Friday, January 29, 2010

Vegan Discoveries

I love it when I find out that ostensibly non-vegan foods are actually vegan! 

Just this week I discovered that Fruit by the Foot and World Classics Trading Co. Majestic Mint chocolate bars are vegan.

You would think that Fruit by the Foot would have gelatin because it is goey, but instead it gets its texture from pear concentrate and locust bean gum. I used to eat them like crazy when I was a kid, so now I am really excited that I can enjoy them again.

It was also really exciting to find a good vegan chocolate bar. My grocery store (Big Y) has a terrible selection of brands that specialize in natural foods. Natural food brands are great for finding vegan options because they generally try to keep the ingredients lists of their foods small, so they won't unnecessary extras like whey. World Classics isn't really a health food brand, but they aren't a General Mills / Nabisco company either.

What I like about this chocolate is that it is only 55% percent cacao. To get a vegan chocolate from a regular supermarket brand, you usually have to go to at least 70% cacao in order for there to be no milk in it (You can find chocolate chips at 65%, but many brands will add milk when it is in bar form). I dislike bitter chocolate because it makes me feel sick (don't know why, but super dark chocolate gives me a headache and a stomachache), so this is a great chocolate that is sweet and light enough yet still vegan. It's smooth and creamy, not grainy like many vegan chocolates. Plus it has crunchy mint pieces in it :) Score!

Enough with my chocogasmic ramblings...
Have you had any recent/groundbreaking vegan discoveries? Please share!

P.S. Wanna know favorite part about finding seemingly non-vegan foods? It's when I eat them in front of my omnivorous friends (and especially friends who are considering going vegan/vegetarian) and they say, "Hey, those are vegan? I guess you really don't just eat lettuce and carrot sticks!" This happens to me with Oreos a lot, people assume the cream is from milk (they're actually made from vegetable fat).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vegan Staples For The Grocery Challenged

I live in a small town (approx 12,000 people) with a grocery (Big Y) that has a terrible selection of vegan foods, and an even worse selection of healthy vegan food. Unlike nice stores like Shaw's and Stop & Shop that put all the health/alternative foods in a special place, the vegan foods are scattered around the store. I live far away from Shaw's, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or a real co-op, so I have little choice in where I buy my groceries. Luckily, I went vegan in a hippie Vermont town with a comprehensive co-op market where I learned what foods I liked and what was out there. Had I tried going vegan where I live now, I don't think I would have made it (I was 14 when I went vegan).
So, for those of you who live in an area where vegan foods are hard to come by, here are some staples that your local store *should* carry. If my store carries them, then I bet your store will too.

1. Boca Vegan Burgers - Probably the easiest
vegan veggie burger to find out there.

2. Smart Deli (by Light Life) Vegan cold cuts -
These come in ham, bologna, turkey, etc. My favorite is ham because it tastes
the least fake plus if you fry it in oil it tastes like Canadian bacon!!!

3. Silk Soymilk - Best. Soy. Milk. Ever. Creamy, most
realistic taste, and wind-powered. Silk also makes soy yogurt, which is
available at most grocery stores (but not mine).

4. Tofutti Ice Cream Tubs- It may be hard to find other
Tofutti products, but most stores carry the tubs at least. They come in
a variety of flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and "better"

5. Bolthouse Farms Beverages - Green Goddess and the
fruit/veg blends are packed with nutrients, and the Vanilla Chai is a great
protein boost.

6. World Classics Panko Breadcrumbs - Vegan breadcrumbs
are hard to come by since most brands include whey. This brand's pank breadcrumbs
are vegan and all-natural. 4C also carries a vegan variety.

7. Top Ramen, Oriental Flavor - Okay, so not the healthiest,
but these are good for a quick meal (they are high in protein, as well as
fat and sodium). Make sure you get the Top Ramen brand, Maruchan uses beef
in their Oriental flavor.

8. Vermont Bread Company Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
- Again, many breads contain whey and/or honey, especially healthy whole
wheat varieties. This bread is my absolute favorite, its whole wheat AND
sourdough! Can it get much better? Ezekial also carries vegan whole wheat

9. Simply Asia Noodle Bowls - These come in a variety
of flavors, and taste delicious.

10. Morningstar Farms Hickory BBQ Riblets - Best rib
replacement that I have found yet, the sauce is absolutely fantastic!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

There Needs to Be More Vegan Guys!

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the majority of vegans and vegetarians are female? Maybe some guys are afraid that caring for animals or the environment isn't manly. Well, here are 10 reasons why being vegan is HOT for guys.
  1. Girls find it cute when a guy actually cares about something other than COD or football.
  2. Knowing that a guy cares about and respects animals makes a girl believe that a guy will care for and respect her, too.
  3. Being veg gives you a better chance with vegan and vegetarian girls, and everyone knows that veggie chicks are the cutest (click on female contestants to see more).
  4. Subsequently, no cute veggie girl is gonna want to swap spit with you if you taste like a pepperoni pizza.
  5. A diet high in cholesterol can cause impotence in men. Last time I checked that wasn't very manly.
  6. Nor is being pudgy from a high-fat diet. Just saying...
  7. Milk has been linked to aggravated acne outbreaks. That's uh, real sexy.(And no, this isn't just PETA bullshitting reasons. My skin got 10000x better after shunning dairy products.)
  8. A balanced diet high in fruits and veggies make you less prone to getting sick. Doesn't sound like a big deal in the dating scene, but try making out with a runny nose and you'll see my point.
  9. Its a turn off for girls when a guy takes himself so seriously that he refuses to be compassionate.
  10. Generally, girls think animals are cute. So, by helping animals you get your name associated with "cute." Score for you!
If any guys who are considering going vegetarian/vegan are reading this, please know that a lot of girls find veggie men attractive, even if they aren't vegetarian themselves (think numbers 1, 2, 9, and especially 10!) I myself am back on the market, and although I don't date exclusively vegan, finding out that a guy is vegan or vegetarian is probably the biggest turn on possible!

Wish you were my cat Deuce's in this picture? Being vegan will definitely help you!

P.S. The hottie on the side is Tim McIlrath, the vegan lead singer of one my favorite bands, Rise Against.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Qualified for States!

Whenever I get the changce to point out that vegans are good athletes, I like to do so.
On Friday, I qualified for the Connecticut Class S State Championship Meet in the 55meter dash and the 4x200meter relay with my team.

In the 55m I qualified WITHOUT blocks, because the meet organizers wanted the meet to run faster so we couldn't use them for the trials.I ended up getting 7.9s, but with blocks I'm sure I will improve upon that time.

In the 4x200m relay, my team ran 1:98.2, which is really good considering the meet was poorly run and the third leg runners (lucky ol' me) were not told where to receive the baton until the second leg runners were on our heels. Either way, I'm happy just to have qualified with my girls!

I'm a little disappointed that they cut out the 300meter dash to speed up the meet, because I was only 0.2s away from qualifying the last time I ran it, and I cut 0.1s off my 55m from the previous meet! Oh well, there's always next time!

So, do you have any athletic accomplishments that you are proud of? Leave a comment and let everyone know that vegans kick butt :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Winter Pet Safety Brochure

As promised, I am sharing the Winter Pet Safety Brochure that my Students For Animal Advocacy club made. I'm really proud of my group and the brochures were pretty popular among the students in my school. The brochure didn't take too long to make, maybe like around an hour and a half or so. It also wasn't hard to make, we just found facts and added pictures.As an added touch, we put the phone numbers to local shelters and national hotlines on the brochure alongside the general information. To help increase credibility, we included our sources on the back (and also to cover our butts because the school administration doesn't like new student groups after last year's short-lived GSA pulled some pretty weird stuff.)

I'm mostly uploading this to show off my hard work, since much of it pertains to my town only. However, you are more than welcome to use it. The file is in Microsoft Office 2007 Publisher format. Since I don't have Publisher at home, I was not able to remove anything from the original document. Also, I wanted to show it as we presented it. So, if you want to use this, you will need to put in your own local phone numbers and club information. I do ask that you put the link to my website ( on it somewhere if you use it at all (put it anywhere you want, just somewhere please.)

The pictures and the text are all black and white because there are no color printers at my school, and this brochure will look good if you put it on colored paper (we were delegated to green paper by our admin.)

Whether you use this to help promote animal safety in your town or just want to see what I did, enjoy!!

Click here to download the file from

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Post Holiday Post (Get it?)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, I know I sure did! (minus writing a 30-page paper on Joseph Heller's Picture This)

Since Christmas dinner was not at my house (and I didn't find out in enough time to make something), I was afraid that I'd have nothing to eat. Boy was I wrong! My family is Italian so we have pasta for Christmas instead of a giant slab of carcass. While everyone else had cheese and meet ravioli, I had three plates of spaghetti with homemade red mushroom sauce. There was also plenty of fruit, salad, and guacamole & chips. Instead of eating the regular dessert, I ate the vegan candies left over from the gingerbread houses (I still have some leftover LifeSavers in my purse)

I also got some pretty cool vegan gifts that I'd like to share :)
  • TONS of Swedish Fish. One of the few gummy foods that are vegan! Also, they are made with mostly real sugar, and no high-fructose corn syrup!
  • Hot Wasabi Coated Green Peas. One of my favorite snacks because they're hot, spicy, and crunchy. Plus you can't eat too many of them before your nose starts to burn up.
  • Pinapple dark chocolate bar. Can't recall the name because it's loooooong gone now, but it was vegan and tasty. My big problem with vegan dark chocolates is that they aren't smooth enough, but this one was very creamy and not too bitter!
  • Are you hungry yet? Well this one isn't food. With my Christmas money I ended up buying myself a lovely acrylic & nylon grey/black striped sweater from Target. It was on clearance for $12 and it feels softer than any wool or cashmere sweater I've felt. Best part is that since its not wool, I don't have to wash it by hand or line dry it. Can you say, "That was easy!"?
So, I want to hear from you! What did you eat for your holiday dinner? Also, did you receive any vegan/animal friendly gifts? Leave a comment so we all can be jealous :)

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