Shopping Guide to the Best Vegan Food, Clothing, Body Care and Cosmetics
Before I list the awesome products out there, please know that soy—unless you are allergic to it—can be a great addition to your diet as it contains ALL of the amino acids, protein, calcium, iron, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folic acid and more! Additionally, the isoflavones and phytochemicals in soy can reduce, treat and prevent diseases. Don't be fooled by all the negative publicity swirling around soy foods in recent years. This misinformation comes from the meat, egg, and dairy industries, doctors who are misguided about their food choices, and the snooty raw-food community that hypocritically consumes honey and bee pollen (see the Dairy and Honey section of the All About Veganism page to understand the evils of the honey industry). For a responsible analysis of the effects of soy foods on human health, visit the All About Veganism page, and click the link entitled The Truth—and Falsehoods—About Soy. For a list of companies that do not use GM soy and non-sustainable palm oil, click the link entitled GMOs, Pesticides, and Palm Oil. If you want to add some handy vegan phone apps, get Happy Cow, VeganXpress, VeganSteven, Animal-Free (Apple devices) and Animal-Free (Android devices), or Cruelty-Free (Apple) and Cruelty-Free (Android).
Anything by TURTLE ISLAND FOODS, the makers of TOFURKY. The oven-roasted, peppered, hickory-smoked, bologna, Italian and roast beef deli slices are simply phenomenal. They also have pepperoni slices, 3 pizzas, Italian sausage, beer bratwursts, kielbasa, franks, breakfast links, jerky, ground tofurky (ground beef and chorizo) and 4 flavors of tempeh strips (smoky maple bacon, sesame garlic, coconut curry and lemon pepper). Check out their website at www.Tofurky.com.
Anything by GARDEIN. They have some of the best veggie beef and chicken on the market. Check out their website at www.gardein.com.
Anything by SOPHIE'S KITCHEN. They have breaded fish fillets, breaded shrimp, shrimp, calamari, squid and prawns. The main ingredient is elephant yam root, also known as Konjac (pronounced KOUN-JAEK). Check out http://sophieskitchen.net/ for more info.
All six soy-free/gluten-free ORGANIC SUNSHINE BURGERS. They use sunflower seeds and brown rice as the base. The different flavors are BBQ, Hemp & Sage, Falafel, Garden Herb, Black Bean and the Original Quarter Pound. BBQ is my favorite. Check out its ingredients: Organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic cooked pinto beans, organic rice syrup, organic onion, organic paprika, organic garlic, sea salt, organic black pepper and natural smoke flavor. For more info, go to www.sunshineburger.com.
The organic soy-free/gluten-free Original and Chipotle burgers by ASHERAH'S GOURMET. They use quinoa as the base. Check out the ingredients for the Original: Organic quinoa, organic sweet potatoes, organic carrots, organic coconut flour, organic onion, organic red bell pepper, organic spices, organic garlic powder, Redmond's real salt (contains over 50 trace minerals) and organic flax meal. For more info, go to www.asherahsgourmet.com.
The soy-free/gluten-free Adzuki Bean and World's Best Veggie Burger by HILARY'S EAT WELL. Check out the ingredients for the World's Best: Millet, quinoa, expeller-pressed coconut oil, spinach, onion, garlic, psyllium husk powder, arrowroot, sweet potato, real salt, apple cider vinegar and sunflower seed oil. For more info, go to www.hilaryseatwell.com.
LIGHTLIFE vegan products are fantastic! Check out the chik'n strips, steak strips, smart bacon, smoky tempeh bacon, pepperoni, plus the ham, bologna and turkey deli meats.
The citrus sparerib cutlets by VEGETARIAN PLUS are fantastic. VEGETARIAN PLUS has some other VEGAN products like tuna rolls, orange chicken, shrimp and kung pao chicken. Make sure to read the ingredient list for other VP products because some of their foods are only vegetarian (containing eggs or dairy).
Any of WORTHINGTON'S canned goods are wonderful, especially their dogs, chili, and skallops. However, the canned TUNO fish is horrible! Don't buy it. They used to make a frozen version of TUNO, which was utterly amazing, but they've stopped making it for some reason.
Riblets, burgers, meatloaf and chicken patties by GARDENBURGER.
Chicken patties, potstickers and egg rolls by HEALTH IS WEALTH.
BOCA vegan burgers. BOCA has a huge line of veggie goods but most are only vegetarian (containing eggs or dairy).
Meatless Meatballs by NATE'S.
YVES has a huge selection of vegan foods like burgers and deli meats.
MORNINGSTAR makes a huge line of veg food. But most items contain eggs or dairy so they're not vegan. A few new VEGAN products—chicken and steak strips, ribs and a burger—have hit the market.
STUFFED CELEBRATION ROAST by FIELD ROAST GRAIN MEAT CO. This roast is made from wheat (seitan) and it's remarkable! I've only seen this at Whole Foods so far.
Anything by FIVE STAR FOODIES. They have a FANTASTIC soy-free/gluten-free vegan burger made with artichokes! Check out their website at www.fivestarfoodies.com.
Anything by BAHAMA. They're a soy-free/gluten-free vegan company that uses rice as the base. They offer five flavors of rice burgers, plus sausage and meatballs. Check out their website at www.bahamariceburger.com.
FOOD FOR LIFE has CLUCKPHREY chicken patties and nuggets, and MOOPHREY burgers. They also have nine gluten-free vegan breads.
MATCH veggie meats are super good. They have beef, chicken, crab, pork and sausage. Check 'em out at www.MatchMeats.com.
UPTON'S NATURALS has four insanely delicious, ready-to-eat wheat meats (seitan) in the following flavors: Ground beef, Italian sausage, Chorizo and traditional. MELISSA'S also has SOYRIZO, a soy-based vegan chorizo.
Vegan Egg Substitutes
To make a scrambled egg, buy firm or extra firm tofu. Remove it from the package and squeeze out any excess water. Crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl and mash it up with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lots of nutritional yeast, black pepper, turmeric and a dash of BRAGG'S LIQUID AMINOS sauce. If you aren't spice savvy, you can use a packet of FANTASTIC WORLD FOODS tofu scramble mix instead. Put everything in a skillet with assorted chopped veggies and sauté until the veggies are semi-soft and tofu is browned.
For an omelet, crumble the tofu with a food processor using the same spice combo as the scrambler. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegan cream cheese (TOFUTTI or GALAXY), a couple pinches of brown sugar and a large dash of vegan milk. Pulse the ingredients and spread the mixture into a pie plate and bake until firm. Sauté assorted vegetables separately and place them on the tofu pie. Fold the tofu pie over the veggies and voilà, you have an omelet.
If you need an egg substitute for baked goods (eggs are an emulsifier and are never used for taste), use these emulsifying agents instead: agar, apple sauce, arrow root, bananas, corn starch, konjac (elephant yam) powder, or soaked ground flax seeds.
Vegan Dairy Substitutes
FOLLOW YOUR HEART has the best vegan cheese! TEESE, DAIYA, TOFUTTI, GALAXY FOODS and WAYFARE have dairy-free cheeses, too. Check out their websites at www.TeeseCheese.com, www.DaiyaFoods.com (soy and gluten-free), www.Tofutti.com, www.GalaxyFoods.com and www.WayfareFoods.com. Remember to ask your local grocery to carry these cheeses and other vegan products. Most grocers will accommodate this request because they exist to make money. They don't care if the product is vegan or not, as long as it sells. GALAXY FOODS also has cream cheese and a grated parmesan topping. You can also order vegan cheese from Black Duck Imports, LLC.
SILK milk. Try all the flavors EXCEPT for the VERY VANILLA flavor. SILK also has yogurt, creamer and eggless nog.
TASTE THE DREAM is a spectacular company that makes RICE DREAM rice milk and ALMOND DREAM ice cream and milk. They also make rice ice cream but it's NOT as good as SOY DELICIOUS, WHOLE SOY or TOFUTTI (see below). There are also vegan milks made from hemp, flaxseeds, coconuts, oats and hazelnuts.
Vanilla-flavored LIVING HARVEST hemp milk. It's delicious in smoothies and cereal! This also comes in chocolate. LIVING HARVEST'S hemp has protein, riboflavin, B12, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, iron, folic acid and all amino acids. Plus, each serving has 900 mg. of Omega 3 and 2800 mg. of Omega 6!
Anything by TOFUTTI, especially their cream cheese, ice cream, sour cream, pizza and cheese slices.
SOY DELICIOUS and WHOLE SOY have delicious ice creams. They're UNBELIEVABLE!
You can also try TURTLE MOUNTAIN'S SO DELICIOUS coconut products: Milk, yogurt, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, creamer, sorbet. COCONUT BLISS has great ice cream and ice cream bars, too.
SOYUMMI FOODS has a great line of puddings available in chocolate, lime, cherry, rice and tapioca. Check out the www.soyummifoods.com website.
