Lulu’s chocolate: organic, raw, vegan, and chocolaty! »
Lulu’s is an organic raw chocolate company with not only super exciting wrapping design, but lots of yummy flavors! They are on the Food Empowerment Project’s recommended chocolates list, wrapped in vegetable-dyed, environmentally-conscious packaging, made with fair-trade cocoa, and sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. Basically: EAT WITH RECKLESS ABANDON! Lulu’s sent me a bunch of free chocolate to try and now I will tell you all about it.
Sexy packaging! Rococo, mother-lovers!
Overall: LOVE. And I don’t know if I’m just gassed from their write-ups, but I felt like I was totally eating something that is good for my body! Chocolate is good for you now, right? Especially raw chocolate!
My very favorite was the smoked sea salt almond bar. Salt and chocolate is the best combination and Lulu’s pulls it off perfectly! I shared all the bars with my coworkers (because I am so nice to them) and they liked everything, but this bar was especially popular with them as well.
My other favorite was the coffee crunch bar. I also love coffee with chocolate and once again, Lulu’s does it right!
Smoked sea salt almond bar.
At the top, you can see the maca Buttercups. Maca is supposed to be super good for you, I think? At least it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Below is the chocolate maca chunk.
Chocolate maca chunk bar.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t that into the maca flavored chocolates. They are fine but just kind of not that flavorful and not as good as the straight chocolate bars. But the Buttercups were pretty good actually! Besides the Buttercups though, I would mostly get the maca chocolates for the interest-factor. I.e. APHRODISIAC SEXY TIMES!
The love truffles are pretty exciting. They have hazelnut Rawmio! They were a little too rich for me, all truffles are, but my coworkers really liked them. So if you are a truffle person, these are for you. They have a hint of salt too! Yum.
So clearly I am a Lulu’s fan! If you want delicious chocolate that’s actually good for you, Lulu’s is where it’s at.
In other Lulu’s news, they currently have an Indiegogo campaign! They want to open a “chocolate lounge” but they need your help. There’s less than a week left and they still have a ways to go! So let’s help them out! I love when we get together and support vegan, socially and environmentally-conscious businesses! And you don’t have to be in Arizona to donate, the perks include LOTS of chocolate! So if you are thinking of buying any of their chocolate to try, think about doing so through the campaign so you get yummy raw chocolate AND you help out a vegan business. Let’s do this!
Product Review: Sacha Vida Gelatinized Maca fuels your vegan libido! »
No animals were hurt in the making of this maca. Photo via Sacha Vida.
Back when I was part of a raw food group out in the middle-of-nowhere Arizona desert, I learned that offering up a maca-laden smoothie was the most expedient and reliable way to getting into another raw foodist’s unisex hemp kilt. To be fair, maca’s aphrodisiac effects may be placebo in nature and we were all pretty bored out there, but the stuff still tastes amazing and has other great nutritional properties!
I didn’t know this, but a lot of people say maca is good for your stamina, hormones, energy levels, memory, and even your immune system and fertility! Zing! I recently tried a complimentary batch of Sacha Vida’s new gelatinized maca, which, despite the ground-dead-animal-hoof connotations of its name, is completely vegan! “Gelatinized” refers to the process the maca undergoes to remove the hard-to-digest starches, making it smooth smoothie sailing!
Highly delicious, no tummy problems to report, and I’m now ready for some kilt-jumping. Who’s with me?
Right now, Vegansaurus readers receive 30 percent off all products on Sacha Vida’s website by using the coupon code “vegansaurus”. Get on it, y’all!
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.
Guest product review: Jem Specialty Nut Butter! »
In the uppermost echelons of the elite nut butter world, being raw, vegan, organic, local, and sustainable is not particularly remarkable. I’d dare to say superior ethics and health properties of high-caliber varieties of nut butters are simply what us highfaluting gourmand vegans have come to expect. Specialty Nut Butters by Jem Raw Chocolate are all of these things, but I must convey to you, dear reader, how uniquely wonderful they are—truly unlike any nut butter varieties I’ve ever tried.
The three flavors Jem generously comped me were Cinnamon Red Maca Almond Butter, Coconut Cardamom Butter, and Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. I come from the superfood enthusiast camp that believes that you can never ingest enough maca, a root vegetable native to the Andes with reported (and annecdotally confirmed) benefits of increasing motivation to engage in the making of love. Eat Jem’s spread and you’ll notice it’s easy to get in your daily dose of maca without the same stigma of “I want SEX ALL THE TIME,” traditionally associated with inhaling tiny mountains of pinkish-golden maca powder in the bathroom at Esta Noche. (Note: Please do not try snorting maca, at home or at Esta Noche).
