During the month of February, feel good, not only knowing that nicobella chocolate is good for your health, but is also helping animals in need. A portion of all sales will be donated to the sweet animals at Full Circle Farm Sanctuary. We have spent time at the beautiful Sanctuary, meeting all of the rescued animals who, despite their neglected and abused pasts, are affectionate, welcoming and full of loving kindness. There is nothing that warms your heart more than the moment when you are approaching a gentle rescued farm animal and your eyes lock with theirs. In that moment you realize that you are one. Their heart beats along side yours. Their soul is touched by yours. Their past may haunt them like yours, but they hold no grudges or bitterness. A few may be bit fearful and unable to completely trust humans yet (one can only imagine what they've been through), but they still only encompass pure love and peace. If you remain open as you approach them, your heart, soul and entire body will be entrenched in their love and you will leave feeling elevated and inspirited. This is the gift these gracious beings give to us.
The founder of Full Circle Farm Sanctuary (FCFS), Kayla Worden, first adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1989 when she immersed herself in protecting farm animals through her activism both nationally and internationally. Kayla's vegan lifestyle and a very strong conscience are what spawned the commencement of FCFS in 2010. She started with four rescue animals and now there are more than 100 residents living at the Sanctuary in Warm Springs, GA. (Side note: If you are ever passing through Atlanta, or anywhere in the southeast, definitely take time to visit!)
There are many projects in the works for FCFS: a bed and breakfast, yoga retreat, monthly events and more. Sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Facebook to be the first to learn about new residents, get to know long-time residents and stay on top of Sanctuary happenings.
Read more about FCFS, their story and mission.
Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5 11pm PST, take 10% off all purchases with discount code PureLove
Here are some of the sweet animals we had the honor of meeting.
Yum! Just the thought of eating grilled cheese again makes me feel very nostalgic and extremely excited. But this is for kids so let's focus on kids in this moment. No doubt that grilled cheese is a kid's favorite. What happens when you are trying to raise a vegan child? You have vegan grilled cheese. There are so many incredible vegan cheese options from which to choose that there is truly no excuse to never eat grilled cheese again. (Yes, I'm talking to you too, adults. No deprivation here.)
After I made this, I took photos and placed the grilled cheese in a container to test it later and see how it holds up in tupperware. After walking out of the room for no more than five minutes I went back to the kitchen to find an empty container and a husband with chipmunk cheeks, chomping away! Admittedly I was a little annoyed and let him know that it wasn't his, but at the same time was happy that they must have turned out pretty good! He made it up to me ten minutes later with a new grilled cheese sandwich. And, yes, it was indeed very yummy.
If you are vegan as well as gluten free you can always choose a vegan gluten free bread, but I chose Dave's Killer Bread because, even though I do not have a big affection for bread, I do love Dave's. It's super seedy, nutty, grainy and packed with fiber which makes it healthier than most on the market. Plus Dave's story is pretty awesome and, through it, he created the Second Chance Project, Dave's Killer Bread Foundation which empowers entrepreneurship and decreases negative impact of mass incarceration and recidivism in America. Pretty cool.
For the cheese, I chose Follow Your Heart American Slices because of the simple ingredients (Filtered Water, Coconut Oil, Modified Food Starch, Potato Starch, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor-Plant Sources, Olive Extract, Paprika Extract and Beta Carotene for Color). To be honest I wasn't sure how it would melt. It wasn't the most creamy, drippy, melty cheese, but I feel like it has a good balance between decent ingredients and ability to melt. Another favorite is Chao Cheese Slices, also because of the ingredients (filtered water, coconut oil, modified corn and potato starch, potato starch, fermented chao tofu-soybeans, water, salt, sesame oil, calcium sulfate, sea salt, natural flavor, olive extract and beta carotene). On a scale from one to ten it's meltability is about a five. But it's so delicious if you're really craving cheese and the ingredients are pretty simple compared to other cheese alternatives.
Because I feel that kids, just like adults, should always have lots of color with each meal through fruits and vegetables, I added sliced avocado, tomato and a layer of spring leaf lettuce to the sandwich. It's a simple way to sneak in some wholesome nutrients such as lutein and beta carotene (avocado), vitamin C and potassium (tomato) and iron and fiber (spring greens).
Yogurt is another kids favorite. So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt is tasty by itself. Add raspberries and coconut munch to it for a very serious treat!
Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Tomato and Spring Greens
- Sliced bread of choice
- vegan cheese of choice
- avocado slices
- tomato slices
- a few spring leaves
- coconut oil or vegan butter spread
How to Make
Just like the way you used to make it, not much instruction needed here. Spread coconut oil or vegan butter on one side of each slice of bread. Add a slice of cheese to one slice and a slice of cheese to the second slice. Top one slice with spring greens, avocado, and tomato then add the other slice on top. Grill on the stove top on medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side or until slightly browned and cheese is melted. Let cool and slice into grilled cheese finger bites. *Make sure to let it cool before adding it to tupperware to avoid it becoming soggy and you getting a full lunch returned from school.
Include raspberries and coconut munch in the lunch box with coconut yogurt on the side for fun dipping!
If you're considering or following a vegan diet, B12 and plant based omega 3's are good for reassurance. You can get B12 from fortified nutritional yeast but unless you are adding it daily it might be tough to get the amount you need to prevent deficiency. Also symptoms of B12 deficiency often don't present until months or years later. Omega 3's can certainly be obtained through walnuts, chia, hemp and flaxseeds, however conversion to essential DHA may be limited. Therefore a B12 and omega 3 supplement are great supplement options for vegans.
There's another that I personally like to incorporate a few times a week for optimal digestion and to keep things moving called Triphala. It's an Ayurvedic plant-based supplement that is made of three fruits: amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much research done on the effectiveness of Triphala but it's been used for years as an Ayurvedic remedy for digestion and immunity. You'll also get the added benefit of all of the antioxidants that come from the three fruits that make up Triphala. Don't see your supplement on the list? Here are some other great supplements suggested by fellow dietitians.