Forty-five aromatic minutes later, I had four to six servings of SooFoo, piping hot. My ladyfriend and I decided to serve it with a stir-fry of red onion, purple bell pepper, green beans, and chickpeas with a gluttony of spices. In my attempt to rid the world of all gluten products by digesting them myself, I threw my portions in a whole wheat tortilla.
I gotta say, as a faux-meat and potatoes guy, I didn’t have the highest hopes for SooFoo. But I was blown away. Seriously. Add that to the fact it also has 6 grams of protein per serving (BUT WHERE DO VEGANS GET THEIR PROTEIN?!) and 3 grams of fiber per serving, you can easily justify the chocolate-covered pretzels you also bought.
All in all, SooFoo is pretty freaking awesome. Before I throw the rest of the bag during friends and family nuptials, I think I’ll and “toss it with tofu” next. But I’m open to suggestions!
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Whole Foods debuts their own brand of vegan meats! »
And we’ve been eating them up and they’re TASTY. Chicken patties, burgers, meatballs, nuggets, THE WORKS.
I believe they’re at all Whole Foods but Whole Foods doesn’t tell us shit so you might want to call a store near you and get the 411 on meatless meatballs and chickenless nuggets and WHAAAT. This stuff is GOOD. $4/package. I think that’s everything
[thanks to wonderful megan and miles for the tip <3 ]
Label me delicious: Bites of Bliss superfood treats rule! »
As a high raw queer vegan, I think about labels a lot, how they’re helpful and also kind of complicated. Labeling a product vegan is a bold visibility move, and I like that. I’ve seen entire Facebook photo albums devoted to highlighting explicitly vegan products. It’s actually really validating, like, WE BUILT THAT, but less offensive because we’re talking about the vegan movement and not political tomfoolery. I do worry that overtly vegan labels might scare people away from trying vegan things for the first time. If all apples had huge VEGAN stickers on them, do you think everyone would still buy them? No, they’d protest until McDonald’s finally took the stickers off, uniformly chopped the apples, coated them in chemicals, and made them into a “pie” or something.
As the Vegansaurus raw correspondent, I get the privilege of seeing a lot of products’ labeling, and that has me thinking—doth the label maketh the product? The short answer is no, but when it comes to labeling raw vegan products, I’m convinced certain labels really do help make the sale, aka trip to my tummy. Alerting consumers that your product is raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, agave-free, dairy-free, and contains no GMOs is pretty much required if you want to party with the elite raw vegan foods crowd.
If the above description sounds absolutely incredible to you, then you’re in luck: I just tried Bites of Bliss, and they’re really delicious! I tried the goji berry, carob almond butter (you know there’s a chocolate-free label they wanted to slap on but were too scared of the raw chocoholics seeking vengeance. Best to downplay that particular feature!), and my absolute favorite, pineapple coconut with chia seeds. I haven’t had a piña colada since the early ’00s, but holy tropical fruit, this is truly delicious! It tastes creamy and it’s just the right ratio of pineapple to coconut.
The ingredients are delightfully simple: raw dates, raw walnuts, raw pineapple, unsweetened coconut, coconut nectar (yeah, EFF agave, that higher-glycemic sweetener!), raw chia seeds, and coconut oil—all organic, of course, and the taste is HELLA TROPICAL! I can almost feel the ocean tide and hear someone offering me bathing-suit-optional snorkel lessons. This product is a winner! Get it online and in select Bay Area health food stores.
Do you care about what’s on the label of your raw/vegan products? For research purposes it’d be rad hear about it in the comments!
[images via Bites of Bliss]
Product review: Sacha Vida’s nutty-tasting, omega-3-packed, delicious sacha inchi oil! »
Sacha Vida sacha inchi oil, made from sacha inchi seeds grown in peru and bottled in the Napa Valley, tastes like a cross between hemp, flax, and peanut oil. Like hemp and flax, this oil cannot withstand heat and therefore must be used exclusively in raw dishes. Obviously that’s fine with me, because I just love raw food!
