VIVA LA VEESTRO! Veestro Review

Post by Megan Stulberg

Let me just start this off by saying that this post is very important for you guys to read, because Veestro low key made my life *so* much easier for a week.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Veestro, listen up. It’s a 100% plant-based, organic, non-GMO food delivery service with tons of gluten-free options. You can get individual items a la carte, meal plans for convenience, meal plans for weight loss, they even have juice cleanses. They deliver nationwide, too.

So earlier this year, the good people at Veestro sent me a care package of 5 or so items to try out, and their timing couldn’t have been better. I was slammed with work and barely had time to eat, and every time I needed to — whether it was at home or at the office — I just walked on over to the freezer.

Scroll down for details about what I liked the most.

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The enchilada casserole was unreal! I’m not one for fusion food usually (Tim Horton’s poutine donut, for example, is…unappealing to me, to put it lightly) but I do love enchiladas and I do love casseroles. This bad boy’s layered with tofu, corn tortilla, red sauce and tons of veggies. I ate it while working from home one afternoon while taking a break to read a little Jack Kerouac and recharge. 10/10 great combo, would highly recommend.

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veestro 5Veestro’s red curry with tofu was my favorite item that I tried from their menu, hands down. I ate for dinner one day at the office, which means I had meant to eat it for lunch but forgot…we all have those days. I am, without a doubt, tofu’s #1 fan — but it tastes like paper way more often than I’d like. It all depends on how it’s prepared, and I was happily relieved with how good the tofu in this dish tasted. It also means that I’m going to be ordering more tofu dishes from Veestro in the near future now that they’ve got my tofu trust and tofu attention, like their soba noodles with peanut sauce and/or their breakfast burrito. How many times can I get away with saying “tofu” in a paragraph? One more, probably. Tofu.
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With this specific order I also tried Veestro’s golden chickpea stew, chocolate cheezecake and spanish torta. All were fantastic, and I’m so happy that vegan delivery services like this exist where the food is fresh and flavorful! If you’re a busy bee like I am (I’m writing this at a coffee shop right now and this iced latte is going to count as my lunch because I’m too forgone at this point), then check out Veestro’s meal delivery options. They deliver right to your door and life could not be easier.

*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for Veestro, but all views are my own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com and/or megstulberg@gmail.com.  

Real Brewed Moments with Pure Leaf Iced Tea

Review by Megan Stulberg 

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I drank 6 bottles of Pure Leaf real brewed tea in 24 hours, and lived to tell the tale! Seriously though. I decided to start taking photos for this blog post on Sunday, and it was super humid that day so I drank them all in a row without thinking twice about it. So having all of these bottles on hand was basically a lifesaver. I stayed hydrated and realized how easily these teas can be incorporated into every day life at the same time.

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Here’s a breakdown of what my Sunday with Pure Leaf looked like.

Bottle one, 10am: I chugged a bottle of peach tea back before running off to a barre exercise class.

Bottle two and three, 1pm: Two bottles of Pure Leaf green tea with honey were chugged back with lunch (a bunch of yummy take-out avocado sushi, my favourite).

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Bottle four, 2pm: I brought an unsweetened lemon Pure Leaf tea with me on a little adventure. And by that, I mean to run errands. And by THAT, I mean going to the grocery store to buy garbage bags. Very important business but hey, that’s real life for you.

Bottle five, 4pm: Honestly, I took a 30 minute nap because I work like a maniac and needed one. Then I woke up, groggily did a bit of reading (Jack Kerouac gets me right in the feels every time) and enjoyed an unsweetened lemon Pure Leaf tea.

Bottle six, 5pm: I liked the peach tea so much that I saved the 2nd bottle of it for last. I did freelance work from about 5pm onwards until I eventually dragged my sorry butt back to bed. Having a home studio is both a curse and a blessing!

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Pure Leaf tea is the perfect addition to my daily routine! I can celebrate real moments with Pure Leaf Iced Tea because it’s real brewed tea, made from real tea leaves. No preservatives or added colour to make me sluggish or stop me from doing all the things I need to check off my to-do list.

For more details about their products, follow Pure Leaf on Instagram at @PureLeafCanada.

*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for Pure Leaf, but all views are my own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com and/or megstulberg@gmail.com.  

