Sufganiyot, the Hebrew name for jelly donuts eaten during the Jewish holiday of  Hanukkah. These tasty treats are extremely popular in Israel, but are eaten around the world in many a Jewish home.  Traditionally these jelly donuts, along with many other fried foods, are eaten to symbolize the oil which miraculously burned in Jerusalem. They are delightful treat to enjoy during the Festival of Lights or throughout the year. The best part, is these donuts are animal free and can be served to you health conscious and vegan guests.  Happy Hanukkah!

Vegan Jelly Donuts (Sufganiyot)

1 25 gram (1 ounce) package of Active Dry Yeast
3 Cups & 1 Tbsp Organic Flour
1/4 Cup of Organic Earth Balance
1/4 Cup & 1 Tbsp of Organic Evaporated Cane Juice
1 1/4 Cups Water
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Organic Seedless Raspberry Jam
2 Cups of Frying Oil (Canola recommended)

Organic Powdered Sugar for dusting

Mix the active dry yeast, 1 tsp of evaporated cane juice, and 1 cup of warm water in a small bowl. Let this stand for at least 5 minutes, it will begin to foam and smell yeasty. Mix the remaining dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients. Add in the remaining 1/4 Cup of water and stir until dough-like. Melt the Earth Balance and add to this mixture. Knead the mixture together, adding flour or water as needed. Cover bowl and let the dough rise for about 1.5 hours.

Roll out the dough and cut round circles. Depending on how large you want the donuts, you can use a 2 inch cookie cutter or just a glass. Set aside the rounds and hit a skillet with the canola oil on medium-high. Fry each round for about 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side. You will want to turn them occasionally. Once you remove them from the skillet, dust or roll them with powdered sugar on each side. Set aside to cool on a backing rack or plate. Once cooled, poke a small hole (a toothpick or skewer will help) in each donut. Inject raspberry jam with a pastry bag with the smallest tip. Warm them in the oven before serving.

So you are skipping the turkey this Thanksgiving. To most Americans this seems almost sacrilegious to serve Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey. Likening the bird to the first Thanksgiving, however, many people including vegetarians, vegans, health conscious folks, and just people looking for a change opt out of meat for the holiday. So if you are looking to lose the meat, try out a few of our suggestions below. If you want a rating of them, check out this comparison on Slate.  Have a happy meatless Thanksgiving!

Tofurkey: Aww the Tofurkey, it’s very name fills the air with the scent of Thanksgiving.  It has been a staple of vegetarian Thanksgivings for over a decade.  It is fairly inexpensive, around $9.99 and comes with stuffing and gravy. The brand does an excellent job of tasting turkey-esque and definitely completes your holiday meal. The Slate comparison gave it a 19 out of 25 rating.

Field Roast Celebration Roast: Although the Field Roast,  looks much more like a holiday ham, it definitely will fit in on the Thanksgiving table.  It’s texture and spices have a turkey taste, but the stuffing is a little more mushy than the Tofurkey. You can’t beat the sweet potatoes and apples in the stuffing. Slate gave this centerpiece a rating of 12 out of 25.

Gardein Stuffed Turk’y:  Gardein, although new on the market, has made a huge splash. They have come out with all sorts of delicious meatless options including crispy “chicken” and beefless tips. Their biggest contribution is their Stuffed Turk’y. Even though, these are a lot smaller than the above roasts, they win out in flavor. This is hands down one of your best options for fake meat. Slate gave it a winning 22 out of 25!

Homemade: Instead of buying your main dish this year, consider making your roast from scratch. We posted a great recipe last week on homemade gluten roast. It’s very easy and will make your whole feast a more homemade feel and taste. You can also try these recipes for ideas.

 

August is just around the corner. For serious summer enthusiasts, this change in the calendar can be a bit of a let down. But it’s still one whole month! Here’s one way to make the final weeks of summer last longer: travel.

I don’t mean the staycation, one-state-over, bus or train kind of travel; I’m talking about really getting out there and immersing yourself in a totally new environment. Visit that one country you’ve been dying to see for years. (Yup, turn off your air-conditioning now to save those extra pennies.)

Travelling on a vegan diet can be scary… From language barriers to cultural ones, it’s hard to find the balance between sticking true to your morals and not offending your host country. Here are some helpful sites and sources to bring your best vegan self across the world.

Guides and Info:

Veggie Passport: First things first: download this app from Lior Weinstein to help your express your dietary restrictions in 33 languages. The 99 cents spent on the Veggie Passport could save you a lot of discomfort (and hunger) later on.

Happy Cow:  Many savvy vegans and vegetarians are familiar with the Happy Cow site which offers everything veg from recipes to forums to no-no food lists for the meat-free. But if you didn’t know about Happy Cow’s restaurant feature,
now is the time to get familiar with it. The website helps you track down vegetarian restaurants all across the globe; they even recommend reading for you while you’re there. Wait – it get’s better! While you’re busy looking up “I don’t eat meat” in Bulgarian on your iPhone, a friend can be searching the Happy Cow Mobile App on their Droid to find the best vegetarian restaurant in downtown Sofia (that’s the extent of my Bulgarian knowledge). Ah, technology.

Vegan Around the World Network:  If you’re a vegan staying right on your couch, I still urge you to join the VATW network. It’s a pretty small site with just over 1,000 members, but there’s plenty of valuable information scattered around the website. Check out the Vegan Travel Questions and Ideas  to find some helpful information for your trip.

Vegan Travel Blogs:  Here’s a list (courtesy of Circle Our Earth) of various vegan travel blogs across the web.
Some of the pictures on these blogs are reason enough to visit (see: The Healthy Voyager), but the content is what will make you stay. No better way to get tips about travelling vegan than from those who have already done it before!

How to Travel the World as a Vegan:  This book by Maria Giurcan is the ultimate international vegan travel guide, best for those planning a multiple-country trip. Available electronically only, the book starts you from square one (vegan luggage) all the way to Asia and beyond. Giurcan introduces her book by mentioning her initial fear of flying: clearly she’s overcome that by travelling to almost every country on planet Earth.

Travel Recommendations:

Veggie Tours: Withtrips running just over a week located in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, the Veggie Tours trips are ideal for a traveler looking for a bit of structure. With organized trips and free days, these trips take you into the hearts of these beautiful countries. Aside from shuttling you to marketplaces and touring you through ruins and trails, the Veggie Tours group offers vegetarian meals every day. You can ditch the Veggie Passport if you opt into one of these programs.

Vegan Caribbean Cruise: The thought that it may be less humid on the Caribbean ocean than it is in downtown Boston right now may be blurring my logic a bit, but this trip seems perfect. The catch is that the ship doesn’t leave from Florida until March, but my guess is that I would be equally happy to get out of the city then as I am now. This Holistic Holiday at Sea trip is all-inclusive, offering everything from lectures to Pilates classes to cooking courses and more. And of course entirely vegan cuisine offerings. The boat stops in at ports in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas…Sign me up.

La Maison du Vert (Normandy, France):  Set on 2.5 acres of organic gardens in the small town of Ticheville, La Maison du Vert is housed in a 1903 bakery of red bricks. The inn only has three bedrooms, but their fourth option is pretty spectacular: La Petite Maison Blanche is a little cottage in the backyard of the hotel that fits up to 6 people. A beautiful place for a vegetarian retreat – and probably the only location in France with an organic, vegan wine list!

Green Lodge (West Cork, Ireland): Located not too far from the small town of Bantry but removed enough for privacy, the Green Lodge has fully stocked apartments available for families, couples, or singles. With a stunning ten acres of land surrounding the hotel, it’s hard to imagine being pulled by any attraction other than the land. With seasonal organic vegetables and daily homebaked organic bread, the Green Lodge is a must-visit for those visiting South West Ireland.

South East Asia Hotel (Singapore, Singapore): The South East Asia Hotel in downtown Singapore houses the Kwan Im Vegetarian Restaurant with an impressive and varied menu of Asian vegetarian cuisine. But it certainly won’t be the only place you dine if you decide to stay at the South East Asia Hotel – Singapore’s cultural diversity lends itself to a passion for food and a love of diversity that manifests itself in the wonderful restaurants and cafés across the city. An ideal trip for a vegan traveler with a love for pan-Asian cuisine and culture.

Waterfall Villa (Dominical, Costa Rica): Undoubtedly romantic, the three Waterfall Villas are located in the beautiful Baru Tropical Rainforest with balconies jutting through the foliage and hanging above (private) waterfalls. The best part may be that the hotel specializes in vegan, vegetarian, and raw cuisine. They also offer yoga classes that are usually complementary. But we had you at “Waterfall Villa,” right?

Samhitakasha Cob House (Muizenberg, South Africa): Ever wanted to visit Cape Town? Here’s your chance to do it – in the greenest way possible. A quick peek at the Cob House’s “Ethics” page will show you that this hotel is one of a kind.
Biodegradable, organic, and sustainable are the big principles of the Cob House, and their importance can be seen in the very structure of the hotel: the building is made out of mud and straw. A stunning location backed by wonderful principles makes the Cob House a perfect getaway.

Los Gatos (Casinos, Spain):  Are you a cat lover (like I am)? This is the place for you, although you probably surmised as much when you looked at the name of this bed and breakfast. Located 50 kms from Valencia, this inn overlooks the mountains and serves vegetarian, organic fare. Wondering about the cats? The staff owns quite a few who roam freely around the building. The best part of this place (besides its extraordinary pricing)? The art lessons provided by the innkeeper, artist Joost Gerritsen. So if you like drawing cats…

Of course this is just a start. There are hundreds of vegan and vegetarian hotels across the world, and plenty of great resources to track down the right one for you. Your vegan diet shouldn’t inhibit you from travelling – it should be all the more reason to get out there and find new cuisine! Enjoy those last days of summer, and plan your final August trip today.

-Jessica Nicholson 

The creepy, crawly and spooky fill the streets on Halloween night, but alongside them are young trick-or-treaters.  Trick-or-treating has become a favorite among American families, partly because of the costumes and holiday, but mostly because of the candy. If you are raising a vegan family, this can prove a huge problem. Even if you don’t believe in the act of trick-or-treating yourself, you do not want your child to feel left out, or even worse: resent you. We have many friends who are raising their children vegan and have compiled some great tips on how to survive a non-vegan Halloween.

1) Vegan Candy: Even though we would love to suggest that you hand out nuts or raisins, truth is: the neighborhood will avoid your house and possibly your treats will go to waste and be thrown out. So we suggest keeping your kiddies inside and handing out vegan treats to the neighborhood. Your children can have fun dressing up and handing out candy to the kids (as long as you have even better treat bags stashed for them to receive at the end of the night). You can get them excited by wearing costumes themselves and playing a costume guessing game with the kids that do end up on your doorstep. There are several great brands of vegan candy such as Equal Exchange Dark Chocolate Minis, Go Max Go vegan candy bars, or Allison’s Gourmet vegan caramels. There are also a number of mainstream candies that are “vegan by default” such as Airheads and Chick-o-sticks. For a full list of vegan candies, check out this VegNews article.

2) Go Candy-less: In case you want to skip the candy or would rather give out something inedible, we suggest handing out stickers. Kids love stickers and it is a better alternative to nuts or raisins! You can give out Halloween-themed stickers that you can purchase almost anywhere during October. If you would like to spread the message of being kind to animals, you could order these cute PETA stickers. They come with cute sayings and animals, packed with friendly messages such as “Be Bunny’s Honey” and “I’m Not a Nugget.” PETA also just released these great horror themed vegan buttons, our favorite is the vampire one stating “Don’t Suck, Go Vegan.” If you would rather not blatantly promote animal rights you could also hand out other popular items such as Silly Banz, Light Bracelets, or any other small toy children can enjoy.

3) Throw a Party: Instead of trick-or-treating, suggest throwing a costume party to your  children instead.  This way, you can provide the treats and make Halloween complete for your entire family. Use the list above for vegan candy suggestions, and you can also bake some tasty vegan treats such as Pumpkin Cupcakes or Cookies. For more vegan recipes, look no further than our vegan recipe archive.  Throwing your own party can ensure your child gets the full holiday experience and you don’t have to worry about non-vegan treats being served. If your children get invited to another Halloween party, be sure to call ahead and make a vegan alternative to bring along. Check this list out for more party planning ideas.

4) Trick-or Treat Vegan Style: If you still want your children to have an authentic trick-or-treating Halloween, be sure to only frequent vegan households. How do you know where you can get vegan treats? A new website has just been launched entitled No Trick Treats, which allows vegan families to register what goodies they will be handing out. The information is then compiled into a map which will show whether a family is serving vegan, organic, raw, non-food and/or other diet specifics. The website is very new, but hopefully more families will be adding soon. If you are giving out vegan snacks, please take the time to register on the site so people know to come to you! If you can’t find many homes in your area on this site, consider talking with your neighbors ahead of time and even dropping off vegan candy to be given to your children when you knock on the door.

 

There are many positive outcomes that come along with partaking in a vegetarian diet. Recently an article was published inNutrition Journal that approaches some of the psychological effects that differ between vegetarian and omnivorous diets. The article introduces a new study that has surfaced that presents a theory that vegetarians are happier than their meat-eating counterparts. This is exciting news, as this study will likely open the doors to further research and development of the effects of a vegetarian diet on mood stability, depression, stress and anxiety.

The study published was conducted on an American population of Seventh Day Adventists where the group was split 4:5, vegetarian to omnivore. The Seventh Day Adventists were chosen from two communities; Phoenix, Arizona and Santa Barbara, California, to participate in the study because the group was particularly homogeneous in their lifestyle choices and their exposure to external stimuli. The volunteers for this study could not participate if they were pregnant, lactating, been diagnosed with chronic diseases that affect mental health, or were regular users of mood-altering medications or supplements. The study consisted of three questionnaires. One of the questionnaires measured food frequency (FFQ), while the other two measured psychometric characteristics through the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS).

The variation between the two dietary groups was astonishing! Vegetarians scored lower on depression tests and their mood profiles were more positive than their omnivorous peers. Interestingly enough, the vegetarians studied had significantly lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that are naturally found in fish. EPA and DHA are critical regulators of brain cell function and structure, and the study contradicts the belief that diets that are depleted or low in these omega-3 fatty acids can lead to impaired mood states.Overall, the results appeared that vegetarians are a happier population than omnivores!

The study of the psychological effects of vegetarian and vegan diets, particularly of the effects these dietary choices on moods, is a topic I hope will be researched further.  Please keep in mind that although the results of this study were substantial, all 138 of the Seventh Day Adventists have limited intake of processed food, as well as have high intakes of fruits and vegetables. The study is not aiming to dissuade the dietary intake of fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but simply explaining that plant sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are available. We are happy to see a study like this go underway, however, since it used such a small subset of the population, one religion/culture, we would love to see it expanded to a larger and more diverse population!

Whatever reason behind your dietary choices, I hope you’re eating food that leads you to happiness and a positive lifestyle. What you eat has a lot to with how your body will function and your overall moods, so treat your body well… Vegetarian or not.

-Hannah Bybee

A few years ago an E. coli breakout kept me from eating one of my favorite foods: spinach. I remember being stranded in Idaho Falls in the summer of 2006 and desperately looking over a menu at a local restaurant in search of something that would appease both my appetite and my vegetarian lifestyle. I swear my heart skipped a beat when I found a Pear Pecan salad made on a rich bed of spinach. I was excited to find a meatless entrée in this Podunk town. I smiled sweetly at the waiter and ordered my decadent salad. The waiter politely told me that they were unable to serve dishes containing spinach because of the E. coli breakout. Defeated, I ordered a cocktail and decided on a pasta dish sans-carne.

It turns out E. coli breakouts are on the rise again, and I am not too happy that I may have to more-heavily monitor my consumption of raw fruits and vegetables. In case you do not know, E. coli is an intestinal disorder that most commonly adversely affects individuals who consume raw plant foods that have been exposed to fecal matter. This disease does not originate from plants, as they lack intestines. Humans do not get plant diseases; they get diseases like E. coli from the exposure and improper contact of human and/or animal fecal matter.

Each year, animals are mass-produced as commodities of factory farms to feed our nation’s growing obsession with animal-flesh-consumption. Animals are bred, fed, and killed to feed and “nourish” a vast majority of our population who are affected with a phenomenon I like to refer to as Meat Fever. Due to Meat Fever, the amount of animals raised to today in factory farms account for over a billion tons of waste produced. This waste is often not disposed of properly, or is disposed into open-air cesspits that leak, thus getting into water sources that contaminate irrigation systems that are used to water our crops. Even with excessive washing and/or cooking of your fruits and vegetables you cannot necessarily get rid of E. coli that may have contaminated produce.

Recent research has suggested that even once you recover from an ailment like E. coli the illness may not be completely gone. Those who have suffered from E. coli, specifically children, can have side-effects appear up to 20 years later! Some of the problems developed are: kidney problems and failure, permanent brain damage, insulin-dependent diabetes, and high blood pressure. E. coli 0157:h7, the commonly known form of this bacterium, infects fewer than 100,000 Americans annually with less than 100 casualties. Sadly, other forms of E. coli exist that cause other health problems like Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) that can lead to hospitalization and/or death.

According to medical researchers from the University of Minnesota, there is a good chance your poultry, pork, and beef may have been exposed to fecal matter. In a recent experiment testing 1,000 samples of meat from various retail markets 69% of pork and beef, as well as 92% of poultry samples had evidence of fecal-contamination. This type of E. coli can harbor in a woman’s lower intestine then travel to the bladder and become UTIs. Over 99% of the meat, dairy, and eggs Americans consume are produced in Factory Farms. Even though many Factory Farms claim to be combating E. coli with antibiotics, E. coli still rages on. Mutations in the bacteria have begun and will continue to appear due to the use and abuse of antibiotics.

Factory Farms are a big obstacle in the fight to protect yourself and your loved ones from E. coli. Although efforts are being done to try to minimize some of the adverse effects of these environmentally unfriendly institutions, perhaps your best defense against E. coli is to educate yourself on how to reduce your chances of exposure. Here are some tips and facts that may help safeguard your lifestyle.

-Hannah Bybee

If you are an avid AP blog reader, you will know that our staff is made up of vegetarians and vegans.  Everyone at AP has chosen this lifestyle for a variety of reasons ranging from environmental issues, animal rights, and health. Although we often encourage the lifestyle, including posting fun recipes, we understand the lifestyle is not for everyone. That’s why we are excited about a new campaign spreading throughout the country and world: Meat Free Mondays! Meat Free Monday is an organization spearheaded by Paul McCartney and his daughters. Yes, the Paul McCartney. He began the campaign to bring awareness about the meat industry’s effect on the environment and the fact that meat consumption is  simply not sustainable, with the hopes of educating the world on how we can cut back and make changes to our environment.

So why should you give up meat on a Monday or any day for that matter? Well there are a host of reasons, however, the movement largely focuses on environmental impact. It has been shown that 18% of greenhouse gases come from meat production. This is largely from  methane and nitrous oxide, which are actually more toxic than CO2. The amount of waste emitted from large scale meat production is shocking, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization reports that livestock production generates more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry! In fact, many studies show that meat production is more harmful for our environment than driving that gas guzzler! The National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan reports that the pollution emitted to produce 1kg of beef, for us Americans that is 2.2 pounds,  is the equivalent the same amount of  carbon dioxide emitted by driving a standard car a whopping 155 miles a day! Wow, that means for one person to eat one or two days worth of meat produces the same amount of pollution for one person to drive across the entire state of Massachusetts and into New York!

In a study published by the University of Chicago, they found that if Americans reduced their meat intake by at least 20%, it would have the same same impact on our environment as a person switching from a Camry to a Prius. Americans on average consume about 8 ounces of meat daily! If Americans cut out at least one day a week of meat consumption, they could reduce their meat intake at almost 20%. It is a small impact but it would be the equivalent to changing from a gas run car to a hybrid.

This is where Meat Free Mondays come in! It is now a worldwide idea and is spreading fast.  Some cities have even begun promoting it. Recently, ever progressive San Francisco recently passed a Meat Free Mondays Resolution encouraging city restaurants to serve meatless meals on Mondays throughout the city. The resolution states that the city will “encourage restaurants, grocery stores and schools to offer a greater variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents and visitors, and to increase the awareness of the impact a Green Diet would be on our planet.” We think this is a great step for the city of San Francisco and hope it will influence others around the country to get on board with Meat Free Mondays! If you want to be a part the Meat Free Monday movement, check out their website or fan them on Facebook.

If you are willing to commit to at least one day a week meat free, your impact on the world would be greater than giving up your car for the day. And think how great of an influence it would have if the entire country did the same. So please, if you aren’t already vegetarian, think about refraining from meat on Mondays, weekdays, everyday or at least cutting back. Environmental issues can seem daunting and it may feel there is little you can do. But by adjusting your lifestyle just a smidgen, you can make a huge influence on the world. It is one area where you can have some control in an out of control world.

Your average dinner conversation in a vegan household contains exactly what you might think: veganism. And tonight around our house was no different. We were finishing up our burritos when our discussion turned to the origins of veganism. As we sat there, talking, my mind began to wonder, “where did this word, vegan come from?” It is a word I use everyday, a word myself and many others like me use to label ourselves, however I had no idea where and when it entered the English language.

After the dishes had been done, I still couldn’t kill the curiosity in my head. So I headed to the trusty interwebs to see what I could find. A simple Google entry of “vegan” brought me to a definition and explanation of the lifestyle in Wikipedia. The article stated the typical stuff,  “veganism is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.” But as I read on I discovered the exact origins of the word vegan.

It turns out that a man named Donald Watson, coined the term “vegan” in 1944. The word vegan is a combination of the first three letters and the last two letters of the word “vegetarian.” Watson has been quoted as saying the word was created as “the beginning and end of vegetarian.” So now I know the word was introduced in 1944, although not the first emergence of the lifestyle, as it has been in Eastern philosophy for thousands of years, it is the first time the word vegan appeared in English.

The Vegan Society Logo via http://www.rickdisco.com

Ok got it. Created in 1944 by Donald Watson. But who is this Donald Watson? Who is this man who created a word that now defines an entire movement? To my surprise, he wasn’t some great philosopher or political activist, he was just a normal guy , a woodcrafter in fact, who cared about the welfare of animals and created an organization. According to Wikipedia, Watson grew up on a family farm in England, where he grew a love for animals. Once realizing, that some animals were slaughtered for food, he made a stand to become a vegetarian at 14. Upon further research into the industry, he decided to cut out eggs and dairy due to the abuses the animals endured. And in 1944, himself and several friends joined together to create a society for their new lifestyle. Thus the still active Vegan Society was created! Watson remained very active in veganism until 2005, when he died peacefully at the age of 95.

There you have it! My curiosity, and I hope yours was satisfied by this internet search. Watson lived a very interesting, average life, however, he should be seen as an inspiration. And an inspiration not only for us vegans, but for everyone. His life is an example that anyone can bring change and organize around something they truly believe in. So if you vegans out there are looking for a hero, start with Donald Watson.

-Gina Williams

Always on the hunt for tastey Vegan snacks, and a yogurt lover, I decided to stop by my local natural foods co-op today and look into my options.  Usually going for the soy-based yogurts, I thought it a good idea to branch out and see what other yogurt makers had as an alternative to my norm.  I happened upon the cultured coconut milk by So Delicious, Ricera’s rice yogurt and finally the Soyogurt from Wildwood Organics (intended to be used as a basis for comparison).  Could any one of them be better than the others?

Before purchasing, I begin by picking up each yogurt cup to go over the information provided on the label.  All three are Vegan (the So Delicious having been certified and the Soyogurt boasting it being the only one made in a non-dairy plant) and they all contain live, probiotic cultures.  Each has its own slightly different laundry list of ingredients; all use easily digestible sugars and many of the contents are organicNutritionally speaking, the Soyogurt takes it; more vitamins included, the highest fiber and protein amounts at 5 grams and 7 grams respectively.  The Ricera’s calcium content matches the Soyogurt at 20%, although the So Delicious includes vitamin B12 at a whopping 30% daily value, great news for a Vegan as it is a harder naturally-occurring nutrient to come by.

I then commence with an habitual, vigorous shaking of all three cups in succession.  My intention is to get the contents as homogeneously non-chunky as possible to avoid stirring, but upon opening each, I find them all to be perfectly smooth, most likely meaning that shaking was unnecessary to begin with.  But shaking them makes an awesome sloshy sound.  The Soyogurt looks the most like dairy yogurt, lighter in color and the same kind of consistency.  The Ricera’s consistency is remarkably similar to cake batter and the So Delicious is a deeper purple and the runniest.

And now, the spoon.  I begin with the Soyogurt since soy-based yogurts are my standard; I figure it will set a good foundation for taste comparison.  That familiar, slightly sweet blueberry/soy taste, not much different from other major soy-yogurt brands.  Maybe some more blueberry pieces than usual.  Generally tasty.  Moving on to the Ricera, the taste is reflected a bit in the consistency.  Even though the blueberry flavor has a nice sweet-sour thing happening, it is also somewhat chalky and doesn’t slide down as easily. But being made with organic brown rice, it has 12 grams of whole grain to offer, something you wouldn’t think to get in a fruity snack.  It strikes me as a great ingredient for something, like a smoothie or a fruit tart.  Finally, I try the cultured coconut milk, the one I was most excited about since it was my first time having it.  The flavor mix between the blueberry and coconut is interesting and subtle; a mellow berry tang followed by a surprisingly calm sweetness from the coconut milk, which can often be an overpowering flavor elsewhere.  But even though I’m a huge fan of coconut milk in general, the final flavor impression of the So Delicious catered to a specific side of my palette.  It tastes great but, with its kind of sweetness, perhaps only at the right time.

After all this comparison, which makes the better treat? In the end, my comparison of these Vegan yogurts left none of the three ahead of the others. They were all enjoyable, generally healthy for different reasons and each struck me as having its own time and place to be eaten. Are all Vegan yogurts created equal?  Final answer: yeah, why not? But you don’t have to take my word for it (RIP Reading Rainbow).

Richmond Vegetarian FestivalAutonomie Project is backing her bags as we speak and heading out on the open road once again! That’s right, we are headed on a road trip down to Richmond, Virginia for the annual FREE Vegetarian Festival. The Festival is put on every year by Vegan Action and the Vegetarian Society of Richmond. This year proves to be super exciting and includes live local music such as  ANTERO, Workingman, and many more; plus some terrific speakers, cooking demos, and a raffle with a grand prize of a weekend getaway at The White Pig (an all vegan bed and breakfast)!

And if entertainment wasn’t enough to tempt you, there is a HUGE vendor fair including yours truly, Dharma Clothing, Arbonne International, and Honest Tea. And of course, there will be tons of delicious vegan restaurants and food giveaways! Everything from vegan cupcakes to Indian food and even Italian ice! We are looking forward to spending the day in the warm summer heat, talking with all the people we meet, and of course trying all the snacks!

So if you live in the Richmond area, we hope you can make it out and enjoy the day with us. Please stop by, say hi and check out our BRAND NEW T shirts! Get them now before they’re online. See everyone Saturday.

WHEN: Saturday, June 20th  12pm to 6pm

WHERE : Azalea Gardens in Bryan Park: 4308 Hermitage Road, Richmond, VA 23227

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