Vegan gas relief for onions!

I used to suffer from terrible silent-but-deadly gas, and I never knew when it was going to strike. A house party, a movie theater, and a private kung fu lesson where there were no other suspects were the most embarrassing occasions. But now I’ve found a solution, a vegan gas relief for onions, and my excitement to share it overrides all my old embarrassment!

Several years ago, I did an elimination diet and realized that onions were the culprit. I always assumed it was beans because that’s what you hear, but it wasn’t. So, I avoided onions, most of the time successfully, even though I missed the taste. But my husband loves Indian food, and I kept running into dishes where the onions were blended in. So, whenever we’d go out for Indian food, I’d have to sequester myself in my studio after.

UNTIL! It came up in an internet forum, I can’t remember which, and someone suggested Beano for onions. I had thought that Beano was only for beans, but that’s not true! But, it turned out Beano might not be vegan. That’s when someone suggested my savior: VEGAN BEAN-ZYME!

Regular Bean-zyme uses a gelatin capsule, but the company makes a vegan formula – the packaging says “Vegan Formula” in small letters on the front of the bottle.

How does it work?

Some people are missing the enzymes necessary to break down complex sugars into more digestible ones, resulting in FLATULENCE. Vegan Bean-zyme works the same way as Beano. It contains the enzyme Alpha-galactosidase which is made from a food-grade mold. Apparently, this is just the enzyme I needed to digest onions! I’ve eaten a recipe that called for half an onion with no consequences!

I hope this post reaches someone out there with the same problem and makes their life a little less gassy.

My Purple Carrot Review

Sesame crusted tofu from Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery
Sesame crusted tofu with Israeli couscous, chermoula, and carrots from Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery.

I’ve been subscribing to the Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery service for 14 months! I sometimes wonder if anyone’s been doing it as long as I have. Here’s my review of the pros and cons and how it works. If you’ve already decided to try it and are looking for a discount, please sign up using my referral code here for $25 off your first order, and I’ll get a discount too.

What is Purple Carrot?

Purple Carrot is a plant-based meal delivery service. They delivery different vegan recipes and pre-measured ingredients to your door each week. If you’re familiar with Blue Apron, it’s like that, but vegan. It launched in 2014 in the northeast United States. I first took notice in late 2015 when they brought Mark Bittman, the best-selling cookbook author, on board. I remembered always liking the Bittman recipes that my dad made.

How does Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery work?

Purple Carrot is available in the lower 48 United States. They offer three different subscription options and you pay by the week.

  • $68 – 3 vegan meals, each feed 2 (or 1) people. ($11.33/meal/person)
  • $74 – 2 vegan meals, each feed 4 (or 3) people. ($9.25/meal/person)
  • $78 – TB12 plan – 3 vegan “high performance” meals, each feed 2 (or 1) people. Developed with Tom Brady. ($13/meal/person)

You can pause, cancel, or switch between the three plans if you give a week’s notice. Shipping and tax are included in the price. My husband and I have been using the $68 plan for over a year.

What do you get?

Every Tuesday (or Wednesday if it’s a holiday weekend) you receive a cardboard box with ingredients for two or three recipes depending on your subscription plan. The box comes with ice packs to keep the ingredients fresh. Also in the box are recipe cards with full-color photos, step-by-step instructions, estimated time, tools needed, and nutritional info printed on standard-size paper, perfect for keeping in a binder. The ingredients come in plastic bags and plastic containers, many of which you can reuse, and all of which are recyclable. I stuff all the ingredients into the refrigerator when the box arrives.

Some of my favorite Purple Carrot recipes have been Creamy leak polenta with spinach pear salad, BBQ jackfruit with loaded potato salad, Cauliflower l’orange with beets and fresh herbs, Koshari with zucchini, lentils, and brown rice, and Blackened tempeh chopped salad with creamy ranch & crispy tortillas.

