Kevala Review

The other day I received a package in the mail from Kevala which is a company based in the United States that makes whole organic foods. Gerardo was kind enough to send me a very generous sample kit which I opened like a child on Christmas. In the package I got a jar of Tahini, Coconut oil, Cashew butter, and a bag of raw Cacao Powder.

IMG_0063At Kevala, their products are made with only one ingredient. There is no sugar, salt, oils or chemicals added or used in the production process.  “Your health is our number one priority and we will continue to develop new and innovative products that serve as basic ingredients in a healthy diet. Most of our products are made in the US but, since our passion is to offer genuine pure ingredients, we sometimes need to go in search of them in other countries as they are not always available at home. Our Organic Raw Honey is harvested in the tropical forest of Oaxaca, where we make sure that the bee habitat is respected and protected. Our Organic Agave Nectar comes from Mexico’s Blue Agave fields. Our Organic Olive Oil is truly Mediterranean, picked and cold pressed following ancient Tunisian traditions. Wherever the source may be, more than 90% of our products are bottled in the US always complying with both the FDA and USDA’s high quality standards.”

Product 1: Coconut Oil

The first thing I used, and by far the most common product was the coconut oil. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend you do. Coconut oil has many benefits that include skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism. Not only that but it relieves kidney problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer.

It’s great for cooking and baking, and is also a great substitute for butter and other oils. I used it in quinoa, on the frying pan to make tofu, on my skillet making pancakes, and even used it to make vegan chocolate sauce.

IMG_0926Product 2: Raw Cacao Powder

The second thing I used was the cacao powder. It’s raw, vegan and gluten free. Cacao powder is a great anti-oxidant that you can add to smoothies, cookies, brownies, oatmeal etc. Just 1-2 tsp. can have amazing benefits for you. It keeps all of it’s nutrients when used raw so I like to add it to smoothies and oatmeal the best. Who would have thought chocolate could be so good?

IMG_0388Product 3: Cashew Butter

I’ve never tried cashew butter before, but I LOVE cashews and I LOVE peanut butter, so I assumed I would love this as well. Sure enough, I did. It’s creamy, delicious, has a great texture, and tastes just like cashews.

Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, but approximately 82% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 66% of this unsaturated fatty acid content are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

IMG_0390You can use cashew butter in just about anything. It gives a great flavour and texture if you add it to baking, but I also enjoyed adding a blob on top of my morning oatmeal.

2014-04-26 004 2014-04-26 001I decided to combine two of the products and create a Chocolate Cashew Smoothie. I simply put 2 frozen bananas in my blender and added a couple of dates, 2 tsp. of cashew butter, 2 tsp. of cacao powder, 2 strawberries, some almond milk and water, and it tasted just like a chocolate milkshake!

IMG_0392Product 4: Tahini

The final product I tried was the Tahini. Tahini is a ground sesame seed paste, similar to peanut butter. It is a creamy, oily, and smooth butter rich in calcium. It’s also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium, iron and helps to promote healthy skin growth. You can use it on vegetables, pasta, salad, stir fry, and so much more. You can drizzle it onto meals, or use it in cooking. It’s a great substitute for peanut butter if you are allergic because it has a similar texture.

It’s also awesome for making homemade hummus. Mmmm yes, hummus; the perfect vegan/vegetarian dip. All you do is drain and rinse your chickpeas and combine it together in a food processor with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and water.

IMG_1075IMG_1101Overall I absolutely LOVED the products that Kevala sent me. Not only were the products great, but the service was amazingly fast – I’m talking 2 days fast, and I’m in Canada. The jars were a great size and the bag of Cacao is enormous! These products will definitely last me a long time – well, that is unless I use them every single day because they’re so good.

For more information about Kevala, or if you’d like to buy some of their products, check out their website: https://www.kevala.net/

 

 

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Spinach, Tofu and Quinoa

I must say this is one of the best vegan meals I’ve made yet! It had the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and a perfect ratio of vegetables to grains to legumes. If you are looking for a great dinner to make this Easter, I highly recommend this collection of super foods.

IMG_0352Looks delicious doesn’t it? I had such a busy hectic forty minutes in the kitchen! I made this last week when my mother and brother were having pizza and egg salad. So I was in there busily trying to create a plant based meal for myself. (Which my dad would later ask for my food over the family’s. Plant based: 1, Regular food: 0)

So there I was standing over the stove busily stirring my quinoa, poking at my broccoli, tossing my tofu, and flipping my sweet potato fries. Yep, it was just as hectic as it sounds. But I remained calm and collected and simply turned on the oven fan to get all the heat out. Not to mention my mother was also boiling eggs on the stove as well.

IMG_0343What you’ll need: 1 large sweet potato, broccoli, asparagus, quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, walnuts, cucumber, kale and spinach.

1. Sweet Potato Fries. Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. You will begin with your sweet potato fries, where you can find my full recipe here. Cook until they are golden and crispy. *Note, I left the skin on for these ones and they tasted great!)

IMG_06642. Quinoa. Turn one of your burners to high. In a pot, pour in 2 cups of water, and 1 cup of quinoa. (Make sure you always use the ratio of 1 cup of water to half a cup of Quinoa). Once it starts cooking, turn it down to medium and continuously stir it until it’s nice and fluffy. When it’s finished, stir in 1 tsp. of coconut oil.

