Sweet Snacks for an Herbivore

Trying to get healthier, but have a sweet tooth calling your name? The SO Delicious Dark Chocolate Truffle ice cream might try to break you, but there are some other yummy snacks that can satisfy a sweet tooth without the after-affects of bowls on bowls of sugar!

  • Little Secrets: These faux M&M’s just hit my local Kroger’s, and I’m a fan! Dark chocolate, sea salt and peanuts make a combination that’s nearly impossible to beat! And it’s no secret that their ingredients are all natural and ethical, with fair trade chocolate and coatings colored with turmeric and spirulina. Just watch out for the Peanut Butter flavor, as it is the only flavor that has whey. They’re additionally good to quiet cravings, just pop in a few and your sweet tooth is set!

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  • Larabars: Larabars are snack bars based of nuts and dates, so they can be great to have in the pantry as a sweet and healthy treat on the go. Different flavors include Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Pie, and Lemon Bar.

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  • Justin’s products: Justin’s has a plethora of sweet products ranging from dark chocolate peanut butter cups (Reese’s has nothing on these!) to chocolatey, nutty spreads. They do have palm oil though!

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  • Enjoy Life Chocolate: Chocolate chips and chunks make any bowl of fruit a little more tempting! Especially when scary dairy is the least of your concerns! You can also make homemade trail mix, blend with avocados for a healthy chocolate mousse, or add a few into your PB&J!

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  • Hail Merry Tarts & Macaroons: These raw vegan products have been spotted in health stores such as Whole Foods and Rainbow Blossom. Within the last few weeks, I’ve frequently seen them on sale around town! All products of theirs are certified vegan and use mostly organic, familiar products such as cashews, coconut sugar and coconut oil. I’ve tried the Persian Lime Tart and the Almond Butter Chocolate Cup! Both were delicious and left my sweet tooth satisfied without feeling sluggish!

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Try these products out next time you’re on the hunt for a healthier, sweet alternative!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Creator of Glycemic Index Goes Vegan!

Watch out, big pharma! It looks like switching to a vegan diet is becoming the dietary trend of the decade as more and more medical professionals get on the plant-based train! The Glycemic Index was created created by Dr. David Jenkins in 1981, ranking foods in correlation to their increase in blood sugar. His agenda was to develop a better understanding of how carbohydrates affected diabetes.

His work ended up being so extraordinary that he ended up influencing dietary guidelines for the World Health Organization, the U.S National Academy of Sciences, and national diabetes associations in multiple countries across the globe. He’s also a Canada Research Chair in nutrition, metabolism and vascular biology, faculty of medicine at the University of Toronto, and a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. He even became the first Canadian recipient of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health. Basically, this guy’s a pretty big deal!

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Now, rather than focusing on low carb diets, Jenkins says the real health concern should be focusing on eliminating animal products from human diets. He isn’t just plant-based, though! On top of health discoveries, he additionally decided to drop the animal flesh and secretions for ethical and environmental reasons.

“Human health must be linked to planetary health, and how we feed ourselves has a major impact on the planet,” Jenkins explains. We couldn’t agree more!

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

Valentine’s Veganized

Valentine’s Day is just a week away, and we know just how to sweep your vegan loved ones off their feet! Here are some gift ideas for your plant eating companions!

  • Sponsor an animal from Upland’s Peak in their name

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  • You can never go wrong with candy!
  • Plants! Succulents or air plants for those whose greens thumb turned black somewhere along the way, herb or veggie plants for those who treat plants like their children!
  • A vegan ice cream sundae bar
  • Soy wax candles
  • Pay it forward with a vegan treat at your favorite coffee shop (a plethora of treats and bars from Highland Coffee, banana chocolate chip muffin at Heine Brothers, Flora treats at Quills)

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  • Bath bombs, or really anything vegan from LUSH
  • Vegan apparel – because there’s never an inappropriate time for vegan apparel 😉
  • Matt & Nat products for that classy touch
  • VeganCuts, a box full of new, modern vegan products for you both to sample
  • A day trip to a nearby city to check out the vegan noms
  • Vegan books – How Not to Die, The Sexual Politics of Meat, and the China Study to name a few
  • Vegan movies on the more light hearted side, like Charlotte’s Web or a new documentary you guys haven’t seen yet
  • Plant-Based Protein powder for the gym-nut in your life (Vega, Sunwarrior, Garden of Life)
  • Homemade dinner with V-Grits vegan cheeses

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Women’s March Weekend in D.C.

