Tag Archives: vegan tips

Vegan Alternatives to Warm Fabrics

Living in Canada means I get the fun of dealing with 4-feet snow banks and -40C temperatures. Unfortunately, humans aren’t born with a layer of heated skin, so we have to find other ways to keep ourselves warm during winter. The most usual being winter clothes. Jackets, boots, gloves, hats, scarves, etc.

Also unfortunately, most of the go-to fabrics for winter clothing aren’t vegan friendly. Wool, down, fur – even silk! This makes it hard to find vegan-friendly winter clothes for new and veteran vegans alike.

Fortunately though, we’re living in the future!

This means with a little bit of research, you can find suitable winter clothes that will keep you nice and toasty – without compromising your ethics.

 

Thinsulate

This fabric is a synthetic, waterproof and durable cold weather textile. I’ve seen this stuff being used the most as an alternative to the down lining in winter jackets, but I bet with a bit of searching you could find it available for other clothing items, as well.

It also used to be much harder to find than it is nowadays, which is great news for vegans!

 

Cotton

Yes, this simple, well-known fabric has many uses – including being a great alternative to wool for winter!

While cotton isn’t water-proof, it does a great job of keeping you warm in the colder months. It’s also soft and breathable, which is a must when you’re layering ten fabrics together!

Another great thing about cotton? It’s super easy to blend it with other fabrics!

Looking for a clothing item that’s a mix of cotton and something else will give your innerds the best chance at staying warm and dry.

 

Polyester, Nylon and Acrylic

These materials are another synthetic alternative. While they’re some of the most widely-available fabrics, I’ll leave it up to you on whether or not you want to shoulder the environmental responsibility.

That said, keep in mind that buying a clothing item that contains one or more of these fabrics is still ethically better than one of the usual winter go-tos.

 

Bamboo

Not just for toilet paper – bamboo is another versatile material that’s breaking into the winter clothing market!

Bamboo clothes can be some of the softest, most comfortable pieces you’ll ever wear. It also has antifungal and odour resistant properties, which makes it a great option for doing activities such as shovelling snow.

One downside to bamboo is that it’s not the warmest option available. So you might want to skip wearing it on the coldest day of the year.

 

Wildflowers

Yes, that’s right! While this might be a harder alternative to find than some of the others I’ve mentioned, there are companies out there using wildflowers as an alternative stuffing option to down!

 

I don’t imagine you’d be able to find these clothing items at ‘normal’ retailers such as Old Navy, but they shouldn’t be too hard to find on a dedicated vegan clothing website.

I’ve also heard of a few companies using materials like coconut or soybean fiber, but like wildflowers, I don’t think those pieces are as widely available as some of the others I mentioned.

Some winter coats also have detachable fur lining on their hoods, so if you’re really in a pinch – and the rest of the materials used in the jacket are alright – you can always zip it off and donate it.

While there’s not too many widely available vegan materials for winter clothes, there’s definitely enough you should be able to find what you need to make it through.

And if you don’t… well you can have a 5 month house party!


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Surprising Vegan Noodles

Noodles.

They come in all different shapes, sizes, and some aren’t even made out of flour!

It shouldn’t surprise you to know that most pasta noodles are made without eggs.

But what might surprise you, is that those aren’t the only noodles available!

Take a look at the collage below, and think about expanding your horizons on your next pasta night.

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Starting in the top left-hand corner, moving clockwise:

  • Unico Farfalle
  • No Name Rotini
  • Ital Pasta Scoobi Do
  • Rizopia Brown Rice Pasta
  • Tinkyada* Rice Pasta Vegetable Spirals
  • President’s Choice Fusilli
  • Chickapea Pasta Shells
  • Maria’s Homestyle Chickpea Radiatore
  • Mr. Noodles Vegetable
  • Mr. Noodles Mushroom
  • Don Don Japanese Style Udon
  • Catelli Spinach Lasagne
  • De Cecco Spaghetti
  • T&T Buckwheat Soba
  • Young & Young 3 Minute Chow Mein
  • Young & Young Rice Vermicelli
  • Rooster Kongmoon Rice Stick Vermicelli
  • Rooster Thin Rice Noodles

*Tinkyada is a local (Scarborough) made, 100% vegan rice pasta brand!

Unico, No Name, Ital Pasta, Catelli, PC and De Cecco have many different shapes of pasta that are suitable for vegans. If I had filled the collage with every shape they had available, it would’ve been way too big! So instead, I decided to pick 1 shape from each brand to represent what they offer.

Most brands that I’ve found tend to stick with one way to make their noodles. So if you find one shape that doesn’t contain egg (or milk?), chances are good their other shapes won’t.