#pureleafcanada #realbrewedmoments

Water You Really Drinking? GE’s New APF Technology

Post by Megan Stulberg (with help from Alexandra Courts and Aine Davis)

We love water! And we’re sure you do too, even if you don’t actively think about it. It keeps our skin clear, our digestive systems working and our bodies…well, alive. We rely heavily on water to make every Vegan Girlfriend recipe, whether it be cooking something on stovetop or rinsing out a blender. Personally, my favourite way to drink water is to chug an icy glass back after a long run.

A little birdie told us that according to an Associated Press survey, two in 10 Americans’ drinking water tested positive for pharmaceuticals including ibuprofen (Advil) and progesterone (found in birth control pills, WTF?). Yeah, no thanks. And then another little birdie told us that GE Appliances recently introduced Advanced Pharmaceutical Filtration Technology, which removes 15 different contaminants and 94-ish% of top 5 trace pharmaceuticals. To put it simply: GE Appliances figured out a way to make water cleaner and it’s worth the investment.

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If you’re reading along like “I thought this was a recipe blog, why should I care about water?” then think about it like this. A runner wouldn’t be able to perform to the best of their ability in worn-down sneakers. We are nothing without our relevant resources.

Having a reliable fridge is so, so important as a food blogger. I was in university when we started Vegan Girlfriend and when you’re a full-time student with a part-time job in downtown Toronto…your kitchen is going to be pretty bleak. That being said, our fridge/water situation was a disaster! We were skeptical about apartment’s water quality in the first place, so we used a filtration pitcher but could barely even fill it up in our tiny sink properly. Now that I’m a fully-formed adult with my own place and choosing a fridge is even an option…I’m definitely scoping a new GE fridge out as my next big investment.

So how does it work? GE offers the Advanced Pharmaceutical Filtration Technology (let’s call it APF for short) across its new, accessibly priced refrigeration collection. The water filters on all APF fridges remove chlorine taste and odour, cysts, lead, asbestos and other contaminants — like those pesky pharmaceuticals we mentioned earlier. Good riddance.

Alex and Aine will be posting some more about GE’s fridge perks on our Instagram feed over the next few days. In the meantime, you can learn more about GE’s APF Technology on their website here.

What would you fill your new water-friendly fridge with? Tell us in the comment section below!

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*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for GE Appliances, but all views are our own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com.

Tweak your Tea: Pure Leaf Cocktail Hacks

Review by Megan Stulberg

It’s that time of the year where all I want to do is chug lemonade while window shopping or sip hard cider on a patio. Those drinks have zero nutritional value though, so why not swap for tea? Tea does a body good: it’s packed with antioxidants and is even anti-inflammatory. When Pure Leaf offered to send me their new unsweetened flavours (0 sugar, 0 calories, 0 artificial sweeteners), I got a big dumb smile on my face because I’m a sucker for anything iced in summer. It’s brewed from real tea leaves, too.

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Here are a couple of iced tea-based cocktails I whipped up. These are perfect to enjoy on your own, with a couple of girlfriends, or served to a smokin’ hot date! You can also omit the alcoholic ingredients to turn ’em into mocktails, and enjoy with breakfast or even as a rehydrating post-workout treat.

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SPIKED BLUEBERRY PEAR COCKTAIL 

Ingredients…

  • 1 cup Pure Leaf unsweetened green tea
  • 1/4 cup Absolut vodka (warning: add less if you don’t want it strong, taste as you go)
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • Handful fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 small pear, sliced into bite-size chunks
  • Pinch ginger
  • Ice cubes

Directions…

  1. Combine Pure Leaf unsweetened green tea, vodka, agave and ginger. Stir vigorously.
  2. Add fruit and ice. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 cocktail.

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LEMON LIME GINGERITA 

(My take on a margarita)

Ingredients…

  • 1 cup Pure Leaf unsweetened lemon tea
  • 1/4 cup Don Julio Blanco tequila (same warning as above)
  • 2 thin lemon slices
  • 2 thin lime slices
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • Additional lime for garnish
  • Ice cubes

Directions…

  1. Combine Pure Leaf unsweetened lemon tea, tequila and agave.
  2. Add fruit and ice. Slice halfway through a lime slice and place on side of glass accordingly for garnish.

