Sunbiotics Probiotics Are Chewable Candy For Your Colon »
One of my life missions is to bring supplementation to the vegan masses through any means necessary (see: the B-12 patch and Omega-Zen). Something I’ve been wondering about lately is how to make vegan supplements taste like candy, because I feel strongly that taste matters a great deal when it comes to ensuring our population is adequately supplemented. If it tastes like acidopholous, you’re not going to take it very often, am I right?
If you’re jonesing for a probiotic that satisfies the palate as well as the body, you have GOT to try the new Sunbiotics Probiotics. They’re chewable! How cool is that? You can feel like a kid again, crunching one of these nickel-sized tablets and enjoying the benefits of improved intestinal bacterial health. I used to work for a raw vegan retreat center where the suppies staff got into big debates about what kind of sweetener should be used to feed and grow the probes. Some supplement companies use inulin derived from jerusalem artichoke, which is rad, but it can cause irritation and sensitivity in some individuals. I once took a bunch of inulin-containing probiotics right after I broke a seven-day green juice fast and my body was super sensitive and insta-broke out in icky blotchy hives. I took an Allegra prescription allergy pill I keep on hand in case I’m attacked by a patch of poison ivy or mangoes (did you know they’re in the same family? Plants are crazy!) and was fine but vowed never to take probes made with inulin again!
Lucky for me, Sunbiotics Probiotics mean I won’t have to! My friend Alex Malinsky, the mastermind behind Rawtella, sent me a free batch to try. These tablets are made with organic yacon root prebiotics and cut with lower-glycemic coconut sugar vanilla flavor. It feels like eating tiny round marshmallows made for astronauts! The one issue I have with them is that they taste so good, if you find yourself crying over a bottle of probiotics you might be tempted to take them all at once. Don’t do that! Find yourself a 12-step program and seek answers outside the supplement bottle!
Sunbiotics probiotics are raw, gluten-free, vegan, and organic—absolutely free from yucky fillers or preservatives, unlike some other supplements on the market. I highly recommend these to anyone who’s afraid to take supplements or who just wants a really solid vegan probiotic made with high-quality organic ingredients. Get them online or demand them from your local health food store!
Giveaway and Product Review: Zen Society Natural Skincare! »
Zen Society is a line of vegan, natural skincare. It’s made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients, plant botanicals, and fruit extracts. Zen Society is super environmentally friendly; the shipping boxes are made from recycled materials and all the packaging is 100% recyclable. The products are also gluten-free!*
I like this part from their site:
Zen Society takes pride in offering fresh, handcrafted products. We use the highest quality of 100% Natural and USDA Certified Organic ingredients which are cold pressed and unrefined. If our oils are heated, they are never heated above 120° so they retain all vitamins, minerals and nutrients to provide ultimate nourishment to the skin. Each ingredient contains at least 10 vitamins and minerals. We include Fair Trade and locally harvested ingredients whenever possible. No parabens, pesticide sprays, petroleum, silicone, synthetics, artificial fragrances, dyes, GMO, or harmful processed additives.
They are also recognized as a cruelty-free company by PETA and donate a portion of all sales to Friends of the Earth. Kind of sounds perfect, right? Well guess what! Zen Society sent me the rosewater mist and the macadamia body oil on the house and I can say they ARE perfect! The rosewater mist is a nice little astringent or pick-me-up and, well, it smells like roses! Roses smell good.
The macadamia body oil is just about my new favorite thing in the whole world. It absorbs quickly and easily but the best part was when I put it on my elbows! I have rough, ashy elbows and after using this stuff like twice, they were totally better! No body lotion I’ve tried has made any difference and this stuff fixed it overnight. Pretty awesome. I had never even heard of macadamia body oil—now I’m in love! What a difference a day makes.
OK, now, because I love the macadamia body oil so much, Zen Society has agreed to do a giveaway! To win your own macadamia body oil, leave a comment on this post answering this question: We already care about animals, why should we care about earth-friendly products too?! I’ll pick a winner next Monday.
*Is gluten bad for your skin?!
Product Review: Regal Vegan’s Basilcotta! »
As I announced on Twitter last night, look what I came upon at Union Market last night! Basilcotta: Regal Vegan’s basil cashew ricotta-style spread. You know I’m obsessed with their Faux Gras so I had to buy this immediately.
My official verdict: very yummy! It’s not as amazing and addictive as the Faux Gras, but really, what is? “Basilcotta” is pretty much the perfect name—that’s what it tastes like: ricotta mixed with basil. I just ate it on bread and it was creamy and good. I would love to have it in some pasta shells! I will try to get it together to do that and let you know how it turns out. Maybe I can mail some to Jenny and make her do it for us!
It’s not on their site yet but hopefully it will be soon and then hopefully you’ll be able to order it like you can the Faux Gras. Does anyone on the west coast carry Regal Vegan? They need to!
Product Review: Nutty Bean Chick Pz! »
Clockwise from the left: Vanilla Chai, Sesame Crunch, and Sweet and Spicy Chipotle.
Hello, friends! Here I am with another product review! This time we have some healthy snack food: Nutty Bean Chick Pz. These are flavored roasted chickpeas. All flavors but the Honey Roasted are vegan. I tried the Chai Vanilla, Sesame Crunch, Sea Salt, and the Sweet and Spicy Chipotle (for those following along at home, that’s all but the Honey Roasted and BBQ). Nutty Bean sent me these flavors to try for free and now I will tell you all about them.
I’ve actually seen roasted chickpeas before; I used to go to the Italian festival in New Jersey every year (which I highly recommend—except for the cannoli eating contest; whatever you do, don’t watch the cannoli eating contest! You will vom!) and they had them in big burlap sacks. Haven’t seen them since then. I always thought it was a good idea though, seems like a healthy snack idea.
So, in brief: they are a bit weird…AND I love them. The weird part is the texture. They are crunchy at first—kind of like wasabi peas or something—but then when you bite into them, they have a kind of dusty texture? I think dusty is the best description. But I think you get used to it and then you can enjoy them with reckless abandon!
The really cool thing is that these are super healthy. If they were bad for you and had the unfamiliar texture, I might not be into them. But I think the health factor makes it a good gamble. There are two servings per package (a good size!) and each serving has 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and only 1.5 grams of fat. It also has 10% of your daily iron, so that’s nice. And a little shot of calcium to boot.
My favorite-favorite flavor is the Sweet and Spicy Chipotle. Yummy! It rules. I’m kind of a nancy about spice so these are a little too hot for me. My solution was to eat like four, then eat a handful of sea salt ones to relieve the spice. Funny Megan! But it worked great.
I didn’t like the Sesame Crunch that much; I think you would definitely like that flavor if you like those little sesame sticks they always sell in bulk candy sections. You know the ones? My mom used to buy those for us when we were hippies. I was never that into them. But if you were, this is your flavor.
As for the Vanilla Chai, I thought I wouldn’t like them because sometimes chai is über-sweet. But to my surprise, this was my second favorite flavor! Not too sweet but nice and cinnamon-clovey. Definitely yum and a nice sweet treat that’s not too sweet.
That’s the other good thing besides the health: these hit the spot. If you want a little touch of sweetness, you got it; if you want something salty, boom. And you can feel like you are doing something good for your body because of the iron, fiber, and protein! So it’s really a great snack option. I officially recommend!
Guest Product Review: Good Greens: Superfood Nutrition Bars That Taste Like Candy! »
Good Greens low-glycemic gluten-free vegan bars, which boast 40 antioxidants, 10g protein, Omega 3’s, are low-glycemic, and are free from animal products, could taste like chalk and still get a nod of favor in my direction, because I love supplements so hard. These bars boast some of the fanciest and hyped ingredients in the natural health/vegan world, including mesquite, nori, mangosteen, probiotics, flax, aloe vera, chia seed, mulberry, bilberry, broccoli sprout powder, Nova Scotia Dulse (can we please make this the trendy new lox substitute? Yay Jewish vegan pride!), golden berries, alfalfa sprout powder, beet juice powder, wheat sprout powder, cha de Bugre, Siberian Eleuthero Root Extract, DHA, green tea extract, camu powder, pine bark extract, macs, lucuma, chlorella, and spirulina all grace each label of these superfood-packed bars.
With such a crazy A-list of superfoods, there’s very high risk for flavor failure. It’s like those star-studded ensemble cast movies which have such glorious talent but as a whole miss the mark: Paris Je T’aime, New York, I Love You, New Year’s Eve, etc. (Note: These films certainly had redeeming qualities, so if you love them please excuse this analogy!)
Taste may not be the primary concern for vegan health freaks (myself included!) but Good Greens bars unabashedly shoot for mass appeal. They even have a code to scan with your smartphone to learn more about the products! Can you just imagine a bunch of people scanning these on BART? I (s)can!
