My Favorite Vegan Snacks of 2015

The amount of vegan convenience foods available is growing so much every day, it seems! In the past year, I’ve found some really great stuff. Included in this list are things that I discovered in the past year or so. Some of them are obvious vegan “knock-offs” of non-vegan snacks that I grew up loving, such as Cheez-Its and Ritz Bits, and others are things that I have no pre-vegan-days attachments to. One thing they all have in common, though, is that they’re all delicious and wonderfully addicting!

Earth Balance really changed the name of the game when they introduced what I think is fair to call their version of Cheez-Its and Pirate’s Booty, along with a variety of flavored popcorns and chips. These “vegan cheddar flavor squares”, as they are so descriptively named, totally hit the spot every time. I wish I could eat a box of these every day.


Late July Organic has peanut butter sandwich crackers (think Ritz Bits!) and I can only dream of there being a vegan cheese version of this right now. Before going vegan at 14, cheese Ritz Bits were my all-time favorite junky snack food. I remember not really caring for peanut butter Ritz Bits at the time, but these sandwich crackers by Late July are super fulfilling for any salty-peanut-buttery-cracker craving. So, shout out to Late July… Veganize your cheddar cheese crackers, please! My stomach is waiting.


Now, for something completely different: Dang Coconut Chips. Well, dang! I first tried these as a sample in the Vegan Cuts snack box last year and fell in love. You may feel a little healthier eating these than those junkier foods I listed above (hey, it’s all vegan though, so at least they’re better than the alternative!) because this snack is simply coconut, sugar, seasoning, oil, and salt. They are no less delicious though. I’ve only tried the Chili Lime flavor, which is perfectly spiced, but they are also available in a myriad of other flavors including Savory Bacon (I plan on trying that ASAP, I ain’t no fool).


Now how about some vegan jerky? I love all the Primal Strips and you can find them almost anywhere around here, but another new thing I’ve tried (although they’ve been around since 2012) is Louisville Vegan Jerky. I first tried their Maple Bacon flavor (it’s in a different packaging than their other flavors too… They must know that people are just absolute suckers for maple bacon… Or well, just anything bacon). Super savory and just a little bit sweet, these are great to try when you’re wanting something a little more meaty.

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Shockingly, I’ve not even scratched the surface on all the amazing foods available, but these are some of my favorites as of late! There are also a ton of snacks that are more oriented towards one’s sweet tooth which I will write a post on soon.

Even if there weren’t a million other options, I’d still be a happy little herbivore over here. This is pretty good proof that vegans don’t eat plain, boring food. If there’s anything you’ve tried as of late that you love, please share by leaving a comment below! 🙂

Andrea

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Staying Positive; Steps Back and Leaps Forward

I’ve realized something about myself lately. In the past, when I would get depressed, I would avoid everything. I would tell myself that it was no use going out because everything sucked and there was no way I could have a good day. That is no way to live.

I have surprised myself time and time again in the past month or so that I am different now. I can cry for however long or feel however badly about things, but still manage to go through with my obligations and not sabotage the things that I do appreciate in my life. Even if I can’t find the reasons to keep going in the moment, I do it and my day is better for it. I’m not perfect, and there’s a lot more to life that I wish I could live but do not out of fear. But I am making good changes. This is the beginning of becoming the kind of person that I want to be.

I owe this to growing up and learning things the hard way. I have lost or at least severely damaged some very important relationships and other things in my life, and I don’t want to be the one to blame for that any more. I don’t want to hurt other people because of my own insecurities. They don’t deserve that.

I am taking responsibility. I know that this life is purely my own. While other people may come and go, and some may even stick around with you for longer, it’s still just going to be you. You are always you. Wherever you go, there you are.

When I’m really down, something I’ve found that almost always helps me to fall asleep is remembering our own insignificance to the world and to the universe. Think of all the people. Remember that everyone has their problems. And remember that everyone’s suffering, combined, is still so small compared to how large our universe is. You are going to be okay. Maybe some will take that in a negative way, but for me, it is really helpful because as a result I just worry so much less. The thoughts weigh less on my conscience because I don’t give them the weight.

It is very important for me to own up to this and put it in to words to remind myself that I am a good person and have lots to be thankful for, and reasons to keep on truckin’. It’s unfortunate that cliches like “be thankful for what you do have” are only really effective when you reach them on your own. I know that when I’m having a bad day, a friend telling me that “things will get better” does not help at all. So while I don’t expect these words to be super life changing for anyone out there who is struggling, I hope it is at least relatable and can help keep you afloat if you need that buoyancy.

Andrea

to Pants or not to Pants

Hey all,

I have been having an interesting start to the new year. I’ve been working a lot for the past week and am pretty tuckered out. I’ve got a recipe post planned for later this week, so don’t worry, I’m not going to let myself neglect this blog! But right now, just checking in, because I promised myself I would write and share my thoughts here. I don’t want this to just be a cookie cutter, clean edges blog. I’m gonna keep it real, folks!

It’s raining here this morning. After snow, rain is my favorite weather. I guess I’m into precipitation. It’s too bad there’s only been maybe two days where we have hit freezing temperatures here in New York this season. I miss the snow so much! But I guess it is nice being able to walk to and from work every day without freezing my toes off.

When I was back home in Pennsylvania over Christmas, I was watching the news and they were saying how these high temperatures were a “miracle”. I’m not really sure how rising temperatures and dangerous climate change could be seen as a miracle. It’s just eerie to me and when I think about it it’s just uncomfortable. I should be shoveling snow from the side walk this morning.

When I head back home again this afternoon to spend some time with the family for my birthday (I turn 21 on January 21st… it’s coming up quick!) I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled for pants-less Subway passengers. No, sorry, I won’t be participating this year. Disappointing, I know.

If you want to see some more posts covering vegan fashion and food, please follow me here so you can get notified as soon as I post! It won’t be long. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Andrea

 

the Ethics Behind the Clothes We Buy

I am guilty of being the type of person who can go hours doing online window shopping for clothes. I imagine creating a new identity for myself through it. It’s fun to do. My wish lists have reached great lengths. But at the end of the day? I can’t afford all of those clothes, and I know that even if I did have the money, I probably wouldn’t feel so great about the purchase.

I have had to battle this out in my head sometimes as I’m scrolling through sites like Forever 21 and H&M. There are so many cute things, and most of them are pretty affordable. Why not buy some shirts? I’d get use out of them. But then I think to myself and realize these are cheaply made products that often do not hold up very well. More often than not, they are also produced overseas and do not treat their employees fairly. And personally I want to shop as sustainably as I can and not be throwing things out at the end of each season. I see this as something that I can change about my shopping habits and not contribute to, no matter how tempting it is.

Starting now, I have decided to stop purchasing from these so-called “fast fashion” companies. I want only to support places that I have absolutely no qualms about supporting, such as thrift shops where clothing is being recycled, and to only buy new things if I’m 100% sure something that I could get good use out of it and will love for years to come. Not only does this save me money because I won’t be making as many new purchases, but I’ll feel better about where the money that I do spend is going.

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Stylish Vegan Winter Coats & Jackets Exist, Thanks To Vaute Couture

A case in which I would feel great about buying something new, is something like a new pair of shoes or a blazer from Brave Gentleman, or a winter coat or dress from Vaute Couture. These are both sustainable, vegan companies that are doing their part to make a difference in the fashion industry.

While these brands do have higher price tags, you are paying for the quality and the fair practices that they put at the forefront of their business. I predict that those items are going to be sticking around on my wish list for quite some time, but one day when I have the means, I intend to make them a part of my closet!

Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart, the founder of Vaute Couture herself says, “Most of my clothes come from church resale shops and thrift stores. But then, the pieces I want to support are the pieces I save up for — and I know that my money is supporting ethical practices.”

Vote with your dollar! If you like what someone is doing, support them. 🙂

❤ Andrea

Sweet ’16

It’s a new year, and all of this buzz of resolution and change has given me that push I needed to finally start blogging again.

I have been trying to make a lot of positive changes in my life, especially in the past few months. So, this isn’t just an overnight “Oh, 2016? Better get the ball rolling!” deal for me.

However, it has been inspiring reading from different people all the ways in which they plan to improve their lives and the lives of others this year. I have never been so aware of it before, because this year, it is something that is important to me as well. Anyone can choose to make positive change any moment in any day of the year for themselves, but when you are starting what may seem like a big undertaking, a new year can be very helpful as a jumping off point. In this way, I think a new year is a great marker for making change and helping to put the past behind you.

It is so easy to get stuck in patterns. I am doing everything I can to break out of some negative patterns that I’ve been stuck in for years. I have always naturally been a fairly negative and anxious person. But I am also a happy and positive person. This “journey”, as I’ll sheepishly call it, is about getting more of those good days out of my life and not depending on anyone but myself for it.

I have never before put forth any real effort into changing. Sure, I’ve thought about it. I’ve had days where I thought I was “getting better”, and days where I thought I was really trying, but I always fell back into old habits. I’ve grown older, but I haven’t grown up. Today, I see that the flaws I see in myself I can choose to change. It just takes a bit of effort, and most importantly, a change of mindset.

There is something to be said about motivating yourself to do something that is out of your comfort zone and sticking to it. There are so many things that are outside of my comfort zone. Sharing stuff like this with, potentially, the world, is definitely one of them! I am so excited and, admittedly, a bit nervous about everything to come this year, but of course I hope to make it as good as it can be.

My hope for this blog is to fill it with writings of my personal experiences as I grow and change my life. I will let myself be open and vulnerable here, and in doing so, gain strength and confidence. I also will share everything I am passionate about, from art and music to fashion, food, and ethical living. I have always loved writing, and think this will be a great vessel for me to not only keep track of change as it happens for me in my life, but also to drive it and never stop moving forward.

If any of this resonated with you, I encourage you to continue reading, and if you’re up to it, leave a comment!

Talk to you soon,

Andrea