Tag Archives: vegan tips

Where Do Vegans Get Their Iron?





I do apologize that this article was a day late. As we all know, life got in the way and prevented me from finishing on top (also why there is no Throw Away Fic this week).

Better late than never though, right? Especially when it comes to learning about nutrition. This is the third installment of my Vegan Nutrient Collage series.

It’s not as common to get questions about iron, but it’s still good to bust myths. Most people know iron is in blood, so I understand the logic of ‘animals have blood, I should eat them to get iron’, but luckily for us, iron isn’t only found in blood. It’s in all kinds of plants, too!

Take a look for yourself:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Nutrient Collage Series - Where Do Vegans Get Their Iron?

Starting in the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Lentils 6.6mg
  • Soy Beans (29.2mg)
  • Chickpeas (12.5mg)
  • Red Kidney Beans (15.1mg)
  • Oatmeal 29.9mg
  • Fortified Cereal 18mg
  • Quinoa 6.3mg
  • Brown Rice  .8mg
  • Spinach 6.5mg
  • Swiss Chard 4mg
  • Kale 1mg
  • Swiss Chard .2mg
  • Sesame Seeds 21mg
  • Sunflower 7.4mg
  • Cashews 6.7mg
  • Peanuts 6.7mg
  • Pistachio 4.8mg
  • Pumpkin Seeds 2.1mg
  • Tofu 13.2mg

With only needing 16-18mg (a bit more if you’re a menstruating woman) it’s really not that hard to get all the iron you need. As long as you eat a balanced diet, you shouldn’t have trouble getting any of the essential nutrients you need to survive.

This will be the last entry of the Nutrient Collage series for this year – but don’t worry, I’ll continue the lesson into the new year!

Next month is Halloween – the spookiest time of the year! Not to worry vegans – there’s plenty of Halloween treats we can still enjoy! Next month I’ll give you Surprising Vegan Chips so you can get your snack on. Until then, check out my Surprising Vegan Halloween Candy collage and start stocking up!


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What Non-Vegan Ingredients Are Lurking In Non-Foods?





Warning: This article includes pictures that may be considered graphic/disturbing. If you find any of the below images hard to look at, perhaps you should ask yourself if you’re really okay with continuing to fund the cruel practices that result in the below images.

Yep, it’s true – we humans put animal pieces/bits/by-products in all kinds of things that have nothing to do with food!

If you’re shocked, well don’t feel too bad – it’s not exactly like companies put ‘insect exoskeleton’ or ‘sheep fat’ on the label. They disguise these animal by-products by giving them a different name, so that they can sneak them under the radar.

This is why veganism is so much more than a diet, it truly is a lifestyle change. If you’re committed to reducing your harm to animals, then read through the list below to discover some of the most common animal by-products that are hiding in non-food items.

Unfortunately, the way society is, it’s literally impossible to be 100% animal product free, that’s why there’s no such thing as a truly 100% vegan – it’s just impossible in today’s world. While it can get overwhelming to see just how many everyday things have animal products in them, I don’t want you to freak out – take things slowly. It can be overwhelming, but don’t fret if you’re unable to cut out using all of the things listed below, it’s not feasible for everyone, and that’s okay. As long as you’re aware, and are consciously trying to reduce your harm, you’re doing enough. So try not beat yourself up too bad.

Alright, let’s start with the most obvious:

 

Leather

If you didn’t know, leather is cow skin. (Or snake, alligator, buffalo, sheep and more) Yep, you read that right, leather products are literally skinned animal. Do you really want to walk around like Michael Myers? (Why do you think his nickname is Leatherface?)

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Suede

Pretty much the same as leather, (made out of animal skin), but suede is ‘fuzzy’. Either way, you’re wearing dead animal.

Fur

Fur can be in many things, including: coats, boots, blankets, etc. If it’s not faux, the fur once belonged to an animal, usually mink, foxes, and raccoon dogs. These poor animals are often de-furred alive, often without the use of anaesthetic, or pain pills. Is it really worth torturing an animal and taking its’ only defence against the cold, when we as humans have so many other options?

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This animal was still alive at the time this picture was taken. If you can’t even look at the above image, or find it disturbing, you shouldn’t be wearing fur. Help prevent the above from happening by shopping for faux, or find other alternatives.

