Tag Archives: the veg life

Vegan Meat Alternatives

This article was written 20.11.12, when COVID was still running rampant/wasn’t under control. (At least in Toronto) Please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer applicable.


Disclaimer: This article contains links to graphic videos of animal slaughter. If you have issues with watching, I recommend not clicking the video links, but I implore you to ask yourself: if you can’t watch, should you really continue to fund it?


I’m gonna be honest, when I started doing this series, I didn’t really have a plan other than making pretty-ish collages of vegan alternatives. However, after giving it some thought, I realized that I should be taking this time to educate the non-vegan, and new vegans, to show them what options there are, so they don’t have to freak out and go through that ‘wait… what am I gonna eat?’ phase.

Hopefully if you’ve stumbled upon this article on the vegan section of a website, you already know what’s wrong with eating meat, but just in case, here’s a quick refresher:

  1. As you hopefully already know, you have to kill an animal to be able to eat it’s dead body. Sooo, not to be ‘that’ vegan, but yes meat is murder! (There’s a reason why it’s a popular chant!) And, as we (hopefully) all know, murder is wrong.

Slaughterhouses are giant murder factories. Animals go in alive, and come out chopped into pieces wrapped in plastic. As if murdering them wasn’t enough, the animals are also often traumatized, by either being abused, or by hearing their friends and family (yes, animals have friends and family!) being killed in the next room, or both. ‘Oh, Ater’ you say, ‘but animals don’t know what’s happening! They’re not that self-aware.

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Well, how about you look at this picture, and I mean really look at it. Are you still gonna try to tell me that’s not fear and sadness in that animal’s eyes? Does that expression look like the expression of someone who doesn’t know what’s going on? What if I told you this is a picture from a video that was shot in 2015, and this animal has been dead for 5 years. Now do you care? What if this was a picture of a dog, instead of a pig – would you care then? Why?

If you believe dogs have souls and deserve to live, so should other animals. Not all animals are as smart as dogs, but does that mean they deserve to die? What if we did that with people? Dogs on average are about as smart as 2 year olds, so what if we just killed everyone not as smart as that. Does that sound even remotely like an okay thing to do?

And, while we’re on the subject of intelligence, pigs have actually been shown to be more intelligent than dogs. So… why is it okay to eat one, but not the other? Tell me, truly, what’s the difference?

 

2. Humans as a whole are so overly murdering animals, it’s crazy. Seriously, the shear number of animals that are being killed every minute is insane to think about. In fact, why don’t you check out this site, and watch the numbers go up. That is a lot of lives that are being lost. On average, humans kill 3 billion animals every day. Yes, you read that correctly 3 billion animals die every day!

To put this into perspective, on 9/11, roughly 2,900 people died. That was enough to change basically the world as a whole, and there were many changes enacted to make sure something like that never happened again.

That is only 0.0000966% of 3 billion. But for animals, nobody cares? What if we killed that many people everyday? At the time of writing this article (20.11.12), there are 7.8 billion humans on Earth. If we were to kill humans at the same rate we killed animals, the human race would be extinct in 17 days.

17 days!

And this isn’t even mentioning all the terrible environmental factors that slaughterhouses, and needless breeding of animals has on the planet.

But, in the interest of keeping this short, let’s move on.

So, now you know meat is terrible, and you’ve agreed to stop funding murder – awesome! But, now you may be wondering, what else is there to eat?

Well, thankfully, there have been amazing strides in the vegan movement in the past couple of years, and it’s easier than ever to stop eating meat!

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Starting from the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Beyond Meat Beyond Burgers
  • Gardein Beefless Strips
  • Gardein Beefless Ground
  • Gardein Chick’N Patties
  • Gardein Chick’N Scallopini
  • Gardein Turk’y Cutlets
  • Gardein Stuffed Turk’y
  • Tofurky Veggie Roast
  • Gardein Porkless Bites
  • Beyond Meat Beyond Sausage
  • Tofurky Italian Sausage
  • Yves Veggie Dogs
  • Yves Veggie Ham
  • Yves Veggie Bologna
  • Gardein Fishless Filets
  • Gardein Crabless Cakes
  • Seitan

This collage show only a small sample of all the different vegan friendly ‘replacement’ meats currently available. Basically any meat you want to eat has a substitute. And, these are just some of the convenience foods available. There’s also tofu, tempeh, or heck, even vegetables, such as mushrooms or jackfruit can be used as a meat substitute. (Depending on the dish, of course)

All it takes is a little know-how to make kick-ass faux meat dishes. Or, instead of trying to replace meat directly with substitutes, you could also try making different dishes. Expand your meals from being meat-centric, to include ones that put veggies in the spotlight.

