Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Vegan Bubble

My hubby may be the only other vegan that I interact with in my daily life, and I have one other vegetarian friend, but still I have realized that I live in a sort of vegan bubble. You see, my friends and family & even my many FB friends all know and accept that I am vegan. Sure, I get the occasional smart ass comment on FB about my veganism, but usually I get genuine questions if any at all at this point. So what does your BFF do when she has her bubble burst?

Interesting that you should ask that, as last night I found myself in just that sort of situation! I was at dinner with 2 friends and about 6 other women whom I did not know. I of course got the usual "What made you go vegan?" to which I respond with my usual "I was vegetarian for 10+ years for ethical reasons, & recently became vegan because that seemed to be the natural course for me". To which I usually get one of 2 responses: "I could easily give up meat." and "I could never give up meat." All standard stuff here, BFF. But at this table, there was one person who wanted more... "Where do you get your protein?" This question has ceased to astonish and annoy me, so I reply, "Protein is in almost everything we eat. I get high doses of it in a variety of plant sources." I then realized that I was dealing with a hostile meat-eater. She then loudly took a poll at the table, raising her own hand and asking "Who here could ever give up red meat? I could never give up meat!", to which every person sat in uncomfortable silence except for one. She wanted to single me out and remind me that there were more people on her side than on mine. So what did your BFF do? I met her with compassion. She asked more questions & I answered with compassion. I related to her. I made her feel that we weren't so different. She told me that she can really feel when she needs more protein in her diet and I told her that I get the same cravings and can totally satisfy them with plant-based foods. And eventually her voice quieted down, and we were able to talk about other things.

So was your BFF annoyed by this encounter? Yes and no. It's never easy to be picked on. I don't care if you are a kid or an adult, it's no fun to be singled out and ganged up on. I was also taken by surprise because I have not stepped out of my "vegan bubble" in a while. But on the other hand, I saw this as an opportunity. Not an opportunity to preach to her about the horrors of the meat industry, but an opportunity to show her that vegans are fine people to talk to and share a meal with. As I heard Rae Sikora say at a Farm Sanctuary event, "you represent an entire movement". This may have been the only time this woman had ever met a vegan. I could have snapped back at her comments or been a smart ass. But I wanted her to take away from our encounter that vegans are kind and compassionate (that is the whole point after all, isn't it??).

We as vegans have a great responsibility...we do represent an entire movement! And there are many negative stereotypes out there about vegans. We need to be vigilant about our interactions...making sure we are open, honest, and compassionate. We can get our point across without preaching and acting self righteous. Nobody wants to be around that person. Interact with others from a place of awareness and compassion...most of us did not come out of the womb vegan. It is a journey...and often times it begins at that first encounter with a vegan.

“Drop a pebble in a still pond and watch the pebble travel out in an ever expanding ring.”

Peace and love,
Your BFF

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving BFF!!!

Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays...yep, you heard it right! I love the flavors of this holiday and, for me, turkey has never been the centerpiece of the meal...until this year. We adopted a beautiful turkey named Daphne and we will be honoring her this year at our Thanksgiving meal. Daphne is one of the few lucky turkeys who have been rescued and allowed to live out their natural lives, free and peaceful at Farm Sanctuary. Hubby and I have made it an annual tradition to head to the Farm at Thanksgiving time to honor and celebrate the beautiful turkeys like Daphne.
Daphne ~ Isn't she beautiful?

We are so very lucky to have open-minded families who are willing to "give up" the traditional turkey dinner to join us for a compassionate Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for, and first on the list are the beautiful hearts of these wonderful people.

It's not like our guests will be suffering though! Our Compassionate Thanksgiving meal will have all the wonderful and traditional flavors that everyone so looks forward to. I am still surprised at the doubters who think that by not having animal products in a meal, all traces of a yummy Thanksgiving are lost. So not true BFF!!

So what is on the menu, you ask? Here it is...and if you want the recipes, just ask!