Some of these brands are also specifically Canadian, so I’m not sure if they’re available in other countries.

Vegan Fast Food: KFC Edition

That’s right!

Even a fast food place with chicken in it’s name has vegan options!

Granted, there’s not too many, but still – we really are living in the future!

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Starting in the top-hand corner, and moving clockwise:

  • Potato Bun
  • 10.5in Tortilla
  • Flatbread
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Plant Based Sandwich*
  • Spicy Plant Based Sandwich
  • Spicy Plant Based Sandwich Combo
  • Fries
  • Southern Plum Dip
  • Ketchup
  • Mug of Root Beer
  • Pepsi Original
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Mountain Dew
  • Dr. Pepper
  • 7-Up
  • Orange Crush
  • Brisk Iced Tea
  • Pure Leaf Black Tea
  • Pure Leaf Lemon Tea
  • Pure Leaf Raspberry
  • Dole Apple Juice
  • Dole Orange Juice
  • Dole Strawberry Kiwi Cocktail
  • Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail
  • Oasis FruitZoo Apple Juice
  • Aquafina Water

There were a few other things that were vegan, but I wasn’t able to find pictures of. Those items are:

  • Mayonnaise Type Dressing
  • Sweet and Smokey BBQ Sauce
  • Kentucky Hot Sauce
  • Salt Packets
  • Pepper Packets
  • Vinegar Packets

One thing to note, for the plant-based fillet, though the website says it has vegan ingredients, a different page on the website said it’s cooked in the same fryer as their meat fillets. I believe this is why they’re officially calling it their ‘plant based’ sandwich, instead of actually using the word ‘vegan’.

It’s great to see them opening up to plant based options, but I’ll leave whether or not you want to buy the sandwich up to you.

Perhaps in the future, they’ll see their error and begin cooking it in a different fryer. But for now, it’s a no go for me.


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Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Coffee Caramel Fudge Ice Cream Review

This ice cream is one of my all time favourites, though I have to be careful about how much of it I eat.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this in another post, but my body is very sensitive to certain things. Spiciness, alcohol, and caffeine, specifically. (Though I’m sure there’s more)

There was actually one time after I went vegan when I discovered Starbucks had a drink called a Mocha, which is essentially hot chocolate mixed with coffee. But not just any type of coffee, it has espresso in it. Now, for those who don’t know, espresso is basically a highly concentrated shot of caffeine. This is why they typically serve espresso in tiny cups, because that’s all you need.

Apparently, Starbuck’s Mocha, has 2 shots of espresso in a Grande (Large) size. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know that the first time I ordered it. Also unfortunately for me, I really liked the taste of the drink. By the time I had reached my house (about 10 minutes away) I had already finished more than half of the drink.

The good news, is that I made it home before my body started to react to the caffeine. I was trying to type up an article, and I noticed my fingers were having trouble hitting the keys I wanted them to. They kept over-extending, and jerking out of position, much to my confusion.

Now, me being the rational person I am, I assumed this shaking/jittering was because I hadn’t eaten yet that day. (It was maybe 11am at this point, and I had only woken up around 10am, so not eating wasn’t unusual) After breaking my concentration, I also noticed my heart was thumping very hard. Like, cartoon levels of wanting to leap out of my chest thumping.

Doing my best to quell my quickly mounting worry, I ventured into the kitchen to get myself some food, hoping that would fix whatever was happening. When I entered the kitchen, my brother (I was living at my parent’s home at this time), asked if I was feeling okay. I told him about my thumping heart, and shaking hands, to which he told me I looked very pale, and seemed to literally be vibrating where I stood.

Concerned, he asked me what I had done that day, so I told him about my trip to Starbucks, and trying the Mocha. And then he proceeded to double over with laughter. I had to wait until his laughter died down for him to explain that there was espresso in the drink – and what that meant in coffee terms – and then told me to drink some water, and eat something and I would be good in a few hours.

Suffice it to say, I felt pretty dumb at that moment. Considering I never drank coffee before that – with the exception of 1 instant black coffee I had drank on that year’s Christmas – that was kind of a lot of caffeine for my body to try to process.

I still don’t drink coffee regularly by any means – and I definitely stay away from espresso – but I do enjoy the taste of it. I had just discovered different flavours (other than black) such as hazelnut or vanilla lattes, and I was pretty bummed to learn my body reacted so intensely.

I thought I was doomed to a coffee free existence!

Then I discovered decaf coffee, which I learned was basically all the coffee flavour, but none of the caffeine. This decaf stuff was like uncovering a secret. See, growing up, the only thing I had ever heard about people who drank coffee, was that they drank it for the caffeine, so I didn’t know anything else existed!

