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

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

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

New V-Box Bonus feature!

V-Fans,

From the last blog post, we’ve probably all come to the conclusion that being vegan makes a humungous impact for the animals, the environment and our health! But how much of an impact does just one V-Box make? Well, we’ve done the math! Starting next week, V-Grits will have a new feature for V-Box (recipe meal kits with portioned ingredients and spices) and V-Card (recipe meal kits with portioned spices) subscribers! Our new calculations based on the Vegan Calculator (with sourced statistics) will tell you how many animal lives and resources you have saved, and how much pollution you have kept from going out into the planet – all based on the number of V-Boxes/V-Cards you have received! Now every time you get a new shipment, you can be extra-proud of yourself for knowing the positive impact you have made for the planet and our beautiful, intelligent and kind animal friends!

Different ways animal agriculture negatively impacts the environment include the water it takes to feed the animals that are mass-produced, the harmful affects of constant animal transportation from place to place (even after they are slaughtered) to be made into edible products, and the amount of grain feed resulting in habitat loss, species extinction and deforestation. Significantly less water and resources are required to grow crops in comparison the amount of food it takes to feed animals. Not to mention, in places of food scarcity crops are grown to feed the animals, while that same amount of food could have fully fed an impoverished area. But lucky you, V-Boxes are entirely plant-based! So save the planet one box at a time, and get subscribing at VGrits.com!

Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi

10 Vegan Snack Foods

What are some vegan snack foods to get you through your busiest days in between meals? Here are ten of our biggest go-to’s!

  1. Chips and dips: Dips can vary anywhere from guacamole to salsa, or better yet, our V-Grits cheddar cheese sauce!

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2. Hummus and fresh veggies: A super fresh, healthy and protein filled snack.

3. Dates: Dates are nature’s caramel, guaranteed to satisfy a sweet tooth!

4. Bananas: Bananas are packed with nutrition benefits, and full of vital healthy carbs and sugars.

5. Kale Chips: There are so many flavors! Buy them at the supermarket or make them at home

6. Vegan Chocolate Chips and Salted Peanuts: A healthier take on all the flavors of a Reese’s cup!

7. Granola: Always a good pantry stuffer when you’re on the go!

8. Avocado Toast:  Avocados make everything better! An avocado and a slice of bread are all that’s needed for this creamy and toasty snack. Sriracha will add a little kick!

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9. Bagels: Throw on some jam and/or peanut butter, if you want a little something extra.

10. Pretzels: Need a snack, but all that’s around is a vending machine? Pretzels are an almost guaranteed vending machine find, and almost always vegan! Watch out for the cheese or honey mustard flavors!

                                          Signing off for the sentient,

Sammi