This past Saturday, we were reminded of the power activists can have by uniting for justice! The Women’s March in D.C was definitely one of the most memorable highlights of the recent political scene, and the perfect start to 2017. Looking out onto a sea of people filled with a willful pursuit to fight for justice and equality was not a moment worth underestimating. The march began with speakers of all backgrounds and demographics, who claimed that this was the uniting moment we all need, and that Women’s March of over 5 million people worldwide was just the beginning of the fight for women’s rights and intersectional feminism. Speakers included activists such as Angela Davis (also vegan, whoop whoop!), a determined inspiring young Sophie Cruz, and the CEO of Planned Parenthood. If that wasn’t enough, how about that extra cherry on top that dedicated feminist Emma Watson was cheering and marching on within a mile radius?! Listening and being in the presence of all these amazing women, I was feeling overwhelmingly inspired, and of course a bit starstruck! We gathered in peace and protest all through D.C, with too many justice seekers to even stay in route! The love, activism, and bond throughout America and even other countries Saturday was more than any Chair of any of the marches expected, and it was absolutely lovely.

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And of course, no vegan foodie can visit a different city without popping in the best cruelty-free eateries around town! D.C is booming with vegan-friendliness! After a thorough digging into Happy Cow, I settled on three gnarly picks! I would support Fare Well, Khepra Raw Food and Juice Bar, or NuVegan Cafe making a second Louisville location anytime!

Khepra’s was my first stop. The menu was all raw and filled with items like Buffalo Cauliflower, Blackberry Cheesecake, Avocado Nori Wraps and (my favorite) a raw vegan crab cake. The flavors and textures of all the food I had was spot on, particularly the coconut-meat based crab cake that left me shocked how realistic it was! The cheesecake tasted like ice cream, and the sides that come with a platter were practically a meal itself. The prices were great for the amount of food I got, and I felt so energized after! They even had a separate room for “Heart Touch Therapy,” which was a blend of reiki and other forms of energy movement, healing and relaxation which was a great finishing touch.

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NuVegan Cafe was the kind of place that will make you go, “Are you sure this is all vegan?!” Their fried chicken, mac and cheese and cheesecake were so spot on, if you put a bucket of each in front of me I wouldn’t be able to restrain myself! They also had cinnamon buns, taco salad, tuna salad and lasagna as their special of the day. They put the soul in soul food, and I loved their mission statement that was a reminder that they’re in it for the animals, just like us!

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The final stop in this vegan flavortown was Fare Well! Fare Well was started by the owners of the famous bakery Sticky Fingers. They had quite the morning rush so I missed the Chicken and Waffles, but was still amazed by their delicious Breakfast Nachos, French Toast Casserole, Cookie Dough Milkshake and Blueberry Danish! It had been SO long since I had a Blueberry Danish, I think I ate it in about 30 seconds! I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who plans to visit in the future, and I am definitely coming back for that plate of Chicken and Waffles!

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It was quite the weekend! The feeling of activism and the smell of vegan fried chicken were in the air, and nothing ever felt so good! I’m beyond looking forward to my next visit, with plenty more activism, equality, justice and vegan noms ahead!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

25 Signs You’re Vegan

People might not realize what all they sign up for when they go vegan, but odds are they will be quick to find out! Check out these guaranteed relatable moments for every vegan!