Needless to say, I was excited I could have my maybe twice-a-year coffee fix without blowing out my heart.

I was equally excited to learn about this coffee caramel ice cream. I mean, coffee flavoured ice cream with caramel swirls? That was like a new dream of mine!

So I went out and bought my first pint. (Can you see where this is going)

I take full responsibility for this, as I apparently hadn’t read the description for the ice cream closely enough. Apparently, it wasn’t coffee flavoured ice cream, it was straight coffee ice cream.

And that meant it has caffeine.

Luckily, I don’t eat ice cream in large quantities when I eat it, so I didn’t have as intense of a reaction as I did back when I had my first Mocha, but I definitely felt the affects of the caffeine.

Aside from the caffeine reaction, I loved the taste of this ice cream!

It definitely tastes like a coffee – not black coffee, mind you, it’s closer to a latte flavour – and I absolutely love the caramel swirls! The ice cream itself is also very smooth when it’s in your mouth.

It’s a little hard to explain, but you know when you’re drinking something, and the liquid almost wants to slide down your throat? Unlike when you have solid food in your mouth, and it sort of gets ‘stuck’ on your tongue, and you have the urge to chew?

This ice cream is definitely closer to a liquid mouth feel. If you let it melt and then drank it, it’d probably be the same texture and mouth feel – the only difference would be it wouldn’t be quite as cold.

The least smooth thing about this ice cream is the fudge chunks that are sprinkled throughout. They are very hard bits of chocolate that I definitely recommend not trying to bite through. The fudge bits are dark chocolate, I believe, and the bitter of the chocolate provides a nice contrast to the sweetness of the caramel.

I highly recommend you go test this ice cream for yourself. If you like coffee, or caramel, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

Just be aware if you’re caffeine sensitive: you probably won’t want to eat it too late in the day, unless you want to be up till 4am.


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3 Easy Vegan Summer Dips

This article was written 22.03.02, please excuse any reference/joke to COVID pre-cautions that’s no longer accurate.


Summer is the perfect time to have get-togethers and BBQ’s with friends and family. The one usual annoying thing about this, is you’re asked to bring ‘something’.

Now sure, it’s to lessen the burden on the hosts, and what kind of guest doesn’t feel a little guilty when they don’t bring at least something to a get together?

But, what if it’s too hot to turn the stove on? Are you expected to sweat your ass off before going to socialize? Or, what if you’re not a great – or even okay – cook? Should your friends and family suffer through whatever failed attempt at food you bring? How is that fair?

Well, not to worry! I’m here to show you 3 very simple, yet delicious dips you can bring. This will eliminate any sweating, as none of the below require cooking, and the only ‘cooking’ skills you need, is being able to throw everything together in a container.

  1. Ranch

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A classic dip, which is perfect for any occasion, but especially shines during the summer, this ranch is the perfect, easy dip to prepare.

This is a bastardized version of HotforFood’s Ranch dip from Vegan Comfort Classics, so if you’d rather make the original, you can go ahead and do so.

This version is kind of the ‘lazy’ version of Lauren’s – it’s less ingredients, but still has the taste you want when making a ranch dip.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Vegan Mayo (I use Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted Dressing and Sandwich Spread, which is pretty much vegan Miracle Whip)
  • 1tsp of Dill
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp vinegar

 

Directions:

  1. Scoop everything into a suitable sized container. Stir to combine.

That’s it!

It’s super simple, yet has amazing flavour! And, the best part, is you can even reduce this recipe down to just the mayo and dill and it will still pretty much taste the same as the more complicated version.

It was in making Lauren’s recipe I discovered that dill is the seasoning that gives dishes that classic ‘summer’ taste, so that’s basically all you need to transform the mayo into a suitable summer dip.

You can also obviously increase the measurements if you’re going to be bringing this dip to a get together. The above recipe makes a very small amount of dip – I’d say… maybe around half a cups worth, or less.

I usually don’t make this dip in big quantities, because I’m not very good at meal planning, so I usually decide to make it after I finish making whatever else I was doing and then realize, ‘crap, I forgot to make a dip’.

 

2. French Onion Dip

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Excuse the messiness, I mixed it right in the container.

I’m gonna be honest, I actually have no idea what the difference between ‘onion dip’ and ‘French onion dip’ is, because from what I could tell, all the recipes I found online seemed the same. So technically, this could just be ‘onion dip’, but I think it sounds fancier this way. (Maybe that’s the difference?)

Regardless of what you choose to name it, one thing I’m sure you’ll call it, is ‘tasty’.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • 2 tsp Onion Flakes
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together in whatever bowl/container you’d like. Whatever you choose, make sure it is safe to go in the fridge.

2. Once combine, place in fridge for minimum of 2 hours. (This will help enhance the flavour, and allow the sour cream to get re-firmed, if mixing turned it too runny)

Once it’s been cooled to perfection, you can go ahead and enjoy this bad boy using almost anything: veggies, chips, even just straight up bread would taste great dipped in this stuff!

Just be sure to brush your teeth after eating. Unless you want to use it as a deterrent for avoiding certain family members. In which case, dip away! 😉

 

3. Paprika Mayo

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This one, I’ve actually only used as a spread on various sandwiches (a TLT [tempeh, lettuce, tomato], avocado toast, salad wraps, etc.) but I think it would be good as a dip, as well. I’m also not sure if Paprika Mayo is a thing other people have heard of/made, or something my brother made up, but it’s definitely delicious, and, super simple to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Vegan Mayo
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a container and stir until combined.

 

And that’s it!

Now you can impress at any summer get-togethers you may have, while keeping your house cool as a cucumber. Not to mention, because these are so fast to whip up, you’ll also have plenty of time to enjoy these few good weather months before winter returns. Get out of your kitchen and soak up that sun while you can!

Also, as you might have noticed, these recipes are for very minimal amounts of these dips. This is because contrary to the point of this post, I actually tend to make these dips when I want them, not for get togethers. (Also, since COVID broke the world, get-togethers have been back burned indefinitely) And since I try to vary what I eat on a daily basis, I tend to only make them in small batches, so I can finish them off within 1 to 2 days.

Don’t worry, though. The ratios are the same whether you’re making them for just you, or to feed a whole family. There are plenty of measurement converters you can find online to help you out making bigger batches.

I’m also not too sure how long exactly these dips would last in the fridge, since I tend to finish them within 2 days. If I had to guess though, I’d say to eat them within 1 week, just to be on the safe side.

Do you have any favourite simple homemade dips? Let me know in the comments below!


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is one of the more popular nutrients people talk about. Maybe it’s because that’s the nutrient people focus on when they catch a cold – everyone knows when you’re sick/have a cold to drink orange juice to replenish your Vitamin C.

But what you might not know, is that oranges actually aren’t the best source.

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Starting in the top left-hand corner, moving clockwise:

  • Raw Red Bell Pepper 190mg
  • Raw Green Bell Pepper 120mg
  • Cooked Broccoli 102mg
  • Raw Strawberries 98mg
  • Raw Grapfruit (1) 78mg
  • Raw Broccoli 78mg
  • Orange (1 medium) 70mg
  • Kiwi (1 med) 64mg
  • Green Peas 60mg
  • Cantaloupe (1 Whole) 58mg
  • Cooked Cabbage 56mg
  • Raw Cauliflower 52mg
  • Green Beans 18mg
  • Baked Potato (1 Med) 17mg
  • Raw Tomato (1 Med) 17mg

As you can see, there are plenty of fruits and vegetables with Vitamin C, so getting enough as a vegan definitely shouldn’t be a struggle.

And hey, maybe next time you get a cold, you could try juicing a bell pepper, instead?


Like this article? Check out the rest of the Nutrient Series!

Vegan Fast Food: Chipotle Edition

As far as fast food goes, Chipotle is a pretty healthy option. They have lots of recognizable, real food to choose from, including an awesome selection of vegetables, and they let you pick what goes in your meal!

They also have the option to filter based on diet (Vegetarian, Vegan, Soy, Gluten, etc) and, they make their ingredients very easy to find.

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Chipotle Website Dietary Filters

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Ingredients listed (with pictures) right on the website!

As if that wasn’t enough, when you click on an ingredient in the above list, it opens a little description about it, and a list that tells you which of their foods the ingredient is used in!

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Honestly, this was one of not only the easiest, but also the fastest ‘researches’ I did into a company’s ingredients.

I 100% agree with what they say on their ingredient page: why can’t every company be this straight forward?

So, we know that they make it easy to find things for your vegan preferences, but how many things actually come up in that list?

A hell of a lot!

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Starting in the upper left-hand corner, and moving clock-wise:

  • Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice
  • Cilantro-Lime White Rice
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Yellow Onion
  • Red Onion
  • Tomato
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Bell Peppers
  • Avocado
  • Tomatillo
  • Red Chili
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Serrano Pepper
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Chipotle Chili
  • Sweet Corn
  • Burrito
  • Burrito Bowl
  • Salad
  • Taco
  • Tortilla Chips

I wasn’t able to find pictures of the following, but the below foods are also vegan:

  • Fajita Vegetables
  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
  • Sofritas
  • Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa
  • Tomatilla Red-Chili Salsa

*I would like to point out that these are ingredients listed, and vegan options available at Chipotle for Canada. If you live in a different country, I always recommend checking the ingredients for where you live, as companies often change the ingredients depending on which country they’re selling in.


Like this article? Check out the rest of the Vegan Fast Food series here!

Store Crawl: Loblaws (Online Edition)

This article was written 21.06.07, when COVID pre-cautions were still in place. Please excuse any reference that is no longer applicable


Similar to Metro’s store crawl, this crawl was also done online. While the restrictions are lifting a bit where I am, I still think it’s safest to not go to highly populated areas at the moment. Especially if I don’t absolutely have to go.

And running around a store writing down all the vegan food they offer isn’t on that list, so you’re getting another online edition. Actually, I was thinking of maybe making most of these online crawls instead. Lots of people would rather get groceries delivered, and, sometimes the online selection of products is better/has more variety than if you were to go in person.

Also, since we’re starting to get back into the cold weather, not having to brave the oncoming winter temperature’s seems like a good idea.

And with that little preamble out of the way, let’s see what vegan offerings** Loblaws has:

Yves:

  • Original Ground Round
  • Ham
  • Turkey Slices
  • Hot Dogs
  • Mexican Ground Round
  • Bologna
  • Pepperoni
  • Chick’N Burgers
  • Italian Ground Round

Lightlife:

  • Smart Dogs
  • Smart Tenders Plant-Based Chicken
  • Smart Bacon
  • Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips
  • Organic Original Tempeh
  • Plant Based Burgers*
  • Plant Based Ground*

*All other products said Certified Vegan on packaging, these products did not, however their ingredients appeared vegan when I read them

Gardein:

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  • 7 Grain Crispy Tenders
  • Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n
  • Beefless Ground
  • Crispy Fingers Chipotle Lime
  • Turk’y Cutlets
  • Golden Fishless Filets
  • Beefless Tips
  • Breakfast Spicy Sausages
  • Chick’n Sliders
  • BBQ Wings
  • Breakfast Maple Sausages

 

Earth Balance:

  • Soy Free Buttery Spread
  • Original Buttery Spread
  • Whipped Spread
  • Creamy Coconut Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Butter and Flax
  • Crunchy Coconut and Peanut Spread
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter with Flax

 

Silk:

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  • Soy Original
  • Soy Original Unsweetened
  • Soy Vanilla
  • Soy Chocolate
  • Unsweetened Almond
  • Vanilla Almond
  • Dark Chocolate Almond
  • Almond Protein
  • Almond and Coconut
  • Coconut Unsweetened
  • Cashew Unsweetened
  • Oat Yeah Original
  • Oat Yeah Unsweetened
  • Oat Yeah Vanilla
  • Barista Soy
  • Barista Almond
  • Soy For Coffee
  • Vanilla Coffee Creamer
  • Hazelnut Coffee Creamer
  • Oat Yeah Coffee Creamer
  • Plain Coconut Yogurt
  • Vanilla Coconut Yogurt
  • Raspberry Yogurt
  • Blueberry Yogurt
  • Almond Strawberry Yogurt
  • Almond Peach Yogurt
  • Strawberry Banana Yogurt

 

Presidents Choice (PC):

  • Swiss Style Slices
  • Cheddar Style Slices
  • Mozzarella Style Slices
  • Cheddar Style Shreds
  • Mozzarella Shreds
  • Coconut Cream Cheese
  • Vegan Cheddar Puffs
  • Chickenless Strips
  • Onion and Chive Tofu Dip
  • Beefless Undeniable Burgers

 

Amy’s Kitchen

  • Alphabet Soup
  • Vegetable Barley Soup
  • Fire Roasted Southwestern Vegetable Soup
  • Light In Sodium Minestrone Soup
  • Lentil Vegetable Soup
  • Lentil Soup

 

Daiya:

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  • Cheddar Block
  • Mozz Shreds
  • Cheddar Shreds
  • Cheddar Sauce
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Cheddar Mac
  • Alfredo Mac
  • Cheeze Lovers Pizza
  • Margherita Pizza
  • Fire Roasted Veggie Pizza
  • Supreme Pizza
  • Vegetable Crust Meatless Pepperoni Pizza
  • Vegetable Crust Mediterranean Pizza
  • NY Style Cheesecake
  • Key Lime Cheesecake
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Triple Fudge Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Bar
  • Salted Caramel Swirl Ice Cream Bar
  • Original Cream Cheese

 

Enjoy Life:

  • Mini Choc Chips
  • Mega Chunks
  • Plentil Dill and Sour Cream
  • Plentil Thai Chili Lime
  • Plentil Sea Salt
  • Cocoa Loco Baked Chewy Bars
  • Chocolate Chip Mini Crunchy Cookies
  • Soft Baked Mini Double Choc Brownie Cookies
  • Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Soft Baked Snickerdoodle Cookies
  • Soft Baked Mini Snickerdoodle Cookies
  • Soft Baked Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
  • Oat and Fruit Breakfast Ovals Choc Chip and Banana
  • Oat and Fruit Breakfast Ovals Fig and Maple
  • Oat and Fruit Breakfast Ovals Berry Medley
  • Gluten Free Crunchy Double Choc Cookies
  • Boom Choco Boom Candy Bar

 

 Misc:

  • Mr. Noodle’s Vegetable
  • Habitant Garden Style Vegetable Soup
  • Lipton Cup-A-Soup Spring Vegetable Dry Mix
  • Knorr Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
  • Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast (Large Flake)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix
  • Oreo’s Original
  • Fudgee-O’s Original
  • Triscuits Original
  • Ritz Crackers Original
  • Kisko’s Mr. Freeze Jumbo Freezies
  • Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Netflix and Chill’d
  • Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Peanut Butter Half Baked
  • Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Cherry Garcia
  • Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy P.B. and Cookies
  • Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Dandies Vanilla Marshmallows

**This is not counting of course fresh/frozen/canned fruit and vegetables, and staple dry ingredients like pastas and rices, this is also not including ‘obvious’ snack products (Lay’s Original chips, etc.)


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Where Do Vegans Get Their Vitamin D?

Everyone knows you get Vitamin D from the sun, and of course, almost every adult knows the joke version of where to get this nutrient, but I bet if you asked someone which plant foods have Vitamin D in them, they’d be at a loss.

I was even surprised to learn that the only plant based food that has naturally occurring Vitamin D is mushrooms. In fact, if I didn’t research it for this series, I probably wouldn’t have learned that. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is Vitamin D in lots of vegetables, but the amount in other vegetables is so minimal, you can’t use them as your main source for the nutrient.

I was especially eager to do this nutrient, because as someone living in Toronto (Canada) where our weather is mostly winter, getting Vitamin D from the sun can be quite a challenge for the majority of the year. And as most people know, you can’t just go outside without sunscreen on for a few hours and ‘stock up’ on Vitamin D so you’re good for the year. (Though Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning our bodies can store some extra)

So, what if you’re vegan and live somewhere with minimal sun, and don’t like mushrooms? Does that mean you’re just screwed?

Luckily, no! Similar to B12, there are foods available that have been fortified with Vitamin D, that are vegan friendly. Unfortunately, the list isn’t very long, but there’s definitely enough to have a bit of variety. Also, as someone who used to hate mushrooms, if you just make yourself eat them (in small amounts), eventually you’ll see they aren’t all that bad.

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Starting in the top left corner, going clockwise:

  • The Sun (10 minutes outside without sunscreen in summer)
  • Orange Juice (1C = 100IU)
  • Oat/Almond/Rice Milk (1C = 85-90IU)
  • Soy Milk (1C = 86IU)
  • Maitake Mushrooms (1C = 786IU)
  • Portobello Mushrooms (1C = 634IU)
  • Shiitake Mushrooms (1C = 26IU)
  • White Button Mushrooms (1C = 7IU)

For those who may be as confused as I was, IU stands for International Units. I’m not too sure why this is the unit of measure for this particular nutrient, but I’m sure there’s some scientific/important reason other than ‘just to be different’.

It’s recommended that people 1 year to 70 years old get 600-4,000IU of Vitamin D each day. This may sound like a lot, but don’t forget our bodies can store some excess Vitamin D, and even if you’re inside, if you’re by a window that’s in the sun, you’re still getting some Vitamin D.

Also, if you make a kick-ass mushroom dish (one of my favourites is a family recipe, called Peas and Mushrooms [can you guess what’s in it?]  or you could make a stir fry, stuffed mushrooms, pasta with mushrooms… there are tons of dishes you could make with mushrooms!) you’ll have plenty of Vitamin D stocked up.

And if you’re still worried, there’s always Tinder.


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8 Simple Summer Recipes

Who doesn’t love summer? The long, cold winter is finally over, plants are in full bloom, and you generally just feel better all around now that you can actually go outside and see the sun.

But, there is one downside to summer: it gets hot.

I know, I know, when you’re coming out of a winter that got down to -40, hot weather is something of a salvation. But! When it’s hot out, you won’t want to turn on the oven and make your place even hotter. And, let’s be honest, there’s only so many days in a row you can BBQ before you get sick of it. (Especially the clean up)

So, in a bid to save your electric bill and your BBQ, here is a list of 8 simple, no-cook summer recipes to get you through the days when you just cannot eat a burger.

 

1 Nice-Cream

While technically nice-cream isn’t a ‘meal’, it is no-cook, also, who’s gonna complain about a new way to make ice cream?

This nice-cream is super simple to make. All you really need is some frozen bananas, some Silk (or other non-dairy milk), and a blender. If you don’t want it to taste like bananas, you can throw other stuff in the blender as well. (I’ve tried frozen cherries, and cocoa powder with chocolate Silk, but really pretty much any frozen berry you’d want would probably work)

Once you have all your ingredients, toss them all into the blender at the same time, and blend until its maybe Slushy consistency. Don’t worry if you over-blend it. If it gets too runny, then just call it a smoothies.

And boom! That’s it.

Told you these were simple!

 

2 Chickpea Salad Sandwich

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I know I might be late to the game with this, but I recently discovered that chickpea salad sandwiches are actually pretty good – and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really like chickpeas! (Unless they’re in roasted red pepper hummus form)

I also learned that chickpeas in a can don’t have to be cooked before eating (but you should still rinse them), which is great in the summer because then you won’t even have to turn the stove on!

Another nice thing with not only this recipe, but with a lot of summer recipes, is that since they’re all meant to be eaten cold, you can make a lot on one day, and then just eat them directly out of the fridge for a few days after. No-cook weeks are awesome not only because they won’t heat your house when it’s already hot, but they also save you a lot of time!

Most meal prep takes about an hour, but if you don’t have to cook every single day, that’s an extra hour you’re gaining back to do one of the other millions of things I’m sure you’re ‘getting around to’.

Okay, so to make chickpea salad, you can actually do pretty much whatever you like (again, it’s food, which means it’s based on your tastes), but this is the way I like it:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of Paprika (about)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1 Tbsp vegan mayo (optional)

Once you have all the ingredients, then all you have to do is smash the chickpeas with whatever masher you’d like – you can use an actual potato masher, or a fork, or a hammer, whatever way you like smashing your chickpeas – and smash them up so there are a lot of bits and halves, but also be sure to leave in some whole ones. This gives it a better texture.

Once all the chickpeas are somewhat smashed, add all the other ingredients to the bowl and mix until it’s all pretty much evenly distributed. You can then either eat it right away, or (depending on how long it took you to smash the chickpeas), throw it in the fridge until it gets cold again, then you can put it on a sandwich.

You can also add other things like lettuce or spinach to the sandwich to make it a little more filling. Or you could over-fill the sandwich so there’s a lot of chickpeas in it. When I make them, I use about 2-3 Tbsp of the chickpea mix per sandwich.

Or, you could go even simpler and just eat the chickpea mix right out of a bowl and skip the sandwich making all together.

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  1. Cucumber Noodles

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I know cucumber noodles are pretty big in the raw vegan community, and they have all kinds of inventive dressings, sauces and ways you can dress up these bad boys, but I like mine kept simple, with just a little salt and pepper.

You could try one of the thousands of sauces that are out there, but sometimes you just need something simple to hit the spot. I mostly make cucumber noodles when I want to eat cucumber slices, but want to make them ‘fancy’.

You can achieve the ‘noodle’ like strands with the cucumbers by either running it through a Spiralizer, hand-cutting them thinly, or I believe a mandolin would work, as well.

The first time I tried cucumber noodles, I actually hand-cut them. They didn’t look nearly as appetizing as the above noodles, though they still tasted good! It was still just cucumber after all.

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See? Not the prettiest, but taste was on point! (Minus the pesto)

 

  1. Salad

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You know, for as bad of a wrap salads get (no pun intended), they are actually quite a handy meal. You can basically throw together anything in a bowl and call it a salad. Fruits, vegetables, beans, pasta – there are like a million different ‘salad’ recipes possible.

Which is great, because many of them only require you to chop up a few things and mix them in a bowl. You can’t get much simpler than that! And, what’s more, is once you have the salad done, you can use it in other meals, too. For example, instead of just eating a salad in a bowl, if you throw it in a tortilla, now you’ve got yourself a salad wrap!

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This will of course depend on what kind of salad you’re gonna make. While I’m not trying to limit your salad creations, I just don’t think a fruit salad wrap would work. But you do you.

For a lettuce salad, I always start with the same basics

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Pepper
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Nooch/Cheese Shreds

Then from here, you can dress it up however you want! Sometimes I’ll add black salt to give it an ‘egg-y’ taste, or you can add bacon bits (No Name Bacon Bits are vegan!), dill, vegan mayo, and lemon juice to make a ranch/Caesar style dressing.

Or if it’s not astronomically hot, and you don’t mind turning on a burner, you could cook up some chick’n nuggets/strips and add those to your salad to turn it into a chick’n salad.

