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Review: The Grandpa Soap Co.

My wife nailed it this xmas with a variety of gifts. She got me an air fryer, a small meat slicer for making deli seitan, some clothes and a bunch of other great stuff. In my stocking though she put some hair products that I have never heard or tried before.

I’ve been trying to find something that will stand up to shampoos like Head And Shoulders or other medicated dandruff shampoo and of course be cruelty free and vegan. This is a bit of TMI but I have a dandruff/ dry scalp issue and nothing, I mean NOTHING, has ever worked except for the H&S.

Until now.

In my stocking was a tube of Witch Hazel shampoo and some Pine Tar conditioner, both products made by The Grandpa Sopa Co. The products are not only cruelty free but the ingredients are vegan as well. I know that sounds redundant, but there are companies that will list one without the other. For instance, these guys have a buttermilk shampoo that is obviously not vegan, but they claim is cruelty free. Semantics aside, these products have been great.

I wanted to wait a couple of weeks to share my opinion on them. To be honest, if I stop using my old shampoo for less than a week the flakes come right back. I have not seen any yet and am amazed. My hair feels super clean and I feel great knowing that I not using products made from or tested on animals.

The Pine Tar conditioner has a scent that’s very “woods like.” Almost smells like I’ve been hanging around a campfire for a few hours and the smoke has attached itself to my hair. I feel like I should have a big ass beard and a backpack and be on a hike. Alas I cannot grow a beard and it’s cold AF to be out there hiking right now. The Witch Hazel smells nice and I can tell it’s doing it job because it tingles a bit, but the smell of the conditioner over powers it in the end.

Anyway, I’m very excited to try out some more products from these guys.

Quick Bites #5: So Delicious Cheese Shreds

Just a few short months ago the internet starting buzzing about a new cheese product and then all of a sudden; it was everywhere and people were maniacally seeking it out. It really started to hit when Daiya had just been purchased and some folks were looking for something to purchase in Daiya’s stead (read my opinion on Daiya being purchased here).

I don’t get to Whole Foods in Hyannis often, it’s not like it’s far it’s just… well… I can procrastinate quite a bit sometimes ok?! Anyway I went recently and picked up a few bags (the mozzarella and the cheddar jack) of this new cheese alternative. Was I excited? I sure was. I don’t know about you all but I get overwhelmingly elated when I finally get my hands on a new product. I don’t remember that feeling when I was not vegan, maybe the same old sh*t doesn’t get too exciting? Anyhow…

I don’t use shredded cheese on many foods except for the usual foods like tacos, nachos and pizza. So that’s how I tested these. A local Greek pizza joint allows me to bring in my own cheese when ordering pizza so I brought the bag of mozzarella shreds to them and got a plain pizza. One of the first things I noticed when I opened the pizza box was how well this melted. I’ve brought a couple other cheeses in to have them make pizza for me and none melt like this. Taste wise it very unique. There is a sweetness to it, probably because it made from a coconut base. But there is also a sharpness to it, very reminiscent of what I remember cheese tasting like. Not that it’s been a long time, but even after four years my taste buds have changed dramatically.

How is it on tacos and nachos? Again, the melt that you get is great. You have to remember folks, this is not cheese but a cheese alternative. There really is no way to make an exact replica without using animal products. But if we were to compare apples and oranges, this stuff has some of the best flavor on nachos and tacos that I’ve had. Like I said in the last paragraph, it has a very unique flavor. It’s not bad, absolutely not. It certainly separates itself from other brands though and I think that is a good thing.

I’ve tried a variety of shreds and they all have their uses, but so far these are my favorite. It’d be nice if my local Stop and Shop started carrying it so I don’t have to drive to Hyannis to re-up when I need more!

Tonight I’m making a mac and cheese and plan to use these shreds on top. I can’t wait! So Delicious cheese shreds are legit!

Review: Sanuk Admiral Boat Show

My closet houses upwards of 15-20 pairs of shoes; at least 18 of them are sneakers I’ve either purchased or have wear-tested for a few different companies. 2 of those pairs of shoes are old dress shoes. They are more formal than I chose to wear to a friend’s wedding in Brooklyn, NY. It was time to add another pair to the growing collection.

When I was looking for something new I wanted a boat shoe style but it was also important that they be ethical and made from only vegan materials. While not all of Sanuks designs are vegan, the few that aren’t use wool. Wool is the end though, they do not use any other animals products including in their glues, etc.

I chose the Admiral Boat Shoe and went with the brown. Amazon Prime is pure genius, and I had my shoes in two days after ordering. When I pulled them from the box I could tell how much care was put into them and that they were well put together. They were not heavy, were quite light as a matter of fact. The material did seem a bit stiff, but they hadn’t been worn. I think as they break in, also, that the sizing won’t be as big as they seem. I wear a 9 but think I could have gotten away with an 8 1/2 as they seem to be a bit larger.

After breaking them in a bit we went to the wedding.

Let me say how unbelievably comfortable the soles are. They are really bouncy and it feels like walking on air. While they still feel a bit big, because of the loosening of the material, I feel like they fit better and I can tie them a bit tighter to get them snug and comfy.

The only negative thing I have to say about them is they do not breathe very well. My feet were really sweaty after wearing them for a few short hours. I’m hoping as they break in more and more that this won’t be an issue.

All in all I love these shoes a lot and have been eye-balling the TKO model. Maybe those will be next?

You can check their styles out at http://www.sanuk.com/

Do you wear vegan specific shoes? What are your favorite brands?

Review: Revy’s Wallet

After making the transition to veganism, I’ve distinctly tried to not only keep animals out of my body; but also off of my body. I am aware and conscious of products made with wool, leather, fur, etc and stay away from them; obviously! One thing in particular that I had a hard time finding a decent replacement for was a wallet. I’ve tried all sorts of material, synthetics and whatever — none of them lived up to what I was looking for.

Until now that is.

It was either this past Christmas or the year before but I received a wallet that totally fit my needs. I’m a simple guy and just need a bi-fold wallet. It has to be able to carry my ID, credit and debit cards, as well as a couple other business cards or friends cards. Oh and of course it has to be able to carry cash, although I honestly never have dollar bills in it; I use my debit card all the time and couldn’t tell you the last time their was money in my wallet.

It’s a Revy wallet and if you don’t know what that is, I’m going to explain. Revy is a company based in El Salvador that makes products from recycled material. A good amount of what they do is make products that are made from recycled bike tires, like my wallet. I thought for sure after a good amount of time it would stretch out and my cards would be falling out all over the place. That is so far from the truth; it’s remained tight and firm. The workmanship is phenomenal and you can tell these are all hand-made.

Revy works with a variety of coops throughout El Salvador and believe in Fair Trade practices. From their site here’s is what their company stands for:

“All workers have the right of association to form their own coop, receive a living wage, and work without fear of abuse or their own safety. Economic justice and social justice cannot be separated.”

  • A fair price with cash advances and prompt payments
  • Collaboration on designs and production methods
  • Transparency by sharing costs and pricing
  • Long term relationships with job security

Have a guy or gal in your life that needs a practical and amazingly well crafted wallet? I can’t recommend these guys more than I already have here. I’m in the market for a new belt and will be ordering theirs soon, it looks just as amazing!

Website: http://www.revydirect.com/

Review: Sam’s Naturals Campn Stick

Just a few short weeks ago, my boys and I went on a camping journey to Lake George (in upstate NY) with some of my friends/ teammates from Strong Hearts Vegan Power. We spent the weekend eating glorious vegan food on the campfire. We swam in Lake George. Some of the group ran, while others hiked Mt Algonquin. My boys and I spent some time at Fort Ticonderoga and Ausable Chasm. And, in our “downtime”, we tossed some games of washer toss with Andy. It was an amazing weekend for sure.

I could create a long post about the timeline and exact details of the weekend but that’s not why I’m writing this. I had brought just about everything I could think of on this trip; except bug spray. Luckily, one of my friends/ teammates is Jess Ryle from Vegan Outdoor Adventures.  If you don’t know Jess, check out this chat I had with her a while back and get to know her. Anyway, she had brought some bug stuff and offered me a container of Sam’s Naturals Campn Stick.

My boys and I were getting eaten alive as darkness settled in and I applied some of the stick to us all. It’s reminiscent of a deodorant stick, which is pretty appropriate since they have a whole line of deodorants I guess (I have yet to try those). It went on smoothly, a little tacky at first but as it warmed up on the skin it was more fluid and spread very evenly & easily. The smell was nice as it’s DEET free and doesn’t have that nasty chemical scent to it. Being vegan and all natural, it of course had ingredients like citronella which are known deterrents, especially for mosquitoes. The smell of citronella and eucalyptus was certainly pervasive, but subtle enough that it wasn’t bothersome.

It seemed to work really well as the bugs started staying away as soon as it was on. I certainly felt good about using it not only for ethical reasons, but I hate putting chemicals and other protectants on my kids that does more harm to them then good. Sure, those other products work but the negatives surely outweigh the positives when it comes to DEET and chemicals like that.

It is surely satisfying knowing that a product that can be effective and still not cause harm to animals in any way yet do what it’s asked to do. I’m going to start looking around locally and see if I can’t find some more products by Sam’s Naturals. I even saw on their site that this offer this in a lotion now, that would be amazing!

I recommend this for you and your family!


Freakin’ Out Friday 10.7.16

justranchToday was a “two-fer” so I haven’t had too much time to settle in and get this post done. It was super gorgeous outside and I’ve been dying to get out on the trails again. With all the training leading up to Ragnar, it’s been quite a bit of time since I’ve been in the woods. So I did that and then a few hours later got in a decent workout in my ever-expanding home gym.

Mid-day I was reminded of something I’ve been freakin’ on for a couple of weeks now. I filled a bowl full of carrots and poured out a little ranch. You see, that’s the sh*t; the ranch! VEGAN ranch!

I’ve tried some other companies ranch dressings and no one has hit it yet; NO ONE! One company was a little too thick and was more like cream cheese than ranch. Another was like water and it was like dipping a salad into soup. Neither of those had a flavor that resembled ranch at all. One of them, a leading brand in vegan dairy items, tasted super synthetic and I honestly tossed the bottle after trying it one time. It was nasty!

During one of our breaks at Ragnar ADK we stopped at a Target in hopes of finding Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough. We had a major success on that front and most of us bought a jar. Since I do not have a Target close to my house, I figured it was an opportunity to see what other Hampton Creek products they had. They had a few of the salad dressings, including ranch!

When I got home after the weekend and was unpacking all of my stuff I cracked open the ranch and tried it.

It was delectable!

It was heavenly!

It was absolutely, marvelously, extraordinary!

It was ranch!

The texture was there. The flavor was there. The thickness was spot on.

Blessed be, ranch is back in my life!! Thank you yet again Hampton Creek for absolutely hitting a product on the mark. I can’t wait to try more!

ps. I also grabbed the Just Thousand Island and it was glorious too!!!

Actions Wipes!

action-wipes-logoI have A LOT of stuff to go over that I tried for the first time at Ragnar ADK, but those are from sponsors of the team and I want to give them all one GIGANTIC write up all together. I did have the opportunity to try out one product that was sent to test specifically at Ragnar. Let’s get to it.

Have you done a Ragnar?


Well let me fill you in on a few things that are extremely important to know. First and foremost, it’s a 24-30 hour event! You are in a van with 6 people for those 24-30 hours and you run three separate times.

You get sweaty.

You get smelly.

You get dirty.

During a Ragnar there are locations that allow runners to sleep and rest. If you are lucky, some of the major exchanges even have showers; that’s a luxury for sure. But what do you do if you don’t have that capability, or if you are a little prideful and not into taking public showers with people you don’t know? In the past I’ve packed baby wipes and they did alright for quickly “sprucing up,” but I never quite felt clean and refreshed. There was residue and it just felt like I was moving the filth around. I apologize for the visual, but you see where I’m coming from right? You never really get clean. Baby wipes don’t do much for sweat odor either, so there’s that as well.

BOOM, here comes Action Wipes! What is an Action Wipe?

Inventor Martha Van Inwegen saw the need for a natural wet wipe to clean and refresh the body after a ride, run, hike or a long plane ride. She wanted a wipe she could use on her entire body, good for her whole family and safe for the environment. It was important that it remove dirt, sweat and odor REALLY WELL without chemicals that could be absorbed into her system. Martha mixed potions in her kitchen before hitting on just the right combination of essential oils that could do everything she envisioned. And that “potion” became the secret sauce behind Action Wipes. (https://actionwipes.com/pages/about-us)

After my first leg of the relay, a 6.5ish miles run, I wasn’t feeling that bad but I still needed to wipe away the sweat. Test number one was successful and I felt refreshed. I wasn’t that sweaty or gross just yet, so it was simple test to pass. My next leg though was 8.7 miles and at that point it’d be nearly 18 hours in a van with other stinky runners.

img_1676After that run we were at one of the major exchanges with showers, but again, I’m not into showering with a bunch of strangers. So I brought a couple wipes into the bathroom stall with me and got down to business. I have to say, Action Wipes worked a ton better than a baby wipe. I felt clean. I smelt clean. Most importantly, there was no funky residue. The Action Wipes actually cleaned my body not just wiped the filth around.

I know the rest of the van smelt ripe, but I felt like a champ and smelt like a rose!

You can check out the Action Wipes website for more info but there are tons of reasons you should support them besides the fact that their product works exactly as they claim it to! The ingredients are all 100% verified vegan. Plus, “one Action Wipes can equal up to 25 gallons of water, which is the average amount used in a 10 minute shower.” Considering the droughts we’ve been dealing with in various parts of the country, that’s a good thing!

They give back to the general community. For example, they provided cases of wipes to those people in Nashville who were affected by the floods a few years back. Many people didn’t have running water, so Action Wipes were their only form of cleansing.

We’ll wrap this up by saying this product is as legit as they come. Today it was announced that the team (Strong Hearts Vegan Power) will be taking on the Ragnar in PA (2017) for our next race. Guess who’s ordering a bunch of Action Wipes for the team?

Website: https://actionwipes.com