Holistic Ways to Deal With Sickness

It’s hot then it’s cold, it’s yes then it’s no – Louisville weather is sending us all kinds of mixed signals! And it seems like Lousiville’s immune systems are starting to get the memo, mine included! Last week was nothing but a fever and a seemingly endless stream of tissues, but luckily holistic alternatives were there to save the day! Disclaimer though, I’m no doctor! These methods worked for my body and my own sickness, and no two bodies or sicknesses are 100% alike!

  • Eat a¬†rawsome diet!: I switched out two of my cooked meals loaded with overprocessed foods for two raw meals and was instantly reminded how great it feels to eat predominantly raw foods! Blood-flow increasing beets, nutrient-dense kale, and hydrating cucumber are bound to make you feel at least a little better in no time. If you want raw foods that still aren’t slacking on the flavor, hit up your local The Weekly Juicery location and try out our raw Elevate line!
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  • Spice it up!: Cayenne, Black Pepper, Ginger and Turmeric can be your new best friends when you’re immune system is slowing its roll. Cayenne is great for detoxifying and getting rid of headaches, Black Pepper relieves nasal congestion and will help release harmful sickness contributors from your body, Ginger has a history of use in alternatives medicines and eliminating nausea and Turmeric even contains compounds with medicinal properties! All of these spices are additionally great for your metabolism, digestive system, irritation and pain relief… Spices are the best kind of painkillers! ūüėČ Blend them into a tropical-inspired smoothie for a more mellow¬†flavor profile.

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  • Get out the Tea Tree Oil!: Tea Tree Oil is my go to for more occasions than one. It kills strains of harmful bacteria, treats infections, and it’s antiseptic. Mix a a few drops into coconut oil and apply on your throat, the back of your neck and on your face. If the cleansing properties weren’t enough, it’s also a natural insect repellent and facial toner!

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  • Don’t put down that water bottle!: Water is a key daily contributor to anyone’s health, but especially when recovering from sickness! Water is vital to cleanse your body and flush out anything that no longer serves you! Hot lemon ginger water is an extra immunity booster to start your morning off on the right foot.

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Again, I’m no doctor, but these simple, natural takes on medicine had me feeling good as new in a matter of days! So next time you’re feeling the season-changing blues, give these holistic approaches a try!

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

Herbalicious!

Herbs make the perfect addition to any dish, or even beverage! There are so many that it can get a little overwhelming to find out which herb matches up with your latest recipe idea, but we’re here to help! Here are some of my¬†favorite herbs and foods¬†they seem to pair nicely with!

Sage: Sage just might be the prettiest of all the gorgeous herbs out there! Sage goes great in typical western comfort food, like Thanksgiving stuffing or an earthy casserole. It also can be a great compliment to sweeter dishes, with vegetables like butternut squash or a creamy pasta dish.

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Mint: Mint is light and refreshing. It adds a yummy twist to lemonade, or makes the perfect finishing garnish for any dessert. Mint can brighten a salad or a vegan yogurt sauce. If you want a simple snack, top a bowl of watermelon with some fresh mint leaves.

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Basil: Basil is commonly associated with Italian cooking, and can be used in a tomato soup or tomato salad, and goes great on top of pizza. This herb isn’t just for savory items, though, it goes great on top of strawberries, blueberries and other fresh fruity desserts too. Asian Basil can additionally be used in curries or fried rice, or an asian-inspired tofu dish!

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Rosemary and Thyme: Rosemary and Thyme are other herbs popular in Western cooking. The combination of thyme, rosemary and salt taste good on practically any vegetable. Add them to potatoes done any kind of way (roasted red potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fries) or root vegetables for a delicious side dish.

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Lavender: Lavender is one of the most floral herbs. It puts an elegant and classy twist on fruity drinks. Lavender can be detoxifying paired with hibiscus, charcoal, or lemon water and it has many medicinal properties.

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Cilantro: This herb might have a bad reputation with some folks, but if you aren’t one to find the taste of cilantro soapy, cilantro is so versatile! Asian and Latin¬†cooking tend to be¬†heavy handed with cilantro. It can pep up a spicy curry or add a nice tang to a mango salsa.

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Dill: Dill is almost lemony, and goes great with citrusy dishes. It also goes great mixed into a creamy dip like ranch, or topped on some vegan seafood! Dill is also great with starches and grains like potatoes and orzo.

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Chives: Chives are the classic baked potato topping! They’re great snipped as a garnish or mixed into a vegan herb butter.

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Parsley: Parsley is typically found in Mediterranean or Italian Cooking. It gives a bright pop of green to grains like couscous, mixed into creamy hummus, or to top your spaghetti.