Instead of trying to replicate steak and potatoes, why don’t you try making stuffed bell peppers? You can replace the ground beef or chicken (or whatever meat you’d usually put in the rice) with lentils, or mushrooms. Add in some of the usual suspects (corn, broccoli, carrot, etc.) and BAM! You’ll have one seriously hearty dish on your hands. I guarantee you that you won’t even notice the lack of meat in the dish.

There are tons of veg-centric meals just waiting for you to try them. So why not give it a whirl? And if you need some help? No worries! There are tons of vegan cookbooks, blogs, Youtube channels and even Instagram accounts out there for you to draw inspiration from. One of my all time favourite Youtube channels is HotforFood. Lauren is a master in the kitchen, and makes all kinds of breaking-vegan-stereotype dishes. She has recipes for burgers, mac n cheese, gravy, and even a vegan ranch dip! In a lot of her videos, she also explains why she uses certain ingredients, instead of keeping you guessing.

When I first went vegan, I watched a lot of her videos, and learned a lot from her videos about combining certain ingredients to get certain flavours. So go ahead and give it a try! There’s never been a better time to test out new recipes. (Not like you’re leaving the house, anyway)


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Sources:

Extinct in 17 Days

Scared Pig Picture (still from video)

3 Billion Animals Killed Per Day

Gardein Original Breakfast Saus’ge Patty Review

I don’t think there has been a product from Gardein I’ve tried that I haven’t liked. I don’t know how, but they keep coming up with awesome new foods to try, and I’m always game!

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So, Gardein actually has 2 kinds of these breakfast sausage patties, they have these plain/original ones, and they have maple ones. They taste exactly the same, but the maple one has maple syrup on it, so this is going to be like a combined 2-in-1 review.

These sausage patties are pretty small, which I like, because they fit perfectly on an English muffin. They have what I believe would be a ‘classic’ sausage taste, and have a good consistency, as well. They aren’t too squishy, and have a good bite to them. Pan frying them with some oil gives them a nice ‘crust’ on the outside, so they get a bit more crunch to them. I don’t know if you’d be able to tell by the consistency if they weren’t meat, but from what I remember, they’re pretty close. (Though I’m at 5 years vegan now, so my memory may be fading)

The only problem with these – as with most vegan products – is the amount that comes in the bag. 1 pack only comes with 5, which leads to disappointment when you open it, because they’re so small, so it makes the bag look even emptier. You could easily fit at least 2 more patties in the bag. Or, if you don’t want to add more patties to the bag, you could use a smaller bag! The bag is the same size as all the other products, and honestly I think that’s just a waste of packaging. Either add more product, or make a smaller bag.

I wish they had these, or the maple ones, as actual breakfast sausages (the round kind), that would be even more perfect. Because while these patties are great, if you don’t have English muffins on hand, they look so sad in a regular bread sandwich, or even on a bagel. If they made ‘real’ sausages, then you could have them on the side, instead of turning them into a sandwich, and that would lend itself well to not feeling like you need to make a sandwich for breakfast. And yes, I know you could have these patties on the side, but I feel like they look weird being ‘on the side’ instead of in a sandwich.

If you’ve been looking for something to elevate your breakfast sandwiches, you definitely have to try these. Either the plain or maple ones. They make great breakfast sandwiches, especially with some black salt and nooch on a toasted English muffin. Which is funny, because that’s one of those things I didn’t realize I missed until I had it again, and then I was like, ‘oh, yeah….’

I don’t often eat breakfast type foods, but these are definitely going on my regular shopping list.


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Culcherd Herb and Garlic Cheese Review

In keeping with my theme of last year, I decided for this years’ Valentines’ review, that I’d do another cheese. Because even though I’ve yet to try it, fondue just seems very romantic. And you can’t do fondue without cheese, right?

