Tag Archives: vegan

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!


Like this article? Check out more Vegan Tips!

Yves Veggie Dog Review




Alright, now that the terrible weather is finally close to being gone, chances are you’ll probably find yourself at a BBQ/summer cook-out of some sort over the next few months. You’ll most likely need to either bring a faux meat with you, or tell the host which brand you’d like. I recommend telling them not to worry, and that I’m fine to bring my own, but if they’re insistent, well Yves is one of the easier faux meat products to find/remember the name of.

I don’t know how, but these things have got a pretty classic ‘hot-dog’ taste. I honestly don’t know what gives real hot-dogs that classic taste – from the recipe’s I’ve seen, most of them say ketchup – but it’s a distinctive flavour nonetheless.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Yves Veggie Dogs - vegan, vegan food, food reviews, food reviewer, not-dogs, hot-dogs, summer, BBQ

These taste like hot-dogs, not sausages. You may be wondering if it makes a difference, but trust me, it does. If someone asks you to pick them up sausages, and you grab these, they won’t be thrilled.

I’m not saying these not-dogs (yes I call them not-dogs, cause they’re not dogs! You’re welcome community) are bad, they’re in fact really good – but just know that there’s a difference in taste between sausages and not-dogs. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never had a hot-dog, but they have a universally defined flavour.

I will say, though, I’m thrilled to find a company that makes not-dogs, and not just sausages. I don’t know what it is – maybe they figure hot-dogs are too gross/unhealthy to try to replicate? – but most of the vegan companies I’m aware of only make sausage substitutes. (Or as I like to call them, not-sages)

Not all Yves products are vegan though, so be sure to read the ingredients before buying. So far, I know their Bologne, these not-dogs, their veggie nuggets and faux chick’n burgers are safe. All the ones that are vegan that I’ve tried say ‘vegan’ right on the front. (I’d double check the ingredients anyway, just in case)

So, aside from the classic hot-dog taste, these not-dogs are also really good if you dry-fry them. That is, in a pan with no oil/water. Just plop that sucker on there and roll it around every few minutes. When heated up, they get that classic smoky, BBQ-ed flavour. What I’m assuming is liquid smoke comes out when heated and gives them that awesome flavour.

Also, while heating up, their ‘skin’ begins to blister, and get crispy, which is just like the cherry on top of the smoke-flavoured cake. I don’t know what it is, but I’m a sucker for that blistery, smoky flavour.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - Yves Veggie Dog Cooked - vegan, vegan food, food review

(See those blister-bubbles?)

Another good thing about them is they won’t stand out too much from the rest of the food. They’re a little more rectangular in shape to regular hot-dogs, so you’ll be able to tell them apart, but they’re not so different that people will gawk at them and make fun of you. (If they see the package says ‘vegan’ or question why you’re bringing your own, all bets are off) Also, they look ‘normal’ enough, that some of the other guests may even want to try them.

These are also pretty versatile, just like regular hot-dogs. You can BBQ them plain in a bun like ‘normal’, or cut them up and add them to a pasta salad, or kebabs! (Or mac n cheese, but that’s less summer-y)

Also, you can store them in the freezer without changing their texture, which is always a bonus! You could buy a few packs at a time and keep them in the freezer for when you need them.

All in all, these are a pretty great not-dog option and I definitely recommend you try the plain, and spicy flavoured ones. With these by your side, you won’t have to worry about missing a good old cookout or worry about having to bring your own ‘rabbit food’.


Like this review? Check out more here!

Vegan Sunscreen





Alright, now that it’s May and we’ve officially left winter behind, what better time to buff up your knowledge of sunscreen before heading out into the sun? (And risking getting terribly sunburnt)

So, you may be asking yourself: ‘wait, sunscreen isn’t vegan?’

Yep, it’s true. It’s not just food that us humans use animals for. We put them (or some part of them) in all kinds of stuff. From plastic bags, to cell phones, to you guessed it – sunscreen.

Now, luckily some companies have seen the light and have begun phasing out the use of animal ingredients. And, while that’s certainly something to celebrate, that’s really only half the battle.

