I've dissed bloggers who give away unhealthy vegan products, and I've turned down many free samples of same, so this post is unusual in that I actually accepted some free samples of some products I've tried in the past (at least one of them). The company rep kindly agreed to send me an extra complete set of the producst so that I could give them away in a "free" contest. So, here goes:
There are six types of "Primal Strips." Their nutritional profile is quite good, ranging in fat grams from 1 to 4 grams of fat per one serving strip. Mostly non-GMO soy or wheat gluten (depending upon the product). Thin, firm, well-packaged, I've enjoyed using the Hickory Smoked when traveling or consulting as they so easily fit into my computer bag. All are a bit messy, but who's to complain about the extra sauce? The texture of each is fantastic, and for me, it's only the texture of meat that I miss about meat (and I'm confident some of these jerky strips would fake out a non-vegetarian). I've made my own seitan for years, and have never been able to get this kind of fibrous firm texture (and as compact). It's most impressive. A run-down of the line-up:
- Thai Peanut: seitan-based, wonderful peanutty flavor (with thai basil!), 2 g. of fat.
- Mesquite Lime: seitan-based, marvelous tang from the inspired lime flavor, 2 g. of fat.
- Texas BBQ: soy-based, and, speaking as a guy who spent years in Dallas, Texas as a newbie vegetarian, to die for. Would go great with a fine beer on the side. An amazing 1 g. of fat.
- Hickory Smoked: soy-based, a fine tribute to a formerly loved meat-based favorite. Strong in flavor, 3 g. of fat. No "red-neck" would be disappointed.
- Teriyaki Seitan: seitan, naturally brewed soy sauce (there is a difference, many commercial soy sauces are unhealthy mock-ups of the real thing), rich flavor, 3 g. of fat.
- Hot & Spicy: seitan with, get this, licorice root, seaweed and shittake mushrooms. The highest in fat at 4 g. (which isn't all that bad), and packs in some unique nutrition. I'm of the belief that sea vegetables and shiitakes are excellent for your immune system, and there is some evidence to support this. Would be nice with a little sake on the side...
The Primal Strips website is excellent, makes no outrageous unsubstantiated claims, gives full nutritional information, and has well-designed resources to find out where you can purchase them. Although they suggesting cutting the strips up for other kinds of meals (say, stir fries), I'm more inclined to enjoy the strips in hand, as nature intended jerky to be eaten (although the idea of using Teriyaki Strips in sushi maki is appealing).
BOTTOM LINE: outstanding vegan products, very low in fat and sodium, one in particular is quite amazing nutritionally (not that the others are slouches), and I can, without trepidation, highly recommend them (of course, with all due balance! They could be addictive...). Great company, very low price point, well-executed recipes. By using evaporated cane juice, sea salt, et. al., and giving me a one page sheet summarizing the ingredients and nutritional profile of each product, they show that they are deservedly proud of what they've accomplished.
THE CONTEST: most of the vegan bloggers giving away free vegan products ask people to perform like monkeys: "tell me how much you like XYZ, tell me how much you need XYZ, just post a comment and I'll select a winner at random." Nyahh... Homey don't play that game (obscure reference to "In Living Color"). I thought long and hard about this, and here's the game plan:
Do something and let me know about it. Do something productive for society and vegan-related issues. Ideally, you're a student who can't afford a lot, but has some passion to help make things better. If you're out of school and feel you deserve a shot, okay. But what are the conditions?
Write/send a letter to some corporation, company, agency, institution, that poses questions to be answered, cited issues that concern you, or constructive advice on what you'd like to see (vegan-related, which is environment, animal issues, health, and food). Hand out brochures in front of some restaurant or any other appropriate location (politely, please, will need photos), point out why there needs to be vegan options in your cafeteria, hold a Federal Agency accountable, make some documented suggestions to power, whatever.
Challenge the establishment and be an activist. Strive to make a difference. I wanna see some creativity, audacity, cleverness, and maybe some courage.
I want you to intelligently contribute, not mindlessly perform. To sweeten the deal, there will be two winners. They will each get 3 Primal Strips, a copy of the Mad Cowboy DVD, and a copy of "No More Bull!" (by Howard Lyman, I helped edit it, and it's got 110 vegan recipes, some of the top veg'n chefs in the business... I should know, I picked 'em) or "Mad Cowboy" (your choice).
You send me an e-mail documenting whatcha did (you're on your honor), and I (and a fellow vegan) will independently rank all entries, top two get me sending you the aforementioned goodies at my expense. Deadline for receipt of your e-mail showing me the letter you sent, or pix of your event, whatever, documentation, is March 24th. 11:59pm est. Offer valid only for those residing in the United States. My e-mail address: msutton AT soulveggie.com.
Remember, it's not the results that matter, it's the proactive effort to invite change. Do something... make an effort for the greater good. Do it for Granny.