The Vegan Roadie – Interview

TheVeganRoadieAnother interview has made its way to Another Hungry Vegan! This time, I got to learn more about Dustin Harder, AKA the Vegan Roadie who recently traveled through Denver for an episode of his webseries. Dustin is a well-seasoned traveler (no pun intended), and he made it his mission to show how easy and fun it is to eat vegan around different parts of the United States. Read on to find out how his love for travel and living a compassionate life work in harmony to encourage others to go on their own vegan food journey. Continue reading

1. What made you decide to start the Vegan Roadie?
I have been traveling on and off for work for the last 10 years. My partner watches a lot of HGTV and The Food Network. When it was on in the background, I started getting very frustrated and equally disgusted at the show “Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives”. The fact that so much money and effort goes into showcasing food that has a detrimental effect on America was mind blowing to me. Beyond that, I was discouraged when I traveled, often when I typed “vegan” into yelp a steak house or something of that nature would come up, random things like that. During my time in the Chef’s Training Program at The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC I had a light bulb moment and made a commitment to myself, when I went out on the road next I would create a road map across America for the Vegan and Veg-Curious, and that was how The Vegan Roadie was born. I’m committed to making this resource, vegans and non vegans need to know what wonderful things are being created without animal products or by-products and where to get them. 

2. What has helped you to stay vegan over the years? 
It used to be weight and health. As time has progressed and as any good vegan does, you do your research. I have learned about our food system and like anyone who has a heart, I’m truly disappointed and saddened. Those feelings shifted into fuel to make the right choices for myself and the environment to be the best me I can be, and that means being vegan. Immersing myself in the cooking aspect has also been very helpful, and fun! It’s a different world full of so many new and exciting possibilities, that keeps me going. 
 
artichoke3. What’s your best advice for vegans who are afraid to travel? 

Prepare and get excited! Now more than ever there is a stimulating and very abundant vegan scene on the Horizon with Chef’s coming out of the woodwork to show the world how innovative, delicious and down right mind blowing plant based cuisine can be. Take advantage of your resources, google stuff like a mad man (or woman) before you go somewhere and get excited about their menu’s! If you find yourself lacking vegan options, be sure to get a hotel with a fridge and stock some staple items you know will keep you satiated. Did I mention prepare? You know you are vegan, the rest of the world doesn’t, you can’t blame anyone but yourself if you find yourself hungry.

4. What has been the most memorable experience while filming for the Vegan Roadie?
I did a demonstration in OshKosh, WI for an audience of all carnivore’s. I made a pasta with a cashew garlic cream sauce from Chloe Coscarelli’s “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen” cookbook, instead of mushrooms I used Field Roast brand artisan grain meat. A woman came up to me after and said her daughter had become vegan and she wanted to support her, she felt after my demonstration she could go home and make something her entire family would love, including her “meat and potatoes husband”, and she could support her daughters choice. It’s memorable to me because I was in Wisconsin, this was a tough crowd. This woman said she felt discouraged and now saw that it can be easy. That meant a lot to me, made me feel I was doing something right! That kind of stuff keeps you going on a journey like this.

VR_45. Who are some people who’ve inspired your journey to become vegan?
My initial inspiration came from reading “Skinny Bastard” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I strongly recommend that book to anyone curious about a vegan diet and what it offers. As for a specific person, I worked in the test kitchen of Chloe Coscarelli and her spirit and positive attitude forever is ingrained in me, she sees the positive light in everything and sort of spreads that energy around, it’s lovely. Chef’s Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby of VEDGE and V Street in Philadelphia are a huge inspiration in that every place I visited when in Philly had the most amazing things to say about them and their contribution to their community. It was unanimous among the Philly Vegan Business owners that their business was better because Kate and Rich, both established in their own right, took the time to stop in and work with people on their menu and offer insight when it was sought out, that’s amazing, they are very busy people! Robbie Tucker and Lauren Loomis of Lulu’s Local Eatery (St. Louis, MO) stick out in my mind for their commitment to grow as much as they can on their own for their restaurant and cut down on waste, and they are just a stellar couple on the crusade to better the world through compassionate eating and living. I think I have to stop the list now because I could really go on and on, I have met so many fantastic, uplifting and inspiring people in the last 10 months alone. These are just a few of the people that have inspired me to become and stay vegan.

6. What inspires you to travel?
I have always enjoyed traveling. Early in life I knew I wanted to tour as an actor, I did that. Now I want to tour to help educate those curious about a plant powered lifestyle and create a resource for vegans across the country to travel with ease. I also want to entertain and engage, not preach, about how inventive and fun plant powered food is! What better way to do that than travel the country and meet some of the master minds behind it all?

7. Favorite place you’ve visited so far?
Austin, TX. It is a Vegan’s playground! Denver was also awesome, the whole vibe had me and my partner considering our next move for our home base.

IMG_5783(1)8. What has this journey taught you about being vegan in the United States?
That it’s easier than one would think, most of the time. That the vegan community, for the most part, is very nurturing and supportive of each other’s efforts to mainstream veganism. And also, as I said before, to be prepared. While I have stumbled across so many vegan gems, there have been a few cities that are rough but if you are prepared you can make it work. Also, talk to business owners, often if you suggest a way to make something vegan an owner will more than likely take that into consideration and offer it to the general public as that is simply good business. I met an amazing woman in Jacksonville, FL who has single handedly changed her communities standards by simply going into establishments and using her natural southern charm to educate owners and chef’s of what their options are to create vegan choices for their patrons. You can check her out on Facebook at “JAX Vegan Love”

9. What is a go-to, favorite meal of yours to prepare? 
The previously mentioned pasta with garlic sauce from Chloe Coscarellis “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen” as a main dish. My own recipe for a Caesar Salad at www.veganroadie.com. And Chloe Coscarelli’s “Vegan Cookie Dough Truffles” (recipe available on her website www.chefchloe.com), always a crowd pleaser.
 
10. Where are you off to travel to next? 
Dallas, Charlotte, NC & Hershey, PA will wrap up the first Vegan Roadie Tour. Then it’s back home to New York City to further my education with the Professional Plant-Based Certification course offered by Rouxbe Online Cooking School and to start raising funds and mapping out the route for the second Vegan Roadie Tour. I’m also working on another web series, “OMG! That’s Vegan!?” that will be out in the fall. In the mean time, check out episode 1-8, including Denver (episode 8) on The Vegan Roadie YouTube Channel. Our final episode for Season One featuring the San Francisco Bay Area will be out July 14th.
 
So, a big thanks to Dustin for working on this interview with me! You can keep up to date with his adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @TheVeganRoadie. Don’t forget to check out his webseries and subscribe to his YouTube while you’re at it!

Madecasse Chocolate Bars

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there. I’m in love with chocolate and I’m not afraid to admit it! I don’t know if you knew this, but Madecasse makes a line of high quality chocolate bars (most of which are vegan), plus a line of other products like vanilla extract and chocolate discs that I have featured in recipes on this blog. One of the reasons why Madecasse’s chocolates are so tasty is because they are made with heirloom cocoa, known as some of the world’s last genetically pure cocoa. I am so thankful to Madecasse for sending some samples of their products to try out, that I went and purchased a few of their other items. What can I say? I just wanted to give a lot of new chocolate bars a try! Continue reading

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.One of the first flavors that got my attention was the Salted Almond. This bar is made with 63% pure Madagascar cocoa and the full list of ingredients is cocoa beans, almonds, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, sea salt. The bars have a really fancy appearance, with the crushed almonds showing up right on the back outer size. Sea salt, sugar and chocolate make excellent companions in a dessert and this chocolate bar is just further proof of that!

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.Something that really stood out to me about Madecasse was their story. The founders of the company were Peace Corps volunteers in Madagascar, where they became inspired to start making chocolate there. By making the chocolate in Madagascar, they have been able to provide income to its residents while empowering local cocoa farmers. Through sustainable cocoa farming, the ecosystems of the land have been preserved-and this isn’t something that is common along many famous chocolate companies. You can learn a little more about their awesome story right here.

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.Speaking of sea salt…here we have the Sea Salt & Nibs bar. This one is also made with 63% dark chocolate with cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and sea salt. This is Madecasse’s most popular bar, and I can tell why! Its taste is pretty similar to the Salted Almond bar, until you get to the cacao nibs which add an excellent crunch and a new depth of rich chocolatey flavor. If you aren’t sure which bar to get first…I would highly recommend this one!

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.Another super tasty bar…the Toasted Coconut. This one has a slightly darker chocolate taste thanks to the 70% cocoa content. However, the tastes are well-balanced between the rich cocoa and the sweet toasted coconut. Even with the coconut flakes on the outside, the inside of this bar is still nice and smooth. Though I love to share my chocolate, this is one of those bars that I would probably keep all to myself!

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.The Cinnamon & Chili Pepper was a surprising treat! It has just the right amount of “kick” to it, and the little pieces made it a lot more manageable in terms of spiciness. I’m not sure if Madecasse still sells this bar because it’s not on their website, but I was able to find it from another seller. If you can get your hands on this bar, it’s definitely worth a try!

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.I managed to get my hands on Madecasse’s seasonal bars-including their Winter Spice and Peppermint. Unfortunately these bars melted in the summer heat, so they didn’t photograph that well, but I can assure you that they would’ve looked just as gorgeous as the other bars. I found the Winter Spice a little similar to the Cinnamon & Chili Pepper bar, with a warming cinnamon and chocolate combo. The Peppermint bar, however was the clear winner in my opinion between the two. It didn’t feel out of place for me at all to enjoy the peppermint bar in the middle of the summer because chocolate and mint are delicious all-year-round.

A review of Madecasse Chocolate Bars, vegan high-quality dark chocolate that is sourced sustainably and tastes like no other chocolate out there.Last, but not least…the bar of all bars. 80% Coco is for all those true dark chocolate lovers out there, who like nothing but the best. A warning when it comes to all of these bars…savor them and make them last! These are not the kinds of chocolates that you eat all at once. The flavors are all so rich that even the smallest of bites is enough to satisfy your chocolate cravings. 

Now, are you curious where to get some of these incredible bars for yourself? Check out Madecasse’s website to purchase some of their products. Or…keep your eyes out at your favorite local natural foods market and see if you can find these in the chocolate aisle. The beautiful packaging isn’t easy to miss, and you’ll be glad you don’t have to wait the shipping time. Have you tried Madecasse before? Which flavors are your favorite? Or, which are you just dying to try ASAP?

Amrita Bars

Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.comYou wouldn’t believe the amount of things I’ve been up to lately. With just having recently moved, starting a new job and doing other work in my spare time, the days just don’t seem long enough. At times like these, I’m really grateful to have easy “grab and go” foods like fruit, nuts and seeds, and energy bars. Of course, that’s where Amrita comes in! Amrita makes a lot of unique-flavored nutrition bars, that not only taste great…they are also made with really high-quality ingredients. As their name would suggest, they are made out of dried fruits, seeds and other gluten, dairy and soy-free nutritious foods. Are you curious about these bars and what flavors you would like the most? Read on to find out!
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Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.comThe first bar I tried happened to be the Apricot Strawberry. When I first opened the package, the smell actually reminded me of a PB&J sandwich (despite being completely free of peanuts and gluten). I think I was picking up the sunflower seeds and tahini, which often give off a rich and nutty flavor. Once I tasted the bar I could taste the apricots as well as the strawberries and dates mixed in. I couldn’t taste the chia flour or brown rice and they didn’t seem to affect the texture at all. Overall, I would say this was a great bar to start out with!

Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.comI’m not sure what paradise would taste like, but it must be something like this Pineapple Chia bar. First off, with it being summer I find that these bars all have really appropriate flavors. Along with pineapple, this treat also contains cranberries, sunflower and sesame seeds, chia seeds, coconut and brown rice protein. It’s great that a little bar like this also has the benefit of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, along with 4g of fiber and 7g of protein!

Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.comOne of my favorite bars, not surprisingly, was the Apple Cinnamon. This seriously tasted like apple pie in bar form. What I love about Amrita bars is that you get so much fresh flavor, and all without added sweeteners other than the ones in dried fruit. I find that these bars are similar in texture to Larabars, but the combination of seeds, brown rice protein and dried fruit makes them a lot more filling. These definitely are more of a snack than a meal replacement, but they are really satisfying in-between meals!

Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.comAnother fun, tropical flavor is the Mango Coconut. When it comes to dried fruit, mango and coconut are some of my favorites for their ultra-sweet flavors. Because this bar is also balanced with a mix of seeds, you don’t get as much of a sugar rush as plain fruit can often deliver for some people. This bar would be also be delicious if you blended it into a smoothie (seriously), or if you cut it up and placed it on top of a smoothie with banana, mango and coconut.

Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.com
I was worried that the Cranberry Raisin bar might be a little sour, but I think it was another winner! The texture reminds me a little of an oatmeal raisin cookie and I’m not complaining! I notice that many of the bars are made with similar ingredients, but with the addition of the special dried fruits they really take on a unique taste. Plus, they don’t make a mess when you eat them and are very portable and for a snack that also happens to be raw.

Review of Amrita Bars on anotherhungryvegan.comLast but not least…the Chocolate Maca bar. Where oh where do I begin with this one? Cacao and maca are an incredible combination,  and this bar proves that. These superfoods are great for giving you energy as well as helping with hormonal issues. Another fantastic thing about this chocolatey bar is that it doesn’t melt in the heat, unlike many energy/protein bars made with chocolate. Though the flavor sounds more like a sweet dessert, this actually makes a great morning or mid-morning snack. Instead of reaching for coffee or energy drinks, I would recommend picking up one of these instead.

So, did hearing about all the different bars entice you? I hope so! If you’re curious where you can pick up some super tasty and nutritious Amrita bars for yourself, visit their store locator. You can also add some to your cart when you shop on their online store, either way I hope you can enjoy the bars for yourself. If you’ve tried these bars before, let me know which are your favorite or which flavors you want to try next!

Vegan Cuts Snack Box

IMG_9905 Guess who finally got to try out the Vegan Cuts Snack Box? Lucky for me, Vegan Cuts gave me the opportunity to try and review their snack box from May 2015. If you don’t know about this special box, then you’re in for a fun treat. Every month, a selection of 7-10 vegan products are curated typically by someone pretty well-known in the vegan community. Each box subscription is $19.95 a month (with free shipping to the US) to get the chance to try products that likely won’t be in a lot of stores near you. This particular box was curated by Heather and Jenny from Spork Foods and I just couldn’t wait to see everything that was inside! Find out what I thought about this box as well as my recommendations for why you should get your own subscription.  Continue reading

IMG_0682One of the first snacks I went for…of course was the Beanitos Chipotle BBQ chips. These are bean chips with a tortilla chip-texture, so they are extra crunchy. I loved the flavorful chipotle bbq flavor that had this smokiness to it. I thought about pairing these chips with salsa, but honestly they were just perfect on their own. As far as chips go, these also had a pretty good amount in one serving-size bag which is a plus!

IMG_0553Being a lover of NuGo bars and their new Fiber d’Lish variety, I was glad to see a flavor I hadn’t tried yet in this snack box. The Orange Cranberry was the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and it had the chewy consistency of a muffin. This was so good that it was satisfying as a dessert, and the added fiber made it a lot more filling.

IMG_9942Speaking of filling…I got the chance to try these Zesty Italian Meatless Meatballs from Nate’s with some zoodles (zucchini noodles), marinara and this new-to-me vegan parmesan from Go Veggie! I was amazed at how much this smelled and tasted like parmesan made with dairy! Seriously, I don’t even think cheese-loving omnivores or vegetarians would know the difference.

IMG_0122I love popcorn, and I love this Spicy Chipotle & Lime popcorn from Oogie’s. This wasn’t super spicy but it definitely had a kick to it. I must say, I’m really loving all the fun flavors in this snack box. There was even a sample pack of some crushed Chipotle Chile Pepper in the box, so I have a feeling I could use some of that and fresh lime juice to make my own seasoned popcorn.

IMG_0541I have never heard of Toyou bars, and being pretty bar-savy I’m surprised! Apricot and coconut are both some flavors I find really appealing, and this bar did not disappoint. It reminded me of a granola bar, but it was softer and more fruity. Unlike a lot of bars, this also wasn’t sickeningly sweet which I really appreciate.

IMG_1066I thoroughly enjoyed the Daily Green Boost in one of my morning green smoothies. This was made with some dates, bananas, vanilla hemp protein, spinach, and cinnamon. The green powder reminds me a little of matcha in terms of both smell and taste. It’s made out of barley grass and is a great boost to add a little something extra to virtually any smoothie or shake.

IMG_0166I was probably the most excited to try these Chocolate Sea Salt Quinoa Clusters. I actually saw them online a while ago, but they only came in bigger bags and I didn’t want to pay a lot to find out I didn’t like them. Thankfully these were delicious, and I will likely be purchasing a larger bag elsewhere. A great thing about Vegan Cuts is that the snacks are small enough that you don’t end up paying a lot for something that you don’t like. However, I think the boxes have been curated with a lot of people’s different preferences in mind. You have at least a few items that are healthy, gluten-free and portable so that you can enjoy them wherever you go.

IMG_9911The only items that I did not try were the Blood Orange organic energy drink and the MiracleTree moringa tea. Normally I stay away from energy drinks because I’m actually really sensitive to caffeine, so I will be giving that one to someone else to try out. As far as energy drinks go, this one looks much better than most of the standard drinks on the market. As for the tea, I’ll be saving it for (literally) a cold, rainy day. The strawberry, lemon, and mango flavors all sound super delicious!

Are you interested now in getting your own monthly snack box subscription with 100% vegan products? Be sure to visit Vegan Cuts and sign up today! They even have a Beauty Box with a wide variety of personal care products, that you can subscribe to in addition to the snack box. Not a fan of surprises and subscription boxes? Vegan Cuts also has an online store with lots of discounted vegan items, where you know exactly what you’re ordering. However, I recommend the snack box because I think trying new things is fun…and this service is an excellent way to do just that!

Fresh N’ Lean Meal Service

IMG_0011-1 copyWouldn’t it be nice if you could have fresh, healthy vegan meals delivered right to your front door? What if I told you that services like Fresh N’ Lean do just that? This company is dedicated to making vegan meals more accessible to everyone, whether they are Type 2 diabetics, athletes, hospital patients, people with allergies, or just anyone looking to improve their health. Their meals are full of nutritious ingredients, and they are not about restriction or promising unhealthy weight loss. Fresh N’ Lean prides themselves in providing real food made by real people, not something pumped out of a machine. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to try 5 days worth of meals thanks toFresh N’ Lean, to review for you all. Find out what I thought of this service and see if it will fit in with helping you live healthier with a plant-based diet. Continue reading

IMG_0007-1Fresh N’ Lean has a menu that rotates, so you always get the opportunity to try a wide variety of meals. You have the option to order a meal plan, either 5 or 7 days, based on how many meals you would like. Fresh N’ Lean also offers à la carte dishes, as an alternative if you aren’t ready to commit to a meal plan just yet. This is a great way to try out the meals before subscribing to a delivery service, and you get to preview the dishes and get their nutritional facts/ingredients before placing your order. 

IMG_0033-1One of the first meals that I tried fromFresh N’ Lean was the Blueberry Cinnamon Oatmeal. This was filled with organic ingredients such as oats, maple syrup, walnuts, blueberries, raisins, almonds, dates, vanilla and cinnamon. This meal was extra filling, energizing and easy to digest. The best part? It tasted incredible (like something you would get at a restaurant), and there were no artificial ingredients or preservatives added. This means that you have to consume the foods by the “best by” date on the package, but that’s the whole point! These meals are so tasty and easy to prepare that there really is no good reason for why they would sit in your fridge and go bad.

IMG_0304-1 The next meal that I tried for dinner was the Fiesta Black Beans. These were made with black beans, cabbage, bell peppers and other veggies. Now, I have to say that the initial color wasn’t super appetizing because the black beans were mixed with the veggies. However, the aroma was wonderful, and so was the taste! The other people in my household were wondering what was cooking because it filled the kitchen with such a great smell. Fresh N’ Lean recommends adding your own spices to these dishes, although I thought they were plenty flavorful without them. I do like that they give that option because everyone’s tastes are different. These would’ve been great with some salsa, avocado or hot sauce too!

IMG_0089-1For breakfast the next day, I tried the Mixed Berry Chia Pudding. This one has organic chia seeds, maple syrup, blueberries, raspberries, almond milk and sea salt. The directions recommend heating this up, either by microwaving or other methods which is great for people who don’t have a microwave. However I think you could also eat this as a chilled pudding as either a breakfast or a dessert. It was great warmed up because the flavors of the berries infused the entire chia mixture, and it was just as filling as oatmeal. I want to start incorporating more chia puddings into my diet

IMG_0384-1The next meal I tried for dinner was the Smoky Kidney Beans with Dino Kale. Along with the Fiesta Black Beans, these had an incredible aroma. For a dish with such simple flavors, it was surprisingly tasty and really filling. As Fresh N’ Lean describes about their meals, they are not about being low-calorie or low-carb, but rather about being nutrient-rich. This one has a ton of protein and fiber while being low in fat and (more importantly) chemical/preservative free!

IMG_0346-1IMG_0357-1I really enjoyed the Hearty Granola, which actually packs 2 servings in one container. Normally I don’t go for granola because a lot of brand add extra unnecessary ingredients such as honey, oils or even extra flavorings. For this granola, you obviously don’t need to heat it up to prepare it. This is one of the few meals from Fresh N’ Lean that will have you add your own ingredients. They recommend non-dairy milk and some fruit to make it a full meal. For this serving, I used half the container of granola with some unsweetened flax milk and fresh berries. Talk about a quick breakfast!

IMG_0607-1We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, despite it being spring/summer so these warm meals have been ultra-comforting (but still totally healthy). These Indian Spiced Lentils came in a surprisingly large serving size, in fact it was almost tricky to finish these off. However, this meal packs 20g of protein, 14g of fiber and only 5g of fat with very little sodium. That makes it healthy for not just our hearts, but for our entire bodies!

IMG_0726-1 The Italian Chard with Millet was definitely a new one for me. I’ve never actually had something with millet that I can remember. This reminded me a lot of rice or quinoa in terms of texture, and it really soaked up the flavors of the vegetables. Some of my favorite vegetables in here were eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini and kale. What I love about this type of meal is that it gets you trying new foods, without needing to buy them in the store or having to prepare them. With this service, you have healthy meals ready in seconds and you didn’t even have to drive to the store for them!

IMG_0759-1 Lastly, the French Lentil Tomato Penne. Normally I don’t think of having a meal with lentils AND pasta, but it ended up being super filling, protein-packed and chewy. The pasta is even gluten-free, though I honestly couldn’t tell from the taste. This meal was higher in calories than the others, but I really wasn’t paying attention to those because I knew these were super nutritious and good for me. In my opinion, it’s more about the quality of the ingredients than the quantity of calories. I noticed that this left me feeling full into the night, and I didn’t feel the need to snack at all after dinner. Because of this, I also slept soundly hours after having such a hearty but light meal. When we eat nourishing meals, we don’t have those strong urges to have unhealthy “midnight” snacks that often consist of junk food.

In summary, I have to say that I was really impressed with all the meals that Fresh N’ Lean provided to me to try out and review. This is a service I would highly recommend to anyone looking for super healthy and easy-to-prepare meals. So I know what you’re thinking now…where do I sign up or how can I learn more about Fresh ‘N Lean? First off, check out their weekly menu to find out what the special meals are. If you’re already wanting to order, just go to that page on their website and pick what meals you want. When you place an order for any meal plan on their site, you can get 15% off with the promo code: ANOTHER. You won’t want to miss out on this! Are you thinking of trying Fresh ‘N Lean out for yourself? What meals sound the most appealing to you and how would this service help you out?

World Peas Snacks

Looking for a healthier, savory and crunchy snack? Look no further than World Peas! Check out my latest review post of these excellent little snacks, that will ignite your inner appetite for travel and more! #vegan and #glutenfreeIf you’ve been following this blog for a while, then chances are you remember my review of World Peas Snacks and their Fava Crisps. Well, I lucked out with the opportunity to try some of their original World Peas. These peas are an all-natural snack, and they come in 7 different flavors from Ranch to Barbecue to Wasabi. Each has an excellent, crunchy taste and a ton of flavor for such small little pieces. Who needs potato chips when you can have a much more nutritious snack that will still satisfy your savory cravings? Read on to see what I think of a few of their snacks and where you can pick some up for yourself! Continue reading

Looking for a healthier, savory and crunchy snack? Look no further than World Peas! Check out my latest review post of these excellent little snacks, that will ignite your inner appetite for travel and more! #vegan and #glutenfreeFirst, I went for the Sicilian Tomato & Garlic flavor. Wow, were these super flavorful! As World Peas states, this variety includes a rich, slow-roasted tomato — or pomodoro — and garlic flavors of our TomGarlic Peas bring Sicily’s sea breezes and sun-drenched, volcanic soils to mind. I couldn’t have said it better myself! This flavor reminds me a little of pizza, but in a much crunchier form. Of all the peas, this is a great variety to try and share with others…or maybe you won’t want to because they’re so good!

Looking for a healthier, savory and crunchy snack? Look no further than World Peas! Check out my latest review post of these excellent little snacks, that will ignite your inner appetite for travel and more! #vegan and #glutenfreeNext, the Wasabi Peas. I’ve tried wasabi-flavored dried peas in the past but they were always way too much for me to handle. Luckily, these still have a kick from the wasabi but it is in a much more “manageable” way. If you chew these right away, instead of letting them dissolve in your mouth it also makes the spicy flavor much less powerful. Apparently this is the flavor that inspired World Peas to make the other types!

Looking for a healthier, savory and crunchy snack? Look no further than World Peas! Check out my latest review post of these excellent little snacks, that will ignite your inner appetite for travel and more! #vegan and #glutenfree
I was also really eager to try the Bombay Curry-flavored snacks. These have a warm, lightly spicy curry taste that is unlike many other typical snacks you find. As World Peas suggests on the website, these would be great with some hot or iced tea to calm down the spices a bit. I think if you made a soup with curry, these would be a great topper for that as well.

Looking for a healthier, savory and crunchy snack? Look no further than World Peas! Check out my latest review post of these excellent little snacks, that will ignite your inner appetite for travel and more! #vegan and #glutenfreeHearing about the other flavors from World Peas makes me want to try them all! They have Ranch, Barbeque, Garlic and Sichuan which all sound spectacular. Something I love about World Peas is the sense of adventure that their products give. From the bright packaging, to the stories about what inspired the flavors and the brilliant taste I feel transported to another place. What other kinds of snacks can offer you this wonderful sense of travel?

Looking for a healthier, savory and crunchy snack? Look no further than World Peas! Check out my latest review post of these excellent little snacks, that will ignite your inner appetite for travel and more! #vegan and #glutenfreeAre you ready to try these peas for yourself? Be sure to check out the store locator on their website to find out where to get some in stores nearby. Don’t want to go to the store? Luckily World Peas also sells these on their online store. Either way, you can pick up and try anything from their peas to their newer fava crisps. Both are a snack that I think you will love! Have you ever tried anything from World Peas Snacks? What did you think? Or if you’re looking to try some…which varieties sound the most appealing to you?

TigerNut Horchata, Granola and More

IMG_5085Ever heard of TigerNuts? First off, despite the name they’re actually completely nut-free. Organic Gemini has a line of products made with TigerNuts that are also gluten-free, non-gmo, organic, paleo and vegan. What’s great about these little root vegetables is that they have a ton of fiber, fiber and potassium along with some other vitamins and nutrients. Organic Gemini sells their Original Raw TigerNut snack, that unlike products from other TigerNut brands on the market are not treated with chemicals in the peeling process. Read on to see how many products Organic Gemini offers using these remarkable little superfoods! Continue reading

IMG_5061One of the products I was really excited to try since I was at Expo West was the TigerNut Horchata. I’m amazed at how many flavors they offer, from Strawberry and Banana to Coffee and Chai. These drinks as well as the Unsweetened and Original are great on their own, or they make a delicious addition to smoothies! My favorites, personally are the Banana, Coffee and Strawberry (either on their own or otherwise). There are literally endless ways that you can enjoy these to replace nut-based or dairy milks, you can even use them in your morning coffee or have them with a bowl of cereal or baked goods.

IMG_5107The Raw Snack is lightly sweet with a taste that reminds me of nuts. I like the fact that per serving these actually have a lot less fat but they have a good amount of fiber and vitamins that most nuts don’t have. Because these are starch-based, I find that they also keep me feeling full a lot longer. Plus I love the fact that you can feed these to anyone, without worrying that they might have a nut allergy. I can’t wait to post a gluten-free recipe using the TigerNut flour!

IMG_5150The TigerNut Granola is incredible! I can’t believe that it’s raw and made by dehydrating in order to preserve the nutrients. It comes in two flavors: Banana Cacao and Apple Cinnamon. Both have an excellent sweet, flavor but they are a lot more filling and crunchy than standard granola. In terms of texture, they remind me of a sweet cracker that becomes softened if you pour some of the Horchata over it, which happens to be a delicious breakfast!

IMG_7819My favorite of the granolas personally is the Apple Cinnamon, which honestly tastes like a sweet graham cracker with its crunchy texture. I love to use the granola to top my smoothies, or as a quick snack when I’m taking a break from working. For the photo above, I was all out of my TigerNut Horchata so I used coconut milk as a non-dairy and nut-free alternative. I had the granola with the non-dairy milk and some freshly cut apples cold, but you could probably also warm up the milk and apples and have it that way as well…I bet it would taste even more like apple pie if you did that and added some cinnamon!

Anyway, a big thank you to Organic Gemini for providing me with these samples of so many of their different products. Stay tuned for a gluten-free recipe coming to this blog soon featuring their TigerNut flour! If you happen to be on the East side of the country, check out their online store locator for places nearby that you can purchase their products. Otherwise, you can purchase them online and join the TigerNut Club for free shipping. Which products of these are you just dying to try first? Let me know in the comments below! 

Will Travel For Vegan Food – The Book Release

Will Travel For Vegan Food - The Book Release and an Interview with Kristin LajeunesseRemember when I said I’d be doing some interviews and non-food (not directly anyway) reviews and interviews on here? Well here’s another one! I got so excited when I found out that Kristin Lajeunesse from Will Travel for Vegan Food was about to release her book, and I lucked out with the opportunity to interview her right here on my blog. The book is titled Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love. Read on to see what she has to say about the book, and how this journey has been so incredibly life-changing for Kristin (and how it can help change your life too). Continue reading

1. What has been the most meaningful part of being vegan to you?
Wowie. This is a tough one. There are SO many meaningful things, it’s extremely difficult to narrow it down to just one. I suppose I’d have to go with community. The vegan community is what led me to veganism in the first place; it’s what got me involved in the Boston vegan scene when I moved there for grad school; it’s what introduced me to my first animal rights internship which led to my job with the WSPA after grad school. The vegan community is what supported my journey and what has caused the awareness of the Will Travel for Vegan Food project to flourish. The vegan community directly impacted the offer I received for a book deal with Vegan Publishers; and it’s also what landed me my current clients. In every way, the vegan community has completely changed my life, for the better.
 
phillyveganvedge2. You talk on your blog/website about wanting to live a lifestyle about self-discovery and non-conformity. How do you think going vegan helped inspire that?

A natural result of turning inward to ask the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of specific aspects of my life (including food consumption and production) led me to veganism. As a result, that led to even more questions and awareness about my personal choices and how they impact other people, other animals, and the planet. At the moment veganism is still widely considered a radical or different lifestyle. Therefore, that could tie into the non-conformity aspect of it. But on a deeper level, through learning to ask the right questions and remain open to answers that might not immediately settle well—causing me to ask even harder questions of myself and dig even deeper—led me to understand myself much better – who I want to be, how I want to live, and what kind of impact I wish to have on the world. And that is a life that doesn’t currently fit the mold. I like to live nomadically, travel often, work for myself on my own schedule, and I intend to share vegan food finds from around the world, indefinitely!

3. Were there any doubts you had about either taking this journey or writing the book?
Absolutely (to both)! Throughout the planning stages and especially during the trip – it was a LOT of work, and quite stressful much of the time. Writing a book was something I had never seriously considered until I was approached by Vegan Publishers. It was also one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. The discipline, the built-in “therapy sessions” that were writing chapters with such detail; recalling sometimes incredibly painful experiences, and the pressure I put on myself to produce something that felt strong and realistically representative of my journey and the people I met, was all quite heavy at times.

Above all, despite the doubts or insecurities, one thing remained constant while on the journey and while working through the book: that it was exactly where I need to be/what I needed to be doing. When I sat back and took time to breathe I’d undoubtedly experience this sense of calm, knowing that everything would work out and that this is what I was meant to do.

purfoodandwinenyc4. What really motivated you to write a book about your travels?
I don’t know if that’s something I could ever truly answer. I could say it was Vegan Publisher’s offer to sign me as one of their first authors. Maybe because it would just be cool to say “I’m a published author.” I could say it was because I had once written down a series of life goals, one of which included “getting published.” I could say it was to help segue into the 2.0 version of the trip that I hope to do in 2016. It could be all these things. Or it could just be that it felt right. I’m not sure I’ll ever know. What I do know is that I’m really freaking excited about it.

5. What is the most important lesson you have taken away from all of this?
That most people are good people. And that we all make time for the things that matter most.

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6.Were there any people who directly or indirectly inspired you to make the decision to go on such a quest?

Oh yes, absolutely! Before the idea of the trip came to me I had been reading blog after blog and book after book about nomads, lifestyle designers, and incredible people who were living their lives based on what they loved most. To name a few: Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Tim Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau, Marie Forleo, Corbett Barr, Pat Flynn, and AJ Leon.

7. What advice do you recommend to people who are “stuck” working a 9-5 job who are desperately seeking something more?
You must first decide where the struggle is coming from. Why do you feel stuck? What do you want to change about your life? And are you willing to do whatever it takes to make the necessary steps to do so? My biggest inspiration was reading about what others were doing. But just reading about them didn’t get me anywhere. I had to take action. I chose to quit my job to ensure I’d move forward with my goal. I chose to leave a relationship because I knew it wasn’t truly what either of us wanted and that it wouldn’t support my bigger life goals. What do you want and what are you willing to do about it?

For those who are in a financial position to do so, I suggest hiring a life or business coach to help hold you accountable and work through those early stages of change. If I (a) knew that life coaches were even a thing back when I was thinking about doing this, and (b) had the money – which I didn’t; I would have leaped at the opportunity to seek guidance from someone who had already gone through it.

plantasheville8. How has taken this journey changed your views about living as a vegan in America?
It has strengthened my knowing that no matter where you are, vegan living is accessible and totally doable.

9. What was your favorite memory from your traveling experiences?
Oh gosh, there’s no way to choose just one (in fact, that’s really what the book is about.. some of my most impactful memories from the road). I suppose if there was one to share with you now, it would be that of Baby James. You can read the short version of how we met and how he impacted my life, by reading THIS post I’d written for 6 Months to Live.

sundae-543x325  kalesalad_injohnaskitchenveganlosangeles  strawberrylayercake_eatspeaksf10. Is there anything else that we should know about your book? (Such as…why should non-vegans or people from different lifestyles read it?)
Due to the nature of my travels, and continued posts on social media, many are expecting the book to be a travel or restaurant guide. It couldn’t be farther from that though. Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, & Make Love is a memoir about the person side of the journey. It’s about self-reflection, personal growth, the incredible people I met, and inspiring growth and healthy risk-taking in others. It’s much more than food and travel – but of a journey that has forever changed my life, and perhaps may even change yours.

Well, there you have it! A BIG thanks to Kristin for taking the time to let me interview her in celebration of her recently published book. The wonderful images featured in this post were courtesy of wtfveganfood.com, and many of them were from places that Kristin visited on this journey.

If you’re like me at this point, you’re just dying to know where you can purchase this book to check it out for yourself! Right now, you can get it here on Amazon where it’s currently the #1 best-seller in solo travel guides! Comment below what you are the most excited about for this book, and what awesome travel experiences you have had involving vegan food!