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

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

The Truth Behind Backyard Chicken Eggs

Of all the animal products vegans choose not to consume, I think it’s safe to say that the refusal of eggs from the neighbor’s backyard chicken coop seems to stir up the most omnivore confusion! Now how do these eggs from physically healthy, home-grown, free-wandering chickens still not get a vegan’s approval?! There are a few extra things vegans have taken into consideration to keep our feathered friends as happy as can be!

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Most egg-eaters might not know that chickens are cannibals! After laying her round of eggs, a hen’s (lady chicken friend) body will be exhausted and at a complete loss of calcium. In order to restore her calcium so she can prevent herself from illness, a hen will eat some of her eggs to receive all the nutrients that are vital for her to stay healthy and disease-free. Beyond just physical health, though, these beautiful feathered birds are ridden with anxiety when their eggs are taken away from them! They could be her children, after all. Hens become so sad, in fact, that they stress themselves to lay more eggs. The hens forcing themselves to lay eggs also takes a huge toll on their immune system, but more than that, their reproductive system becomes heavily damaged and will no longer be in their control.

Like any other food-like product vegans choose not to consume, the base of why we pick tofu scramble over eggs is simple: we do not take what is not ours! Those lady-birds sure need those eggs more than we do. They certainly don’t give humans any additional nutrition, seeing as they cause an egg-xstraordinary amount of threatening build up in your arteries! And after all, eggs are pretty much just chicken periods! Gross! And with so many great alternatives like the vegan egg and tofu scramble and alternative binders like bananas, aquafaba, applesauce, the vegan egg or flax seeds, who needs the chicken periods, am I right?

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Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

Sunrise Sanctuary

Last November I was headed to Akron, Ohio; and there was no way I was about to drive six hours without stopping at at least one new farm animal sanctuary along the way! Sanctuaries are more than vital to the vegan movement, saving innocent animals from brutal lives in horrendous animal agriculture conditions. Lucky me, I made it to Sunrise Sanctuary in Columbus, Ohio just in time for their “Thanksgiving for the Turkeys,” just as Thanksgiving should be! The rescued turkeys were fed yummy snacks like pumpkin and sweet potatoes, and the sanctuary visitors got to mingle with the furry residents and partake in a chili cook off! Cuddling with cows, stocking up on rad Sunrise Sanctuary apparel, drinking apple cider and eating chili is my kinda afternoon! The animals were free to roam at their leisure, ranging from horses and goats to gentle cows and sassy little piggies! The turkeys were waddling in between the line of people waiting to get chili, curious to see what shenanigans were happening. Visiting Sunrise was also my first experience meeting a cow, and I can’t think of an instance that melted my heart more. They are so large, soft and sweet! A cow named Baby Moo even knelt down so I could get a better reach to scratch  his ears! We couldn’t think of a better place to give a portion of V-Box meal kit and V-Card recipe envelope proceeds to this October. This year, their Thanksgiving for the Turkeys will be held on November 20th. If you’re going up north anytime soon, we would definitely recommend checking Sunrise Sanctuary out!

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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

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 😉 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