Tag Archives: Vegan Food

Surprising Vegan Soup

Hey!

Sorry this post took so long, but I was having… technical difficulties waiting for companies to reply to e-mails. (If you follow me on Twitter, you know what I’m talking about)

Anyway, that’s also why I listed Amy’s Kitchen, because even though they’re marketed as being vegan (and are therefore not really ‘surprising’) I had to include them due to the lack of response from other companies about their products. I may or may not update this post with the new products once I hear back.


Winter is coming!

And what better way to prepare yourself for the upcoming -40 blizzard weather then with some pre-made soup?

Answer: There isn’t. Except for maybe also stocking up on some hot chocolate.

That’s why I’ve decided to make this Surprising Vegan Soup Collage, so that your shopping trips are that least bit less irritating. I know I don’t like coming in from outside, freezing cold, and then get sweaty standing in the aisles of stores because you’re reading ingredients on products.

Also, with the holidays coming up, you’ll want to save as much of your stomach room as possible for the festivities. These soups aren’t too filling, inexpensive and last a while on your shelf. (So you can have them stocked for that mid-January holiday burnout)

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Surprising Vegan Soup - vegan, food, soup

From the top left-hand corner, the soups in this collage are:

  • Habitant Garden Style Vegetable
  • No Name Rich and Chunky Vegetable with Pasta
  • No Name Tomato
  • No Name Vegetable Broth
  • Lipton Cup-A-Soup Spring Vegetable
  • Presidents Choice Hearty Vegetable and Navy Bean
  • Amy’s Kitchen Light In Sodium Minestrone
  • Amy’s Kitchen Light In Sodium Lentil and Vegetable
  • Amy’s Kitchen Split Pea Soup
  • Amy’s Kitchen Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable
  • Amy’s Kitchen Chicken Noodle
  • Amy’s Kitchen Black Bean Vegetable
  • Amy’s Kitchen Minestrone
  • Amy’s Kitchen Vegetable Barley
  • Amy’s Kitchen Lentil Vegetable
  • Amy’s Kitchen Alphabet
  • Amy’s Light In Sodium Split Pea
  • Amy’s Light In Sodium Lentil Soup
  • Campbell’s Soup at Hand Garden Tomato
  • Mr. Noodles Mushroom
  • Mr. Noodles Vegetable
  • Knorr’s Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • Compliments Vegetable Instant Noodles

**As always, these products being vegan is specific to Canada. Ingredients may differ from country to country.**

In my research, I also discovered that Campbell’s has a line of soups called Well Yes! (US only). The ones that are vegan from that list are:

  •  Campbell’s Well Yes! Harvest Carrot and Ginger Sipping
  • Campbell’s Well Yes! Lightly Salted Santa Fe Vegetable
  • Campbell’s Well Yes! Red Bean and Vegetable
  • Campbell’s Well Yes! Chickpea and Roasted Red Pepper
  • Campbell’s Well Yes! Italian Vegetables with Farro
  • Campbell’s Well Yes! Hearty Lentil with Vegetables

And there you have it! 23 soups you might not of known were vegan – completely by accident! You should be able to find these in any ‘regular’ grocery store. (I believe No Name might be a Canada-only brand)

Have an idea of a Surprising Vegan food group I should tackle? Leave it in a comment below!


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Gardein Turk’y Cutlets and Gravy Review

Apparently American Thanksgiving is coming up (Nov. 22nd – two days after First Try comes out!) so I thought this month, I might as well review a Thanksgiving related food. Enter: Gardein Turk’y Cutlets.

I’d like to start this review out with a sort of disclaimer: as I’ve said in other posts, before going vegan, I was pollotarian, which means the only meat I ate was poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.). I’ll admit, I like the taste of chicken the most out of meats. So, during these reviews, most of the products I try will most likely be faux poultry, or, if they seem skewed in that if/when I do review faux beef/pork/etc. product, I might not like that as much as some of the faux poultries, take my opinion not as gospel.

Okay? Okay. So, let’s get started.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Gardein Turk'y Cutlets - vegan food

I’m not gonna lie, these cutlets taste like their Mandarin Orange Chick’n Nuggets and their 7 Grain Crispy Tenders – pretty plain tofu/seitan with breading. I find that – out of the Gardein faux meats I’ve tried – all the faux poultry kinda just tastes the same, with an exception to different breading. Which is fine – I like that taste, so it’s all good.

But the gravy… it tastes like turkey. Not like, ‘oh, it’s sage’ – no. This gravy tastes straight up like turkey. My meat-eater friend confirmed – this tastes like they used real turkey drippings to make the gravy. If this gravy didn’t come out of a Gardein pack, and was just sitting on the table/otherwise handed to me by somebody else, I’d assumed they made a mistake and gave me non-vegan gravy.

And, while I understand wanting to make vegan food that tastes like meat, to me, I just… I don’t know how to feel about this. It tastes a lot like meat gravy, so much so, I got that wretch in the pit of my stomach, because that smell is associated so much with the dead body of a turkey. It was a bit off-putting, to say the least.

I’m one of those vegans, who is okay with eating plants that taste like plants – if it’s close in taste, I’m all for it. When I get skeptical/uneasy, is when it tastes exactly the same. Give me a mushroom burger that tastes like mushrooms, I’m happy. I actually like the taste of plants, so that doesn’t matter to me. (I touched on this more in my Beyond Burger review)

Obviously, if you’re someone who enjoys vegan food tasting near identical to the real thing, I’d say go for it. I’m not going to not recommend something just because it tastes too ‘real’. Also, it’s not even that – this product is good, the chick’n itself tastes like their nuggets, so you could even just use the cutlets without the gravy packet, if that’s something that would freak you out.

