Okay, I became vegan for the animals, which is something I am proud of. But vegan does not necessarily mean healthy. Although I was eating healthy most of my life, there was a period of emotional hardship, which led to anxiety, which led to a horrible set of eating habits, which I managed to cure! Shortly thereafter, I realized the importance of following a healthy, plant-based diet. Since then, I have reversed my pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism, I have the energy I need and want, I feel vibrant and joyful, and you know what? Every night when I go to bed, I cannot wait for the morning to arrive.
It is not an easy task to start a healthy set of habits, let alone maintain them. Vegan had been tough enough. I mean, meat seems to be the default food wherever you go. It is still so embedded in my culture that when you go to a restaurant and tell the wait staff that you don’t eat meat, they still recommend fish or chicken! When you tell them what vegan means, they either feel sorry for you, think you are just weird, and/or feel sorry for your husband (not knowing that he, too, does not eat meat). I have lost count of the many times (many, many times) I received a combination of the following:
“omg, I’m so sorry! But may I ask why?!”,
“Oh, come on, not you too!”,
“I hope you cook meat for your husband, at least!”
Some people think that vegans are selfish, for not being more accommodating; extreme, for making people uncomfortable; arrogant for making people feel guilty, and so on. What do I think? I think that all these are gross generalizations. Unless the entire family is plant-based, it is extremely (extremely!) rare to have family dinners at a vegan restaurant. Vegans usually end up with some risotto, and spinach, if we are lucky enough.
But I understand why folks are upset with us. Food is intimate. One of the most intimate things. When you attack someone’s dietary choice, they feel like you are attacking their culture, their family traditions, their memories, their realities, their world. And it is not always easy to change one’s habits. I understand. I happen to believe that it is the right thing to do, and it can be much healthier, too.
My aim here is to show how easy, how fast, how convenient, and how delicious a plant-based life can be. I am going to be updating this list I am providing below. This is by no means a comprehensive list. But if you have questions, concerns, worries about quitting meat and dairy, please do get in touch. Even though I am not an expert I have years of experience as a vegan! And, honestly, if I had a chance to get anything I wanted in this world, I would have wanted humans to stop eating animals. So I’d be more than happy to be of help if I can.
Recipes, groceries, meal plans, and delivery services
There are tons of websites out there(besides the one of yours truly!) providing great recipes. Check out Minimalist Baker for easy recipes with 10 or fewer ingredients; Oh She Glows for gorgeous images and exciting meals; Hell Yeah It’s Vegan for delicious plant-based versions of popular comfort foods.
GTFO it’s vegan is an incredible source. I doubt there is something vegan out there and is not listed on this website. Can you please look at this cheese and dairy section? I have to say it again (out loud): Wow things have changed since my time! Check out also the seafood section and bulk n’ save. No membership required! BUT (and a huge BUT) the shipping cost is a killer and is the reason why I have never ordered from them. It is a shame, but I think of them as a helpful source to find vegan yumminess- I then look for these brands/names to purchase directly from them, or from another place.
I prefer to cook my own meals and, ideally, pick my own ingredients, I do use Goodeggs and Farmstead time to time, as it is more convenient to get organic, local produce delivered to your door. The meal delivery services below, too, are convenient, and if you do have the budget, you might want to consider them. Their plans make healthy meals (home-made or prepared) easier than they might otherwise be! You will also see that most of these are quite affordable (I mean, where I work, a miserable lettuce salad with just a bunch of raw broccoli and a spoon full of guac costs $7. I’d rather give that to a nutritious and filling meal delivered to my door).
Living on a plant-based diet does not have to be expensive, and you do not have to choose between cost and convenience. Whole foods plant-based produce section is generally affordable at any store, as long as you stay away from the processed but delicious and/or nicely packaged products (smile). I buy nuts in bulk (but of course!), and I like to follow sales (and who doesn’t). Plant-based diet may actually even save you money in the long run, and I am not even referring to the likelihood of spending much less on medication! Since we are all in the same boat of capitalist consumption, at least to some extent, there are guides out there to help us shop cruelty-free while also providing tips to save money on our favorite products.
Going back to our list, Forks Over Knives was a documentary, but it became so popular and well respected/known that they now have their own meal plans, cooking workshops, recipes, and so on.
Following with meal planners: I have tried and liked PlateJoy. It is not exclusively vegan, and if you are following, say, a vegan keto diet, this app will not be able to give you many options. BUT if you want good, filling, colourful food without too much waste, PlateJoy will be your friend (look at the image above: BBQ tofu with maple baked beans. Absolutely yummy). The app focuses on cutting waste, which is huge. You can customize the menus based on how many portions you will need, how many adults/kids, your diet if you need an additional batch meal (which saves food waste even further), and so on. You can edit these options any time- it’s incredibly easy. It is also easy to create a grocery list, save it as a pdf and bring it with you whenever you go grocery shopping. If you can’t go shopping in person, the app makes it easy to order online! There is a two-week trial period, after which you decide to subscribe either on a monthly basis or for 6 months or a year. They also have great customer service. Jennifer has been so good to us 😉
Next on my list to try is the Earthy Andy Meal Planner. This is a meal planner by Andrea Hannemann (aka @earthyandy). Again, there is a personalization from your goals to how many servings you need. The main difference, as far as I can see, is that, unfortunately, Earthy Andy does not give you a trial period. If you follow her on social media, including her website, and are loving her recipes, this will be an especially good option for you.
Edit: I really wanted to love Earthy Andy Meal Planner. They have wonderful customer service, a lovely user experience, and all vegan recipes. Repeat: ALL vegan recipes. BUT, the recipes were not what I was looking for. There are suggested meals for every day, and I did not like any of these suggested meals. That’s why I had to use the search option every time I wanted to create a weekly menu. Some recipes that would be filling for me and my husband were using fake meats and burgers; there were too many sandwich recipes, or wraps, and only a few ideas that I could not think of on my own. I like meal planners for convenience, but it is also fun to discover new ingredients and combinations. If I were you, I would try Earthy Andy Meal Planner for a month and decide for myself. We are all going through different phases of our healthy-eating journey. This would have been a great option for me a couple of decades years ago, but I have been cooking (plant-based) for more than two decades now, so I will have to pass for now. I am going back to PlateJoy.
I used Splendid Spoon for a while every two-three months or so, and I enjoyed it. Their smoothies are delicious- my favourites were the blackberry basil, mint chip, and green matcha. Among the yummy bowls, check out the masala khichri, green goddess quinoa, and the taco bowl! Also, this might sound surprising, but their detox shots are so very yummy! My favourites were soups, though- they are known with their delicious, nutritious, warming, low-calorie but filling soups.
Sakara Life is a NY-based company but they have a kitchen in LA as well, and they deliver throughout the United States. I have tried their Signature Programme many times and let me tell you this: You have not had a meal delivery as tasty AND as nutritious as this. I have not experienced anything like that. It is pricey. But I’m telling you. I love it so much that I would rather not have any takeout for two months so that I could get my Sakara. I don’t know how they do it. But to me, it’s out of this world. There are three meal plans. You can subscribe for a lower price, and if you do, you can skip or cancel any time with ease. I am saying this based on my own experience; and according to my experience again, they have amazing customer service. Discount alert: I can’t believe this happened, but I do have a discount code for you: If you are new to Sakara, you can get 20% off any meal program, 1-day reset, or clean boutique products at Sakara.com by typing XOIVY.
***During the holiday season, use the code XOIVY-BF25 for a 25% discount!
Purple Carrot provides plant-based recipes and fresh ingredients delivered throughout 34 states (last I checked!). They ship on Mondays- deliveries are weekly.
Smoothie Box delivers delicious and balanced (as in fruit/healthy fats/veggies ratio) smoothie mixes to your door. The smoothies come in freezer bags, like frozen fruits you’d purchase from a grocery store. They are pre-portioned and ready to blend. I also like that they keep things simple by having four flavours: Green, Berry, Clementine, and Cacao. You get the option of adding their collagen powder. We opt out of that, of course. Instead, I add my new favourite protein powders to it, either Tejari, or Sprout Living. Alternatively, I add Sakara metabolism powder, or my plant collagen support. Our little one LOVES the cacao flavour, and I add his cereal to it, along with my homemade coconut yogurt, or quinoa and flax seeds, for additional nutrition. Also most importantly, the smoothies are free from additives and artificial sweeteners. **Type SHAKINGMYTOFU to get a discount and free shipping on your first order. Let me know if you use my code and what you have thought about the mixes!***
Urban Remedy delivers fresh meals, juices, snacks. Not all meal plans are plant-based, unfortunately, but most are, and it might be worth a look. Good customer service, in my experience.
Daily Harvest looks great, especially if you are a smoothie lover, and acai bowls, and superfoods…(you get the idea) but do not have the time to prep. Their website is on point, good design, and images. They deliver to 32 states across the U.S.
Wow, things have changed so much since my time. (Yes, I said it!). There are many services I had no idea about, such as Veestro. This one looks especially affordable, and no commitment- You can also join the rewards programme to earn points and get free meals. Plus, there is a discount if you sign up for texts. You can customize your meals, but also just go with the chef’s choice – it seems like a great option for those with time constraints.
I love the name Mamasezz and the tagline “All the good stuff. None of the BS (you know-Bad Stuff)”. They have bundles, like the weight loss bundle, or you can create your own bundle. We use Mamasezz for my husband, once a month. This gives me a little break (as the only cook in the house), diversify my husband’s diet, and helps the little one to taste new food. Because all the ingredients are whole foods, we don’t worry about our toddler eating these meals. My husband’s favourite is the protein bundle, but it’s easy to switch the meal plans, and skip or postpone deliveries. This might also be an option for people like me, who make the dinner, but might not necessarily have that extra half an hour for the soup or two sides.