  • Field Roast (turkey substitute made from whole grains)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Butternut squash & apple casserole
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Homemade cranberry sauce
  • Pumpkin cheesecake
  • Pumpkin pie
Does it sound like we'll be suffering without turkey? I think not! And better yet, no turkey has to suffer for our celebration. Peace and love to you BFF! And have a wonderful and compassionate Thanksgiving!

Here's a little more info on the turkeys at Farm Sanctuary featuring our very own Daphne:
Reel Life Video Series: Episode 3

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Soy Safe?

Ok, BFF. I have been asked if soy is safe a lot recently, so I took some time to do research. When it comes to questions of soy safety, the main concerns seem to be about thyroid, increased cancer risk, fertility issues, and phyto-estrogen (plant estrogen) in men causing "man boobs".

I have included links to some of the articles that I found. I researched vegan "friendly" sites as well as neutral sites. They all say the same things:

1. If you consume large amounts of soy, you may need to increase your iodine intake as soy can leech iodine from your system & this can cause thyroid issues. FYI: you are probably getting enough iodine from other foods you eat & is likely not a major concern. If you have underlying thyroid issues, be a little more, talk to your doctor. For those healthy individuals with no history of thyroid problems, soy is a-ok.

2. Studies actually show that soy can decrease cancer risk, especially breast cancer. There is some question as to when this soy needs to be consumed in order to be most effective. Thoughts are that the most effective time for women to consume soy to prevent breast cancer is during adolescence when breast tissue is forming.

3. There is no solid evidence that soy interferes with fertility or causes "man boobs". We need to look at the big picture here. If people are experiencing issues in these areas, can we conclusively pin point the problem to soy intake??? What else is going on here...genetics? what else are they consuming? I think there are so many other factors involved, that it is irresponsible to solely put the blame on soy.

Keep in mind that soy is not new. It has been consumed in the East forever and the population seems to be thriving. (Have you read The China Study??)  I'm no expert, but I think the benefits outweigh the risks here. Everything in moderation is a good motto to live by. Make sure you have a balanced diet, and that you are getting your protein from a variety of plant sources.

PS...Your BFF and her hubby have been eating soy regularly for a long time! Hubby does not have man-boobs & is very healthy & athletic! Your BFF's last blood work was impeccable!  The Dr. said that she had never seen such perfect blood work! (FYI previous blood work when I ate eggs & dairy, showed high cholesterol!). So looks like we are also ok as far as thyroid function & overall we are doing well!

Here are the links. Please read, as your BFF is NOT an expert & the summaries did not cover all the information available!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Halloween BFF!!! Veganize it!

Little Skunk
It's that time of year again! My very favorite're BFF loves to play dress-up! Not to mention eat candy til I'm sick! As you've guessed, there is vegan candy and not-so-vegan candy. And of course you want to be the coolest, most compassionate candy-giver on the block! Not to is your vegan candy guide (as listed on the Veg-News and PETA websites). You can still give out tasty sweets that your Trick-or-Treaters will love, and the animals with love you too! I've included websites for the more uncommon treats. And I know some of these are a little pricey for Halloween, but don't forget stocking stuffers and Birthdays! MMmmmmm nom nom nom...gourmet chocolate!

Airheads taffy
Allison's Gourmet vegan caramels (website)
Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks (website)
Brach's Cinnamon Hard Candy
Brach's Root Beer Barrels
Brach's Star Brites                    
Charms Blow Pops
Charms Pumpkin Flat Pops
Chocolove Dark Chocolate bar (website)
Chocolove Cherries and Almonds Dark Chocolate Bar (website)
Chocolove Crystallized Ginger Dark Chocolate Bar (website)
Chocolove Orange Peel Dark Chocolate Bar (website)
Chocolove Raspberry Dark Chocolate bar (website)
Chuao Chocolatier Spicy Maya (website)
Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit (website)
Crispy Cat Candy Bars (website)
Crows (licorice flavored Dots)
Cracker Jack
Cry Babies
Divvies  (website)
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Halloween Bug Bites (website)
Ginger People Ginger Chews (website)
Go Max Go candy bars (website)
Goody Good Stuff Sours (website)
The Humphrey Company Original Popcorn Balls (website)
Hubba Bubba bubblegum
Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)
Laffy Taffy
Let's Do Organic Gummy Bears (website)
Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
Mike and Ike
Newman's Own Licorice Twists (website)
Now and Later
NuGo Organic Chocolate Bar (website)
Panda Licorice (website)
Seitenbacker Gummy Candies (website)
Sjaak's Organic Chocolates (website)
Skittles (this is recent, so check the packaging to see if it's labeled "gelatin-free")
Smarties (U.S. Brand)
Sour Patch Kids
Super Bubble
Swedish Fish
Sweet Tarts
YummyEarth lollipops (website)


ps. Do you have a favorite vegan Halloween treat? Let me know!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Vegan Cupcakes....could you just die, or what?!?! Oh my goodness, BFF...if you love cupcakes (and I know you do), you MUST get this cookbook:

 Even if you are not vegan, this is a cupcake-lover's and baker's must! I promise you that these cupcakes are better than anything with eggs & dairy. They are so moist & so tasty & so very easy to make! My non-vegan friends and family love mother thinks they are better than the local bakery's vegan cupcake & my friend says they are the best cupcakes in the world!

These are the Green Tea cupcakes with my own added touch of silver sprinkles. I made them last easy!!! And just look how pretty!

The cupcakes pictured here are Chocolate Stout cupcakes. The husband makes these (see I told you easy!), and they are so rich and delicious! So good with a tall glass of ice cold soy milk!

Here are the Banana Split cupcakes (my personal favs!)...aren't they pretty??

So my challenge to you BFF is this... Next time there is a birthday party or event that calls for cupcakes...give vegan cupcakes a chance! I guarantee that everyone will rave about them! And don't go making a batch of "regular" cupcakes as back up...I promise you won't need them! Anyone will enjoy these, unless there is something seriously wrong with their which case we'll forgive them.


Friday, September 3, 2010

How did your BFF become vegan??

I've had this question a lot, and have been debating on whether or not to blog about it, or just answer it on FB. But...if I'm giving you all this awesome vegan advice, I think it's important that you know where I came from. Thank you Nadia for the question, and here's the answer.

Let's start at the beginning, I grew up in a very health conscious house. My mother believed in her family eating all natural, organic, preservative-free food. We did eat meat, but it usually came from a local farm north of where we lived. Incidentally, I have etched in my brain a visit to the farm where I was hanging out with the farmers daughter in the slaughterhouse while she ate Fruit Loops and we watched cartoons on a tiny tv. Sounds like something right out of the Twilight Zone, right? Even though I didn't see any animals being killed, I will never forget the smell of the place, mixed with the smell of Fruit Loops...still gagging! Anyway as a child, I did not love meat. I demanded that my mom make for me a separate spaghetti sauce that was meat free (which she lovingly did) and I was no fan of pork chops that's for sure. At age 8? 10?, I remember asking about the source of the meat. In my head I liked to think of the animals being humanely euthanized, pain-free and willingly. I think even then I knew it wasn't true. But I asked about the ethics of eating animals & the answer I received was that this is what the animals are raised for. Which is a truthful answer without getting into right and wrong.

At age 19, I one of my BFF's was vegetarian, I worked in a restaurant with a lot of vegetarians, and I took an ethics class that talked about eating animals. This really stirred the pot for me & I decided that I was going veg. But for the uneducated 19 year old, that meant that I ate grilled cheese, mac and cheese, and french fries. Not a well balanced diet and definitely not one for the long haul. Needless to say that I was only vegetarian-ish for awhile & soon fell off the wagon. I did not have the 'a-ha' factor or moment to make the change last.

