The Buzz About Honey!

It might come as a surprise to many that along with not consuming animal meat and animal products, honey is also not a contributor to a vegan’s diet. Why not? Mostly because these tiny, intelligent, pretty little insects want to keep their food! Beyond being against cruelty to animals, veganism is also built on the belief of not exploiting animals for human benefit, or taking what is not ours to take. In common commercial cases of bee farms, Queen Bees are artificially inseminated, and honey the bees use as food is taken from them and replaced with High Fructose Corn Syrup. I think it’s safe to say that stuff can’t be good for anyone! Many times, the bees are even smoked away to make the honey from the hive easier to access.

More than just ethical problems with honey, there are environmental problems with honey as well. The environment needs bees to keep thriving, and the continuation of honey farms are forcing bees to die at an alarming rate. Without bees, we couldn’t have apples, mangos, kiwi, cotton, plums, peaches, onions, avocados, cocoa, cashews, strawberries and more! I don’t know about you, but a world without avocados and V-Grits cashew cheeses sounds like a modern-day nightmare!

Almost as alarming as ethical and environmental issues with honey, there’s also the fact that honey is actually bee puke! Yikes! Here are some much more tempting alternatives that are guaranteed to keep your sweet tooth satisfied!

  • Bee-Free Honee: Yep, you heard right! Everything can be made vegan! Apples make this sweet sticky treat so easy to replace honey for our buzzing bee friends to thrive, and it can be found at Whole Foods!

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  • Maple Syrup: Natural maple syrup tastes good poured on nearly anything (and by that, we really mean anything)! It’s rich and yummy and comes from trees!

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  • Coconut Nectar: Coconut Nectar is a super healthy alternative sweetener to honey or even refined sugar! It will add a little sweetness without feeling like you’re indulging!

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  • Agave Nectar: Agave Nectar is one of the most popular vegan sweeteners, and comes from the same plant Tequila is made out of! 😉

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We hope you give these modern, bee-friendly sweeteners a try! Let us know what your favorite alternative sweetener is!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

V-Grits’ September Spotlight

Upon getting into the vegan community here in Louisville, I was quick to notice an adventurous nine year old girl named Zelda. I didn’t know too much about her, just that she was the daughter of Buddy Wheeler (owner of Tattoo Charlie’s local vegan-friendly tattoo shop) and that she was vegan! A vegan kid, in real life? Sounded too rad to be true! Buddy and Zelda have been long-time fans of V-Grits, and even made the sign for the orange truck (Zelda held the dog back from chewing it up!).

Zelda has been vegan since she was four years old! After Zelda’s mom and dad went vegan as a result of health concerns, she quickly began her transitioning as well. She only ate animal products such as dairy and eggs occasionally outside of the house, until the family all started noticing patterns of her sickness and discomfort after birthday parties. Even the toughest people still can’t stomach all the alarming mysteries within animal products! After the second birthday party, Zelda decided enough was enough and made the switch! She grew into learning about the ethical side of veganism over time, and now there is no way she’s turning back!

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Q: What’s your favorite part of being vegan?

A: All the yummy food! And saving all the cute animals, like the ones at Upland’s PEAK! Lucy (one of PEAK’s resident pigs) is my favorite.

Q: Do you talk to a lot of your friends about being vegan?

A: Sometimes! And my friends love coming over and eating all our food! When they come over, they’re vegan for a weekend. Sometimes at lunch I will hear people talking, like “Did you know this is made from this?” And I’ll have to turn around and correct them and say “Actually, it’s made from this.” Two of my friends are mostly vegetarian.

Q: Are there ever moments where being vegan can get a little harder?
A: Most of the kids are really nice about it. It’s usually adults at birthday parties that try to get me to try something I can’t have. But every birthday party I go, I know my dad will get a vegan treat for me so I don’t mind!

Q: What’s your favorite V-Grits food?

A: The V-Burger or the Mac and Cheese! I loooooove the Mac and Cheese!

Q: What’s your favorite animal?

A: Grandma! (That was definitely a new one 😉 gerbils are her second favorite!)

Q: What do you like to do outside of school?

A: I really like building things! I build all sorts of things. I made a piano out of wrenches once! And I really like cooking. I make these spring rolls with noodles and lettuce and carrots and mint and vegan bacon bits! Mmmmm.

Q: If you had any advice for anyone interested in  going vegan, what would it be?

A: Just eat lots of fruits and veggies! With everything! And you gotta learn about your food. Because or else you might be eating pig butt!!!

I couldn’t have said it better myself! This girl is doing amazing things! If you wanna keep up with all of Zelda’s various escapades, follow the Facebook page “The Adventures of Zelda” for more updates!

zelda

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Is McDonald’s Going Plantbased?

 

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Beyond just statistics and numbers, you can even see the difference vegans are making when chains like McDonald’s begin to make the switch over! Yes, even one of the largest burger joints in America is learning that animal products are no longer as in demand as they once were. Between the increase in ethical vegans and non-dairy fads, McDonalds has shut down 700 stores worldwide just last year! Despite that meat-free options are still sneakily loaded with fat and sugar, the notorious food chain launched an initiative to “modernize” by adding more plant-based options on the menu, including a kale salad. A new McDonalds in Paris completely ditched the burgers and fries concept, and instead switched to a menu of bagel sandwiches and soups! How cool is that?