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Now that you know the herbalicious details of some of those most popular herbs, it might be time to get experimenting! Happy cooking!
Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Veganism: Coming to a School Near You

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Veganism is the newest social justice movement on the block, and kids of all ages are starting to get the memo! Each new generation of kids is growing in awareness and feels more inclined to take interest in political issues. Recently, countless videos of children protesting eating animals in their households have gone viral, and it’s astounding amazing to watch kids as a whole grow in understanding and give a voice to¬†the voiceless. The anti-animal violence front¬†is at its peak: colleges were the first to take on guest seminars informing young adults why to go vegan, now veganism is spreading to kids all around the USA as young as sixth grade! Food or Friends¬†is a new program backed by Vegan Outreach. This educational presentation¬†reminds youngsters to give into the voice that tells us to love and protect our furry friends, despite how different social trends urge us to put those thoughts on the back burner for our taste buds. Vegan Outreach worked to establish an interactive and fun classroom experience, while also urging kids to push their critical thinking (and critical empathizing) skills; as they¬†question if deterring their health, the earth¬†they live on, and the well being¬†of animals is worth that cheeseburger. The Food or Friends¬†project currently is small-scale and in just a handful of cities across the United States, but I can’t wait to see this project grow so more and more¬†kiddos can get on board and help to put an end to animal cruelty!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Kombucha 101

It’s not quite soda, it’s not quite beer, and it’s definitely no kind of juice; what is this crazy stuff?! Kombucha, or fermented black tea, was introduced to me a couple years ago when I just started to dive into the health scene. It has a pretty intense taste on its own, but its typically mellowed out with some type of sugar, fruit, herb or even a root like ginger. Kombucha was definitely like nothing I had ever drank, I just knew it did some gnarly¬†stuff for my body. It took me a second to get used to the unfamiliar taste, but now I am so hooked on kombucha that it’s a hassle for me to drink water! Like anything, kombucha is good in moderation. It’s the perfect probiotic to start the morning to wake up your digestive system. It’s brewed with a live culture, otherwise known as a scoby, derived from an ancient Chinese recipe. The vinegar, probiotics, enzymes and different acids also improve energy, detoxification, immune support and joint pain. I would describe it almost as a healthy, earthier tasting soda, and it’s hitting stores everywhere! Even mainstream grocery stores like Kroger are starting to catch on to the new trend. Lucky for fanatics, Louisville has two amazing local kombucha companies! Kentucky Kombucha and Elixir Kombucha have spread to different cafes, markets and stores around town; both with yummy unique tastes that are great to wash down some delicious vegan noms with! Owners of Elixir have taken note of the new-found interest in fueling your body with the right products.

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“There’s kind of an awakening going on in regards to food and beverages,” founders say. “Folks are moving away from conventional beverages like sugary sodas and energy drinks, most of which are devoid of any nutrition and they are moving toward functional and nutritious beverages like coconut water, watermelon water, cold brew coffee and kombucha. We love brewing kombucha not only for the taste but for its wide range of health benefits.¬†We’ve seen first hand it’s impact on friends and family with gut and autoimmune issues. It’s the real deal. We hope kombucha becomes a household product. Gut health for all!”

We couldn’t agree more! The whole V-Grits team is made of avid kombucha drinkers, and we think they’re the perfect pair with our vegan cheese creations! Both V-Grits and Elixir will be sampling Saturday at the Rainbow Blossom off Bardstown Road on Saturday from 11am-2pm. Stop by and get your fix! See you there!

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Sammi

Surprising Store Finds for the Vegan Junk Food Enthusiast

After going vegan, you might start to realize that grass and greens can be the least of a vegan’s concerns!¬†With so many sweet and salty, animal-approved temptations out there, the “Potato Chip Vegan” even began circling around the vegan world for the herbivores dedicated to animal ethics who don’t mind indulging on some cruelty-free treats. If only kale tasted as good as chocolate frosting! Here are some surprising store finds to satisfy the Potato Chip Vegan in you!

  • Lay’s Classic Potato Chips
  • Lay’s Regular (unbaked) BBQ Chips
  • Kettle Brand Maple Bacon Potato Chips
  • Betty Crocker Baco’s & McCormick Bac’n pieces (and some other vegan bacon bit brands)

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  • Oreos
  • Popcorn at Regal Movie Theaters and sometimes AMC Movie Theaters
  • Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
  • Junior Mints
  • Bugles
  • Airheads
  • Swedish Fish
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Skittles
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Krispy Kreme’s Glazed Cherry Pies
  • Duncan’s Chocolate Frosting
  • Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

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  • Unfrosted Strawberry Poptarts
  • Xtra Tangy Buffalo Wing Pringles
  • Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Nutter Butters
  • Thomas Blueberry Bagels
  • Smucker’s Marshmallow Topping
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Burger King’s French Toast Sticks

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  • Earth Balance Cheddar Squares (vegan Cheez-Its)
  • Auntie Anne’s pretzels (with no butter)
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Reese’s Puffs
  • Cap’n Crunch
  • Original flavored Pretzel Crisps
  • Dark Chocolate Pretzel BarkThins

If you’re feeling like indulging, save the grass for our cow friends ūüėČ and show omnivores what they’ve been eating vegan all along!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Atlanta VegFest

I don’t know what that “Panda” song was talking about, we were too focused on all the vegan shenanigans¬†in Atlanta! We were so lucky to be a part of the 2016 Atlanta Vegfest! Vegfests are generally an overwhelmingly happy time for any plant eater, especially in a big city! I mean, being surrounded by thousands of vegans and eating some of the yummiest food around? Count me in! And of course, no vegan road trip is complete without checking out some of the best spots in town along the way!