My 'A-ha' moment (sorry about going "all Oprah" on ya) happened when I got my dog when I was 20 years old. He was only 5 weeks old when I got him & I had to give him puppy formula because he was taken from his mamma to soon. It was love at first sight. It was also not so long after that I realized that he is not different from other animals...if you think so, ask yourself why? Once that connection was made, it was really difficult to separate. I definitely had my moments of backsliding, but this time they came with a heaping spoonful of guilt...and who wants that? The easiest way to alleviate this guilty feeling was to stop eating meat...change my behavior. And that's what I did.
He was just a little bigger than my hairbrush!

So onward we go as a vegetarian. Or pesca-vegetarian, because I still ate seafood. It was actually a carnivorous friend who got me to stop eating fish. She asked me what the difference was between land and sea creatures...why was one okay for me to eat and not the other. Now I'm not sure if she was really curious or really wanted to challenge me, but challenge me she did, and this was my reply: There is no difference, but seafood is just harder for me to give up. Shortly after she asked the question, I stopped eating fish. The guilty feeling that I was ignoring was no longer ignorable. And many other things after this just gradually faded away...eggs began to disgust me, we switched to soy milk for hubby's lactose issues, etc. Hubs and I often discussed that we knew veganism was in our future...we were totally not prepared for how soon it would arrive.

For our anniversary every year, we venture to the Fingerlakes wine country in New York. Coincidentally, right around the corner is Farm Sanctuary. We had tried to visit the farm in the past, but our timing was always off...we ran out of time, farm was closed to visitors...But in August of 2009, the stars aligned and we were able to visit the farm! It was a rainy, muddy day, and we were the only visitors (thank the saints!). I already new it was going to be an emotional day because I'm super sensitive when it comes to the mistreatment of animals. I was tearing up at the get-go, just thinking of all the wrongs in the world & I was super excited and nervous about meeting the cows. I have a soft-spot in my heart for cows (they are just big dogs!) and I just new it would be difficult and wonderful to see them. So our tour began with a video, talking about how the animals used for meat, eggs, and dairy industries are treated. More tears. Then we start up to see the cows. Our guide, my new farm BFF, was talking about a really awful story about sheep....I can't remember it now, because as soon as I got my first glimpse of a cow, I totally broke down sobbing (this is why I'm thankful we were the only ones on the tour). Farm BFF thought it was the story (it probably partly was), but it was really the cows...poor Farm BFF didn't know what to do with me. When I finally composed myself, we headed into the pasture with the "Special Needs" herd...most of whom have joint issues, are elderly, etc. This is where I met Snickers, the beautiful cow with a white heart on his front leg. As we were sitting with Snickers, Farm BFF was telling us his story. He was a veal calf and he was rescued with his mother, who's udders were so severely infected that they were dragging on the ground. This is where I learned that dairy industry = veal industry. Duh! I never really truly made this connection before. Veal was the very first meat I gave up in my teens, and unwittingly all along, I was supporting veal farming every time I bought ice cream or Gouda. That info does not sit well in a vegetarian's stomach. So we continued on with our tour, meeting all the wonderful animals and hearing their stories. We witnessed how many obstacles they've overcome and how they can even find forgiveness. Did you know that sheep comfort each other by leaning on each other, ie applying pressure? They find this comforting, and they help each other out in times of distress. The sheep did this to us...that day, when we were struggling to come to terms with our choices and the choices of the world. They came right up to us and leaned on us, we comforted each other. And during each visit to the farm, the sheep continue to do this...sometimes almost knocking us over! So needless to say, after that visit, both your BFF and her hubby were vegan.