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

 

Vegan Hygiene Must-Haves

After going vegan, you might realize there will be more to update than just your pantry! A surprising amount of common household items either are tested on animals, or actually contain animal products such as animal fat or bone char. Here are some vegan-approved hygiene products that will keep you clean and cruelty-free!

  • Shampoo: I have been a user of Rehab from Lush ever since becoming vegan! Hair health is the biggest focus of this shampoo, and it definitely shows! This shampoo is primarily made of fruit juices such as pineapple and papaya, and herbal oils like peppermint. It smells great, and leaves your hair shiny and healthy!
  • Conditioner: Happy Happy Joy Joy is another great Lush product to keep on hand! It has a base of almond milk, to make your locks feel super soft!
  • Deodorant: After trying nearly every vegan deodorant known to woman and mankind, The Greeench from Lush takes the cake on being the best deodorant I’ve used yet! You might have to apply it a little more often than normal, but your pits will be stink and sweat free! It uses super fine powders as drying agents, and thyme, rosemary and tea tree to cover up any unpleasant scents on your hardest working and most nerve-wrecking days!

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  • Soap: The Loofah Lady and Summer Shade Soaps are both locally made soaps we love! The Loofah lady makes soaps and loofahs in one! And Summer Shade has a variety of colors and scents that will leave your skin smelling great! Both these soaps are made with essential oils, and natural hygiene care is always the way to go!

soap

  • Toothpaste: When looking for a toothpaste that leaves your teeth white and your gums healthy, Himalaya Botanique’s Whitening Care Toothpaste is the way to go! It is also made from several oils and extracts, varying from coconut oil to peppermint and pomegranate. If you want to be extra sustainable, just recently I picked up a RADIUS toothbrush and am in love! There are even interchangable heads to reduce waste, and the bristles are made from vegetable-based nylon! How cool is that?

With an overwhelming variety of vegan hygiene products, we know picking and choosing can be tough! These products have seemed to top all the rest, and we hope you love them too!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

The 411 on Vegan Meat

What’s the deal with vegan meat? Does it taste like meat? Does eating imitation meat make anyone less of a vegan?

When I first stopped eating animal proteins, I too was slightly skeptical of this mysterious imitation meat – until I realized it really wasn’t as mysterious as I thought! Beans, mushrooms and gluten sound a lot less alarming compared to the questionable practices and products of factory farms. A popular term in a vegan’s dictionary might also include “Tofu,” a non-imitation meat made from soybeans, that is commonly used in place of meat. An even fancier vegan vocab word is “Seitan,” a steak-like vegan protein commonly made from gluten! These days, there’s a vegan version of everything – vegan beef, porkless pork, even vegan ribs! The vegan culinary world has advanced so much, that even some omnivores haven’t been able to decipher the difference between plant-based meats and animal meats.

seitan

     Nearly every vegan grew up eating meat and animal products to the point where it has almost become addictive! So of course, if you could have all those flavors we’ve learned to love without harming animals, we’d obviously take the latter! Meat itself is known for its taste by the way it’s cooked and seasoned, so plant-based meats are less focused on the goal of recreating the true raw form of meat, and more focused on recreating the same textures and flavors of different dishes we grew up eating! Curious to try some of these vegan creations? Stop by the Rainbow Blossom Farmer’s Market this Sunday for our pop-up vegan meat and cheese shop! There may or may not be samples! 😉 We’ll see you there!

sausages

                                Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

New V-Box Bonus feature!

V-Fans,

From the last blog post, we’ve probably all come to the conclusion that being vegan makes a humungous impact for the animals, the environment and our health! But how much of an impact does just one V-Box make? Well, we’ve done the math! Starting next week, V-Grits will have a new feature for V-Box (recipe meal kits with portioned ingredients and spices) and V-Card (recipe meal kits with portioned spices) subscribers! Our new calculations based on the Vegan Calculator (with sourced statistics) will tell you how many animal lives and resources you have saved, and how much pollution you have kept from going out into the planet – all based on the number of V-Boxes/V-Cards you have received! Now every time you get a new shipment, you can be extra-proud of yourself for knowing the positive impact you have made for the planet and our beautiful, intelligent and kind animal friends!

Different ways animal agriculture negatively impacts the environment include the water it takes to feed the animals that are mass-produced, the harmful affects of constant animal transportation from place to place (even after they are slaughtered) to be made into edible products, and the amount of grain feed resulting in habitat loss, species extinction and deforestation. Significantly less water and resources are required to grow crops in comparison the amount of food it takes to feed animals. Not to mention, in places of food scarcity crops are grown to feed the animals, while that same amount of food could have fully fed an impoverished area. But lucky you, V-Boxes are entirely plant-based! So save the planet one box at a time, and get subscribing at VGrits.com!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi