vegansaurus!

01/07/2013

Product Review: Sproutein, Epic Protein, and Sprout mixes turn smoothies into nutrition explosions!  »

imageConfession: I think everything Alex Malinsky touches turns to gold. Known in the raw food world as the “raw guru,” Alex got into raw foods super young and has emerged and maintained his status as an A-list raw goods preparer and purveyor. Although Alex hobnobs with celebrities, he still takes time to let me know about his new products, and sends me free samples now and then. I’ve tried a bunch of his stuff over the years—Rawmio is sooo good—but I have to say that I think his new protein powders are the most delicious products of his I’ve ever tried!

I drink raw vegan smoothies almost every morning and I’m always on the lookout for newer and better protein powders and superfood add-ins. I’m not satisfied with enjoying the same smoothies every day, and I think variety is what keeps me coming back to the blender on the reg. Alex and his brother Mark’s Sprout Living's new line of Sproutein and Epic protein powders and sprout mixes are really, really high quality stuff. They come in a variety of really mild-tasting yet nutritionally dense flavor varieties, including Vanilla Lucuma, Chocolate Maca, Original, and Sproutein.

Anything Alex puts his energy into has to be organic, raw, vegan, bioavailable (read: has usable protein and nutrients), fiber, ethically sourced, low glycemic, sprouted, etc. but these really go above and beyond. The Sproutein contains high quality sprouts that are easier to digest than full-grown greens and high in minerals and chlorophyl. Ingredients include such dreamy ingredients as: Freshly Freeze Dried Sprout Powders (sunflower, amaranth, millet, kale, quinoa, mung bean, alfalfa, chia, and golden pea), Hempseed Protein Powder, Goji Berry Powder, Maca Root Powder, Yacon Root Powder).

All of the powders contain healthful ingredients, but If you’re particularly interested in bombing yourself with hearty protein, the Sproutein blends have nine grams of protein per serving, and the Epic Protein blends (my favorite is the Vanilla Lucuma, with Chocolate Maca in close second!) contain 19 grams (!!) per serving.

My verdict is that these powers are very low glycemic and blend so nicely with my typical berry-banana smoothie combos that they’re a no-brainer addition to my breakfast—and maybe yours? I also tried and loved the Sprout Living Broccoli and Kale Sprouts Powder Mix in the smoothie too, because superfood smoothies can have all kinds of rad ingredients!

I’ve included a recipe for an absolutely delicious smoothie I made this morning, topped with millet puffs and some Rawmio Raw Chocolate Truffle Cake shavings. I added in Vanilla Lucuma Epic Protein and Broccoli and Kale mix. Amazing!!! And my colon is so happy. Enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Epic Protein-Sprout Mix Smoothie
Ingredients
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 1/2 frozen bananas
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 heaping scoops Vanilla Lucuma Epic Protein
3/4 tsp. Broccoli and Kale sprout mix
5 small ice cubes
6-8 drops stevia (to taste)

Instructions
Blend and enjoy with your favorite ingredient toppings.

Get Sproutein, Epic Protein, Sprout Mixes and all other Alex Malinsky-approved products online and in select health food stores nationwide.

01/03/2013

The vegans get a new cooking show! On cable!

Meet Jason Wrobel, impending host of How to Live to 100, which premieres Sunday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. EST on the Cooking Channel, whatever that is. TOO MANY CHANNELS, TV. I can’t handle it.

Good things about Jason Wrobel:

  • He made his way onto TV making (often-raw) vegan food and will appear in living rooms everywhere, thus forwarding the world conversion on veganism
  • He’s perky
  • He’s posted some recipes online already (Cilantro Lime Pesto Pasta anyone?)
  • He has a series of YouTube videos (see above) so you can watch him cook even if you don’t have cable, like some of us

Ungood things about Jason Wrobel:

  • He’s kind of annoying

Who’s gonna watch the show? If it’s successful, maybe other TV execs will jump on the gravy train and we can all buy stock in chia seeds and retire rich and then watch vegan cooking shows all day! Let’s do this!