The health benefits linked to sacha inchi seeds are impressive: ideal ratios of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin E, cardiovascular health, improved skin health. Apparently the oil causes less gas than some others, and has way more omega-3s than soy, olive, sunflower, or flax oils. It is the most unsaturated vegetable oil on the planet, according to the Sacha Vida website. It contains natural antioxidants. As oils go, this one has a pretty ideal nutrition profile for vegans of all stripes!
Sacha Vida Sacha Inchi oil is obviously super-healthy, but how does it taste? To find out, I used a free sample of sacha inchi oil sent to me by Sacha Vida, and employed it in this recipe I created:
Kale Pomegranate Sacha Inchi Salad
Serves 1 to 2
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped beets
1/4 cup raisins or goji berries (optional)
1 Tbsp. Sacha Vida oil
1 pinch black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. miso (I used chickpea miso)
1 tsp. coconut aminos, tamari, or Braggs
1 pinch kelp flakes (optional)
Mix all dressing ingredients and massage into salad ingredients. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving in order to give it time to marinate!
The oil tastes delicious. The peanuty flavor is heightened by earthen notes that satisfy the palate. Mixed with greens, it feels silky on the tongue, and has a slight lingering mouth-feel that is sweet and savory at the same time. I feel like I just drank golden nectar, something the Greeks would have loved to have imported from Peru to consume after the cheaper oil was all used up for wrestling.
Product review: Yummi Bears vitamins are perfect for kids, and the kid in you! »
UPDATE!!!: Turns out, these are NOT vegan. They contain lanolin. However the company says that Yummi Bears Organics Immunity and Yummi Bears Organics Brain Health are both vegan.
When you’re a queer vegan like me, you learn to improvise in situations where inequality is at play. No same-sex marriage in your state? Road trip with your pleather biker fiancé to Northhampton! No vegan gummy vitamins on the market? Squash one of your regular vegan multivitamins and one of those wacky German vegan gummy animals together and chew it down before you taste anything horrible (like the part that isn’t gummy bear)!
The thing is though, times are changing. Rainbow marriage is on the horizon (you heard it here first, folks!) and finally, vegans have an awesome gummy multivitamin to call our very own. Hurray! Yummi Bears Organics Multi-Vitamin is completely vegan, as well as free from allergens, gluten, casein, gelatin, and GMOs, and all natural and organic. Yummi Bears make four varieties of vegan organic vitamins: a multivitamin with 16 essential vitamins and minerals; a Brain Health vitamin with DHA and B-complex; an Immunity Health with rose hips and astragalus (I LOVE ASTRAGALUS); and a Bone Health vitamin to give kids healthy bones, teeth, and gums (you know, when they’re not messing up their dental work with gummy bears).
The company sent me free samples of the Multi-Vitamin and Bone Health. How do they taste? AMAZING. They really taste like candy. Because, you know, they are candy. I felt insta-fortified after trying three of each (that’s the serving size according to the package, don’t hate!) and I know you/your kids would, too.
I really love taking vitamins, and I’m passionate about vitamin accessibility in the vegan community. I once considered living in a co-op near Lake Merritt but decided not to because it didn’t sit right with me that they had a communal condom drawer but didn’t share vitamins. I mean, I get that, but c’mon. Choosing safer household sex over safer household B-12 blood levels? They didn’t have their priorities straight. That’s why I moved to Philadelphia, where people share cigarettes and horror stories about traffic to the Jersey Shore. And now I have these amazing gummy vitamins to share—so far I’ve brought some to a young queer Jews of Philadelphia National Coming Out Day party, and I can confirm that I made exactly 3.5 friends while passing out gummy bears over by the hummus (that’s always where you’ll find me!). A great victory for supplementation proliferation and my heeb social life. Yay!
Get Yummi Bears Organics at Rainbow, Whole Foods, and other health food stores, or online.
Product review: Perfect Fit brown rice protein is superb in smoothies! »
I know there’s a lot of debate out there about what should go in smoothies. Greens? Nut milk? Berries? Durian mixed with agave and raw cacao sauce? It can be tough to decide what your smoothie should have in it—I know I’ve stood, mouth agape, in front of my blender for upward of two minutes trying to decide whether 1/4 cup of maca is overkill (note: it is).
