Reviews

Review: The Detox Juice Bar

Posted on 20 August 2017

A review of The Detox Juice Bar, Cape Town …

Situated in the colorful Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, Detox Juice Bar serves an array of delicious, organic, cold pressed juices and superfood smoothies to tantalize your taste buds while giving your body the health kick it deserves. They also have a small selection of healthy and vegan friendly snacks on display.

Detox Juice Bar Lamborgreenie juice

Over the winter I have been feasting on delicious vegan foods and indulging a little more than I should have. So I decided to do a 3 day Juice fast to give my body a Spring Clean so to speak. This was my experience:

Pre Cleanse: Detox Juice Bar recommends cleaning up your diet at least 3 days prior to your cleanse. Cutting back on the caffeine and alcohol is a good idea.

Day 1: In the 3 day juice cleanse you receive 5 bottles of juice per day 300 ml each. There are 3 flavours to choose from – green, red and orange. The green juice or “Lamborgreenie” contains spinach, kale, apple, celery, Himalayan sea salt and Cayenne pepper. It’s a little spicy and tastes like green apples. The Red or “Heartbeet” contains beetroot, cucumber, mint, carrot, apple and aloe vera. This is a lovely sweet and refreshing juice. The orange “Ginger Rabbit” ingredients include carrots, ginger, orange, lime and turmeric. This one also has a kick thanks to the spicy ginger.

The first day took some getting used to. Having to drink all my meals, I wasn’t sure which juice to drink first or in what order and how much time I needed to wait between juices. They all tasted great though and I didn’t feel hungry at all.

Day 2: The morning of day 2, I stepped on the scale for interest sake and I had lost 1 kg. I felt really light and energized, I even went for a walk, but all that changed in the afternoon when my energy dipped and I started experiencing the dreaded detox symptoms. Fatigue started to set in, I felt agitated and achy. My head started to hurt and I felt a little dizzy when standing up. I also started cravings solid food at this time and I was beginning to fantasize about all the delicious fruit I was going to devour after my fast ends. This was definitely the hardest day for me.

Detox Juice Bar juice range

Day 3: Just like the previous day, I felt energized upon waking, but I still had a pounding headache and I felt like my body was trying to preserve energy. By mid day the energy slump hit again and I was starting to feel hungry. That night I decided to break my fast early and ate a few pieces of fruit with my last juice.

Post Cleanse: It is important to ease into eating solid food again. It is recommended that you maintain a healthy diet after you cleanse and not to devour everything you have been craving over the last few days, that would just render your whole juice cleanse useless. Use this time to slowly re introduce easy to digest foods like juicy fruits and smoothies and then move on to other whole plant foods. It will be a good time to notice if you have any reactions when introducing a specific food type and you might be able to pin point a food allergy this way.

Conclusion: I would recommend doing a juice cleanse for those who want to rid their body of toxins and give your digestion a break so that your body has time to heal itself. If you have digestive or allergic issues and want to find out what the cause is, a juice fast can be useful prior to an elimination type diet. I would not recommend it for quick weight loss, but it can be a great kick start to a healthy eating plan. I would also recommend adding a smoothie to your daily juice feast especially if you are going to be active during your cleanse.

The 3 day cleanse will cost you R599. They also offer a 5 and 7 day cleanse. To find out more: www.detoxjuicesa.comOpens in a new window.

Reviewed by Gabby Correia – Vegan SA


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Review: Health Connection Wholefoods Vegan Cereals

Posted on 19 July 2017

A review of Health Connection Wholefoods vegan cereals …

Health Connection Wholefoods produce a wide range of speciality health foods, available in leading retailers, speciality health shops and online on their website. They have launched 2 new health cereals suitable for vegans and I had the opportunity to review them.

Firstly, I must admit that I am not a breakfast person. Recently, as part of my mid-year resolution, I decided that I would begin my day ‘the right way’ by introducing breakfast as part of my daily routine. The timing could not have been more perfect when Health Connection Wholefoods launched the new breakfast cereals. I jumped at the opportunity to review them as I absolutely love their other health products.

Cacao Quinoa and Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal (300g)

Health Connection Wholefoods Cacao Quinoa Cereal

The new cereals contain sprouted quinoa and sprouted buckwheat, respectively. There has been quite a bit of hype around sprouting recently, so I decided to do a little research of my own and find out what all the fuss was about. Recent evidence shows that sprouting increases the health benefits of seeds and grains by increasing essential nutrients. Sprouting also improves the bioavailability of nutrients making it easier for your body to absorb.

