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.
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!
Guest Post: Fabe’s Vegan Cookies: Face-Sized Deliciousness! »
I’ve been vegan for the better part of a decade now, and one of the best things about being vegan in the days before plant-based cheeses took over the world (remember? Those were sad, sad times) was monster-sized Alternative Baking Company cookies. Available almost exclusively at health food stores, these cookies reinforced that going vegan didn’t have to mean forgoing baked goods the size of your face.
These days, in the American-sized vegan cookie arena, there are tons of amazing contenders. ABC, who first stole our large, ethical cookie-loving hearts, recently released a line of gluten-free cookies that taste pretty good, but now lots of other big vegan (and xgfx) cookie options include (but are not limited to!): Liz Lovely, The Inspired Cookie, Nana’s, Fabe’s, Sun Flower Baking Company, and, of course, Sarah Brown cookies made by Eat Me!
Fabe’s recently sent me some samples of their various vegan cookie varieties. The chocolate chip (containing gluten) and the macaroon (gluten-free) were pretty solid, but the gluten-free dark chocolate was so delicious! Sweetened with only non-GMO beet juice syrup and palm sweetener, these tasted fudgy yet were still cake-like, far superior to textures I’ve experienced in other gluten-free vegan “cookies,” which were more like chocolate-coated oily Passover buiscuits. Fabe’s aren’t quite as large as some of the other large vegan cookies on the market, but they’ve achieved one of the finest gluten-free vegan textures and mouthfeels I’ve experienced so far in my plant-based-cookie-tasting journey! Definitely worth a try if naturally sweetened gluten-free cookies are your thing.
Guest Post: Rosie O’Donnell Announces She’s Vegan On Twitter! »
For those of you living in the middle of nowhere Arizona eating raw vegan food, meditating and not checking Twitter on your phone every ten minutes, I feel you: I lived that way for a couple years! I assume your main source of information is Vegansaurus, so we’ll just break it down for you: the awe-inspiring Rosie O’Donnell recently suffered a heart attack and has since gone vegan!
Yesterday Rosie O’Donnell tweeted: ”nine days later - nine pounds lost - eating a plant based diet #likebillclintonhttp://pic.twitter.com/8ItILfpl.
Some debate ensued as to whether she really was outing herself as vegan. I tweeted the news that she was vegan and a few people chirped that she’s not. I apologized for the misinformation, and, lo and behold, @Rosie tweeted me:
The vegan-lesbian tribe is getting so full these days! Yay! Since coming out as vegan, Rosie has received a barrage of vegan-positive tweets, Facebook posts, and messages across the far reaches of the Internets. Let’s keep spreading the veggie love and supporting her heart-healthy journey to an ethical, plant-based diet!
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.
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.
Rawxies: Heart-shaped raw vegan deliciousness! »
Rawxies (“foxy raw treats,” according to the company’s website) are gloriously delicious heart-shaped raw food bars sweetened only with fruit and coconut palm sugar. Coconut palm sugar has recently gained favor in various raw food circles, and reportedly has less of an effect on blood sugar than agave or cane sugar. Either way, it’s totally delicious, and so are these lovely raw cookie bars! Rawxies sent me some samples of each of their flavors.
Rawxies founder Callie England parlayed her raw food interest with her graphic design prowess to make healthful treats that are so effing adorable they will be guaranteed to impress your date/friend/gym partner with whom you share one of the two heart bars found in each colorful serving pack.
Combined with high-quality organic raw ingredients like poppyseed, almonds cacao powder, cacao nibs, vanilla rains, walnuts, and other delicious add-ins, and sweetened with dates and/or coconut palm sugar with tasty oat groats, these bars really are a cut above many other vegan snacks on the market.
Using coconut palm sugar essentially guarantees you’ll have the low-glycemic-loving raw crowd on your side, and abbreviating “essential oil” to “E.O.” on the package of the mint chocolate chip Rawxies made me feel I’m in a special raw vegan club that has shorthand only cool kids know—except now everyone who reads Vegansaurus knows (in case you didn’t already suss that one out!), so I guess all of us are in a special club, and can eat Rawxies with the knowledge of all of its ingredients, together!
Callie created Rawxies to bring foxy raw food to the masses. Their shape reminds me of the vegan Heart Thrive energy bars that undoubtedly got me through my varsity collegiate cross-country seasons (they were sold through Vassar’s meal plan!). I think that these treats are in keeping with Stephen James Organics’ bars in that they emphasize the fun, flirty appeal of raw food, though I guess a lot of folks feel the need to fight the “raw foodists eat twigs” stereotype! I’ve never worried about being accused of consuming twigs, since I admit to my propensity to down twig tea with abandon, but regardless of whether it’s essential to create raw food products that combat any crunchy public image, I think it’s great that so many people are making raw food more accessible and delicious!
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.
My partner in vegan crime, Courtney Pool, and I tried vegan boba (bubble tea) for the first time at Vegan Tree restaurant. Wow, what amazing tapioca pearls of joy! How did we live so close to boba places in L.A. and not imbibe regularly?
We’ve decided we’re going to love boba forever and always from now on.
Great job, Sarah and Courtney! Congratulations!
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 Product Review: KeVita! »
Did you know that we have a second “brain” in our guts? Apparently that whole gut feeling thing isn’t just a bunch of poppycock. Science tells us we actually have a delicate balance of bacteria in our guts that balance out our digestion, appetite, and even may affect our moods and feelings.
There’s long been a group of folks advocating for eating yogurt, a commonly known source of probiotics. But yogurt contains dairy, a.k.a. cultured oppressed cow secretion, and that’s no good! Luckily, the vegan probiotics market is totally blossoming. Raw cultured veggies, sauerkraut, plant-sourced yogurts and drinks can be found at many health food stores nationwide. One of my favorite products that’s been on the market for a little while now is KeVita, all-vegan fiz-tastic coconut water drinks splashed with a variety of other fruity flavors. Most kefir cultures contain dairy, a.k.a. cow oppression juice, but KeVita probiotic drinks are made with water-based kefir cultures, which the company assures are completely vegan (yay!). KeVita comp’d me a few bottles, and my favorites are the coconut (original) and the strawberry açai coconut. The original coconut has like 3 calories, and while I don’t think you should worry about that stuff, I guess that means there’s more room for raw vegan jicama fries and beet juice smoothies? The other flavors are nutrient-dense but not too filling either, and the strawberry açai pomegranate tastes exactly as it sounds: amazing! It’s like kissing a berry fairy with sparkly coconut wings. Really.
The pink-colored strawberry açai coconut KeVita would be a great option to serve at your next vegan wine and cheese party, for sober guests or those who wish to pre-game their Veuve Clicquot with some high-quality probes. Get KeVita at health food stores throughout the Bay Area and nationwide!