There are as many ways to blend as their are ingredients under the moon, but I highly recommend whatever you put in your smoothie, you start it with a protein-rich or green-rich base. That way, you’re at least fortifying yourself when your smoothie consists of just cacao nibs and avocado (admit it, you’ve tried that combo at least once!).
Perfect Fit Protein by Tone It Up scared me with its name—I’m not interested in toning anything when I drink smoothies, except maybe my hair if it’s that time of the color cycle—but its ingredients are absolutely non-scary! I love that it has so much protein (15g serving! Woohoo!) yet includes only organic raw, gluten-free, non-GMO brown rice protein, stevia, and no common allergens. The company sent me a bunch of samples and I absolutely could not taste the flavors (in a good way!) in my usual berry-maca-almond milk-chia seed smoothie.
I highly recommend adding this stuff if you’re interested in a no-fuss protein boost without tons of added ingredients you’ll likely find in other vegan protein powders. This is a winner! Find it online.
EVERYONE: try Alive & Healing’s amazing new tempeh! »
You know how when you first go vegan you’re totally not into tempeh? It’s like, “WHAT’S THAT SMELL YO?” But then you start being all, “mmm what’s that smell YO BREAK ME OFF A PIECE OF THAT!” Something like that. That was my journey to tempeh lover, I’m obsessed with it now but it took me a good five years as a vegan to be into it and now I’m like, “WTF IS WRONG WITH ME?” I realize it’s that I was brainwashed by my SAD to not think that fresh food tastes delicious and I was an idiot listening to my creepy old brain! Be smart, eat tempeh. I think maybe I also just had some shitty tempeh in my life, like stuff that wasn’t steamed or had been sitting alone in the bulk bins too long, you know? Or a well-meaning friend made me a plain slab of tempeh as an alternative to their meaty entrees. So many mistakes were made.
At its best, tempeh is nutty, meaty, and hella tasty — and Alive & Healing, a new company out of Northern California, knows it. THEIR TEMPEH IS AMAZING. So good, not at all funky tunky (you know what I’m talking about with that tempeh smell!), and just absolutely scrumptious. SCRUMPTIOUS!
I made quite a few things with the insane amounts I purchased, including the tasty sandwich below and MY FAVORITE TEMPEH RECIPE OF ALL TIME, DEBBIE’S TEMPEH. It’s available exclusively in Lisa Jervis’ Cook Food cookbook, which I find to be a kitchen imperative. I adapted the recipe and my version is tasty but not nearly as stellar as the one in the book. If you’re looking for a good cooking basics book that has staple recipes to use and remix for years, Cook Food has your back. Anyway, here’s the pics of some of the yummy things I eat it is great to be me:
I also made a lentil soup with tempeh crumbles, a slow cooker Shepherd’s Pie, and I don’t remember what else — mainly just hella delicious stuff. Alive & Healing is available at lots of S.F. Bay Area stores (and expanding!), you can have it shipped to you (er, or wait, this might only be available in the S.F. Bay Area? I can’t tell for sure!) if you’re outside of the SF Bay Area or you’re very lazy, and they have a Tempeh Club! Which, as soon as I figure out what it is, I’m joining. I think it’s just bulk tempeh delivered to your mouth I’LL TAKE IT. If you’re ready to become a tempeh lover, today is the day, this high-protein tastiness is meant for you and so GIVE IN to tempeh and finally let two become one EW SORRY.
(I’m also counting this as my International Vegan MoFo for the day because tempeh is hella Indonesian THE MORE YOU KNOW. )
Product review: Korean radish kimchi by Sinto Gourmet! »
This is the second combination product review and International Vegan MoFo entry starring local vegan kimchi!
As I said yesterday, Sinto Gourmet makes three kinds of kimchi, which I sampled at the Eat Real Fest in Oakland last month. Because they are all amazing and I am not insane, I bought giant jars of the spicy napa cabbage and the spicy radish varieties on the spot.
This is a bowl of spicy radish. It is even spicier than the napa cabbage, and crunchier, because it’s mostly radish rather than thinner, leafier napa cabbage. It will still stink up your kitchen (or wherever you eat it) with its glorious aroma, and it burns all the way from lips to tum. But don’t worry, the fermentation is good for your gut, and makes the jar last forever in the fridge.