I’d say, if you are going to try the gravy, do so more then once – after getting over the initial shock of how close it tastes your brain calms down and it really does start to taste like sage.

All in all, I’d recommend this product, with probably just a word of caution about the gravy. It can throw you if you’re not expecting it, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying an otherwise good product. I know I, myself will definitely buy this product again in the future, (just as I did with the Beyond Burger), but I would do so with the expectation of knowing what I’m getting. I think that would help your first taste-test go well, too.


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Go Max Go Chocolate Review

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought that it would be a perfect time to review one of the best vegan chocolate companies around – Go Max Go Foods. Also, since it’s nearly Halloween, I thought I would do a special review: the chocolate products I’ve tried of theirs in one review. This way, you can have some chocolate along with your candy.

Let’s get on to the first one:

Twilight Bar

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Twilight Bar

Said to be the closest vegan chocolate bar to a Mars, this bar has nougat and caramel and is my favourite of the  bunch! It is so rich, soft and chocolatey it’s seriously drool worthy. The caramel stretches when you bite into it like the cheese in pizza commercials, and that might just be the best thing about this bar.

Oh wait, no – the best thing about it is that the wrapper is purple. And purple’s the magic colour, which is probably why this chocolate bar tastes so good.

 

Cleo’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Cleo's White Peanut Butter Cups

Dude, it’s a white chocolate peanut butter cup. What else do you need?

Only problem? Only two in a pack.

Cleo’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Cleo's Peanut Butter Cups

Like the white chocolate ones, except dark chocolate. Same texture, size and ratio of chocolate to peanut butter goodness.

Buccaneer

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Food Review - Go Max Go Foods - Buccaneers

This one is still good, but it’s too nougaty for my liking. Biting it is like biting into a brick of nougat. And then, the chewing. There’s so. Much. Chewing.

Who knew a brick of nougat would be so dense?

All these chocolates are great vegan alternatives, but the one downside is that they don’t sell them in those giant boxes that the mixes of Mars, Coffee Crisp, Kit-Kats, etc. Come in. I’m sure I’m not the only vegan who would be down for buying a box of these chocolate bars in ‘fun size’, or hell, full size. (Then you don’t have to eat 20.)

They have a few other products I’ve yet to try, (check them out here), but these guys should be your go-to for all your Halloween-y chocolate-y needs.


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Vegandale Festival Review 2018

Vegandale Sign - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018I’m so excited I get to review this festival again. I’m hoping I’m able to go each year it’s on because I loved it even more then last year.

This year, the festival was both Saturday and Sunday, instead of just one day. A whole weekend of vegan food bliss – what could be better?

Vegandale Scenery Liza Simpson - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went in this year with a game plan: bought my tickets in March, went right when it started at 11am, mapped out the best course based on the vendor map they gave us, and brought containers so I could bring the food home. I wanted to have a fool-proof plan of attack so I could try as many different things as possible. I was able to try 17 things this year, and – when compared to the 9 I tried last year – I’d say I definitely got a lot out of the festival. I was happily surprised when I was overly prepared – I went through four vendors in the span of a few minutes – I had to remind myself I had two entire days to try everything and to slow down and enjoy it. I was also happy that I brought too many containers this year, instead of last year when I wished I’d brought more.

I was also over-the-moon happy that some of my friends wanted to go this year, and one of my best friends said they’d happily come back next year with me! I’m so glad they had fun as well.

Vegandale Humour Sign - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The worst things about this year’s festival was the fact I got a bit sunburned (despite slathering myself in sunscreen every two hours) and the fact the festival grounds felt a lot smaller this year. I’m not sure if it’s because there were less vendors, or because it seemed bigger the first time with all the excitement of it being my first festival, but that was a bit sad to me.

Alright, that’s enough of a prelude, time to get to the food!

(Unlike last year, these are listed in order of what I tried first)

Southern Fried Vegan – Soul Bowl

Southern Fried Vegan Soul Bowl - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Mac n’ cheese, corn and a big ol’ hunk of chick’n on top – what more could you want?

I have to say, I was a little bit hesitant about the corn in the mac n cheese (seriously, is that a thing?) but it turned out to be pretty good. The mac n cheese had a bit of a kick to it, and was creamy and cheesy. It wasn’t super stretchy cheese or anything, but was definitely a good sauce.

The chick’n was good too – it wasn’t chewy or squishy either. I’m not sure if it was seitan or not, but it had a good bite to it – wasn’t too hard, and definitely didn’t over-shadow the rest of the dish.

All in all, I’d definitely get this dish again if it was available. Wasn’t the best thing I had, but it definitely wasn’t bad either.

 

Island Noodles – Soba Noodles

Island Noodles Soba Noodles - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit, I’m a sucker for noodle dishes (one of my fav things ever is lo mein), so there was no way I was passing on these guys. Also, they came all the way up from friggin’ Hawaii.

Soba noodles are made from mostly buckwheat (I asked the vendor) and they closer to egg noodles then rice noodles or spaghetti. They were pretty good.

This dish was basically a vegan lo mien and I a million percent was fine with that. I like trying things that aren’t always weird/new, sometimes an old fav hits the spot the same way exotic foods never could. They also gave me the most giant-est piece of broccoli ever, which just made it even better.

If vegan restaurants here started offering this, or they came to Toronto, I would definitely grab this. If you’re ever in Hawaii, I recommend checking out this dish.

