Anyone else excited about November being World Vegan Month?
I am not vegan, and I do eat meat from time to time, and so does my family. Having said this, I have a deep appreciation for minimally processed ingredients and for a plant-based diet, as tools to preserve health and to increase one’s overall well-being. At a time when processed quick and convenient options (including some vegan ones) look more tempting than ever, I believe that reading the labels and doing the research can help us to make the most informed choices for ourselves and our families.
The minimally processed vegan products below have been researched by me thoroughly, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did 🙂
The Transformation Factory sea moss gels
Alexiou Gibson is a former NASA intern and a winner of the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award, among others. At 21 years of age, he weighed over 500lb, and his physician told him that he would not live to 30. Confronted with a variety of health issues and a bleak diagnosis, Alexiou decided to overhaul his lifestyle completely, and in doing so he resorted to a vegan diet which included sea moss. He founded The Transformation Factory, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank in May this year, secured a deal with Kevin Hart and Mark Cuban – and the rest was history, as they say.
Sea moss has many health benefits, whether you’re looking to lose or maintain a healthy weight or infuse your body with all the essential minerals for the human body. This marine superfood surpasses other algae, helping with inflammation, healthy mucus membrane support, digestive health, thyroid support, and mental and reproductive health.
The Transformation Factory sent me a variety of sea moss gels to try.
Brimming with vitamins and minerals, the wildcrafted sea moss “is harvested from its natural habitat in unpolluted waters on the coast of Jamaica” with no fertilizers or pesticides used. After being washed with spring water and dried in the sun, it is “transferred to a vegan kitchen where it is blended in alkaline spring water and made into a gel that is flavored with organic fruits.” (Shark Tank)
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the nutritional benefits of sea moss, and adding the delightfully fresh, fruity and creamy strawberry&banana sea moss gel to my parfaits. I didn’t taste any unusual flavor, so to speak – the gel tasted fresh and fruity, with the strawberry flavor being dominant.
In addition to unflavored, there are several flavored varieties (strawberry, strawberry&banana, pineapple, mango, elderberry, goji berry, and dragon fruit), all organic, gluten-free, keto friendly, and made with minimal ingredients- sea moss, agave nectar, and fruits.
Queen Street Bakery bagels
Chicagoans looking for vegan bagels can now celebrate the appearance in select local stores of an important vegan offering: Queen Street Bakery bagels.
Queen Street Bakery was founded by Giovanni Angelucci, a descendant of Italian immigrants with a passion for healthy and clean food. “Unfortunately, so many of the products you come across today, including and especially those you think are ‘healthy’, contain very little nutritional value, a lot of sugar and unnecessary ingredients” – I couldn’t agree more!
Queen Street Bakery use ingredients like chia and beans instead of wheat, rice and corn, which makes their products both gluten free and full of nutrients like magnesium, calcium and iron plus all of the good fiber that promotes gut health.
Nestled in between two halves of a scrumptious chia & flax bagel below you have fresh aromatic cilantro, a smashed avocado & chive spread, a slice of thirst-quenching yellow tomato, and a layer of carrot spread.
Made from millet, sorghum and oat flours and packed with crunchy flax, chia and millet seeds, Queen Street Bakery’s non-gmo, gluten-free and nut-free bagels impressed me with their pleasant texture, which provided the perfect “support structure” to the fillings inside.
Cutting through the creaminess of the spreads, the fresh yellow tomato brought balance, freshness, and a nostalgic twist to this breakfast offering.
I have thoroughly enjoyed sampling Queen Street Bakery bagels, and I am happy to see them sold in stores across Chicagoland 🙂
Fullgreen riced cauliflower
Fullgreen was founded by Jamie and Gem, a couple on a mission to “democratize health by making healthy eating enjoyable, convenient and affordable.” The company offers a range of certified non-gmo, gluten-free and vegan low carb riced veggies, which are also keto and paleo friendly, and contain zero added sugar and preservatives. Fullgreen has partnerships with Feeding America and Feeding Britain, as well as with TerraCycle.
Fullgreen sent me an assortment of riced cauliflower and riced cauliflower & broccoli to try.
I used Fullgreen’s riced cauliflower with tomato, red pepped and corn recently to make stuffed eggplants.
I mixed the scooped out flesh of the eggplants (previously chopped and sauteed) with the riced cauliflower, I added paprika, black garlic butter and chopped cilantro, and I baked the eggplants until tender.
I topped with feta, more butter and cilantro, and I served with homemade bread. Seeing the sweet and subtly smoky garlic butter melting on top of the hot eggplants was such a satisfying moment!
Recently I also made a portable salad in a jar featuring Fullgreen’s riced cauliflower with carrots and peas, Swiss chard, peppers, olives and cilantro – layers upon layers of deliciousness “bathing” in a vibrant lemon vinaigrette. Very impressed with this flavor-packed and versatile range of vegan products!
Coconut oil is a popular option for vegan baking these days. And yet, not all coconut oil is created equal, and its benefits are still being evaluated. I had the opportunity to carry out extensive research into the coconut oil industry recently, when Dignity Coconuts sent me one of their products to try.
What sets Dignity Coconuts apart from other manufacturers is the proprietary method for extracting coconut oil. The raw centrifuge method spins out the oil, resulting in a light taste and smell. This gentle way to obtain the oil creates the best coconut oil on earth – a product Dignity Coconuts can be proud to sell to the global market.
I used Dignity Coconuts coconut oil recently to make a vegan banana bread, using apple sauce instead of eggs, soy milk instead of cow’s milk, and coconut oil instead of butter.
I served the banana bread with organic freeze-dried fruits and date syrup. Packed with uplifting apple, banana and coconut flavors, as well as a healthy heap of aromatic cinnamon, this cake was moist, complex, and superbly satisfying, each bite of it brimming with melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.
Which of the products above would you like to try first? Let me know, and happy World Vegan Month, everyone 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.