We all like reviews when it comes to making choices for our health with products we use regularly! Especially when there are so many products with hidden, toxic ingredients we need to avoid. I'm thrilled to learn about Reviews.com and excited to share with you some excellent references! Reviews.com's passion is to share their unbiased research with those it would help most.
The Best Natural Deodorants
The top choices are vegan and cruelty-free!
The 30-Second Review
The best natural deodorant fends off odor without using ingredients that are likely to be toxic or irritating. After talking with a dermatologist, a chemist, and two natural deodorant creators, we hand-tested 23 to find our top picks: aluminum-free formulas with pleasant scents, goop-free application, and minimal residue.
The 30-Second Review
The best probiotic supplements contain at least one billion bacteria cultures and are certified by an independent lab for purity and potency. Even better, they’re guaranteed to be viable; after all, we want those guys alive, not dead. To find the best, we enlisted the help of probiotic and health experts, dug into clinical trial findings, and examined the finalists ourselves. We chose four top picks that each target a specific health goal.
I wrote this review for the Vegan Outdoor Adventures. GoRaw Banana Bread Sprouted Bars were included in the Fall 2016 Vegan Outdoor Adventures Seasonal Sample Box. Original post is here.
goRaw Sprouted Bars Rock! I was stoked to see a sample of the Sprouted Bar included in the Fall VOA Sample Box! As an avid runner, hiker and outdoors gal, proper nutrition that’s clean and serves a purpose is very important to me. Not to mention, I’m also a plant-based health coach so I’m always analyzing ingredients vs. label claims.
goRaw Sprouted Bars are “real food”. The seeds are cleaned, soaked, sprouted, and mixed by hand. By gently drying goRaw products in their state of the art custom dehydration rooms, they are able to preserve powerful nutrients and enzymes. There are 5 different flavors of goRaw Sprouted Bars (Sweet Spirulina, Chewy Apricot, Banana Bread, Raisin Crunch and Pumpkin Seeds) and 2 sizes (.4oz and 1.8oz).
goRaw offers a plethora of healthy junk free snack varieties (over 45 products) that have all been crafted from raw, organic sprouted ingredients. What does this mean? You get a nutrient-dense enzyme-packed snack that is always vegan, non-GMO, gluten free and raw. Boom!
So, why is raw so important? There are numerous benefits as the process of cooking can destroy much of the enzymes and nutrients in foods. By keeping foods raw, you are able to preserve more powerful nutrients for optimal health benefits. FYI – in this case, raw is defined as keeping dry (dehydrated) under 105 degrees F.
Freeland Foods was started in 2002 when founder and CEO, Robert Freeland, started selling flaxseed crackers at San Diego’s Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market under the goRaw brand. They sold out quickly! Today Freeland Foods is the world’s largest raw food manufacturer.
A cool thing to test:
Take your goRaw bar next time you are on a 2-3 day hike and it will grow sprouts by the time you are back to the trailhead. (Or try at home.) This test proves that the product is truly live and the enzymes are still there. It’s the sprouted flaxseed that continues to grow after it’s dried. Even the bars with sunflower seeds will do the same. Did you know that sprouted seeds are easily digested too?
Ingredients and Taste:
All goRaw Sprouted Bars have between 4-6 ingredients. That’s it! They are minimally processed, however there are no harsh processing aids and the plant itself is sun lit. Only sustainable seeds are used and they source locally when available. Almost all ingredients are fair trade. They even use fresh bananas and fresh dates. The flavor and texture scream natural and healthy. They each contain a little bit of a different combination of natural sweeteners (from dates, to raisins, to agave), but in very small amounts so the sugar count is very low.
The goRaw Sprouted Bars are my go-to choice whether it’s for an on-the-go snack or regular fueling while out in the backcountry. They will truly keep you going until your next meal. Thanks again VOA for including this in the Fall Sample Box!
I'm a huge fan of Vegan Outdoor Adventures (VOA), owned by Jessica Ryle. If you aren't already following VOA, now's the time! She does all of the leg work so that you don’t have to spend forever searching for outdoor essentials that are vegan! She makes it easy for you to find everything to compliment your cruelty-free outdoor lifestyle, including:
* Links to vegan outdoor equipment
* Interviews with nature-loving vegans
* Gear reviews
I've been fortunate to write a couple of product reviews for VOA, including: My Love for Osprey Backpacks - GO VEGAN and Patagonia Layering System - Vegan Style.
VOA recently launched the Seasonal Sample Box and it TRULY ROCKS! Jessica created this project to help others discover vegan outdoorsy snacks and products for their outdoor adventures. We all know how frustrating it can be searching for options, so having an expert do the research and personally test and approve everything is priceless! I just received the my Fall Box and WOW! This is such a brilliant way to be introduced to some great vegan products and snacks.
The fall box included 7 vegan, cruelty-free & US made snacks and products:
Be sure to stay connected and sign up for the VOA Newsletter so you don't miss out on the upcoming Winter Sample Box!
Cotopaxi Paray Lightweight Jacket Review
First off, as a proud Cotopaxi Local Ambassador for the PNW, I’m grateful to be able to test and review Cotopaxi’s awesome and innovative gear. I’ve recently been testing the performance of the Paray Lightweight Jacket during runs and hikes.
From city street runs, mountainous trail runs or backcountry hikes, the Paray appears wherever wind blows! I'm always happy to have this jacket on me to whip out whenever brisk breezes blow. It really is the jacket for all year long, especially here in Seattle. It is now my goto jacket for when there is dense fog, light rain, and chilly mornings. I layer it with a simple synthetic base layer due to it’s rockin’ athletic fit that provides unrestricted mobility. Also, because of it’s DWR-finished 20D mini-repstop nylon, it is surprisingly durable for its light construction.
I tested the jacket on a several 5-10 mile runs with and with light rain as well as half day hikes with elevation change. When hiking, I didn't even notice it when stowed in my pack or clipped to my backpack, but once I felt a windy chill, this jacket really came in handy. I can' t wait to take it alpine hiking this summer and on windy trail runs. As far as rain is concerned, it does great in light showers, but I wouldn't recommend it for heavy rains or intense snowfall.
I was truly impressed with every aspect of the design. It has everything I needed – "The athletic fit provides unrestricted mobility, and it’s cut to work in conjunction with light layers underneath. A scuba hood provides additional protection for your neck and head, while elastic binding throughout keeps the Paray in place as you move. An internal chest pocket, dual hand pockets, and internal key pouch offer refuge for your essentials, and logos front and back provide small hits of reflectivity." - Cotopaxi.com
My favorite all-around feature that makes this product incredibly unique is the minimalist design that literally packs down to the size of a large avocado!
Who Should Buy It: Runners, hikers, mountain climbers and anyone who wants a very light, breathable windbreaker with moderate rain protection.
Specs: The Paray is a featherweight running, hiking, climbing, do-anything shell. Ultralight 20D mini-ripstop nylon, a polyurethane backing, and DWR finish are the key players in this packable, highly breathable jacket.
Learn more about why I LOVE being a Cotopaxi Ambassador here!
What exactly does healthy, radiant and youthful skin begin with? Simple answer: a lower glycemic, whole food plant-based diet rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, paired with a natural, organic skin care regimine.
Our skin is a reflection of the foods we feed it. By taking charge and nourishing our overall health with fresh vegetables, dark leafy greens, fresh fruits, super foods, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, whole-grains and legumes our skin will shine. Processed foods and animal products don’t deliver anything living or rejuvenating to our skin. Eat as close to nature, consuming a high whole-foods diet. Eat the rainbow everyday if you can. Fresh veggies, fruits and juices like carrots, avocado, celery, and cucumber deliver hydration and skin nourishing and rejuvenating fats, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Try to incorporate many alkaline foods into your diet as well.
Some Top Anti-Aging Foods:
Don’t forget about staying active and sleep
Staying active helps with many things, including: Elevation in mood, healthy blood circulation to the skin, improvement in immunity, and better quality of sleep.
Sleep is extremely important to overall health. When we rest, everything goes into repair mode– including our skin. When you eat a clean, whole food plant-based diet and stay active, the quality of sleep improves. In addition, as you feel more rested and restored, you will become more energized to maintain an active lifestyle and plan for healthier eating every day.
Organic Skin Care: Hana Organic Skincare Review
I was recently introduced to an incredible local company called Hana Organic Skincare. They make gorgeous products without harmful ingredients.
I’ve always been very picky about what I put on my skin, so prior to Hana Organic Skincare, I found myself trying to make many of my skincare products myself. Now, I’m not only stoked about how well my skin enjoys these products, but I’m practically addicted with this entire line and look forward to my daily skin care regimen. Hana Organic Skincare was created on the gorgeous Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington State. The line is 100% cruelty free (most products are vegan), gluten free and uses only the highest quality certified, Non-GMO ingredients. Created in 2011 by certified herbalist, Karen Ries and hand made in small batches, Hana Organic Skincare provides pure, simple products for your overall radiant health and well-being.
Overall, I would describe the products as being incredibly delicate, gentle, natural, non-irritating and easy to apply. They are also very effective. My skin loves these natural ingredients!
My favorite product from this line has to be the Eye Oil. I’m really picky when it comes to the area around my eyes, as it’s very delicate. Hana’s Eye Oil has certified organic jojoba and rosehip seed oils as well as vitamin E and rose essential oil – truly nourishing! The small drop will easily do one eye, sometimes two. It’s not greasy and it absorbs well. A little goes a long way.
Ingredients: jojoba & rosehip seed oils; Vitamin E; rose essential oil.
It’s always been hard for me to find a serum I truly like and works for my sensitive skin. After 4 weeks of using the Luxe Serum, I am beyond pleased. My skin has an even tone and is super soft! As little as 2-3 drops of this earthy, yet sweet combination is plenty to smooth over my face and neck. The skin rejuvenating benefits are priceless Ingredients include: certified organic jojoba, apricot and rosehip seed oils; Vitamin E; lavender, neroli, frankincense and rose otto essential oils.
Ingredients: jojoba, apricot & rosehip seed oils; Vitamin E; lavender, neroli, frankincense & rose otto essential oils.
This lovely combination of white clay, organic oats, almonds, poppy seeds, rose, lavender & calendula is easy to apply and very gentle on sensitive irritated skin. It works fabulous as a gental cleanser as well as a mask. As a mask I mix it up with toner in my hand before I gently apply to my face - leaving it on for about 15 minutes then use a warm washcloth to remove and follow with Gentle Toner and moisturizer.
Ingredients: white clay; oats; +almonds; poppy seeds; rose centifolia (rose); lavendula officianalis (lavender); calendula officianalis (calendula); lavender & rose essential oils.
This product pairs very nicely with the Gentle Cleanser as it’s lightweight and easily applied in a convenient mist spray. The smell is lovely too including certified organic rose hydrosol, aloe vera gel, ylang ylang and lavender & lemon essential oils.
Gentle indeed! This liquid cleanser leaves no soap residue, immediately leaving your skin moisture, refreshed and clean! Since it’s not soap based, it didn’t dry my skin at all either. The smell is crisp and light with rose hydrosol, castile soap, jojoba oil with geranium and neroli essential oils.
Bonus: Hana also has cute essential travel kits available – I just love this! As many road trips as I do, this makes is super convenient. It’s also an excellent way to experience this incredible line for the first time.
HANA Organic Skincare is a wonderful innovative company with a commitment ” to provide pure, simple products for your radiant health and wellbeing.”
I highly recommend you try this line - HANDS DOWN! - Kristin (aka Miss Bellevue Vegan)
Previous post: The Hottest Health and Wellness Trends in 2016
The Mayuri Family of Food Businesses: A leader in specialty foods in the Seattle Area.