 

Compton Vegan – BBQ Jackfruit Ribz

Compton Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Ribz - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never had jackfruit before, so I knew this was something I definitely had to try, but wasn’t too sure what to expect.

The ‘ribz’ were soft-chewy. Y’know if you eat a soup with meat in it, (like chicken noodle) and the meat is really soft/falls apart as soon as you put it in your mouth? It was that soft, but you had to work to rip the piece off from the rest of it, and chew it for a bit after. It was an odd texture to me. Again though, I’d never had jackfruit so I’m not sure if that’s just the texture it is, or if they maybe overcooked it?

I have to admit, this was probably one of my least favourite things at the festival. That said, I don’t like BBQ sauce (or chips) so my opinion might be a bit biased. But based on the texture alone, I don’t think I’d get this again.

 

Pochiche – Poutine w/ Chicken

Pochiche Poutine - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Fries + gravy + cheese = heaven

As you may or may not know, I have a dairy allergy, so I had my first poutine I believe two years ago now. This is a dish I loved as soon as I tasted it, and in my eyes it’s hard to screw up/make a bad version.

Needless to say, I liked this one. The chicken on top, I can’t remember what the lady at the booth said it was made of, but it had a bit of an off consistency. Not sure if it was because of the extreme heat or what, but it had a bit of an odd mouth feel.

It didn’t exactly add to the dish, but it didn’t really take away either. It was just a bit distracting from the cheesy, gravy-ness of the rest of it.

 

Lightlife – Smart Dog

Lightlife Hot Dog - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This was nothing special, it tasted like a hot-dog. It didn’t have that distinctive ‘this taste like plants’ taste that the Yves ones do (not to throw them under the bus, I love their pepperonis and bologne deli slices!), but I mean, it’s a hot-dog. There’s not really anything exciting about it to say.

I feel bad about that though, the fact I don’t have much to say – I don’t want that to come off as me not liking the product. It’s good for what it is, definitely better tasting then the Yves not-dog I tried.

I’d buy this, and I’d recommend you buy/try them too.

 

Nanashake – Loaded Nana Pop

Nanashake Loaded Pop - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This f*cking thing is probably the fanciest ice-cream I’ve ever had.

It was a chocolate peanut butter ice-cream bar that had coconut whip, caramel drizzle and almond and chocolate biscotti on top. It was awesome. I loved the chocolate and peanut butter, and the caramel swirls running through the middle of it. All that awesome-ness plus the cold-ness was definitely welcomed after walking around in the heat.

They’re in North York and it’s sad yet good that they’re so far away from me because if they were closer I would go there literally all the time. I still plan on going there, just less so then if they were say, five minutes away.

If you live in Toronto or are planning a trip down, I highly recommend you stop by and get this.

 

Ben and Jerry – Almond Chocolate Chunk Ice-cream

Ben and Jerrys Almond Chocolate Chunk Icecream - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, yes, Ben and Jerry’s… while they don’t have too many vegan flavours, the ones they do offer are pretty awesome. This was a pretty simple one – plain vanilla with chocolate chunks mixed in. Not better then their PB and Cookie one, but still good. The chocolate chunks are pretty hard (assuming because they’re frozen) so be careful when biting into them.

I have to hand it to B&J’s, they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to making ice-cream. Especially now that they’ve jumped on the dairy-free band-wagon.

If you haven’t tried their non-dairy flavours yet, what have you even been doing?

 

Fairly Frosted – Chocolate Brownie Ice-cream

Fairly Frosted Chocolate Icecream - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another treat great at cooling you off on a hot summer’s day.

This chocolate brownie ice-cream is just about as great as chocolate ice-cream can get. Again, this is one of those things that’s hard to get wrong.

The worst thing about this was they only gave out two scoops.

 

Globally Local – Crispy Chick’N Burger

Globally Local Crispy Chickn Burger - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

If you read my review of last year’s festival, you’ll know how much I loved their Famous Burger.

While I was excited to get my hands back on their Famous Burger, since I learned how to make Mac Sauce at home, I decided I should try something else on their menu. Lucky for me, they made the choice easy by only having the Famous Burger or this one.

I have to say, a breaded chicken burger with Miracle Whip and lettuce is one of those things you don’t realize you missed until you eat it again. And boy did I miss eating them! I’ve always liked them better then regular beef burgers, and it saddens me that there don’t really seem to be any vegan breaded chick’n burger options out there.

The worst thing about this burger was they put what tasted like Veganaise on it (or their home-made equivalent). I still bought one both days and got them to cut it in half so I could take half home.

When are these guys coming to Toronto???

While all the food at the festival this year was pretty close in terms of me liking it, this was still my favourite of the ‘real food’ things.

 

Mythology Diner – Funnel Cake Bites

Mythology Diner Funnel Cake Bites - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This was by far the most disappointing dish I tried at the festival.

I’ve never had funnel cake before, so I was super hyped to try these, and when I did, well… They tasted like a soggy Tim Bit. When I bit into one, it just squished oil out into my mouth. Not very tasty. Also the strawberry sauce they put on top of them was a bit odd, I think because they were hot? Hot strawberries is taste I don’t like, apparently. I was definitely sad these sucked, probably because before my non-vegan friend had hyped up how great funnel cakes were before going, so I was that much more excited to try them.

I haven’t written funnel cakes off totally though, I’d still be willing to try them if there’s a vegan version somewhere else.

The powdered sugar was good though.

 

While Gold Sweets – Veg Puff

White Gold Sweets Veg Puff - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

Pastry was super flaky, I think it might of been layers of phyllo pastry. The vegetables inside had that spice that I can’t name but is similar in taste to samosas or Indian stews.