Makes 1 cocktail.

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Pure Leaf unsweetened tea acts as an awesome cocktail alternative to juice if you’re looking to lighten up this summer without sacrificing flavour. For more recipe ideas and details about their products, follow Pure Leaf on Instagram at @PureLeafCanada.

*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for Pure Leaf, but all views are my own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com and/or megstulberg@gmail.com.  

#pureleafcanada #tweakyourtea

A (Vegan) Pizza Party with Panago

Review by Megan Stulberg

Ain’t no party like a pizza party. You know that “Touch My Butt and Buy Me Pizza”phrase that’s been making its rounds (and then some) on the internet lately? It’s popular because it’s relatable. Butts are nice, pizzas are even nicer, and Panago’s pizzas are the nicest.

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Honestly…the thing I’ve missed most since going vegan is pizza. I don’t view meat as food anymore (feel free to disagree), but there’s something about the combination of pineapple, ham and bacon on a classic Hawaiian slice that still makes my mouth water. Canadian chain Panago Pizza recently launched a new vegan deluxe pepperoni pizza for spring — which is a freaking GAME CHANGER. Pepperoni! Meat-free pepperoni!

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This brand new pizza comes with Italian tomato sauce, meat-free pepperoni, black olives, green peppers, red onions and dairy-free Daiya “cheese”. Not into it? You can veganize any of their other pizzas by making substitutes, and also all of Panago’s crust options are 100% vegan friendly (pictured is the gluten-smart crust).

I paired this ‘za with two of Panago’s vegan dips: Italian Tomato & BBQ. I also tried one of their build-your-own salad options, which was basically a delicious pile of veggies, smothered in their vegan classic Italian style dressing. You could say I went “all out” on my Panago adventure and also tried two of their organic fusion juices: grapple (grape/apple) and orango (orange/mango).

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Panago’s vegan deluxe pepperoni pizza exceeded my expectations. Doubtful? Look at the photos! Still don’t believe me? Further proof: I carried all my Panago goodies home in an Uber, and the driver actually got kind of mad at me because he was really hungry and kept saying that the pizza smelled “too good”.

Panago likes to spread the vegan love every now and then, so make sure to follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook because you never know when a #RandomActsOfPizza may come your way!

Want to know more about what you can and can’t eat at Panago? Check out their vegan-friendly options here.

*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for Panago Pizza, but all views are my own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com and/or megstulberg@gmail.com. 

Coast to Coast Coffee Roasters Review

Post by Megan Stulberg 

It would be understatement to say that I am a big fan of coffee. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I am such a big fan of coffee, I got a tattoo in its honour. I am a pseudo-coffee fanatic: I love its taste and thoroughly appreciate its caffeinated qualities, but am not a snob about it. I don’t understand what things like “cortado” mean and I’ve never been to a cupping. But I do know what a good cup of coffee tastes like.

Coast to Coast Coffee is Canada’s local roaster. The beans are organic, fair trade and freshly roasted in small batches.
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DISCLAIMER: This is a paid product review.
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I tried Coast to Coast’s Superior Dark Blend. It took me a long time to wean my way off of refined sugar and gradually switch to drinking my coffee black, but I’m glad I’ve crossed over to the dark side. I was pleasantly surprised by the deep, rich taste of this blend! Once you try a cup of full-bodied coffee, it’s really difficult to have anything but. I’d recommend drinking this coffee black, with a touch of maple syrup or served as a full-blown cappuccino — made with almond milk, of course.
I ground the Coast to Coast coffee beans immediately before brewing it in a french press (also known as a coffee plunger, but that sounds surprisingly gross). I like to use this technique whenever possible it keeps the coffee pure and concentrated, and its built-in filter produces less waste.
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Coast to Coast Coffee Roasters has a variety of unique and convenient ordering plans to choose from. You can order on a weekly, bi-monthly, monthly or one-time basis. All plans include free delivery to your mailbox, and same day roasting and shipping (literally the freshest coffee you could ever dream of). The plans are pay-as-you-go, and you can pause or cancel your plan at any time.
WANT A SWEET DISCOUNT? Use our code ‘vegangirlfriend5’ while ordering here for $5 off your first order when signing up for any recurring order (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) from now until the end of November! 
Coast to Coast Coffee Roasters has this killer home delivery program, which I experienced myself when they sent me samples. Coming home to a box of fragrant coffee beans? Yes please!