This cheese is by a company called Culcherd, and honestly I’d never heard of them before. Credit to this review goes to my friend Blair, he got his hands on some and was kind enough to share it with me. (This was back before COVID broke the world)

I was slightly hesitant to try it, as I am with most companies I’m unfamiliar with, but I’m glad I did. Also, it came in a hexagon box, so how bad could it have been? I was mildly disappointed that the block wasn’t also a hexagon, but I guess some things are still out of reach.

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Aside from my disappointment that the block wasn’t a hexagon, it was also actually quite small, even for a vegan cheese. The base was just smaller than my palm. (The widest part is just under 3in, or about 7.5cm – and yes, I just measure that for you. You’re welcome) So, it didn’t come with very much cheese.

Up until now, I’ve tried to steer away from reviewing products I didn’t really like, because I don’t want to be shit talking what I’m sure is a great company. However, this cheese just wasn’t my jam. (No pun intended)

I tried it first by itself – as I think you should with any new food – and I have to say, I didn’t really like it. It was quite tangy. Like, over-powering-ly so, and was definitely not the taste I was expecting when I think of ‘cheese’. (Though, to be fair, I mostly ate goat cheese before being vegan, which is quite game-y, so maybe I just don’t know what ‘real’ cheese tastes like?)

It reminded me more of pasta salad sauce than cheese. It had that very tangy/vinegar-y taste. The consistency was soft, making it very spreadable. It was a little firmer than hummus, actually. It’s also one of the very few cashew based cheeses I’ve tried, so I’m not sure if that’s just a thing with turning cashews into cheese, I did notice the other cashew based cheeses I tried had a slight tang to them as well. (Definitely not as strong as this one does, though)

It didn’t go to waste though! I ended up using it as a spread in a wrap, and that made it way better. I used maybe a teaspoons worth, and it was just the right amount for one of those big (12 inch) wraps. My non-vegan brother had some of it on a burger he made, and although he didn’t outright complain about the taste, I could tell it wasn’t his favourite. (Though he’s usually just happy if there’s any cheese he’s ‘allowed’ to eat)

Another thing that surprised me was the price. Even though my block was free, I took the liberty of price comparing it at Good Rebel. (If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should, they’re an awesome vegan grocer here in Toronto) There, the block was $11.99, and on the official Culcherd website, it was about the same ($11.47, but that was marked as the ‘on sale’ price). For reference, on Good Rebel, the Daiya blocks are 6.75, and bigger. So, while I’m glad mine was free, this cheese definitely counts as expensive.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll be buying this cheese again anytime soon, definitely not unless it’s on sale. I do want to try the other blocks and products from this company, because I don’t want to write them off after just trying one product.


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5th Year Veganversary

5 years, baby!

I’ve finally reached the 5 year mark, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Well, technically it won’t be a full 5 years until Saturday (Feb. 6th), but I’m still excited! Each year, I get more excited, because I’ve been vegan longer, and it’s always crazy for me to write down the actual number of years, because in my day-to-day, it’s just how I live now. It feels like it’s been a long time, and I suppose you could argue that 5 years is a long time, but relatively speaking, it’s actually not.

The majority of my life lived up until this point is still non-vegan, and I think that’s the weird part to me. 5 years vegan is amazing, but it’s not even close to half my lifetime. Since going vegan, and learning about all the bad things that happen to animals, I’ve just wanted to erase my non-vegan years, because I’m ashamed of them. I was so ignorant, and even used to make fun of my vegetarian aunt (along with my siblings), and I just look back and cringe so hard that I used to act like that.

And yes, I know that me looking back and cringing at how I used to be is actually a great sign of growth and learning, but it’s still embarrassing for me to think about. It does also help put into perspective how those close to me must see my veganism. A little while ago, one of my closest friends asked me if I was ‘ready to stop this vegan thing’ now that I had been doing it so long. They seemed to be kidding, but that really threw me through a loop. It’s been 5 years, and in the grand scheme of my over-all life, that’s still short enough to be considered a ‘phase’ by some.

It’s sad to me that something that changed my life so radically can be viewed so dismissively by those around me, but it helps me see things through their eyes. Not everyone views this 5 years as a good thing, or even as a big deal, and that’s pretty sad to think about. That someone close to me could be waiting for me to ‘snap out of it’ or something similar is just crazy. ‘Oh yeah, sorry I’ve stopped murdering for 5 years, guess I should get back to it, huh?’ Come on.

If (and this is a big ass if) I was ever going to stop being vegan, it definitely wouldn’t be so soon! I would wait at least until I saved as many animals as I’d previously eaten, so that my scale could be ‘balanced’.

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And I know that it won’t ever truly be balanced – just because I saved the same amount of animals I had a hand in killing, doesn’t make it okay. Those animals still died for a stupid reason, and there is nothing I can do that will ever truly make up for that. I’m just letting you know that would be my rationale.

That said, that won’t happen until I’ve been vegan for 20 years, and by that point, my life would be so much more changed, it’d be even more crazy to ‘stop’.

Even now at 5 years, being vegan is just part of who I am. I can’t stop being vegan any easier than I could stop being left-handed, or stop being short – it’s just part of me. I can’t force myself to start eating dead bodies any more than I can force myself to grow another foot.

It’s just not gonna happen.

I find it especially funny for me to stop being vegan, because I’ve tried so many new foods I never would’ve been able to eat had I not gone vegan. With my food allergies, it was really hard to find non-vegan food I could eat. Like I explain in my Vegandale Festival articles, it still trips me out that I’m able to go to certain places and order whatever I want, and not order the only thing on the menu that wouldn’t make me sick.

I love all the new foods I’ve been exposed to, and being vegan has made me a better chef. I’ve had to learn how ingredients interact with each other, and learn how to build flavour profiles with spices and condiments. For example, when I’m making seitan, I have to mix 12 different ingredients together, just to get the ‘base’ taste of chicken. That takes a whole day to make, and then if I want to use it in something, I have to cook it ‘normally’ on top of that.

It takes longer sometimes to cook vegan, but it’s definitely worth it.

I love being vegan, and I’m hoping I’ve been able to share some of that love and have sparked curiosity for some of you, but I feel like I’ve just been repeating the same thing each year. And while it’s all true – I do think it’s crazy and amazing that I’ve been opened up to basically a whole new world – I don’t want to sound like a broken record, so I think I may just start doing these Veganversary posts every 5 years instead of every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still gonna celebrate it myself every year, but I don’t think I need to make a dedicated post each year, either. I think waiting to make a new post will be better, because a lot can change in 5 years, and I’ll be able to share with you all that I’ve learned. (Unless you like hearing me be amazed each year, in which case leave a comment! Lol)

I’m also still going to be posting veganism articles, so don’t worry. I just realized these Veganversary posts are kind of… I don’t know, maybe dull to read every single year, so I’m gonna cool it. If you want to keep up with what I do on my Veganversary, you can check out my Instagram, as I’m sure I’ll continue to post a picture of my celebratory food.


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Bailey’s Almande Review

This product review was written 20.06.12, while COVID lock down restrictions were just beginning to ease. Please excuse any reference/joke that’s no longer relevant.


This is the last post of 2020!

As per last year, I will be taking the last half of December, and first half of January off from posting.

Posting will resume on January 15th, which will be the 1st Throw Away Fic of the new year!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday festivities, and get some much needed rest after what a crazy year this has been.

I’ll see you guys in the new year!


Now that we’ve made it to the end of the year, I thought it fitting to make the last product review a celebratory one. Because let’s be honest, 2020 was not what anyone expected, and we definitely deserve to have a (socially-distanced) party.

And what better way to say ‘party’ than to booze-it-up?

I’ve never had ‘real’ Baileys before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this. Some of the Youtube reviews I saw said it just tasted like almond milk. I figured how bad could it be?

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Baileys Almond is 13% alcohol, which is way above my usual 5-7% Smirnoff Ice and Blackflys. I tried it by itself initially, to see if it really needed to be added to something else. Immediately, I tasted regular almond milk, but when I swallowed, I got that familiar burn-in-your-throat ‘this is alcohol’ taste. It was a lot stronger than what I was expecting.

To actually drink it, I mixed it 2 shots of it into a regular cup (500ml) of Silk Chocolate Almond, and after mixing it with the drink, that burning alcohol taste completely disappeared. It just tasted like a regular glass of Silk.

Buzz wise, it was pretty good but it did end up giving me a headache. (Maybe I just drank it too fast/have a low tolerance?)

