The Inside Nicecream Scoop on Raw Veganism

Even though veganism is commonly referred to¬†as a diet, there are a variety of diets within our ethical umbrella! There are junk food enthusiast vegans, oil free vegans, even Paleo vegans! Some of the healthiest vegans tend to be known as raw vegans. Raw vegans can eat just about anything… cooked under 118 degrees, that is. Typically, the longer food is cooked, the more the nutritional value of the food will decrease due to the heat. Raw food also tends to be easier to digest so your body can receive the ultimate nutrition fruits and veggies contain. From personal experience, the periods of time where I have been a raw vegan felt almost superhuman! If only vegan fried chicken didn’t taste so good! ūüėČ Even within raw veganism, there is a plethora of approaches. Some raw vegans prefer eating all foods simply and naturally, like the way we eat an apple. They may even start off the day with a mono-meal, or a meal consisting of a large quantity of one food, such as 5-10 bananas or 5 grapefruits. Other raw vegans have become blender wizards! Raw foodies have created raw apple pie, lasagna, bacon, cheesecake, charcuterie boards, “nicecream (ice cream made from bananas)” ¬†and more. For vegans who enjoy eating raw without as much of the commitment, there is an additional community of people who eat raw until 4pm. Along with the classic Vitamix, dehydrators are also common to give some raw foods more of a cooked or less crunchy texture. Some legumes and grains can even be sprouted raw, too.

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If you’re interested in adding raw meals into your diet, the biggest tip I’ve picked up on is to make sure you eat a lot! Raw Doctor Doug Graham suggests for people who are interested in taking up a raw diet to redefine normal food intake, so that no one feels limited to a smaller amount of food that will have insufficient calories. Your stomach might need a little time to get used to the new amount of food intake, but it will eventually expand to accommodate this healthy, unfamiliar way of eating. Protein can be found in foods like nuts, seeds, or raw vegan cheeses. And, as always, never fear fruit! Fruit is absolutely vital for our bodies, and although it has sugar, it is necessary to keep us healthy and happy.

The benefits of raw veganism are nearly infinite. When I was raw vegan, I felt a surplus of energy like nothing I had ever felt. Loading your body full of unrefined or processed foods will nourish your body full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, among other benefits. More than that, raw food diets have been proven to be medicinal if done correctly. Raw veganism has rid people of cancer, inflamed colons, severe allergies, hypergylcemia, autoimmune thyroid disease, high cholesterol, arthritis ¬†and more. Not to mention, fruits and vegetables sound much more appealing than medications! Raw veganism might not be the easiest or even the end goal for most people given how good vegan donuts are, but a few extra raw meals here and there couldn’t hurt!

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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. ūüėČ 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. ūüėČ
  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!

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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 ūüėČ )! It’s only good for you, after all!

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Herbalicious!

Herbs make the perfect addition to any dish, or even beverage! There are so many that it can get a little overwhelming to find out which herb matches up with your latest recipe idea, but we’re here to help! Here are some of my¬†favorite herbs and foods¬†they seem to pair nicely with!

Sage: Sage just might be the prettiest of all the gorgeous herbs out there! Sage goes great in typical western comfort food, like Thanksgiving stuffing or an earthy casserole. It also can be a great compliment to sweeter dishes, with vegetables like butternut squash or a creamy pasta dish.

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Mint: Mint is light and refreshing. It adds a yummy twist to lemonade, or makes the perfect finishing garnish for any dessert. Mint can brighten a salad or a vegan yogurt sauce. If you want a simple snack, top a bowl of watermelon with some fresh mint leaves.

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Basil: Basil is commonly associated with Italian cooking, and can be used in a tomato soup or tomato salad, and goes great on top of pizza. This herb isn’t just for savory items, though, it goes great on top of strawberries, blueberries and other fresh fruity desserts too. Asian Basil can additionally be used in curries or fried rice, or an asian-inspired tofu dish!

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Rosemary and Thyme: Rosemary and Thyme are other herbs popular in Western cooking. The combination of thyme, rosemary and salt taste good on practically any vegetable. Add them to potatoes done any kind of way (roasted red potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, fries) or root vegetables for a delicious side dish.

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Lavender: Lavender is one of the most floral herbs. It puts an elegant and classy twist on fruity drinks. Lavender can be detoxifying paired with hibiscus, charcoal, or lemon water and it has many medicinal properties.

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Cilantro: This herb might have a bad reputation with some folks, but if you aren’t one to find the taste of cilantro soapy, cilantro is so versatile! Asian and Latin¬†cooking tend to be¬†heavy handed with cilantro. It can pep up a spicy curry or add a nice tang to a mango salsa.

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Dill: Dill is almost lemony, and goes great with citrusy dishes. It also goes great mixed into a creamy dip like ranch, or topped on some vegan seafood! Dill is also great with starches and grains like potatoes and orzo.

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Chives: Chives are the classic baked potato topping! They’re great snipped as a garnish or mixed into a vegan herb butter.

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Parsley: Parsley is typically found in Mediterranean or Italian Cooking. It gives a bright pop of green to grains like couscous, mixed into creamy hummus, or to top your spaghetti.

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Now that you know the herbalicious details of some of those most popular herbs, it might be time to get experimenting! Happy cooking!
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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. ūüėČ

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Sammi

Zoos or Sanctuaries: What’s the Difference?

Going to the zoo was always a classic childhood memory… but so was eating animal products, so do some of these childhood memories need more thought? I never truly felt like zoos were just, but I didn’t understand how unjust they¬†were until I learned about the differences between zoos and sanctuaries. Unfortunately, “zoo” and “sanctuary” are not as synonymous as we’d hope. Unlike sanctuaries, zoos tend to keep animals in far more confined spaces since such a vast amount of funding goes¬†towards landscaping, sculptures, t-shirts, and other human-focused amenities. Zoos are also allowed to use disciplinary methods that are physically and mentally harmful to the animals in order for the animals to become easier to work with when they are put on display. Over time, animals fade from being their true selves into a human-inflicted version of the animal they could have been. There is even a term called “zoocosis,” created to describe the common, repeated behaviors of depression and anxiety animals exude when they are in zoos. That certainly does sound like any place I’d like to live in!

Thank goodness¬†for the animals, sanctuaries also exist. Sanctuaries tend to ensure¬†a permanent, realistic and secure home for residents. An average sanctuary, for example, will have between three to 1,000 acres of an animal’s natural habitat for them to live in. ¬†As a result of the animals being surrounded in their natural settings, the residents also¬†tend to express themselves¬†in a more realistic manner comparable to the rest of their species in the wild: animals can swim, run, play, and socialize it up as they please! The animals are also looked after 24/7 to make sure they’re as happy and safe as they can be! Learning about the secrets of zoos was what first propelled me to give up meat. I figured if I thought all wild life¬†deserves freedom, happiness and love, then so do the animals¬†in farming¬†agriculture. There’s a classic saying in the vegan world; “If you wouldn’t want it done to you, it’s not humane.” Luckily, never seeing dinosaurs has never stopped a child from loving¬†them! However, if children do want to meet animals, there are a ton of fun alternatives! Sanctuaries can fill the animal void, and you’ll feel better knowing the furry, feathery, scaly fellas¬†are free from confinement! Boating, kayaking, hiking and whale watching are great alternatives too, and you’re bound to see some crazy critters swimming, crawling or flying around! Try one of these adventures in replacement of zoos, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

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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!

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Sammi

Kombucha 101

It’s not quite soda, it’s not quite beer, and it’s definitely no kind of juice; what is this crazy stuff?! Kombucha, or fermented black tea, was introduced to me a couple years ago when I just started to dive into the health scene. It has a pretty intense taste on its own, but its typically mellowed out with some type of sugar, fruit, herb or even a root like ginger. Kombucha was definitely like nothing I had ever drank, I just knew it did some gnarly¬†stuff for my body. It took me a second to get used to the unfamiliar taste, but now I am so hooked on kombucha that it’s a hassle for me to drink water! Like anything, kombucha is good in moderation. It’s the perfect probiotic to start the morning to wake up your digestive system. It’s brewed with a live culture, otherwise known as a scoby, derived from an ancient Chinese recipe. The vinegar, probiotics, enzymes and different acids also improve energy, detoxification, immune support and joint pain. I would describe it almost as a healthy, earthier tasting soda, and it’s hitting stores everywhere! Even mainstream grocery stores like Kroger are starting to catch on to the new trend. Lucky for fanatics, Louisville has two amazing local kombucha companies! Kentucky Kombucha and Elixir Kombucha have spread to different cafes, markets and stores around town; both with yummy unique tastes that are great to wash down some delicious vegan noms with! Owners of Elixir have taken note of the new-found interest in fueling your body with the right products.

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“There’s kind of an awakening going on in regards to food and beverages,” founders say. “Folks are moving away from conventional beverages like sugary sodas and energy drinks, most of which are devoid of any nutrition and they are moving toward functional and nutritious beverages like coconut water, watermelon water, cold brew coffee and kombucha. We love brewing kombucha not only for the taste but for its wide range of health benefits.¬†We’ve seen first hand it’s impact on friends and family with gut and autoimmune issues. It’s the real deal. We hope kombucha becomes a household product. Gut health for all!”

We couldn’t agree more! The whole V-Grits team is made of avid kombucha drinkers, and we think they’re the perfect pair with our vegan cheese creations! Both V-Grits and Elixir will be sampling Saturday at the Rainbow Blossom off Bardstown Road on Saturday from 11am-2pm. Stop by and get your fix! See you there!

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A Guide for the Ultimate Vegan Sundae

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You scream, I scream, we all scream for cruelty-free ice cream! Ice cream and pastry shops have just started to make gains¬†in the vegan world! Louisville hasn’t got an all-vegan ice cream spot yet, but we’re lucky enough to have options at places like McQuixote’s, Dairy Kastle, Arctic Scoop, Comfy Cow, Baskin Robbins, Graeter’s, and occasionally Louisville Cream, Annie Mae’s Sweet Cafe and Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen! But if you feel like staying in for the night, practically any grocery store carries a variety of nut-milk based indulgences! Cashew milk is my personal favorite base (soy milk is a good runner up!) and comes in flavors like Dark Chocolate Truffle (10/10, would recommend ūüėČ ), Salted Caramel Cluster, and Snickerdoodle. Even the famous Ben & Jerry’s recently launched an all vegan almond-milk based line of ice creams, including flavors like PB & Cookie and Chocolate Fudge Brownie that can be found at Kroger’s or Target! You can also make your own healthier spin on ice cream by throwing some frozen bananas in a blender with a little¬†dairy-free milk! And what ice cream sundae could be complete without the toppings?! We have just the cure for your creamy sundae indulgences! Vegan sundae toppers include:

  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • Junior Mints
  • Dandies Vegan Marshmallows
  • Smucker’s Marshmallow Topping
  • Smucker’s Chocolate Magic Shell
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Pretzels
  • Fruit (strawberries, pineapples, raspberries, cherries, bananas)
  • Soy or Rice Milk based whipped cream (for purchase at Lucky’s) or SoDelcious CocoWhip
  • Ice cream cones (most are actually vegan, but check the allergens to be safe!)
  • Oreos
  • Potato Chips
  • Nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts, almond, peanuts, etc.
  • Dates or Date Syrup
  • Herbs (like mint or basil)
  • Frosting
  • Popcorn
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Brownies made with Ghirardelli ¬†Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
  • Cookie Dough from Half Peach
  • Trader Joe’s or Enjoy Life Foods’ Dairy Free Chocolate Chips
  • Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  • Jam
  • Girl Scouts Thin Mints
  • Granola (watch out for the animal products though, particularly milk and honey!)
  • BeeFree Honey
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond Butter
  • Date Syrup
  • Let’s Do Organic Vegan Sprinkelz

You might have to dig through your bowl just to see the ice cream! We all need to indulge sometimes, and a big bowl of our favorite sweet treat might be just the cure. There’s no shame in a little taste testing! ūüėČ

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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 ūüėČ and show omnivores what they’ve been eating vegan all along!

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Sammi