 

Wool

Where do we get wool from? Sheep. We shear the wool off the sheep to use for sweaters, blankets, socks, etc. What’s wrong with wool? Well:

  1. Shearing: Let’s start with the practice everyone knows about. Farmers shear sheep to get their wool. But, often shearing is painful for sheep, and is much more than just a haircut. But wait, don’t sheep need to be sheared? Well, no, not at all. Undomesticated sheep only produce the amount of wool they need to survive, which truthfully isn’t that much. Same as we have genetically bred chickens to be too fat for their legs, humans have genetically modified sheep to overproduce wool that now requires the support of the shearing industry. Their bodies have a hard time supporting the weight, and some risk suffocation because they can’t breathe.

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(Those marks are scars from old cuts, not ribs/bone)

Why are they bred to produce so much wool? Because most shearers are paid per sheep, not an hourly wage. Meaning they need to get the most amount of wool possible from a sheep in a quicker time frame. This also results in carelessness by shearers, and sheep often get injured from the quick paced shearing. Anything from nicks, to amputation of their udders, ears and other body parts can happen.

  1. In Australia (where about half the world’s wool comes from) farmers often practice ‘mulesing’ which is a terribly cruel procedure in which farmers use tools resembling garden shears and carve chunks of skin/flesh from lambs’ backsides in an attempt to prevent a parasitic disease called ‘flystrike’. This practice is commonly performed without painkillers. And why does this happen? Because we’ve bred them to produce as much wool as possible, a sheep’s’ skin has wrinkled, and this wrinkled skin accrues excess moisture, which attracts flies. These flies lay eggs in the folds of the skin, resulting in maggots consuming the sheep’s’ skin.

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  1. What happens once the sheep begin to produce less wool? They get shipped off to a slaughterhouse and sold for meat, just like cows, pigs and other animals. Many are killed by having their throats’ slit while still conscious.

 

Silk

Silk comes from worms. (Or spiders) Yes, they count as animals. (If bees count, so do worms)

You may be wondering: Why does it matter if we take their silk?

Silk is the fiber that silkworms make to make their cocoons. (Similar to a caterpillar) For humans to get the silk, manufacturers’/collectors boil the worms alive while they’re in the cocoon. This prevents the worms from transforming to the next stage of their life cycle (the pupal phase), where they make a hole in the cocoon by releasing enzymes, which often cause the silk fibers of the cocoon to break down, and thus make them unviable for harvesting. Boiling the cocoon not only kills the worm by boiling it alive, but also makes the cocoons easier to unravel. Often times, after being boiled, the worms themselves are eaten as well.

Roughly 10 billion cocoons are required to produce the 70 million pounds of raw silk that are needed yearly.

 

Down

Down is the under-feathers from geese, ducks and other birds. Down is used most often for pillows, winter coats, and comforters. The feathers used for down are often taken via live-plucking. (I.e., the bird isn’t dead when the feathers are taken) You know the feeling of needing to tweeze/accidentally getting an arm hair ripped out? Imagine that pain ten fold, all over your body.

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Beeswax

For those who don’t know, beeswax is a natural wax that honey bees produce. It’s formed by the bees into ‘scales’ by eight wax-producing glands in their abdomen. They then ‘discard’ the wax in or at the hive.

To put it in laymen’s terms, beeswax is essentially bee poop.

It would probably be faster to list products that don’t have beeswax, so to save time, I’ll just list a few examples:

  • Natural food wraps
  • Candles
  • Shoe/furniture polish
  • Surfboard Wax
  • Cutler’s Resin (a glue used in the handles of cutlery knives)
  • Tambourines (often used by percussionists on the surface for ‘thumb rolls’)
  • Oil/Body Paint
  • Soaps
  • Lip balm/gloss
  • Egg decoration (such as Easter egg crayons, dye, etc.)
  • Cream/lotion/moisturizers
  • Make-up (eye shadow, blush, eye-liner, etc.)
  • Moustache wax/hair pomades

It is even an ingredient in surgical bone wax, which is used during surgery to control bleeding from bone surfaces.

As you can see, beeswax is in many different products, and isn’t specific to one group of them. This isn’t saying that all of the variations of these products contain beeswax, just that it’s most likely an ingredient. Always read the label on every product to ensure you know what’s in that particular item.