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PROBAR Review

By contributor Alexandra Courts

Alright folks! We’re about to introduce you to one of the tastiest nutrition bars on the market, assuming you haven’t smartened up by trying them yet.

Facts: PROBAR is one of the leading providers of vegan, organic and non-GMO energy bars that are tasty, convenient, and healthy. They have a variety of products that range from energy chews to full meal-replacements. All vegan, most gluten-free. They have a wide variety of products to suit your individual preferences perfectly, and it’s easy to purchase them in local grocery stores or order online at www.theprobar.com.

PROBAR base bars have 20 grams of plant-based protein each (!!!) and come in a variety of delicious flavours: Cookie dough, brownie crisp, mint chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, and super greens. How good do those sound?! They’re disguised as desserts while actually being packed with healthy ingredients like flax seeds. These seemed to sit fairly heavily, so we’d definitely recommend having one after a workout.

PROBAR bite bars are a great on-the-go snack option that will give you the midday pick-me-up that your body is craving. Flavours include: Peanut butter crunch, chocolate cherry cashew, coconut almond, mixed berry, super fruit and greens, and peanut butter chocolate. Additionally, bite bars are soy-free.

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We were so excited to give the PROBAR base and bite bars a try! In terms of texture: the bars were not at all dry, like some of the nutrition bars that are currently on the market. Each one left the tastebuds delighted, satisfied hunger cravings, and provided energy to the body that lasted throughout the day.

Special thanks to the kind people at PROBAR for sending these delicious treats our way to review.  

3 Day Cleanse with CEDAR JUICE: Review + Promo

Earlier this month Alex, Aine and myself participated in a 3 day juice cleanse. That’s right! No food, no coffee, nothing but juice. We chose Cedar Juice, a company making cold-pressed juice that is never pasteurized and uses only organic produce and superfoods. They ship across Canada and the juices will arrive at your doorstep 48 hours after placing your order, free of charge! 11004469_10155205299640316_1894869177_n 10927972_10155205299650316_121023331_n We’d all been mulling over the idea individually for a while but were a little nervous, so having each other for moral support definitely helped. To prepare the night beforehand we did a major fridge clean-out to prevent any temptation to cheat — but more importantly, to make room for 54 bottles of juice. Fifty four! Holy heck! That’s six bottles a day each for three days.

If you’d like to try a 3 or 5 day cleanse, use our promo-code “BG-vegangirlfriend” while ordering Cedar Juice online and receive 10% off! Offer is good until the end of February.  10356627_10155181921720133_424205602_n

MEG’S REVIEW: 

How I prepared for the cleanse: I’m a full-time university student so I went through my daytime planner and found a break between midterms where I’d be able to sleep properly and avoid overexerting myself.

Past cleanse experience: I’ve done week-long raw food cleanses every few months for the past two years to aid with digestion and generally look after my body. Because of this and my 100% gluten-free vegan diet, I likely experienced less severe detox symptoms than most would.

Day One Summary: I had been out drinking the night before, which was an awful idea because it resulted in detox symptoms hitting me very quickly. I felt light-headed and the extreme cold weather just made that worse. I spent most of the morning worrying that I made a huge mistake spending money on a cleanse that I wouldn’t be able to stick to. As I pushed through juice after juice throughout the day, my body adjusted and I felt a lot better. I was surprised by how good the juices actually tasted. I immediately appreciate how Cedar Juice set up the drinks to be consumed in a specific order so that a sweet taste followed a vegetable-based one. 

Day Two Summary: No more detox symptoms! I felt a bit nauseous first thing in the morning, but I’m assuming that was from hunger as it stopped immediately after my first juice. I had made sure to sleep a lot the night before, which helped with my caffeine withdrawal the following morning. My stomach stopped growling by midday and I started thinking about food less. I was sitting on the train that evening and a small child gasped and pointed at my bottle of beet juice. He turned to his mother and said, “I didn’t know vampires drank blood with straws!”. I looked pretty tired and my teeth were stained red, so I’m sure I gave that kid quite a scare. 