The Cinnamon Red Maca Almond Butter is jam-packed with raw red maca and cinnamon, sweetened only with lower-glycemic coconut palm sugar. The taste is akin to a snickerdoodle laced with butterscotch. Highly recommended! Coconut Cardamom Butter reminded me of the time I spent a week at a Tibbetan Buddhist monastery. Instead of attaining enlightenment, I got sidetracked by the heavenly smells of cardamom simmering in fresh pots of chai tea wafting into the meditation hall. Learn from my spiritual weakness and bring a jar of this smooth, lucuma-filled treat with you to the next Vipassana retreat! Lastly, there’s the Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. I feel like a bit of a dolt reviewing a flavor of chocolate nut butter after my last word on the subject. The truth is, now that I’ve tried Jem, I have to admit that maybe I like Jem just-a-very-tad-slight-bit-only-the-tip-so-maybe-it-doesn’t-really-count better than Rawmio. I’m not sure though, and maybe I’d need to try both blends over and over forever to make a really unbiased decision!
Ways of eating Jem include spooning it straight from the jar, or enjoying it with fruit, crackers, toast, raw bread—just not with other less scrumptious nut butters, because I’ve heard that nut envy can lead to early onset rancidity. Take my word for it! Available online and in health food stores.
Guest recipes: maca magic desert dessert smoothies! »
While summer temperatures soar, it’s great to cool down with refreshing chilled smoothies for a hearty breakfast or brunch. Recently reunited with my culinary muse and partner extraordinaire Courtney Pool, I have been inspired to throw heaping tablespoons of maca into recipes. She doesn’t seem to mind, bless her raw vegan gorgeous heart.
Maca adds a caramel-malt flavor, which is well combined with ingredients like indulgent cacao, protein-rich hemp seeds, omega-3- and bulk-adding chia seeds, and alkalizing superfood powder Vitamineral Green. Experimenting with local, fruity accents like strawberries or other berries can add color and texture to round out your delicious, nutrient-dense meal.
Here are the two latest recipes I have created. Hope you like them as much as my muse and I have. To make, just put all ingredients in a blender and combine. Enjoy!
Sort of sounds like an Arnold b-movie, right? If Arnold had any sense, he’d be downing the cacaoinator instead of eating his words on national news.
4 Tbsp. Chia
1 Tbsp. Vitamineral Green
1 to 2 Tbsp. Cacao powder
1 to 2 Tbsp. Maca
1/2 cup Pumpkin seed milk
3 tsp. Hemp seeds
Lucuma (to taste)
Stevia (to taste)
Strawberry maca elixir
The secret is in the garnish! Chopped raw cacao paste or raw cacao nibs or bars, bee pollen, plus strawberries make this super-decadent. You can also garnish with mint, or any other type of berry or superfood.
This smoothie is best enjoyed with a friend or lover.
4 Tbsp. Chia
1 Tbsp. Cacao powder
1 Tbsp. Hemp seeds
1/4 cup Almond milk
1/4 cup Pumpkin seed milk
1 to 2 Tbsp. Maca
Stevia (to taste)
Lucuma (to taste)
Bee Pollen (garnish)
Chopped cacao paste or raw cacao bars
Product review: Zenergy Power Balls! »
First, let’s get it out of the way. Phew, I feel better already. Now, down to business.
Zenergy Power Balls are the tasty energetic brain child of Peggy Sue Honeyman-Scott. Basically, they’re a healthy snack alternative that are raw, vegan, gluten-free, and totally organic. Honestly, they are really incredibly good for you and if you ate only Zenergy Power Balls for the rest of your life, you’d probably live to be as old as Joan Rivers (NOBODY knows how old she is, not even her. Especially even her). They’re dates and nuts that have been rolled up sprinkled with goodness like maca, mesquite, and “Chinese herbs.” I thought they’d be disgusting but they weren’t! They were actually quite tasty. I wouldn’t crave them as one might crave a cookie, but also, cookies aren’t a superfood. Snacks like this sometimes confuse me because hey, if you want a cookie, eat a freaking cookie, there’s no need to punish yourself with a Frookie. On the flip side, if you want to eat something healthy, have an apple, you know? But actually, these things are somewhere between and I can imagine would be an excellent post- or pre-workout snack and good to keep in your office desk to get you through the rest of the hellish day. Seriously, quit your job, come live with me; I can’t stand the thought of any of you working at terrible office jobs, arriving at the buttcrack of dawn (9 a.m.) and working until long after midnight (6 p.m.)—it’s inhumane! I can save you! But first, you must earn enough money to fund both yourself and me for a few years. In other news, I think I just started a cult?
Anyhoo, buy and eat Zenergy Power Balls and Go Balls-Out on Your Future! Other possible slogans:
Zenergy Power Balls: The Ball’s the Limit
Zenergy Power Balls: When You’re Balls to the Wall, Eat Our Balls
Zenergy Power Balls: When Life Hands You Lemons, Eat Our Balls
Zenergy Power Balls: You Won’t Sweat Our Balls
Zenergy Power Balls: We’re Not Dickin’ Around, Our Balls Are the Best!