Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese

By Megan Vick

Once upon time, when I didn’t follow a plant-based diet, I LOVED cheese. I’m not talking puppy love. I mean full-blown, think about it every second love… just with cheese.

 

Yeah, it’s kinda gross to be that into cheese, but it just called to me. I lived on the nasty Instant Mac when I was in college and I was always weirded out by that magical powder that transformed into a cheese-like flavor. Shortly after college, I started dropping chemical-laden food from my diet. But, when I transitioned to a vegan diet, I really missed mac ‘n cheese. It was such a childhood staple for me and suddenly, when I didn’t have it, I was really bummed out.

 

I swear I’ve tried nearly every recipe out there and it’s just not the same as the stuff Mom & Dad used to make. I will admit, I never tried anything that required soaking cashews and whatnot, because, let’s face it:

Cashew Cheese

Enter Daiya Foods.

 

Firstly, this is not a sponsored post. I’m not getting any money or free stuff from them (although, if I do, I won’t complain). You just NEED to know how awesome this mac n cheese is.

 

Daiya Shreds - Vegan Cheese

 

Try this:

  • 1/3 Cup Whole Grain Pasta (Rotini or Macaroni)
  • 1/3 Cup + 1/4 cup Filtered or Distilled Water
  • 1/3 Heaping Cup of Daiya Cheese Shreds (I like to mix Pepperjack & Cheddar)
  • Splash of Almond Milk

Mix the pasta and water in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 4 minutes, then stir, 2 minutes, then stir, and microwave for 1 minute. Your pasta should be cooked and there should be a little pasta water left over. You need this pasta water!

Whole Wheat Rotini

Now, add your cheese and microwave it for approximately 30 seconds until it’s melty. Remove your bowl from the microwave and stir the pasta and cheese together. The cheese might get sticky and lumpy, but that’s okay! Add your splash (or splashes) of almond milk to get the creaminess you desire.

 

Vegan Mac 'N Cheese

 

Feel free to add any vegan toppings like bread crumbs or peas! Enjoy!

Thanks to Daiya Foods for being awesome!

Cruelty Free? Easy as 1-2-3!

By Megan Vick

 

Are you looking for a way to remove animal tested beauty products from your bathroom? It took me a long time to do it. I won’t lie, it’s easy to make the decision to go cruelty-free, but hard to look at all those expensive products in your bathroom and just toss them in the bin.

Cruelty-Free Bunny

 

But don’t think you have to do that! Going cruelty-free is much easier (and much less wasteful) than you may think. At Shorganics, we pride ourselves on being cruelty-free, but we also make sure we’re not creating more trash to go in a landfill. Try going cruelty free with these easy steps:

 

  1. Know which products you need to replace first. Be sure you check expiration dates and how much you have left.
  2. Know which product/brand will replace your current item (hey, what do you know… I’ve got some vegan, cruelty free skin care products for you)
  3. Use what you’ve got, replace as you need it

 

You’ve spend money on soap, face scrubs, face creams, body scrubs, body washes, and all that other stuff hanging out in your bathroom and we don’t want you to waste it. Going cruelty-free is commendable, but don’t put unnecessary material in the trash if you can use it and recycle the containers.

 

Always remember how awesome you are!

Why We Don’t Use Palm Oil

By Megan Vick

 

At the South Durham Farmers Market, we met a wonderful woman who used to live in Borneo. She was so thrilled to learn we don’t use palm oil in any of our products, particularly our soap.

 

Palm oil has been used for many years in nearly everything for both food and cosmetic use. It’s solid at room temperature, which makes it ideal for thickening and hardening products. It’s frequently found in granola bars, candy, and packaged food items as well as soaps, lotions, and other personal care items.

 

Palm Fruit Plantation

Palm Fruit Plantation

 

The problem with palm oil is not with the oil itself, but with the destruction of the environment that comes with the harvesting of the trees. Orangutans, an endangered species, live in the rain forests of Borneo and Southeast Asia. They are particularly affected by any deforestation in the region. In Indonesian,  “orangutan” means “Person of the Jungle” and these amazing creatures share 97% of DNA with humans. It’s important to say no to palm oil (link) to help protect the environment and the species.

 

In Southeast Asia, conservation is not on the mind of many like it is in America. Orangutans are thought of as pests and are casually run over with logging trucks or shot on plantations. Plantation workers also burn vast areas of land to clear it for new growth. Many believe slow-moving Orangutans cannot get out of the path quickly enough and are burned to death.

 

Because of this information, we are 100% committed to the Orangutans and we will never use Palm Oil in our products. Deforestation is an ongoing problem and there are many alternatives to Palm Oil in both food and personal care products.

 

Orangutan & baby

 

There are new and ongoing developments with sustainable palm oil. This oil is harvested responsibly and any product made with sustainable palm oil should bear a logo (find US logos, etc). Keep in mind that a very small percentage of palm oil is sustainably grown and harvested. In some cases, it’s also possible to mix certified sustainable palm with non-certified (or non-sustainable) palm and still make the claim. Food products labeled with the term “vegetable fat” may also contain palm oil. Be sure to check with the manufacturer if you are concerned.

 

With the increasing destruction of rain forests and of species around the world, we have successfully found alternatives to many cruel or questionable ingredients currently used. We’re proud to be a Palm-Free, truly vegan company and you can be sure no animals were harmed in the creation of our products.

 

Check out the World Wildlife Fund for more information on what you can do to help Orangutans.

 

Namaste

Paleo vs. Vegan Lifestyle

By Megan Vick

 

At dinner one evening, someone said, “if we were truly meant to eat meat, why do we have to cook it? Doesn’t it make more sense to evolve to eat raw meat like carnivores?”

 

This statement sparked a lively discussion. Many people follow the paleo diet. This means eating things that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have been able to eat: nuts, seeds, meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.  The paleo diet removes processed and refined foods all together. The belief is that people will be able to be happier and healthier without the processed and refined foods.

 

Caveman Cartoon

 

When speaking about processed and refined foods, this means everything from American cheese slices to any product using refined flour (bread, pasta, cookies) or refined sugar is eliminated from the diet. This may seem a bit extreme given our current society, but many of today’s health problems stem from our crappy diet. Full of processed meats, dairy products, and refined sugars and flours, it’s no wonder our society is getting sicker. With heart disease, cancer, and obesity consistently on the rise with adults and children, what can we do?

 

I can certainly applaud those who follow a Paleo diet. The main concern with the Paleo lifestyle is how much meat is consumed. Even though you may feel better after cutting out processed and refined foods, are you still contributing to cruelty of animals by supporting factory farming? Many of the individuals I know who follow a Paleo diet remove most (if not all) of the icky stuff from their diet, but then INCREASE their portions of meat. This is not the answer.

 

Go Vegan

 

It seems that those who choose to follow a Paleo diet should actually hunt their own food to eat it. Maybe that is an extreme thought, but how can humans begin to appreciate where their food comes from if they cannot hunt it, gather it, or grow it? I am not advocating running out with a makeshift bow and arrow to get your dinner tonight, I just want to get people thinking about food.

 

I’m vegan because it’s natural and easy. After cutting out meat from my life, I haven’t once wanted it back. Whether you follow a vegan lifestyle, a Paleo diet, or the “See-food” diet, remember where your food comes from and what goes into getting to your plate.

 

Namaste