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It’s true, I’m a vegan protein powder junkie.  After years of downing whey protein powders that left me feeling heavy and bloated, plant-based were a miracle for me.

I was really excited when I was sent a tub of PlantFusion Protein Powder in Vanilla Bean to review.

I admit at first I was a bit skeptical, is there really anything I could like more then my beloved Sunwarrior

As it turns out, I like this product almost as much!

PlantFusion is a plant-based blend of pea protein isolate, artichoke powder, organic sprouted amaranth powder and organic sprouted quinoa powder with added enzymes to help with digestion.

It is soy and gluten free and ground into an almost dust-like powder which makes it blend beautifully in a smoothie.  In one scoop there is 21g of high quality protein!  The only single downsize is that it’s not raw, however I can overlook that.

Price – MSRP for 1lb is US $26.99 and 2 lb is US $42.99

Availability – available to order online, soon to be launched in Canada in the coming weeks

I would love to see the company expand into energy bars because I think they would be a great addition.

It is obvious that the PlantFusion company pride themselves on high-quality products and their protein powder is an excellent example of that.

Try PlantFusion protein powder in this smoothie:

The Pomtini Smoothie

Ingredients

1 scoop PlantFusion protein powder in Vanilla Bean
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/3 cup frozen cherries
juice of 1/2 lime
2 cups (or 1 small carton) of VitaCoco Coconut water with Acai and Pomegranate

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth

I hope it is obvious to the kind people at Larabar that finishing the Larabars they sent me in under 36 hours means I really really like them.

Larabars are pretty awesome.  They have a large variety of incredibly delicious flavours, are the perfect travel food and are also vegan-friendly.  Larabars were created in May 2000 by Lara after a trip hiking through the Rockie Mountains.  I can imagine the kind of inspiration that would come from being in that setting. 

The bars have a base of nuts and dates and added dried fruits or chocolate.  Larabars do not have any additives or preservatives and are kept fresh by their packaging.  Note – Larabars are not truly ‘raw’ because their juice concentrates are flash pasteurized.

I received the following flavours –

Blueberry Muffin – Oh so good.  Tastes just like raw blueberry muffin dough.  I haven’t seen this in any of the health food stores in Toronto but if it’s available please tell me where so I can stock up!

Coconut Cream Pie – Mm.  Who doesn’t love coconut?  This bar was sweet, chewy and full of healthy saturated fats.

Key Lime Pie –Tart and tangy but my least favourite, I’m not a huge fan of lime.

Chocolate Chip Brownie – I suspect this is the same as the Canadian Chocolate Chocolate Chip but I’m not sure.  Either way, this is like heaven.  Chocolately, chewy and sweet and way better then junk food chocolate bars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Hands down the best Larabar I’ve tried.  I am in love with this flavour.  This bar tasted exactly like cookie dough, just so good!  The base is cashews (instead of the typical almond) which gives a rich, buttery flavour.

I am loving their new line of chocolate chip bars, so much so I was inspired to create my own version.

Have you tried Larabars? What is your favourite flavour?

Generally the first question I’m asked when I tell people I am vegan is “where do you get your protein?”

I suppose this is a valid question but protein is available in foods other then meat such as leafy greens, quinoa, hemp seeds, almonds, legumes, sprouts and of course plant-based protein powders!

I was really excited to receive Sunwarrior Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Powder to sample.

Sunwarrior is a fermented brown rice protein powder.  Raw brown rice is germinated to increase its bioactivity and break down the carbohydrates leaving it at 83% protein.  It is cultured with probiotics so it is easy on the digestive system and therefore easily digestible.  Sunwarrior is also processed below 90F to ensure all enzymes are intact.

It contains all 9 essential amino acids and other non-essential amino acids and has the highest Net Protein Utilization score (the amount of amino acids converted to proteins to the amount of amino acids supplied) of any vegetable based protein and the highest ratio of amino acids converted to proteins (amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules.)

Sunwarrior is said to be allergen-free, as well as gluten-free and straight up vegan! While Sunwarrior is not Certified Organic, they use non-GMO foods and are in the process of obtaining organic certification.

What I love most about Sunwarrior is the taste.  Seriously this stuff tastes so smooth without leaving a chalky or unpleasant aftertaste that so many veg proteins have.  I know that it is of the highest quality and one bag lasts me awhile.

Price – approximately $60-65 a bag (lasts about 30-45 days if consuming 1 scoop per day)

Availability – in select health food stores and from RawNutrition.ca

My favourite ways to enjoy Sunwarrior is in a smoothie or protein pudding.

References

It’s no secret that I love bars.  Maybe it’s because some (definitely not all) bars are a great alternative to junk food and make excellent travel snacks for girls on the go, like me.

Let’s be clear here.  Not all bars are created equal.  Many, whose brands shall remain nameless (but perhaps might end up on Busted) are just junk disguised as health food.  Knowing the difference between crap and wholesome ingredients is a skill everyone should have!

When a box of Pure Organics Bars showed up at my house, I was eager to give them a try.

Like with any packaged food I pick up, the first thing I do is flip over the product and look at the ingredients list.  I knew things were going to be okay when I recognized every, single ingredient listed and saw the words vegan and gluten-free.  And many of the flavours are raw!

Pure bars were developed by Veronica Bosgraaf, after her young daughter became vegetarian.  She wanted a healthy snack for her child that was void of preservatives, fillers, processed sugars and animal-products.  And thus, Pure bars were born.

Cost – approximately $2.25 per bar

Availability – contact company for store listing near you

I taste-tested each one and dare I say I enjoyed them as much as Larabar? Rich in taste, chewy and full of texture, Pure bars would be great as snacks for children or the ultimate travel food.  There are a variety of delicious flavours to enjoy:

Apple Cinnamon – A perfect combination of apples and cinnamon.  Not overly sweet and has a rich cinnamon taste.  This would be the perfect 3pm snack to satisfy sweet cravings without doing damage. 

Cherry Cashew – More cherry then cashew which was perfectly ok with me, this bar was sweet without giving me a toothache.

Superfruit Nutty – This one was a bit too sweet, even for me and my giant sweet tooth.  A little bit on the overly-sticky side I would probably avoid this one too.

Wild Blueberry – My second favourite, I love the Wild Blueberry bar.  Pure uses actual organic wild blueberries which is pretty awesome.  Not overly sweet, would be great for kids.

Peanut Raisin Crunch – I would probably not purchase this variety because I try to avoid peanut butter.  This flavour has peanuts, peanut flour and peanut butter all which can be highly allergenic.  The Peanut Raisin Crunch bar is also not raw.  I do like the addition of raisins though and it has a nice sweet and salty flavour.

Chocolate Walnut – Hands down my favourite flavour.  Decadent chocolate with dates and walnuts makes this taste like a raw brownie.

Pure Bars also boast plenty of fiber and protein to slow down the absorption of sugar.  Pick some up and try them out!

Holy Crap is right!

This cereal is not just good, it’s great; super healthy, Canadian and has a great story behind the name – Holy Crap and its creators were featured on the reality show Dragon’s Den!

With a hearty, superfood-infused ingredient list consisting of organic chia, organic hulled hemp hearts, organic buckwheat, organic cranberries, organic raisins, organic apple bits, organic cinnamon.

Price – approx. $13.50

Availability – Holy Crap’s website and health food stores around Canada (check website for locations)

What I love about Holy Crap Dragons’ Blend is that the ingredients are high-quality, organic, raw and have a great taste when combined.  Just like a regular cereal, all you need to do is add your favourite non-dairy milk and leave for 5-10 minutes to let the chia seeds absorb the liquid.

I got about a weeks worth of breakfasts (and maybe a dinner!) out of this bag.  Holy Crap cereals are a great product to take when travelling, easy to pack and easy to prepare. 

The only negative about the product is the cost is slightly high for a small bag, however it’s totally worth it.

Learn more about the benefits of chia seeds here.

Hemp isn’t just for hippies.

I was recently given a complimentary bag of Manitoba Harvest Shelled Hemp Seeds to review.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this product.  I love adding 1 tbsp of hemp seeds to my breakfast quinoa or raw buckwheat.  Hemp seeds have a slightly nutty tasty and are high in usable protein.

Cost – approx. $8.99

Available – health food stores, some grocery stores, Manitoba Harvest website

Hemp seeds come from a variety of plant called Cannabis sativa l.  Industrial hemp contains very little THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the chemical in marijuana that produces psychoactivity.

Hemp seeds contain 10 amino acids and is 20% high-quality, digestible protein.  The seeds also contain about 3% soluble fibre and 27% insoluble fibre.  The oil of hemp seeds contain a balanced ratio of Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) to Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) Fatty Acids which is necessary for brain function, growth and skin health amongst many other functions.  The World Health Organization recommends an ideal dietary ratio of high-quality LA:LNA as 4:1.

Sources
Erasmus, Udo.  Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill.  Summertown, TN: Alive Books, 1993.

“Omega-3 fatty acids.” 2011.  University of Maryland Medical Centre.  29 Aug 2011. <http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm>.

United States.  United States Department of Agriculture. Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential.  Washington: GPO, 2000. 

Good evening veggie and non-veggie friends!

While the rest of Toronto was celeb spotting at TIFF, I was doing some celeb spotting, veggie style at the Toronto Vegetarian Association Food Fair.  I had the pleasure of helping out the extremely talented, passionate and kind Marni Wasserman at her booth Delicious Knowledge.  I also met the awesome Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health and Meghan Telpner of Love in the Kitchen as well as a Fit Chick (Stephanie – I’m sorry I didn’t know it was you!)  The knowledge these amazing women have bestowed upon me through their blogs and classes have made such an impact on my life during the past year. 

I met some new friends, whom are also fellow vegans and bloggers Krissy, Gillian and Stephanie.  It was so lovely getting to know these great ladies!  Please check out their amazing blogs, I know you’ll love reading them as much as I do!

Krissy, her lovely hubby and I caught the fabulous Brenda Davis speak about Raw Food.  Brenda was an amazing speaker and had some interesting insights into Raw Food and factory farming (truthfully the moment she brought up factory farming, my eyes started watering.  Seeing animals being treated so cruelly and that businesses and governments turn a blind eye really p*sses me off.)  I also saw Brendan Brazier hanging around, didn’t snap a pic, I would have felt soo creepy.

And of course, the FOOD!  I sampled treated from LPK’s Culinary Groove, Sweets From the EarthCoconut Bliss,  a young coconut drink and delicious papaya.

I left with some awesome booty:

A big, ol’ bag of Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder in Vanilla and a variety of amazing cookies from New Moon Kitchen.

All in all it was an amazing weekend!  I am so proud to be part of such a positive and supportive community in Toronto that is truly making a difference not just in our city but in our country and the world.  Alright this gal’s gotta get some beauty sleep for my first day of school tomorrow!  Peace and love to you all.

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