Now, onto the less obvious animal by-product names:

Carmine

Carmine or Red #40 (or Allura Red AC) is the fancy name they decided to give red food colouring/red dye, perhaps because if they called it what it actually is, crushed cochineal beetles, nobody would buy the products.

Speaking of food dyes:

  • Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue FCF)
  • Blue #2 (Idigotine)
  • Green #3 (Fast Green FCF)
  • Red #3 (Erythrosine)
  • Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
  • Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow FCF)

All 6 of the dyes listed above are tested on animals. These food dyes are not only used in foods, however – since they’re food-grade safe, they’re often also used in soaps, bath bombs, creams/lotions, and more. Pretty much if a non-food item is dyed a certain colour (and the label doesn’t specifically say it’s vegan), chances are good you’ll find one of the above listed in the ingredients.

If you can’t tell or aren’t sure? Call or e-mail the company to get your answer. In my experience, if a company doesn’t use one of the above, you’ll get a speedy, in-depth reply explaining what they use instead. If they do use one of the above (or other animal ingredients) chances are good they’ll take a while to reply, if at all. If you can’t find the info for the ingredients used on the website, chances are good they’re using an animal-derivative.

My rule since going vegan: if they’re hiding it, they probably shouldn’t be doing it. If I ask a company, and they don’t get back to me, I assume it’s not safe and try to find an alternative.

 

Bone Char

Exactly what it sounds like, the charred/ash remains of animal bones. This stuff is used mainly in the processing of sugar. This is why Oreos (and many other things) aren’t technically vegan in the US, because the sugar used is made with bone char. In Canada, our sugar isn’t processed this way, so Oreos, and other products are vegan. (Check the processing for your own country, as it can vary)

Bone char can also be found in plastic bags.

 

Tallow

Tallow is a rendered for of animal fat, usually from cattle. Tallow and its’ derivatives can be found in all kinds of non-food items, such as: fabric softener, eye makeup, lipsticks, foundations, shampoos, moisturizers, and other skin care products.

 

Castoreum

Does your perfume like vanilla? Then it might contain castoreum, which comes from a beavers’ castor sac – which is a gland between its’ pelvis and the base of it’s tail.

Yep, your sweet, vanilla scented perfumes, lotions and/or candles have the aroma from a beavers’ ass.

 

Polymers

Not all polymers are non-vegan. The polymers used specifically in plastic bags as a ‘slip agent’ (used to reduce friction) is made from animal fats. Companies like Tyson Foods are reportedly experimenting with keratin protein (found in chicken feathers) to be used in new plastic bags, adhesives and non-woven materials.

As if using the remains of animals isn’t bad enough, using plastic bags is also contributing to the destruction of the ocean. Birds and sea turtles often mistake shredded bags for food, and by ingesting these products their stomachs are filled with toxic debris.

It’s also estimated that only about 1% of plastic bags are recycled. This means that for an average family, only 1 in 15 bags are recycled. Couple this with the fact the average amount of plastic bags used a year in Canada is 3 billion (100 billion in the US), and the fact it takes roughly 400 years for plastic bags to break down, you can hopefully start to see the problem.

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Also, while we’re on the subject, just a quick note: most of the pollution found in the ocean is from the fishing industry, specifically, fishing nets.

 

Stearic Acid

Again, not all stearic acid is made from animals. Animal-derived stearic acid is made out of animal fats. This non-vegan stearic acid can be found in many things, but the biggest/most common seems to be tires for bikes, cars, etc. In tires, it’s used to help the rubber hold the shape under friction.

Another uncommon thing animal-derived stearic acid is found in? Fireworks! (This genuinely surprised me.)

It’s used to coat metal powder and is used to prevent oxidation, which allows the fireworks to be stored for longer periods of time.

 

Glycerin

Just like with polymers and stearic acid, glycerine can come from either animal or vegetable fats.

Glycerin is found in many different products, including:

  • Soaps
  • Shampoo and conditioners
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Ointments
  • Cough syrups
  • Perfumes
  • Lotions
  • Shaving cream
  • Inks
  • Glues
  • Anti-freeze and brake fluid

Unless the label on a product specifically lists ‘vegetable glycerin’, it’s best to ask the company, or stay away all together (if that’s an option) if you can’t get a clear idea of the type.