Or, you could make pasta salad, instead. For pasta salad, I usually add peas, bell pepper and celery to the noodles (either macaroni or Scoobi-Doo shapes are the best for pasta salad), and then for the dressing, I add: white vinegar, yellow/French’s mustard (optional), salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion (either powder or very small cubes), nooch (optional), and vegan mayo (also optional). Then you mix it together and let it cool in the fridge, or you could be one of those freaks who eat it when it’s still a little bit warm.

I love making pasta salad in the summer, not only because it’s super easy, but because it takes just as much effort to make a little bit of it as it does to make a lot. So I can usually make a big ‘batch’ of it, and then throw it in the fridge and eat it all week!

Also, same as lettuce salad, you could get a little creative and make a pasta salad wrap, or use leftovers in a warm pasta dish (I’ve turned left over pasta salad into mac n cheese) if you make it at the tail-end of summer. And, assuming it would last long enough you need to turn it into something else.

 

  1. Avocado Toast

I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually made avocado toast all that much, since I’m not that big of a fan of how avocados taste. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just not really my bag.

That said, I have been trying to force myself to eat them more often (which isn’t hard when you’re starting at ‘never’), because I know they’re super good for you. So, with that in mind, I’ve only made avocado toast twice, but both times I didn’t feel the need to immediately vomit, so I’m taking that as a good sign.

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This is the first way I tried it. I made some VeganEgg scrambled eggs, and then put some avocado slices on top of toast with a little bit of salt and pepper on top.

This… it tasted good, but as my first time trying avocado toast, with the giant pile of egg, it was too much of a not-that-great-texture in my mouth at once. I didn’t spit it out, but it was waaay too mushy for my liking. I did however finish it.

Some time after this, I had discovered I could eat at this place called Chipotle, so I went on a bit of a Chipotle kick, and decided to always get guac ‘on the side’, so I could continue to test the avocado waters. I wouldn’t eat the whole container of the guac (partly because Chipotle is super filling, and partly because I still wasn’t too into the taste), but my friend was more than happy to help me out. (This was pre-COVID, when sharing was still a thing we were allowed to do)

After that week of basically eating Chipotle straight, I didn’t eat avocado again until this year (2021), when I tried my hand at avocado toast again.

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This time around, I figured since I liked chickpea salad, if I made it ‘taste like summer’, I’d probably enjoy it more. Which, I don’t know if that’s why I liked it, or if my body had just gotten more used to eating avocados, but this time when I ate it, it wasn’t that bad. (Which was good, because I had another avocado in the fridge)

For this avo toast, I put salt, pepper, black salt (for the ‘egg-y’ tasty), a slice of PC Vegan Swiss Slices (side note: PC has come out with a whole line of new vegan products in Canada, which is awesome!), and smushed half an avocado on top, to which I mixed in some lemon juice, garlic powder, a smidge of paprika and dill.

Again, I don’t know if I liked this one more because I’m more used to eating avocados, or if it’s because I used less of it, but the second one I definitely wouldn’t mind eating more often. (… Which I realize isn’t that great of a selling point on a recipe, but hey, you’re here for honest opinions anyway, right? If you want awesome vegan recipes, go check out HotforFood)

 

  1. Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

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This one is probably the easiest recipe in this post. You literally take a slice of cheese, and a slice of tomato (or two) and add them to bread. Boom, done.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add some vegan mayo, and/or salt and pepper.

 

  1. Snack Plates

Like salads, snack plates are awesome, because you can basically make them whatever you want to eat.

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In summer especially, snack plates are great, because you can cut up a bunch of fruit and/or veggies, and then just mix and match them onto 1 plate, whip up a quick dip, and boom lunch is done.

I eat snack plates all the time and love them. Mine usually consist of: cucumber, green pepper, broccoli (or cauliflower), carrots and dip. But you can add whatever you want to them, really. It all depends on what you like to eat, and what you have. Sometimes, I’ll swap out one of the veggies for crackers and cheese, or some frozen nuggets or something. Or you could do a fruit mix with watermelon, strawberries, grapes, golden berries, etc.

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Or, you could do little lunch meat + cheese sliders and cut up veggies. Or meatballs, mozzarella sticks, and crackers, or… pretty much you want to center your snack plate around whatever your dip is. As long as all the foods you choose pair well with the dip, they can go on the same plate.

The possibilities are literally endless!

And there you have it! Hopefully this small list of summer recipes has inspired you to create your own no-cook recipes. It’s really not that hard! Most veggies are great to eat cold, and all it takes is (usually) a little bit of creative thinking, and usually a tortilla to make a kick-ass, cold meal.

Do you have any favourite no-cook summer meals? Are you going to try any from this list? Let me know in the comments!


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