Would a Caveman’s Diet Meet Paleo Standards?

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The Paleo way of eating is frequently referred to as a caveman’s diet, but a caveman would probably look at you like you’re from a whole different century if you tried to tell them not to eat plant-based! The Paleo diet is highly focused on a heavy intake of grass-fed meats, and tells followers to avert from dairy, grains and over-processed foods. This dietary regimen is one of the most followed diet fads out there. I can definitely spot the research backing the alarming mysteries of dairy and processed foods, but I think the rest may need a little digging into. Researchers estimate that only a small portion of the average caveman’s diet consisted of meat! Why go through all the trouble of killing animals when there were hills on hills of lush plants you could simply grab by the handful? Previous studies made inaccurate estimations that cavemen ate a surplus of meat, only to find later that an intake of that much meat would actually poison humans.

Along with adding a heavy portion of meat into your diet, Paleo is also heavily focused on the abstinence of any type of grain. Despite the claim that pre-historic people didn’t eat grains, researchers have found traces of oats on grinding tools dating back to 32, 000 years ago. Oats, wild wheat, and other starches have been proven to be strong cores of a real diet during the Paleolithic period. These days, the term “carbs” is made out to be just as scary as the word “vegan,” but if you opt for the less processed carbs you’ve got nothing to fear! Many of the foods that are actually allowed in a Paleo diet were not even discovered during the Paleolithic period, such as the lovely avocados that were found in 1519, or squash that was found in 1591. As much praise as I’m sure anyone would have gotten for introducing the heavenly avocado to cavemen, it’s safe to say a Paleo diet has a long way from being caveman approved! And I mean, no offense to the cavemen and all, but why is everyone trying to eat like people did hundreds of thousands of years ago anyways? I would take a V-Grits burger over a handful of leaves and wheat any day!

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Over time, we were able to grow in knowledge and take on studies that show us that in current society, our bodies are not meant to intake any meat whatsoever. Even our own bodies reveal to us that we are better off with a plant-based diet since veganism has cured and or/reversed everything from diabetes, to forms of cancer, to heart disease. Thank you, technology! And trust me, if you’re trying to better your diet, just leave the “gathering” for the produce section at your local grocery store. 😉

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

Are Turkeys Aware?

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Save-the-Turkeys Day is just around the corner! While stuffing our bellies full of delicious, cruelty-free plates on plates of food, and getting faced with some unethical food choices, it might help to remember that turkeys are far more intelligent than they’re typically given credit for! As vegans say, if they use their eyes to see, they use their brains to think! Even Benjamin Franklin had a fit when the Bald Eagle was chosen over the Turkey as the National Bird, and wrote a letter stating the Turkey was a “much more respectable bird” and a “bird of courage” rather than the unimpressive, scavenging Bald Eagle. I have only been in the lovely company of turkeys once, and were such sweet and curious little fellas! The ones I met were far from shy, and you could find them bobbing their heads in between lines of people waiting for food. They were just itching to see what all the fuss was about! Some of a turkey’s favorite activities include cuddling, being stroked and pet, clucking along to music and playing their own version of football with things like apples! They’re so smart in fact, that they have an astounding sense of hearing despite having no ears! They can even recognize each other’s voices! That comes in handy for them, since they thrive on affection and love making long connections and friendships with humans and birds alike. Being as curious as they are, they also enjoy exploring and are able to remember up to 1,000 acres of geographic content, which is definitely an advantage when they’re stocking up on food! Turkeys can live up to ten years, despite that they typically only live a few short months in animal agriculture. This time of the year, it is particularly important to show our love and appreciation for these friendly, loving birds. Let’s all do them a favor and extend our compassion to leave them off our plates this season! If you would like to take an extra step to help our beautiful feathered friends, you can adopt a turkey! How cool would that be?! Happy cruelty-free holidays!

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

Thanksgiving Veganized

What better way to give thanks than celebrating lives instead of eating them? With so many vegan substitutes, it gets easier and easier every year to veganize Thanksgiving! You can even have V-Grits cater your Thanksgiving spread with vegan Turkey Pot Pie, a healthy bean & oat based Thanksgiving loaf, Mac and Cheese topped with breadcrumbs, Beans & Collard Greens, Orange Walnut Quinoa Salad, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, homemade Bourbon Balls and 6 packs of Elixir’s Harvest Cider Kombucha! Did your stomach just growl, too? You can even make some yummy side dishes and appetizers with our cheese line! Add spinach, artichokes, garlic powder and italian seasonings to our Mozzarella sauce for a yummy spinach and artichoke dip! Or try our Mild Cheddar sauce over broccoli or in a potato casserole! Don’t want to fuss over appetizers? Put out a bowl of our Pimento spread with veggies or crusty bread for dipping and you’re good to go!

For even more Thanksgiving options, though, there’s a whole grocery world of holiday vegan spins waiting to be explored! You can replace the dairy in homemade mashed potatoes with creamy coconut milk! Since just about every Thanksgiving side pretty much requires butter, Earth Balance always seems to do the job! Kite Hill also makes amazing vegan cream cheese and yogurt, if a recipe you want to try calls for it! Green Beans and yams can easily be made vegan, too. There are also some good lookin’ vegan turkeys out in stores! Tofurky (no, they are not made of tofu 😉 ), Gardein (featured below) and Field Roast vegan turkeys are some of the most popular out there! There are even versions that are pastry dough wrapped or filled with stuffing! Even Trader Joes has a Turkey-less Stuffed Roast! I haven’t experimented with any vegan Turkey’s personally, but they have all been reviewed to be pretty gnarly! For dessert, luckily the typical (double check allergens just to be safe!) pastry dough is vegan! Top some apple filling with a sheet of pastry dough as a crust and bam! You’ve got apple pie! In Lucky’s Market, neighbors to our line of V-Grits Cheese Sauces are rice milk and soy milk based vegan whipped cream! I haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, but I cannot wait to drench my holiday sweets in mountains of that stuff! We hope this makes your veganized holidays a little bit easier! Happy cruelty-free eatin,’ folks!

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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

Seven Tips for a New Vegan

It could be pretty overwhelming for someone who is new to veganism, there’s so much to learn! Reconstucting unethical eating habits and ways of thinking does take effort, but it isn’t hard once you get your feet wet! Here are some tips for all you new vegans out there!

  1. Get your vegan radar on and locate some plant-eaters! Adapting this new ethical stance will be so much easier when you know other people who have adapted the lifestyle and ethics you are trying to achieve! Vegan friends can be super important resources to have just a text away! To meet new vegans, check if there is a local or worldwide community vegan page, or just hang around local vegan restaurants enough and you’re bound to meet someone new!

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2. Eat. a. lot! One of the most common problems new vegans seem to run into is not eating enough. Just like any other way of eating, food diversity is key to being healthy and meeting all your nutrition requirements. And if you continuously eat different foods such as fruit, grains, greens and beans, there’s no way the doctor will be able to find any deficiencies!

3. Let go of your fear for fruit! A huge myth in the food world is that eating a donut is practically the same thing as eating a banana! Fruit sugar is necessary and vital to keeping us alive, and sugars are definitely not all the same! A donut will leave you feeling sluggish, where as a banana fuels your body and keeps you feeling energized! Nothing is more nourishing or could be better for your body than fruits and vegetables.

4. Watch documentaries! Online movies have never been so easy to access, and have never been such a resource for vegan knowledge! Now, even Netflix has several movies that teach viewers about animal treatment in agriculture, and what animal products do to destroy our bodies and the environment. All benefits of veganism are not only important to learn as someone new to the lifestyle, but you’ll also find they’re important to be aware of when talking to others who challenge the movement! 😉

5. Plan out meals. Especially if you’re new to veganism, if you don’t know what food to buy, you might end up buying a lot of things all at once, and make a two dollar meal into a twenty dollar meal! Planning meals ahead of time can allow you to think of a filling meal that won’t break your budget! Want someone to do the meal planning for you? Grab a V-Box or a V-Card envelope and we’ll do the work for you!

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6. Seek out your veganized indulgences! Before I knew about the copious amounts of vegan options out there, I mostly ate a lot of vegetables drenched in Sriracha. Now I have all the same foods I had growing up like tacos, pasta, and pizza, just veganized! Living off roasted vegetables is honestly not super ideal for anyone, and probably not going to keep you loving vegan food as much as you could! Find your local vegan spots or head over to the frozen isle to grab yourself some cashew milk ice cream! I promise you won’t regret it!

7. Visit an animal sanctuary! Veganism had never been as close to my heart as it was after making a visit to local sanctuary Upland’s PEAK. Seeing the animals affected and saved from animal agriculture made practices of the industry much more real to me, and it also made me see how gentle these beautiful creatures are that the food industry is harming. Visiting and volunteering for sanctuaries can be a reminder that there is hope for our sweet, innocent, furry friends, and that as vegans, everything we do is to help those little fellas out!

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We hope these seven tips help you on your way to achieving a cruelty-free lifestyle! If you still find yourself struggling, send V-Grits an inbox and we’ll be happy to help with any and all questions that convert you to that word no vegan ever thought they would call themselves… Vegan!

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? 😉 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 jalapeño 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! 😉

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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