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06/13/2013

Product Review: Sacha Vida Gelatinized Maca fuels your vegan libido!  »

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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!

02/21/2013

Cookbook review: Julie Morris’ Superfood Kitchen may make a superfoodie out of you!  »

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I love superfoods. I admit the category is meaningless, but I don’t care. If it’s a food called super and it’s vegan, especially raw vegan, I’ll eat it, praise it, and buy it in bulk from websites run by guys with hair to their knees.

Popular superfoods include açaí, hemp, chia, maca, camu camu, yacon root, coconut oil, lucuma, hakuna matata,  , whatevs. YUM. But why do we call lucuma a superfood while kale, that perfect, easy-to-grow veggie, has tons of nutrients and doesn’t cost your 401k match contribution?

Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris demystifies some of the more esoteric superfoods, but also includes more readily available superfoods like kale and sweet potatoes, which, as we all know, are kickass nutritional sources. I love that Julie shows how superfoods of all kinds can be prepared deliciously!

imageHearty Kale Salad from Superfood Kitchen!

imageHearty Kale Salad plus a bit of sauerkraut and sesame seeds. Yum!

I decided to make the Hearty Kale Salad featuring kale, scallions, nori,  avocado, miso (I used chickpea miso), and apple cider vinegar. I enjoyed it for lunch with a dash of sauerkraut and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Totally loved this recipe!

Some of the recipes in Superfood Kitchen are downright genius: Açaí Berry Jam made with chia seeds, flour-free Sesame Flatbread, Maca Chocolate, and more. I could inhale this entire book, and the pictures are GORGEOUS. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book for superfood snobs and plain-old vegan food lovers alike!

04/02/2012

Vegan chocolate goji ice cream from Cream and Cone! It’s raw and made with avocados! Sometimes avocado in desserts scares me but avocado as an ice cream base just makes so much sense, right? It’s so creamy! I guess it’s just avocado flavored sweets that scare me. But avocado-based mousse and ice cream sounds right on. 
I heard goji berries are really good for you or something so I looked it up on wikipedia, because I’m basically a scientist. According to wiki, goji berries have all this great stuff:
11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals
18 amino acids
6 essential vitamins
8 polysaccharides and 6 monosaccharides
5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid
beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols
5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin (below), lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll
numerous phenolic pigments (phenols) associated with antioxidant properties
I don’t know half of those words but it sure seems impressive! Apparently they are also known as “wolfberries.” And sometimes they are used in wine! If they are in wine, do you still get all the nutritional benefits? Forget chewable vitamins, I want drinkable vitamins! Drunkable vitamins, even!

Vegan chocolate goji ice cream from Cream and Cone! It’s raw and made with avocados! Sometimes avocado in desserts scares me but avocado as an ice cream base just makes so much sense, right? It’s so creamy! I guess it’s just avocado flavored sweets that scare me. But avocado-based mousse and ice cream sounds right on. 

I heard goji berries are really good for you or something so I looked it up on wikipedia, because I’m basically a scientist. According to wiki, goji berries have all this great stuff:

  • 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals
  • 18 amino acids
  • 6 essential vitamins
  • 8 polysaccharides and 6 monosaccharides
  • 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid
  • beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols
  • 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin (below), lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll
  • numerous phenolic pigments (phenols) associated with antioxidant properties

I don’t know half of those words but it sure seems impressive! Apparently they are also known as “wolfberries.” And sometimes they are used in wine! If they are in wine, do you still get all the nutritional benefits? Forget chewable vitamins, I want drinkable vitamins! Drunkable vitamins, even!

03/29/2012

Product review: Navitas Naturals blueberry hemp bars!  »

Back in December, when I posted about making your own nog, I recommended you use Navitas Naturals brand for the lucuma! Well, Navitas saw it, and sent me a very generous box of samples as a thank you—Christmas came early for me! Included was a bag of their blueberry hemp bars, which hadn’t hit the market yet. That makes me feel very special, like a VIV (very important vegan)!

I haven’t been feeling all that great lately. Being everywhere at once and the life of the party is tiresome. To compensate, I’ve been eating much more raw food. It helps keep my energy up, it’s delicious, and it’s healthy! The downside of raw foods is that they can be expensive, especially the prepackaged stuff, and time-consuming to prep at home. So if you have to pick and choose, I definitely recommend these blueberry hemp bars. They are similar to Lara Bars, but a little drier. That’s not a bad thing! The dates in Lara Bars keep them very moist.

These would be great as a snack while traveling, for a healthy breakfast on the go, or a snack to keep you going until dinner. This bag has lasted me since December, because they are so good, I want to make them last! They are dense and filling, so I don’t crave very many at once. That’s what I like about raw foods—they are so flavorful, I eat less, because my tastebuds are satisfied quickly.

Now let’s talk nutrition! This power snacks contain hemp, blueberries, date paste, chia seeds, cashews, plus the superfood powders lucuma, maqui, camu and maca. They are gluten-free, soy-free and contain NO refined sugar. All of these ingredients are very good for you.

These tasty little snacks are now available in stores all over the U.S., including Whole Foods, Wegmans, and HEB, or you can buy them online at NativasNaturals and Amazon!


One morning my roommate Dan made us spinach, almond milk, and banana smoothies. I suggested we add a little Maqui powder for added nutrients, and it was delicious! I honestly believe raw food is the best food!

01/10/2012

Ch-ch-ch-chia!  »


Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I made a list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days. So much can happen to send a year off track, but I figure 1,001 days — about three years — is plenty of time to get my ass in gear. One of my goals is to drink a chia fresca before bed each night every day for a month — if you don’t know about chia, read on to find out why I think that’s a good idea.

Read More

09/14/2011

Guest interview: Krisanga Cowen of Vivapura!  »

I have a history of awesome vegan roommates (see: Vegan Myths Debunked creators Jonathan and Ivory). My new roommate here in Patagonia, Ariz. is the awesome Krisanga Cowen. Krisanga (far right) took a break from grinding sprouted raw nut butters and making coconuts delicious to tell Vegansaurus readers about how much he loves promoting a health-conscious, plant-based lifestyle through Vivapura, the vegan superfoods company he co-owns here in Patagonia. Here’s the skinny on this fit and loving veg guy and his approach to incorporating superfoods in a plant-source diet! Hope you enjoy!

Vegansaurus: How did you get into veganism?
Krisanga Cowen: My best friend since kindergarten Todd got me into the Smiths. At 16, we dyed our hair blonde to look like Morrissey and kind of idolized him. In 1985 Smiths came out with “Meat is Murder.” That song opened our eyes to what actually goes on in this country and factory farming and how animals are mutilated. We went vegan overnight. Later, I read John Robbins’ Diet For a New America, and I actually went to vegan restaurants, which I’d never done before. I studied with yogini Kali Ray for seven years on and off, taking classes [and] workshops, [being] among other teachers, and really admired her way of eating plant-source-only, mostly live, all-organic foods for health and yoga.

How did your previous business, Cocopura, which sold only coconut products, become Vivapura, which sells an extensive line of superfoods?
I had one product in four different sizes: coconut oil. My quest for developing more products was moving to Patagonia in 2007, renting a 6,000-square-foot warehouse. I met Chris Whitcoe, and he and I were both master’s students. I had connections for superfoods. I had just built a commercial kitchen for coconut products and I started selling gogi berries and Incan berries and nori sheets and Monukka raisins, basically out the back door. I mainly sold to guests and people working at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. That’s how Vivapura was born.

When did Vivapura officially take off?
We formed Vivapura in September 2008, and got into Whole Foods and other stores in 2010, in addition to our online and in-store sales. The idea behind Vivapura was to create raw vegan products that haven’t been seen or available on the marketplace—unique, hand-crafted products like coconut crème that’s stone-ground, our chaparrel coconut oil, our soaked and dehydrated nut butters…. Sourcing products that are heirloom varieties that are unique to different regions of the world. Styrian pumpkin seeds are only grown in Austria in that region, and heirloom variety of pumpkin seeds that are robust and GMO-free and high in zinc and protein and chlorophyll. Our products were designed to be eco-friendly, vegan, non-GMO, and delicious. We hope Vegansaurus readers will enjoy them!

Is most of the Vivapura team vegan or vegetarian?
We support local people and give them a voice inside our company…we open a space for people to transform. A lot of people become vegetarian or vegan after working with us; we accept the mainstreamers and teach them about gogi berries and how to eat vegan and feel great on superfoods. We expose people to ways not to need processed foods, in a healthy, supportive environment where your voice matters and is taken into account for decisions the company makes. That really impacts an individual. They shift, grow, expand and become more open and expressive. Naturally, that often leads to vegetarianism or veganism.

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.

02/20/2011

Don’t forget about Meatless Monday! A weekly reminder for your pals! Click through to get the card on flickr and email to your friends from there. I think this pig has become the mascot. I just like him. He’s pink and cute. Look at him winkin’!
For your Meatless Monday inspiration, here’s a list of Top 10 Underappreciated Superfoods from the Chicago Tribune! Surprise: none of them have anything to do with meat or dairy! Shocker!

Don’t forget about Meatless Monday! A weekly reminder for your pals! Click through to get the card on flickr and email to your friends from there. I think this pig has become the mascot. I just like him. He’s pink and cute. Look at him winkin’!

For your Meatless Monday inspiration, here’s a list of Top 10 Underappreciated Superfoods from the Chicago Tribune! Surprise: none of them have anything to do with meat or dairy! Shocker!

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