It also had a bit of a spicy kick to it. It was good, my only criticism would be either more of the vegetable stuffing, or less of the pastry. There were a few bites were all I had was the dry pastry in my mouth.

 

Sorelle – Chocolate Mocha Cupcake

Sorelle Mocha Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate and mocha, what more could you want? It was as good as I assumed it’d be – the chocolate cupcake tasted like a chocolate cupcake, it was really soft and didn’t dry out even after I brought it home. The only thing I didn’t like about this was that there were these little silver balls sprinkled on top of the icing. They were very hard to bite through, like a rocket. Not that they were bad, they pretty much just tasted like sugar, but the rest of the cupcake was so soft, I think they took more away from the soft chocolaty cupcake then added, with the exception of making it look prettier. Especially since the cupcake got smushed in my bag, so it wasn’t like I could see where they were, either. I had to be careful when I was eating it.

 

Sorelle –  Chocolate Doughtnut

Sorelle Chocolate Doughnut - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

This doughnut, while it didn’t have a hole, it did have a small chocolate cookie held on top by a small (but delicious!) squoosh of vanilla icing. It was soft and moist, and super chocolaty, even one day after I bought it. The vanilla icing was awesome too. Maybe I haven’t had ‘real’ icing in a while, but it reminds me of the vanilla icing that’s used at Sobey’s. It’s hard to describe, but it wasn’t ‘light’ like the Betty Crocker Whipped Vanilla icing (yep, that’s vegan!) is, it was more ‘heavy’ but not in an unsettling way. It was good, that’s all you need to really know.

The cookie on top was hard on the outside but nice and soft on the inside. Everything a good chocolate cookie should be. And, it also wasn’t very ‘dark’ tasting, which was nice, since it wasn’t very bitter.

Sorelle has a location in Toronto, and I highly recommend you check them out. (As I know I will be)

Glory Hole – Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnut

Gloryhole Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnut - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

…. Sensing a theme? I subconsciously tried pretty much everything with chocolate in it I could get my hands on.

This tasted like the Nana Pop – chocolaty, peanut buttery and all full of goodness. It did get a little melty in the sun, but I was more then happy to lick the chocolate off my fingers.

These guys are in Toronto too, so I’ll definitely be stopping by to try some of their other creations. Keep an eye on my Instagram to keep up with my food trying adventures!

 

Kelly’s Bakeshop – Salted Caramel Cupcake

Kellys Bakeshop Salted Caramel Cupcake - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hands down my favourite dessert. Which is saying something because all the desserts I tried were pretty bomb. (With the exception of the funnel cake bites) I knew as soon as I saw it this was gonna be my favourite one. I love caramel and chocolate, if you couldn’t tell.

Although the icing got smushed in my bag (I tried to be careful too!), it was the same kind of ‘heavy’ as the Mocha cupcake icing. I’d use the word ‘deep’ to describe it, but that’s not the right word. It was just good, even licking it off the plastic container didn’t dampen the flavour.

I highly, highly recommend you try this cupcake because it’s so delicious.

The display they had of their other treats looked awesome too, like their Chocolate Coconut cupcake. I unfortunately got to their booth on the second day when my money was running low, otherwise I definitely would’ve got another cupcake.

I’m so happy these guys deliver to Toronto because I am definitely ordering these again. (I may even get them for the upcoming holidays)

If you’re able to, you definitely have to try these – they’re amazing. Definitely my new favourite cupcake flavour.

 

Julie’s Joyful Kitchen – Chocolate Cookie

Julia's Joyful Kitchen Chocolate Cookie - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

My all time favourite types of cookies are the soft/melt in your mouth ones, and this cookie was one of them.

I ate this the Monday after the festival, and it was still super soft, you couldn’t even tell it was one day old. Soft and chocolaty is personally a weakness of mine. It was a bit bitter, but other then that, it was a chocolate cookie – pretty hard to not nail.

 

Yves – Spicy Italian Sausage

(I didn’t get a picture of this, because it was the last thing I tried before leaving, and it wasn’t really much of a picture – it was a piece of the dog in a little paper cup with a toothpick in the top.)

It tasted like a hot-dog, with a bit of a kick. It wasn’t anything special, like the Lightlife dog – they’re hard to review because it’s a spicy hot-dog. Not too much can be said.

I will say though, that I didn’t know they had these, or that they were vegan, so I’ll definitely be adding them to my shopping list. I like that I discovered these and the Lightlife dogs, it’ll be nice to switch it up from the Tofurky sausages.

Vegandale Scenery - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, I had a lot of fun at the festival, not only trying all the amazing food, but I was also lucky enough to meet Lauren Toyota from HotforFood. She was there signing cookbooks, so of course I had to get one.

HotforFood Cookbook - Lauren Toyota Youtuber - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

HotforFood Cookbook - Lauren Toyota Youtuber - AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegandale Festival 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I also got a free water bottle with the purchase of the cookbook, but for some reason every time I tried inserting the picture of it it kept crashing the web-page.)

She’s my favourite vegan Youtuber, and it was amazing to get to see her in person. She was so kind, and seemed genuinely interested in the small convo we had, instead of other famous people who you can tell don’t really want to be there. I’m so grateful I didn’t miss her like I did last year.

This festival so far has gotten better with age, and I can’t wait for next year’s!


Like this review? Check out my other reviews here!