Do you love vegan Indian food, such as curry, vindaloo, kitchari, masala, samosas, and pakoras? Do you wish you could cook up these delicacies like a pro, but have no idea where to start? Head on down to Mayuri Foods in Redmond or Bothell, where you’ll find an incredible wealth of vegan-friendly imported goods and organic produce with excellent prices. Mayuri Foods is part of the Mayuri Family of Food Businesses, which includes two grocery stores (Redmond and Bothell), two restaurants (Redmond and Bothell), a bakery specializing in vegan baked goods (awesome wedding cakes), and catering/weddings.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Raj Poudyal, one of the owners of Mayuri Foods in Redmond, as well as get a full tour this incredible grocery store! Let’s just say, I was beyond impressed! It’s perfect for vegans looking for fresh ideas (see my latest recipe below), as well as anyone who savors healthy, light recipes that don’t compromise on authenticity. Mayuri has a unique grocery selection (Indo/Pak/Nepali/European), an impressive bulk section, organic produce and exotic spices making it easy to whip up your favorite ethnic dishes – vegan style. I’m a huge fan of exotic flavors found in Indian food, so thanks to Mayuri, my kitchen is now stocked full of exotic spices, bulk grains, beans and lentils. Be sure you sign up for their Club Card Program when you shop. It’s free and will reward you with additional savings.
Mayuri Indian Cuisine
If you haven’t yet been to Mayuri Indian Cuisine, now’s the time! The Mayuri Redmond restaurant recently moved to a new location, which now includes a bar. It is surrounded by a large guest parking lot with a seasonal patio adjacent to the saffron colored building. They offer an abundant, fresh lunch buffet with quick, friendly service and a la carte dinner menu. Happy Hour and Daily Specials are also available. The Mayuri Team recommends letting them know you are vegan and they will explain which items are vegan.
Holiday Party at Mayuri Indian Cuisine: Eastside Seattle Vegan Group
We will be having our first annual holiday party at 1:30pm on Friday, December 11th at Mayuri Cuisine in Redmond. For more details and to RSVP, visit or join our Facebook Group Page. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org This will be a great way to connect with other vegans in the areas over delicious VEGAN Indian Cuisine!
RECIPE: Ayurvedic Kitchari
Do you need to hit the “reset” button? It’s time for Kitchari! This easy and nourishing meal is a staple comfort food of India, especially during times of fasting. It's meant to be nourishing and grounding.
In macrobiotics, food is viewed as energy and using it to serve the larger purpose of your life. It makes it very easy to create delicious, nutrient-dense, and healthy meals. As for the food groups, macrobiotics primarily includes whole grains, beans and vegetables as they nourish humans best. After living a macrobiotic lifestyle, you naturally discover the truth about the impact of food and health once you experience how great you feel.
One of my favorite nutritional bar companies that supports this way of life is GoMacro. I am an advocate for what they represent as well as the education that follows. I encourage my clients to include these bars as part of their everyday health, lifestyle and activities. They are excellent in-between meals, after a workout or even as a dessert. Everything is made 100% vegan, USDA certified organic, certified non-GMO, Gluten-Free and made from mostly raw ingredients. I love this company because our beliefs align in that everything we put in our bodies should have a beneficial impact.
As a company, MIU COLOR® is based on the theme of "slow life ", simple, environmentally friendly, comfortable daily necessities for consumers everywhere, focusing on the development and extension of the day-to-day supplies, products ranging from home, office, travel, to clothing. They stores cover all over the world, and provide a relaxing and harmonious, natural enjoyment for the fans of" slow life "to enjoy the sun, air, water, exercise and the source of life and health.
Overall I highly recommend these bottles! There safe, stylish, extremely well made, and a bonus fun to drink out of!
MIU COLOR® Product Description:
Size: 2.6 x 2.6 x 9.3 inch
Material: Borosilicate Glass is a kind of low expansion rate, high temperature resistance, high strength, high hardness, high transmittance and high chemical stability, which is known as a kind of special glass material.
Can be purchased on Amazon
Miss Bellevue Vegan Celebrates 6th Annual Hemp History Week : June 1-7, 2015.
"Every day, more and more Americans discover the benefits of hemp. This ever-expanding market includes healthy food and body care products, as well as eco-friendly textiles, clothing, auto parts, and building materials. Despite hemp’s growing popularity, and the recent Farm Bill legislation that now permits hemp to be grown for research in states with hemp farming laws in place, the Federal policy for hemp farming – created in the 1930’s is outdated and currently prevents U.S. farmers from widely growing this nutritious, versatile, and eco-friendly crop." - Hemp History Week
As more and more Americans support the health and environmental benefits of hemp products, hemp farming promises economic opportunity for farmers and manufacturers. I had the opportunity to do a blog interview with Hemp History Week, where they addressed the most common questions around industrial hemp.
Miss Bellevue Vegan is celebrating Hemp History Week June 1-7 by providing you with an excellent Q & A session addressing the common questions people have around hemp. After reading the interview below, hopefully you will #GETYOURHEMPON!
MBV: What are the goals for Hemp History Week in relation to growing awareness of the health benefits of hemp?
HHW: Hemp History Week’s goal as a nation-wide education campaign that aims raise awareness about the benefits of hemp products—both environmental benefits of hemp products like soaps and clothing, as well as the abundant health and nutritional benefits. Hemp is an excellent plant-based source of protein, as well as essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6. We want conscious consumers to be aware that hemp is more than an industrial crop—that you can eat your hemp via hemp oil, hemp protein powder in smoothies, hemp yogurt, hemp drinks, hemp desserts, hemp milk, hemp cereals, even hemp tofu!
MBV: How has the superfood market expanded with hemp?
HHW: Hemp is one of the fastest growing categories in the natural grocery sector. Hemp foods have amazing health benefits as they contain the optimal levels of Omegas 3 and 6, and all 10 essential amino acids, which are crucial for healthy muscle and brain development. Because hemp is available in such a variety of ways, it has really exploded as a ‘superfood’ that can be used in a wide array of recipes, and also because more and more consumers are realizing the benefits of a plant-based diet.
MBV: What's the easiest way to start including hemp seeds in someone’s daily diet?
HHW: Sprinkle hemp seeds on everything! Adding hemp seeds to cereals and salads is a good way to start—but once you fall in love with the nutty, earthy flavor you’ll come up with creative ideas for your own hemp seed recipes! For example, we like to make a hemp pesto, with hemp seeds instead of pine nuts.
MBV: What are the common misunderstandings consumers present?
HHW: The most common misunderstanding that consumers have about hemp is that it is the same as marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana come from Cannabis sativa L., however hemp is a variety of cannabis that has been cultivated to have negligent THC content (less than 0.3% by dry weight) whereas marijuana has been cultivated to produce a much greater content of THC (upwards of 20%). Hemp foods, soaps and clothing cannot give a person the ‘high’ or therapeutic effects associated with marijuana.
MBV: What are the differences between hemp and marijuana?
HHW: Both hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., however hemp and marijuana are vastly different—both in appearance, as well as their uses and applications. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis sativa. Hemp has absolutely no recreational drug value. Section 7606 of the Farm Bill defines industrial hemp as "the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis." Grown for fiber and oilseed, hemp is among the longest cultivated crops in human history; its early uses included papermaking from the fiber of the hemp stalk.
Conversely, marijuana refers to the flowering tops of varieties of Cannabis sativa L. that are cultivated to yield high amounts of THC content, and are intended for medical and recreational drug use.
MBV: How do you see hemp growing as a supplement and staple in the Omega Fatty Acid market?
HHW: Hemp is a perfect food to demonstrate the fact that we can get our necessary nutrients, such as Omegas 3 and 6, from a healthful, whole-food approach to eating—rather than rely on supplement capsules to fill in the nutritional blanks left by a diet of processed foods, fast foods, etc.
MBV: How can consumers help promote Hemp History Week?
HHW: Everyone should visit the take action and events section of the Hemp History Week website to find and share local grassroots events to attend in your hometown. All sorts of exciting events—from hemp documentary film screenings, to special hemp menus as local restaurants, to hemp lobby days at your local state legislature—will be happening in all 50 states. We would also love to see your hemp food and recipe photos on Hemp History Week’s Facebook and our twitter, @HempHistoryWeek
Owner of BEVEGAN® Grassroots Health. Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. AKA Miss Bellevue Vegan. Plant-Based Health Consultant. Vegan Athlete. Outdoor Enthusiast. Outdoor Gear Reviewer. Author. Cotopaxi Local Ambassador. Animal Lover. Dreamer. Believer.