Product review: Rawmio raw chocolate truffle cake!  »

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When I first got into raw foods in college, I was shocked by the amount of raw desserts that are mostly made of nuts and oil. I’ve got nothing against nuts and oil, especially when they’re high quality—it’s just a very different food experience than, say, fluffy vegan cake or a flaky crusted pie. I think a lot of folks experimenting with raw foodism get excited about raw desserts but end up not loving them due to their overwhelming density.

When Alex Malinsky, mastermind of Rawmio, told me he was coming out with a raw chocolate truffle cake, I was skeptical. Would it be way too dense? Would it go bad after only a few days? Would it have that funky aftertaste so many raw desserts have due to bad flavor combining? Most importantly, how could a raw cake be safely transported through the mail?

Turns out all my worries were completely unfounded—Rawmio Chocolate Truffle Cake is downright epic. It succeeds where so many other raw desserts, especially cakes, fail, because it doesn’t try to defy its nature. It doesn’t pretend to be a cooked vegan cake—it goes straight for the truffle-lover jugular. It is rich and fudgy, and uses only certified organic, vegan, raw, and gluten-free ingredients including stone-ground cacao, coconut flakes, cashews, and low-glycemic coconut crystals. It is rich in antioxidants and nutrients while being completely unprocessed, and—best of all—it lasts six months, even unrefrigerated! Talk about convenient!

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You can buy a Rawmio cake and serve it on many occasions, or just eat it by yourself! I plan to share, but I could see a raw food lover or couple savoring this for a looong time. That makes it a superb deal, and would satisfy any raw chocolate cravings, for sure.

How does it taste? The crust (coconut flakes, almonds, currants, cacao) is like a Crunch Bar, super crispy and sweet. The topping, or “filling” (coconut flakes, coconut sugar, cashews, cacao, sea salt) is essentially a raw chocolate bar, and I have started using some of the shavings atop smoothies. I really love this cake, and I think those who love raw chocolate or want to give raw desserts another shot should definitely consider giving this a go! Order online at Raw Guru.

12/20/2012

Product review: Raw chocolate-covered mulberries kick Raisinets’s ass!  »

imageI’m always on the lookout for weird and crazy raw food, so when the Raw Chocolate Co. posted a glorious picture of chocolate covered Brussels sprouts on their Facebook, I was like OH DANG, this is my perfect food!

Sadly, it was a hoax, used to promote what they actually offer: raw cacao-coated mulberries.

After corresponding with an employee about why Brussels sprouts really should be doused in chocolate, she sent me their raw chocolate mulberries and they are seriously no joke. While they’re not candy derived from a brassica, which was my momentary life’s wish come true (and maybe still is a little bit), they are completely delicious and unique.

imageHere’s why: Think of your first experience with chocolate-covered dried fruit. If you didn’t grow up in Berkeley under the roof of hippie parents who raised you on public demonstrations and farmers’ market samples, your first experience with this dual-natured candy was likely in the form of Raisinets scarfed alongside your friends in the back of a movie theater. Raisinets are shitty and unethical and not at all vegan, but most of us learned to expect that chocolate-coated dried fruit would be chock-full of fillers and sickly sweet; the hard chocolate shell had tons of sugar, the raisins were sweet by themselves.

Now that you’re a grown-up and frequently dip into the bulk bins of organic chocolate-covered raisins at the Valencia Whole Foods or Rainbow, you’ve come to expect less child slavery and animal cruelty in the same hard shell/dried fruit format—it’s just how these things go.

imageMaybe it’s because Raw Chocolate and Co. is a British company, or maybe they’re true revolutionaries on all fronts—whatever the reason, their chocolate-covered mulberries defy any chocolate-covered fruit industry standards of which I’m aware. The mulberries are sprinkled with the cacao coating in a way that manages to preserve the integrity of the shape and texture of the mulberries, rather than masking their identity with uniform hard chocolate shells. The mulberries’ cacao coating is just the right amount of sweet (using really delicious unrefined sweetener coco palm sugar!) and isn’t a hard shell that takes a second to dissolve into its components but rather a melt-in-your mouth delicate glaze that gently gives way to the superior quality dried mulberries within.

