Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walgreens Wonders

Topic: Mainstream Snacking

The Dish: I've written about my favorite veg-friendly grocery stores before—Trader Joe's, Aldi, hidden-gem discount shops—and I'm still happily surprised at all of the new great products and deals they offer. But sometimes, I'm not within walking distance of one of these veg havens when hunger strikes, be it when I'm out in the city, in Missouri visiting family, or driving through a random town on a road trip. In those cases, I find a Walgreens.

In San Francisco, there's a Walgreens on pretty much every corner. I'm certain its numbers compete with Starbucks. At first glance, all of the edibles seem frustratingly not vegan, especially when I'm in dire need of a pick-me-up and bags after bags of "cheese"-flavored chips are staring me in the face. After careful perusal of the shelves, I've come up with my favorite snacks under $5. Are these healthy? Um, no. But they're for special occasions! Like, you know, when I'm hungry.

  1. Deerfield Farms Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. ($3.49) Holy crap. This delightful off-brand replicates the chewy version of Chips Ahoy!, but leaves out the milk products. The result is a package of accidentally vegan cookies that must be hidden in a cabinet to prevent total annihilation upon opening. If you're not into chewy, the regular, crunchy variety is vegan, too.
  2. Walgreens Peanut Butter Bars. ($0.99) These old-fashioned candies are little wrapped bites of happiness. They sort of remind me of the inside of a Butterfinger, but far less gross because they're just peanut butter and sugar. At less than a dollar a package, it's the perfect sweet purchase when you know friends are going to be mooching off of you.
  3. Blue Diamond Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds. ($1.49) A single-serving of these roasted almonds will completely cure any savory craving you have, thanks to a generous dusting of wasabi powder and a little soy sauce flavoring. And of course almonds are good for you with all of their protein and good fats, et cetera et cetera. More importantly, they're delicious.
  4. Original Chex Mix. ($2.49) I'm sorry, didn't Chex Mix used to have whey in it?! I recently discovered that the original party snack either removed the animal products, or I have been mistaken all along. Whatever happened, it's made it possible for me to revel in this childhood favorite.
  5. Lindt Excellence 85 percent Cocoa Dark Chocolate. ($2.99) It's dark chocolate. What else can I say? Lindt makes a decent bar, and it's more affordable than a lot of frou-frou brands who ruin a perfectly good chocolate bar with some funky non-vegan filling. It's perfect for my daily 3pm, "Where is the chocolate?" moment.

The Final Word: If junk food isn't your forte, the big W also stocks some healthier veg standbys, such as Odwalla juices, Probars (I'll take a dozen), vegan Clif-brand bars, and fresh, nearly free fruit. Of course besides the snacking, it also has the necessities in life, including BioBag's biodegradable doggie bags, L'Oreal EverPure vegan hair care, and tons of products from the cruelty-free Yes to Carrots line. Keep an eye out for sales, do the vegan label-check, and you'll be good to go.

16 comments:

  1. I thought chex mix had worcestechire sauce in it (with anchovies)...maybe I am wrong though :) The chex mix recipe calls for it and i use a vegan variety and margarine instead of butter.

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  2. Awesome post, thanks! I'm a dog walker/pet sitter and drive all over a huge county to do my job. Needless to say, it's nearly impossible to bring food with me everyday. I appreciate this info!

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  3. Chex Mix DID used to have whey; I remember it too! I was so pleased to recently find they changed the recipe. No worcestershire in the packaged kind, Kuntrageous.

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  4. I wrote to the chex mix people a while back and they said they are not vegan. I believe this was after the whey was removed from the ingredient list since I wouldn't have emailed them otherwise - but I could be wrong. I wonder if the "Natural Flavors" or the Disodium Guanylate/Inosinate were what they were referring to. Perhaps I will email them again. I would love if they became vegan!

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  5. We have a bag of Chex Mix in the pantry (my fiance loves the stuff...hes vegetarian, not vegan). I don't eat it because our bag does say Whey in the ingredient list...

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  6. What a great post - I didn't know about the cookies or peanut butter bar.

    I avoid the EverPure - yes it's vegan but it has Parabens which mimic hormones in the body.

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  7. I really hate to be a downer, but usually cookies and bars and things like these snacks listed have cane sugar which is not usually vegan. Cane sugar is "filtered through activated carbon (charcoal) which may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin." Yikes. I don't know if that's the case with these products, but I always wonder...

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  8. @indiacarless And L'Oreal also has a not-great reputation when it comes to animal testing. In fact, Body Shop is owned by them, so I've stopped shopping there too (beside the fact that their products are nowhere near as "natural" as they make them out to be).

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  9. Heck yeah, thanks for the post!

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  10. There is a Walgreens that just opened on the corner of my street. I will need to check it out now for certain!

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  11. does chex mix not have vitamin D in it? if it's made with the same cereal as what is packaged for breakfast, then the D is unspecified and can be made from either plants or lanolin.

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  12. The vitamin D is unfortunately animal-derived. It says D3 right in the ingredients list of Chex cereal boxes. Milk ingredients or no milk ingredients, it's still not vegan! :-(

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  13. Just so you all know, I double checked and contacted the company directly about Original Chex Mix. I received an official statement that it is, in fact, vegan. Thanks!

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  14. Vegan or not, Chex Mix has hydrogenated oils. I'll pass.

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  15. Sweet! My husband has been eating a vegan snack without even knowing it! Excellent!

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