Cashew in Chattanooga, Tennessee was our first stop. Donut breaks are the best kind of breaks, am I right? It was placed fittingly in a cute, trendy part of town and had some beautiful plant-strong art! We grabbed raspberry jelly filled powdered donuts and chocolate donuts with sprinkles before hitting the road again. I also got a beet and kale juice because you know, have to at least pretend I’m trying to eat healthy! The cake donuts were super moist and delicious, I would definitely recommend checking them out if you’re ever in town!

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Once we arrived in Atlanta, for Kristina and Jeff it was practically a no-brainer where to go for dinner! Cafe Sunflower brought on the class! It was a beautiful place that¬†had vegan scallops (texture was spot on!), ah-maze-ing vegan chicken wings with sugar cane “bones,” vegan chicken enchiladas, vegan steak fajitas, and a mouth-watering dessert plate to choose from! At some point into the three appetizers, entrees, and dessert that passed on the table, I seriously questioned what tastes people think¬†vegans could be missing out on! The next day I topped my vegan chicken enchilada leftovers with our V-Grits Mild Cheddar sauce, talk about the perfect combo! We all agreed the trip to Atlanta was worth it just for that amazing meal alone! We were even lucky enough to meet the sweetest vegan Uber driver afterwards! What are the odds!

Atlanta VegFest was beautiful, to say the least! An overcrowded room of vegans and the vegan-curious is my own personal happy place. We brought samples of Mac and Cheese, gooey with our Mild Cheddar Sauce, and crackers with our southern Pimento spread. We’re happy to say¬†that we felt everyone there shared our same enthusiasm about our cheese line, and we even sold out of the¬†250 jars we brought in three bustling hours! The festival made us even more excited to be selling on Vegan Essentials¬†hopefully by the end of next month! After we filled the vegfest-goers cheese needs, it was time to partake on the fun ourselves! We got to see the friendly face of¬†David Carter (wearing a shirt I need in my closet), an NFL Lineman and animal activist! Carter acknowledges that veganism overlooks people of color and food deserts, and works to overcome those divides! How rad! Not to mention, he clearly puts all the vegan protein questions to shame! We also indulged in hot fudge vegan sundaes (too bad I ate mine too quick to take a picture!) and a range of vegan products from protein-loaded quinoa bites to yummy vegan meats! I couldn’t leave without snagging a new member to my vegan wardrobe, a grey scarf covered with animals by Compassion Company. On our way back home, we stopped at the Chattanooga Whole Foods for snacks and were surprised with super creamy and super pink sorbets of the fruity variety! All in all, it was a great day! We’ll definitely see you again next year, Atlanta! Thanks for the loveliest vegan noms!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

V-Grits Heads to Chi-Town!

This past Saturday, the V-Grits crew had a rad time selling our vegan cheeses at Chicago Veganmania! We came, we ate (a lot), we sold, we left. Here are some highlights from our trip (mostly food, of course).

  • Rocket 88: Out first stop was in Indy! We needed¬†some donut/coffee power to get us to Chicago, so a stop at a local coffee shop with a lovely selection of vegan options was definitely needed! Some veg-friendly menu items included Apple Pie Donuts (delish!) and savory Tempeh Waffles. If you’re in the neighborhood, I would definitely check it out!
  • Chicago Diner: I ordered a Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip Milkshake with whipped cream Saturday night. How’s that for plant-based? ūüėČ Chicago Diner is doing it right, with their awesome slogan “Meat free since ’83!” Meat free is how we like to roll! Of course, no diner is complete without country fried steak, spicy chicken sandwiches, and Reubens, right? This spot had it all, and was packed from wall to wall when we visited! We love to see vegetarian spots thriving, and this one kept our bellies full (for a couple of days) and our taste buds content!
  • Pick Me Up Cafe: Another vegan-friendly diner we ate at was Pick Me Up! This diner had everything from vegan jalape√Īo poppers, to french toast, to steak pizza grinders! The portions will not disappoint! Not to mention, a killer¬†tea selection! I opted for a dark orange cinnamon clove tea, and regret not asking for another tea bag!
  • Chicago Veganmania: We had such a blast at this event! While selling cheese out the wahzoo, we met some inspiring folks, including Jasmin Singer, co-host of podcast “Our Hen House” and Senior Editor of Vegnews, cookbook author and YouTube star the Vegan Black Metal Chef, and NFL vegan David Carter, aka the 300 pound vegan! Talk about starstruck! The day was completed with some amazing food (mango lassis, ribs, typical vegan stuff), educational seminars and cute vegan apparel! It was a great day all around, we can’t wait until the next one!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

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! ūüėČ

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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 ūüėČ 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!

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Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi