5 Carb Replacements Better Than Bread

Let’s talk about the C word… carbs. Carbs are becoming a fearful word in most mainstream diet regimens, but carbs are absolutely vital for our bodies to persist! “Carbs” is basically synonymous with “energy,” after all. They will either be broken down into glucose to be used as energy, or saved in fat for stored energy for later use. So rather than eliminating carbs, here are foods full of carbs that will give you energy, without the other cons of common refined carbs such as white bread.

  • Bananas: I am forever and always a banana enthusiast! 😉 Bananas are full of carbs that will sustain energy for your most strenuous work outs. They’re also loaded with Potassium and healthy fructose for an extra boost!

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  • Potatoes: Potatoes have are one of the most nutrient-rich carbs, despite their bad rep! Bake them tossed in coconut milk instead of oil to keep more of their nutritional value.

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  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa and couscous are all products from grained without being highly processed, so they still can retain the benefits of carbs and sustain a high-carb diet. Whole grain bread is even a better alternative than white bread, but be careful not to mix whole grain bread up with multigrain bread!

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  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are another complex carb with a little more flavor than an average potato, and they’re also full of the good kind of fat!

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  • Beans and Lentils: Vegans don’t just use beans and lentils as high sources of protein! They are also full of carbs, as well as vitamins, minerals and sometimes antioxidants.

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Brushing Environmentally & Health Conscious Teeth

Considering how often we brush our teeth, making a couple switches to lighten your carbon footprint can add up quick! Here are some alternatives to the status quo, non-vegan products that will leave your teeth white and the earth keepin’ on!

  • Earthpaste Toothpaste: Earthpaste has been my go-to Toothpaste after trying almost every vegan-friendly toothpaste known to health store aisles. This natural toothpaste skips out on the Glycerin, Fluoride, Artificial Coloring and Foaming Agents that your teeth are just fine without! This clay uses Real  Salt, Redmond Clay, and essential oils for a deep cleaning. It also comes in Cinnamon Flavor for a little extra fun! 😉
  • Coconut Oil : Oil pulling has become my latest favorite health fad! Oil pulling involves putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, swishing it around for about 20 minutes, and spitting out all the toxins building up in your body. I do this a couple times a week after I brush my teeth for an added boost to keep my gums healthy, and leave my teeth white and shiny!
  • RADIUS Toothbrushes: These toothbrushes can be found anywhere from Walgreens to Whole foods, and the interchangeable heads allow you to keep the 93% of your toothbrushes we’re so used to throwing out! The handles are made from Upcycled #5 (the more plastics are upcycled, the harder they get to keep upcycling) materials and the bristles are veggie based! Just how we like things!

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Who said cleaning your teeth can’t be more environmentally friendly? Give these products a try and let us know what you think!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Starbucks is Caving for Vegans

Finally, Starbucks is bumping up the vegan options so we can have more than black coffee! This coffee chain is starting to get the memo – vegans are everywhere, and we’re spreading! 😉 Just this past August, Starbucks decided to give into the 96, 000 requests (vegans ain’t subtle) for almond milk to be added to their string of vegan milk options, including soy milk and coconut milk. Almond milk isn’t just for vegans, though! Their house-made Almond milk also won over health fanatics, having only 3 grams of sugar in comparison to 2% cow milk’s 12 grams of sugar – and also just because… dairy. *Shudders*

Starbucks wasn’t finished helping out us plant eaters just yet, though. They recently just launched their very first grab-and-go vegan breakfast option! The new menu item uses a combination of steel cut oats, quinoa, chia seeds coconut milk, tropical fruit compote, almond slices and coconut shavings for the perfect healthy morning treat! The breakfast option has hit 600 locations around New York. Hopefully we’ll see them in Starbucks’ scattered across our veg-friendly city of Louisville soon! Until then, check out this handy list of vegan Starbucks finds!

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Daring to Ditch Meat & Dairy

 

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As any viewer of Cowspiracy could conclude, meat and dairy are taking its toll on the environment one factory farm at a time – and environmentalists are finally taking note! Oakland, California (because of course Californians would be the first to hop on this ethically, environmentally and health friendly lifestyle) joined up with environmental activist group Friends of the Earth to devise school lunches that would be better for the planet. While the school hasn’t gone fully vegan just yet, significant improvements have been made! Oakland schools might occasionally have meat and cheese from organic pastured dairy cows, but for the most part, it’s vegan tostadas and and tofu stir fry for days!

