While following a vegan lifestyle is an amazing way to shift to more whole, unprocessed foods, you need some indulgences and conveniences now and then. Here are a few of my favorites:
So Delicious Creamer — Comes in Regular, Hazelnut and Vanilla flavors and makes your coffee creamy and smooth. My husband, a former “cup -of-chemicals” non-dairy creamer fan, has even been converted. It is coconut milk-based and has a list of ingredients a fraction as long as other non-dairy creamers (which, aren’t even completely free of dairy — did you know?) Safe for gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan diets!
Choco-Love Dark Chocolate — Dark chocolate with candied ginger and sea salt with almonds are my absolute favorites — with orange peel (yes orange peel) not far behind. The bars may be a bit on the pricey side, but they are so worth it and should, if you are not me, last more than one day. No waxy taste, and a pleasant bitterness but sweet enough that my kids like ’em. The milk chocolate (duh!) and toffee varieties have dairy — so they are not suitable for a strict vegan diet.
Daiya Mozarella Cheese — I always said I would not go for fake cheese, and then I faced the dilemma of my kids and vegan pizza. In comes Daiya mozarella. Do not dare eat it raw from the bag, but melted, it has a cheesy texture and flavor that works well in Italian style dishes. My first glance at the ingredient list made me shudder, but after really looking at it — I realized most of the ingredients are identifiable edibles. Maybe not for everyday, natural diets, but for those times when you just NEED cheese — this will fix ya’!
Garbanzo’s Mediterranean Grill Hummus — I can make my own hummus (see the vitamix recipe here) and I rather like it, but I just can’t make it quite like Garbanzo’s. I cannot figure out their ratio of chickpeas to lemon to spices — but this stuff is chickpea crack. If you are not lucky enough to live near one (we have several of these quick service restauarants in Colorado), it is worth opening your own franchise to get the hummus.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Clif Bars — These dense energy bars taste like dessert — actually, I probably have them for dessert more often than before a workout. Not all Clif bars are vegan and strict vegans may bristle at the fact that there could be dairy cross-contamination. I choose not to worry.
Manna Bread — A moist, cake-like bread found in the frozen sections of some health-food stores. It does contain wheat (sprouted) but no yeast and is baked at an incredibly low temperature. They also contain no salt, no added sweeteners and no oils. My favorite is the carrot, but fruit and nut and date are also good. Warning — the fiber content is high and a small serving is intensely filling. Toast the bread lightly and have with a tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast. The website also says a gluten-free variety is coming.