  • When you’re bilingual – and by that we mean you’ve learned a second language of ingredients

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  • You’re known as the person with the intense dairy allergy at your favorite Chipotle location, despite that you aren’t allergic to dairy
  • That feeling you get when the person next to you at the Whole Foods pizza counter gets the vegan pizza
  • That feeling you get when you see that person later at the check out line cashier with meat and realize they’re actually Paleo
  • When veganism opened you up to another social or political issue you never seemed to take interest in before.
  • Palm oil though?
  • When you visit a new city and would rather try out the vegan options than sight see
  • When you have a strong opinion about Gary Francione
  • When you daydream of a world that knows the difference between vegan and plant-based.
  • When you consider your first visit to an animal sanctuary to be life changing

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  • When protein is the least of your concerns!
  • You know the perfect egg replacement for that new recipe you want to veganize
  • When you can’t see your food under all the nutritional yeast
  • You’ve tried vegan meat replacements raw before because you were just too lazy to cook it first
  • When a new product catches your eye and you know to go straight to the allergens before investing any more time or interest into the product
  • When road trips with non-vegans are pretty much an endless series of Taco Bell, but you know just how to order
  • When you can predict an omnivores facial expression after saying you don’t eat honey
  • When someone you just met says they’re vegan and

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  • You’ve eaten at every vegan restaurant in town, and they all know you by name.
  • There is at least one Hampton Creek product in your fridge or freezer
  • When you’ve heard about plant feelings and potato screams on multiple occasions from self-proclaimed vegetable therapists
  • When you’ve practically forced someone into watching Earthlings
  • When seeing the astounding amount of vegan options at your mainstream grocery store has made you emotional
  • When you might forget your brother’s birthday, but will never forget your vegan ammo for vegan vs. omnivore debates
  • When you’ve had the junk food stage after realizing that vegan donuts exist
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Sammi

13 Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become the hipster of all cooking oils! It has gained increased popularity in the past few years, but cooking is not the only way your coconut oil can be put to good use! Here are some of our favorite uses that might be a little outside the box (or jar)!

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  1. Hair: Coconut oil will make your hair soft, shiny, and bring out a little extra curliness. Just run a bit through your hair before you take a shower. Be careful not to put too much though, a little goes a long way!
  2. Moisturizer: Coconut oil alone is better than any moisturizer I’ve ever used when it comes to keeping my skin from giving into the winter weather. It even can decrease acne as an added bonus.
  3. Makeup remover/Makeup: Coconut oil can get rid of the most intense cat eyes. 😉 Just dab some on a towel and you have makeup remover that’s actually good for your skin. Or if you want to make coconut oil part of your makeup routine, it makes a great natural cheek bone highlighter.
  4. Oil pulling: Looking to detox? Oil pulling will do the trick. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for around 20 minutes and spit it out (key part!) to cleanse your body of toxins and keep your teeth white and shining.
  5. Replacing butter: A healthy, creamy, but still rich and fatty smear of coconut oil makes a great substitute for your toast, pouring onto baked potatoes, topping popcorn or potentially as a recipe replacement.
  6. Allergies: Coconut oil is rumored to help out during those rough season changes! Smudge a bit in and around your nose for a little extra defense!
  7. Deodorant: When you’re in a pinch and can’t seem to find your deodorant, coconut oil comes to the rescue! It might sound a little on the hippie side, but the strong scent and antibacterial properties will get the job done!
  8. Helps sore throats: A few teaspoons of coconut oil a day could make all the difference for your soar throat or overwhelming cough.
  9. Lip balm: Similar to how coconut oil soothes skin, it also keeps your lips from being chapped, which is particularly useful during the winter season! I mix in a little beet juice for color and peppermint oil to stimulate lip blood flow when I’m feeling extra. 😉
  10. Natural Neosporin: Coconut oil can be used to soothe and help heal minor cuts, bruises, rashes or wounds. You may need a band-aid too, though.
  11. Shaving: Coconut oil might not be the most ideal shaving cream, but always serves well as a trusty backup. It’s definitely one of the most natural shaving creams out there.
  12. Sunscreen/Sunburn Remedy: Coconut oil is naturally SPF4! You might have to apply a little more than normal, but it will additionally leave your skin silky smooth.
  13. Hair Gel: I wouldn’t recommend getting to crazy with the coconut oil when it comes to hair, but the tiniest little bit can help shape your hair or add texture.