Honey

If ever there was a trigger word in the vegan community, honey is hands down in the top 5. I’ve never seen more of a divide in the community then when someone brings up honey. Some of you non-vegans might be surprised to learn that there’s more foods we (vegans) don’t eat aside from meat and dairy. (And eggs)

I personally don’t eat honey, for reasons I’ll talk about below, but I want to start this by saying I didn’t write this article to sway anyone into not eating it. I understand honey has a lot of health benefits and it can even be used as medicine. I’m just a faceless post on a website stating the facts. What you do with those facts is completely up to you. I can’t force you, the same way I can’t force you to go vegan. All I can do is present the facts and hope you’ll make the compassionate choice.

But wait, aren’t they just bugs? Why should we care? Those are great questions, and, a valid point. Why care about bugs?

If you’re a vegan reading this, you should already know that we don’t wear silk, and that comes from worms. Along that same reasoning, animals are just animals, why bother sparing them? While I don’t have a dedicated article to the horrors animals endure in slaughterhouses, how about we go with sympathy? Animals have nervous systems, feel pain, joy, sadness, emotions – some of them are smarter then dogs, even. And eating dogs is ‘wrong’, right? It’s not a question about being exactly the same, it’s more having compassion for another living thing that we share the earth with. No offence, but animals were here long before humans, and they’ll (hopefully) be here long after we’re gone. Unfortunately, because of humans, lots of animals are now in danger of extinction. (Bees are on that list, BTW)

Let’s look at some facts about honey:

– It takes pollen from five million flowers to produce one pound of honey

– Beekeeper’s use cyanide gas so bees don’t fly away

– Clip wings of queen and/or will transfer her to a different colony (where she’ll most likely get killed by the other bees)

– Kill off the colonies because it’s not cost effective to have them fed through the winter months

(Want to learn more? I recommend checking out What The Health?)

And, of course, there’s the two reasons that made me stop eating honey:

– It’s bee vomit

– Stealing from baby bees

Yes, eating honey is stealing it from baby bees. You’re literally stealing candy from a baby. They produce honey as a way to get nutrients to the babies. You wouldn’t voluntarily steal food from any other baby, right? So why do it to bees? Not only is that like, super not cool, but bees are essential to the eco-system. The more we mistreat them to produce honey, the more endangered they become. The more endangered they become, well, it’s goodbye planet.

As I said above, it’s truly a personal choice, but I personally feel that 1) Ingesting someone else’s vomit is gross, and 2) I wouldn’t steal food from any other species baby, so why do it to bees? (Even if they are ‘just bugs’)

If you could help keep kids getting food/nutrients they need, and help the earth, by doing something as simple as changing what you put in your tea, or on your toast, is it really even still a question of whether or not you should?


Like this article? Check out vegan tips, recipes and more on my Veg Life page!

Surprising Vegan Candy

I’ve decided to turn ‘Surprising Vegan _____’ into a series, since there’s too many things to place in just 1 collage.

So, this week we’ll be looking at Surprising Vegan Candy. These are candies that are vegan friendly (in Canada), even though they’re not marketed as being vegan. (Hence the ‘surprise’)

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Surprising Vegan Candy Collage

From the top left clockwise, this collage includes:

  • Swedish Fish (Red 40, Yellow 5+6, and Blue 1)
  • Twizzlers
  • Jolly Ranchers (Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellows 5+6)
  • JuJubes (Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellows 5+6)
  • Super Nibs
  • Maynards Fuzzy Peaches (Yellow 5, Red 40)
  • Nerds
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Pixy Stix
  • Maynards Swedish Berries
  • Skittles Original
  • Maynards Sour Cherry Blasters (Contains Tartrazine [Yellow 5])
  • Rockets (Called Smarties in the US)
  • Pull N Peel
  • Airheads Originals (Red 40, Blue 1, Yellows 5+6)

Now, you may be wondering, why did I list Food Dyes next to some of the candy? Well, that’s because these food dyes aren’t vegan, since they’re tested on animals, and, Red 40 is made out of crushed cocchineal beetles. ‘But then, why list them on a vegan candy collage?!’ Well, I believe that this might be one of those ‘how far down the rabbit hole’ things. We all know it’s impossible to be 100% vegan already, and while that’s certainly not an excuse, I want to throw the choice to you. I’ve seen some vegan products that have the food dyes listed, so the choice is yours. It’s hard enough already to find ‘regular’ food that vegans can eat, don’t make it harder on yourself.

Eating some candy once in a while  won’t make the Vegan Police show up at your house and revoke your vegan card. Do I wish that these candies didn’t have the food dyes? Yes, of course. Am I guilty of still eating some of these candies on occasion? Yes, I am. While I do my best to completely avoid Red 40 (since, y’know it’s literally crushed beetles), I don’t agonize over the fact if I eat candy (whether intentionally or by accident) that have the other dyes in them. That doesn’t make me less vegan, and it won’t make you, either.

We don’t live in a society that caters to vegans, and, should you be in a pinch, or not able to make it to your favourite vegan store to stock up on ‘real’ vegan candy, it’s nice to know what ‘regular’ candy you can pick up without stressing about it, especially, say for Halloween, when you need to pick up a giant pack of candy for cheap (let’s face it, vegan candy is pretty expensive), these are regular candies that are sold in bulk, that you shouldn’t feel you need to completely get rid of.


Like what you read? Check out my Veg Life page for tips, reviews and more!

Store Crawl #1: Zehr’s

I’ve wanted to do these Store Crawls for a while, but there was always something more important/immediate that had to get done.

I’ve finally decided to stop putting it off, so welcome to the first Store Crawl!