While a lot of so-called nutrition bars fail badly when they try to cram so many insanely powerful nutriceuticals (or else are seriously effing unethical and won’t disclose whether they source their cacao from places that use child slavery—F you, CLIF!), Good Greens decided to rise above and make bars that are completely ethical and INSANELY DELICIOUS. I shit you not, these are like CANDY! So how do Good Bars orchestrate a symphony of superfoods without creating sheer mouth cococphany?
Actually, it’s pretty simple: chocolate! Nearly every flavor of these bars includes dairy free dark chocolate as the first ingredient. It turns out, dark chocolate is the great equalizer when it comes to flavor-balancing. These bars are sweetened with healthful ingredients but you’d swear otherwise. The chocolate peanut butter, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate coconut flavors will inspire you to break dance in your “Pigs are Friends Not Food” underwear until you hit your target heart rate!
Good Greens, which sent me free samples of each flavor, are available in health food stores and online.
This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog, Queer Vegan Food.
Vegan Pâté throw-down! »
What up, thugs! Welcome to the vegan pâté throw-down! If you recall, once upon a time I sang the praises of Faux Gras; well recently I noticed that the Carroll Gardens Union Market had a new vegan faux-pâté, Nanny’s Vegetarian Chopped Liver. Obviously I had to try it! I’d also seen this Vegan Terrine stuff by Trois Petits Cochons and thought I ought to try that too—so here we are! Throw-down.
From left to right: Faux Gras, Vegan Terrine, and Vegetarian Chopped Liver.
The Faux Gras was as good as ever. I truly love the stuff. It’s sweet and savory and yummy! The veggie chopped liver looks very similar, and it actually tastes pretty similar, but it’s more meaty-flavored. With the Faux Gras, it’s awesome but I don’t think it’s trying very hard to taste like meat. I don’t mind that at all (actually I prefer it) but if you really loved meat pâté in your omni days, you may enjoy the chopped liver more. But for some reason the chopped liver is like $2 more than the Faux Gras. Not sure why.
The vegan terrine is…not so great. It tastes like pickled green beans maybe? Kind of? Or mashed peas mixed with olives? Maybe that’s what terrine is supposed to be like but I just really didn’t like it. But if you want something low in fat and calories, this is your best option. The Faux Gras and chopped liver are both pretty high in fat but it’s totes that healthy fat from walnuts and whatnot.
So the winner is Faux Gras! Nanny’s is a close second and Trois Petits Cochons falls last. Those are the breaks, my friends. Throw-downs aren’t pretty! But they are so very tasty.
Product Review: Benecos makeup and True Natural self tanner! »
Hey, pals! Here I am, back with another makeup review. The company this time is Benecos by loveTrueNatural. Not everything is vegan but the line is all natural and never tested on animals. The descriptions clearly state if a product is vegan. Of course, all the stuff I tried is vegan! Adoy.
Yes so they sent me a couple of vegan products to try for free. The first thing I tried is the loose mineral powder. I love this stuff! It comes with it’s own poof so I like to keep it in my purse to powder my nose on occasion. I got it in “light” and it was a little bit too light for me, but still great. It offers a lot of coverage, it’s not a sheer powder.
As you can see, the eyeshadow colors are very light and natural-looking. They go on great and blend well. I think I could have put more color on but I think it’d still be very sheer and natural looking. So if that’s the style you want, this is for you. You’ll have to look elsewhere for something more dramatic. I liked that the brow pencil has it’s own little brush but the pencil wasn’t subtle enough for me. I have pretty dark brows though so I don’t usually use an eyebrow pencil.
I also tried the True Natural self tanner. Self tanner always makes me nervous but this was pretty good. I just had a subtle tan the next day so it wasn’t like some cray orange. I did have some streaking by my feet but I think I applied it unevenly, so just be mindful of that.
All in all, great products! If you want organic makeup for a subtle, natural look, Benecos is for you. And if you’ve been looking to dabble in self tanner, I’d give this a shot. It’s not dramatic but if you don’t want to be a pasty ghost, this will help. That’s all for today!
Product Review: Nutty Cow Vegan Ricotta! »
Now, I don’t know what’s on the market these days in terms of vegan ricotta, but it doesn’t matter. I just tried Nutty Cow’s ricotta, and it’s all that exists to me.
I hate to admit this, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect when Carla of Nutty Cow approached us to sample this product. Vegan cheeses are sometimes great, but most of the time, kind of weird. However, I could tell I was going to like their cheese when it arrived in the mail just by the packaging—the logo is so well done!
Being hungry and impatient, I opened one of the three containers immediately and ate it with crackers.