Who knew this funky, new-on-block oil had so many cool uses?! Try some of them out and tell us what you think!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi

Are Dogs Healthier Vegan?

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Plant-based pups… Say whaaat?!! Trust me, no one was more alarmed than I was when I first heard about dogs on vegan diets. I mean, they do have actual canines after all, right? With their glossy, soft and shiny fur, all the plant-based doggies I have encountered looked as healthy as could be, but I still needed far more convincing. It wasn’t until I came across the story of a little four legged doggie named Bramble when I started to reconsider that veganism could really in fact be better for dogs. Bramble’s diet regimen of lentils, rice, and organic vegetables landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records as the 27 year old longest living dog! But Bramble was not the only doggo to thrive from veganism; other vegan dogs have gotten rid of ear infections and improved allergies, excessive shedding, kidney and bone problems. Some modern veterinarians are even starting to recommend plant-based diets to combat some of these issues. Part of the reason dogs might benefit from going plant-based is that a majority or dog food is made up meat from animals who were dying, diseased or disabled. By USDA standards, the meat in mainstream dog food is not even fit for human consumption! If humans could potentially get extremely (or even lethally) sick from certain meats, there is a good chance dogs bodies will react the same way. There are several vegan options when it comes to brand dog food, including V-Dog, Halo, Natural Balance, Ami Pet Food, and Nature’s Recipe. Dog food is always optional, though! The veggie-loving pups I’ve met go bananas for sweet potatoes, peanut butter, mangos and watermelon! With all the health benefits and knowing feeding our puppy loves will not harm any other animals, there’s pretty much no reason to keep dogs from going plant-based, right?

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Sammi

Health Benefits of Cashews

At V-Grits, we got a love for cashews that can’t be contained! We’re also pretty passionate about health, so thank goodness cashews exist to make creamy, cheesy, delicious and healthy dairy replacements! Cashews start as seeds that form at the bottom of cashew apples. Crazy, right?

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The US doesn’t seem to love cashew apples as much as they’re adored in Brazil and the Caribbean, but we’re nuts for the seeds! The health benefits of cashews are infinite! They have over eighty different nutrients. They may be known for their still relatively low fat content, but there’s nothing to fear! 82% of their fat is made up of unsaturated fatty acids. Cashews are additionally filled with magnesium and phosphorous which can lessen migraines and lower blood pressure; and copper which is high in antioxidants, works against heart disease and cancer, and protects our skin from sun damage. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, these gnarly nuts even contain zero cholesterol! So grab a bag of cashews as a snack, or get that cashew-based cheese (wink wink 😉 )! It’s only good for you, after all!

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Sammi

Drop that Gatorade!

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Luckily, electrolytes and hangover cures aren’t only found in artificially colored and fortified sugary drinks! And if you like your health food to taste good, you still have nothing to worry about. Watermelon is bursting with electrolytes! Sixteen ounces of watermelon juice alone has about three times as much electrolytes as Gatorade! Watermelon is also loaded with Lycopene, which protects your cells and fights off diseases! It’s additionally great as a tastier source of hydration for people like me, who can never remember to drink a glass of water every now and then. 😉

Coconut water might be a taste that takes a little getting used to, but it is definitely a drink worth paying attention to! Comparatively, coconut water has less sodium and more potassium than a sports drink and helps fight against cancer and kidney stones. If you want to add a little sweetness to your coconut water, try adding some pineapple juice or pineapple chunks to shake things up!

Give these yummy hydration replacements a try and let us know what you think!

Signing off for the Sentient,

Sammi