And as for the environmental impact, the proof is in the gelatin-free pudding! Carbon Dioxide emissions from school lunches alone decreased by 14%, which is the equivalent of taking 127 cars off the road for an entire year. Holy guacamole!!  And if anyone was wondering about the myth that veganism is more expensive, the lunch program costs fell by 1%. There might not have been physical proof that this way of eating was also healthier, but it’s a little hard to argue that beef hot dogs and pepperoni pizza stood up to rainbows of hearty, handmade, plant-based noms! Friends of the Earth stated that if every U.S school district followed Oakland’s lead, the drop in CO2 emissions would add up to be the same as taking 150, 000 cars off the roads!!! The environmental activist group is hoping the change in Oakland school lunches is just a stepping stone for more school districts to get the memo and join in on saving the earth, one meal at a time. We’re rooting for them!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Time 4 Thai

Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, and Time 4 Thai (yes, the 4 is in the name 🙂 ) does not disappoint! This new restaurant is located off Frankfort Ave, just a couple doors down from Vint. The restaurant is beautifully decorated inside, bubbling full of friendly and accommodating staff, and most importantly has a vegan-friendly menu full of food that soothes the soul! As goes for any Thai restaurant, make sure you tell your server ahead of time that you’re vegan, and/or give them an extra gentle reminder to abstain from using fish oil. All the curries can be made vegan, along with a couple soups specified vegetarian on the menu, as well as Vegetable Dumplings and Crispy Spring rolls to choose from as appetizers! I’ve been there twice (so far 😉 ) and the Red Curry, Vegetable Dumplings and Tom Kha Soup made for a happy cruelty-free belly that left me wanting more! This spot has become a regular go-to for the V-Grits team, so stop on by and get your Thai food on!

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Elevate Your Eating

Okay so, despite what you may have seen on the food truck, the healthier side of veganism you read all about in the China Study and saw in Forks Over Knives does exist! Within the past few weeks, V-Grits launched our new Elevate line to showcase the energizing, plant-based food from the earth that makes our insides sing! We introduced this line in The Weekly Juicery locations across Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati. As of right now, the Louisville location is inside the Heine Brothers just off Brownsboro Road, and The Weekly Juicery is soon to open a new spot in Nulu! Within a few months, you’ll also find our Elevate line in our very own cafe, where you’ll get the chance to Elevate or Indulge! Elevate is mostly raw, gluten free, oil free, peanut free, soy free, corn free and fully organic aside from spices and salt. But don’t stress, V-Fans, these new healthy meals are still packin’ our classic V-Grits punch of flavor!

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Our Raw Pad Thai is oodles of fork-licking zoodle goodness! We use zucchini noodles, carrot noodles, bell pepper, cabbage, almonds and cilantro with an additional ginger almond dressing for an extra creamy kick! Not to mention, this menu item also has 11.7 g of protein and 10.2 g of fiber!

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Zoodles come in all shapes and sizes, so we use thick sheets of zucchini noodles for our Raw Zucchini Lasagna! In between the zoodles are layers of creamy cashew ricotta and savory sundried tomato marinara. We top it with our tree nut parm for a salty finishing touch. Our Raw Lasagna has a whopping 18.7 g of plant-based protein, 11.5% of your calcium for the day, 96.5% of copper for the day, and 76.5% of B12!

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Greens are good for the soul! Especially a dish of our Raw Greens of Greatness. A big bowl of greens might sound a little intimidating, but we mellow kale, cabbage and broccoli with cool cucumbers, crunchy pepitas and a zesty avocado lime dressing! These Raw Greens of Greatness have 81% of your vitamin C intake at just 90 calories!

Our Spicy Chickpeas & Cool Cukes have it all: raw and cooked, spicy and cooling. Citrusy kale and red bell peppers are topped with curry spiced chickpeas and fair-trade mineral rich volcano rice, alongside creamy cool cucumbers and tomatoes with a tangy lemon tahini dressing. This dish is loaded with 741 g of potassium, 10.9 g of fiber, 43.5% of B12, and 13.6 g of protein!

Last but not least, our Quinoa Sunshine will have you feeling powered up and beaming with light! Fresh veggies and quinoa are paired with a flavorful orange sunbutter dressing. This rainbow of plant-based goodness has 8.8 g of protein and 136% of your vitamin C intake! Wowza!

Stop by your local location of The Weekly Juicery, check out our Elevate line, and let us know what you think!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Satisfy a Cruelty-Free Sweet-tooth!

Valentine’s Day tomorrow means sweets out the wahzoo! We’ve dug deep into the vegan sweets around town, enough to know what chocolatey, sugary finds are making their way in stores!

  • Flora: Flora’s treats have made their way across town! You can find cake donuts, toaster tarts, cookies and macaroons in Quills and/or Sunergos Coffee. They’re consistently delicious, and always have the right amount of sweetness without being cloying, which I love!

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  • Half Peach: Half Peach is filled with shelves of vegan baked goods! Selections range from cakes (oil-free and not), amazing chocolate chip cookies, turnovers, and more!
  • Annie May’s: Annie May’s is the spot every allergen-battler has been dreaming of. Everything in the shop is gluten-free, and several items are additionally vegan. Their case features pop-tarts, donuts, cookies, cupcakes and other sweet finds!
  • Highland Coffee: Highland Coffee might be an unexpected place to find as many vegan options as they have, but thank goodness they aren’t skimping on the cruelty-free treats! This lovely little shop will have cakes, cupcakes, scones, chocolate-covered espresso beans, chocolate cashew date bars and more on hand at all times! Sometimes, they even make yummy pies or have homemade vegan butter! Okay, so butter might not be a dessert, but it can get there 😉
  • Whole Foods: Whole Foods is always stocked on sugary vegan deliciousness! They have a range of eclectic vegan cupcakes, as well as cookies, oatmeal cream pies, buckeye bars and sweet muffins. Yum!