Nutrition (and other) info on plant-based living
- Becoming Vegan has great and easy-to-understand info on vitamins, health, what to eat how much etc. All scientific, and written and edited by people of medicine.
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger with Gene Stone. Michael Greger is amazing. He’s funny, approachable, with easy-to-understand language. Also, check out his cookbook. He has this website full of informative videos, links, articles (there are transcripts of the videos shared here), and all of these are available here. You’d be amazed by the amount of information they have here. I have learned a lot from their site about cancer, especially breast cancer (and the dangerous problem of overdiagnosis) and diabetes.
- I was going to list all the names and titles, and articles, and videos…But best if you just dive into the pool of information you will be swimming in the moment you type his name. Dr. Barnard is also the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
- Another amazing source: Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies. They have great recipes, success stories from people whose health has greatly improved with a plant-based diet, articles on topics from nutrition science to fitness to social issues. You can even earn your Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate there!
- Next time someone tells you “but plants feel pain too” just repeat a few pearl-like statements from this Vice interview with Daniel Chamovitz, the dean of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University.
- If your main concern is the climate change or the environment in general, you might want to have a look at this short article by Ezra Klein, published in 2009 in the Washington Post. “Gut Check: Here’s the Meat of the Problem”. He comes to this conclusion: “Going vegetarian might not be as effective as going vegan, but it’s better than eating meat, and eating meat less is better than eating meat more. It would be a whole lot better for the planet if everyone eliminated one meat meal a week than if a small core of die-hards developed perfectly virtuous diets… if we’re going to take global warming seriously, if we’re going to make crude oil more expensive and tank-size cars less practical, there’s no reason to ignore the impact of what we put on our plates”.
- Challenge 22 is not only a resource (recipes, tips, videos, motivation) it is a community of activists, dietitians, and mentors, ready to help anyone willing to try going vegan for 22 days.
- Books by Dr. Michael Greger, such as How Not to Die and How Not to Diet.
- Books by Dr. Neal Barnard, such as Your Body in Balance, The Cheese Trap, and, if you would like to lose weight, 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart. I am currently waiting for my order of his two cookbooks, The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook, and Dr. Neal Barnard’s Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes.
- Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome, by Dr. Will Bulsiewicz.
- You might already know that Ayurveda tends to be vegetarian friendly, to say the least. But did you know that you can easily combine an Ayurvedic life with a vegan diet? The Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen by Talja Lutzker is one delicious and fun tool which makes Ayurvedic and vegan yumminess possible.
- “The China Study” is well-known among the community and has (rightfully) contributed to the celebrity status of its author, Dr. Campbell. The book is eye-opening and an important message to anyone living or concerned with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and the effects of aging.
- Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism. This book, authored by Melanie Joy, was voted one of the top ten books of 2010 by VegNews Magazine. It offers a look at one of the major duplicities, if you will, of our time.
- In Defense of Food will be a breath of fresh air if you are overwhelmed by numerous diets, multiple truths, conflicting recommendations. Michael Pollan reminds us what should be common sense: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I think you should read this NYTimes best-selling author.
- Sistah Vegan is a series of narratives, critical essays, poems, and reflections from a diverse community of North American Black-identified vegans. I remember having read this when I was still in New York. It was the first time I actually, physically, openly, concretely “felt” how multiple factors coexisted under the banner of “animal rights” as well as “nutrition”. The editor, Breeze Harper, started The Sistah Vegan Project as “an online forum that focuses on how plant-based consumptive lifestyle is affected by factors of race, racisms, sexism, heterosexism, classism, and other social injustices within the lives of black females”.
- Eat Clean, Play Dirty Cookbook This is easily one of my favourite cookbooks ever. The appetizers, the sweet snacks, those yummy dressings, and, omg, that soba noodle recipe. I am totally in love. If I always ate like that, I would have been the happiest, healthiest person on earth. Also, what a flirty name!
- Vegan Bowls Cookbook! Good if you are transitioning to a plant-based diet, even better if you have been a vegan for years. Yummy burger recipes are my fave.
- The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. You want to give this vegan thing a try, but you have no idea where and how to start? You might benefit from this book.
- Sweet Potato Soul, vegan Southern cooking! This book is full of yummy recipes by Jenne Clairborne.
- For delicious Afro-vegan recipes, check out thisthis, and this book; and for Asian-vegan-friendly books, look no further than here, here, and here.
- Gaz Oakley is one of my favourite vegan chefs (he doesn’t even know I exist. Life!) I recommend this and this.
- Slow Death by Rubber Duck. This one is not about what we eat, but it is about the everyday things that are toxic. It’s funny, and easy to read, but also terrifying. It might change the way you shop.
- The Dr. Greger, mentioned above, has this extremely helpful app you can use to track your food intake. “The daily dozen” app, available to download for free, is not tracking your caloric intake. Rather, it has a list of groups of food that Dr. Greger suggests we take on a daily basis. It simply makes it easier to maintain health through diet.
- Happy Cow App helps you find vegan options worldwide.They also have a website, if you prefer to search on your laptop/computer.
- Traveling? Do you want vegan hotels? This website has a delicious selection.
Diet and workout programmes
- I would love to work with you! What I share at Ivy Chan Wellness is based on natural approaches, rooted in tradition, backed by evidence. You will also find a whole lot of empathy – and no judgment. I have experienced anxiety; disordered eating, unhealthy habits. I know how you feel, and I can help.
- If you are into fitness, especially strength-training, would like to lose weight or gain muscle, get stronger, might try a fitness program OR might like to have a diet program with some vegan recipes, I strongly recommend Conscious Muscle. Whatever you purchase from them, some of the amounts will go to their animal sanctuary. They have two alternative menus: one with meat substitutes, especially if the client is new to the plant-based diet, and the other with legumes, etc. in order to increase the protein intake. These people follow a flexible diet, that is, they measure the macronutrient intake, and suggest an amount for each basic macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat) based on the client’s aim (losing/maintaining weight, gaining muscle, etc).
- Another place you can find plant-based meal plans to gain all the plant-power is Rich Roll’s site. Rich Roll is a former entertainment attorney turned full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate. Plants changed his life- from having struggled with drugs and rehabs and physical pains to having Ultraman Championships. Plural. You can see his blog, resources, podcasts, get inspired by his story as well as his guests’ experiences. His interviews are not only inspiring but also informative. Have a look at this one with the Dr. Barnard I mentioned above. And the meal planner is designed after you take a “personalization survey” and once you have the recipes set based on your individual results, you might get the ingredients delivered to your door, depending on your area. For more information on meal plans, go on here.
- Continuing with fitness/strength inspirations. The “300-pound-vegan”, the NFL player David Carter. He’s wonderful, especially as an inspiration to young people/athletes.
- The resources seem endless. There’s Chris Willitt’s site also. They have a how-to guide, supplements guide, as well as a meal plan which you can purchase.
- Another place to look at is Vegan Proteins. This site is especially valuable if you want a stronger, fitter body. They have a blog, a podcast, tons of info on muscle-building (and shaping) while vegan. You can shop at their online store, and benefit from their online fitness coaching.
- Who doesn’t love free? Kim Constable, “the sculpted vegan” is simply amazing. This woman is a walking inspiration. And the website has many, many free resources- from calorie calculators to home workout videos, free meal and workout plans, and so much more.
- Kara Doyle of Kicking With Kara seems to be one of the most passionate people about moving and workouts. She is a professional yoga teacher and a trainer with more than 10 years of experience. If you are curious about, or are aleady in love with Zumba, Kara’s zumba classes happen to be legendary. She won awards as a Zumba Instructor in NYC and has been featured on vanityfair.com. One of my favourite sections of her website is where she shares her class playlists– from spinning to yoga!
- One green planet has this informative article on female vegan athletes’ meal plans, diet suggestions and so on. Have a look at the entire site. So much to learn! It’s a whole world out there- isn’t it just wonderful?
Forks over Knives. So many people say that this documentary has changed their lives- David Carter (see above) is one of them! Also, give their cookbook a try!
Food, Inc. This is one of the less ‘disturbing’ ones. I personally know people (young, underprivileged people with no previous knowledge about or intention to go plant-based ) who became vegan after watching this documentary. Also available on Amazon Prime Video.
Earthlings. This unforgettable and award-winning documentary is presented in five chapters (pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research). It is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and features music by Moby. Really, really disturbing, meaning, it shows the ugly truth to your face. But if you want motivation, and need more convincing, I don’t know what else would be more powerful. No wonder it has been nicknamed “the vegan maker”. Indeed, my then meat-eater husband has not eaten an animal since we watched this together. Apparently, it even contributed to Ellen Degeneres’s choice to go vegan.
What The Health. Another one that is easier to watch. Focusing almost only on the health aspect of the meat and dairy industry. It is not a scientific/academic article, obviously. So you might find it a little biased, a little pushy, if you will. But there is truth to all of their suggestions, and I highly recommend you look at interviews with scientists after the release of the film, about the documentary’s popularity. (Obviously, I’m all for the popularity of it!).
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Inspiring for those who are thinking of going plant-based for health-related reasons.
Cowspiracy. Popular, crowd-sourced, informative, and mostly about the effects of the meat and dairy industries on the environment and sustainability.
Food Matters. Well researched and expansive information. One of the easier-to-watch ones.
Vegucated. More amateurish, if you will, only in the sense that they collect three regular meat-eater New Yorkers, and try to see what happens when they go on a vegan diet. Mind you, these people had no background info/tendency for this lifestyle, so it was not always easy, especially when they realize the ugly (and that disturbing) truth.
Vegan: everyday stories. Vegans, some well known, some not, talking about their experience. It might be helpful especially for younger people.
