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

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 😉 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

Got (Vegan) Milk?: A Plant-Based Milk Guide

Dairy?! Isn’t that so like, 2011? With so many new, modern vegan alternatives, dairy is on its way to be a thing of the past! The dairy industry hides that ethically, they are even worse to cows than the meat industry. Just like a baby zebra gets milk from their zebra momma and a baby giraffe gets milk from their giraffe momma, the only breast milk humans need to receive is from their same species, not a cow’s! Milk has additionally been proven to be linked to acne, ovarian cancer, bone fragility, and more (thanks for the links, PETA!) And can you just imagine that how that one milk-discovery dude even got to finding it? Talk about weird! There are so many non-cow milks these days that it’s almost overwhelming to pick just one. And even with all those vegan milks already out there, I feel like I hear of a new type just about every week! But don’t stress! I’ve done my fair share of experimenting, and will help you find the right plant-based milk for all your dairy-free needs!

  • Coconut milk: You can always find a few cans of coconut milk in my pantry! And if you’ve seen Chef Kristina’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, you know how dire coconut milk can be! Coconut milk is rich, thick and creamy. It makes a great homemade whipped cream, base of a rich soup, or can even be a good binder! It has a pretty strong taste on its own, but you can throw coconut milk and coconut oil into your coffee to make it extra foamy!
  • Cashew milk: Props to the vegans who lived through the grim times before cashew milk was known to human kind! Cashew milk is my absolute favorite in any plant-based alternative. Cashew milk ice cream and cheeses (*cough cough,* V-Grits cheeses 😉 ) are what I have found to be closest in taste to the harmful dairy products we grew up loving! The ice cream (SO Delicious is my favorite) is super creamy, and has even fooled my family of omnivores. Even on its own, cashew milk is delicious in a glass. A little maple syrup goes a long way to spice it up, though!

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  • Almond Milk: Almond milk is definitely the hippest milk out right now! Every coffee shop is carrying it, even Starbucks adapted to the trend and started selling it this year! Almond milk is a little sweeter and tends to be a little thinner than the other milks. It’s also yummy on its own, but especially with a chocolate chip cookie nearby! 😉
  • Soy Milk: Soy Milk is the OG milk!! It was every vegan’s go to for any dairy alternative back in the day. Soy milk still is great in coffee, and does well as an ice cream base! Soy milk also tends to work well as a dairy-milk replacement for recipes!
  • Banana Milk: Bananas are one of the most beneficial foods for your body! This milk typically isn’t found in stores, but throw some bananas and water in a blender, and you’ve got banana milk! Banana milk is a great drink on the go to get a little extra energy and potassium boost in!
  • Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is another super healthy milk worth trying! I’ve primarily used this milk for smoothies!
  • Rice Milk: Rice Milk is low in fat and one of the least allergenic milks out there!! I’ve had rice milk over fruit, and it is yummy in or as the base of desserts!
  • Ripple: One of the newest milks on the dairy-free block is Ripple, or pea milk. If you’re wondering why they call it ripple, maybe just say pea milk out loud! 😉 Ripple is getting trendy due to having high protein levels (one gram of protein per ounce!), just like peas. I have yet to try this milk, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some!

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As stated earlier, there are an endless number of milks out there! These days people make new vegan milks just to test if a food product can be turned into a milk! Other replacements out there include hazelnut milk, macadamia nut milk, quinoa milk, oat milk, flax milk, and more! So make an ethical and healthy turn into the dairy-alternative section next time you go grocery shopping, I promise you won’t regret it!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi