It annoys the bejesus out of me that so many so called “cheese alternatives” actually contain dairy

Dairy refers to milk and any part of milk that comes from cows and other mammals. So to be dairy-free, a product must have no milk and no part of milk. Lactose, on the other hand, is merely an ingredient in milk, or a part of milk. It is the sugar component of dairy products. So a product that is dairy-free will not have lactose in it. What this means is that a product which is dairy-free is also lactose-free, but a product that is lactose-free is not necessarily dairy-free. Make sense?

A person with a milk allergy is often allergic to two protein components of milk, casein and whey. These are often found in products labeled lactose free because although they are part of dairy in the same way that lactose is part of dairy, they are separate from one another. A product can remove the lactose but the rest of the milk can still be there!

The milk protein casein is often what gives soy cheese its (slightly) cheese-like flavor and texture. If you’re not a label hawk, it’s very easy to grab some soy, rice, or even almond cheese at the grocery store and not notice that CASEIN is an ingredient. This is deceptive labeling and a real pain in the derriere. (I hope you got that pun.)

The longer I’ve been vegan the more I’ve gravitated from processed to raw, whole foods. However, I started off as a supermarket vegan and I believe it’s important to support both lifestyles. Let’s face it, you’re not going to reduce animal suffering by bashing vegan processed foods. What matters is that people are trying. You can still offer a helpful nudge without coming off like like a douche. You could say, “That’s so great you’re trying vegan cheese! Have you tried raw cashew cheese? It’s cheaper, there are zero preservatives, and it’s positively scrumptious!” See what I did there? 

If you’re on the market for faux vegan cheese →Double Check The Ingredients!← #VegansofIG

Thanks to improved labeling from organizations like the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (, it’s becoming increasingly easier to avoid products that were tested on animals. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as easy to figure out if products contain animal body parts or bodily fluids, mostly because they’re often disguised by scientific and/or misleading names. These seven are some of the ones that disgust me the most, but for a full list, check out PETA’s “Animal Ingredients List”.

1) Lanolin. Produced by a sheep’s oil glands and extracted from their wool. The commercial wool industry is horrifically cruel, and often feeds into Australia’s appalling live export practice. Lanolin can be found in many skin-care products and other cosmetics (such as my formerly beloved sea salt scrub from Lush Cosmetics- total bummer).

2) Squalene. Shark liver oil. Where do we come up with these things? Used in many lotions and creams.

3) Ambergris. Found in whale intestines, and typically harvested from their vomit or excrement. Lovely. Used in many perfumes (and occasionally food & beverage flavoring).

4) Guanine (aka “natural pearl essence”). Ground up fish scales. Found frequently in nail polish, shampoo, and other cosmetics.

5) Albumen. This material is present in many animal and vegetable tissues, but is most commonly harvested from egg whites to be used as a coagulating agent in cosmetics. I don’t know about you, but I’m just not interested in covering my face in anything born from a hole through which a chicken also defecates.

6) Allantoin. Uric acid sourced from urine and other bodily fluids, typically from a cow. If you’ve ever seen the filthy (often infected) udders of an industrial dairy cow, you’ll have extra motivation to avoid this cruelly sourced and super gross ingredient.

7) Casein. Protein extracted from cow’s milk and commonly used in cosmetics, hair treatments, and face masks. Sure, that baby calf could have used his mom’s milk to survive, but my pores have been looking a little enlarged, so forget about him…

Fortunately, new truly cruelty-free cosmetics companies are launching every day, and you can learn about many of them from the incredible Vegan Beauty Review blog!

Tell me, did I skip over any other revolting sneaky animal products you want to share?

Chocolate Supreme Protein Bars

Packed with protein. Supremely chocolatey and nutty. Cleaner than any store-bought protein bar. Perfection.

- 12 scoops chocolate casein protein (you can use whey or soy protein as well, the bars just won’t be as ooey gooey chewy)
- 2 c. chopped almonds
- 2 c. quick cooking rolled oats
- 1 c. peanut butter
- 1/8 c. cinnamon
- 1/8 c. cocoa powder
- 1/8 c. honey
- about 4 c. water
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 10 oz. dark chocolate

Step 1: The Protein

In a gigantic bowl, mix together protein powder, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Start adding water and mixing. Add water just to the point where the entire mixture is moist. (This is where your arm muscles come into play - the whole thing turns into a giant, thick ball of deliciousness.) Add honey and peanut butter, continuing to mix while developing your biceps and delts. Lightly grease 9”x13” pan with coconut oil. Spread protein mixture in pan, pressing it down with fingers. Bake in 350° oven for 5 min.

Step 2: The Topping

While protein mixture is baking, melt 10 oz. chocolate either in microwave or in double boiler. 

Step 3: The Masterpiece

Pull pan out of oven and drizzle melted chocolate allllll over. Spread evenly with spatula. Transfer to freezer for 10 min. Pull out and slice into beautiful triangles (or squares if you are normal). Enjoy (in moderation)!!!

Makes 30 2”x2” bars

Nutrition facts per bar
198 calories
15 g protein (crazy!!)
15 g carbs
11 g fat
105 mg sodium
4 g fiber

Yay! I finally found a recipe with casein that’s not gross! If you know me, you know I absolutely can’t stand casein. The texture freaks me out, it’s too heavy, and it tastes like sand. So when I made these little brownies I was AMAZED that they tasted this good. I’m not kidding, these taste like legit brownies. Here’s what you’ll need: 

1 scoop of Casein Protein (I used Optimum Platinum Tri-celle, chocolate)
1 TB of Oats (I used the homemade kind, not quick oats)
1 TB Baking Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 cup of Milk (I used original almond milk) 

In a separate bowl, I mixed together the dry ingredients, and then mixed the egg white and milk into the mixture. It becomes really thick and sticky, so you have to make sure you’re mixing it pretty fast otherwise it will start sticking to the bowl. Once it’s all mixed (it should kind of feel like playdough) I sprayed a mug with non stick baking spray, then added the mixture into the mug. I covered the top of the mug with a paper towel, and microwaved for 50 seconds. Plopped it onto a plate, cut in to thirds, top with whatever you like (I obviously am obsessed with whip cream) and enjoy!!!


FOOD CHEMICALS:  Junk Food Additives Known to Cause Digestive Problems Sending People to Emergency Ward.  When Will the Healthcare Community Make the Connection?


There are multiple food additives contained in popular junk food that have been sending people to the emergency ward with severe digestive problems.  The additives in question are known culprits for triggering digestive and gastrointestinal problems.  Unfortunately, the link between synthetic and industrialized food chemicals and adverse health reactions still largely goes unrecognized by the healthcare community.  We hope that they will begin to review the scientific research and clinical reports from within their own field soon so that we can all begin the process of finally putting warnings labels on foods containing these chemicals of concern.


Commonly used food additives linked to digestive and gastrointestinal problems include (but are not limited to): 

Carrageenan; Maltodextrin (MSG); Monosodium Glutamate (MSG); Autolyzed Yeast Extract (MSG); Citric Acid; Disodium Phosphate; Sodium Caseinate; Disodium Inosinate (MSG); Disodium Guanylate (MSG)

. .

From the Book:

"The Essential Chemical-Free Shopping Guide:  How to Shop and Eat Chemical-Free"


Super Spicy Snacks Send Kids to Emergency Room

Super spicy chips and snack foods have come under attack as being unhealthy, with certain school districts even going so far as to ban some brands from their schools. But now doctors say there’s another reason spicy junk food should be avoided: It can result in a trip to the emergency room.

Emergency room doctors said they were seeing kids and some adults coming into the ER with gastritis, an inflamed stomach lining, or other stomach ailments after eating bags of spicy snack foods.

Your Supplements, Explained

Whey Protein
Whey is the king of muscle-building proteins. It’s a fast-digesting milk protein that can help you build muscle and increase strength. Whey protein enhances recovery, boosts performance, and supports fat loss by helping you feel fuller, longer. Look for a whey protein that is also loaded with essential branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine, as it is considered one of the most critical muscle-making amino acid. 

Casein Protein 
Casein is a slow-digesting milk protein that supports muscle growth and provides a steady stream of amino acids to your muscles. Because it releases slowly, casein is a great protein to take before bed. It can help reduce muscle breakdown while you sleep and feed your hungry muscles overnight. When mixed with whey around your workouts, casein will enhance and prolong your body’s anabolic response.

For stimulants, your best and safest bet is caffeine. It’s one of the most studied sports nutrition supplements on the market and frequently shown to improve athletic performance. Not only does clinical research show that caffeine is very safe, but that it even may enhance overall health. For performance benefits, you need a minimum of 200 mg of caffeine before workouts to be effective. A pre-workout product that also provides other ingredients such as taurine, tyrosine, alpha-glyceryl phosphoryl choline, and huperzine A adds to the benefits.

Fish Oil 
Fish oil supplements are a great source of essential omega-3 fats, especially EPA and DHA. These supplements support muscle growth and fat loss; help block fat storage; promote overall health and wellness; support normal, healthy immune function; and support heart, brain, vision, and joint health. If you’re not already taking a fish oil supplement, reel one in today.

Acetyl L-carnitine 
Acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR) is L-carnitine with an acetyl group attached. This attachment increases carnitine’s uptake by the body, making it more effective. ALCAR is able to enter the brain, where it may aid in brain function, boost alertness, and support positive mood. In other areas of the body, such as muscle cells, carnitine aids fat loss transporting fatty acids into the power centers of cells, called mitochondria. These power centers work to generate energy by burning up nutrients such as fat for fuel.

Creatine provides muscular energy for high-intensity exercise, helps you build muscle, and boosts strength gains. Research suggests that creatine can boost muscle gains by as much as 10 pounds and strength by 10 percent in just a few weeks. For best delivery, put creatine in your pre- and post-workout protein shakes. That’s when you get a bigger insulin response, and insulin helps drive creatine into your muscles.

Research suggests that when lifters add beta-alanine and creatine to their supplement regimen, they gain more muscle and lose more body fat than those taking creatine alone. Beta-alanine can also increase muscle strength and endurance during workouts.

Green Tea Extract
Green tea enhances fat loss and offers a host of additional health and physique benefits, including joint support and muscle recovery. Green tea aids fat loss by boosting daily calorie burn. 

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring group of omega-6 fats that aids fat loss and supports lean mass. CLA burns body fat by boosting your metabolic rate and inhibiting the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL allows fat cells to pull fat from the bloodstream and store it as body fat. By inhibiting LPL, CLA encourages the body to burn fat instead of store it. By helping the body use fat for fuel, CLA also spares your muscle mass. When your body is fueling itself with fats, it doesn’t need to break down muscle tissue for additional fuel. 

A good pre-workout supplement will cover your bases with quality nitric oxide (NO) boosters, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, beta-alanine, and betaine, not to mention stimulants like caffeine to amp up your focus and training intensity, boost muscle strength and endurance, enhance muscle pumps, and promote muscle growth. Look for products that provide science-backed NO boosters, such as citrulline malate and nitrates from beet extract, at least 5 grams of BCAAs, 1.5 grams of creatine hydrochloride or 5 grams of other forms of creatine (i.e., creatine monohydrate), at least 1.5 grams of beta-alanine, and about 1.5 grams of betaine.

Source: Jim Stoppani
Image: Reproduction


This week’s studies. On #2, my teacher, Jackson Sze, painted over a bit in the middle, fixing values and stuff, and then I finished. The last four are studies from Edgar Payne paintings. The very last one is painted in casein rather than gouache. All kinds of new things this week!

Recipe: Healthy Chocolate Pudding

I got this fabulous recipe from a cooking class and have been eating it ever since.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, high in fiber, low in sugar, and raw, to name just a few.

-2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into chunks
-1 banana, peeled and cut
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
-3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tbsp honey
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp cinnamon

Blend ingredients until consistency is like that of typical chocolate pudding.

Chill for at least an hour before eating. Top with fresh fruit.