EARTH BALANCE has the best butter on the market! It's so good, you'll slap your grandma. They also have soy milk, nut butters, mayo and coconut spread. And, YES, it's all vegan. Check 'em out at www.earthbalancenatural.com.
Vegan Breads, Bagels, and Other Baked Goods
When you think of a simple food item like bread, very few ingredients should come to mind: flour, water, yeast. How come the majority of breads on the market have 30 to 40 ingredients, with things like DATEM and L-Cysteine and dozens of other ambiguous ingredients? Mainstream companies, shamefully, defile our food supply with unnecessary animal by-products to cut down on costs and exploit every last part of an animal's body. For instance, the Einstein Bagels chain has L-Cysteine, an animal amino acid, in its bagels (it is sourced from hair boiled off the bodies of dead animals). And how about mono- and diglycerides from the fat of animals, sodium stearoyl lactylate from the blood and muscle tissue of animals, DATEM (another animal-fat byproduct), monocalcium/calcium phosphate from animal bones—and let's not forget honey (bee vomit).
Some of these ingredients DO have plant alternatives, but unless the label indicates that these ingredients come from vegetable sources, or that the company is vegan, they are likely sourced from the dead bodies of animals. Other frequently used non-vegan ingredients include eggs, milk, milk powder, vitamin D3, whey and sweet dairy whey, milk fat, and butter.
Luckily, there are ethical bread choices. FOOD FOR LIFE has nine gluten-free vegan breads, too. It's just a matter of knowing what to look for, reprogramming your normal routine, and trying something new.
TRADER JOE'S brand whole wheat bagels, sesame seed bagels, plain bagels, everything bagels, cinnamon raisin bagels, organic moral fiber blueberry bran and cranberry orange bran muffins. Most of their pita breads, tortillas and fresh-baked artisan breads are free of animal ingredients. Trader Joe's also has the following brand name vegan options: Rudi's Organics wheat hot dog and hamburger buns, Food for Life's brown rice bread and Ezekiel 4:9's original, sesame or cinnamon raisin breads.
WHOLE FOODS has a bakery with many vegan goods. The ingredients are clearly marked. Also, check out Natural Oven's bagels in cinnamon raisin, whole wheat and brainy; Rudi's bagels in cinnamon raisin, multigrain and plain; Breadsmith's traditional rye, multigrain and French; Whole Foods' 365 brand early bird multi-seed, classic white, mighty multigrain and snappy sourdough; Rudi's country morning white, multigrain oat, whole wheat, double fiber, cinnamon raisin, 7-grain with flax, spelt and spelt ancient grain.
The KROGER chain offers a decent natural foods section with some great choices: Ezekiel 4:9 by (Food for Life) sprouted grain tortillas, cinnamon raisin, sesame, low sodium, 7 sprouted grains, brown rice and cinnamon raisin English muffins; Food for Life brown rice bread, rice almond; ENER G white rice loaf, tapioca loaf, brown rice loaf, and white rice flax loaf.
If you are out and about, there are several places that offer vegan breads. If you have an iPhone/smart phone, the VeganXpress app provides you with an extensive list of all things vegan at restaurant chains. Here's some more info about vegan bread selections:
AUNTIE ANNE'S: Original, Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Sugar, Garlic, Jalapeño, Glazin' Raisin (request it without butter)
AU BON PAIN: Bread bowl, artisan baguette, artisan multigrain bread, artisan sun-dried tomato bread, country white bread, focaccia
BLIMPIE: White roll
BRUEGGER'S BAGELS: Baked apple, cinnamon raisin, cinnamon sugar, cranberry orange, everything, garlic, jalapeño, onion, plain, poppy, pumpernickel, pumpkin, rosemary olive oil, salt, sesame, sesame softwhich, everything softwhich, ciabatta bread, whole wheat wrap
PANERA: Artisan French, ciabatta, country, plain foccacia, sesame semolina, sourdough, stone-milled rye, three-seed, and French baguette
QUIZNOS: White bread, wheat bread
ROLY POLY: Whole wheat or flour tortilla, low-carb wheat tortilla
SHEETZ: Ciabatta bread, cinnamon raisin bagel, English muffin, everything bagel, panini, plain bagel, pretzel roll, tortilla, wheat sub, white sub, wrap
SUBWAY: Ciabatta, Italian (white), rosted garlic, sourdough, wraps
TIM HORTONS: wheat or white roll, soup roll, outcakes, and the following bagels: 12-grain, blueberry, cinnamon raisin, everything, onion, plain, poppy, sesame seed
Other Vegan Foods
Vegenaise (vegan mayo) by FOLLOW YOUR HEART. This is flat out the BEST product on the market anywhere. I dip everything in it from carrots and broccoli to pretzels and tofu. Check out their website at www.FollowYourHeart.com.
Ready-to-eat tofu by WHITEWAVE. WHITEWAVE also has tofu that you can prepare yourself.
AMY'S has a huge line of veg food. However, most of these products contain dairy so they're not vegan. The TOFU SCRAMBLE pocket, RICE MACARONI & DAIYA CHEESE and more than 20 soups are delicious, and vegan!
TRADER JOE'S has its own brands of tofu, soy and rice milks, chicken and steak strips. The tofu is out of this world, and everything else is pretty good. If you go to www.TraderJoes.com/products, you can scroll down and click the "V" icon to see all the vegan items at their store.
UNCLE EDDIE'S vegan cookies. Get the oatmeal raisin brand. They also have chocolate chip, peanut butter and trail mix flavors.
Vegan chocolate can be obtained at Chocolate Decadence , or at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or any other vegan-friendly store. Always remember that genuine chocolate is naturally vegan. It's a bean.
GO MAX GO FOODS has veganized seven of the most popular chocolate bars! Go to www.gomaxgofoods.com and find out who's carrying Mahalo (Almond Joy), Jokerz (Snickers), Twilight (Milky Way), Buccaneer (Three Musketeers), Thumbs Up (Butterfinger), Cleo's (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups) and Snap (Nestle Crunch). You can also order them online.
If you peruse the ingredients of some of your favorite foods, you'll be surprised by what happens to be vegan: Oreo cookies, original Ritz crackers, Wheat Thins, peanut butter, jelly, Twizzlers, original Now & Laters, original Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Charm's Blow Pops, Dots, Hot Tamales, Ruffles (and most potato chips minus the ones with sour cream and/or cheese), Duncan Hines frostings, Snyder's pretzels and more. Imagine Foods offers many vegan soups, broths and stocks, too!
Do your grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, Ralph's, Kroger, Albertson's, Acme, Publix, Giant, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and other national/local chains for great selections of vegan meats and vegan dairy products. If your favorite store doesn't offer enough vegan products, don't be afraid to speak up and request these products. By the way, the SOY Veggie Slices that seem to be in every grocery store nowadays are NOT vegan. They contain casein (dairy). In order to get vegan cheese there, please tell the store manager to bring in FOLLOW YOUR HEART, TEESE, DAIYA, TOFUTTI, GALAXY FOODS, and WAYFARE cheeses.
Other WebsitesVEGAN FOODS AND BEVERAGES
Barnivore: A guide to vegan beers, wines, and liquors.
La Dolce Vegan
The Vegan Chef
May Wah Healthy Vegetarian Food Inc.
Allison's Gourmet: Artisanal, vegan, and organic cookies, confections, and bakery.
Veg Advantage: a foodservice brokerage that has helped dozens of restaurants, universities, primary and secondary schools, and businesses incorporate vegan and vegetarian selections into their menus and cafeterias.
Vegetarian Shoes UK
The Herbivore Clothing Co.
Endless Shoes & Handbags carries extensive lines of vegetarian and vegan shoes for men and women. To view women's shoes, click here, then select the "Vegetarian & Vegan" category; for men's shoes, click here, and select the same category.
Great Green Shoes, a shopping blog devoted to shoes that are free of animal by-products, as well as eco-friendly and fair-trade shoes.
Lush: Soaps and bubble baths; face, body and foot lotions; shampoos, conditioners and gels; deodorants; body sprays and perfumes. All of their products are vegetarian, and most are vegan. NO animal testing, of course. Lush has outlets in 33 states and numerous countries.
Beauty Without Cruelty: A comprehensive line of vegan and organic hair care and skin care products and cosmetics.
Herbs Of Grace: Offers mineral-based (and 100% vegan) cosmetics, body bronzers, and lip balms.
Aveda: A pioneer in the green cosmetics world, offering over 95% organic and vegan ingredients, free of parabens, and never tested on animals. They offer an entire line of skin care, body care and hair care, and make-up. The make-up brushes are free of animal hair, too. Check labels to avoid beeswax and honey, which are found in all the lip products and a dozen other body and hair care items.
Hurraw!: Makers of a raw vegan lip balm in assorted flavors.
Invidia Salon & Spa: An all-vegan salon/spa located in Dundee, Michigan.