I realized then that this wasn’t just any vegan cheese product. It was special. And though it’s made with nuts, the texture is so soft and creamy! I knew I’d have to hold back on the remaining two packages and make something incredible.
Carla suggested I make lasagna, which is a dish I haven’t made in 10 years! I was like, “all right,” but really I was just going to lazily spread it over Whole Foods spinach Florentine raviolis. Then I got inspired to fill large pasta shells with the cheese and bake it with my winning combo of spinach, mushrooms, garlic and caramelized onions. Fate was on Carla’s side, as I couldn’t find the shells I wanted at the store. Lasagna it was gonna be.
Boy, am I glad I made lasagna.
Nutty Cow Ricotta made this lasagna. I should not have indulged in cheese and crackers earlier in the week so that I could have topped my dinner with the ricotta—or at least added another layer to the lasagna! Oh, well. The ricotta was so creamy and delicious! My roommates and I loved it, one of my roommates being a new vegetarian and the other an omnivore. It’s awesome when my omni friends and family like vegan products as much as I do.
"Where can I get this Nutty Cheese?" you ask? Carla says, "We are so excited to be launching next month (fingers crossed), September at the latest. It will be available at Veganessentials.com [a Vegansaurus supporter!] and several stores in the Midwest (so far). We will be announcing stores as it becomes ‘official’ in the next few weeks on our FB page and have been encouraging everyone to ‘like’ us or at least check in on the page to see where we will be available. Also, we will be at Expo East in September in Baltimore and hope to have wider distribution after the show.” So there you have it!
*I find that the attention to detail in the artwork usually means a superior (albeit sometimes more expensive) product. This is not always true, and graphic designers DO NOT COME CHEAP.
Update: NuTru’s O-Mega-Zen + EPA supplement »
If you recall, our Sarah E. Brown reviewed NuTru’s O-Mega-Zen + EPA, a “vegan source of high-purity algae derived Omega-3 DHA and EPA.” She totally thought it was great, she just thought it tasted “like hell.” That Sarah, so spirited! Well, it turns out she was sent a version that’s no longer on the market, so NuTru sent her the current product to try. Here’s her updated assessment:
"The new, improved, product that is currently the only one available tastes like a faintly sweet vegetable-derived gel cap, which is exactly what it is. I am happy to report no fishy algae taste leaked into my mouthfeel experience whatsoever. The product is indeed as pleasing to the palate as it is to the body.”
There you have it! I’ve heard about this algae-derived omega, supposed to be just as good as icky fish supplements because algae is where the fish get the omegas in the first place! So now you can tell those “but humans are supposed to eat fish” people that they can suck algae.
Product Review: Nutty Cow Nut Cheese »
Hey guys! There’s a new nut cheese on the market! Nutty Cow sent me samples of their nut cheeses and now I will tell you about them. My verdict: pretty good. It’s not Punk Rawk Labs but what is? Just Punk Rawk Labs. But this is more of a shmear than a cheese-cheese.
OK, I tried the garlic and herb on some wheat-thin-like crackers, it was very good. But I think it’s more of a bagel spread. Definitely a good cream cheese alternative! It’s nice and tangy like cream cheese should be. And the herbs are yum. And the herbs are plentiful, which I like.
I tried the maple pecan on an english muffin and it wasn’t sweet like I was expecting. Tangy, but maple-y and pecan-y. I recommend it on a bagel again. What kind of bagel would you put it on? I’m thinking cinnamon raisin!
Now, I haven’t had the chance to try the ricotta yet but they have some awesome looking recipes on their site. I’ve heard the Tofutti ricotta is not so good so I’m pretty curious about this one. If anyone gets a chance to try it, let me know what you think.
I couldn’t find the ingredients on their site so here they are because I know you guys like that kind of thing:
Non-GMO Soybeans, Filtered Water, Raw Cashews, Lemon Juice, Expeller-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grade A Maple Syrup, Fresh Basil, Salt, Natural Nigari (seawater extract), Cultured Dextrose (vegan)
Non-GMO Soybeans, Filtered Water, Onions, Raw Cashews, Sulfite-Free Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Expeller-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grade A Maple Syrup, Salt, Garlic, Fresh Basil, Natural Nigari (seawater extract), Cultured Dextrose (vegan), Spices
Non-GMO Soybeans, Filtered Water, Raw Cashews, Grade A Maple Syrup, Raw Pecans, Lemon Juice, Expeller-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Basil, Salt, Natural Nigari (seawater extract), Cultured Dextrose (vegan), Spices
Nutty Cow informs me that they will be making their way to stores in a month or so. You can follow them on Facebook to find out where!