Sunday, July 5, 2009

Phat Fat Product Reviews

One of the few non-vegan foods Rob ever talks about is ice cream. He has been vegan for something like 20 or so years and he doesn't miss cheese and never has, but ice cream is another story. When we first started dating, he introduced me to the slim pickings in the non-dairy frozen treats department and I was pretty happy. I grew up in an ice cream eating house that is for sure, but to avoid fat or maybe it was cheaper, my mom often bough the frozen ice milk type brands so I was not put off by my first vegan ice creams due to the texture or taste. It was cold and sweet and cruelty-free and that was good enough for me. We don't often make or buy vegan ice cream these days. I prefer to eat and serve more sorbet type of treats which are just colder versions of smoothies (many of the packed with fresh local organic fruits and greens). The kids love it and they don't even ask me to buy vegan ice cream anymore. But, the other day I saw Coconut Bliss on sale at Common Ground Co-op and I had to pick up a couple containers. We tried Coconut Bliss once before and it is hands down the creamiest vegan ice cream I've bought in a store. It is really amazing. Even non-vegans will love this treat!Coconut Bliss has it texture and taste, but they also have (at least the flavors we tried) over 50% of your daily value for saturated fat. Now, I'm not a fat-free vegan by any stretch of the imagination. I believe that "good fats" (usually unsaturated and no trans fats) in moderation are healthy for most adults (unless they have health concerns such as heart or weight issues) and necessary for growing children. I love my coconut milk, shredded coconut, etc. and I'll definitely buy Coconut Bliss again, but it is something I will eat in very small helpings. I used to stock my dad's freezer with vegan ice cream and he would comment about eating an entire container in one sitting. I remember many nights when I was growing up that dad would sit down with a heaping bowl of ice cream and read the paper before bed. So that he could sit and eat an entire container is not surprising, but it can get quite expensive and not healthy even though it is vegan. I'm happy to see a container of Coconut Bliss or other vegan ice cream last our family of five for several weeks or more. If you are looking for a vegan ice cream and don't have time to make your own, I highly suggest trying Coconut Bliss (it also looks like a great company and the ingredients are impressive), but we careful with portion control!I also grew up on Miracle Whip. I shudder to think of it now, but I did so I have eaten my share of Vegenaise over the years I've been vegan. I started out with Nayonaise and converted to Vegenaise, but the kids were never big on either one which was fine by me (why get them hooked on a creamy white stuff on their sandwiches if they aren't interested). It is definitely not a health food and there are so many better condiments out there...mustard is great tasting and good for you, but fresh tomato sandwiches call for vegan mayo in my book. Since I'm getting older and I still have about 20 pounds of baby weight that didn't just fall off after Josie was born as it did with my first two children, I've been looking at my calorie and fat intake a little differently. I'm not a calorie counter and I love to eat and would much prefer to exercise more than eat less, but I don't mind cutting down here and there on oil or looking for a lower calorie/fat alternative. Again, I found a bargain at the co-op on Spectrum Light Canola Mayo which is vegan so I thought I'd give it a try. Well, it is fine and all, but it didn't blow me away. I find it pretty bland so it seems kind of useless to add it to a sandwich, unless you are just going for texture. I haven't tried making potato salad or anything with it yet, just on sandwiches. I do appreciate that there are lower fat vegan mayo alternatives available. I've heard Vegenaise is now coming out with a lower fat version as well so kudos to Spectrum for getting out there and blazing the trail. The Light Canola May has been helpful for weaning me off mayo for good (hopefully). I've always been concerned that most vegan mayo available in stores has soy protein isolate (not a whole food in my book) and/or is not organic (thus, probably GMO soy, which again we try to avoid). There are so many recipes out there for homemade vegan mayo (VeganDad, RecipeZaar to name a couple) that I've decided that is the way to go from now on. Cheaper and better for us, I'll let you know which recipe we like the best.

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