When Vegan Cuts reached out to me asking if I’d like to review their beauty box, they also offered to send me one of their snack boxes. I was, of course, excited to get a sampling of their monthly snack box subscription. The March snack box was curated with Bianca Phillips, who has a cool blog called Vegan Crunk.THE GREAT:
My absolute favorite was Vigilant Eats Espresso Maca Mulberry Superfood Cereal. For one thing, it was convenient to prepare. All I did was open it up and pour in some homemade hemp milk, and it had a tiny spoon inside that you could use if you were on the go. The flavor was unbelievably amazing. I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker, but I’ve always loved coffee (and espresso) flavored foods. Though the caffeine from the espresso powder gave me some jitters (I’m sensitive to caffeine), it was worth it.What I loved about it most: I already talked about the taste, but I also love that all 4 of their flavors are organic, soy-free, gluten-free, and use no preservatives or additives. They also use low-glycemic sweeteners like mesquite, lucuma, and coconut sugar. I know a lot of people say “sugar is sugar”- which is true to an extent – but I notice a difference in how my body reacts to white sugar vs. unrefined cane sugar vs. coconut sugar (and other low glycemic/unrefined sweeteners). The last thing that I really loved about it was that they don’t skimp on ingredients. I’d read on the label that cacao nibs and dried mulberries are added to the cereal, and I was pleased to see that there was a decent amount of both inside.Another favorite of mine was Roots powder by Deeply Rooted. This fruit and vegetable powder boasts having 19 superfoods in each serving, some of which are spinach, broccoli, bilberry, reishi mushroom, and dandelion leaf powders. It’s one of the better tasting powders that I’ve tried, though it was a tad too sweet for me in my smoothies. The blueberry and lemon flavoring (made of dextrose and natural flavors) definitely tasted like artificial candy flavors. It wasn’t so bad, but I like to taste the fresh fruit in my smoothies. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I’d choose to use it in something like raw blueberry brownies or toss a packet into banana ice cream. In addition to those suggestions, if you have a sweet tooth and want to cut down on your sugar intake, you may enjoy adding Roots to smoothies to help you wean off of sugar. There is only 1 gram of sugar per serving, but it tastes very sweet and fruity.One of my favorite candy bars when I was little was Mounds. Dark chocolate with coconut filling. Delicious. These Ocho bars, which are organic and free of preservative, additives, and artificial flavors, taste very similar. I loved it, but it was a bit sweet for me since I don’t eat candy all that often. I shared the mini square of chocolate with J, and I’m pretty sure he wanted a bag full of them after the tiny tease!R.W. Garcia makes an interesting product called Tortatos, which are chips made with a blend of corn and red potatoes. I got a bag of the salt and vinegar Tortatos in my box. These chips are verified by the Non-GMO Project. Because the major GMO ingredients, like soy, cottonseed, and corn, are regularly used in chips, this certification label is one thing I look for when I’m buying potato or corn chips. I love salt and vinegar chips and am used to the strong flavor, but I also loved these more mild flavored chips. They tasted more like corn than potato which I rather liked. They also tasted fairly fresh for being a bagged chip. Sometimes chips can taste stale and the oils make my throat scratchy, but these weren’t like that. I munched on these happily.
THE SO-SO:Explore Asian‘s Soybean Noodle Soup was a unique soup for sure. The noodles are like chewy, almost rubbery, thin strands of tofu. I wasn’t entirely put off by it, but I wasn’t sold on it either. What’s nice about this soup is that is free of MSG and gluten, and you can control the sodium content of the soup. Inside the carton are a couple of packets and a spoon. One packet has the dehydrated vegetables and flavoring in it and another contains salt. I think it’s really helpful for people to have the option of using less salt since soups are generally very high in sodium. I used a pinch of my own salt and thought the broth was very good. The depth of flavor in the broth, independent of the added salt, was the best thing about this. The one thing I really hated about this soup was that there were hardly any vegetables in it. Once it was made, I couldn’t see any chives, spotted only two pieces of quinoa-grain-sized carrots, and had about 5 kernels of corn. I want more vegetables!Also worth noting is that I got the vegetable flavor. My nutrition label was vegan, but on the website the vegetable soup contains egg powder. Not sure what that’s about, but if you order or buy these soup cups, make sure to read the label first to make sure it’s definitely vegan.Garden of Life‘s Raw Protein Powder in vanilla spiced chai wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t like it very much. Overall, I think their high quality food powder and protein powder packets are nice and convenient for travel, and I’ve relied on them many times for just that. They’re organic, Non-GMO Project verified, and contain no fillers, artificial flavors, or synthetic nutrients. As a company, they’re pretty great. As for this product alone, I’m not very interested in it. Brown rice protein always feels so gritty in my mouth and tastes bland and sandy. Because it is so bland, it offsets the rest of the flavors of whatever you put it in. I couldn’t taste the vanilla chai flavor.
THE FLOPS:The Earnest Eats superfood trail mix bar could’ve been better. Despite saying “chewy” on the package, I didn’t find these bars to be chewy at all; they were quite hard. The ingredients and the nutrition facts are great and the flavor is just ok, but I wouldn’t buy this granola bar. There are too many delicious brands (not to mention homemade recipes) out there for me to be interested in buying this one.Oogave‘s Loca Diet Ginger Ale was a disaster in many ways. J liked it alright, so I gave him the can to finish. I must admit, I’ve never liked pop too much (I live in that pocket of the U.S. where we call it pop, not soda), but that isn’t the only reason I wasn’t a fan. When I took a sip, it fizzed up so much in my mouth that it effervesced into my nose. It didn’t have a very strong ginger flavor – it actually had no real ginger in it – and tasted watered down. The last thing taste-wise that really bothered me was the extremely bitter aftertaste from the stevia, and I generally don’t mind stevia.
They misrepresent the diet ginger ale on their website when they imply that there is real ginger in the product. “This 10 calories blend of stevia and agave uses real ginger!” The ingredients mention ginger nowhere, only “natural flavors” which could mean anything. It’s not the lack of ginger that annoys me, but that one may assume from this sentence that there is real ginger in it. They could have easily reworded that sentence to be more clear about what their drink contains. Or maybe the ingredient label should read differently. Either way, it doesn’t look right.
My last – and most major – gripe with this product is the preoccupation with calorie content. First of all, they call it “diet” soda. Any food/drink that uses that word on their packaging is going to make me cringe big time. Also, it announces very largely on the front of the can that it is only 10 calories per can. That alone isn’t too annoying since tons of products display calorie content largely on the front of the packaging. Where it gets obnoxious is when you turn the can around and it tells you exercises you can do to burn off 10 calories. Seriously? No really. Seriously? I find it unnecessary. I know it’s meant to be in good fun, but it’s boring and conventional.
Overall, I really loved this snack box. Snacks evoke very personal preferences; they really bring out the pickiness in people. I thought they did a great job appealing to a wide array of taste buds without trying to please too much. I’m thrilled to be introduced to some tasty products, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to familiarize and educate myself on others. If you’re interested in subscribing to the Vegan Cuts snack box, visit their page here.