If Everyone Went Vegan, What Would We Do With All the Animals?

It’s a question that’s graced the ears of every vegan. “So if everyone went vegan, what would we do with all the animals?” Aka, are vegans trying to get animals to take over the world?! As pleasant as that world would probably be, I think it’s safe to say that’s far from the end goal.

If the world went vegan, that would mean all humans no longer put the life of one animal before another, so we wouldn’t treat the abundance of farmed animals any differently than we treat the abundance of dogs and cats. There would just be more animals that need all our lovin’! Humans definitely have the power to harm animals, but as I’m sure you know, just because we have power to cause harm, definitely doesn’t mean we should!

Dogs and cats have become prized animals in modern Western cultures, mostly because humans have domesticated them far beyond the point of return! But humans haven’t only erased a dog or cat’s natural place in the food chain. Farmed animals also fell victim to human greed. Since we are the ones who caused those animals to be unable to live freely in the wild as they once could, now it is our duty to be their guardians and protect these sweet, lovable fellas like they deserve! The treacherous practices of animal agriculture are coming into light more and more, and more farmed animal sanctuaries are popping up and saving our animal friends as a result! As the vegan movement grows, the more support sanctuaries will get, and the more animals they’ll be able to rescue.

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The world definitely won’t go vegan overnight (outside my daydreams, anyways), but I’ve got a little hunch that some day, not being vegan will be as taboo as not believing in global warming. Especially as humans realize how much animal agriculture and global warming correlate! For now though, if we stop buying meat and animal products, these animals will no longer be mass produced, and no longer be bred at alarming rates, which is proof in itself that nothing could reduce the amount of animals being brought into this planet more. Just like any other product on grocery store shelves, if the demand goes, the decline of those products is quick to follow.

I mean, it’s pretty clear at this point that animal products are in no way beneficial to our bodies (as shown in PlantPure Nation, Forks Over Knives and The China Study). They’re not only completely unnecessary to keep in our diets, but also extremely detrimental to our health. So are humans really only dedicated to eating animals just because they think there will be too many of them if they don’t? Maybe this is just a personal thing, but there’s an outrageous amount of things people have chosen to eat that are overly abundant in the world, that I can guarantee will never be on my dinner menu… for ex: dogs, cats, cat hair, mattresses, dryer sheets, glass, and plastic bags just to name a few!

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Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Shahrazad Mediterranean Restaurant

I’m not sure how many vegans live on the University of Louisville’s campus, but if you’re out there, I feel your struggle! When I was a student there, any hope I found for vegan options was sandwiched between two dry, gluten-free slices of bread at the allergen friendly station in the cafeteria – yikes! I’m still on the campus often, and the vegan options are still far and few between, but luckily I heard about Shahrazad and got the chance to check it out! This new Mediterranean restaurant opened up right next to the campus bookstore this past fall, and the vegan options will not disappoint!  I got a falafel pita sandwich, baba ganoush (like hummus except made with eggplant… and way better than hummus 😉 ) and grape leaves, with a savory and comforting complimentary lentil soup. Everything was delicious, filling, and around 5$ an item! Tasty, cheap, healthy food is always the end goal, am I right? Besides the menu items I ordered, there were a few vegan salads as well as a vegetable stew to choose from. The waitress informed me there’s no cheese in their entire restaurant, just make sure you order your food with no tzatziki sauce and you’re good to go! My food baby and I left as content as could be, and with a decent amount of leftovers to take home! And beyond just the food, the staff and owners were incredibly sweet. If you’re on U of L’s campus, stop in and try it out for yourself!

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Sammi

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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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

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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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

Top 25 Valentines Day Restaurants in Louisville

Valentines Day is coming up, which is always a great excuse to test out some local cuisine! 😉 Here are 25 vegan-friendly spots in Louisville that’ll charm your socks off!

  1. Ramsi’s Cafe on the World
  2. Proof on Main (call ahead of time to let them know you’re vegan)
  3. Mayan Cafe
  4. Annie May’s Sweet Cafe
  5. Dragon King’s Daughter
  6. Simply Thai
  7. Martini’s Italian Bistro (call ahead)
  8. Seviche (call ahead)
  9. Time 4 Thai
  10. Louivino
  11. Shalimar
  12. The Grape Leaf
  13. Half Peach
  14. Crescent Hill Crafthouse
  15. Silver Dollar
  16. North End Cafe
  17. Garage Bar
  18. Queen of Sheba
  19. California Pizza Kitchen
  20. Lydia House
  21. BarriCibo
  22. Porcini’s
  23. Mellow Mushroom
  24. The Meridian Cafe
  25. Dakshin

Happy Eating!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Did Someone Say Super Bowl Food?