IMG_06603. Tofu. Turn another burner to medium, grease it with coconut oil, and fry your tofu. Cook until it has a light brown colour to it. (Remember to press your tofu before hand to get the water out).

2014-04-09 005 2014-04-09 0124. Broccoli and Asparagus. Turn one more burner to high and get ready to boil your broccoli and asparagus. Once it’s finished, squeeze lemon on top and a dash of salt.

IMG_03535. Presentation. Wash you spinach and kale and put it onto your plate. Once everything is done cooking, you can begin adding everything on top. I first added quinoa to the center, put my broccoli and asparagus to the side, sprinkled some chickpeas, walnuts, and cucumber around the edges, put my sweet potato fries to the other side, and finished with my fried tofu on top.

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Family Eating Update

Hi everyone and happy Easter weekend! I finished my first year of University yesterday and I’m back at home all unpacked. I am so exhausted today but that didn’t stop me from doing some smoothie making and vegan baking. We’re having Easter dinner on Sunday so I’ve been brainstorming some ideas I can make for the family that doesn’t involve harming any animals. Comment some ideas below if you have some 🙂

2014-04-15 006 2014-04-15 002Anyways, I am writing in here now to give a little update on my families eating habits. I wrote a post last week called Plant Based Diet Challenge where I talked about how I got my parents to watch Forks over Knives, a really good documentary about the plant based diet, and even got them to go vegan for 3 days.

Since that post,  my father has been improving his eating habits and incorporating more plant based foods into his diet. I cant say how proud this makes me and how happy I am to make a change in the world, even if it’s only a small one. Vegan’s save almost 200 animals per year. Just myself not eating meat is already a change enough. But the more people I can get to stop eating meat or even cut back on their meat consumption can help as well. Change has to start somewhere, and even if it’s only one person, it makes me happy knowing I am making a difference.

Not to mention the health benefits. Forks over Knives focuses on how much better a plant based diet it is for the human body, including statistics like ‘vegan’s have a 50% lower chance of developing cancer than people who eat meat’.

2014-04-12 002 2014-04-12 001I came home from school yesterday to discover my dad has been cutting up and freezing bananas (like me) for his smoothies. He’s been having one everyday, and even making salads and cutting back on his meat/dairy/egg consumption. He says it’s easier when I am around because I always keep the fridge stocked with whole foods and I’m available to make meals for him.

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 016This morning I made a green smoothie and my parents both asked for some, so I made more. I told them I’d be happy to make them food whenever, as long as there are groceries available for me to make stuff!

2014-04-18 002 2014-04-18 011The toughest person to change however is my brother. He is 17 and does not eat well at all. It makes me quite angry, but I know I can’t control everyone – I just want to help, that’s all. And eating a plant based diet not only helps the consumer, but also the animals AND this planet.

2014-04-06 007 2014-04-06 008But last night and this morning, my brother has made smoothies AND he has put almond milk in it! Okay, he still puts regular milk in it too, but I’m hoping since he’s currently adding both that he will soon be able to omit the cow’s milk and permanently switch to almond milk! Eek, so exciting. My mom also told me she’s been using my almond milk as well! 😀

If you are a vegan or vegetarian who faces similar circumstances, comment below; I’d love to hear about it! Also, I found a ‘vegan save’ calculator which tells you the amount of animals you’ve saved and how much CO2 you’ve prevented from going into the atmosphere. I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 months now, so I’ve saved: 84 animals, 81 pounds of meat, and 670 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.  WOW, that puts the biggest smile on my face. Want to calculate your vegan save? Click here.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

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Square Bar Review

Over the years I have tried many different granola bars and energy bars that are labelled as healthy and nutritious. I now know that those bars are quite the contrary. Companies label and sell their bars as nutritious, but really they are packed with tons of additives and GMO’s that make them so bad for you. The reason they sell is because they are advertised as nutritious, and they are packed with refined sugars that make them so sweet and addictive.

Since switching to a whole foods plant based diet, I haven’t came across any great nutrition bars. That is until I heard of Square Bar.

IMG_9964Square Bar is a company run by husband and wife Sarah and Andrew Gordon. Sarah battled asthma for most of her life, and it was only after she cut out inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy and processed sugars that she began feeling better.

They created these bars that are vegan, free of refined sugar, and GMO free! I was so thrilled to hear about a company that promoted such a whole, organic product. I couldn’t wait to try it – so when Sarah sent me over these bars, I tried them right away.

2014-04-05 005 2014-04-05 008All three flavours were light and sweet! They are all made with cocoa so if you like that, you’ll love all the flavours. My favourite was Cocoa Coconut which had both hints of cocoa and coconut, two amazing flavours.

The thing I like most about these bars is that they are all natural. They contain all plant based ingredients so they are safe for vegan’s, and they don’t use any artificial flavours or additives. Now a days people believe it is impossible to create something so good without any of those things, but Andrew and Sarah did it!

2014-04-09 001 2014-04-09 018“Squarebar launched March 2012 at Natural Products Expo West and is now nationally distributed… growth built on the notion that #IngredientsMatterMost. Don’t get us wrong, we love balanced nutrition facts as much as the next food label reader… we just believe in knowing where those facts come from, because they’re not all created equal. Best to start with nutrient-dense, sustainable, and let’s not forget yummy, whole food ingredients for happier snacking!”

Thanks so much Andrew and Sarah, these bars were awesome! For more information visit their site: http://www.squarebar.com/

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