Sinto is a local company, and all their kimchi products are vegan and gluten-free (as opposed to traditional kimchi, which is often made with shrimp or fish sauce).
If you love spicy, crunchy, slightly stinky things, I strongly suggest you buy some Sinto Gourmet kimchi.
Product review: Korean napa cabbage kimchi by Sinto Gourmet! »
This is a combination product review and International Vegan MoFo entry: local vegan kimchi! And it is tremendous!
Kimchi, my friends, is a delicious, traditional Korean dish made with spicy red pepper and vegetables, and fermented until perfection.
Sinto Gourmet makes three kinds of kimchi, which they were all sampling at last month’s Eat Real Fest in Oakland. When I saw it, I flipped, tried all the samples, and immediately bought giant jars of the spicy napa cabbage and the spicy radish varieties.
This is spicy napa cabbage. Flavorful and crunchy, with lots of heat, it stinks up the kitchen, it burns in your tummy, and the fermentation is good for your gut. Sinto’s kimchi is vegan and gluten-free, which is great, because often kimchi is made with shrimp or fish sauce.
Even better, Sinto is a local company. Chef HyunJoo has lived in San Francisco since 2007, and operated Sinto Gourmet with her husband since 2010. Tune in tomorrow for my review of the radish kimchi (hint: SO GOOD).
I have loved kimchi since I could chew food, and I’ve really missed eating it. Now we can all buy it locally and eat it forever, which I will, because it doesn’t go bad no matter how long you keep it open. You’ll eat it fast, though, because it’s goddamn delicious.
Product review: Healthy Surprise snack box! »
My name is Jenny and I’m a snackaholic. Give me a box of crackers and 15 minutes and I will surely amaze you with my ability to consume the whole thing in HALF THAT TIME. I do my best to stay away from salty, crunchy, delicious, bite-sized substances: They are no substitute for a meal, and that is exactly what I make them.
Naturally, when we were offered a snack box from Healthy Surprise, I went for it.
A few days later, after trudging home from work, I was ready to zone out on the couch to watch whatever weird shit was streaming on Netflix when I found the GLORIOUS BOX OF SNACKS had arrived, and it was jam packed. I was the happiest vegan in all the land!
I soon fell into a snack-induced
coma nap. When I awoke, there were about five opened, half-full packages lying around me, and I started snacking once more. But why feel guilty when Healthy Surprise is full of gluten-free, mostly raw snacks?
I knew that these snacks were special because I have eyes and taste buds, but also because I didn’t have a stomachache after I awoke from my post-snack-hysteria blackout. A box of healthy snacks sent to you in the mail? What a brilliant idea! Easy on the stomach and allergens? GENIUS! It’s like a CSA box for the
stoners diehard snackers in your life! Or new mommies (hey sis!), college kids, shoot, maybe even vegan newlyweds. Who wouldn’t want this box of treats sent to them every month?
If you go on over to the Healthy Surprise webpage, you can gather all kinds of details, like prices and how to sign up. You can even follow them on Facebook, like me! (They sometimes have some kind of fun promotions or contests.)
Healthy Surprise, I love you. Thanks for making being a snacker something to be proud of! Another great thing? I was exposed to so many new snacks and products I’d normally pass up at the grocery store. Who new dried apples would be my newest jam?
On to the pictures! Just know that Healthy Surprise changes their inventory every month, so you’ll always get a new selection, not necessarily what is pictured here.
Gone Nuts are so decadent — they’re like savory dessert. Both these flavors were delicious, but spinach will always be my numero uno. As far as hemp seeds go, I still have them because I don’t know what to do with them. I would very much appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!
Raw food pizza party, and you’re all invited. My sister turned her nose up at the idea of them, but that was fine, because I got to eat them all. Sprouted flax seed pizza crackers aren’t for everyone, but they are definitely for me.
My newest all-around jam. I’m sure this company has seen some profit increases in the last couple months thanks solely to me.
More snacks! I wish I still had them, I miss them so.
Gluten-free Cinnamon Toast Crunch tasting snacks. You have to know those were the first to be ripped open and demolished — that’s how I do me.
What are you waiting for? GET ON IT.