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I am not vegan, but I am about as close to being a vegetarian as someone who is NOT one can claim to be.

Basically my diet these days consists of about 5% meat and dairy products. This has always been more or less the case because I am not a huge fan of meat (taste or the texture). However, I do like some things enough to not fully make the switch. I do consume cheese and yogurt, although I do not drink milk.

Ice cream is my BFF of course. If I had to pick one vice, that would be it!

After becoming more educated about the negative impacts that commercial agriculture and factory farming has on the environment (not to mention the humane concerns), I have reduced my consumption of meat and dairy products even more so.

I guess it would be safe to say that I am “veg-curious”.

One of my closest friends is vegan, and we often trade recipes and make recommendations to one another about our experiments with vegan or vegetarian cooking. She is aware of my passion for clean eating, so when she asked if I wanted to join her at VegExpo Vancouver 2017, I said yes without hesitation.

Plus, lets be real- I really needed a break from the kiddos for a few hours!

First Impressions

VegExpo Vancouver 2017

We arrived pretty early in the morning and I was actually really surprised how many people there were. I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly, but I did feel surprised that there were so many people there. Once inside, we wandered around the booths and had a lot of fun sampling the many products that were being distributed.

My intention when going was to potentially buy one or two items that I absolutely couldn’t live without if the price was right (lots of these items can get pretty pricey). Additionally, I only wanted to buy items that I could foresee consuming quickly (I’m trying to avoid impulse buying things that will languish in the fridge).

Although there were many amazing products there that absolutely blew me away (who knew that they could make vegan cream cheese so damn good?) I only ended up buying three items. This was more than I originally intended, but I am happy with my purchases.

What I Bought

  • Fresh is Best Extra Hot Salsa I walked by and got a sample of this Salsa, and had to buy it. It was very tasty, and was clearly a far better alternative to grocery store bought Salsas that are crammed full of sugar. All of the ingredients were recognizable, and it tasted fresh with a nice texture. We make our own Salsa that is our favorite (and boy is it spicy), but due to time constraints we don’t often have it in the house. This means we end up using bought salsas for our scrambles, burrito bowls and quesadillas. I already had this salsa for dinner with leftover Mexican rice and some greens from the farmers market because I could not resist having it again! Fresh is Best Salsa
  • Gatehouse Plantation Inc. Hot Pepper Sauce– The sample for this sauce was a cracker topped with vegan cream cheese, with the hot pepper sauce on top. The spice is not for the faint of heart, but it isn’t overwhelmingly mouth-numbingly hot either. Instead, it is a perfect sweet and spicy mix, jam packed with flavor. My husband and I love spicy foods, so after I went around the expo I circled back to buy some.  I was excited to bring it home so we could have it on some avocado toast… which we promptly did!

Hot Pepper Sauce

  • Tantamount Apparel Tank TopIt says “Stay Wild and Eat Plants”. Need I say more?? I absolutely was NOT intending on buying clothing, however this was just so awesome and the design was so neat that I couldn’t pass it up. I actually came back into the expo after leaving to buy it after thinking long and hard about whether I wanted it (this is a good strategy for preventing impulse buys). Now its mine, I love it and I look forward to wearing the heck out of it!

Stay Wild and Eat Plants Shirt

What I Will Regret NOT Buying

Although I only bought 3 items, that didn’t mean that the rest of the stuff available there was not good. Being a frugal gal, I went with a budget in mind and intentions to buy very little. However there were a few things that I tried that I know I will be pining over.

Here are a few of them:

  • Screamin Brothers Dairy Free Ice Cream– Made with Coconut Milk, this was THE BEST ICE CREAM I HAVE EVER HAD. No lie. It was creamier, tastier and all round better than any dairy ice cream I can think of. I would have bought it without a doubt if I had been closer to a freezer to preserve its properly.
  • Naked Coconuts Coconut Aminos– I have often seen recipes with coconut aminos being used instead of soy sauce so I was really pleased to have the opportunity to try it. It tastes just like soy sauce- except better! I will likely be buying this at some point in the future.
  • Wild Craft Organic Premium Mustards– There were three types of mustards that we sampled, the Old Badger, Rattlesnake Bite, and Red Fox. They were all sooo good, if I had bought some (and I regret not doing so!) I would have gotten the variety pack.
  • The Date Company- Sadly I cannot find a way to link to them, but the dates that they had were perfection. I love to eat dates when I cannot take it anymore and need a sugar fix. They have a lovely caramel taste and can be used to make all sorts of treats that are so delicious (this recipe gives me life- I make it into balls instead of bars). The date I sampled was sooo good, and they also had samples of a rich creamy date butter that was even better. Yum!

All in all I can say that I was very happy to have attended this event. I tried a lot of things that I wouldn’t have bought without having the chance to sample first (I finally tried jackfruit!).

I am also happy with the purchases I made. Although I will probably end up buying some of the items I didn’t grab this time around, I was pleased that I stuck to my budget and intention to spend very little while there.

Do you have any favorite specialty products that you cant live without? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Super Mom - No Cape! May 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    That sounds like it would have been really fun to attend. I love discovering new healthy foods.

    1. MandiEm May 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      It was great! There was a time I would never have tried new foods. Branching out has really been fun!

  2. denisebrownell May 30, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Tuscan Olive Oil products…..they are bottled in Nova Scotia. They have various balsamic vinegars, my favourites are fig and cherry. Today I bought a pomegranate one to try.

    1. MandiEm May 30, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      That sounds delicious! Ill have to track some down.
      I have a jalapeno balsamic from Balsamic Bliss in the Okanagan and I put it on everything!

  3. JEN May 31, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Where can i find the ice cream? I’m an aspiring vegan (although I’m not really making much progress) but I try to stay away from dairy when I can.

    1. MandiEm May 31, 2017 at 2:57 am

      I believe it’s sold in Save On Foods! I’m probably going to have to go and grab some 🙂


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