Cacao Quinoa Cereal: This super nutritious cereal is made with sprouted red quinoa, cacao, raisins, wholegrains and seeds. It is naturally high in fibre and is also preservative free. Quinoa is high in protein and is one of the few plant foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, potassium, calcium and fibre.

Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal: This brain-boosting superfood cereal is made with sprouted buckwheat, rolled oats, wholegrains and dried fruit, including goji berries.

Health Connection Wholefoods Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal

Apparently, buckwheat becomes packed with live enzymes and vital nutrients when sprouted. Sprouted buckwheat is an amazing superfood because it is one of the most complete sources of protein on the planet, containing all essential amino acids. It also contains all the B vitamins, is rich in lecithin, iron, calcium and contains co-enzyme Q10. It is known to lower high blood pressure, balance cholesterol and aids in alkalizing the body.

I am generally not a fan of breakfast cereals so through a series of trial and error I finally discovered my favourite way to eat these. I normally use unsweetened almond milk, but as these cereals have no added sugar, I found that I needed a little extra something sweet. So I opted to add sweetened soya milk (warmed) with some chopped bananas and it was a great combination. I am sure there are many other creative ways to enjoy these cereals.

As vegans, we need to be a bit more aware of our nutrient intake, making sure we are eating the right balance of nutritious foods. I would say this is the perfect start to the day for anyone who takes their health seriously. Though eating breakfast has always proved to be quite a challenge for me, it certainly has been a whole lot more tempting thanks to Health Connection Wholefoods amazing new breakfast cereals.

Order yours today: www.health-connection.co.zaOpens in a new window.

Reviewed by Samantha Jooste – Vegan SA


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Product review – Eco Products

Posted on 9 March 2017

A review of Eco Products’ baobab oil and powder…

Eco Products baobab powder
I started adding Eco Products’ baobab powder to smoothies and thoroughly enjoyed the zing it added, especially in the morning. I used it for the last 2 weeks and I can feel a difference, especially my husband as he is prone to feeling lethargic. He works in a very stressful environment.

The vitamin C, calcium and magnesium are excellent, especially as we are fitness fanatics and the extra boost is most welcome. It is also a natural source of dietary fibre which keeps us regular. I would highly recommend incorporating this superfood into your daily eating plan as you are sure to reap the benefits.

Eco Products baobab oil
I used the baobab oil on a scar on my knee and within the first 2 days I could feel the texture changing. I will continue to use this and I have no doubt that eventually the scarring will fade and the texture of my skin will improve. Not only is it non-greasy, but easy to use as a spray on.

Thank you so much to Eco ProductsOpens in a new window – my only regret is that I have not stumbled upon this sooner. .

Reviewed by Natasha Naidoo – Vegan SA


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Review: A Short Guide to Veganism

Posted on 5 December 2016

A review of A Short Guide to Veganism by Vivian Penelope Alvez…

A Short Guide to Veganism by Vivian Penelope AlvezI received a copy of the book via download from Payhip. I had volunteered to review the book because I thought “A Short guide to Veganism” sounds like a short, quick read and should be quick to review.

I was wrong.

The title is a bit of a misnomer as this is more than a short guide – it is approximately 208 pages all about veganism. Granted, 33 pages of those are recipes and tips and tricks for the new vegan, it is still a pretty comprehensive book.

That said, it is by no means a slog to get through – I found it easy to read (being written in a conversational tone) with just enough information being provided to entice the new or interested convert to investigate veganism further. This is amply aided by a multitude of links and references for further reading.

Each section is brief and concise with a major emphasis on health issues as opposed to environmental or animal welfare issues. These issues are covered but not in as much detail as the health issues surrounding the consumption of animal products.

My view is that this is not an authoritative guide (and it certainly doesn’t purport to be) but rather a well-written and concise introduction to the world of veganism and definitely has a place as a guide for newer vegans who inevitably need to defend their newly chosen lifestyles and for activists needing literature that they can pass on to people interested in the vegan movement.

Available worldwide for $10 at Payhip (no registration needed).

Reviewed by Rino Nepgen – Vegan SA


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Review: Rain bath, body & home products

Posted on 10 November 2016

A review of Rain’s bath, skin- & home-care products…

Rain Africa is a highly respected and proudly South African company. They are currently the only Body and Beauty company in South Africa to be accredited by both Fair Trade South Africa and the International Fair Trade body in Europe. With sustainability as one of their core beliefs, Rain is a brand you can feel proud of using.

Rain Biologie Coconut & Shea Body ButterI was lucky enough to try out Rain’s Biologie Coconut & Shea Body Butter. The product comes in a 200 ml screw lid tub with a clean and sleek label, just like you would expect from the brand. I was also happy to find out that their packaging is, whenever possible, handmade, biodegradable, recyclable and the materials used are natural and recycled.

The citrusy scent from the tangerine oil smells so good you want to eat it! Other amazing ingredients include; coconut oil, shea butter, aloe ferox extract, sesame seed oil, allotoin and jojaba wax, which are all natural, local and sustainably harvested and help to soothe, moisturize, protect and care for your skin. It also has the added benefit of improving skin tone and rebuilding collagen, which makes it a perfect massage cream. This product, as with all of Rain’s products, contain no parabens, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, liquid paraffin or petrochemicals. They also do not support animal testing or child labor. So you can really feel good about using this product!

The cream absorbs relatively quickly and left my skin soft and smooth all day without it being greasy. After a few days of application I could definitely see and feel a difference in my skin. Especially on my knees where it tends to get dry quickly. I have dry, sensitive skin and can easily break out from using creams; I did not have any bad reactions to this product though, due to their natural ingredients.

Overall I was very impressed with this product. I would recommend it to everyone as it is so gentle on the skin, but at the same time nourishing and hydrating. I do suggest this body butter be used in the colder months because of the wintery scent of citrus and because I found it a bit too rich for warmer days in the sun. If you love taking care of yourself as well as the environment, then this product (and brand) is for you!

You can get your hands on this spa quality product for R255 on their online storeOpens in a new window or at one of their many branches around South Africa.

Reviewed by Gabby Correia – Vegan SA


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Review: Farm Animal Sanctuary SA Opening Day

Posted on 12 October 2016

A review of the Farm Animal Sanctuary SA, Franschoek…

On Sunday, the 2nd of October, Farm Sanctuary SA opened its (barn) doors in Franschhoek, in the Western Cape. The timing could not have been better as it coincided with World Farm Animal Day and this made the event even more profound. Farm Sanctuary SA is the first registered farm animal sanctuary in Africa.

Farm Animal Sanctuary SAThe grand opening was well attended by various roleplayers in the vegan and animal rights movement. Joanne Lefson, founder director of Farm Sanctuary SA, expressed her passion and love for animals in a heartfelt speech where she introduced the rescued animals and their stories. Having realised her goal with the unwavering support of her partner Harald, it was indeed a special moment she had been dreaming about for 22 years, and the emotion she felt was palpable for all who attended that day. When the time came to cut the ribbon and declare the sanctuary officially open to the public, Baloo the calf was standing right at Jo’s side, giving his seal (or should I say moo?) of approval.

The magic of Farm Animal Sanctuary SA resonates in the details of its spaces and design. Light streams in through the glass panels of the arches and openings in the barn. A spiralling metal staircase winds its way up to a sunny loft. Barrels of hay serve as nifty tables and chairs. Pictures and quotes from famous and inspirational people adorn the walls of the barn. You’ll find specially crafted door handles and mirrors in the rustic restrooms. Visitors can help themselves to a myriad of information at the creatively displayed information stand.

It is a 100% green facility, making use of solar energy and a biodigester. Untamed green grass gushes from the roof at the sides of the barn. The playfully designed henhouse is home to rescued, ‘spent’ hens who now spend their days bathing in the dust and sun as nature intended them to. Impactful sculptures with stirring and eloquent messages are scattered across the landscape of the farm.

The barn is also home to Garden of Vegan, a farmstall serving wholesome Vurgers and s’moo’thies, and selling a variety of other vegan goods such as fresh, organic produce grown at the farm, juices, coffee with almond milk, muffins, cookies, veggie chips and vegan biltong, butter and yoghurt. Visitors can also purchase decorative bowls, t-shirts, bags, bath salts, soaps and paper products made from the cow dung (which provides a source of income to the rural community), as well as free range eggs from the rescued hens.

The Farm Animal Sanctuary's Garden of VeganThe animal pens are situated at the sides of the barn, allowing visitors to experience the animals at close proximity. The purpose of the sanctuary is to create awareness and awaken a connection between consumers and farm animals, and to encourage a more compassionate lifestyle. The animals at the sanctuary each play an important role, becoming ambassadors for change.

One of these ambassadors is Pigcasso, the famous pig, who was rescued from a pig farm and brought to the sanctuary, where she is allowed to live out her natural days. Of course she is thriving and as it turns out, she has a very special talent too. She can paint! And best of all, you can purchase her famous pieces of artwork at the farmstall.

Farm Sanctuary SA is open to visitors on weekends and public holidays, or by appointment on weekdays. Guests can also book an overnight stay in the loft above the barn. Volunteering at the sanctuary is encouraged and donations are welcome and will be used for the upkeep of the farm and nurture of the rescued animals. For more info visit www.farmsanctuarysa.orgOpens in a new window.

I encourage everyone to visit and support Farm Sanctuary SA. There is such a special, positive energy here which I am unable to capture with just words and pictures alone. “Our lives is our message”. These words at the entrance to the barn reverberate long after you leave the gates of this sanctuary.

Matlombe Lounge, Dirkie Uys Street, Franschoek, Western Cape. Tel.: 021 876 2718. Open Sat-Sun 11 am – 3 pm.

Reviewed by Samantha Jooste – Vegan SA


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Review: The Matlombe Lounge opening

Posted on 9 September 2016

A review of Matlombe Lounge restaurant, Johannesburg …

Matlombe lounge had their grand opening on September 3rd, unveiling a veg restaurant / music venue which is nestled just outside the heart of Jo’Burg and about 10 minutes away from Maboneng. As you enter there is a distinct clean and modern feel with the outdoor entrance area having low white lounges that sit on artificial turf, all while shaded by strategically cut yellow and white stretch material. The interior is equally suave, with glimmering lights, slim lined furniture, and a stage featuring the standard musical paraphernalia.

The Matlombe LoungeIt was their big day and staff rushed around with last minute preparations, all while bass boomed from speakers and clients started to trickled in. One of the owners Mmabatho, a passionate high energy actress with big dreams, greeted my friend and I with her new menu. After pointing out vegan and vegetarian options, she went on to explain the health benefits of herbal teas, fresh smoothies and fruit juices which, they have on offer. Mmabatho is an absolute pleasure to be around and runs the establishment with her husband, further to promoting local talent and performing in a band together.

Once settled in, I decided to try the Supercharge smoothie, although it was orange it should have been a combination of dates, sesame seeds, banana, kale, coconut water and Spirulina. Still tasty but with whole blocks of ice floating around and a strong sunken spirulina flavour, I got the impression that they might need another blender.

That being said the food was fantastic, I ordered the simply divine breakfast that’s modestly priced at R38.50, it’s an all-day breakfast as the venue only opens at 11 am and I would definitely recommend it to anyone, at any time of day, and especially if you have a babalas. A delectable conglomeration of scrambled tofu, mushrooms, a Fry’s braai sausage, grilled tomato and avo with rye toast on the side. It was missing a chickpea taco and zucchini which, were listed on the menu but I hadn’t noticed and found the meal to be scrumptious, as it was.

My friend had the falafel, roast veg and avo tramezini – a flavoursome meal which is also reasonably priced at R35.00, served with a side salad, freshly cut chips and a sterling chilli sauce. Regrettably there was no avo.

The Matlombe Lounge all-day breakastFor desert, cake! All of Matlombe’s cakes are vegan and a generous slice of carrot cake was provided, covered in a soft heavenly icing and sprinkled with dried cherries. It was undeniably delicious and a must try for any cake lover.
In spite of the mishaps the food is divine, we had fun, met great people and exchanged ideas, Matlombe Lounge is a place that I would like to show off to tourist friends. With a back exterior wall that is covered in bright graffiti, you get a real feel for Jozi and there is a sense of music comradeship, with musicians exchanging ideas and doing what they do best – playing.

Basically, if you are looking for a licensed restaurant with loud music that serves herbal teas and vegan cake, you have found your place, and I write this while listening to their Youtube channelOpens in a new window. It dawns on me, the tunes are as good as their food and I can honestly say that I look forward to re-visiting for a bit of Jazz and cake.

Matlombe Lounge, Shop 2 One Central Place, 30 Jeppe street, Newtown, Johannesburg, Gauteng. Tel.: Sifiso: +27 83 775 1033, Mmabatho: +27 83 757 0277. Open Mon-Sat.

Reviewed by Lesleigh Harnwell – Vegan SA


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Review: a visit to Leafy Greens

Posted on 7 May 2016

A review of Leafy Greens restaurant and shop, Muldersdrift, near Johannesburg …

I was lucky enough to visit Leafy Greens this past weekend, set in the most beautiful gardens on the premises of Casalinga, just outside of Muldersdrift. Firstly, it’s one of the most picturesque settings for a restaurant I’ve ever seen, very rustic with a wonderful, warm atmosphere. Owner and founder Antonia De Luca, a nutritionist, chef and entrepreneur in her own right, travelled the US for many months in order to find the inspiration to come back and open her own vegan restaurant.

Leafy Greens cafe“Having grown up in a family with a passion for cooking, I have learnt a lot about Italian cuisine. With great wisdom and knowledge passed down through the generations as my foundation. When we started eating like this it was purely for our health, but it soon became a conscious effort to start living sustainably. All the answers we need are found in nature and we can once again bring about balance and find our true magic.”

And the magic is apparent when you visit this fantastic little gem of a place…

As soon as I walked through the doors I felt as though I was in some sort of vegan heaven. The aromas that I was met with were out of this world and I started to get that excited ‘kid in a candy store’ feeling as I wandered into the delightful shop, which has just about everything vegan and animal friendly that you can ever imagine.

Antonia’s own brand of fresh juices, smoothies and shots, plus various nut milks and many other delights are all made on site, have great variety, and are very well priced.

I was shown around by the manager, Lerato, who has a thorough knowledge of all the products, foods and produce and her love for working at the place is obvious! She talked me through the fabulous 5-day cleanse, which involves drinking all 6 varieties of their juices a day and can be done for weight loss or just a good old detox.

They serve up an amazing buffet of just about everything imaginable; tasty, imaginative and pretty looking dishes. Anyone who thinks vegans just eat grass needs to visit this place!

Never have I seen such inventive, unique dishes in my life, some raw and some cooked, but all mind blowing. From dinky little rice paper rolls, to raw falafel, lentil curry, spinach croquettes with home-made sweet chili sauce, gluten-free oven baked pizza, brown rice moussaka, mushroom zucchini curry, broccoli bake, home-made focaccia and every salad under the sun…they also have a mouth-watering A La Carte menu available, which is nothing short of amazing.

“WOW” is what my taste buds were screaming at me! Never have I tasted such superb, delicious yet incredibly healthy food. Eating at Leafy Greens really is an experience, and feels somewhere in between over indulging in everything your heart has ever desired but still being incredibly healthy; whilst being safe in the knowledge that it’s all cruelty free.

Certainly sounds like heaven to me…

Thanks Leafy GreensOpens in a new window. I shall be back!

Leafy Greens, Plot 328, Rocky Ridge Road, Muldersdrift, Gauteng. Tel.: 082 882 7300.

Reviewed by Lisa Fine – Vegan SA


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Esse Sensitive

Posted on 28 April 2016

Review written by Josie Du Toit …

I had struggled to find a skincare product that isn’t just great for my sensitive skin, but one that is also 100% vegan, using natural ingredients and endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty. Esse exceeded all expectations and surprised me at the way it felt on my skin. When the product arrived, it looked like a high quality product, just from the way it is packaged in a glass amber presentation.

Sanctum hair care range from Harmless HouseEsse Sensitive Cleanser – This cleanser feels so incredibly silky smooth like luxury on your skin, the smell is divine from all 3 products, all I can describe the smell as is heavenly and something you want more of. I wasn’t worried to use it on sensitive areas such as around my eyes for make-up removal as it felt so gentle but worked well. The cleanser is gentle, creamy and feels amazing to sensitive skin and I immediately felt better after.

Esse Nourish Moisturiser – The nourishing cream I used every morning on my face, again with a silky, luxurious comforting feel as soon as I applied it. After using the moisturiser, my face at no point felt irritated as it usually does during the day. It is a great soothing cream to use on a daily basis.

Esse Hydro Moisturiser – This moisturiser contains prebiotics and hyaluronic acid, it instantly feels like it is repairing the skin cells, I could feel my skin soak up the moisture with no greasiness. It feels protective, giving a smooth and calm feel to the skin. The elasticity of my skin already felt stronger and younger after one application and I could see a noticeable difference in skin damage within the first month. I would definitely recommend this to people who are looking to repair their skin.

The Esse sensitive range I can describe as feeling like when you wake up in the morning on a cold day and are comforted by your cosy and soft duvet. Within just 2 days my skin no longer felt itchy or irritated but calm and smooth. All of these products have a delicious smell that I just can’t get enough of!

I have now been using the products for 3 months and am hooked on the Esse range, I can honestly say it is the best skin care product I have tried. I would highly recommend it to others especially those that have sensitive skin where they can be sure to feel comforted in luxury from these incredible products.

Find Esse products onlineOpens in a new window or from health shops, beauty clinics and pharmacies in most major cities countrywide.


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Product review – Africa Organics

Posted on 18 April 2016

Review written by Lisa J. Fine …

After searching furiously for a hair and body care product range in SA that is natural, vegan, cruelty free, affordable and easily accessible, I came across Africa Organics. Not only do their products look lovely and smell amazing, but they also tick all the right boxes where animals are concerned!

Sanctum hair care range from Harmless HouseThey are free from any animal products, aren’t tested on animals, plus they are organic, natural, don’t contain any nasty parabens, silicones or chemicals, are biodegradable and are accredited by all the right people, making them a safe choice for vegans. The brand is also approved by Phytotrade Africa, as well as Beauty without Cruelty and the Vegan Society.

Their mission is to bring you a 100% natural, certified organic hair and body care range that uses Africa’s most powerful plant ingredients, while at the same time contributing to the well-being of Africa’s rural communities and its plant biodiversity. Their packaging is also biodegradable.

Wow, what’s not to love, right? Even before I tried their products I was pretty much in love and very excited to try out this awesome range. It tickled my fancy from the get go so I was hoping that the product would be as good as it sounded. And it really was!

I tested the Marula Shampoo and Conditioner – the conditioner takes a little getting used to but as explained on their website it doesn’t have that artificial silky feel to it like silicones have. They advise not to concentrate on the feel of the product but rather use it for 2 weeks and concentrate on results. Normal brands strip the hair and then replace the natural oils with synthetics, whereas they use only plant oils to replace the natural oils on the hair. It is light, crisp and it’s fresh fragrance is a mix of wild coconut and mint.

I also used the Boabab Clay Wash which is a clay that foams! It contains bentonite clay which acts as a mild exfoliant with its ability to draw toxins from the skin.

The Marula Shower Gel is a fresh, minty wash that’ll perk you up in the morning! It contains marula oil to help maintain skin lipids. It has a lovely, surprising fresh scent and lathers really well.

The Kalahari Body Lotion smells fantastic and is a very light creme that won’t leave you feeling greasy, but will deliver omega-6’s from Kalahari melon. It’s pH balanced and has inulin as a topical prebiotic. The formulation is self-preserving, so we don’t need to add synthetic preservatives.

Find their whole range at Dischem amongst other stores, see their website for more detailsOpens in a new window.


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Product review – Monate chocolate

Posted on 23 March 2016

A review of Monate chocolate by Anandi Jooste …

The Monate chocolate collectionMonate Chocolate is the chocolate of the future! With just the right amount of sweet and creamy, Monate Chocolate brings temptation and healthy snacking together into the perfect bite of guilt free indulgence. Monate products are not only irresistible, but they are also organic, ethical, 100 percent vegan and made of raw ingredients. These super food treats are free of diary, wheat, gluten, refined sugar and preservatives and can therefore be enjoyed by everyone!

Monate Chocolatiers are true chocolate geniuses and their wide range of products include a delicious Himalayan Sea salt chocolate bar, Crunchy Peanut butter, Coconut and Scotch flavoured Truffles, Love Bonbons and convenient bite sized 20 gram mini bars. Also available is a chocolate spread which is ideal on toast for an easy guilt free breakfast to start the day off in a good mood! And who doesn’t love a steaming cup of hot chocolate, Monate Hot Chocolate Elixir is the perfect purchase with Winter just around the corner.

My personal favourite are the flavoured raw truffles (especially the coconut truffles) with just the right amount of creamy and sweet and with a signature coconut taste. Coming a close second is Monate’s Chocolate Pot filled with creamy, thick dark chocolate spread. Spread it thick on rye toast or rice cakes for a wholesome, rich taste which is sweet but not overly sweet. I also enjoyed the fine texture of the Himalayan Sea Salt bar and found that the hint of saltiness brought out the rich taste of the chocolate even more. And a classic, but still a winner, was the Monate 78% Cacao bar. Even though it is plain unflavoured chocolate, its fine texture and rich taste creates a feeling of pure indulgence and goes great with a cup of strong black coffee. The 20 grams mini bar is just enough per serving due to it’s richness. What stood out for me with the Hot Chocolate Elixir was the perfect amount of sweetness and no after taste as with many sugar free products.

Monate hampers include a variety of the above mentioned products and make the perfect gift for loved ones (or to spoil yourself) and can be ordered on their website at www.monatechocolate.co.zaOpens in a new window with nation wide delivery and free delivery in Jo’burg and Pretoria.

Monate Raw Artisan Superfood is a proudly South African product and means delicious in Sotho. Monate Chocolate is not only delicious, but is packed full of nutrition, anti-oxidants and essential minerals. Only organic, ethically sourced Cacao beans are used, making it is as good for you as it is for the environment! Monate is dedicated to saving the world with silliness, and chocolate and their passion can be seen in their beautiful packaging and delicious product. The only problem you will face is not being able to choose between all the tempting products available in the Monate range!


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Fresh Earth has sprung a new leaf!

Posted on 8 February 2016

A review of Fresh Earth restaurant, Emmerentia, near Greenside, Johannesburg …

I must be honest, I hadn’t been to Fresh Earth for at least 2 years and upon my return I was pleasantly surprised by both the revised menu and indoor seating area.

Fresh Earth's raw chocolate mousseFirstly let me give you an idea about the atmosphere, admittedly most venues in Greenside do have a charming café feel, possibly the result of being surrounded by so many trees and hipsters; Fresh Earth is no different. Boasting great ambience with a humble mood, you will be greeted by friendly staff and an abundance of wheat grass. I love wheatgrass; it represents a food that is pure and vital. Something that cannot be prepared and left to sit on a shelf, but immediately cut and juiced, making it a very comforting plant to be greeted by, when dining out.

Across from me sat a mother and her son, she had clearly just collected him from school and what was so amicable, the young boy had sprawled himself across the orange cushions not unlike what he would do at his own home. His mom had also plopped herself comfortably on the cushioned bench and started browsing through her phone while they awaited their healthy lunch, with what seemed like not a care in the world.

Fresh Earth’s menu has clearly marked items for vegan, gluten and sugar free meals and they offer a lunch buffet, further to having raw smoothie options with super foods like Spirulina and Maca, and a great selection of juices. I had the Detoxer a refreshing blend of apple, celery, carrot, and of course wheatgrass. Like most veg juices it was not the most appealing, with an conglomeration of greens and oranges swirling around, but don’t be discouraged, as it made up for its looks with revitalising ingredients and a subtly sweet taste.

The buffet had a nice selection of both warm and cool foods, an adventurous combination of brinjal and pineapple salad was on offer and a delightful roasted pumpkin and tomato salad also featured. What was very nice was the little bowls of ground and pumpkin seeds which you can sprinkle on your salad, and they have a fantastic lemon and herb dressing. Combine with a bit of lettuce, baby spinach and sprouts, and you have a sufficiently scrumptious salad. Comfort foods included a tofu quiche, mild curry, and a lentil cottage pie, all of which were very tasty with a nice combination of flavours, but given the heat of the day I was more inclined to have salad. Quite interestingly the buffet is charged by weight, I thought this was strange at first but in hindsight it actually makes perfect sense, as you are discouraging waste and light eaters needn’t pay for what they don’t eat.

Vanilla bean vegan ice cream at Fresh EarthThen the crème de la crème – dessert! Fresh Earth make their own vegan ice cream, sweetened with xylitol and accompanied with a delicious ginger cookie. They also offer choc or vanilla milkshakes which you can have with either rice or soya milk, further to raw deserts like raw chocolate mousse cakes. Their bakery has a lovely selection of date balls and cocoa clusters which you can take home with you for a late night treat, and they have a shop should you need to get some produce, beauty or health items, and even eco cleaning products for the home.

All in all I give Fresh Earth 5 carrots – it seems appropriate for a health restaurant than to give them 5 stars, a relaxing venue with a great selection of vegan meals and treats. They do sell products with cheese and eggs but you can take comfort in that they do not sell any meat dishes or products, making it a befitting venue for vegans and vegetarians alike in my view. With ample space, Fresh Earth can accommodate small functions or birthday parties and the staff and decor will make you feel right at home.

Fresh EarthOpens in a new window, 103 Komatie Road, Emmarentia. Tel.: 011 646 4404.

Reviewed by Lesleigh Harnwell – Vegan SA


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Review of Eat, Love, Life

Posted on 22 October 2015

The interior of Eat, Love, LifeA review of ELL, Spookfontein Farm, Hemel and Aarde Road, Upper Hemel & Aarde Valley, Hermanus …

High up in the Hemel en Aarde Valley is home to the ELL (Eat, Love, Life) restaurant at Spookfontein Farm. Picturesque and interestingly designed, it is a venue well worth visiting.

We were invited to review the vegan section of the ELL menu. Norah Hudson has put together an inspiring range of vegan fare that is outstanding. Meticulous attention to detail, superb presentation and creativity made the range of dishes exciting and mouth-watering.

The tasting menu covered 5 vegan dishes excluding the entrée of pizza bread and homemade hummus which was followed by the tasting dishes. We would highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the Hermanus area. As non-drinkers, Norah recommended the mountain water, which is unique to Spookfontein and is highly prized by serious whisky drinkers.

The interior of Eat, Love, LifeWhat puts me off about a number of vegan restaurants is the lack of good cooking, however all the food that we tasted for lunch was delicious. The Entree of Ppizza bread and humus was just right to whet our appetites, the starter consisting of various chesses, biltong and seitan was a nice surprise, it was a good combination with the entrée. The next plate was bean curry and rice with homemade chutney, it was filling and well balanced.

The burger that followed was just delicious, and I was tempted to ask for seconds. Norah has perfected the vegan burger! A vegan wrap was served with the burger and was not raw as is often the case with vegan wraps. The next plate was pizza which was sparse and a bit dry. The dessert was rich and dense, a perfect end to a great lunch.

Thank you Norah Hudson and ELLOpens in a new window for your invitation, we will be back…..

Reviewed by Antoinette Maake – Vegan SA


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Product review – Harmless House

Posted on 25 July 2015

Harmless House Super Natural Surface Cleaner, Dishwashing Liquid & Laundry Gel

The Super Natural cleaning range uses citrus based anti-bacterial properties that are effective disinfectants. The range is free from harmful chemicals, sulphates and phosphates. The products are 100% biodegradable, water course and septic tank friendly. They are cruelty-free certified by Beauty Without Cruelty South Africa.

SUPER NATURAL SURFACE CLEANER (1 lt)

Introduction

Sanctum hair care range from Harmless HouseThis surface cleaner can be used on all washable surfaces including floors, counters, stovetops etc.

My expectations

I was very eager to test this product on as many surfaces in my home as possible. The idea that it was free from harmful chemicals really appealed to me.

My experience of the products

It had a lovely smell and was gentle on my hands. It removed dirt and grime quite easily without excessive scrubbing or scouring.

My overall impression

The Super Natural Surface Cleaner is a versatile and effective cleaner which can be used throughout the home. I would recommend it to everyone.

SUPER NATURAL DISHWASHING LIQUID (1 lt)

Introduction

This dishwashing liquid effectively cleans and degreases dishes while being kind to your skin.

My expectations

I was not expecting much as I don’t do dishes very often (lucky me!).

My experience of the products

The first thing I noticed was the lovely citrus smell. Because it has no chemical foaming agents, I knew not to expect much foam, but it still cleaned my dishes quite thoroughly. It was very gentle on my hands too.

My overall impression

It is a great alternative to other dishwashing liquids which are quite harsh on hands. It just takes a little while to get used to not having a lot of foam to work with.

SUPER NATURAL LAUNDRY GEL (1 lt)

Introduction

This laundry gel ensures brilliant results on coloured, colourfast and white laundry. It tackles a large variety of stains and has a great natural fragrance. It is ideal for hand as well as machine washing.

My expectations

I was not that sure how efficient it would be as I was used to using washing powders only.

My experience of the products

I only used this gel when I machine-washed. It had a clean and pleasant fragrance and adequately removed stains. Being a gel, it left no residue on the items of clothing, as sometimes happens with washing powders.

My overall impression

I am going to continue using this gel as I was completely satisfied with the results and would recommend it to everyone.

The Super Natural range of products are distributed by Harmless HouseOpens in a new window in South Africa, an online store that specialises in high quality organic, natural, cruelty-free certified and ethically sourced products for the whole family. They deliver straight to your door free of charge on most brands.

Review written by Samantha Jooste


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Product review – Lavish Natural Skincare Products

Posted on 9 July 2015

Introduction

The Lavish Natural Skincare range of products

Lavish Natural Skincare is a range of “products that work for you, your skin and for the planet”. Their ingredients are of a natural and organic origin and none are tested on animals or contain animal products. Their range includes an exfoliator, daily face cream, night cream, face cleanser and body cream.

[Visit our Facebook page to enter our Lavish Skincare product competion.]

My expectations

I had never actually heard of the Lavish Natural Skincare range before I was asked to do this review. But after looking online and receiving my brightly coloured products, I was very intrigued and couldn’t wait to try them out!

My experience of the products

After using the Lavish face cleanser and daily face cream for a few days, I can honestly say that I really do love the way my skin feels. The cleanser contains aloe vera, lime essential oil, peppermint essential oil and buchu leaves, leaving the skin feeling clean and healthy due to their antiseptic and healing properties. The face cream is really nourishing and perfect for those with normal to really dry skin, as it contains antioxidant-rich baobab oil and healing rosehip. My skin feels soothed, clean and soft.

My overall impression

I really like the Lavish Natural Skincare range. Not only are the ingredients mostly organic, not tested on animals, don’t contain animal products and exist in wonderful combinations, but the bottles are attractive with bright colours and are recyclable. These vegan products truly do leave your skin feeling luxurious and I would definitely recommend these to a friend.

Review written by Dominique Prinsloo


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