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  • Sweet Surrender: Sweet Surrender is located in the center of a street of delicious, vegan-friendly restaurants, making it the perfect stop after dinner to end the night on a sweet note! This bakery will usually have a couple vegan cakes on hand, and usually a vegan cupcake flavor as well!
  • Ramsi’s: Ramsi’s is known for their brunch and dinner plates, but it’s always nice when a sit-down restaurant has some vegan desserts on hand as well! Ramsi’s has a vegan trifle that will make you double-check with your waiter if it’s vegan, as well as cashew butter stuffed dates and sweet plantains with maple syrup. Get dinner and dessert all in one stop!
  • Mayan Cafe: Another dinner spot with a great vegan dessert option is Mayan Cafe! I haven’t had their chocolate cake, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it! If you’re looking for a classy, cruelty-free night out, this is the place!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Valentine’s Veganized

Valentine’s Day is just a week away, and we know just how to sweep your vegan loved ones off their feet! Here are some gift ideas for your plant eating companions!

  • Sponsor an animal from Upland’s Peak in their name

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  • You can never go wrong with candy!
  • Plants! Succulents or air plants for those whose greens thumb turned black somewhere along the way, herb or veggie plants for those who treat plants like their children!
  • A vegan ice cream sundae bar
  • Soy wax candles
  • Pay it forward with a vegan treat at your favorite coffee shop (a plethora of treats and bars from Highland Coffee, banana chocolate chip muffin at Heine Brothers, Flora treats at Quills)

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  • Bath bombs, or really anything vegan from LUSH
  • Vegan apparel – because there’s never an inappropriate time for vegan apparel 😉
  • Matt & Nat products for that classy touch
  • VeganCuts, a box full of new, modern vegan products for you both to sample
  • A day trip to a nearby city to check out the vegan noms
  • Vegan books – How Not to Die, The Sexual Politics of Meat, and the China Study to name a few
  • Vegan movies on the more light hearted side, like Charlotte’s Web or a new documentary you guys haven’t seen yet
  • Plant-Based Protein powder for the gym-nut in your life (Vega, Sunwarrior, Garden of Life)
  • Homemade dinner with V-Grits vegan cheeses

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

5 Ways an Activist Can Relieve Stress

As much as we all wish differently, not every day is as peachy as animal sanctuaries and yummy vegan food! Luckily, there are some healthy ways to put an activist’s mind at ease.

  • Donate: Donations are vital for any organization to exist, and every organization can attest to that! Donations as small as the price of dinner can add up in the long run, and you’ll know that your five bucks are being put to the best possible use. Beyond money, cleaning out your closet or getting rid of furniture you no longer use can declutter, as well as make a world of impact to the recipient. And even better than donating items, donate time! An organization rarely ever has enough volunteers.
  • Spread Awareness: No activist can hold in their inner-social justice warrior for too long! Speaking out on behalf of what you believe is right will not only unbottle some deeply rooted feels, but also plant seeds for more activism to grow within your community. At the very least, everything from attending marches to engaging with family members will spark  a second thought and deeper understanding of issues going on in the world around us.
  • Eat your carbs!: On overwhelming days for the social justice front, it can get a little tempting to eat that entire jar of cookie dough! It might come as a surprise that high-carb diets actually increase serotonin levels, and high-protein diets are linked to lower serotonin levels. Healthier carbs, as opposed to white bread, include potatoes and bananas. Along with carbs, greens, fruits and foods high in fiber such as beans and oats will give you a great energy boost to toughen out your sluggish days of endless unfortunate Facebook articles or the charge through the coldest marches!

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  • Find allies: No matter what cause fuels your fire, it’s always good to have some ranting buddies, and or/people who inspire you to keep the activism movin’! There will always be a group of refuge in range, whether you meet up with your allies or find a Facebook group that has become your safe haven! Allies can also be beneficial to constantly stay educated about your cause. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed without fellow social justice warrior buds who know all the ins and outs of everything you’re fighting against, too!
  • Don’t give up: I once heard there were two types of people, the kind who feel better by sparking change, and the kind who feel better by ignoring issues and pretending the world doesn’t need change. Odds are if you clicked on this blog post, you’re the first type. 😉 It’s important to remind ourselves that change does not happen overnight.  I’m sure thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people have seen circus protestors and were convinced the protestors could never make a difference. Then one day, bam! Circuses drop animal acts because they didn’t want to deal with us passionate nut-jobs anymore. Every time anyone speaks out on behalf of any oppressed group, change will happen, even if we might not physically see it. And in the mean time, do yoga and read books and go on walks and all that jazz.

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi