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April 09 2016

17:26
30 day challenge: day 21

April 08 2016

17:40
30 day blog challenge: Day 20

April 07 2016

15:13
30 day blog challenge: day 19

April 06 2016

17:31
30 day blog challenge: Day 18

April 05 2016

17:37
30 day challenge: Day 17

April 04 2016

17:17
30 Day blog challenge: Day 16

April 03 2016

15:11
30 Blog challenge: day 15

April 01 2016

18:21

Blog Challenge day 14

What you wore today

Today was a bed day so I wore pajamas. These are the ones I mentioned yesterday that are a little too wee at the waist😀2016-04-01 19.11.08


March 31 2016

17:31
30 Day blog challenge: Day 13

March 30 2016

01:00
Blog challenge: Day 12

February 11 2016

10:38

Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks

Snapea Rice sticks

Yushoi sent us some of their healthy Snapea Rice Sticks to try. The four flavours: Lightly Salted; Soy and Balsamic Vinegar; Sweet Chilli and Lemon, and Smoked Salt and Szechaun Pepper are all delicious. Our favourite was the Szechaun Pepper with its rich and smoky barbecue taste.

flavours

All the Snapea Rice Sticks are suitable for vegans and also made in a nut free factory. While reminiscent of puffed corn or potato snacks, Yushoi actually make their products with green peas which are a better source of protein. The flavourings are all natural too. Baked, not fried, they come in a single serving size of 21g and a large re-sealable pack of 105g. So this Valentine’s Day: crisps not chocolate. Okay, maybe crisps and chocolate! And hummus… and tomatoes…

hearts

Snapea Rice Sticks are available at various shops: Tesco, Morrisons, The Co-op, Ocado, Wholefoods, WH Smith and even Amazon.

healthy snacks

The post Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks appeared first on Vegan Family House.

February 02 2016

21:00

The Best of Vegan Chocolates You Can Buy Online

No matter how many times I “give it up”, there’s no getting around the fact that I simply love chocolate. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, with caramel, almonds, peanut butter, you name it.

In my chocolate quests, I’ve found that although many local grocery stores are becoming more hip to the notion of veganism and fair trade chocolate, it’s pretty hard to find gourmet vegan truffles and the likes of vegan fudge or pralines in local shops.

So, I’ve decided to team up with my great friend and founder of The Vegan Woman, Sivan Pardo Renwick, to share my love of gourmet vegan chocolate and present you with the ultimate vegan chocolate guide.

Our Top Gourmet Vegan Chocolate Brands

Booja Booja: v egan chocolate truffles

Lead taste tester: Sivan

Booja Booja does organic vegan chocolate truffles to perfection. Over the years, I have tried several flavors from their truffle collections, including my favorite Almond and Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, their oh-so-pampering Banoffee Toffee Truffles (which are currently only available in their truffle selection box no.2), and their nutty Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles.

The truffles are made up of a creamy, melt in your mouth, pampering center, wrapped up in a dark chocolate outer shell sprinkled with rich cocoa powder.

The Booja Booja Hazelnut Truffles on the left and Rhubarb truffles on the right. Get the truffles via our Amazon link. Image courtesy of Booja Booja.

The Booja Booja Hazelnut Truffles on the left and Rhubarb truffles on the right. Get the truffles via our Amazon link. Image courtesy of Booja Booja.

 

The Booja Booja truffles come in colorful boxes and various selection combinations, so you can choose a box of your favorite flavors, or simply try out a selection box to introduce yourself to their various truffles.

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Booja Booja: Although Booja Booja doesn’t offer specialty Valentine’s truffles, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be impressed with one of their collection boxes, or a festive Booja Booja Vegan Champagne Truffles box…

The Booja Booja gourmet selection box. Get the gift box via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Booja Booja.

The Booja Booja gourmet selection box. Get the gift box via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Booja Booja.

 

Premium Chocolatiers: v egan chocolate truffles, chocolate candies and chocolate bars

Lead taste tester: Beverlyn

Move over Fannie May! Premium Chocolatiers have taken charge in the gourmet chocolate department with a wide selection of decadent, suitable-for-vegans treats, from truffles to peanut butter cups and caramel-nougat bars. My taste buds were definitely treated to their assortment of truffles a couple months ago, and while I am generally a giving person, I found these hard to share!

The Premium Chocolatiers truffles have a perfect outer shell (including one with milkless white chocolate); and they had me savoring every bite. I guess if I had to choose one, oh who am I kidding, if I had to choose a few, they would be the rich Coffee Truffle with a deep dark chocolate center, the Grand Marnier (with the yummy white chocolate shell), and the Salted Caramel that perfectly harmonized sweet with salty.

The Premium Chocolatiers vegan truffle collection. Get it via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

The Premium Chocolatiers vegan truffle collection. Get it via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

 

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Premium Chocolatiers: Premium Chocolatiers offer a variety of options for Valentine’s Day, including Heart Truffle Boxes (regular and large), as well as heart shaped lollipops and strawberry cream filled semisweet chocolate hearts. Word to the wise, you’ll want more than you think!

The Premium Chocolatiers Valentine's gift box. Get the gift box via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

The Premium Chocolatiers Valentine’s gift box.Get the gift box via our Amazon link.Image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers.

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Hotel Chocolat: vegan pralines, puddles, buttons and slabs

Lead taste tester: Sivan

While Hotel Chocolat is not a vegan brand, it offers exquisite vegan chocolates of various shapes and forms, and during holidays, like Christmas and Valentine’s, it also offers seasonal chocolate creations that aim to please vegan hearts across the globe.

My all-time favorite Hotel Chocolat concoction is without a doubt the Gianduja Bombe Selector, a nutty vegan praline that simply melts in your mouth. However, the Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Slab and the Pistachio Crunchers have also been known to make quite a few appearances in our home.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan pralines on the left and Hazelnut slab on the right. Image courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan pralines on the left and Hazelnut slab on the right. Image courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

 

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Hotel Chocolat: While Hotel Chocolat offers a few variations of vegan dark chocolate hearts, I think its All Dark Collection wins for Valentine’s chocolates, hands down.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan gift box. Image: courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

The Hotel Chocolat vegan gift box. Image: courtesy of Hotel Chocolat.

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Nicobella: vegan chocolate truffles and chocolate snacks

Lead taste tester: Beverlyn

Nicobella is a socially conscious company that aims to share its message of plant-based, cruelty free living through its delicious dark chocolates! What’s more, Nicobella makes a conscious effort to use recycled materials wherever possible, actively raises awareness (and funds) for animals in need, helps support local animal shelters on a regular basis, and educates its reader-base on the benefits of a plant-based diet.

I had the pleasure of trying an assortment of Nicobella’s dark chocolate truffles, which were pure, melt-in-your-mouth, dark chocolate lusciousness! Out of the bunch, the Cocoa Bliss with its velvety smooth richness, Cinnamon Turmeric Spice Truffle that leaves your taste buds with a hint of invigorating spice, and incredibly unique Sunflower Butter Banana especially stood out.

The Nicobella Blueberry Almond truffles on the vegan truffle assortment on the right. Image courtesy of Nicobella.

The Nicobella Blueberry Almond truffles on the vegan truffle assortment on the right. Image courtesy of Nicobella.

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Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Nicobella: Nicobella will be featuring special Valentine’s Day items on its website starting February third, and will also be partnering with Yo Soy Candle and Zen Teas to offer a special tea and chocolate vegan Zen Set.

The Vegan Woman followers – pick up a 5% discount code to Nicobella by entering the code veganwoman05 at the checkout!

The Vegan Woman VIP members – you get a 15% discount code! Details of our Nicobella Giveaway are coming your way!

 

Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods: raw vegan fudge, truffles, chunks, and dark chocolate

Lead taste tester: Sivan

Natasha’s Raw and Living foods does various types of delicious, high quality, sugar-free, rich and pampering chocolates, from fudge to truffles and dark chocolate. I tried a selection of these chocolates this past Christmas, and let me tell you, I was wowed by the uniqueness of flavor.

All of Natasha’s fudges and truffles are super creamy and rich, and also have the look and feel of boutique vegan chocolates that were individually made. My favorites are the Brazilian Cinnamon Truffles, the Raw Goji Fudge, and the Raw Fudge with Almond Mylk and Chai Spice.

Natasha's Raw and Living Foods raw vegan Goji Fudge on the left and raw cacao hearts with goji berries on the right. Image courtesy of Natasha's Raw and Living Foods.

Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods raw vegan Goji Fudge on the left and raw cacao hearts with goji berries on the right. Image courtesy of Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods.

 

If you have less of a sweet tooth, and prefer dark chocolate over the sweet and creamy truffles and fudge, you should be aware that Natasha’a dark chocolates are very dark (like none that I have tried before), and unlike the fudge and truffles, would probably not be suitable for children. Also, if you try the dark chocolate, you should know that all of Natasha’s chocolates are vegan, apart from one dark chocolate variation (which contains bee-pollen).

Vegan Valentine’s chocolates from Natasha’s Raw and Living Foods: Natasha’s special Valentine’s offer is the Raw Cacao Hearts with Goji berries. However, her Raw Fudge Collection Box and her Raw Goji Fudge Love Box can make beautiful gifts as well, on Valentine’s and year round.

The Vegan Woman VIP members: You get a 5% discount code! Details of our Natasha’s Giveaway are coming your way!  

 

Creek House Patisserie: vegan chocolate truffles

Another non-vegan brand that offers vegan chocolate and is receiving great reviews is Creek House Patisserie. You can find Berry Berry, Chili Mango, Dark Espresso, and Orange Coconut flavors amongst their truffle offerings.

While I unfortunately couldn’t get my hands on a box prior to this review, they look very promising, and so I decided to add them to our list as our wild card. If you decide to order, just be sure not to get confused with the Creek House Classics (their dairy chocolate line).

Creek House Patisserie vegan truffles. Get them via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Creek House Patisserie.

Creek House Patisserie vegan truffles. Get them via our Amazon link. Image: courtesy of Creek House Patisserie.

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That’s all for our guide to vegan chocolates! I think it’s fair to say that our taste buds were the clear winners throughout this journey into the world of gourmet vegan chocolate, but luckily yours can be, too!

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and let us know what your favorite vegan chocolates are on Valentine’s and year round.

 

Beverlyn Baer

Beverlyn Baer

Guest Post by Beverlyn Baer

Beverlyn is a lover – of animals, life, food, laughing, movement, adventure, contemplation, musical journeys, continuous learning and finding the beauty in seemingly small and mundane elements of life. She is an avid traveler and seeker of new experiences, and shares her love of yoga and cruelty free, nutritious and delicious food wherever she goes.

Cover image: courtesy of Premium Chocolatiers, Hotel Chocolat and Booja Booja.

We have included some affiliate links in our vegan chocolate guide. Please feel free to use them to help support us.

 

The post The Best of Vegan Chocolates You Can Buy Online appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

January 17 2016

17:41

Green Period: 4 Eco-Friendly Vegan Period Products that Will Change Your Life

In most cases, when women go vegan, we think about changing what we eat. Then we turn our attention to makeup and clothes.

But have you given any thought to making that “time of the month” more health-conscious and environmentally-friendly?

What’s so bad about regular period products?

According to the website Healthy Women, the average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals and wildlife in the process.

The average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals, wildlife, and our health.

The average woman uses about 10,000 sanitary products in her lifetime. Products that end up in our landfills or as trash in our water system, hurting sea animals, wildlife, and our health.

In addition to damaging the environment, the chemicals in most commercial products have the potential to cause serious health problems to women. Our skin is our largest organ and also the thinnest, which means that toxins found in most commercial sanitary products can easily permeate the skin in and around the vagina.

In Huff Post article, Women Beware: Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients, Dr. Mercola highlights how “conventional sanitary pads can contain [chemicals to] the equivalent of about four plastic bags”!! Furthermore, the clean white look of commercial sanitary products usually comes from the use of chlorine bleach.

4 Healthy, vegan and eco-friendly solutions for your period

Luckily there has never before been so many products in the market for safe, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly period products. Below I discuss some of my favorite vegan and eco-friendly period products and my experiences with a few of them.

1. No Chemicals, Cotton Pads and Tampons

If you are looking to limit your contact to toxins, the easiest switch is to change to a natural all cotton product such as Veeda. Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Their liners and tampons are sold in a recyclable cardboard box and their pads are wrapped in Biofilm, a biodegradable wrap that breaks down in 6-12 months. Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact.

Veeda Cotton Pads and Tampons: Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Get them via Amazon.

Veeda Cotton Pads and Tampons: Veeda carries a line of 100% cotton pads, liners and tampons that contain no chemicals, synthetics or dyes. Get them via Amazon.

Other perks to this brand are that the price is comparable to commercial brands, they offer free shipping to anywhere in the US, and they are stocked in well-known and accessible commercial stores. Veeda sent me some products to try and, as a long time commercial tampon and pad user, I have to say I was most impressed that they did not irritate my skin like other brands. Since they are 100% cotton, they felt more comfortable than commercial products, had a comparable absorption level, and the adhesive on the pads kept them in place better than other all-natural brands I have tried.

Veeda cotton tampons: Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact. Get them via Amazon.

Veeda’s cotton tampons: Just be aware that if you use applicators with your tampons, Veeda’s are made of plastic, albeit BPA-free and with an offset program to minimize the environmental impact. Get them via Amazon.

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2. Reusable Cotton Pads

Reusable pads are pads you wash, dry, and reuse. Companies such as Glad Rags offer organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics and chemical gels. These pads come as a set of three pieces (a holder and two inserts) in various patterns and colors which you can customize to suit your needs depending on how heavy your period is. And since you wash and reuse the pads instead of throwing them away you not only save money, but you also tremendously reduce your impact on the environment one month at a time.

Glad Rags reusable period pads: organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics, and chemical gels. Get them on Amazon.

Glad Rags reusable period pads: organic cotton pads that are also free from irritating synthetics, and chemical gels. Get them on Amazon.

The price point may initially seem expensive, but the longer you use them the more economical they become. I didn’t manage to get comfortable using these outside the home. Although I am very comfortable with my period, carrying the used clothes pads during the day until I come home from work did not appeal to me at all. What I did love however was that these felt as comfortable as wearing plain underwear, and, since these are washable, I never have to worry about being out of pads when “Aunt Flow” comes to town.

Reusable period pads by Glad Rags: use, wash, dry, and reuse. Get them on Amazon.

Reusable period pads by Glad Rags: use, wash, dry, and reuse. Get them on Amazon.

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3. Menstrual Cups

Perhaps the product that causes most apprehension is the menstrual cup – but you needn’t worry. Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, just past your pelvic bone. You can wear it up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood, then you just remove, empty, wash and re-insert.

Menstrual cups are growing in popularity with brand names such as Lunette, Iris Cup, Moon Cup and Diva Cup popping up online and in stores. Lunette, whose cup sells in over 40 countries, sent me a model 2 size to try. With two sizes available (model 1 for women with light to moderate flow, are younger, or have not experienced intercourse; and model 2 for a normal or heavier flow and for those who have given birth vaginally) you can choose which best suits your needs.

Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, and which you can wear up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood. Get it on Amazon.

Menstrual cup is a silicon cup that you insert in and position in the lower part of your vagina, and which you can wear up to 12 hours while it collects and holds your menstrual blood. Get it on Amazon.

What I liked best about the cup was that I could insert it in the morning, wear it all day (without even feeling it was there) then empty it when I got home in the evening. There is minimal waste since the only thing that you’re disposing is your blood, which is great for the environment. The only advice I offer is that it may take you some time to learn to insert and remove the cup properly. Be patient, make sure you are using the size cup that’s right for you, and in the meantime wear a backup liner in case of leaks.

Lunette Menstrual Cups: Insert in the morning, wear all day, then empty when you get home. Get it on Amazon.

Lunette Menstrual Cups: Insert in the morning, wear all day, then empty when you get home. Get it on Amazon.

A menstrual cup can cost between $15 to $40, depending on the website of purchase and the brand. For the cheaper prices purchase via Amazon and remember, one cup can last years, so treat it as an investment!

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4. Period Panties

Although I wasn’t able to get my hands on one to try, I must give an honorable mention to Thinx. Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.

Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.

Thinx are literally period panties! According to the brand, these panties can be worn alone and keep you feeling clean and dry with some styles absorbing up to two tampons’ worth of menstrual blood. You can also wear them as a backup.

Just be aware that this new product is high demand. As I am writing this sentence they were backordered one month, so it might take you a while to get your hands on a pair.

Want to enter for your chance to win some of these green period products? Join us on The Vegan Woman’s Facebook group for more details!

Think green period

Women will have their period every month for about 30 years of their lives. That is a lot of waste in our landfills and water, toxins in our body and money out of our pockets. These companies are a few of many who are looking to make our periods more healthy, eco-friendly and cost-effective. Support these brands and make your period friendly for us all! 

The post Green Period: 4 Eco-Friendly Vegan Period Products that Will Change Your Life appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

January 11 2016

13:13

Planet Pure

beach

New Year: a time for brisk and breezy beach walks and fresh clean laundry! We used Planet Pure Organic Laundry Liquid throughout December and it proved a most effective product. We had the lavender variety, which smelled lovely and was nostalgically reminiscent of another eco laundry liquid from the distant past (the nineties), Down to Earth, that was also scented with lavender. Planet Pure scores higher on the purity front though: it’s not dyed some chemical colour, instead being a natuPure Living Laundry Liquidral brown and it settles a bit, needing a shake before use.

It washed everything really well, the ingredients including saponin rich soap nuts. The fresh scent of the finished laundry was certainly put to good test, given the deluge there’s been in the last two weeks. There were times when washing had to be brought in from the line and spun again, but it still smelled air dried and nice.

The accompanying stain remover worked well on some festive food stains and we also used it to remove a rusty water stain from a carpet, left by the Christmas tree holder!

0000beach

This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. It has not been paid for and the products were sent free of charge. This is our genuine and unbiased review of the product.

The post Planet Pure appeared first on Vegan Family House.

January 02 2016

13:13

December 31 2015

07:00

Vegan in Chicago – A City Guide

Chicago is one of my all-time favorite cities. Though I was born and raised outside The Second City, my dad went to grad school in Chicago and I have been experiencing its beauty since before I could walk.  Chicago offers the best of both worlds – you can enjoy the excitement of non-stop city life in a huge metropolis, while also feeling the kindness and authenticity of people around you. Chicagoans aren’t jaded, and neither is Chicago’s delicious vegan food! Here is my guide to some of the most delicious cruelty-free eats (and drinks) in the Windy City.

Vegan and vegan-friendly places to eat in Chicago

Rangoli: the most delicious and authentic vegan-friendly Indian food outside of Little India

I heard a lot about this amazing restaurant from online reviews and articles. I am Indian myself, and have been visiting and eating in Devon Street (Chicago’s ‘Little India’) from early age. Rangoli, however, is located in Humboldt Park, and is absolutely the best Indian food in the city without having to drive all the way north to Devon Street!

When I looked at their menu online, I nearly screamed and jumped out of my seat, realizing they serve a dish called Gobi Manchurian! I last ate this dish when I was visiting family in India and I haven’t been able to find anywhere in Chicago that makes it properly since. It’s a fusion of Chinese and Indian flavors; a semi-fried cauliflower dish with crispy herbs. It’s the perfect blend of spicy and sweet – do yourself a favor and order this if you haven’t already! The menu also has tons of vegan appetizers and mains. Be sure to try a few different items and share with friends.

Eat (your pizza) off beat at Dimo’s

The location I am referring to (there are two) is the Wicker Park (6 Corners) location, which has vegan pizza slices daily. This place is awesome! In addition to the classic variety, they do unusual toppings such as a vegan Philly cheese steak, vegan mac and cheese and even a vegan s’mores slice! Definitely go here if you want to eat outside the box!

Two Vegan Slices at Dimo's Pizza. Image: TVW.

Two Vegan Slices at Dimo’s Pizza. Image: TVW.

The slices are bigger than your head, really cheap and not at all greasy. Be sure to ask for a FREE cup of their homemade vegan ranch as a yummy condiment for any slice you choose!

Head to Fritz Pastry for the best vegan brunch and bakes

This vegan place does amazing vegan doughnuts, cakes, and pastries. The owner even makes her own vegan Pop Tarts! Come here for the most amazing vegan doughnut you’ve ever had in your life (the size of your head!) and a filling and hearty brunch with friends! I got a vegan ‘soul bowl’ breakfast here, which was made up of biscuits and gravy, vegan cheese, potatoes, tofu and red peppers.  It was so delicious and really hit the spot; it was also a super unique take on breakfast, which I loved!

Vegan Soul Bowl Brunch at Fritz Pastry. Image: TVW.

Vegan Soul Bowl Brunch at Fritz Pastry. Image: TVW.

Wormhole Coffee = my favorite funky little café

An old-school TV showing Super Mario Brothers, 80s and 90s memorabilia on the wall and a huge replica of the De Lorean (Vintage Back to the Future replica car) adorn this eclectic little café in the heart of Wicker Park. While I’m not a coffee person, I’m in love with their rich, vegan hot chocolate! If you are a coffee person, you can find everything from vegan-friendly lattes, to espressos and unique, seasonal drinks. I love coming here to work, relax and catch up with friends.

Vegan Hot Chocolate at Wormhole Cafe. Image: TVW.

Vegan Hot Chocolate at Wormhole Cafe. Image: TVW.

This place also carries pastries from Fritz (see above), so if you are craving something sweet, you’re in luck, because they have lots of vegan options! One of my favorites? The vegan Twinkies!

Upton’s Breakroom

If you know and love Upton’s Naturals, you will love their awesome 100% vegan café attached to their headquarters in Chicago. When I first visited, I got the vegan bacon mac and cheese, a chocolate vegan soft serve, and a dark chocolate and lavender.

Vegan Bacon Mac & Cheese at Upton's Breakroom. Image: TVW.

Vegan Bacon Mac & Cheese at Upton’s Breakroom. Image: TVW.

The mac and cheese was a pleasant surprise – it’s not your typical, run-of-the-mill vegan mac. It’s got a distinct flavor that’s absolutely delicious! The dark chocolate and lavender cookie was to DIE for. I love all things chocolate and all things lavender so I pretty much knew this cookie was made for me!! Ooey gooey, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. And last, I had the chocolate vegan soft serve! The only other place that has vegan soft serve is Chicago Health Foods, so be sure to treat yourself to this when you go!

Go to Urban Vegan for their famous Orange Chick’n

There’s only one way to describe the Orange Chicken: Holy Flavor Explosion! Please, Veg-Heads of Chitown, do yourselves a favor and go to Urban Vegan immediately and order the Orange Chick’n – it is quite possibly the BEST Thai dish I have ever had! The breading, the orange glaze sauce (which actually comes with fresh oranges in it) and the flavor and texture of the soy “chicken” were all beyond perfection! Best. Dish. Ever.

This vegan restaurant also offers a huge assortment of curries, noodle dishes and authentic Thai desserts. They only use high quality steamed black rice in their dishes so you get even more nutrients in your already tasty meal! P.S. Be sure to try the deep-fried banana dessert and vegan Thai iced tea!

The sexiest juice you’ll ever drink at Owen + Alchemy!

This is the sleekest juice apothecary you will ever find! I first saw their products and juices at the local Dose Market and thought their packaging was just as beautiful as a skincare product. They put so much time and energy into every single thing they do here and it really shows. I also love that it is part juice shop and part apothecary, with herbal blends you can get for different requirements such as immunity, calmness, healthy digestion, etc. They have the classic juices here, such as their green juices, but also a lot of seasonal and unusual juices, such as one with sweet potato which I found interesting and delicious.

Turmeric Shot at Owen + Alchemy. Image: TVW.

Turmeric Shot at Owen + Alchemy. Image: TVW.

They have recently come out with raw vegan smoothie bowls which are INSANELY delicious, nutritious and filling! Owen + Alchemy seriously sets itself apart from any other juice place I have been to ever.

Vegan groups and vegan events in Chicago

Vegan groups

If you are looking to meet up and associate with fellow vegans, whether by attending vegan holiday meals, going to vegan potlucks and volleyball events on the beach along Lake Shore Drive, or other social opportunities, Chicago has you covered!

Groups like Vegan Chicago Meetup, Chicago Veg Meetup, and the Vegan Chicago Facebook page are a great place to start when finding vegan communities in Chicago. There is so much support and great advice in these groups, and I myself have made many lifelong friendships by attending events which have been held through these groups!

Annual vegan events

Annual events such as the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade and the Chicago Veganmania festival are wonderful places to take action against cruelty to animals. Both events grow each year and bring lots of attention to the plant-based lifestyle. Chicago Veganmania festival features countless talks by vegan activists and influencers from local, national and international levels, as well as food demos, and food samples from vegan and cruelty-free restaurants. The parade, which takes place in downtown Chicago, is also a great spot to get to know local vegans and businesses that you can enjoy year round.

Veganmania Chicago Festival. Image: TVW.

Veganmania Chicago Festival. Image: TVW.

As you can see, Chicago has lots to offer us vegans, from delicious food, drinks and cafes to a thriving vegan community; and as our community keeps growing, I am constantly meeting fellow, compassionate veg-heads! It’s incredible to be a part of it all.

Cover image: TVW.

The post Vegan in Chicago – A City Guide appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 24 2015

07:00

Understanding Meat Eaters, Creating Change: Interview with Dr. Melanie Joy, Vegan Activist of the Month (Video Included)

Why do most people not only continue to eat meat but also defend the habit despite the knowledge that it’s destroying the ecosystem and causing harm to their bodies? Why do non-vegans continually discredit and even persecute vegans whose intentions are to cause the least amount of harm possible to animals and the environment? Why do vegans often have such a difficult time convincing omnivores to even consider veganism; a diet and lifestyle that’s been shown to be the most beneficial to both our bodies and the planet? 

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions then Dr. Melanie Joy’s work is for you. 

Dr. Melanie Joy, internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and president and founder of Beyond Carnism. Image: Image: courtesy of Dr. Joy.

Dr. Melanie Joy, internationally acclaimed speaker, author, and president and founder of Beyond Carnism. Image: Image: courtesy of Dr. Joy.

Changing our understandings, defining the issues 

Dr. Joy wears several hats – she’s an activist, an internationally acclaimed speaker, an author, and president and founder of Beyond Carnism, a charitable organization dedicated to exposing and transforming carnism. 

Carnism is the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals. It’s why most people in the West will enjoy steak from a cow but are horrified at the notion of eating a dog or a cat. Delving deeper into Dr. Joy’s work and unraveling carnism into its various components can not only answer the above questions but can also give us much insight into the psychology of why people eat meat. This understanding may serve as a helpful first step in assisting meat eaters in making their transition into veganism. 

Interview with Dr. Melanie Joy 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Joy, learning of her “accidental” journey into veganism, and discussing how her theory of carnism is an essential tool for vegans to understand meat eaters and assist them in making their transition to a cruelty-free lifestyle. 

In the last part of the interview, we also had the chance to talk about an interesting and rarely discussed concept of vegans experiencing trauma caused by exposure to animal exploitation, and how this can affect the ability of some activists to continue their efforts.

 

Further exploring Dr. Joy’s work 

If you’re interested in learning more about carnism pick up the book “Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows” and visit Dr. Joy’s site Carnism.org.  

You can also read the article she mentioned in the interview, “Speaking Truth to Power” or watch her talk on sustainable activism.

Dr. Melanie Joy's Why we Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows book cover. Click here to purchase the book via our Amazon link.

Dr. Melanie Joy’s Why we Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows book cover. Click here to browse or purchase the book via our Amazon link.

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Below you will find Dr. Joy’s Ted talk, Beyond Carnism and toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices, followed by her lecture Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat.

 

 

If you’d like to support Dr. Joy’s organization, which has brought carnism awareness to over 40 million people in 27 countries, you can make a donation at her website Carnism.org. From now through June 20, 2016 grassroots donations are being doubled by a generous matching grant, so your gift can have twice the impact for a sustainable vegan movement.

Thank you Dr. Joy for taking the time to speak with us and for all the wonderful work you do to promote veganism and to help end animal cruelty. We are proud to have you featured as one of our highlighted activists, and hope many others will be inspired by your work.

Dr Melanie Joy Vegan Activist of the month

Cover image: courtesy of Dr. Melanie Joy. Modifications by TVW.

The post Understanding Meat Eaters, Creating Change: Interview with Dr. Melanie Joy, Vegan Activist of the Month (Video Included) appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 17 2015

07:00

10 Ways to Veganize Christmas and New Year’s

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Coming together with family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, making resolutions for the New Year and – if you are anything like my family – eating and drinking until we are positively stuffed!

When I first became vegan, I felt sad and stressed around the holidays. I didn’t understand how everyone could continue to joyously celebrate and carry out traditions that were unkind to animals in so many ways. Over the last few years, I have come up with some ways to veganize Christmas and New Year’s so that I can still enjoy the holiday season; so in the holiday spirit, I thought I’d share these traditions with you, in the hope that you can use them to have a fun and cruelty-free holiday too!

1. Decorate your house and tree with veganism in mind

Decorating the Christmas tree and house or apartment is one of my favorite parts of the whole holiday season. It’s easy to make this experience vegan-friendly, because it (usually) doesn’t revolve around a meal or gifts.

Surprise your family with a vegan themed ornament, or create your own festive decorations that honor animals to hang around the house.

Vegan ornaments can be a fun touch to your Christmas decor. Click here for vegan ornaments on Amazon via The Vegan Woman's partner link.

Vegan ornaments can be a fun touch to your Christmas decor. Click here for vegan ornaments on Amazon via The Vegan Woman’s partner link.

Whilst decorating, I like to set the mood with holiday music and treats. This is a great time to “test drive” a new vegan dessert recipe you’re thinking of serving at Christmas, or try a new vegan holiday drink.

2. Plan out your day

Where will Christmas be this year, at your house or someone else’s? If you are a guest, does the host know that you are vegan? Will the meal be vegan, vegetarian or neither? Knowing all the details and preparing yourself mentally can help make for a smooth Christmas.

I have found that coming up with a game plan as a family ensures a happier and less stressful day for all. Start an e-mail thread or Google Doc where everyone can contribute ideas for the menu and activities. Not only will you personally feel good knowing you are adding vegan touches to the festivities, but this way everyone gets to bring their own special ideas to the day as well.

Shop for vegan friendly presents. Image: Shutterstock.

Shop for vegan friendly presents. Image: Shutterstock.

3. Shop for vegan-friendly presents

Whether you like to shop for a gift for everyone, or your family has a Secret Santa tradition, there is a vegan-friendly present out there for everybody!

Purchase a membership to a farm sanctuary or sponsor a farm animal in a loved one’s name. If a family member is thinking of adopting a companion animal, give a gift certificate to the local shelter or humane society. Buy cruelty-free cosmetics, lotions, candles, or clothing. Give the youngsters of the family books, movies, or toys, with positive animal messages. Purchase or create a vegan cookbook for a family member that has enjoyed many of your recipes. Find a vegetarian or vegan restaurant where your loved ones live and treat them to a gift certificate. Bake your own vegan treats for family members with a sweet tooth. Buy vegan chocolates, clothing or other merchandise from an animal welfare organization’s gift shop.

A new tradition that my mom started is ordering vegan chocolate caramels from Farm Sanctuary. Your loved ones can enjoy a decadent treat while helping farm animals – a win-win!

4. Prepare a vegan Christmas menu

Depending on your family’s traditions, and your preferences for food, some like to keep menu items very traditional (i.e. vegan “ham”, mashed potatoes, pudding, and fruit cake). I personally like to shake things up and try new things each year. For instance, last year I brought a vegan gnocchi dish and chocolate peanut butter balls.

Some of my favorite borrowed recipes include:

For appetizers: Hummus, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, “Devilish Potatoes

For mains/sides: Mushroom Risotto, Squash, Portobello, and Spinach Casserole, Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa

For desserts: Christmas Cookies, Vegan Cheesecake, Vegan Ice Cream

Don’t forget beverages can be delicious, too. Offer to bring vegan hot chocolate for the kiddos or supply the fixings for a vegan Hot Toddy. If you prefer alcohol-free drinks, prepare a tasty vegan fruit punch or mocktails for all to enjoy.

For more vegan food inspiration, feel free to check out The Vegan Woman’s recipes section.

Add your special touch to the holiday. Image: Shutterstock.

Add your special touch to the holiday. Image: Shutterstock.

5. Add a special touch

Think of a way to add your own special touch to the holidays. There are so many ways to personalize Christmas with cruelty-free finishing touches that everyone can enjoy!

Come up with a music playlist so that your family has some great background tunes. Get lots of vegan candies and pass them around to the kids. Treat everyone to a vegan liquor, or if you’re not hosting, bring a vegan bottle of wine, vegan chocolates, or a holiday playlist that you think your host would enjoy.

6. Plan fun activities that don’t revolve around food

Some of my favorite traditions and holiday memories don’t include food at all. (Not to say that you can’t snack while enjoying these activities!)

Set aside some time for games with your family. Some of my favorites include Cranium, Apples to ApplesCards Against Humanity (after the kiddos have gone to bed!), and good old fashioned Charades.

Another favorite pastime is watching holiday movies with everyone. This is also a fun tradition for Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve, if you are staying in. Some of my favorites are Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf, and It’s a Wonderful Life. For more kid-friendly options, try Frozen, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Santa Clause, and Polar Express.

There are many ways to promote veganism - choose the ways that work for you!

Volunteering together can be a great way to bond and spend meaningful time together. Image: Shutterstock.

7. Volunteer at an animal shelter or visit a sanctuary

Get your family on board for a fun day out in the holiday spirit with a special meaning.

Pick a day around the holidays where your family or friends are available and volunteer together at a shelter or visit animals at a farm sanctuary. This activity will allow you to bond, working side by side doing something meaningful, and it will warm everyone’s hearts to be around animals and spreading the Christmas love!  You might find everyone enjoys themselves so much it could even become a new Christmas tradition for you.

8. Make cruelty-free New Year’s plans

Whether you are going out or staying at home, make sure you have everything you need for your Vegan New Year. Image: Shutterstock.

Whether you are going out or staying at home, make sure you have everything you need for your Vegan New Year’s celebrations. Image: Shutterstock.

Whether you plan to go out on the town or like to stay in on New Year’s Eve; whether you will be with a big group of people or a smaller group, plan ahead to be sure you have all of the cruelty-free things you need to celebrate.

If you plan to go out for the evening, enjoy your vegan dinner before you go out, or make a reservation at a vegan or vegan-friendly restaurant ahead of time. If you are staying in or entertaining, come up with a tasty vegan dinner menu with some awesome vegan appetizers. Find a vegan champagne and play some fun board games!

Don’t forget to have some yummy vegan breakfast fixings in your house for New Year’s Day!

9. Pick a New Year’s resolution that aligns with your values

When you’re coming up with your resolution(s) for the New Year, why not choose a vegan focus? Set goals for healthier eating, or challenge yourself to use all vegan-friendly products, cosmetics, clothing, and other items this year. Design an exercise plan for yourself, plan a vegan vacation, or purchase a membership to a meaningful vegan organization. There are countless ways to veganize your New Year’s resolutions – come up with a fun and creative one that works best for you!

How to Help Others Go Vegan

Start the new year with helping a friend or a family member go vegan. Image: Shutterstock.

10. Help a friend or a family member to go vegan

Do you have friends or family members who are interested in going vegan? The New Year is a great time to make a fresh start with compassionate, healthy and positive decisions. Why not suggest a vegan program to assist them in attempting to go vegan in the New Year? Send them a link to a free online program like the 22+ Vegan Challenge or purchase a program or consultation to help set them off to on their new beginning in the most positive way!

One more tip: keep track of what worked and what didn’t

Maybe it’s just me, but by the time the holiday season rolls around each year, I inevitably find myself scrambling for recipe, gift or planning ideas. Keep a holiday journal for yourself so that next year you can remember what was successful, and what didn’t go over so well. Write down your New Year’s resolution, and keep track of how it goes for you. This way, you will hopefully feel even more prepared and confident to veganize your Christmas and New Year’s traditions next year!

Wishing a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

 

The post 10 Ways to Veganize Christmas and New Year’s appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 10 2015

07:00

Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition: Review of the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course

As someone who has been deeply immersed in the vegan world for the last four (almost five) years, I have been exposed to an abundance of information regarding the health dangers of animal-based foods and the health benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet. Still, I was genuinely surprised by the new understanding and re-affirmed confidence I gained by taking the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course.

I have been asked by many of The Vegan Woman followers whether I recommend the program and whether I feel it is suitable for various purposes. So I decided to put together a review that consists of five reasons I would recommend the course, including some pointers that will help you figure out if this program is right for you.

Sivan Pardo Renwick, the founder and director of The Vegan Woman, holding her Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Image: TVW.

Sivan Pardo Renwick, the founder and director of The Vegan Woman, holding her Plant-Based Nutrition certificate from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Image: TVW.

5 Pointers to help you decide whether to enroll in the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course

1. The content

While much emphasis is given in the course to Dr. Campbell’s protein research, The China Study, understanding nutrients, and the correlations between nutrition and health/disease, I was pleasantly surprised that the course also offered a wider scope of understanding and topics. These included fascinating lectures that supported the main theme, including:

  • The psychology and physiology of poor eating choices (the reasons we lose our bearings in the food pleasure trap).

  • The way research is funded, what shapes public policy and what shapes the information the public is exposed to.

  • Understanding food labels and how to read and truly comprehend what they mean.

  • The environmental impact of our food choices.

I found that the lectures not only provided great information, but also challenged certain perceptions that I had, from how widely nutrient density in our food may vary to newfound realizations about nutrition in general – and my own nutrient consumption specifically – including the role that carbohydrates, fats and protein play in my diet. With that said, you should be aware that this is NOT a clinical nutritionist training program, and although this course offers continuing education credits for health professionals, and plenty of nutritional knowledge – some of which we can all hope will one day become part of mainstream nutritional and medical curriculums – you should not expect the course to cover nutrition and various nutritional aspects as a whole.

2. Top-notch lecturers

Another aspect I greatly enjoyed was the variety of lecturers in the program. The course is mostly taught by Dr. Campbell, with many guest lecturers, including leading and notable physicians Dr. John McDougall and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and experts such as professional Ironman triathlete and fitness expert Brendan Brazier and climate scientist Dr. Bruce Monger.

Some of the lecturers of the plant based nutrition course. Image: courtesy of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

Some of the lecturers of the plant based nutrition course. Image: courtesy of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

The majority of the lectures and speakers were new to me. However, I found that even with lecturers and talks that I had already been exposed to, listening to them in the structured context of the course – with the opportunity to discuss, explore and clarify topics with the courses’ teaching assistants – gave these lectures an added value and clarity.

3. Analytical tools

One thing I totally didn’t expect to gain from the course, but which ended up being one of my most important takeaways, were the analytical tools taught through various readings and exercises. 

We live in a world where new research and studies are being published almost every day. Their sometimes contradicting and sensational claims can leave people highly confused. The public follows trends and tends to believe media publications without thorough examination. The analytical tools gained in the course allow students to properly examine supposedly reliable studies and articles through a series of questions and examinations. In the end, they are easily able to tell if an article is of any merit or if it is just another marketing twist weaved from an unreliable study. The reason I love this aspect of this course so much is because of the self-reliance and confidence these tools cultivate, which will empower students in their daily lives for years to come.

4. Demographics and suitability

If you are wondering whether you have the proper background to benefit from this course, you might be surprised to learn that the course is taken by a wide range of people from various backgrounds. The course can be taken for continuing medical education credit, so doctors, nurses, health and nutrition coaches, and the general public were among my classmates. This mixture of backgrounds and perspectives allowed for some truly interesting discussions.  The difference in backgrounds was never an issue, as each student could take the course at his or her own pace within the timeframe given and discuss topics directly with the teaching assistants as needed. 

What is important to note, though, is that if you are an ethical vegan, you might find this course difficult to go through, due to the many references to animal testing in Dr. Campbell’s talks. What kept me going in those difficult moments was the realization that while many people are motivated by ethics in their decision to go vegan, a tremendous number of people who have gone vegan thanks to Dr. Campbell’s groundbreaking work, have done so solely for the enormous health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet which his research shows.

5. The technicalities and the support

It might seem strange, but I can’t conclude my review without mentioning the technical side of the course. This topic ranges from dealing with the administration to the online platform to the supportive structure and outstanding course instructors.

From the administration standpoint, I found the program to be impeccably organized, with the course syllabus, discussions, registration details and all needed information readily available and easily accessible. When I needed to extend the duration of the course (take the three parts of the course with a two-week break in between), the administrative staff made it easy and were very accommodating. The platform used to carry out the course was very user friendly and accessible, as well.

And lastly, a word about the course instructors: They accompanied the students throughout in a professional and impressive manner, offering outstanding feedback and responsiveness to questions and assignments. I think students who take the course stand to learn almost as much from the instructors as they do from the lecturers.

Career opportunities

I hope my review has assisted you in figuring out if this course is right for you. As more and more careers call for plant-based diet experts I believe programs like this will become in high demand.

As a vegan lifestyle expert who promotes veganism and the vegan lifestyle, leads workshops, and guides individuals, groups and online communities through their transition to veganism and plant-based diets, I found that the course was a great step in my career development and in my continuous efforts to provide those I guide with the most up-to-date knowledge and motivation to enhance their vegan lifestyle choice.

Holiday SaleDiscounted course rate

For those of you interested in enrolling, the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell are offering 15% discount on this course throughout December 2015.

Click here for the discounted rate and enrollment details.

The post Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition: Review of the T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition Course appeared first on The Vegan Woman.

December 07 2015

10:09

A Mheaty Roast!

roast dinner

Pictured above is a very delicious Mheat fillet, stuffed with mushroom risotto and wrapped in puff pastry. Everybody loved it. Everybody wanted more. Served with baby broad beans, asparagus and a garlic and rosemary roast tomato, it made a very good meal and would be a good festive choice.

en croute

The fillet itself is really meaty, being made with wheat gluten, though less dense and solid than some seitan products we’ve tried, making it simple to stuff and wrap. Unlike tofu, mheat is flavoursome to begin with, savoury and salty. It’s also a good size, easily feeding four people. If you need a mushroom risotto recipe there’s one on the Yule page in the midst of Cat’s ‘Now that’s what I call a Christmas dinner’ mushroom parcel.

You can read more about the artisan made, small batch Mheat products on Sgaia’s website here

roast dinner

This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION It has not been paid for and the products were sent free of charge. This is our genuine and unbiased review of the product. Sgaia Foods are listed with the VLA and you can see their listing here.

The post A Mheaty Roast! appeared first on Vegan Family House.

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