Archives for posts with tag: vegan product reviews

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ve taken some time off blogging due to a sudden and unexpected move to Sydney. But I’m back! I missed ya, I did. You look ravishing today. You do!

As promised, here is your guide (finally) to building a bad ass smoothie armoury. Once you have gathered these ingredients you’ll be shooting from the hip come smoothie o’clock. You don’t need to go out and buy them all at once — take your time collecting them. As I said in the previous post, the superfood powders seem expensive at first but you only use a teaspoon or a tablespoon at a time so they will last you a long time.

I cleared a shelf in my pantry for all of my smoothie bits and pieces. Once you get rolling, you’ll be knocking back at least one smoothie a day so it is worth making the space. Smoothies are perfect for breakfast, post-workout, lunch, dessert, and with a few magic ingredients — matcha, maca or cacao — they can even, GASP, replace your morning coffee. So make some space, start collecting your gear, and get slurping!

ESSENTIALS
Frozen bananas: I buy a bunch of bananas every week with my grocery shopping, it’s the easiest way to make sure you always have bananas ready to freeze. When they start to spot, peel them, pop them in sandwich bags and into the freezer. Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins C and B-6, manganese and fibre AND they are my NUMBER ONE smoothie ingredient. They have the perfect sweetness and give your smoothies a lovely creamy consistency.

Fresh, seasonal, organic or farmer’s market produce: I think it’s important to buy organic, for your health, the environment and for flavour. Make the effort to buy fresh, seasonal produce — look up where your closest farmer’s market is — and you will be rewarded with flavour and more nutrient-dense smoothies.

Dates:  Medjool dates are absolutely delicious. They are the perfect caramel-like sweetener for your smoothies. And they happen to be packed with minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Sweet deal.

Açaí puree pouches: You will need these powerful little purple pouches for  açaí bowl breakies. Heaven in a bowl. This Brazilian tropical fruit is not only delicious, it will also dose you with amino acids, antioxidants and omega fatty acids — a beautifying combination that slows the ageing process and boosts the immune system.

Frozen berries: It’s always handy to keep some frozen berries in the house. They are a brilliant açaí bowl ingredient, are high in vitamin C and bursting with other antioxidants too!

SUPERFOOD POWDERS
There are many new superfoods hitting the market every week, and many new brands. Not all of them are created equal so I have added my favourite brands below to help you suss out the good stuff.
Cacao powder
This Mayan superfood is one of my all-time favourite smoothie boosters. Not only does a spoonful of this stuff make your smoothie exquisitely chocolatey it will also ensure your liquid breakie gets a dose of antioxidants, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Cacao also boosts serotonin levels which is our natural anti-depressant — among other therapeutic  benefits.
My favourite cacao powder is the Ecuadorian Gold by Power Superfoods.

Maca Powder
Maca is a Peruvian root and is jam-packed with nutrients. It is high in vitamins A, C, E and B vitamins. It also provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. Maca is said to promote sexual function in men and women. PLUS it is said to relieve issues relating to women’s menopause and menstrual cycle. Not to mention it is known to increase energy levels and stamina! It really is top stuff.
My favourite maca powder is by Power Superfoods.

Mesquite powder
This powder is ground from the pods of the mesquite plant and has a sweet, nutty and caramel-like flavour — especially delicious when paired with cacao. It is a high-protein wholefood that is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and the amino acid lysine (great for bone health, cholesterol management, pain relief, anxiety and stress reduction). It also helps to control blood sugar levels so it’s a great superfood for diabetics.
My favourite mesquite powder is by Loving Earth.

Lacuma powder
Lacuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru, Chilli and Ecuador. It is gluten-free and a great source of antioxidants. It is a natural sweetener that won’t raise your blood-sugar levels. It adds a lovely almost maple-like flavour to your smoothies while delivering fibre, vitamins and minerals.
My favourite lacuma powder is by Loving Earth.

Psyllium husk powder
This powder is derived from the gluten-free psyllium seed. It is a rich source of soluble dietary fibre. It helps to cleanse the bowel, lower cholesterol levels and has been used to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetics. It will bulk out your smoothie without adding any flavour.
My favourite psyllium husk powder is by Planet Organic.

Plant-based protein powder
There are many plant-based protein powders on the market. Some, especially the raw varieties, are more nutrient dense than others. The problem I have with many of them is their chalky consistency. If the powder is too chalky, it ruins the smoothie and they are less likely to become a daily habit. So I stick with the least chalky one I’ve found.
My favourite is Vital Protein’s natural pea protein isolate. 

Matcha powder
Matcha is a Japanese green tea leaf powder. It is a nutrient-rich wholefood that gives you an extra zing in the mornings, increases metabolism, fortifies your immune system, improves cholesterol, enhances your mood and even boosts memory and concentration! Plus its high chlorophyll content (giving it that wickedly green hue) makes it a powerful detoxifier for the body.
My favourite matcha powder is Absolute Green’s certified organic green tea powder.

OTHER AWESOME EXTRAS
There are too many to list. This post would become a blogologue of epic proportions. Experiment. Have fun exploring. At the top of my list are: coconut oil (my fave is Nuigini Organics), chia seeds (my fave are Power Superfoods), activated buckwheat kernels (my fave are Loving Earth, especially their heavenly caramalised buckinis) and cinnamon. But I will try to talk a little more about ‘awesome extras’ in later posts.

For now, start stocking your smoothie armoury with these wonderful ingredients and get blitzing! Here is another of my favourite smoothie recipes to get you started. Happy slurping.

This smoothie is oh so pretty in pink. I call it…

The Molly Ringwald
Serves 1
1 heaped cup frozen raspberries
1/2 red dragon fruit
1/2 medium beet
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp chia seeds
Blend it like Beckham. Top with coconut and dragon fruit. Slurp.

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I’ve blogged (read: raved) about The Vegan Box before. For those that aren’t yet in the know, it’s a box that arrives on your door step every month full of snacks, health food, natural skincare and eco lifestyle products — all 100% cruelty free!  The contents of each month’s box are a surprise and you get to try vegan products you may not have discovered without TVB’s help. One of my favourites from last month’s box is the Boss Man Gourmet Plantain chips. They are just plantain delicious. See what I did there?

These chips use all natural ingredients and organic herbs and spices. They are gluten-free, preservative-free, low in saturated fat, high in vitamins A and C, potassium and beta carotene. Most importantly they are crunchy and delicious. We got a bag of the Cajun flavour in our box and each mouthful was like a little trip to Louisiana. I grabbed another bag when I stumbled upon them in an IGA — chilli and garlic. They are not skimpy on the garlic which makes them totally scrumptious but I wouldn’t recommend them as a pre-date snack. They also come in sea salt, cinnamon and Jamaican chilli. Try them immediately.

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IMG_3958Where it at?
I found my bag at Northcote IGA. I recommend checking out the Vegan Box for more awesome cruelty-free discoveries Click here for the website or click here to find The Vegan Box on Facebook.
What’s the damage? My bag of Boss Man chippies were $3.60

What’s your fav vegan snack?

Cool, quirky, and colourful, Lime Crime is  the makeup line that all fun lovin’ vegans should check out. Sassy mistress of makeup and Lime Crime founder, Doe Deere (I think she was christened by Julie Andrews) has not only put together an array of awesomeness to brighten up your kisser she’s also made a pledge that all her products are cruelty-free and never tested on animals. Now that’s what I like to hear!

The packaging alone is enough to make you smile but with lippie colours named things like Airborne Unicorn, Babette, and No She Didn’t, it’s easy to spend forever pawing over these products.

And if you don’t think you can rock lip colours in mint or gold, you’re probably wrong. Lime Crime is all about being bold and having fun with your war paint — and their blog is there to give you plenty of ideas on how to wear even the most daring of shades.

I grabbed myself their Velvetine long-lasting liquid lipstick in Suedeberry. And their Carousel Glossy Lipstick in Gold Ticket.

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The Gold Ticket is a bit of fun and definitely brings a touch of rock’n’roll to my smackers but the Velvetine is a revelation! It goes on like gloss, dries matte and then DOESN’T BUDGE! Even after a burger! Let the choirs of angels sing! Truly awesome lip wear.

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Where it at? I got mine from one of my favourite little animal friendly stores Save Yourself in Brunswick. You should go down and see the lovely Adie because she’s a peach but you can check out the other cruelty-free products she stocks here!
What’s the damage? My lippies were $26 each but you can check out the full makeup range at their website — click here!

What’s your favourite cruelty-free makeup line?

Have you caught wind of The Vegan Box yet? Boy, oh boy have I got news for you! There’s a new product out there that will excite and delight you my little compassion-fruits! A box that arrives on your door step every month full of snacks, health food, natural skincare and eco lifestyle products — all 100% cruelty free! That’s right! Cue, Mary Poppins heel clicks!

My very clever friend, Hannah from Let Food Be Thy Medicine has put together this wonderful service — and it’s going gangbusters! It’s obvious this is exactly the kind of thing we’ve all been waiting for. Within minutes of launching the project she had her first orders and within weeks she went international! The Vegan Box is now delivered throughout Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK and Canada. And the list keeps growing.

Captain Someone and I signed up for a six month subscription. Each month there has been a combination of full size, travel size and sample size vegan goodies to fight over. The contents of each box are a surprise so there’s more than a little bit of excitement every time we dive into our box.

IMG_0558Hannah is an animal-cuddling, earth-loving, vegan naturopath who really cares about the product she is sending out to the world. You can tell that love goes into each and every box — she even types up a little info on each of the products for you. And there are hints and tips on how to use some of the items on The Vegan Box Facebook page. And you can even ask that your box be entirely gluten-free!

You can try just one box or you can sign up for three month or six month subscriptions. I recommend you try a box and get behind a great little Aussie company spreading a lil’ bit of cruelty-free love throughout the world.

Where it at? Click here for the website or click here to find The Vegan Box on Facebook.
What’s the damage? $26.95 for a one month subscription, $77.95 for a three month subscription, or $151.95 for six month’s worth of happy little surprises!

Have you tried The Vegan Box yet?

Merry Christmas blog buddies!

I hope the week ahead is full of cruelty-free Christmas fun for y’all.
I have been busy putting together home-made, compassionate Chrissie gifts for friends and family — and preparing for a vegan feast this weekend. Once the Christmas chaos fades to leftover mock turkey sandwiches in front of my parent’s tele, I’ll be sure to blog about my silly season. But for now, here’s a quick little vegan product review.

I’ve taken a wee break from present wrapping to wrap my laughing gear around a spoonful (or seven) of CocoLuscious Ice Cream’s special limited edition ‘Christmas’ flavour.

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This does, indeed, taste like Christmas. And Christmas is delicious folks.

Brandy-infused dried cherries and dried canberries, chocolate chips, and coconut flakes are mixed through CocoLuscious’s creamy, organic, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and palm oil free ice cream.

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Check out the chunkiness! No, really, check it out. Grab a tub while you can. Yum!

Where it at? I got my tub at Organic Wholefoods on Smith Street, Collingwood
What’s the damage? $15 for half a litre

What’s your favourite vegan ice cream?

Captain Someone and I headed north to Sydney recently for a friend’s 30th. My hometown, St Clair, is at the foot of the glorious Blue Mountains so I took the Melbourne-born Captain up for a look around.

The Blue Mountains are spotted with art galleries, wellness centres, spa retreats, candle and incense distributors and tarot readers. My brother explained to the Captain in genuine bafflement, “it’s freezing up there but they all wear bright clothes, you know, *almost disgusted now* really bright clothes.” I think he was referring to the kind of rainbow clothing you find in a hemp shop.

Okay, I’m playing up to a stereotype here – it’s not all patchouli oil and folk music. There’s much more to the place than that. But that’s my favourite part.

Anyway, we came across a gorgeous little store called iKOU in the town of Leura and I was thrilled with the find. It’s the kind of store that puts you under an aromatic spell, music tinkling, you become convinced all your problems would be solved if you could just spend $500 filling your house with candles that smell like seasons and emotions.

iKOU is a japanese verb meaning to rest, relax and restore and their range will help you do this by burning scented candles or filling your home with beautiful organic linens. And here’s the best part: their products are not animal tested and almost 100% vegan (they use honey in their lip balms). Their candles are completely plant-based and sustainably sourced — no beeswax. Their makeup is 100% vegan and paraben-free. I thought I would try their natural mineral bronzer.

I’m really happy with it. It’s feels really light on and hasn’t given my super sensitive skin a reaction like most makeup does. I will be grabbing one of their foundations when I head home for Christmas.

iKOU is worth a look if you’re in the area. They also sell tea, perfumes, skincare and household cleaning products. It’s great to see a little Aussie business making a genuine attempt to be green.

Where it at? You can find iKOU on the main strip of Leura
What’s the damage? My bronzer was $39.95 — you can check out their 100% vegan makeup range on their website. Here’s the link.

What’s your favourite vegan makeup range?

There is a new Pana Chocolate flavour! My brain cells responded to this news in the same way the British public responded to Kate and Will’s engagement.

Pana Chocolate (previously known as Conscious Chocolate) is my favourite vegan chocolate. Not only is it vegan, it’s also raw, organic, and handmade right here in Melbourne.

Eating this chocolate can cause an out-of-body experience. Eating this chocolate can cause you to accidentally make sexy, private noises in public places. Eating this chocolate can cause you to hear angels trumpeting in the heavens above. I swear.

I met Pana Barbounis, the Chocolatier behind these little squares of joy at World Animal Day last year. I gushed at him like some strange raw dessert groupie. But I reckon he deserves strange raw dessert groupies (I feel a twitter hashtag coming on) because he has made almost everyone’s sinful little indulgence of choice healthier, cruelty-free and more environmentally friendly.

Everything about this product appears to be carefully thought out. The packaging is printed locally in Melbourne on 100% recycled cardboard. They use soy-based inks. Even the foil wrapper is a special recycled variety.

Most importantly it’s the kind of chocolate you can eat guilt-free (well, almost).  It’s raw so it isn’t acidic like regular chocolate and it is sweetened with agave nectar, a low GI natural sweetener. The super food status of cacao is preserved by not cooking it away or diluting it with fats and sugars so it is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  And here’s the best news kids: raw cacao makes you happy. No lie. Raw cacao increases the levels of endorphins released into the brain — these little friends work to lessen pain and decrease stress. It also raises your serotonin, an anti-depressant neurotransmitter.  Not to mention Theobramine, a chemical found in cacao that can lead to mental and physical relaxation. So if someone has a case of the grumps, chuck a bar of Pana Chocolate at them. If you get it in their mouth it might just turn their frown upside down. If you get them in the head, well at least your frown will be turned upside down… just be prepared to run.

Every single flavour is delicious. And every time I think I have settled on my favourite I rediscover a flavour and change my mind again. The cinnamon will be no different. To me it tastes like Christmas.

Where it at? I buy mine from South Melbourne Market Organics and the IGA in Brunswick, on Stewart Street.
What’s the damage? They are $7 a block or you can order them off the website at a lower price. Here’s the link.

*any vegan product reviews found on this blog are my own opinion and have not been paid for or encouraged by the company. I simply get excited when I find awesome vegan products and want to share them with you lot.

What’s your favourite Pana Chocolate flavour?