The package also includes all kinds of helpful math about what’s in them: 44 percent mulberries, 56 percent chocolate. 74 percent cacao overall, raw cacao solids, cacao mass, coco palm sugar, cacao butter, cacao powder, and all fair trade—yay!

I highly recommend trying these raw vegan chocolate-covered mulberries. They come in the most adorable tin ever and would make perfect gifts for that special raw foodie or candy gourmand in your life. And stay tuned for my in-development recipe for raw chocolate covered-Brussels sprouts!

12/05/2012

Hail Merry macaroons are hella cheap right now on Vegan Cuts, assuming you want a whole lot of them. A long time ago I told you how obsessed I am with these delicious confections, and like with all good celebrity relationships, time has not weakened my passion.
Here’s what you can do with the 10 bags you get for $30 (free shipping!) with this deal: Stocking stuffers for all seven dwarves, Snow White, the witch, AND the huntsman. Party favors for your softball team. Hella-easy potluck contribution. Eat them all yourself.
[Note:/ Though it might seem like we’re shilling for Vegan Cuts these days, we’re not, they’re just kicking ass with the goodies. We always let you know when we get free stuff.]

Hail Merry macaroons are hella cheap right now on Vegan Cuts, assuming you want a whole lot of them. A long time ago I told you how obsessed I am with these delicious confections, and like with all good celebrity relationships, time has not weakened my passion.

Here’s what you can do with the 10 bags you get for $30 (free shipping!) with this deal: Stocking stuffers for all seven dwarves, Snow White, the witch, AND the huntsman. Party favors for your softball team. Hella-easy potluck contribution. Eat them all yourself.

[Note:/ Though it might seem like we’re shilling for Vegan Cuts these days, we’re not, they’re just kicking ass with the goodies. We always let you know when we get free stuff.]

10/25/2012

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!

This is Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog, Queer Vegan Food.

[images via Bites of Bliss]

10/22/2012

Live Superfoods Are Luxury In Your Blender  »

I love raw vegan smoothies so much! I tend to drink them at least once a day, for breakfast and/or after my weight lifting class (I’m trying to get super jacked on plants! Wish me luck!) Since I tend to drink the same few smoothie ingredient combinations on the reg, it’s important for me to stop—hold up—and try new flavors and ingredients.

Live Superfoods sent me samples of their organic raw maca powder, organic raw cacao powder, and organic raw coconut palm sugar to try. Though I’m used to adding maca and cacao powder in raw vegan drinks and desserts, Live Superfoods’ versions of these were truly spectacular. I feel like I’ve been adding boxed wine to my smoothies all my life and suddenly someone reached out of the sky and handed me a bottle of Chteau Haut Brion Pessac-Lognan 1982. I’m not sure that high class wine would taste great with chia seeds, but you get the point—these are very classy ingredients!

I’d never used low-glycemic coconut palm sugar before in a smoothie, and I am happy to report that it’s a wonderful add-in! Coconut palm sugar has a different maple-y flavor than stevia, my usual go-to sweetener, and nicely complements berries and other frozen fruits. The Live Superfoods cacao powder was bold and slightly fruity, and the maca was rich and malty. I have to say, this mint-infused smoothie combination is my new favorite, and is destined to be my new go-to in the morning!

Coconut Chocolate Maca Mint Smoothie (serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

1 tsp Live Superfoods Organic raw coconut palm sugar
2 tsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 cup strawberries
1/2 tbs chia seeds
1/2 banana
1-2 tsp fresh mint leaves

Optional garnish:
Strawberries and/or vegan granola

Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog, Queer Vegan Food.

10/01/2012

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.

09/07/2012

Get crazy with smoothies for Nativas Natural’s “Smoothment!” Plus: smoothie recipes!   »

On Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), Nativas Naturals is launching the Back-to-Basics Smoothment—a smoothie movement! From what I gather on social media, a bunch of you hippies are into this kind of “healthy milkshake” thing. You’re in luck—Nativas has got your back. Just head on over to the website, and sign on up! It’s all free of charge, and you’ll gain access to instructional videos, receive free recipes and even get discounts on featured raw, organic products. Just the incentive you needed to plug in that blender, isn’t it?