Time and Tools Needed

Besides the cost of the subscription, you’ll need a few things to make the recipes.

  • Time: the recipe cards each generally estimate 35-45 minutes, but when I started out I was new to cooking, and recipes sometimes took me over an hour. I’m a lot faster now, usually finishing in 45 minutes. I think the time really depends on your speed at tedious tasks like chopping, washing and drying produce, and peeling. I’m pretty slow with that stuff.
  • Standard kitchen equipment: stovetop, oven, blender or food processor, pots and pans of varying sizes, mixing bowls, baking sheet, spatula, wooden spoon, peeler, grater, whisk. They usually suggest and alternative when a more specialized tool is called for.
  • There’s only one tool that has given me trouble and it’s only come up twice in over a year: an oven-safe skillet that fits in your broiler. I interrupted cooking to research whether any of my skillets were oven-safe. I was just barely able to fit our smallest pan in our broiler, but I’m still not sure if it is officially “oven-safe.”

Here’s some of the stuff I or my husband cooked. I’m not a professional photographer. Or chef!

Beet noodles from the purple carrot vegan meal delivery
Beet noodles with romanesco and hazelnut hemp seed crumble from
Yaki onigiri from Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery
Yaki onigiri with edamame cabbage and carrot ginger dressing
Sweet potato naan flatbread from Purple Carrot meal delivery
Sweet potato naan flatbread with cashew cheese and balsamic reduction.

Pros of Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery

  • Customer service: One of my favorite things about Purple Carrot is how responsive they are to customer feedback. The few times I’ve written to them, once because I didn’t like a recipe layout change, and once to suggest that they label the produce in a clearer way, the very next week the delivery was inline with my (and possibly other customers’) requests! They also have a weekly survey on their website where you can give specific feedback for each recipe relating to the taste, the cooking process, and suggestions for what you want to cook in the future. And once one of the ingredient in my order burst and they immediately credited me for a reasonable portion of the order.
  • Horizons Broadened: The variety in Purple Carrot’s recipes is amazing, and educational. I used to alternate between a few go-to recipes like pasta and stir-fry. But, in fourteen months of subscribing to Purple Carrot, I’ve cooked more recipes from more cuisines than I had in my entire life prior! I’ve learn how to make vegan ranch dressing and ricotta. This whole time there’s only been one repeat recipe and it happened to be the one that kind of blew my mind: Koshari (Egyptian pilaf). I had never heard of Koshari. The combination of different pastas and grains seemed totally strange to me while I was making it, but when we sat down to eat, my husband and I were both in awe of the rich flavor and textures. I can only assume that Purple Carrot got so much positive feedback that they knew they had to run it again.
  • Health: I always feel good after I eat a Purple Carrot meal. The recipes are delicious and nutritionally balanced. The portions are on the small side, but not so small or even light that they feel like diet food. Usually when I think it’s not enough food, I wait a few minutes for all of it to reach my stomach and then I feel full. I never feel gross or over-stuffed. I am a petite woman who rarely works out. My husband is 6’4″ and has an intense daily workout routine. Usually the Purple Carrot meals are enough for him, but on occasion he has a snack later on.
  • Convenience: Purple Carrot ingredients come right to your door and save you some time from grocery shopping. The website provides a convenient portal where you can manage your deliveries. I like that the cut-off date for skipping a delivery is right on the website under “orders.”
  • Recycled and Recyclable Packaging: I’ve watched Purple Carrot experiment with different packaging over the last year. They use post-consumer waste for all their packaging, and they recently switched to a smaller box that’s easier to carry. You can also even recycle the plastic produce bags.
  • Cooking Skills: I have a much better grasp of the basics of cooking now. Purple Carrot has also taught me some special skills like how to supreme an orange or work with fennel.
  • Price: For us, Purple Carrot is worth the money. The recipes use high-quality ingredients and take some time to make. We live in an expensive city where if we were to order an equivalent dish at a restaurant it would probably cost between $15 and $25, far more than the $11.33 we pay with Purple Carrot.
  • Referral program: Purple Carrot has a great referral program. If you get someone else to sign up, you both get $25 off your order, and it’s easy to pause or cancel your subscription from their website. If you are considering signing up, please use my referral code to get $25 off your first order! Click here for the discount.

Cons of Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery

  • Time: Purple Carrot recipe time estimates generally range from 35-45 minutes but on occasion have taken me over an hour. That happened more when I was starting out with it, maybe because I didn’t have much cooking experience. Sometimes I imagine they get their estimates from timing a professional with superhuman chopping skills. I think if you leave an hour for cooking when you’re starting out, you’ll be safe.
  • Complexity: Purple Carrot recipes always involve several steps and processes. There’s not a lot of down time. For me, it’s impossible to listen to talk radio or a podcast while following the instructions. Music works for me though.
  • Clean up: The mess varies, but Purple Carrot can involve a food processor, baking sheet, large pan, and a bunch of other stuff all in one recipe. So, yeah, sometimes there’s a lot to clean up, sometimes there’s not.
  • Price: If you live in an inexpensive area or on a limited budget, $11.33/meal/person might not save you money or beneficial to your finances.

Is Purple Carrot vegan meal delivery for you? It might be if you …

  • want to expand your culinary repertoire with new recipes.
  • want to know you’ll eat at least a few healthy meals per week.
  • want to reduce your consumption of animal products, whether for health, the environment, or to reduce animal suffering.
  • want to save time on grocery shopping and meal planning.
  • want to improve and expand your cooking skills.
  • spend too much time deciding on what recipes to make.
  • are vegan or follow a plant-based diet.
  • can afford the subscription price or might even save money depending on how much you usually spend on meals.

So, there you have it. I haven’t tried any other vegan meal delivery service, or any non-vegan one for that matter, so I don’t have anything to compare Purple Carrot to. But I’ve liked it enough to keep going this long. Whenever I think of pausing a week or canceling, I actually get FOMO – what if they use fingerling potatoes next week or a vegan ranch?? Please tell me about any other vegan meal delivery service you like.

Get $25 off one week of Purple Carrot using my referral code.

By the way, you can find contact info for other meal delivery services on our customer service number page, to request vegan options.

 

In Search of Vegan Antiperspirant

There are many available vegan deodorants but it’s hard to find a vegan antiperspirant.

What’s the difference between Deodorants and Antiperspirants?

Deodorants merely mask body odor with a more pleasing scent, while antiperspirants prevent or reduce sweat in the first place, reducing body odor.

Body odor is caused by bacteria on the skin breaking down our sweat into acids. Antiperspirants work by plugging the sweat pores in your armpits, and also causing them to contract.

There are several controversial claims against antiperspirants. I read up on them, and have added some information on those claims at the bottom of this post. I am still going to use antiperspirant. So, here’s a list of the few vegan antiperspirants I’ve found:

List of Vegan Antiperspirants – updated 5/21/2017


Tom’s of Maine Naturally Dry Antiperspirant Deodorant

Tom's of Maine Vegan Antiperspirant (Unscented)*, (North Woods), (Fresh Meadow)
  • Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chlorohydrate
  • Company only uses vegan ingredients
  • Colgate-Palmolive purchased Tom’s of Maine in 2006 but agreed not to test Tom’s products on animals.
  • *This is my antiperspirant of choice.

Jack Black Pit Boss Antiperspirant & Deodorant
Jack Black Pit Boss Vegan Antiperspirant
  • Active Ingredient: Aluminum Zirconium Tirchlorohydreax Gly
  • Company does not test on animals but products are available in China may be required.
  • Company has many marked vegan products.
  • Company uses beeswax, lanolin from sheep, and silk in some products.
  • Company only sells vegan shave brushes and has a FAQ about how badgers are killed for bristles in natural brushes.
Certain Dri Antiperspirant Roll On 1.2oz
Certain Dri Vegan Antiperspirant
  • Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride
  • Treats excessive sweating.
  • Company does not test on animals.
  • Certified cruelty free by PETA which means they self-report no animal testing.

ZeroSweat Antiperspirant
ZeroSweat Vegan Antiperspirant
  • Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride
  • Treats excessive sweating.
  • Company does not test on animals.
Why do people avoid antiperspirants?

Several health risks have been linked to the aluminum in antiperspirants, though many of these claims have been debunked. And some consider antiperspirants “unnatural” in general. You know what’s not natural? Wearing pants in 90 degree weather!

  • Breast cancer: There is a widespread fear that the the aluminum-based complexes in antiperspirants cause breast cancer. This has not been proven. You can read the full Snopes breakdown of the issue here. And Science-Based Medicine also wrote a post about it.
  • Alzheimer’s: Another fear is that aluminum in antiperspirants causes Alzheimer’s disease. This idea came from some studies in the 1960’s that found high levels of aluminum in the blood of Alzheimer’s patients. Aluminum cans and pots and pans were considered more of a risk than antiperspirants, and the studies were never reproduced.
  • Kidney Disease: Part of the job of our kidneys is eliminating excess aluminum from the blood stream. Most aluminum in our blood comes from food. When kidney function is impaired, kidneys cannot eliminate as much aluminum, and aluminum levels can build up in the blood. If you have kidney disease, consult your physician before using antiperspirant.

I’m always skeptical of research being influenced by powerful corporations. But having read up on these issues, I am not convinced antiperspirant is a great enough health risk to give it up. I would love to find a DIY solution to body odor because I don’t want to contribute to more plastic waste. But until I have time to figure that out, I’ll be slathering my armpits in aluminum on hot days and carrying a titanium spork, bamboo straw, cloth napkins, and thermos.

Do you have a favorite vegan antiperspirant?

Let us know in the comments. And test any other products with our free vegan ingredient checker.

Vegan Brand Feature: Skyn ICELAND

Is Skyn ICELAND vegan?

Yes! Skyn ICELAND is a 100% vegan luxury beauty product line. They’ve been around since 2003 and are currently PETA certified vegan and cruelty-free. The Skyn ICELAND website explicitly states that their products do not contain “animal-derived products or animal by-products, including fish-derived and insect-derived products.”

Many luxury brands rely on animal ingredients. Instead, Skyn Continue reading “Vegan Brand Feature: Skyn ICELAND”

Vegan Beauty Products Update – Bumble & Bumble, Benefit Cosmetics, Elizabeth & James

These vegan beauty product updates were sent in by Double Check Vegan reader Lila G.

Benefit Cosmetics
Customer service confirmed 4/17/2017 that
Gimme Brow eyebrow volumizer is vegan.

Bumble and Bumble vegan product list from customer service 1/24/2017:
Hair dresser’s invisible oil
Grooming creme
Surf Foam wash shampoo
Surf Foam wash conditioner

Elizabeth and James vegan fragrances list from customer service 4/3/2017.
Nirvana Black
Nirvana White
Nirvana Bourbon

How You Can Help

Check out our list of customer service numbers. If you’re ever bored, send off an e-mail to a company asking which products are vegan. If they don’t have any vegan products, request them. You can forward response e-mails to info at doublecheckvegan dot com and we’ll share the results. Every little bit helps. The more companies hear that customers care about ingredients, the more likely they are to chase their policies.

My Favorite Moisturizer is Vegan! Mostly…

UPDATE: If you are looking for Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Creme, they changed the formula and reviewers are not happy!

The color of the cap is different and so is the product! I contacted Eucerin and they wrote back on May 18, 2017:

We are sorry to disappoint you, but at this time there are no plans to go back to the old formula.  All comments are important to us and are shared with the appropriate departments.

I compared the ingredients from both formulas. The new moisturizing creme no longer contains sodium hydroxide, DMDM hydantoin, methylparaben, or ethylparaben. Instead it has added 1-2 Hexanedoil, Piroctone Olamine, Polyglyceryl-2 caprate, decylene glycol.

It may still be possible to find some of the old product. The original formula had a blue cap, and the new one has a red cap.

Here are a few links on Amazon where they may still be selling the original product because the image is still of the original blue cap packaging. Definitely ask the seller first before ordering.

Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Creme Link 1
Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Creme Link 2

If you want to try it, here is the new product.

ORIGINAL POST BELOW


Too Long Didn’t Read

Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizing Creme is vegan. But it’s sold in China where animal testing is mandatory on some products sold there.

My Favorite Moisturizer

The only non-prescription moisturizer that works for my eczema is Eucerin Skin Calming Daily Moisturizer Cream. I was pretty nervous to put it into the DCV search engine. I’ve been buying this stuff in bulk and I purchased the last batch before I became vegan. I’m about halfway through my last tube and realized I need to make sure this is something I want to buy in the future.

The Search Results

Running a search of the ingredients on Eucerin’s website came back with 5 flagged ingredients, yikes! Two of these (Cetyl Alcohol and Cetyl Palmitate) are “probably vegan” because they are likely derived from Palm Oil – a whole other issue! Eucerin’s website says they are trying to go 100% sustainable with their palm oil by 2020, meaning they do use palm oil as a source. But the remaining ingredients- Glycerin which can come from animal fat, plants or synthetic sources – and Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-40 Stearate which use Stearic Acid which can come from animal or plant sources- were more iffy.

Parent Company Animal Testing Stance

I had hope, because Eucerin’s parent company Beiersdorf has a webpage dedicated to their stance against animal testing. They claim to have been committed to developing alternative methods of research even before the ban in the EU. That means animals were probably not used to test this product during its development.

Customer Service Reply

I received this information from the a Eucerin customer service agent on May 9 and 10, 2016:

Most of the ingredients used in Eucerin products are synthetic or plant derived. The following ingredients are animal derived:

Lanolin alcohol from sheep’s wool
Beeswax…

There are no animal derived ingredients in the Eucerin Skin Calming Crème

Conclusion

I’ll probably keep buying this cream until I find a product that works just as well from an all-vegan 100% cruetly-free company. Hopefully I’ll find one before this tube runs out. If you have any suggestions, please post in the comments!

In Search of Vegan Gummy Vitamins

Too Long Didn’t Read: List of Vegan Gummy Vitamins at Bottom of Post. (updated 5/23/2017)

Finding vegan gummy vitamins is easier said than done. Unfortunately, there’s no vegan search option on Amazon. Have you ever tried searching “vegan” on Yelp only to get restaurants with reviews like “There were no vegan options?” Searching on Amazon can be even more opaque. Sometimes a product shows up in the search results and I can’t find the word “vegan” anywhere.

Sketchy Descriptions

Alive Multi-Vitamin Adult Gummies are not vegan

I recently searched for “vegan gummy vitamins” on Amazon and the top result was “Nature’s Way Alive Adult Multi-Vitamin Gummies, 90 Count.” The bottle boldly says “No Gelatin” on the front, and on the back says that
it has no dairy or eggs. This would lead most people to believe it is a vegan Continue reading “In Search of Vegan Gummy Vitamins”

Welcome to Double Check Vegan

Photo by http://ghostpresenter.it

Welcome to Double Check Vegan, a free vegan ingredient checker and blog.  I will be using the Double Check Vegan search engine to test different products. Then I will call companies to confirm whether something is vegan. I will post results in the blog.

I’ve also started compiling a list of customer service numbers and responses here. If you have a minute, e-mail or call a company asking which of their products are vegan. It will let them know that consumers want more vegan products, and you can share the information with others by forwarding your response to us.

You can read more about the project here.