Monday, 07 December 2015 13:33

Win $100 Worth of Organic, Vegan Products

Earlier this year I made a video about a store called Grocery Outlet. In order to film it, I had to travel outside of Los Angeles because there wasn't a location near my home. It was well worth the trip, but it was a bit of a tease because I wished I didn't have to drive hours to shop there. Fortunately, times have changed. I am thrilled to say that there are now 15 stores opening in the LA area! To celebrate, I filmed a video in their newest location in Costa Mesa and patterned with Grocery Outlet to do a giveaway for a $100 gift card. 
Published in Eat (Food)
Ever since I researched and wrote the "Heathy, Organic Vegan on a Budget" ebook I am always on the hunt for bargains on healthy food. It brings me so much joy to buy items on sale and discover new places to get deals. One day someone online mentioned a store that I had never heard of called Grocery Outlet. At the time I happened to be near a location so I convinced a friend to check it out with me. I wish I could remember who it was who recommended this market because I want to give them a hug. Thanks to their impressive selection of affordable organic, vegan food, Grocery Outlet has become one of my favorite stores.
Published in Eat (Food)
Thursday, 06 November 2014 13:20

Viewer of the Month: Abigail Cooper

I met Abby through my online course "The 4 Week Vegan YouTube Plan," where she instantly became a rockstar student. Her magnetic personality and contagious passion greatly benefit her ability to spread the word about plant-based living online. Meeting Abby in person took my adoration for her to a whole new level - she is destined for greatness and is jam packed full of love and fun. Here is the story behind this remarkable woman's vegan journey:

Hi, there!  I’m Abby and I am a sassy on-camera personality. I’m a vegan, health conscious, adventurous, shake-what-yo-Momma-gave-ya kind of gal. I host a show called “The So Abby Show” that is your one-stop-FUN-shop for all things wellness and adventure!

From the time that I was very little, I have always been a big animal lover.  I may be a firecracker, but I have a huge heart. I’ve always been extremely sensitive to animals’ thoughts and feelings. My parents had a dog – a Sheltie named Duffy  - and he was definitely instrumental in establishing my love for animals.  He and I had such a special bond. I actually learned to walk on him – I’d hang onto his fur and we’d walk together. I started walking at 9 months and am a petite gal so my mom said it was a pretty funny sight! I also would go to him every night before I went to bed and I would lie on him and sing a song to him.

When I was 11 it really hit me that a hamburger was a cow, so I announced to my parents that I wasn’t eating meat anymore. I am so grateful that I was able to have parents who totally accepted what I said to them and that I was able to still thrive on a plant-based diet even in a small town in the Midwest.  I’ve always had the support of my friends and family who have learned how to modify dishes and they always think of vegan options. I so appreciate that. However, I also think they know that one thing about me is that I’m going to do whatever the heck I want to do and feel is right to do no matter what anyone thinks anyway! Ha! See, there’s that sass!  ;)  But, I think that’s a trait that’s super important to remember when being vegan: stand up for what you believe in – no matter what.

Since I stopped eating meat at such a young age, I don’t know if I really even knew what vegan was. I knew I was a vegetarian and didn’t eat meat, and at that point in time, that was great.  But, as I matured, I learned about veganism and realized I never really ate much cheese, dairy, or other animal products anyway, so at one point I did make the clear statement and choice that I was specifically vegan. I was also very active in dance in sports and also started running at age 12, and then as I progressed with my fitness and nutrition, I really got into the field of health and wellness and began eating cleaner and cleaner.  It kept on going and I eventually ended up getting my PhD in Exercise Physiology.  I also learned how eating certain things affect my health and learned how to use holistic methods to help me with my health issues (including managing an autoimmune disease).  After a lot of education and seeing my own proof, I now only use holistic methods for any health ailments and on my body, in my home, etc. In addition to being vegan, about 5 years ago I learned that I would have to go gluten-free due to a diagnosed gluten intolerance.  It was a bit tough at first, but just like veganism, I don’t know any different now.

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I love veganizing and de-glutenizing my favorite dishes or those I grew up with. My friends and family love them, too!  I’m a big fan of spreading the vegan love and really enjoy bringing tasty vegan, gluten-free dishes to events.

For me, being vegan is not a “diet” or a “fad.” It’s who I am. I don’t know any different and I will always be vegan for the rest of my life. It’s part of my soul.

In my free time I love being active outdoors and on the water, photography, traveling (which includes hunting for cool vegan spots, obvi!) and playing with my two rescue cats who I would throw myself in front of a bus for.  :)

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Abby's favorite Eco-Vegan Gal video: "What?! You’re telling me I have to pick ONE video out of the plethora of amazeballs Eco-Vegan Gal videos?! Well, it’s extremely hard and I love a lot of them for different reasons. Overall, I love Whitney’s videos and her brand of Eco-Vegan Gal because everything she does is done with her heart, and her passion and compassion just pour out through the screen and on the page (and in person!). She is 100% real and relatable and is a beautiful soul on a mission. These are just a few of the many lovely traits of the extraordinary Whitney that I know and love. :)  So, I decided to go with one that is simple but serves such a great message – “How Your Vegan Lifestyle Can Influence People Who Initially Criticize It.”  This video serves as a great reminder that while we vegans would love everyone to be vegan, not everyone will agree. And, for those people who do go vegan, it takes time. I love educating people and am always open to having a conversation with people about veganism, but I realize that everyone is on his or her own journey. In addition, this video also reminds us that we need to stay true to ourselves – do what’s right for ourselves, stay authentic, and keep on truckin’. And if we do that, we get these unexpected surprises that bring so much joy.  I love stories like the one that this video highlighted: Whitney went vegetarian (and then vegan, obviously) on her own terms and for her own beliefs, stuck to it, compassionately educated her friend when needed or asked, and learned later (after a long time, to boot!), that she was an integral part of two peoples’ journey toward a plant-based lifestyle.  This serves as an example of so many things in one story: integrity, authenticity, compassion, and love. "

 

Follow Abby's journey:

Published in Viewer of the Month

Product review by EvG team member Rachel Curit: 

Everyone knows it's important to eat a healthy breakfast, but sometimes our lives feel too busy to bother. For days when a green smoothie is just not realistic, there are always oatmeal cups. Full of fiber and vegan protein, Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods' oatmeal cups make it quick and easy to eat something satisfying all while using real ingredients.

Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods sent me four of their many flavors to try:

Published in Packaged Food Reviews

Product review by EvG team member Amanda Shea: 

I am picky when it comes to body and skin care products: I only purchase products that are cruelty-free and preservative-free. If you are anything like me you know it is hard to find natural products that are reasonably priced, which is why I was excited when I heard about Ora's Amazing Herbal - they offer products that I am on board with.

Published in Body Care

Product review by EvG team member Lily Trahan: 

I've grown up with many food sensitivities, the main one being sugar which tends to give me acne. So needles to say, food bars are not a big part of my diet. Most of them are just candy bars disguised as health food. I decided to give these give ZEGO bars a whirl because I figured that if any bars worked for my system, these would have to be it. In the end, I found myself pleasantly surprised on many levels.

Published in Packaged Food Reviews

Product Review by EvG team member Lauren Stewart: 

Everyone could use a healthy, raw snack they can feel good about. When hunger strikes on the go, it's nice to pull food out of your bag and quickly refuel without sacrificing quality ingredients and nutrition. That's where products like NudeFood are handy. 

Published in Packaged Food Reviews

Product review by EvG team member Rachel Curit: 

 

Chips are a food staple for many people and everyone has their preferences. Some people like their chips simple with salt while others favor zingy barbecue. Some prefer to deviate from the typical potato chip and go for sweet potato chips or carrots chips or even beet chips. Despite the vast array of chip options out there, I'd never heard of cassava chips, and considering that I love cassava I found this surprising. Similar to potatoes, carrots, and beets, cassava is a root vegetable and lends itself perfectly to a crispy chip. CrispRoot is a gluten-free company that boasts less fat and twice the fiber as traditional chips. 

Published in Packaged Food Reviews

Product review by EvG team member Kelly O'Brien:

Four dads and a desire to feed their kids healthy, nutritious snacks has resulted in the salty, tasty goodness of Ocean's Halo Seaweed Chips! I've been snackin' on four fabulous flavors: Sea Salt, Chile Lime, Hot & Spicy, and Korean BBQ. What I love about this snack is that it is so versatile. What came to mind was tossing them in your child's lunchbox, a picnic to the beach, as a side for lunch, snack between meals and the list is endless (goes on). What we feed ourselves and our children truly matters and I raise my hat to these guys for all of their hard work creating this brand.

Published in Packaged Food Reviews

Product Review by EvG team member Amanda Shea: 

If you are new to gluten-free, vegan baking Gluten-Free & Vegan Pie is a great resource, as the recipes are easy to follow with instructive directions. 

Published in Book Reviews: Food
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