So, it’s that time of year – a day practically dedicated to eating as much vegan junk food as possible! I even heard there will be a really big football game going on too! 😉 If you’re on the hunt for delicious game day grub, Chef Kristina has whipped up some awesome recipes to make your omnivore friends awe-inspired and begging for more!

Game Day Dip
1 jar V-Grits Soul Sauce (Mild Cheddar or Mozzarella)
2 tbsp buttery spread
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Just mix, and warm it up on the stove top or in the microwave. This dip goes great with breadsticks, onion rings or pretzel nuggets!
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Pimento Stuffed Sweet Peppers

6 small sweet peppers

2 tsp olive oil

dash salt

1/4 yellow onion

1 clove garlic

fresh chives

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

1/4 cup vegan beef crumbles

1/2 cup V-Grits Pimento Cashew

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Rinse Veggies.

Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Small dice 1/4 cup onion, mince 1 clove garlic, and slice 2 tbsp chives.

Add 2 tsp oil to a saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and a dash of salt, and sauté.

Add garlic and vegan beef crumbles, and cook to sear. Remove from heat.

Stir in V-Grits Pimento Cashew and half the chives.

Place peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stuff. Top with breadcrumbs and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Broil for 2 to 3, to toast breadcrumbs.

Top with remaining chives upon serving.


YIELD: 12 Appetizer-Size Snacks

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Corn & Bean Queso
1 jar V-Grits Mild Cheddar Cashews
1 cup Black Bean & Corn Salsa
Warm it up and grab your favorite tortilla chips!
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Louisville suppliers for all your V-Grits cheese needs include Rainbow Blossom in the Highlands and St. Matthews and Lucky’s in Hurstbourne. Cheeses can also be found at Lucky’s Market in Bloomington, Lucky’s Market in Lexington, The Weekly Juicery in Cincinnati and Lexington, Lucky’s Market in Columbus, Weiland’s in Columbus, and It’s All Natural in Gahanna, OH!
Give these a try and let us know what you think! Other Game Day snacks to go with all that cheesy goodness include fresh-cut veggies with Follow Your Heart Ranch for dipping, Gardein Boneless Bites, classic guacamole, and vegan breaded “shrimp” by Sophie’s Kitchen (found in the frozen isle at Whole Foods)! I’m get hungry just thinking about it! If you test one of these recipes out, or get to experimenting and make your own V-Grits cheese recipe creation, share and hashtag #vgrits so we can see what all our soul sauces can do!
Signing off for the Sentient,
Sammi

How to Celebrate Your Veganversary

Veganversary?! Say that again?

A “Veganversary” is  a monumental moment for any vegan. For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, PETA describes a veganversary as:

Veganversary (ve·gan·ver·sa·ry) n.
1.      The annual celebration of the date on which you decided to stop eating animal flesh and be a super-awesome human being
2.      The date on which you stuff your face with vegan cake and veggie burgers in order to celebrate when you decided to go vegan.

We hear ya, PETA! Here are some ways to guarantee your veganversary will be as blissful as it sounds!

  • Eat. Everything (cruelty-free, of course): Today is not the day to follow through with that oil-free diet you’ve been reading about. 😉 Stuff your face with vegan fried chicken, chocolate chip cookies, doughnuts, and everything else you were convinced you could never eat again in the name of kale!

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  • Volunteer at/Visit/Donate to an animal sanctuary: Visiting animal sanctuaries can be vital moments in any vegan’s journey. There’s no better feeling than knowing all your obstacles, awareness and activism are rescuing the sweetest little fur babies from a life scarier than a horror movie.
  • Rock your vegan apparel: The more vegan clothing you can pack into one outfit, the better! Days like this are what your Compassion Co. or Herbivore Clothing shirt are made for. Don’t hold back with the vegan leather, sassy pins, and other cute cruelty-free gear that will turn morality into the trendiest fashion statement.

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  • Talk about veganism even more to normal: “I can’t find my phone, can you call it?” “Sure, I’m vegan.” “Do you know where the bathroom is?” “All the way down to your left, but did you know you’d have healthier bowel movements when you’re vegan?” “I’m feeling a little sleepy.” “You’d definitely feel more energized if you went vegan!” There is never an inappropriate time to exclaim your veganism from the rooftops! Today is your day to be loud and proud.
  • Make a blog post about it 😉 : Or an Instagram post, or a Facebook post, or a post on any other kind of social media! Even your favorite meme from the Vegan Sidekick can go a long way. A surprising number of people, myself included, found veganism as a result of social media. The power of a single post is definitely underestimated! You never know what seeds you could be planting so animal liberation can grow!

As supporters of any social justice movement know, awareness and activism can come attached to some overwhelming moments, but nothing can compare to the happiest feeling of knowing you’re keeping our furry friends safe and protected as they deserve! Spend your next veganversary the way you earned to, or decide on the start date you’ve been planning all this time!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi