Califia Farms Almond Milk Cold Brew Latte Review
Vegan Food

Vegan Almond Milk Latte: Califia Farms Review

If you’re anything like I am, you’re skeptical of store-bought vegan anything. I much prefer to make things on my own, but sometimes, ya girl’s in a pinch…like when you wake up with 10 minutes to spare to shower, brush, walk the dog, take out the trash, watch a couple Netflix series etc. etc. SO, I went on the hunt for a morning caffeine push that didn’t require much thought…enter Califia Farms.

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Vegan Cafe Latte Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk Review

Nutrition:

At 90 calories per serving, I think the Califia Farms Cafe Latte with Almond Milk makes the perfect treat. A serving is 8 ounces or 240 ml for those who are counting. While a glass of it may seem small, it actually tastes quite creamy and rich, so you can actually savor it while binge-watching something or talking to your dog (me 100%).

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Consistency:

That brings us to consistency. It’s rather creamy! It’s almost the exact consistency of almond milk, but a little thicker.

Taste:

Be forewarned, it tastes really sweet…well compared to a glass of coffee. I should note that I abhor the taste of coffee. In fact, I can only drink it with vegan creamer in it, but this is actually the best middle ground between a frappuccino and black coffee. Honestly, you won’t understand until you try it.

Vegan?

Yes! According to their FAQs: While our full line is not organic, all Califia Farms products are 100% plant-based, non-GMO, carrageenan-free, gluten-free, vegan and made with no artificial ingredients. It sounds like all Califia Farms products are made with sustainability and vegans in mind, so go buy yourself a bottle and enjoy! [#notsponsored, but happy to be if you’re reading this CF ;)]

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Question of the Day

How do you take your coffee or tea? Black or as beige in color with creamer as you can get it?

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Vegan Food, vegan lifestyle

5 Tips on How to Become a Vegetarian or Vegan in 2018

There are two theories on setting resolutions for the New Year: 1. Yaaass honey fresh start clean slate I’m gonna slay this year, or 2. Ahem, you shouldn’t have to wait 365 days to start a new resolution. I hear you both. But there is something especially special (redundant?) about January 1st this year…it lands on a Monday. What’s more resolutiony than that? Whether you decided to stop eating meat (yay you!) On November 25th or want to start fresh at the beginning of a new year, more power to you! It never matters when you start, it just matters that you start a change and most importantly, that you stick to it. Here are 5 steps to help you become a vegetarian or vegan so that you can make 2018 better not only for you, but for the plant and all the animals on it.

Step 1: Tell Everyone

There is absolutely zero shame in you wanting to a) better your health and b) better the planet. The latter is pretty much the foundation of every religion, right? And no one will bash you for what you believe in (go away trolls!). And if you do happen to deal with those negative naysayers who make fun of “vegan food” or act negative around you, just shroud it out with your good vibes cause that’s all you’re putting out and lettin’ in sistah. Some show on Blue’s Clue’s (hi, 80s baby here) told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If you’ve tried to nicely explain your way of life or amazing decision to stop eating meat to someone and they just don’t get it…move on. You do you.

Step 2: Expect Bumps In the Road

Giving something up is never easy. If you’ve eaten meat your whole life, it’s hard to go cold turkey. Know that you may have a setback here or there but one setback isn’t the catalyst to failure. Just get back on the buggy.

Step 3: Educate Yourself

Piggybacking on step 2, the main reason most people fail at resolutions, regardless of what it is, is because they’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Someone may want to lose weight because they just want to be skinny and may get there the unhealthy way. Setting up a resolution should come from a desire for change. If you want to become vegetarian or vegan, but aren’t sure why or what to say when people ask you why, then it’s time to educate yourself! Once you feel compassionate about your cause, your resolution becomes less of a goal and more of an intrinsic belief. Check out numerous documentaries on Netflix and YouTube, get a vegan starter kit from PETA, and follow inspirational social media influencers to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.

Step 4: Plan for Success

You may be stuck on your daily ham and cheese sandwich for lunch or chicken and broccoli for dinner. As with every resolution, becoming vegetarian does need some work, but minimal at best. Googling vegetarian versions of your favorite recipes, new recipes all together, finding inspirational meal planners on social media or YouTube, these are all things that can help you plan for success.

The easiest way to start is to take a weekend and meal prep 2-3 vegetarian meals or vegan meals you can use for lunch and or dinner. It’s as easy as even preparing the ingredients you need to pull the meal together in minutes once you get home from work or after picking the kids up from school.

I have some What I Ate Wednesday videos on my YouTube channel with ideas to get you going!

Step 5: Enjoy the Journey

This resolution you set to not eat meat shouldn’t be a stressful one. Your body takes about a month to detox all the blood, spirit and chemicals from the meat products you’ve eaten over the years. Expect withdrawals, bad skin (a part of detox) which turns into amazing skin, stress and pressure. But all this in such a small period of time will lead to your best self.

Please always consult your physician before making any drastic physical or dietary changes.

Question of the Day

What is your resolution for the New Year?

I’m giving up processed sugar of any kind for the month of January. If all goes well, then another month after that and so forth.

Uncategorized, Vegan Food

Low-Calorie Vegan “Meat” Substitutes

When I first went vegan on January 2016, I couldn’t stay away from carbs. I ate broccoli and rice almost every day and a lot of pasta…and let me tell you where all this carbo-loading went (I put Kim K’s butt to shame). It took me anywhere between 2-6 months to really figure out a balance in my “diet”, air quotes because ya’ll know it’s a lifestyle. Part of this balance is finding “junk” food and sometimes wanting a little more than your faithful greens. Ya girl can only eat so much broccoli without turning green [P.S. it’s kinda true–my husband ate so many carrots as a baby he turned orange.] So to change it up, I opted for some vegan meats. Now while I like to stay as clean and as few ingredients as possible, these little patties, balls and strips (Las Vegas club name?) make salads just a bit more fun when you need to change it up. FYI you can get all of these vegan meats at Trader Joe’s!

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1. California Veggie Burgers

If you like veggie patties or want to make more delicious burgers, opt for these low-calorie, nutrition-packed vegan patties (see the little circle with the heart on the bottom?). While they don’t taste like meat, they don’t taste like squashed veggies either. Something about them is so tasty!

Not so Secret Tip: If you do want the look and taste of meat, Beyond Burger patties are EV-UH-REE-THING. I’m getting them again this Friday and will talk about them on Monday, in case you were considering them ^_-.

Calories: 120

Highlight: Cleaner than most other patties (Veggie Masala Patty is a close contender)

2. Chickenless Crispy Tenders

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These are so delish. If ya’ll want to add a bit of something naughty to your salads, add these dumplings that are FAR from meat! Or if you want to trick your friends, these do the trick too 😉

Calories: 150 for 3 chicken tenders

Highlight: They’re hella tasty. Like dang yum yum. Unfortunately, one serving has 7g of fat, which is pretty dang high. Most should aim for 0-4g of fat per serving.

3. Meatless Meatballs

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PC: PinchofLovely

Now the above picture isn’t of the Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs, but it’s a recipe where you make your own. Now if you don’t have time to make your own, sub those kinds of recipes with these “meatballs” and you’ll be good as vegan gold. Also, if you miss spaghetti and meatballs, I got yo back! These work great with tomato sauce or also make a great addition to salads. I’ve even made them just as snacks, and they’re great for that too.

Calories: 140 for 6 meatballs

Highlight: It’s good for those on a low-calorie diet. These are the best of the worst products for you, because it’s high in sodium and highly-processed.

Question of the Day

What are your favorite naughty “meats”? Share!

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Friday Face Off, Vegan Food

Friday Face-Off: Vegan Protein Shakes

If you’re like me, you don’t eat breakfast. It’s such a terrible habit, but hey, if you’re not hungry when you wake up, why force-feed yourself, #amirite? When I do feel that hunger creepin’ in though, I still opt for something light and liquidy. If tea and (vegan) creamer just isn’t doing it, I usually go for a vegan protein shake.

I normally make my vegan protein drink at home with some vegan protein powder, frozen banana, maca powder (more on this to come) and almond milk, but sometimes, ya just want to be lazy! As a busy boss lady, I need my on-the-go options, which brings us to today’s Friday Face-Off: Vegan Protein Shakes!

Halloween is just 4 days away and if you have kiddos or are throwing your annual Halloween chili cook-off or something, then you’re probably short on time. Hell if you wake up, you’re probably short on time these days (raises hand). Which is why aside from fruits or vegetables, protein shakes are a good option to keep you goin’! I decided to put three to the test. These three came up in my research as some of the best.

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Price. Each of these tetra-paks ranges from $2.50 to $3.50 depending on where you shop. I bought all three at Whole Foods. I personally think that’s a hefty price for 11 fluid ounces, of which all of these are. A pack of four is usually $12, so no real savings there either. I would check places (that aren’t Whole Foods), like Fresh Thyme, Sprouts or Jewel-Osco (Safeway) for when these items go on sale.

Now let’s go into the taste and nutrition of each separately with staged pictures that have nothing to do with the product (this one was a weird shoot, ya’ll).

1. Vega™

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Taste: Vega protein shakes are either a hit or a miss. This one though, was a bit of a both. The flavor is a BIT chalky, but otherwise it’s good. It has that almost fake chocolate after-taste to it, which actually doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds. 6/10.

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Nutrition: 1 carton is 170 calories, 4.5g of fat, 14g of carbs, 20g of protein and 7g of sugar. On the protein front, that’s a high protein to calorie ratio, which is always a good thing in my book. The protein comes from hemp, pumpkin seeds and peas. Looks like most of the sugar comes from coconut palm sugar and stevia leaf extract as well, aside from natural sugars.

When To Drink: I think this would be best to drink for breakfast or after a workout.

2. Evolve™

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Taste: You guys. Have you tried Evolve protein before? I haven’t had their powder, but these protein smoothies? Scrumdiddly yumptious. They’re smooth and taste like the flavor they’re supposed to. So far I’ve tried chocolate and the vanilla flavors above. I have “Mellow Mocha Flavored” staring me down for lunch today. 10/10.

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Nutrition: 1 carton is 150 calories, 0g of fat, 17g of carbs, 20g of protein and 6g of sugar. While this has just a couple more carbs than the Vega protein drink, it is a GREAT option for those on a low-fat, no-fat diet. I mean, those fat grams can seriously add up, especially when using this as part of a protein shake you make at home or something. After adding in all the fruits, veggies, powders, nuts and the kitchen sink, it can be a calorie bomb! With that said, this is pretty dang nutritious. As far as these drinks go, the ingredient list is much shorter than the other two.

When To Drink: I think this would be best to drink as a snack or before a workout because of the higher carb count.

3. Orgain Organic Nutrition™

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Taste: Um, no. It tastes as fake as fake protein powder gets. Personally, not a fan. But if you don’t mind that fake taste, then more power to you! It’s not as bad as I say it is #dramaqueen, but in contention with the others, it definitely fell short. 4/10.

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Nutrition: Ringing in at 220 calories, this protein drink is the highest in calories among them all. It also has 6g of fat, 25g of carbohydrates and 16g of protein. Nutritionally speaking, that isn’t the best ratio. It also has 9g of sugar.

Keep in mind that not ALL Orgain drinks are vegan. Some are made with whey protein. The good thing is, you can easily tell which are vegan and which aren’t: they tell you on the packaging itself.

When To Drink: Lower in protein and higher in carbs makes this more of a snack or meal replacement of sorts.

Verdict? …and the winner is…EVOLVE protein! Between the taste and it’s nutritional facts, this guy takes home the gold, some roses and maybe a teddy bear from the crowd. I think it’s well worth the price for the taste (although I would still have a hard time dropping $12+ for a case of 4–I’d run through that in no time). OK back on track–this is the good stuff.

Question of the Day

What protein drinks are your favorites? Do you have any go-to options? We’d love to know!

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