Store Crawls are going to be articles where I take you through/list all the vegan offerings available at a non-vegan grocery store (No Frills, Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys, etc.), in the hopes it helps you out should you need to buy something. Now, since these aren’t vegan-centric grocers, I’ll only be listing the premade stuff, that’s available more in a grab and go style, like the deli meats, cheeses, etc. Hopefully, this will help you should you ever find yourself away from your preferred grocery store so you aren’t scrambling for something, also this may help you with your day-to-day shopping.

Okay, so, without further ado, here’s the first Store Crawl:

I know Zehr’s is not in Toronto (I’ve yet to find one, anyway), so if you live outside of Toronto (say, New Market, or Barrie), this might be of more help to you. I’ll be posting other Store Crawls for stores that are actually in the city soon, so keep your eye out!

I’m starting with Zehr’s because I was just there this past weekend and figured, why not start with the one that’s fresh in my mind?

Here’s what I found:

Apparently, Zehr’s is owned by Loblaws, so they have a lot of vegan options, thankfully. They pretty much had all this stuff in one aisle, (I believe it was labelled the ‘Natural Foods’ aisle) which was super convenient for me, I didn’t have to run around the entire store!

Deli Section: (Next to the meat counter)

  • Yves Lunch Meats (Turk’y, Ham, Bologne, and pepperoni)
  • Yves Not-dogs
  • Daiya Shreds (Mozzerella and Cheddar, no slices or blocks)

Natural Foods Aisle

Fridge/Freezer:

  • Silk (I didn’t see Silk Almond, just the Soy, also didn’t see the Chocolate one, just Plain and Vanilla)
  • Earth Balance Butter
  • Veganaise
  • Daiya Yogurt
  • Daiya Pizza
  • Gardein Nuggets (7 Grain Crispy Tenders, Mandarin Orange Chick’N nuggets and the Fishless Filets)
  • Hilary’s Burgers (green box [which I believe is their original?], and I think there was a purple box [Spicy Thai] too)
  • Sol Burgers (Quinoa)
  • Nature’s Path Organic Buckwheat Blueberry Waffles (Gluten Free!)
  • Amy’s Kitchen Black Bean Vegetable Burrito (the green and blue wrapper one)
  • So Good Ice-cream (chocolate)

Shelf:

  • Almond Breeze
  • Rice Dream
  • Coconut Oil
  • Amy’s Kitchen Cans (Organic Alphabet Soup [my favourite!], Organic Lentil, Vegetable Soup, Organic Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable soup, and they had a black can, I’m not too sure which kind that one was)
  • Daiya Mac (Deluxe Cheddar and Deluxe Alfredo – they were $4.49!)
  • Nuts To You Organic Tahini Paste (and almond and other nut butters)
  • Skinny Pop White Cheddar Popcorn
  • Veggie Sticks
  • Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo (never seen/heard of this brand before, I bought a bottle, keep an eye out for the review!)

And there you have it! Most, if not all the vegan finds available at Zehr’s.

I did my best to keep all the proper brand names/flavours, as I felt it’d be more comprehensive to list the ‘official’ flavours, instead of just listing (as example) ‘Gardein nuggets’. I’m sure some of you would still understand what I meant if I did it in short-hand, but I thought it might just make it easier, especially if you’re wanting to find a certain product for the first time, or requesting it.

I hope you found this list helpful, and I look forward to doing more of them in the future.


Like this article? Check out more vegan related posts on my Veg Life page!

Dandies All Natural Marshmallows Review

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Dandies All Natural Marshmallows - vegan, vegan food

These are on the harder side, in terms of mellow texture. They’re not like, rocks or anything, it’s just enough that if you eat regular mellows and then switch, you’ll definitely notice the difference. If you’ve ever had gummies from Squish, they’re like that – hard gummy consistency. But, if you throw them in a mug of hot chocolate, (perhaps, my favourite hot chocolate?) they’re just as squishy and gooey as you’d expect.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t made s’mores or baked with them, so I’m not sure on how they hold up in an oven, but the way they melt in a hot chocolate, I’d guess you wouldn’t have a problem with them.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Review - Castle Kitchen Hot Chocolate

Also, have you seen the minis? So cute! And the mascot? He looks like a Qbee!

Seriously, what’s not to love? The only two problems I’d say I have with this product is 1. They make a pumpkin flavoured one (gross!) and 2. Finding somewhere close to my house that sells them. They’re amazing, but if I had to go half-way across the city in -40 weather just to get some mellows? Sorry, Dandies, I’m not that addicted. (Now, if we were talking about Daiya blocks…)

Once you get used to the slight texture change (seriously, by your third one, you won’t even notice/remember), you’ll be glad you tried them. While I wouldn’t go so far to say they should be a Staple, they are definitely nice to have in the winter with some hot chocolate. One of those little pleasures that make winter less blah, y’know?

If you’re gonna use mellows for something, I definitely recommend getting these ones.

They’re little vanilla (slightly hard) pillows of heaven, in my book.

So, Dandies mellows: have you tried them? Do you like them? Do you have a different favourite brand of mellows? Let me know in the comments below!


Like the review? Check out more here!

2nd Year Vega-versary

Two years. I can’t believe it’s already been two years of being vegan. I don’t even really know what to say. I could go cliché and say that if I could do it, you could too. Or I could go into detail about why I went vegan, but I feel like I’ve already covered that. I did have a post I wrote about my 1 Year Veganversary, but apparently I didn’t post it, and after re-reading it, it didn’t really say much except for, ‘wow! I can’t believe it!’ So, I’ll spare you. In case you’re wondering (although I’m pretty sure I’ve written this out somewhere else) here’s why I went vegan:

New Year’s Eve 2015, I decided to make my New Year’s Resolution to be vegetarian. There wasn’t really anything specific that triggered it, I just wanted to do something different that year. (Usually me and my family just made stupid resolutions, anyway) I was ‘successfully’ vegetarian until about June or July. By that time, it had gotten to be 40+ Celsius, and, me being the idiot I was, I was on the subway and didn’t eat breakfast or drink any water. Guess what happened next. I started getting dizzy and had black spots dancing at the edges of my vision. I got home okay, (luckily) and chugged some water. That incident didn’t do very well for quelling my mother’s concerns about it being an okay/healthy diet. And, while now I know why that happened, at the time I somewhat agreed with her. So, after that, I decided I’d be pollotarian (someone who only eats poultry), but was still curious about vegetarianism, and I had ended up stumbling across a Reddit thread that said something like, ‘If you want to go vegan, watch the following documentaris’. Being a curious person, I decided to check out the documentaries. The first one I watched, Vegucated I didn’t really like, because they were coming at veganism as an aid for weight-loss. A few months after that, I watched Earthlings, and well… let’s just say that one stuck. Even though I still didn’t really know anything about the products, or this or that, I just couldn’t continue non-vegan after that. It was pretty much an instant resolve to stop, which was a bit hard because I still lived with non-vegan family. So I started researching, anything that related to veganism, I read. That was back in Feb. 2016, and I’m still going.

I’ve learned so much within just the past two years, it’s crazy. It seems all that was so long ago!

I do still have some non-vegan items, and while I’m not proud I still have them, I’m not ashamed to say I’m not 100% vegan yet. (But, I mean, is that really a thing?)

During the first year I went vegan, I had focused on just switching over my diet, because while I wanted to immediately change everything overnight (… can you tell I’m an ethical vegan?) that was neither practical nor possible. I didn’t have thousands of dollars sitting around to allow me to switch over everything I own, so I decided the best place to start would be the kitchen, and I could continue to replace other aspects each year/couple months, once I found out more information, had the means to do so.

And, I’d like to say, if you’re thinking about going vegan, but think doing something like the above (not immediately getting rid of every non-vegan thing in your house) would mean you’re not a ‘true vegan’ – don’t even go there. You are 100% a true vegan as long as your heart is in it. Don’t worry too much about being perfect.

It’s not a cult. No Vegan Police are gonna show up and haul you off to jail. Relax. Change over in your own time, as long as you’re committed to doing so, you’ll get there eventually. And, by you even just thinking about changing already puts you on the right path. It’s about getting on the right path, not being dropped at the end of it. Life is a journey and all that crap.

Also, unless you were born with literally all the knowledge ever, you’re going to make some mistakes, or use something that you’d think would be fine (like, say, a plastic bag, or your phone) only to discover later that it’s actually not vegan. And that’s fine. You’re not gonna throw your phone off a bridge – that’s just not practical. There are, unfortunately, some items you use/have to use in today’s society that aren’t vegan.

That does not mean you are a lesser vegan, or aren’t a real one at all. It’s about trying.

Hell, the definition is even: Is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

So, again, relax. As long as you’re trying, and not eating straight up flesh you’re doing fine.

During this second year, I focused my efforts on beginning to switch non-food items, like toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, etc.). I even discovered some ‘hidden’ food items that weren’t vegan I was unknowingly eating. Lays plain (original) potato chips, for instance is made with pork enzymes, and food dyes such as Red #40 is made out of crushed cochineal beetles, and the others (Yellow #5, 6, Blue, etc) are tested on animals. Sad to discover, for sure – especially because Lays doesn’t have the information readily available on their website. The only reason why I even found it was because I was doing research for the vegan cookbook I’ve been working on, and stumbled upon a comment on some vegan forum somewhere. From there, I had e-mailed the parent company (Frito-Lay) about multiple products, and only after asking about it, was I linked to this list* that has all the chips that are made without pork enzymes. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s disappointed to learn some of the plain chips contain enzymes.

Things like this always bring about the same question to me: how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

Obviously, pork enzymes is pretty bad, as well as food dyes tested on animals, but should I be expected to contact the parent company every time I’m faced with a situation that is a bit unknown? Of course, I contact the company as often as possible, so that I’m making the best decision, or, if I don’t know, and aren’t able to get an immediate response, (say, for example at a family gathering, where I wasn’t expecting to have said item called into question) I’ll always just pass. Or, if it’s something they bought/cooked ‘specifically for me’ I’ll research, call the company (stay on hold for as long as it takes), or (if I’m not able to get a response, or get an ‘I don’t know’), I’ll take the item home (if able) and continue researching until I get an answer.

It sucks to do that for sure, having to stop the fun of the party or make that person worry when they thought it was fine, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some of you reading this might think that’s rude and will say to just accept it, even if it’s questionably vegan, but I say: why would I put something in/on my body if I don’t know what’s in it, whether or not I was vegan? I don’t think I’ve ever done that, I’ve always asked what’s in something, not even just because I had an allergy, but because I honestly am confused why people would just accept something. There could be literally anything in that, and you don’t know. I’d much rather not eat/use it, and offend the person for a minute, (or, better yet, share the new information so they can avoid the mistake in the future) then have something that I use/is in my mouth when I find out it wasn’t vegan. It’s just… ‘safer’ to not accept it.