Me with Snickers!
Another great question posed by Nadia was...How do you stay vegan and not fall off the wagon? For me the answer is simple. You cannot un-ring a bell, you cannot unlearn what you is not a choice for me. I cannot support an industry that is cruel to animals. I am also a yogi, and I follow the 8 limbs of yoga. Ahimsa means non-violence or non-harming. I cannot follow this principle and still eat meat, dairy, or eggs. It doesn't work for me. And this is what you need to look at...what is your motivation for being vegan? Is it just a diet? Because I don't know a single person who has adopted a diet as a lifestyle and stuck to it. I think the motivation behind being vegan needs to be something you're passionate about...animal welfare, healthy eating, etc. Sure if you're a strong willed person, you can make the choice to be vegan and stick with it. I am NOT strong willed enough...especially when it comes to food. But I am passionate about my belief that animals are not ours to use for food, clothes, or entertainment. That makes it so easy for me to be vegan:) I'll leave you with one of my favorite yoga mantras..."Lokaha Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu ~ May all beings everywhere be happy and free."
Look at the heart on his leg! RIP changed my life forever!

Until next time,
Your BFF

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's on your mind, BFF?

What would you like to talk about? Anything you're dying to know? Something you're mildly curious about? Ask away! I have a long list of topics waiting in the wings, but I'd like to know what you're interested in learning. Comment away!

Your BFF
Happiness is a good belly rub!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stinky HIppie!

Once in a while, in every vegan's life, we reach an obstacle that seems insurmountable. It may be trying to find a non-dairy milk that the whole family is happy with, or getting that chocolate bar that actually tastes like chocolate. For's the STINK. Yep, it's time to veganize the pits. And believe me, it's not just about veganizing them, but also about healthier skin care and not putting aluminum into my body (ie. because it is linked to Alzheimer's and my memory sucks as it is). So for me, switching from antiperspirants to deodorants has become my most challenging challenge yet. As your Best Friend, I find it my duty to let you in on my findings...and because I have a sensitive nose and don't want to smell your stink.

First a little background...there once was a day when I lived with one of my BFFs who literally could not smell. She has something called anosmia, which means she smells NOTHING! Oh what bliss it was to live with someone who couldn't smell...those were the days of basking in my own stink without a care in the world about offending the nose of another. Alas, those days ended long ago, and as I cohabitate with a boy (my husband), I find myself caring about the way I smell. I also go out into the world and mingle with others...more specifically I am a yoga instructor who sweats a lot. Hey, we all sweat a lot in class and I like feels good! And I don't even mind others seeing the efforts of my work, I just don't want them to smell the efforts! Plus, I do not want a report card sent home to my old man saying that I play well with others, but need to work on personal hygeine. So what is your stinky hippie BFF supposed to do? Well, I embarked on a journey to find a deodorant that WORKS! Here's what I found:

I started with what I could find easily...Tom's of Maine and Kiss My Face. As your BF, I do not recommend either of these. They do not cut it in the stink me.

**It must be said that I passed these along to my 62 year old mother & they work for her. And she's seriously very active! After a brisk 5 mile walk she came to my house and made me smell her pits...for real. And she really didn't stink! So it's all about your individual body chemistry...and my chemistry set is quite stinky.

Next, I emailed another blogger, Chic Vegan, for some advice. Here's what she gave me...

- after shower, completely dry armpits.
- apply 3 squirts of Weleda Citrus Deodorant to each pit. Leaving arms up to allow to dry completely.
- apply a dusting of Burt's Bees Baby Bee Dusting Powder (This can be quite messy and takes some practice to perfect.)
- For really hot or active days I carry the mini Weleda spray in my bag and reapply in the middle of the day.

 I found both of these products at Whole Foods. And for the first few days, I loved this combo. Here's what went wrong for me...first, I didn't make it through a long day of yoga without getting stinky. I later found out that when switching from antiperspirant to deodorant, you need you allow your pits to detox. Your pores begin to open after a long time of being clogged & stinkiness can increase for some time. It is important to give your pits 10 days to fully detox. I did not do this. The clincher for me was that the spray burned after shaving and gave my very sensitive skin a painful rash. May still work for some...maybe you want to give it a shot.

I did some more research on the internet and found They make something called Pit Putty that got very good reviews, so I had to try it!