 

Chitin

As explained in my Vegan Sunscreen post, chitin comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans, insects and arachnids. Protecting yourself from the sun by rubbing a dead spider on you? No thank-you!

 

Elastin

Elastin is a type of protein, found in the artery walls, intestines, lungs and skin of animals. Elastin is most often found in anti-aging products and sunscreens.

 

Animal Glue

Used most often in shoes, handbags and is even sometimes used for fixing wood instruments, ‘animal glue’ is made by boiling animals’ connective tissue or bones.

It’s apparently the ‘best’ for fixing musical instruments made out of wood, like violins or pianos. It’s also one of the most readily available and widely used glue.

I unfortunately could keep going with this list, but in the interest of not making this article too long, I’ll be ending it here. As you can see, there are many different animal-derived ingredients that can be found in non-food items. This is unfortunate for people who are trying their best to avoid exploiting/using animals, but as said at the beginning of this article, it’s impossible in society today to be 100% vegan.

Another thing to keep in mind, is this list is only talking about non-food products that contain animal ingredients – this isn’t even counting the massive amounts of products that are tested on animals, such as: shampoos, lotions/creams, sunscreens, makeup and more.

And, (just to make things more confusing) cruelty-free does not mean a product is vegan. The difference is, cruelty free means the product just isn’t tested on animals – it says absolutely nothing about the ingredients. There can be products out there that are cruelty-free but not vegan. But, on the flip-side, if a product is vegan, that means it’s cruelty free.

Cruelty-free \= vegan (Cruelty Free does not equal vegan)

Vegan = cruelty-free (Vegan always equals cruelty free)

This is why it’s important to read the ingredients and the label of each product. I always do my best to creep the company’s website to see if I can dig up the answers to my questions, (fortunately many companies are now making things like ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’ selling points for products) but if you can’t find the information you need on the website, always, always be sure to e-mail or call the company. If you ask them directly, they’ll most likely give you an answer (or might give you a generic ‘check out our FAQ page!’).

If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, I usually will end up not buying the product, or looking for a vegan company substitute instead. Another thing I’ve recently started doing is to make my own products if I can’t find an alternative.

While the above is nowhere near an exhaustive list, I hope this article has helped you realize that there are animal products in many different non-food items. I also hope that the information in this article will help you be more mindful of what’s in the products you’re buying, and will hopefully allow you to make a more informed, kind choice with the products you buy.


Sources:

Food Colouring Article: http://www.yourdailyvegan.com/2011/10/warning-what-you-dont-know-about-food-colors/

Raccoon Dog Picture taken from: peta2TV Youtube channel, ‘Olivia Munn Exposes Fur Farms!’ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab7L8NRRYho

Sheep Facts: https://gentleworld.org/whats-wrong-with-wool/

Tyson Foods plastic bags experiment:

https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/9-everyday-products-you-didnt-know-had-animal-ingredients.html

Stearic Acid Tires: same article as plastic bags (9 everyday products)

Plastic Bags used in Canada/400 years to break down: http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/678924/Environmental+Law/Will+2018+be+the+Year+of+the+SingleUse+Plastics+Ban

Leather/Cow Being Skinned Photo: https://www.all-creatures.org/aip/nl-20130526-leather.html

Live/Plucked Photo: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/373/242/428/tell-outdoor-gear-companies-to-end-down-plucking-torture-of-live-geese/

Mulesing Photo: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/mulesing/

Shearing Injury 1: https://www.petaindia.com/features/another-patagonia-approved-wool-producer-exposed-help-sheep-now/

Sea Turtle Eating Plastic Bag Photo: https://www.mcsuk.org/news/turtle-eats-plastic-bag

Silk Info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombyx_mori

Glycerin info: https://gentleworld.org/hidden-animal-fats/

Vegan Fast Food: Cineplex Edition




With the summer months coming up, and school letting out, there’s a good chance that you’ll find yourself at a movie theater sometime in the next few months.

New vegans, fear not! Thanks to this new Surprising Vegan Fast Food series I’m starting, you can still enjoy the fruits of the movie theater labour. Enjoy your movie nights out with no worry as you take a bite out of one of the below foods.

*As always, all the following information is specific to Canada. If you live in a different country, I recommend you check the ingredients yourself for your specific country*

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Vegan Fast Food Cineplex Edition

Concession Stand

Big Screen Snax:

  • Nacho Chips (Plain, Round)
  • Chunky Salsa Regular
  • Jalapeno Slices

Popcorn:

  • Popcorn Topping

The Allergen chart says that the ‘popcorn topping’ is vegan, but the butter topping they use contains milk. I’m assuming the ‘popcorn topping’ is some sort of salt. Good to know you can still enjoy popcorn at the movies! Though I’d recommend perhaps calling ahead, since they would most likely have to make you a brand new batch. (And let’s be honest, that would be pretty annoying to do to the workers without notice, especially if you’re going when it’s busy)

Pop-Topia:

  • Kettle Corn
  • All Dressed

Outtakes:

  • French Fries
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Onion Rings
  • Pretzels
  • Salt and Cinnamon Sugar
  • Thai Chili Wrap (nix the chicken)Dips:
  • Heinz Plum
  • Honey Mustard (contains honey)
  • Sweet Chili Thai

YoYo’s (Sorbet Flavours)

  • Wicked Watermelon
  • Aloha Pina Colada
  • Blueberry
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Grape Balls of Fire
  • Mango
  • Mango Orange
  • Luscious Limeade
  • Groovy Green Apple
  • Orange Dreamsicle
  • Orange Pineapple
  • Orangey Orange
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peach Passion
  • Tropical Punch
  • Sweet Lemon
  • Punchy Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Puckery Pink Lemonade

I didn’t list them, as they’re not exclusive to Cineplex, but there are a bunch of vegan candies you can usually buy at the concession stands as well.

As you can see, there are many goodies we as vegans can still enjoy at the movies.

Have a movie snack fav I forgot to list? Let me know in the comments!


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein?




This might just be the oldest question in the book there is pertaining to veganism. Even before going vegan, I knew protein wasn’t just in meat – it honestly baffle’s me that some people think that.

However, if you are genuinely wondering, yes, plants have protein, sometimes even more so then animal products!

This new Vegan Nutrient series will be focusing on just that – vegan sources of nutrients. This series is for any new vegans, the veg curious, and any/all family members/friends, etc. who are concerned for the well-being of the vegan they know.

I decided to start with protein, as this is still the #1 question most vegans get asked about. Next to calcium, iron and B12 (which I’ll also be covering)

So, to put your minds at ease, and to give you a nice easy to read poster (perhaps you can print it out and tape it somewhere for ease of access?) here are the top 23 sources of protein for vegans: (per 1 Cup)

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Where Do Vegans Get Their Protien Collage - vegan food, vegan nutrients, vegan facts

Starting from the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Seitan 62g
  • Tempeh 41g
  • Tofu 11g
  • Peanuts 56g
  • Almonds 48g
  • Pistachios 48
  • Cashews 40g
  • Brazil Nuts 32g
  • Walnuts 32g
  • Soy/White Beans 29g
  • Black 15g
  • Kidney 13g
  • Pinto 12g
  • Garbonzo Beans 12g
  • Buckwheat 24g
  • Lentils 18g
  • Quinoa 9g
  • Peanut Butter 50g
  • Peas 9g
  • Spinach 5g
  • Raisins 5g
  • Sunflower 40g
  • Pumpkin 64g

As you can see, and will hopefully continue to see throughout this series, there are many different plant sources of protein, and all the other essential nutrients needed to survive. Also, with people only needing roughly 40-60g of protein per day, there shouldn’t be any problems in getting enough.

Hopefully these collages will help put your mind at ease that a vegan diet has all the nutrients you need – minus the cruelty! (This is just one video about what happens to chickens, don’t worry – there’s videos for cows and pigs, too.)

Also, in case you were wondering: ‘Humane’ slaughter is a lie.


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Vegan Stop Online Grocer Review

Vegan Stop is a new online fully vegan grocer for Canada who had reached out ‘to some of Toronto’s vegan leaders’ via Instagram on Feb. 1st to let me know they had just opened their online store veganstop.ca.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find this message because a) they think I’m a vegan leader in Toronto? That’s so cool! And b) they actively sought me out and wanted me to check them out? Double cool!

I was also excited to try out a vegan grocer specific for Toronto ever since V Word Market closed. Vegan Supply is a bit too far for me to order from.

Needless to say, I did check them out, and I’m here to share my experience with you guys.

*Disclaimer: this post is in no way sponsored by Vegan Stop*

I checked out their website that same day, and found it very easy to navigate. They even have a Search by Brand option which is a very handy addition. That first day, I went for some ‘classic’ premade vegan food brands: Daiya, Tofurky, Gardein and Earth Balance. (I had just been searching for Earth Balances Cheese Square crackers the previous week and really wanted to find them)

As expected, since it was the first day they launched, they didn’t have very many products for each brand, and they didn’t have Tofurky products at all.

I asked them about it, and they told me that they were expected to get the Tofurky products in over the weekend. I decided to wait to place my order until after that. I also gave them a few suggestions for the website, and as a thank-you they gave me my own special discount code, for which I’m very grateful!

I checked out their FAQ’s, and was again pleasantly surprised to see that they said that they aimed to have mostt orders out same day, or within 24 hours. Again, this was a huge plus for me, as other vegan online places took anywhere from a few days to 1-2 weeks to deliver. I also loved that they are strictly Canadian (for now, at least).

About a week or so later, I went back to the site, and again used the Search by Brand option. (I really love being able to search a store this way) I immediately scrolled down and found Tofurky, eager to see which products they had. To my disappointment, they only had deli slices, no sausages. (Not hating, I just wanted the sausages)

I went over to Daiya and saw that while they didn’t have the Monterey Jack Block (my favourite block of Daiya, and hardly anyone has them anymore!) they did have the Alfredo sauce! I was sold as soon as I saw that and decided to get some stuff to make alfredo pasta. I headed over to Gardein and got some Beefless Tips, figuring I could probably use them in place of the Tofurky sausages for the pasta.

I also got Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders and Amy’s Kitchen Alphabet Soup (another one of my fav products). I didn’t want to get too many things in the first order until I saw what the shipping would be, and how long the order would take.

I went to the Check Out page and again was happy to see they accepted Paypal. (You wouldn’t believe how many places I can’t order from because they don’t accept Paypal)

The Check Out process was very easy to navigate – on par with the rest of the site – and I was glad to see that shipping was only $9!

Their prices are cheaper then I’ve found at other places as well. For example, the Gardein Beefless Tips and 7 Grain Tenders are $4.49 each, compared to $5.99 at Vegan Supply.

The Alfredo Sauce is $8.49, compared to $9.49 at Vegan Supply as well.

And, perhaps the best price difference: Daiya pizzas are $8.99, which is a whole dollar off from other places I’ve seen them for $9.99, or even $10.99!

Altogether, using the discount code, my order was $20.51, which, is a much smaller bill then it would’ve been elsewhere. And, that was the total including the shipping price.

Buying the exact same items at Vegan Supply, the same bill came to $23.17, not including shipping. Their cheapest shipping option was $16.83. That would’ve made my grand total $39.80 for the same order, and Vegan Supply didn’t even have the Amy’s soup! They also require you to purchase cold packs for refrigerated/frozen items, which are $1.50 each.

That’s a $19.29 difference for the same food, and, it would’ve been slower delivery.

That’s crazy!

I strongly urge you to check Vegan Stop out. They’re still new, so there may still be a few bumps in the road, but for that price difference? It’s definitely worth it.

I am very happy to have this new online grocer, and am looking forward to becoming a regular customer.


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Surprising Vegan Chocolate




One thing I’ve learned since beginning this series is that there are a lot of websites that don’t list the ingredients in their products, and a lot of companies who aren’t willing to give out this information – even when you let them know you’re writing an article. (Apposed to trying to steal their recipe)

Many sites don’t even list allergens, which, I didn’t even know was allowed.

Anyway, that’s why on this Surprising Vegan list, there are companies listed that make labelled vegan chocolate.

I was also surprised to learn about just how many companies are making vegan friendly chocolate! I didn’t think I was going to discover so many!

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Surprising Vegan Chocolate

Starting in the bottom left corner going counter-clockwise:

  • Endangered Species Panther
  • Endangered Species Grizzly
  • Endangered Species Elephant
  • Endangered Species Owl
  • Endangered Species Chimp
  • Endangered Species Tiger
  • Endangered Species Tamarin
  • Endangered Species Bat
  • Endangered Species Puffin
  • Endangered Species Rainforest
  • Endangered Species Wolf
  • Endangered Species Turtle
  • Endangered Species Penguin
  • Endangered Species Ram
  • Pure Lovin’Denman Island Cocomilk Cherry Cashew
  • Pure Lovin’ OrganicFair Coco-Milk
  • Pure Lovin’ Roasted Nut Medley
  • Pure Lovin’ Almond and Wild Blueberry
  • Pure Lovin’ 71% Dark
  • Alter Eco Seal Salt
  • Alter Eco Salted Almonds
  • Alter Eco Quinoa Crunch
  • Alter Eco Crisp Mint
  • Alter Eco Blackout
  • Alter Eco Super Blackout
  • Lindt Excellence 70%
  • Lindt Excellence 85%
  • Lindt Excellence 90%
  • Lindt Excellence 99%
  • iChoc Classic
  • iChoc White Vanilla
  • iChoc White Nougat
  • iChoc Choco Cookie
  • iChoc Super Nut
  • iChoc Almond Orange
  • Pure Lovin’ Zazubean Sassy Pomegranate and Hazelnut
  • Pure Lovin’ Zimt Coconut Crisp Bar (Raw)
  • Pure Lovin’ Zimt Nib’d Bar – (Raw)
  • Pure Lovin’ OrganicFair Midnight

I was so pleased to learn how many vegan chocolates there are out there. Endangered Species makes a whole vegan-friendly line, and each purchase goes toward helping endangered species of animals (hence the name), Pure Lovin’ is a completely (Canadian!) vegan company, making much more then just bars (they also have vegan chocolate cremes, and chocolate solid dinosaurs!),and Alter Eco also has an entire vegan line of chocolate.

I discovered two other completely vegan chocolate companies: Pascha and Giddy Yo-Yo.

And, Guylian chocolates has some vegan chocolates as well.

I didn’t include Pascha and Giddy Yo-Yo in the list above because they’re 100% vegan companies, and these Surprising Vegan lists are supposed to be foods found from non-vegan retailers. I also didn’t include Guylian because their products aren’t available in Canada/US.

There you have it, my list of Surprising Vegan chocolates. If you have any surprising vegan chocolates I missed, or have an idea for another Surprising Vegan food list I can do, feel free to leave it in a comment below!


Like the Surprising Vegan articles? Check out more of the series here!

Habitant Garden Style Vegetable Soup Review




In keeping with the cold-outside/winter is coming weather, I decided I’d go ahead and do a review of a classic cold weather food: soup!

If you saw my Surprising Vegan Soup collage, then you’ll hopefully have stocked up on some delicious soup to keep you going long after the holidays are over.

This is also going to be the last Product Review of 2018! (They will continue to go up on the 13th of every month)

Okay, without further ado, here’s the Habitant Garden Style Vegetable soup review.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Habitant Garden Style Vegetable Soup - vegan, food review

The first thing I want to address is how f*cking big of a can of soup this is. Seriously. They’re 796ml – that’s easily enough for two bowls of soup. (Maybe even three) Why does Habitant only make such giant cans of soup? They’re usually located on the bottom-er shelves in the soup aisle because they’re so friggin’ big. I don’t know why exactly they make cans of soup for giants, but I’m 100% here for it. I like that this can offers a lot of soup, especially because it’s pretty cheap. You get a lot of soup-per-dollar.

One thing I don’t like about this soup isn’t even related to taste – it’s that there’s no tab on the top to open it. Look, I understand that not every can needs a pull open tab, but (especially because the can is so big) having the tab on the top would make it much easier to open without taking the entire top off, so you can close the lid back down and save it for later, instead of having to pour it out into a container. It’s not that big of a deal – I remember back before those easy-open tabs weren’t even a thing – it’s just something to keep in mind.

In terms of cooking, it’s really easy. Just open, heat on a stove (or in the microwave if you do that sort of thing) and serve. Very simple process. Even people who can’t cook can do it. This also bodes well if you’re really sick and would like something easy and fast to make, so… two birds?




Now, for the actual taste, it’s… soup. If you read my Amy’s Alphabet soup review, you’ll know that I’m not really that big of a fan of soup – I don’t know what it is, I just prefer my meals to be solid.

I don’t hate soup, I just would rather eat say… a sandwich instead. Soup is weird though, you’ve gotta admit that. It’s closer to a beverage then a meal. They should start selling soups in juice containers. That would also make it easier to save some of them for later, so there you go. Take note Soup World.

I don’t want to knock this soup – especially because it’s one of the few that aren’t marketed as being vegan that we can eat – but there’s honestly not too much to it. It tastes exactly how you would expect it to: like vegetables in some broth. It’s not overly salty like I’ve had in some other soups, and it doesn’t taste too watery either. It’s well balanced in terms of it’s flavours, and it has little grains of I think rice (or really tiny pasta shapes) in it as well. That helps fill you up better then soups that don’t have pasta/rice in them, in my opinion.

Other then that, I don’t really have too much to say about this product. It has vegetables in it (so it’s good for you!), is very easy to make, and comes in one of the biggest cans of soup I’ve ever seen. It’s a triple threat!

All in all, I’d recommend you check out/try this product. It won’t exactly blow you away with how amazing it is, but it doesn’t suck. And, especially if you have a hard time finding specifically labelled vegan products where you are, this can I’ve seen pretty much in every store I’ve been in. So it should also be easy to find.


Need help finding more products to stock up with in the winter? Check out my Surviving Canadian Winters post.

Like the review? Check out more here!

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!


Like this post? Check out more here!

Surprising Vegan Alcohol




The holidays are fast approaching and that means one thing: Parties.

If you’re vegan, the holidays are hard enough: dealing with family members asking questions, ‘joking’ about veganism with you, and let’s not forget the giant, dead sentient being in the middle of the table. While I’m not saying alcohol is the answer, you can’t deny having a drink might make the holidays that much more bearable.

Or, perhaps, you’re hosting a party, and know a vegan is coming, and want them to at least have some sort of drink option other then water. (And are freaking out because you don’t know what to look for)

Whatever the reason you’re here, you can rest easy knowing the below are vegan-friendly (even though they don’t say on the bottle).

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Surprising Vegan Alochol - Vegan Drinks

Here is a list of the alcohol pictured, starting in the top left corner and continuing clockwise:

  • Smirnoff Ice
  • Guinness Original*
  • Guinness Draught
  • Guinness Extra Stout
  • Guinness Foreign Stout
  • Mill Street Lager
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade**
  • Stella Artois
  • Stella 4%
  • Blackfly Grape***
  • Blackfly Sour Cherry
  • Blackfly Orange
  • Jaw Drop Gushing Grapes****
  • Jaw Drop Puckering Punch
  • Jaw Drop Sucking Lemons
  • Jaw Drop Tickling Pink
  • Jaw Drop Licking Limes
  • Jaw Drop Flashing Peaches
  • Jaw Drop Squirting Oranges
  • Smirnoff Ice Raspberry
  • Smirnoff Ice Green Apple
  • Bailey’s Almande
  • Corona
  • Absolut Vodka*****

As you can see from the above list, there are many different types of alcohol that vegans can drink, even if they’re not marketed as ‘vegan’. Hopefully, this list helps you out with your future holiday planning, and if you’re a vegan going to a party and you’re not sure if there will be drinks you can have, keep your eye out for one of the above.




Have a drink that’s not on this list you’re wondering might be vegan? Check out Barnivore.com for a more complete list of vegan alcohol. The cool thing about them, is they don’t only tell you what’s vegan, they also tell you what’s not.


Like this list? Check out more Vegan Tips here!

*From Guinness’ FAQs: Yes, it is (vegan) from the keg format for now. Our new filtration process has removed the use of isinglass as a means of filtration and vegans can now enjoy a pint of Guinness.

All Guinness Draught in keg format is brewed without using isinglass. Full distribution of bottle and can formats will be in place by the end of 2017, so until then, our advice to vegans is to consume the product from the keg format only for now.

**Mike’s Hard Lemonade LITE contains honey

***All Blackfly flavours are vegan! I e-mailed the company and was very pleased to hear the news. The flavours pictured are the only ones I’ve been able to find (in Canada)

****All Jaw Drop flavours are also vegan! As said in this tweet, straight from the company. The flavours pictured are (again), the only ones I’ve found

*****A note on Barnivore from 2014 says the owner of Absolut is a ‘major funder of bullfighting’ (No update as of posting)

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!