When I posted twelve finds for January, I had every intention of doing the same thing in February. And then early in March. I’m not sure what happened, but I have another twelve vegan products and ingredients to spotlight. I enjoyed getting to know these brands, and I hope you will, too.
1. First up, Clean Lean Protein from NuZest. I was offered two samples of this vanilla flavored pea protein. The highlights: it’s not too sweet, the ingredient label is nice and short, it’s totally allergen-free and non-GMO, and pea protein is a high potency, high quality vegetable protein. I really liked the tasted of the vanilla flavor: sweet, but not artificial, and perfect in a banana berry smoothie (as pictured, above). The downsides: it’s a bit pricey, and not as widely available as, say, Plant Fusion or Sun Warrior. You can read about and purchase Clean Lean Protein on Amazon or via the NuZest website.
2. Wasn’t I delighted when the folks at Activewear USA reached out and offered me an opportunity to learn about their site, not to mention sample a piece of their athletic apparel! Activewear USA was founded by Avi Woolman, a fitness enthusiast who wanted to bring a large selection of quality, high-performance, stylish women’s activewear, footwear, and accessories to consumers everywhere. The site features dozens of cool brands, including some of my favorite makers of yoga apparel (Be Present, Prana, Alo, Solow Style)
Avi asked if I’d like to sample one of Activewear’s many offerings, and of course I said yes. She asked about what I like to do for exercise (the answer: yoga), and what kind of stuff I like to wear (the answer: comfortable, basic). She told me she thought I’d dig the Be Present agility pant, and sent me a pair in black.
Wearing these felt like going to yoga class in a pair of comfy PJ pants. Do I really need to say more? They’re comfortable, stretchy but not too stretchy, and they accommodate a lot of extending and flipping. So glad I got to try them, and I’d definitely recommend checking Activewear USA out. The site features regular deals and specials in addition to full-priced merchandise.
3. Have you guys met Jenne Claiborne yet? If not, you should: she’s a total rising star on the vegan food scene. Jenne is the author of The Nourishing Vegan blog, and she offers cooking classes, personal chef services, and a ton of other cool features. More importantly, she offers up the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint, a 21-day program that features recipes, meal plans, and instructive videos. It’s designed to help you get started on a vegan diet, but it’s also ideal for an extra dose of motivation if you’re eating mostly plant-based, but could use some inspiration or guidance. With the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint, you’ll receive:
I really love Jenne’s recipes, and as I was flipping through the materials for the Blueprint, I was impressed with their accessibility and appeal. Check it out!
4. Move over, GT Kombucha. I have a new fave. I was recently sent samples of Clearly Kombucha, a Bay Area company that has set out to make kombucha a little more palatable and a little more fun. I know that there are plenty of kombucha fanatics reading, but let’s face it — kombucha can be a little intense for newbies, and floating bits of SCOBY do not sweeten the deal. Clearly Kombucha flavors–black current, chai cola, strawberry hibiscus, Asian pear, raspberry ginger, grape, and raspberry lemonade–are super accessible, reminiscent of fruit sodas. They’re also clear and free of SCOBY remnants, making good on the company’s name.
I really liked all of the refreshing, innovative flavors, but Asian pear and strawberry hibiscus were my two favorites. A few of the flavors have stevia in them, which isn’t my favorite, but most have a tiny amount of sugar, and that’s it. Check them out, if you can find them, or check out retailers here.
5. I’m totally crushing on Brendan’s new book, the Thrive Energy Cookbook. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now, and I’m loving the innovative recipes and artful photographs. Favorite recipes so far include a chocolate, coconut, blueberry, and raspberry parfait, coconut, lemongrass, and lime soup, avocado and kelp noodle salad, and a decadent chocolate chip and french vanilla smoothie. It’s a joy to look at, and a joy to read.
6. Speaking of books, I’m also loving Allison Rivers Samson’s ebook, Comfortably Yum. You may know Allison from her wonderful company, Allison’s Gourmet, which sells delightful vegan treats and confections. Allison is a powerhouse activist and an incredible recipe developer. She has a particular talent for veganizing comfort food classics (in fact, she writes the Veganize It! column for VegNews), and those skills are on full display in this ebook. It features 10 classic comfort food recipes, from mac n’ cheese to veggie pot pie to fudge cupcakes, that are made entirely with whole foods, vegan ingredients.
I know from experience that Allison’s recipes work; she is a consummate perfectionist! If you’re on the hunt for simple, satisfying, and familiar vegan fare, this book is a winner.
7. I actually got a sample of Nary Dairy when I was in LA, shopping around at Erewhon market. The cheeses are made with fermented, raw cashews, and they approximate beautifully soft, spreadable goat cheeses. I tried a couple of flavors, but the original was actually my favorite. Tangy, soft, salty — all of the things it should have been. Two thumbs up! Right now you can only order the cheese in LA, but hopefully it’ll be rolling out nationwide soon.
8. Recently, the folks at Kallari chocolate asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing three of their delicious flavors: 71% cocoa with ginger and sea salt, organic 75% dark, and 72% with Cocoa, Hot Chili & Cinnamon. They were all fantastic, especially the ginger and sea salt (I’ve had chocolate with ginger, and chocolate with sea salt, but not both in one bar). The company intends to use some of these flavors in chocolate chips — can’t wait till those are available! For now, a bunch of cool recipes are available at the Kallari blog (not all vegan, but veganizable). The company employs ethical sourcing and actively supports rainforest conservation and cultural preservation.
9. Some time ago, Cinnamon Hill asked me if I had any interest in sampling their freshly harvested cinnamon from Saigon and Sri Lanka, as well as the unique cinnamon grater that they sell along with their cinnamon sticks (to ensure that home cooks can grate it as needed). I said of course; cinnamon is one of the spices I use most often in my kitchen. As expected, the cinnamon is exceptionally bold and flavorful, and I loved tasting it. I especially liked it grated freshly on one of my favorite breakfast bowls these days: quinoa or oats, a heaping mountain of hempseeds, and fresh banana slices.
10. Matcha powder from Kiss Me Organics. I was offered a free sample bag of this matcha powder, which is sold exclusively on Amazon. Its 100% organic, tested for purity, and (apparently) contains more than 137x the antioxidants found in a cup of brewed tea. Matcha fan that I’ve become, I was excited to sample the powder, which didn’t disappoint. It’s smooth and strong and dissolves easily in hot water, but it’s also great for smoothies and baking. You can check it out–along with a lot of stellar customer reviews–here.
11. Folks at the Vegg reached out and asked if I wanted to review their baking mix, which replaces the leavening and binding properties of egg. The product is cholesterol-free, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO Free, and certified Kosher. It contains leavening Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), Fortified Nutritional Yeast (dry yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, folic acid, b12), Xanthan Gum, Sodium Alginate, Black Sea Salt, Guar Gum, and Beta Carotene. It looks to be a competitive alternative to Ener-G, and I’m guessing it’s a lot more authentic than using flax egg (which can be really fussy–it doesn’t work in all vegan baking). I haven’t tried it yet, but this is a good, drizzly weekend for baking, so I look forward to seeing how it goes!
12. Finally, the super talented and ebullient and lovely Elenore of Earthsprout has released an ebook, 30 Raw, which features 30 raw food breakfast recipes. I downloaded it some time ago, but a combination of travel and early mornings at the doctor’s office where I work have kept me from delving in. I am determined to wait no longer. The app is gorgeous, and the recipes look so, so good.
Elenore has more to say about the app in this post, so read all about it for yourselves. If you’re getting into raw food and are wondering what to eat for breakfast, this app is for you. And if you, like me, are eager to break out of a breakfast rut, I couldn’t recommend Elenore’s work more.
That’s it for March, friends. I hope to get April’s finds up a bit sooner in the month. I hope you’re all having lovely weekends, and I’ll be back with some reading tomorrow or Monday.