A lot of companies also test sunscreens (and lotions, shampoos, soaps, etc.) on animals! I know, right? And, here’s the kicker: these companies don’t exactly make it easy to find out if they’re testing on animals or not. I mean, why would they readily admit that they’re torturing animals?

So, what’s a newbie vegan (or family member/friend looking for a gift) to do? The below tips should help you out in determining if the product is vegan.

 

  1. Read the Ingredients

I know, I know, you’re not a chemist, I don’t expect you to instantly know every single ingredient listed. I would recommend starting with the list below. These are some of the most common animal-derived ingredients found in sunscreens (and sometimes lotions/creams):

  • Beeswax
  • Chitin (commonly comes from the exoskeletons of crustaceans, insects and even arachnids. It’s essentially ground-up shell)
  • Collagen (a structural protein found in animal connective tissue. Typically from cows, pigs or fish)
  • Elastin (another type of protein. Found in the artery walls, intestines, lungs and skin of animals)
  • Lanolin (Animal fat that’s extracted from sheep’s wool)
  • Stearin/Stearic Acid – derive from the fat of cows, sheep and pigs

If the bottle has a few ingredients you’re not sure about, one of the best things to do is to Google it. Honestly, plugging the name into Google (or whatever search engine you prefer) will usually bring up a short about the product, and usually tell you where it’s derived from. (Sometimes it may tell you an ingredient can be both derived from animals or plants. In that case, I would check the companys’ website to see if they say which one they use)

 

2. Check If It’s Cruelty-Free

This isn’t always as simple as it sounds, unfortunately. While many companies have began using the universal cruelty-free symbol (or some variation of it) on their products, others don’t. It’s not always a simple procedure of a company slapping the logo on their products.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Vegan Sunscreen - Cruelty-Free Logo - Leaping Bunny, PETA

(These or some variation is usually somewhere on the back of the bottle/product)

Some companies legally can’t put the logo on the bottle, even if it’s cruelty-free in your country, because sometimes, when companies sell to different countries, those countries have different safety laws that require testing on animals.

For example, many companies have taken to adding, ‘(insert company name) doesn’t conduct animal testing of our cosmetic products anywhere in world, except in the rare situation where governments or laws require it.’ to somewhere on their website (usually on a hard to find page that takes some digging).

The biggest example of this, would probably be companies that sell in China. China requires certain products to be tested on animals before being allowed to be sold in their country. So, some companies – while they may be cruelty-free in your country – technically aren’t cruelty-free as a whole, because they sell in China.

Whether you choose to buy from a company that isn’t 100% cruelty-free is your own choice. Some people will swear off buying from that company altogether as a protest, which is great. But that’s not always feasible. Finding vegan products, while improving over the last few years, can still be a hassle. I would say, do your best not to feel guilty if there aren’t any other options around. Remember, veganism is about ‘being as practicable as possible’ – not being 100% all the time.

I would suggest not making a habit out of it (if you feel guilty), and instead try to find one of the vegan sunscreens I’ll list below. (Or try making your own natural sunscreen!)

 

3. Call/E-mail the Company and Ask

If you’ve checked the bottle and didn’t see the above listed ingredients, or the cruelty-free symbol, and you’ve scoured every inch of their website to no avail, the best thing to do is hear it straight from the horses’ mouth. (So to speak)

In my personal experience, it’s usually easier to e-mail the company then call, because sometimes the agent you get won’t know off the top of their head and will likely tell you they need to double check with the correct department and then get back to you. Or, the agent on the phone will give you a very quick yes or no answer and hang up. (Yes, this has happened to me on more then one occasion)

I don’t know why it happens – perhaps they’re busy and need to get to the next customer, perhaps they don’t want to actually check and give you a real answer, or maybe they actually do know that quickly because they get that question all day – whatever the reason, (since you can’t be sure), e-mailing is usually better. It will take longer than a phone call, but a company will usually take the time to explain things in more clarity for you if you e-mail them.

If even after you’ve e-mailed them and they just give you the generic line from their website, I would suggest checking the laws in your own country to see what’s required. You may be happily surprised in your findings.

If all of that seems like way too much work (which honestly, I don’t blame you), and you want something fast and easy, check out one of the below companies/sunscreens. The only research you’d need to do for these, is to see if they’re available in your country:

  • Kiss My Face Organics Mineral SPF30 Air-Powered Spray (their FAQ states most of their products are vegan, with the exception of some containing honey or beeswax)
  • Alba Botanica Cool Sport Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (their FAQ says all products are vegan, except for those containing beeswax and honey)
  • Pacifica Mineral Sunscreen Coconut Probiotic SPF 30 (the slogan on their website is ‘Pacifica: 100% vegan, cruelty-free’, so I assume all their products are good to use!)
  • Nature’s Gate Mineral Sport Broad Spectrum SPF 20 (not all products are vegan)

These are just a few examples of sunscreens available. I personally haven’t used any of these yet, which brings me to a good point: I’m still finishing off a bottle I have that I received as a gift. I would hope that if you have non-vegan products laying around, that you don’t just throw them away and waste them. If you don’t think you could continue to use them after learning the truth about animal testings (among other things), see if you can donate it to a family member, friend, or even a local charity.

It’s much better to use up the product instead of waste it. It might sound weird, but to me, they already tested the product on the animal/put the animal ingredient into it, so the animal has already suffered/died. I’d much rather use the product then toss it, as if that animals’ suffering doesn’t matter. Some people might not see it that way, which again, is fine. But don’t feel guilty or like you have to trash almost everything you own just because you’re trying to be vegan.

There’s a reason we call it a ‘transition’.


Like this article? Check out more tips on veganism here!

Where Do Vegans Get Their Calcium?




This is the second entry in my new Vegan Nutrient collage series, (check out the first post here), and I figured the simplest way to go about this series would be in order of the most asked questions new vegans get, (and most asked questions new vegans are bound to have).

That’s why this entry, is focusing on calcium.

We definitely have no need to consume cow’s milk (or sheep, or goat), and with all the terrible side effects, why would you want to?

Not to mention, it’s an unnecessary and cruel industry. Seriously, why would you willingly fund such horrors?

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Tips - Nutrient Collage - Calcium - vegan, vegan food, vegan nutrients

Starting from the top left corner, going clockwise:

  •  Tahini 325mg
  •  Fortified Non-Dairy Milk 200-300mg (depending on which kind)
  •  Seasame Seeds 280mg
  •  Tempeh 215mg
  •  Almonds 200mg
  •  Tofu 150mg
  •  Seitan 142mg
  •  Figs 120mg
  •  Oranges 50-60mg (depending on size)
  •  Blackberries 40mg
  •  Black Beans 294mg
  •  Kidney Beans 263mg
  •  Chickpeas 210mg
  •  Soy White Beans 175mg
  •  Romano Beans 160mg
  •  Navy Beans 125mg
  • Collard Greens 350mg
  • Turnip Greens 250mg
  • Spinach 230mg
  • Kale 180mg
  • Bok Choy 158mg
  • Broccoli 95mg

These are in no way the only plant based sources of calcium, but they are the Top 22 that have the most calcium in them (per 1 cup).

With only needing 1,000mg/day of calcium, you can see how easy it is to meet your daily requirements with plant foods.

I hope you found this collage helpful, whether you’re a new vegan or veg-curious.

Next month, I’ll be talking about vegan sunscreens.


Like this article? Check out more vegan tips here!

iChoc Classic Review




With Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I thought what better food review then a chocolate bar?

Whether you’re celebrating V-Day with a special someone, hanging with your friends, or flying solo, there’s no reason why you can’t indulge yourself with one of the best vegan chocolate bars I’ve tried.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Product Review - iChoc Classic Chocolate Bar - vegan food, food review, chocolate, Valentines Day

One of the best/surprising things about this bar is that it’s made with rice milk. Why is that surprising? Well, usually, when something is made with rice milk, it has a certain taste about it, where you can tell it was made with rice milk. This bar, however, doesn’t have that taste much at all. Especially if you’re eating it by itself (instead of binging on a bunch of different vegan chocolates) you can hardly tell it has the ‘rice milk’ taste. It just tastes like… well, chocolate.

Another great thing about this bar is that it’s not bitter at all. Maybe it’s just me, but before discovering vegan chocolate, pretty much the only chocolate I could eat was the Lindt Excellence chocolates, and let me tell you, those are super dark chocolates. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s hard to enjoy more then one or two squares when something is that bitter.

Feeling like you need to chug water after eating chocolate is never a good thing. I’m just not a fan of extremely bitter chocolate. I’d prefer to leave that to my once-in-a-blue-moon coffee.

This bar also comes in a half decent size. I don’t know if you saw my Go Max Go Foods review, but let me tell you, as much as I love their Twilight bar, it’s so small! I know it’s the size of a regular non-vegan Mars/Snickers, etc. bar, but it’s so good, why can’t it be bigger? Maybe they do it on purpose so you buy more, or maybe they just don’t think someone would eat a bigger bar? (They’re wrong, I would totally eat a giant Twilight bar)




This bar is a half decent size, it’s about the size of the Lidnt Excellence bars. I also like that this bar is wider then it is thick – since this is their classic, there’s nothing fancy like caramel or nougat – it doesn’t need to be thick. As much as I love chocolate, biting into a solid thick piece of chocolate isn’t all that fun.

Since it’s the classic bar, I feel like there isn’t all that much I can review for it, other then it tastes pretty good, and doesn’t have any bells or whistles (like the aforementioned caramel or nougat), so if you’re someone who likes chocolate but not all that other stuff, this would be a good place to start. iChoc does make other bars with some ‘extra’ stuff in them (like their Choco Cookie bar has bits of cookie), but I’ll be reviewing those later.

The last thing about this bar I want to say is that it’s somewhat easier to find then the Go Max Go Foods bars. For Go Max, I had to go to a specifically vegan grocery store (like Good Rebel), but for the iChoc bars, I’ve seen them at Healthy Planet, and Foodland. It seems that stores that have a bigger vegan selection might have them (although I haven’t specifically checked Loblaws or Metro). That’s another bonus, I like being able to do my shopping all in one place, and unfortunately all the specialty vegan stores in Toronto are on the opposite side of the city I live in, so it’s a treat to find the vegan things I need in a non-vegan grocer (that’s not 50min away).

I’m not entirely sure if there’s Foodlands or Healthy Planets outside of Canada, but I would say, if you’re looking for the iChoc bars your best bet would be to go to either a specialty vegan store, or the grocer closest to you that has the biggest selection of vegan foods. And I think you could order them online, too.


Like this review? Check out more here!

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!

3 Year Veganversary





I can’t believe it’s already been another full year! It feels like just yesterday I was writing my 2nd Year Veganversary article – and now I’m already writing the next one? It’s crazy!

Again, it’s hard to know what to say in these posts – do I encourage you to go vegan with me? Do I talk about some of the hardships of going vegan?

Wait, I know. How about a quick food montage? Back before I was vegan, I basically ate the same three things over and over. But since I’ve been vegan? I’ve tried so many different kinds of foods, and even discovered some foods that I didn’t know existed before! (Like Nooch, seitan, oyster mushrooms and black salt)

I not only have expanded my taste buds by trying premade vegan products (like Daiya, Gardein and Tofurky), I also learned how to cook, and I’ve gotta say, I can make some pretty kick-ass things in the kitchen now, compared to the not knowing how to boil hot-dogs before.

Check out all the cool, new shit I learned how to make:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - PETA SolFood Vegan's Spicy Fried Chicken Burger - seitan, vegan food, cooking adventures

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Seitan Bites - vegan food, cooking adventures

This is literally wheat gluten, water (or vegetable broth) and spices. It’s magic! And tastes awesome. I love getting to spice the food right from it’s conception – it gives it so much more flavour, instead of starting with a whole, plain slab of meat and then only putting the seasoning on the outside.

Also, you can turn this into any meat you want – the way you spice it gives it it’s flavour. And, because you’re hand shaping, you can also make it look like whatever you want.

Need some chick’n ‘breasts’? No problem.

AterImber.com - Seitan Chick'N Vegan Recipe

Sausages? Sure thing!

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Spicy Seitan Sausages - vegan food, cooking adventures

Need some wings? Got that too.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Buffalo Seitan Wings - vegan food, cooking adventures

What about burgers?

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - PETAs SolFood Vegans Spicy Fried Chicken - seitan, vegan food, cooking adventures

Yep! Still not a problem. These were actually the first time I made seitan, and was taken from PETA’s SolFood Vegan’s Spicy Fried Chicken recipe.

You could even just leave it together and make a roast out of it, if you really wanted.

The possibilities with seitan are damn near endless.

And it’s got 62g of protein/1C. So, y’know you don’t have to worry about dying from protein deficiency.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Meatball-less Sub w/ Taquitos - Vegan food, cooking adventures

Taquitos? I didn’t even know these were a thing before I discovered them at Good Rebel, and then learned how to make a homemade version.

Side note, if you live in Toronto, you should definitely check Good Rebel out. They’re small, but it’s like a vegan wonderland in there, they have so many products! Also, their egg and sausage breakfast sandwich is amazing.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - The Vegan Zombie Mozzeralla Cheese Sticks - vegan food, cooking adventures

Mozzarella sticks is something I never had before going vegan, let alone know how to make. This recipe I actually got from The Vegan Zombie.

There are a lot of different foods I never tried until I went vegan. Not even just ‘typical’ vegan foods – like seitan, or durian (which admittedly I still haven’t had) – but ‘normal’ foods, like garlic bread, poutine, milkshakes – pretty much anything that had milk in it, I never tried.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vegan Cooking Adventures - Sushi - vegan food

Uhm, hand-rolling sushi with no fish? Oh yeah, I did that, too. It was fun! And apparently because of my small hands, I was naturally good at rolling them.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - HotforFood - HotforFood's Cookbook: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face - Cauliflower Wings and Ranch dip - vegan food

These I made from my favourite vegan Youtubers, HotforFood. Lauren makes amazing vegan food videos, and makes a lot of ‘regular’ foods (ie burgers, wings, etc.) and not just salads. I highly, highly recommend you check out her channel, and that you buy her cookbook 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face. I was lucky enough to get her to sign it at this past years’ Vegandale festival and have made only a few things out of the book, (one of my favs is her Ranch dip) but am very excited to continue trying out more of her recipes.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmellows and Chocolate Drizzle - vegan food, vegan cupcakes, vegan desserts

I learned how to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch, and was pleasantly surprised that my vegan egg substitute of applesauce for eggs worked! The last time I had tried this switch, I was making brownies, and it didn’t exactly work out.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Vanilla Cherry Pie Cupcakes - Vegan Food - vegan desserts

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Chocolate Cherry Pie Cupcakes - Vegan Food - vegan desserts

I also invented my own Cherry-Pie Cupcakes after learning how to make the cupcakes above. I’ve made these the past 2 years for my dads’ birthday and he absolutely loves them. (These pictures are a bit ‘foggy’ because I had icing on the camera)

It’s not even just the foods I’ve learned how to make, there’s also a whole world of restaurants and pre-made foods I never would’ve discovered had I not got into veganism!

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

Poutine! It’s always a win. Look at that deliciousness!

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

Globally Local I’m a fan of – and they’re not even available in Toronto yet! I had the great fortune of trying them at the festival both years, and neither was disappointing. (With the exception that they aren’t in Toronto!)

AterImber - The Veg Life - Hogtown Vegan - Unchick'N Ceasar Wrap - Vegan food

Hogtown Vegan is in Toronto, and this thing is amazing, too. It’s giant, delicious, and was actually the first time I ever tried seitan – and that was even before I went vegan! It’s since become my ‘regular’ order when I go there. Some of my other favourites of theirs is their poutine, mac n cheese and chick’n burger. I highly recommend you check them out as well, if you’re ever in the neighbourhood.

These guys I only tried once, but again, was blown away. The sandwich was awesome, and it saddens me that they’re all the way in Texas. Also, those were oyster mushrooms? Whaaat?

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

Salted Caramel cupcakes are a must! I loved these so much and was very upset I was only able to buy one.

I won’t give you the total play-by-play, I’ll leave my food adventures on my Instagram. Also, if you want to check out the reviews I did of the above restaurant foods, you can find them here.

With all the awesome vegan restaurants opening, and all the new products that are becoming available, it’s becoming so easy to go vegan.

Also, if the food wasn’t enough to convince you, maybe this will:

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - 3 Year Veganversary - Vegan Calculations: animals, water, and forest saved

Whether you’re thinking about going vegan for the animals, your health, or the environment, you can’t argue with numbers like these. 1,000+ animals saved in the 3 years I’ve been vegan by doing nothing else but changing my diet? Can I get a hell yeah?

Being vegan is one of the most passive ways to help save the planet and animals that I can think of. You don’t have to go out and protest, you don’t have to talk about it. You can be a quiet activist and vote with your dollar.

With so many great options available, and so many stats outlining the dangers of not going vegan, I’m truly baffled that some people haven’t gotten on board yet. I mean, I haven’t been vegan forever, but I don’t think I ever tried debating that animal agriculture was good for the environment, or that murdering innocent beings was right.

Seriously, how are there still people who think veganism isn’t the answer?


Want to check out how much YOU save by being vegan? Do so here!

Want to learn more about veganism? Check out more tips 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!

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.


Like this review? Check out more here!

Surprising Vegan Halloween Candy




Ah, Halloween.

A great night where kids get to dress up, explore the neighbourhood, and get free candy. Sadly, this night only comes once a year, so you’ve gotta make it count.

If you’re newly vegan, you might be wondering, ‘what are the chances my kid (or yourself) will be able to eat any typical Halloween candy?’ Well, check out the collage below and you’ll see, it’s more then you think. There are plenty of products that are ‘accidentally’ vegan by nature, even though they’re not advertised as such.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Surprising Vegan Halloween Candy - Halloween Candy, halloween, holiday

Starting in the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • Ruffles Original
  • Ruffle’s All Dressed
  • Pringles Original
  • Airheads (Red 40, Blue 1, Yellows 5+6)
  • Pringles Ketchup
  • Old Dutch Ketchup
  • Old Dutch Original
  • Twizzlers
  • Pull N Peel
  • Super Nibs
  • Jujubes (Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellows 5&6)
  • Hickory Sticks
  • Sweet Chili Heat Doritos
  • Sun Chips Original
  • Lays Oven Baked
  • Lays Salt N Vinegar
  • Lays Classic*
  • Mini Oreos
  • Rockets (In the US, called Smarties)
  • Swedish Fish (Red 40, Yellow 5&6, and Blue 1)
  • Jolly Ranchers (Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellows 5&6)
  • Gobstoppers (Carmine Colour, Blue 1&2, Red 40, Yellow 5&6)
  • Mike and Ikes (Red 40, Yellow 5&6, Blue 1)
  • Nerds
  • Pixy Stix
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Maynards Fuzzy Peaches (Yellow 5, Red 40)
  • Maynards Swedish Berries
  • Skittles Original
  • Maynards Sour Cherry Blasters (Contains Tartrazine [Yellow 5])

*Lays Classic is made with pork enzymes in the US, making them not vegan. However, in Canada they don’t, so they’re safe to consume. Check out the US list here (at the time of writing, I’ve only been able to find a Canadian and US list, I’d suggest contacting the company for other specific countries)

As explained in my Candy collage, I’ve listed the food dyes next to certain candies because these food dyes aren’t vegan. It’s a choice you need to make for yourself – where is the line for you? Remember, no Vegan Police are going to show up at your house if you ingest something that has animal by/products in it.

The only downside to this is that pretty much all the chocolate has milk in it. 🙁 You’ll most likely have to buy a vegan brand of chocolate if you want that on Halloween night. I’d suggest Go Max Go they make some great chocolate! I’d also advise not handing vegan-specific chocolates out to Trick Or Treaters, unless you’ve got a money tree in your backyard.


Like this post, or curious to learn more about veganism? Check out my Veg Life page!