I ordered the original scent which is lemon and clove and the scent was ok. Pit Putty contains arrowroot powder which helps absorb sweat. You actually have to rub pit putty into your pits, which kinda makes me feel like it works. They also have a 100% guarantee on their deodorants! So when this one didn't work for me, I contacted them and they sent me another one...I only had to pay shipping. They make custom deodorants & I tried the Super Pit Putty with patchouli (they have more floral/less earthy scents too). So far so good! and I know if it stops working, I can get another one! Bubble and Bee offers a variety of deodorant stick and sprays, as well as many other personal care products like lotions, soaps, and hair care. I also bought the natural Insect Repellent, and I love it!

But, here's what you really need to know, Stinky Girl. This is NOT your old chemical antiperspirant. So aside from just changing sticks, you have to change some habits as well. Do not think that you can wake up in the morning and roll out the door with yesterday's deodorant me...from one dirty girl to another. You at least need to wash those pits & re-apply! Some other handy tips from folks at Bubble and Bee...after shower, sanitize those pits with a little rubbing alcohol or apple cider vinegar before applying deodorant. This gives you the cleanest "working space".

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have or do some more research for you. I really really want your pits to be happy, healthy, and stick-free!
Your BFF

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dear BFF, Let's stock your kitchen, shall we?

One of the biggest obstacles to becoming vegan or veganish, is where to begin. Luckily for you, BFF, I have read the books and done the leg work. I have discovered that once you make that first shopping trip and stock your kitchen for the first time, the rest is cake (vegan of course!).

Many cookbooks will tell you all your must-haves for your kitchen & usually they differ from each other, causing such an overwhelming feeling that your brain shuts down & you start down the road marked "I can't". Don't go there dear BFF...I have narrowed down the list to what I have actually used the most. So before you go and buy 15 different effing cooking oils like myself, let me tell you what you need and where to get it.


Ingredient: Nutritional Yeast Flakes, ie "Nooch"
Why you need it: This ingredient is used to give any dish that savory flavor. Used in Veganomicon's Cheesy Sauce (OMG), most tofu scramble recipes, and homemade "parmesan".
Where to get it: Whole Foods or Food Co-op in bulk section.

Ingredient: Flaxseed Meal
Why you need it: Healthy fat, high fiber, B vitamins, Omega 3's! When mixed with water, it is a great substitute for eggs as a binding agent in baking. Throw it in a smoothie for an extra healthy kick! Store it in fridge/freezer after opening for longer shelf life.
Where to get it: Any grocery store with a health food section. Look for Bob's Red's a good one.

Ingredient: High Heat Oils, ie. Refined Coconut, Canola, Safflower, Sesame. Pick one and go for it!
Why you need it: Because olive oil is for drizzling! Actually it's probably not a necessity...I cook with olive oil too, but I think it's nice to have canola oil on hand for stir-frys or baking, where I want a little more neutral flavor.
Where to get it: Any grocery should carry it.

Ingredient: Natural Vegan Granulated Sugar, ie. Succanat, Turbanado sugar, raw sugar, evaporated cane juice. Again, you don't need all of them, pick one and give it a shot!
Why you need it: Because refined sugar is the devil...not to mention un-vegan! Unbelievable, right?? Most white sugar goes through a refining process in which it's filtered through animal bones. I get organic evaporated cane juice and it works fantastic in all my baking. I also get the organic powdered sugar.
Where to get it: Some grocery stores with health food sections, Whole Foods, Food Co-op.

Ingredient: Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Why you need it: Because it's a healthier, lower sodium alternative to soy sauce/tamari for use in cooking. I still have my soy sauce, but Bragg's is nice if you're fingers are getting swollen from your salt intake. Many recipes call specifically for Bragg's, and sure, you can use soy sauce. But as your BFF, I totally recommend getting yourself a won't be sorry!
Where to get it: Some grocery stores with health food sections, Whole Foods, Food Co-ops

Ingredient: Dried herbs
Why you need it: Because they are yummy. Many recipes call for fresh herbs, but we don't always have them on hand & they can be expensive. Try substituting 1 tsp dried herb for every 1 tbsp fresh herb called for in recipes.
Where to get it: Any grocery store.

Other things I keep on hand: organic/natural peanut butter, canned chickpeas, white beans, & black beans, canned tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown and white rice, couscous, pasta, apple cider vinegar, dried lentils, whole wheat bread crumbs, Agave nectar, Tahini, brown rice syrup, whole wheat pastry four, all purpose unbleached flour, organic baking cocoa.


Ingredient: Earth Balance Buttery Spread (different from Smart Balance which is not all vegan)
Why you need it: It's a lovely butter substitute in baking or even on toast or bread. I like the whipped, but the original is great. They also have soy-free version.
Where to get it: Most grocery stores with a health food section, Whole Foods, Food Co-op (and look for the shortening sticks too!)

Ingredient: Non-dairy milk, ie. soy, hemp, rice, almond
Why you need it: Because you like cereal, right? Non-dairy milks are great to sub where ever cow's milk is called for. Great in baking, smoothies and milkshakes, or for homemade ice cream!
Where to get it: Most grocery stores now at least carry Silk. And don't just look in the refrigerated isles! Many non-dairy milks are found on the shelf with other beverages.
***Your BFF feels the need to mention that non-dairy milks, more than any other item, are such a personal choice. This one I cannot decide for's a little trial and error. I use Silk original for just about everything. We liked it right away, so I really didn't search much further. Good luck and please share your findings!

Ingredient: Vegenaise
Why you need it: If you like mayo, you need Vegenaise. It is the ONLY mayo substitute worth your money. Trust your BFF, don't waste your time on anything else.
Where to get it: Whole Foods, Food Co-op, Naturally Soergel's if you're in the Pittsburgh area. p.s. It's in the refrigerated section!!!!!

Other must haves in the vegan fridge: Firm or extra firm tofu, silken tofu (for dips & vegan ranch), Daiya vegan cheese (best vegan cheese on the planet!), Silk soy creamer for coffee and cooking, Tofurkey meat substitutes if you like lunch meats type things, Boca burgers & crumbles in the freezer, and stay stocked with all your favorite veggies! I always have garlic, onions, mushrooms, and spinach. And don't discount frozen veggies...they are easy to prepare and often just as healthy...but make sure to read the ingredients & avoid the ones with added crap.

Other notable items:

Lightlife Fakin' Bacon ~ makes a BLT, or should I say FLT, that is to die for! (Whole Foods, Food Co-op, Soergel's)

Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips, because sometimes you just need a cookie. (Whole foods, Co-op, Giant Eagle)

 Go Max Go candy bars. Mahalo (Almond Joy), Buccaneer (3 Muskateers), Twilight (Milky Way), and Jokerz (Snickers). They are vegan & all natural! Buy them locally at East End Food Co-op or Naturally Soergel's (thanks to your BFF) or at


Better Than Bouillon vegan Vegetable Base, No Beef Base, and No Chicken Base. Great for soups and gravies. The No Chicken Base seriously makes a "chicken" noodle soup that will take you back to the comfort of your childhood! Most grocery stores carry the veggie base, the No Chicken & Beef are harder to find...look in Whole Foods or Food Co-ops for them. And be very careful...they make all natural Real Chicken and Beef bases too! Just look for the 'V' for vegan!

I'm here to answer any questions you may have!

Your Vegan BFF

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet your new Best Friend!

Please allow me to introduce myself, I am your new best friend...your VEGAN best friend that is. I know becoming vegan can be daunting and maintaining this lifestyle can be very lonely. I get it. I am here for you...if you need advice or just an ear to listen. I have done tons of research during my vegan journey and continue to educate myself. I would love to pass any and all information your way! Ask me questions...if I don't know the answer, I will find it for you! We are going to have so much fun together! Best Friends Forever!