When it comes to smoothies, I like to think of my friend Caroline as the professional between the two of us. I prefer my blended drinks at a tiki bar, but Caroline actually drinks smoothies for breakfast. I thought that’s what coffee was for? Silly me, I have so much to learn! For all of our sakes (mine especially), I recruited Caroline as Vegansaurus’ own Miss Smoothment! Armed with products and a blessing sent to us from Navitas, Caroline agreed to share a couple of her own recipes with us, to kick off the occasion. Take it away, girlfriend!

Anyone who follows me on Instagram is well aware that I’ve been obsessed with smoothies lately (I mean, why eat your food, when you can drink it?), so I wasn’t totally surprised when Jenny asked me to help review some of the Navitas superfood products.


You may have seen the colorful Navitas packaging in your local health food stores—I’ve definitely used some of them before (namely the chia seeds and cacao powder—great for raw desserts). Needless to say, I was STOKED when I had a whole box of their goodies to play with.

I usually start my day with a protein smoothie of some sort (using a vegan protein mix and my kitchen staple, the immersion blender), so I did what any excessive American girl would do — I mixed all the powders together for the mother of all breakfast smoothies. I wanted to see how this stood up to my “rigorous” morning workout (hello, I’ve got to be at my best when working out beside the retirees in the San Francisco Presidio Y). I also wanted to see how it compared to the more “performance”-oriented mixtures that I’ve been using. The verdict? I felt totally energized (as much as I can at 8 a.m.), and wasn’t hungry afterward. Not to mention, it was super delicious! (Bonus that all their products are organic—I’m not a fan of drinking chemicals and pesticides in my smoothies—raw, and gluten-free.)

Here’s what my typical morning smoothie looks like:
Serves 1 (6-foot girl)
2 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein powder

1 Tbsp sprouted Flax Seed powder
1 Tbsp Freeze-Dried Acai powder
1 tsp raw Maca powder
1 Tbsp raw Cacao powder
12 oz almond milk (or a mixture of half-almond, half-rice)
1 banana
Handful of blueberries
Handful of ice


Lately I’ve been having a smoothie for lunch—again, why go through the hassle of chewing your food? Below is the recipe for one of my favorite combinations. I added a few of the Navitas superfoods to the mix, and felt extra pumped. (My boss has a Vitamix, which I try to put to use as much as possible.)

Lunchtime smoothie, serves 2:
3 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein Powder
2 tsp raw Maca Powder
12 oz almond milk
Handful of baby spinach (kale is good, too)
1/2 of an avocado
Handful of raspberries
Handful of strawberries
3 Tbsp organic peanut butter
Handful of ice


I shared this with a friend of my boss and she said it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Not bad for a testimonial, eh? I totally agree—why else would I drink this almost every day?

Since I’m already armed with so many of Nativas amazing products, I have no choice but to participate in their Smoothment. I also can’t stand not joining things (only child syndrome). Perhaps you’ll give it a whirl, too (Get it? Bad smoothie puns!).”

As usual, please share your personal recipes with us!  Don’t forget to follow my girl Caroline on Twitter and Instagram (@wakeupcaroline)—I can’t wait to see all the smoothie talk that will ensue, while wondering if rum is also a suitable ingredient in your icy beverages.

08/29/2012

It’s not too early to start planning what you’re making for your Labor Day party this Monday, right? RIGHT. I vote this raw nectarine and cardamon cream tart from Oh, Ladycakes!
Raw dessert is basically negative calories, being made of fruit and nuts. Make sure you tell everyone that as they dive in. I know I do. Raw dessert for every meal!

It’s not too early to start planning what you’re making for your Labor Day party this Monday, right? RIGHT. I vote this raw nectarine and cardamon cream tart from Oh, Ladycakes!

Raw dessert is basically negative calories, being made of fruit and nuts. Make sure you tell everyone that as they dive in. I know I do. Raw dessert for every meal!

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