Day Three Summary: By the third day I felt very confident that I wasn’t going to give into any cravings. I had fallen into the routine of a liquid diet very quickly to the point where I felt comfortable with it. I switched up the suggested order a bit to avoid drinking beet juice in public like I had the previous day. Additionally, I made plans to go for brunch the following day with a friend to have something to look forward to. 

Main Symptoms: Bloating, headaches, cravings.

Best part: My head felt SO clear by the second day, and has ever since! I have a history with anxiety and related mental health issues, so I was pleasantly surprised that this helped my mindset. 

Worst part: I experienced beeturia (an actual thing!) which is when beetroot passes through your system and alters the colour of your urine. It looked like I dumped the entire bottle of beet juice directly into the toilet, which is probably what most teenage boys think an ordinary period looks like. It didn’t cause any physical pain, but definitely caught me off guard. 

Favourite flavour: #6 “Cracked it” by far was my favourite! It felt like I was rewarding myself with dessert after a hard day’s work (of not eating) and I’m a sucker for vanilla bean. 

Did I cheat? Nope! Not even a little.

Again? I would definitely do this cleanse again! I found myself wishing I was still on the cleanse a few days later, after something I ate had given me a stomachache.

Additional notes: It’s hard balancing school and work, but I wish I’d done this cleanse when I could have been on a break from both! I have a labour-intensive job and worked all three days. It was tough, but manageable. If you have a busy schedule like I do, carry your juices in a backpack and keep them refrigerated throughout the day if possible.

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AINE’S REVIEW: 

How I prepared for the cleanse: Three days before the cleanse began, I consumed mostly raw food. I took hot baths to aid in relaxing my body as much as possible. I ate an entire bag of tortilla chips the night before to prevent myself from giving in and eating them during the cleanse.

Past cleanse experience: None! I tried to do a week long raw cleanse while Meg was doing one last year, but at the time I was having issues with blood sugar so I only lasted a day.

Day One Summary: Oh boy. It was rough. I couldn’t sleep well the night before and had a 10 hour school day ahead of me. I go to school for comedy performance, so my days are physically exhausting with rehearsals. I could barely think straight during a midday meeting with a professor! By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty light headed so I went to bed as soon as I could. 

Day Two Summary: I started the second day fighting awful cravings to stress eat, but I knew that I would feel less stressed after eliminating toxins from my body. Although I was a bit sluggish physically, I was extremely mentally alert. I did a 6 hour rehearsal and focused the entire time. It felt great! That night I was so tuckered out from all the hard work I went to bed as soon as I got home.

Day Three Summary: The final day was a breeze. I worked a 9 hour shift and was initially worried that being surrounded by food all day I’d go crazy, but I didn’t find myself craving anything but the juice, which I sipped happily throughout the day. The day went by quickly and I felt fine. I actually bought a few bottles of Cedar juice from Bolt Fresh Bar on my way home!

Symptoms: Upset stomach and a bit of dizziness, but nothing horrible. 

Best part: Catching up on my sleep was wonderful! My dreams were insanely vivid and fun, and I woke up both mornings with ideas for new sketches. 

Worst part: Being busy!

Favourite flavour: My favourite juice was #4: Lemon’s Your Lucky Day. It tasted great and provided the perfect midday energy boost.

Did I cheat? I ate an avocado on the second day before bed, and washed it down with some organic lemon juice. I also ate some plain quinoa on the final night. I was overworked and scared I was going to faint.

Again? I’d do it right now if I could.

Additional notes: Stay hydrated! Anytime I felt hungry and it wasn’t time for another juice, all I had to do was drink water and I would feel fine. Plan ahead! Learn from my mistake! I would have enjoyed the cleanse more than I did if I wasn’t so busy. Ease out! The first day off the cleanse I ate nothing but raw foods and juices. Even two weeks later, I still find myself choosing smoothies over solid foods.

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ALEX’S REVIEW: 

How I prepared for the cleanse: The day before the juice cleanse I wanted to help my body deal with the transition from solid food to juices, so I made sure to drink plenty of nutrient-rich smoothies. I knew that the first day of the juice cleanse would be slightly exhausting with work/school, so I made sure to get enough sleep so that I was fully rested.

Past cleanse experience: None! As a gluten-free vegan I already have a daily clean/wholesome diet that incorporates whole foods regularly.

Day One Summary: I started the cleanse with a positive mindset. By midday I was feeling a little tired and hungry, but then I remembered how important it is to keep hydrated between juices. After drinking some water I started to regain my energy and the hunger subsided until it was time for my next juice. It wasn’t until about 8pm where I felt like I was starting to experience detox symptoms such as nausea and weakness. I started to miss the motions of eating. I wanted so desperately to crunch down on some almonds. After finishing all the juice, I drank some water and went to sleep early. 

Day Two Summary: After my first juice of the day, my body felt a little stronger and I had enough energy to get me through the day. I studied in a coffee shop for a while and was seriously distracted by everyone around me sipping on lattes and munching cookies. At this point I knew I was so close to finishing the cleanse and was so happy and motivated to keep strong until the end, but I was longing for a big bowl of hot hot soup.

Day Three Summary: On the third day I was looking forward to each one of my juices. They kept me satiated and energized as I went through my busy day and I successfully avoided taste-testing the vegan cheesecake I made for Valentine’s Day. I was feeling more and more full with each juice consumed. At midnight I broke the fast and treated myself to a vegan/gluten-free treat from Bunner’s Bake Shop.

Symptoms: Nausea, weakness, dizziness.

Best part: My body felt refreshed and energized!

Worst part: The initial feeling of nausea on the first day of the cleanse. I thought I would feel sick throughout the entire thing, but it subsided by the next day.

Favourite flavour: “Pineapple Head”. It tasted like a piña colada!

Did I cheat? Nope!

Again? Absolutely! I feel like maybe next time I’d like to push myself and try the 5 or 7 day cleanse instead.

Additional notes: I would like to possibly eat raw the day after the juice cleanse finishes to help my body have an easier transition into solid foods again. I jumped straight into food post-cleanse and am curious as to how my body would benefit from going with this approach. Next time around for sure!

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Cool News!

Vegan Girlfriend had the honour of being featured in The Black Rabbit publication.

Check out our spread on pages 102-103!

vegan girlfriend too

We’re looking forward to working with them further!

Don’t forget!

Like us on Facebook! Who ever is our 500th like has a chance to have their photos featured on our Instagram.

Review: Vegan Eats in Montreal, Quebec

By Megan Stulberg

I had a visitor from Texas spend the past couple of weeks with me in Toronto. Looking for a little diversion, we nipped over to Montreal for a few days to see the sights, soak up some culture and eat everything possible.

I hadn’t visited Montreal since going vegan, but I was pleasantly surprised with what the city has to offer. Planning a trip to Montreal soon? Bookmark this page and keep my review in mind!  

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#1: AUX VIVRES

Aux Vivres is a popular vegan restaurant located at 4631 Boulevard Saint-Laurent. The menu is full of flavourful dishes that incorporate fresh, organic and non-GMO ingredients. For convenience, Aux Vivres has two separate entrances: one for dine-in, and one for take-out. It’s always packed with customers, which is a good sign for any speciality restaurant: it means that the food is enjoyed by local vegans and non-vegans alike! 

WHAT I GOT: I ordered the Thai bowl…brown rice, grilled tofu, steamed bok choy, pickled carrot, daikon, peanuts and coriander tossed in a peanut dressing. It was delicious and extremely filling! It actually tasted very similar to my favourite dish from Toronto’s Fresh restaurant: the Buddha bowl. I was craving something sweet, so I also ordered a chocolate smoothie (soy milk, cacao, dates and flaxseed). 

WHAT HE GOT: Austin ordered a gyro pita stuffed with seitan souvlaki, tzatziki, tomato and lettuce, served with potato wedges. Of all the meals he enjoyed while in Canada, this was his favourite – tied with the mac-and-cheese burrito from Hot Beans in Toronto.

Aux Vivres is my #1 recommendation! We were actually so taken with this restaurant that we stopped in again before catching the bus home. On our second visit I tried the BLT Caesar salad topped with smoked coconut bacon, macadamia nut cheese and grilled tofu (pictured below), while Austin opted for a traditional veggie burger with mayo, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. Delicious.

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#2: CAFÉ VERDURE

After reading a review of Café Verdure on Yelp – “Cupcakes are a definite standout. Moist, rich, sweet, more heartbreakingly intense than your ex-boyfriend” – I was sold. This restaurant’s menu is entirely gluten-free, vegan, organic and refined sugar-free. Sandwiched in between two other health-oriented restaurants (Crudessence and La Panthère Verte) at 2159 Rue Mackay, Café Verdure is relaxed and casual. Customers can order at the counter, and the food is brought to your table about 15 minutes later.  

WHAT I GOT: A veggie patty on a sesame bun topped with mayo, pickles, onion, tomatoes and greens, along with an alfalfa sprout salad and organic pomegranate soda. 

WHAT HE GOT: Italian veggie balls with tomato sauce, plant-based “cheese” and greens on a traditional bun, an alfalfa sprout salad and almond milk latte. 

We then made a stellar decision to order two chocolate glazed doughnuts to share: one filled with peanut butter and the second with a raspberry compote. Everything we ate here was too good! I’d recommend stopping into Café Verdure for a quick lunch, as this is a relaxed, casual spot. 

cruddessence

#3: CRUDESSENCE

Crudessence is a raw (entirely gluten-free and vegan as well) restaurant conveniently located right next to Café Verdure. We stopped in on the first night of our trip and were able to enjoy our meal while people-watching and enjoying the warm breeze from their front patio.  

WHAT I GOT: I ordered the partially cooked enchiladas (corn-and-golden flaxseed tacos filled with spicy red pepper pâté, spinach, mushrooms, lime-jalapeño cream, raw cacao mole and guacamole), served with microgreens on the side. I also had a refreshing orange, mango, lemon, vanilla and agave smoothie, which tasted exactly like an orange Creamsicle. Mmm!  

WHAT HE GOT: Austin ordered the raw pizza — a sun-dried tomato and sprouted buckwheat crust topped with pistachio pesto, aubergine bacon, arugula, cherry tomato and sprouts — served with a side of microgreens. He also tried the “Macaö” smoothie: cacao, maca, banana, coconut, Brazil nut milk (say whaaaat?) and dates.

Crudessence may seem expensive, but as any vegan knows, this is typical of raw restaurants due to the quality of the ingredients used and alternative food preparation. For me, a good dining experience is always worth the extra $$$. 

lolarosachili

#4: LOLA ROSA

Lola Rosa is a vegetarian restaurant tucked away at 4581 Avenue du Parc. This place is a vegan junk food lover’s dream. You can get everything from nachos to burritos to poutine. 

WHAT I GOT: I ordered the chili bowl: red-wine marinated black beans, salsa, avocado, chipotle, lime and cilantro served on top of brown basmati rice, with a side of corn tortilla chips for dipping. The dish did not disappoint, and I’ve had my fair share of vegan chili. It was also extremely filling, so happily I was well prepared for our post-dinner visit to Pub Le Sainte-Élisabeth for a round (or two, or three) of drinks. 

WHAT HE GOT: A quesadilla served with a side salad and brown basmati rice. The quesadilla was stuffed with vegan “cheese,” jalapeño and onion-infused sweet potato purée, guacamole and salsa. 

veganbuffet2

veganbuffet1

#5: RÉSTO VEGO 

Resto Végo, located on the 2nd floor at 1204 McGill College Avenue, is a 100% vegetarian buffet with all gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dishes clearly marked. Plates are weighed at checkout, but there is a price cutoff of $14.50 for lunch and $17.50 for dinner, giving customers the chance to properly pig out. With the exception of a single experience a few months ago at a small Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas, I hadn’t been able to enjoy a buffet since before I was diagnosed with Celiac disease two years ago. The food tasted great — the only drawback was that I felt like I was eating lunch in a high school, plastic cafeteria tray and all. 

WHAT I GOT: Oven-roasted chipotle potatoes, tofu rice vermicelli, fresh chickpea salad medley, and kale salad with tricolour quinoa. For dessert: a piece of raw raspberry, lemon and goji berry cake with fresh fruit. I wish I had bothered to go back for seconds! 

WHAT HE GOT: Baked tofu, oven-roasted chipotle potatoes, tofu and rice Imperial rolls, creamy coleslaw, plus a piece of cherry “cheesecake” for dessert. 

Needless to say, we both had a wonderful time stuffing ourselves silly in Montreal. I’ll definitely be heading back in the winter to sample more vegan delights.