Live and Let Live. I think (I might be mistaken) this one is less known nowadays than the ones above, except for the animal-rights activists. But it is a helpful summary of the history of “veganism” and the various reasons why people may choose to go vegan.
Plant-based and clean supplements
Gaia Herbs is one of my favourite brands. I have been using their products for years, depending on my needs, and have nothing but good things to say about them. Check out their products for stress-response, for instance, their Turmeric Supreme for inflammation, Resveratrol for antioxidant support, Adrenal Health for stress and fatigue, or Microbiome Food, a plant-based prebiotic, for digestive health. When I was doing my Ph.D., I suffered from anxiety and insomnia, and I can say without hesitation that Gaia Ashwagandha Root changed my life. I started to sleep again. They even have products for kids. We use Gaia elderberry syrup (which our little one LOVES).
Another product I use daily is Sakara probiotics. I have been using it for years. It also includes prebiotics AND digestive enzymes. I have also used (and was happy with) Sakara Foundation. This is whole foods-based vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, and omega 3- yes, vegan, and clean! Non-GMO, gluten free, lab tested. I really benefited from it. I used the entire package for a few months postpartum when I needed that extra immunity and energy boost.
Edit: Sakara just launched their prenatal supplements called Foundation: Prenatal. I have been reading in detail about the ingredients, how it’s been doctor-formulated, and research-based; I’ve been reading their statements, and so on, since the moment they launched this new product. Based on what I have read so far, I would totally use it if I were to be pregnant again. Just like the original Foundation, this Foundation: Prenatal is made with clean, organic, food-based ingredients. superfood multi, algae omega, macro minerals, compete probiotic, essential choline, and super greens.
Here is the fun part: If you are new to Sakara, you can get 20% off any meal program, supplements, their 10-day reset, or clean boutique products on their website by typing XOIVY.
The Nue Co has supplements for joints, metabolism, skincare, stress, and sleep; their pre/probiotics line seems amazing, and they have a reputable vitamin line. These are *mostly* plant-based, and Ayurveda-friendly. For example, their Joints supplement contains both Boswellia and turmeric, which is great because curcumin, a biologically active polyphenolic compound found in turmeric, is more effective when combined with boswellic acid. Their “Skin Filter” includes camu camu and amla, both of which are commonly used in Ayurveda. All their formulas are free from toxic preservatives, additives, flavorings, and sweeteners.
Edit: Wanted to add that they have an Early Black Friday sale going on right now, so it might be a good time to make a purchase;)
As I type this, I am getting excited about their new serum called “the Pill” but I feel superficial talking about it now!
For other vegan Omega 3 supplements, I recommend Ora, Vivo, and The Beauty Chef, because I think they make the cleanest plant-based omega 3, besides Sakara. Although I have not yet tried it, Truvani’s new Plant-Based Omega seems to be clean, too (Thank you, Theresa Marie, from the always informative and welcoming Yoursuper Community Group on Facebook, for letting me know of this new supplement). Most (if not all) others (including non-vegan ones!) have a bunch of other ingredients; so I’m not feeling comfortable recommending them.
Compassion in fashion
Save the Duck sells animal-free coats. Down-like without down feathers. The company was awarded the Vegan Fashion Award by PETA Deutschland. I would also give them one of the cutest brand names award.
Beyond Skin: Designer vegan shoes.
Reformation is an eco-conscious brand that uses high-quality fabrics, made partially from recycled vintage clothing.
Compassionate Closet. I would definitely give them the warmest name for a brand award.
Tokyo Bags is where you can find handcrafted, vegan bags produced with sustainable materials. Their products are simply beautiful- minimal and attractive. Oh, they have free shipping!
Native Shoes. Low-emission, eco-friendly, and 100% cruelty-free.
Matt and Nat. I am in love. My backpack receives tons of compliments, and it has been saving my life these last couple of years.
Vegan and non-toxic Beauty and Cosmetics
Ilia Beauty is one of my favourite brands, ever. Their products look natural on my face, they are clean, and actually have ingredients that benefit my sensitive, redness-prone skin. I think my favourite is the Skin Tint SPF 40. One tip I can give to you is to put the product on and wait until your skin absorbs it before you put anything else on your skin.
100% Pure I tried their face washes and moisturizers, and I liked them a lot. Have not tried the make-up yet but I am intrigued.
The NueCo– See above (supplements section) and check out “Topical C” (love!) and “The Pill”.
Like NueCo, The Beauty Chef offers a quiz/consultation to help you decide which products are right for you. I have never used their products, but I heard people swear by their
If you have not yet heard of BeautyCounter, it is a big movement in cleaner beauty. I say “cleaner” because the products are not totally free of synthetics and they are not all organic. Ironically, it is apparently because of this that they go through a rigorous testing process. They say that they screen ingredients, test them for contaminants and irritants, and test their finishing products for things like parabens and lead. The brand follows the idea that “beauty should be good for you”. I have not used any of their products but I am intrigued by their “Countertime” line – their graceful-aging collection; their hyaluronic-acid boosted foundation; and their brightening serum.
AnnMarie Skin Care uses organic, wildcrafted, and plant made ingredients. They focus on minimal processing, no additives, and a variety of techniques including CO2 extraction, cold-pressing, and pure distillation. I talk about AnnMarie here, especially their citrus stem cell serum, as part of my fave Ayurvedic skincare products. (Through the month of December, they have a big sale going on with the code CYBER25).
So my bff has a beautiful niece, a young girl who has always been into cosmetics and makeup and things. When she was little, Bite was the only brand I used to buy her gifts from. Their ingredients are all like papaya enzymes and agave nectar, or mongongo oil and fair trade organic golden sugar. No wonder those lip balms taste yummy!
The famous, incredible, environment-and-clean-cosmetics-expert Katey Denno bragged about Axiology on Instagram, and got me hooked. I immediately purchased their watermelon “balmie”. It looks tiny but it’s only because they have ditched the lipstick tube (which means there is no packaging!). How cool is that? Another great thing about these products is that you can use them on your lips, eyes, and cheeks (as I learned from Katey Denno again).
For nail care, I can recommend Sundays. I am extremely particular with nail colour (I only use two colours. ever.) and SundaysSundays gives me everything I want in nail care, and keeps everything else out: free fromTPHP, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, parabens, and tert-butyl hydroperoxide.
Another Ayurvedic brand is Sahajan. Their collection features products to address aging, self-care, and brightening. They have been featured as a brand to watch by Sephora, Refinery 29, and apparently covered in Vogue Paris and Glamour. Good for them! Here is what I want for now: I want the brightening mask, ritual body oil, and essential oil cleanser. If you are so inclined to get me a Christmas gift or something.
I have been quite happy with the Moonjuice skincare line. My favourite is the tonic, which is as good as the most expensive tonics out there. I have been using it for almost a year now, and am probably not going back soon.
Cocokind. First of all, they have the cutest name. Second of all, they are affordable. Third of all, everyone is talking about their turmeric stick for acne. I have not tried that one- it has beeswax, besides, I don’t have an acne problem. BUT I do have a sensitive-skin-problem and LOVE their sensitive skin collection. Also, did I tell you that they are affordable?
Credo Beauty. Definitely one of my favourite places to shop for clean hair/skin/self-care products. check out their best selling products). Follain is another favourite. The brand also makes its own clean skincare and beauty products (and more affordable than many others). Check out the best sellers here. The Detox Market. Art of Pure. It’s a huge relief to know that *most* of whatever you see on all of these platforms will be clean. I say most because I can only talk based on what I have seen, and I looked at the ingredients of tens and tens of products, but I am only human, dear reader. So do have a look at the ingredient list anyway. Besides, the product might not be vegan (for instance, it might involve honey, beeswax), but either way, these sites make it much more convenient to search for what you look for.
Beauty Without Cruelty Much more affordable prices. (I have to say with a much less attractive website. We, the plant-based community, might want to pay more attention to the power of aesthetics and user-friendliness? Maybe?
Chantecaille. Not all, but some (most?) of their products are vegan, non-toxic and natural. Natural does not mean that it will be good for you but I have used some of their face oils and moisturizers and I love them all. Their products are free of phthalates, sulfates, detergents, mineral oil, petrolatum, palm oil, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances, and parabens. They do not do tests on animals. Since the demand for vegan and non-toxic products are increasing, I hope that we will get rid of this cruel and unnecessary business of animal testing.
BKIND. Oh. My. God. I love, no I want, no I need everything that these people have. I want to work for them, be with them, keep stalking them on Instagram.
Ranavat Botanics True story: I am riding the 2 train in Brooklyn, New York. The woman sitting next to me turns and says: “Excuse my language, but you smell delicious!”. Surprised but still witty, I said:”Excuse? This is the best compliment ever!”. It took me a while to realize that it was Ranavat’s Mighty Majesty hair oil. Pre-baby, when I had a more “social” life in New York, I used this oil on my hair every day. Also, a few drops on your shoulders and your neck and you will smell “delicious”. Another item I like from Ranavat is the cream cleanser. It’s effective without drying or clogging the skin.
Schmidt’s Naturals. I used to love them. Well, I still do. They have this charcoal and magnesium deodorant that folks swear by, but my favourite is the rose one. It glides on my skin, and I love the scent. However, they have been bought by Unilever recently. And, unfortunately, Unilever is not known for its ethical and cruelty-free research. So, a little activism will be needed to make sure they stay true to animals (humans and non-humans alike!).
FruitenVeg is an accessories label based in NYC, specializing in whimsical, non-leather and faux-fur luxury handbags. I have not used their bags yet, but they look quite fun.
Raising Vegan Families and Maintaining Non-Toxic Households
Public Goods is MUCH more than household products. Besides household products- cleaning supplies and paper products- they have snacks, cosmetics, and more. The first time we tried Public Goods (their coffee filter, washing detergents and scrubs) we knew we were hooked. My designer husband appreciated the simple, minimalist packaging which looks beautiful but is also practical. He also loved the low price tag! (You don’t have to be a subscriber to benefit from the relatively low costs of their products). I liked their approach to sustainability and clean products. They use sugar cane and bamboo, make biodegradable and compostable products. They have tons of cruelty-free items, and refills to reduce consumption as well as cost. Check out their dishwasher detergent pods, dish soap, bathroom cleaners, and also the hand soap, all of which we have been enjoying. I have to warn you: They use a membership model BUT the first two weeks will be free, and you can cancel before the two weeks limit is up! It is my understanding that they use membership so that they can keep the accessible prices (without the marked-up prices of traditional retail stores).
I recently discovered Green Up Box, which is a fun way to live a low-waste life. They basically deliver to your door curated boxes full of items you can use at home, or gift to a loved one. You can purchase them one time, or have a subscription- there are monthly and seasonal options. I am thinking of getting a subscription as a gift!
Edit November 2021: We are in the Holiday season, so I wanted to share with you another company that delivers curated gift boxes: Giften Market. Those clean cookie bites would be great stocking stuffers, wouldn’t they?
Our Place is a woman-owned business with a promise to “design thoughtfully, source ethically, and produce sustainably”. Their most popular product seems to be the Always Pan which has great reviews/ratings. It has a coating formulated without Teflon, PFAS, PFOAS, PTFE, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, or other potentially harmful materials. They recently launched a bamboo steamer (sold as two and comes with bamboo chopsticks). I look forward to settling into the new home to get both of those- But I might as well save to get one of their bundles because they look so cute and minimal (and our tableware is SO old).
Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide by Sayward Rebhal
The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide With Recipes for a Healthy Start, by Jennifer Lang, MD. This is not a vegan-focused book, but it does have worthy information, as well as lots of plant-based recipes. Many non-plant-based recipes can be “veganized”, by, for instance, using plant-based milk instead of skim milk and so on.
Franjoskitchen is known for their gluten, dairy, egg and refined flour free snacks and biscuits for pregnant and lactating mums. But they also have Kinder Biscuits for your babes. Sigh. You should visit the website if only for the adorable pictures.
For kiddo-friendly snacks (and the snack-loving parents) I also highly recommend Sprout Organic Foods. Get the kiddos like veggies!
The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book by Reed Mangels
Dr. Bronner’s, Pure-Castile Liquid Soap-baby unscented.
Online shopping- from books to vitamins and cosmetics
Vitacost We use them *a lot* and their customer service is incredibly helpful.
I am assuming many of you have heard of Thrive Market by now. It is a membership-based retailer offering natural and organic food products. They have tons of plant-based/vegan options. They have a new campaign offering a *free* item of your choice, but up to $22 value when you purchase a Thrive Market membership. They have 1 year and 1-month memberships are available, and you can cancel your membership in 30 days, risk-free.
Snacks, proteinpowders, and superfoods!
I’m a HUGE fan of snacks. I love them, eat them regularly, cannot do without them. So this is one of my favourite parts on the list. Here we go.
I am going to start with two words: Granola spreads. Now read that again: Granola spreads. Isn’t it incredible? Why didn’t I think of this?! Kween has made spreadable granola, aka granola butter, with only a few ingredients. They have vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, and are now coming with a mystery flavour for the holiday season!
If you prefer granola, instead of the spread, I can’t say enough of Purely Elizabeth granolas, all of them vegan friendly. They are made with a blend of superfoods, and baked in raw virgin coconut oil. Just the right balance of sweetness and salt, along with that perfect. Purely Elizabeth has many other products, from oatmeals to muffin mixes or, even, body scrubs- and I am SURE there will be something for everyone. Type SHAKINGMYTOFU at checkout for a discount!
Golde is a brand I have recently discovered. Based in my beloved Brooklyn, New York, they call themselves “natural, easy, and (most importantly) fun”. My favourite, of course, is the cacao turmeric mix.Dr Kracker is delicious. Not all of their products are vegan, but the vegan ones are delicious. I used to do a happy dance when they went on sale at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, I don’t buy these crackers as often anymore, because my husband has gluten intolerance, and we’re a team (wink). Dr. Kracker, please make gluten-free alternatives!
Vegancuts is great- they have snack boxes, make-up boxes, beauty boxes. I discovered such good yummies thanks to them. I recently started a 3-month subscription, and have been immensely happy with it. They do have options without such commitment too- I had ordered their snack box a couple of times before subscribing. Happy dance each time.
Wasa is everyone’s favourite in many European countries. I loved loaves of bread and other pastries in Germany, but these crackers were also a staple in my Berlin flat. Again, gluten.
You might already know by now how much I love Yoursuper products. I’m not even getting into detail here, but there has not been a single day without at least one Yoursuper mix *in years*. Do check out their amazing recipes on the website.
Folks also love Orgain products, and apparently they have various flavours for different tastes. Check out their vegan protein powders, vegan drinks, and bars. Also, HUGE discount alert: Use the code SHAKINGMYTOFU for 30% discount on your first purchase!)
Among all the protein powders, Sprout Living must be my go-to. One of my favourites from this brand is the Golden mix with turmeric, coconut, and ginger. This delicious mix gives me 20 gr protein per serving, AND 60% of my daily Vitamin D recommendation, and 85% of that of daily vitamin E. My other favourite is the Pro Collagen mix. Besides 15 gr protein per serving, “pro collagen” one has tons of vitamin C (140%), biotin (100%), and iron (15%). All Sprout Living products I have tried are so yummy that I often eat them with a spoon! Hard to believe they don’t have tons of added ingredients and sugars or flavourings. I brag about them all the time on Instagram and share recipes. They have a pure protein line which I use for my little one- simply, one ingredient, like pumpkin seeds, or watermelon seeds. Type IVY20 at the checkout for a 20% discount. You will not regret trying them out.
Speaking of “clean” protein powders, Tejari is a relatively new company making superfood protein with no added sugars, flavors, or preservatives. They are nutrient-packed, straightforward blends really containing nothing more than organic fruit, veggies, spices, and anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting foods like red reishi, cinnamon, and turmeric.
Another brand that I recommend to those looking for plant protein is Aloha. They were big when healthy vegan products were in their infancy! I first tried them years ago, while I was in New York. It was only recently that I discovered they also had plant-based protein bars and drinks!
Continuing with juices, if you are in the Bay area, consider supporting Project Juice, and enjoy yummy and healthy juices (and food!) in the way. They have shots, juices, cleanses, build-your-own juice packs. Take your pick! They are one of the few suppliers of USDA certified organic cold-pressed juices online. Most California residents receive a 10% discount for local delivery AND there’s 20% discount when customers choose to pick-up their purchase instead of getting it delivered.
EDIT: I just checked their website again, and it seems “Free delivery available within CA, AZ, NV, UT, OR, WA, ID, CO”. Woohooo!
Go raw products are pricey. But delicious and I love them. All of them. But pricey. But I love them.
Oh, my God. Have you tried Somersaults yet? You should. Our favourites are the Dutch cocoa and sea salt. They are the baked goodies with lots of sunflower seeds. And we LOVE sunflower seeds.
Nadamoo is added to this list as a special request from my husband. I love chocolate, he loves ice cream, and Nadamoo is where we meet. To quote him verbatim: “I can’t believe it’s not dairy”.
Vegetarian Traveler gives various options for salad toppers- toasted bean and seed blends! I only tried the pepita and soy-pea blend which was delicious and gave that tasty crunchiness to salads and soups.
Another recent favourite is Kala beautiful beans. There is so much talk against legumes such as lentils and beans. The overload of information becomes tiring, overwhelming, confusing because everyone has an opinion about anything. When in doubt, I highly recommend going back to the How Not To Die which I mentioned above. Or, have a look at this short video. Those who are suggesting that we should eschew legumes and whole grains also seem to be advocating that we will become healthier by consuming large amounts of meats, seafood, and eggs (I exclude paleo-vegans here, but you can guess that I do not agree with them either). They might lose weight in the short run, but what is happening to our health in the long run? Please keep in mind that “thin” does not mean healthy. “Skinny” does not mean strong.
Anyway, based on all that I have read through the years, it is my understanding that, as long as you do not eat them raw, beans and other legumes are not only okay but also incredibly nutritious. Besides, who can eat them raw (ever tried eating that rock-solid kidney bean as is?)? What is more, they are commonly found in many non-Western diets- I don’t think I have spent a day without chickpeas or lentils since I was a child. Finally, they are great for snacking. There are now chickpea snacks available, and fava beans and lentil chips, and I would love to add your favourites to the list here. Just send us a note!
Animal Rights, Activism and Theory
There are TONS of books and articles. I want to mention one (below) only because that happens to be one of my favourites and I believe it is not as famous as most others (again, I might be wrong).
Let me start with the Anonymous for the Voiceless, though. I had not known about them until recently. They do quite an unapologetic street activism. They use regular footage of what non-human animals experience every day and bring reality to the open if you will.
The Humane Society has resources you can benefit from.
American Anti-vivisection Society works to stop the use of animals in science.
In Animals Like Us Michael Rowlands uses principles of justice to claim and prove that it is unjust to harm animals. From “Do animals have minds?” to using animals for experiments, Rowlands proposes responses to main questions in debates about veganism.
Okay, this is my list- so far. Again, please do come back for more, as I will be updating this list regularly. And please let me know if you have suggestions (especially good vegan snack suggestions are appreciated!).
With much love…
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Editor’s note: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programme.