All in all, I would say that if you like almond milk, you’ll definitely enjoy it, and if you need a boozy vegan creamer, I think this would work pretty well.

They don’t make small bottles of it, though, which kind of sucks, because the 750ml bottle is $33, so if you don’t end up liking it, you’ll be stuck with a lot.

Or at least, you’ll have to throw another party so you’re not stuck with it.


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Surprising Vegan Cookies

Important Note: Aside from Decembers’ product review, and the End of Year post, this is the last article for 2020!

I’m going to be taking the last half of December, and the first half of January off, so I will be back with a short story Jan. 15th, meaning the first post will go up the following Monday. (Jan. 17th)

Keep an eye on my social media for the announcement or if anything changes. (Or if you just want to say ‘hey’)


This article was written 20.06.23, when COVID-19 lock down restrictions were just beginning to ease in Toronto/Canada. Please excuse any joke, comment, etc. that is no longer applicable.


With the end of the year fast approaching, and the holidays coming up, I figured now would be the perfect time to do the next Surprising Vegan post.

Whether you’re hosting a circle-of-10 approved party, or want to eat a box while you sit alone watching holiday movies, the below list of surprising vegan cookies – along with the candy and chocolate collages – you now have the snack trifecta of perfect vegan approved stocking stuffers.

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Starting from the top left corner, and going clockwise:

  •  Original Oreo
  • Golden Oreo
  • Birthday Cake Oreo (Red 40, Yellow 5+6, Blue 1)
  • Chocolate Creme Oreo
  • Dark Chocolate Oreo
  • Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie Oreo
  • Mint Oreo (Yellow 5, Blue 1)
  • Double Stuffed Original Oreo
  • Double Stuffed Golden Oreo
  • Original Thins Oreo
  • Golden Thins Oreo
  • Oreo Mini Originals
  • Dad’s Original Oatmeal
  • Dad’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
  • Dad’s Oatmeal Raisin
  • Dad’s Chocolatey Coating Oatmeal
  • Pirate Cookies
  • Fudgee-O Original
  • Christie Maple Leaf Cookies

I was actually surprised that not more of the Oreo flavours used food dyes. This also isn’t a complete Oreo vegan-friendly list. There were some flavours I found that were only available in the US, and while they technically aren’t vegan in the US (due to bone char being used in sugar processing),  I was also (only midly) surprised that some of the more… fun flavours – like Mega Stuffed and Heads or Tails – were US only.

As always, the following are based on the Canadian ingredients I could find. I was also quite disappointed to learn that Mondelez International owned the Dad’s and Oreo brands, which made finding the ingredients much harder than it needed to be. I ended up having to e-mail them, only to get a generic ‘check the package’ answer.

The way their websites are set up is just not user friendly. Every time I do one of these collages and I see that they’re the parent company of a brand, I just know it’s going to be a headache to deal with. You’d think if they didn’t want to take the time to answer e-mails with ingredient questions, they would put it in part of their FAQ or make it readily available on their website, but alas…

Anyway, due to their less-than-helpful response, I had to rely on grocery store ingredients for the above, instead of the actual companies ingredients. This means that the ingredients I found may be wrong, or may change, and I recommend checking the ingredients each time you buy a product, along with checking for your specific country.


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Gardein Chick’N Scallopini Review

I don’t know what a ‘scallopini’ is supposed to be, honestly I think a better name would’ve been a ‘cutlet’ (like their breaded turk’y cutlets) so this review may not be the most accurate.

Call that a disclaimer or warning, whatever floats your boat, but yeah. If I miss something that has to do with it being called a scallopini I apologize in advanced.

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I want to start this review off by saying there’s only four that comes in a bag, similar to the Chick’N Burgers.

Also similar to the Chick’N Burgers and nuggets (and tenders) is the flavour of the chick’n minus the breading. They’re also similar in size to the cutlets which I like. They’re not too small or too big. They’re roughly the size of a chicken breast (I think) albeit they’re not nearly as thick as a non-vegan breast. They’re actually about the size of my palm, which is about 3in x 3in. (Yes, I did just measure that)

They’re a good texture too. They’re not too squishy like some tofu nuggets I’ve had, they have a good bite to them, and you have to put some pressure to the knife if you want to cut them.

The first way I tried one was just pan fried (no oil) and I topped it with some Daiya shreds and put it on a sandwich.

My dad even tried a piece and said he liked it!

Taste-wise there’s not really anything new – if you like their other chick’n products, you’ll probably like this too. Also, the texture is pretty much the same as all their other chicken products. It’s that firm-soft texture that uncooked meat has. (If you remember that)

I think the best way to cook these is in a pan. I think the instructions on the back say to cook them in the oven, but that just takes way too long. Why would I put them in the oven and wait 20 minutes, when I could pan fry and have them done in 10? Also, if it’s a tad under-cooked, it’s still fine, because it’s not actually raw meat, so you don’t need to worry about getting sick. (I’m not a doctor, so don’t quote me on that)

One of the things I’ve actually noticed since going vegan is that most of the premade stuff takes so much less time to cook, it’s insane! That’s definitely another bonus of these, and a lot of the other Gardein products, too.

All in all, these are pretty much their Chick’N burgers, if they were naked instead of being breaded. I like them a lot, and similar to the Chick’N Burgers, I wish they put more than 4 in one bag!


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Vegan Cheese Alternatives

Disclaimer:

This article contains sensitive/graphic (ish) images depicting what happens to cows in the dairy industry for a process called articifical insemination. Please continue with caution and skip over the pictures if needed.


Ah, cheese.

What can I say about cheese?

There are so many different flavours, aromas and ways of making cheese out there… so why would you choose to eat the cruel cheese?

In case you don’t know, to make cheese, you need milk. And milk comes from cows. But, cows only produce milk only when pregnant, much like humans. They don’t ‘need’ to be milked.

This means that in order to get the milk from a cow, the cow first needs to be pregnant. And let me tell you, if you think farmers just wait for the cows to go get it on, you are sorely mistaken. To keep up with demand (which, I don’t really understand because from my memory milk didn’t even taste good), farmers’ need to artificially inseminate the cow, which is a fancy way of saying they shove their arm up it’s ass and shoot semen into the cows cervix with a giant needle looking thing.

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Seriously, who in their right mind would a) think this is a good idea and b) want to continue to fund this? I mean look at that! You see why this is messed up, right?

Anyway, after they do that, they then steal the baby, and either do the same thing to the baby if it’s a female, or they cart off the male to get butchered and if you’ve ever wondered what veal is, well now you know.

To turn milk into the actual cheese that you eat, they add rennet, which is an enzyme that curdles the milk. Yes, you read that correctly, the milk is curdled to make cheese, because cheese is a mold. Check out more on the whole factory process of milk being turned into cheese here.

This also isn’t even mentioning the fact that cheese is addictive. One of the most common things people who want to go vegan struggle with giving up is cheese, and that’s for good reason! Not only is cheese more crave-able because it’s high in fat, but it’s also addictive because of the high concentration of casein. (A milk protein) When casein is digested, it becomes casomorphin, which is a type of opioid. And I think we all know how that affects the brain.

With that said, you don’t have to fear! You can make cheese out of a lot of different things, not just out of cows’ milk! You can not only use other animal milks (like goat or buffalo), but you can also use tofu or different kinds of nuts. Which brings us to the vegan alternatives for cheese:

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In case you don’t know, here are the brands/kinds of cheese in the collage, listed starting in the top left-hand corner, and moving clockwise:

  • Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Block
  • Daiya Jalapeno Havarti Style Block
  • Daiya Smoked Gouda Style Block
  • Daiya Provolone Style Slices
  • Daiya Swiss Style Slices
  • Earth Island* Mozzarella Style Slices
  • Earth Island Garden Herb Style Slices
  • Earth Island Pepper Jack Style Slices
  • Nuts for Cheese Un-Brie-lievable Wedge
  • Nuts for Cheese Super Blue Wedge
  • Nuts for Cheese Smoky Artichoke and Herb Wedge
  • Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge
  • Violife Prosociano Wedge
  • Chao Tomato Cayenne Slices
  • Chao Creamy Original Slices
  • Miyoko’s Double Classic Chive Cheese Wheel
  • Miyoko’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Cheese Wheel

As you can see, there are lots of different types of cheeses out there. These aren’t even all the cheeses these brands make. I tried to showcase some of the different options available, which are tofu, cashew and potato. (Yes, potato!)

I recommend checking out these brands, if you’d like to dip your toes in and see what’s out there, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try making your own cheese at home!

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(This is a picture of my attempt at homemade cashew cheese. While it didn’t turn out quite as hard as I expected, it still tasted good, and was fun to do!)

Quitting dairy cheese may be hard if you find yourself addicted, but begin by replacing it with some of these alternatives, and in the blink of an eye, you won’t even remember not being able to not eat it.

*Earth Island is called Follow Your Heart in the US.


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(Artificial Insemination photo from here)

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Vegan Rob’s Cheddar Puffs Review

These things are amazing!

I’m not entirely sure if they’re supposed to be a straight up replacement for Cheeto’s or something, but I know these are definitely worth trying/buying all the time!

The bag they come in is somewhat small, which I don’t like, but that’s pretty much the only thing I don’t like about these!

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The puffs themselves are pretty big in size, and have a great amount of cheese-y dust on them, that gives them a great flavour. It doesn’t taste like nooch to me, which is good news for all you nooch haters.

They do get pretty dusty, so make sure you have some napkins handy, because that dust gets pretty much everywhere. Also, be sure to have water, because they will dry out your mouth. But, they’re delicious, so it’s definitely an okay trade off!

They have a good crunch to them, too. Again, I’m not sure how the crunch of other puffs compare, but these have a great one-bite crunch to them. It actually kind of reminds me of the consistency/crunchiness of Corn Pops. They have an initial hard crunch, and then almost basically dissolve in your mouth.

There’s really not too much more I can say about these, other than I hope you run out and buy them, because they’re awesome!

This Vegan Rob’s company makes a few different kinds of puffs, not just these Cheddar ones, but I’ve only tried these and the beet ones, and those were…. Well, they tasted like beets, and as someone who doesn’t like beets I did not like them. (They were given to me as a gift, btw) So, I can’t personally recommend checking out their other flavours, because I haven’t yet, but I definitely recommend trying out these Cheddar Puffs, and supporting this company!


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Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders Review

These are some of the very first things from Gardein I ever tried.

I’m not gonna lie, like most of the other chick’n Gardein products, you probably already know what these taste like, so if you like those, you’ll like these.

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One thing I actually don’t like about these, is the fact they only come 10 to a bag. I know from personal experience you can fit 20 into the bag. And, while 20 did slightly overfill the bag, you could definitely put more than 10. Even 15 would be better. I really don’t understand the obsession with vegan companies not making foods in family sizes.

I don’t know about other people, but I don’t want to go shopping every week, and like to buy the biggest quantity of something I can, so I’m not constantly running out to the store for supplies. (And, in light of COVID happening, I think it’s more important than ever to buy things in bulk to limit your amount of outings)

Aside from the lack of food, these are as I said above, not very spectacular. But that’s okay! I actually really enjoy these, they’re pretty fast to make in a pan, and can be eaten by themselves as nuggets, or you can add them to other dishes, like pastas or rice.

The 7 grain breading on them is pretty good, too. While I can’t really describe it – I don’t actually taste 7 different grains, for example – but I can say it’s definitely different than the breading on the Mandarin Orange Nuggets. One thing I can tell you though, is that this breading is way more crumby than the other. It’s not really a big deal, but even after washing my hands I still feel like the crumbs are on me, so be wary of that.

As for the innerds – as I said, it tastes the same as their other faux chicken products. The texture is a bit tougher than the nuggets, though. It’s closer to the texture of the faux chick’n burgers.

Another thing I’d like to mention, I recently noticed that the Gardein bags have changed texture, they don’t feel quite so ‘plastic-y’ anymore. So I did some recon, and discovered they changed their bags to be made out of ____ which is awesome, because this means that while they still come in packaging, they’re more recyclable, and – as someone who recently started getting into the zero waste lifestyle – this is awesome! So while I try to move away from pre-packaged foods, I will still continue to support Gardein.

I feel like the Beyond Burger (and Impossible Burger and the like) are more of the flashy/Instagram-y side of veganism, trying to seem interesting and enticing – while Gardein is more like an old friend who’s always there.

If you haven’t tried their products yet, please go out and support them!


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