If they get offended (which, c’mon, really?) just apologize and tell them you appreciate the gesture, and (if it was a ‘hidden’ ingredient like the food dyes, or something else) tell them they were so close/on the right track! It’s not their fault companies don’t list everything on their packaging (going back to the Lays Original, no where on that bag does it say it contains pork enzymes), so please, please don’t get mad/upset at them for not knowing. Try to remember that not only is it not their fault, but also, would you have known that before you went vegan? No, so don’t go shaming them for not doing hours upon hours of research. Also, some items do say Cruelty-Free or Vegan and have the food dyes or honey, so they might’ve assumed (the same way I’m sure you do sometimes) that if it says vegan right on it, it’d be safe.

Going back to the how far down the rabbit hole thing, I really think it depends on the person. Same as how some vegans eat honey, while others don’t. (I don’t, in case you wondered) It’s all about perspective, and, while it might seem blatanly obvious to some, others either don’t see it that way (and never will), or, haven’t done enough research to know, so they eat/use it unknowingly.

Bottom line: It takes time to learn what’s vegan and what’s not, so don’t be ‘that guy’ and be an asshole because they don’t know something. Instead, why don’t you try helping them discover information. For example, if your non-vegan friends come over, get them to try some vegan food. Don’t force it down their throats, but maybe make it a rule: when you come to my house, you eat vegan. That’s a very reasonable request, and if any of your friends cause a fuss, then tell them they’re not welcome in your house. It’s not that hard. Or, (if you’re okay with it) tell them they can bring their own non-vegan dish (that’s already cooked, unless you don’t care about having non-vegan food ‘contaminate’ your kitchen). It’s your house, you can set the rules, and if they don’t like it, or (for some reason) aren’t comfortable with that, well, then maybe they shouldn’t come over?

You know, as a living, breathing vegan that you don’t need animal products to survive, so if they really can’t eat those 2 out of how-ever-many-meals-you-eat-in-a-lifetime vegan when they come over, then that’s definitely a problem. Also, don’t be afraid to bring subjects like this up with your friends. Don’t attack them, obviously, but ask them their views, and if they’d be okay with it. Present your point of view, and why it’s important to you, for example, to keep your kitchen vegan.

That said, again, it’s 100% up to you, what you’re comfortable with. No one can (or should) tell you what you’re okay with.

It’s been awesome so far, I’ve discovered so many new, amazing products. Nooch is now a staple in my kitchen, when only two years ago I didn’t even know it existed. Same with black salt, and a bunch of other products. I even went to my first vegan festival this past year! That was such an amazing experience, I’m definitely going again this summer. If you haven’t seen it, you can read my review of it here.

I’m super excited to discover even more vegan products in the coming years. I can’t wait to see what else they come out with!


*That list is just the Canadian one, this is the US one, and I haven’t been able to find one for other countries. I recommend getting in contact with them to see if there’s one available for you’re country. (I know usually, UK and Canadian products are produced pretty similar in the ways that they’re produced, so if you live in the UK, I’d suggest using the Canadian list if there isn’t a UK one)


Want to learn more about veganism? Check out The Veg Life, for awesome recipes, product reviews and more!

Faushi

Hey guys!

I decided to name this dish Faushi because it’s just a compound word of ‘faux’ and ‘sushi’, and since there is no fish OR seaweed in this (I don’t like the taste), I didn’t want to confuse anyone. (Also, making up words is fun!)

Since it’s getting warmer, I didn’t want to make something hot, so I decided to make sushi. I had originally planned on swapping the seaweed for swiss chard, but that failed. (Going off the memory of 1 Youtube video probably didn’t help any)

So, because I ended up using tortillas, I technically made wraps, and then just cut them up. Aaaand that’d be why I didn’t label this real sushi.

If you wanted to though, you could not cut these into pieces and then you would have a cold wrap instead.

Anyway, onto the recipe!

AterImber.com - Faushi Platter - Vegan food, sushi, vegetables, healthy, recipe

(You can see the failed Swiss Chard wrapped ones at the back)

3C White Jasmine Rice

Tortilla Wraps (I used Whole Wheat)

1 large Cucumber

½ a Yellow and ½ a Red Bell Pepper

1 bag of Bean Sprouts

½ a Large Carrot

 

Spices:

S&P (Optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Make the rice. Don’t add any spices or anything, leave it plain. Once the rice is done, allow it to cool.
  2. Cut the cucumber and bell peppers into strips and shred the carrot and put all veggies off to the side once done.
  3. Grab one tortilla and lay it flat in front of you. Wet your hands a little (I kept some water in a bowl on the counter) and place some rice into the center of the wrap in a line. Flatten it out a little bit. Be sure to leave room on either edge so that you can fold it. Next, place some of the pepper strips on either side of the rice (like a border) and place one cucumber strip on top of the rice. (If adding, sprinkle some S&P on top of the cucumber/rice)
  4. Fold both top and bottom edges of the tortilla and wrap it up. (It should look like a burrito now) Take a sharp knife and cut the wrap into pieces (About the width of your finger) If needed, secure with toothpicks.
  5. Continue doing that for the remainder of the wraps/until you run out of veggies. If you’re not making a platter, or don’t want to eat them now, you could make a bunch and then put some in the freezer for later.

Serve with soy sauce to dip and enjoy!


So, what do you guys think? Like it? Hate it? Should be thrown into a pit and never made again? Let me know in the comments!

Check out more recipes here: Recipes  All of the recipes are vegan. If you haven’t seen The Veg Life home page, then you might not know – all recipes on my site are proudly animal product free. (Yes, including the beauty products) All pictures of the food/product are taken by me and are sometimes pulled off my Instagram account.