Mama, we made it! Check out this cool behind-the-scenes clip of a short film called "Orchid" where VAMS bevvies are featured! So awesome seeing our babies in a nice production like this one!
Photo credit: CannabisTutorials
On this day where many spirits are lifted, let’s slow things down (pun intended) and get to know how this day came to be. Many people have come up with their own conclusions about how 420 came to be--anything ranging from it being a police code for “Marijuana Smoking in Progress” to a date associated with Bob Marley. However, believe it or not, the significance of the day is widely believed to have originated from a group of high schoolers from San Rafael, California.
The group of high school boys, named The Waldo’s, got word of a hidden cannabis crop near the San Reyes peninsula and naturally, they were curious and wanted to find this hidden treasure. The Waldo’s agreed to meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 and used the code name “420-Louis” each time they would meet. Appropriately, The Waldo’s would light a spliff before each trip. As time went on, “420-Louis” just became “420” and would be used in reference to anything weed related by The Waldo’s. Little did they know, this was the start to the infamous term that would be used worldwide, and a joyous day for all cannabis smokers.
The Waldo’s had inside connections to a band called The Grateful Dead, who caught on to the 420 term and took it over the edge to gain more popularity. The Waldo’s would often hang out with the band and be at their rehearsals smoking weed. The high schoolers would also be invited to the band’s parties where they took the opportunity to share the term with the crowd. The band ultimately helped solidified the term. Later in the 1990s, the High Times picked up the term and published it in their magazine. From there, “420” went global and continues to be used within counterculture.
Now that you know how the day and term came to be, sit back, relax, and light up a big one. This one’s for The Waldo’s.
The topic of pickled and fermented foods can be quite a confusing one. Are pickled foods also fermented?! Are fermented foods considered pickled?! Are they just fancy names for the exact same thing?!?!
Well guess what? It's actually a lot simpler than you think! Both pickling and fermenting were methods used to preserve food during times when refrigerators weren't readily available. Food preservation prolongs the time it takes for food to spoil - allowing food to have a longer shelf life. Today, we eat pickled and fermented foods for their health benefits and to add some unique qualities into our everyday diet.
When it comes to pickling and fermenting, the most significant characteristic separating the two is that one contains live cultures. Whether it be kombucha, yogurt, or kimchi, fermented foods will have live cultures, called probiotics, that fill your system with good bacteria. If you're a kombucha drinker or fermented food connoisseur, you'll know that probiotics help build up and strengthen your immune system, detoxify your body, and boosts your energy. But, that doesn't mean you should stay away from pickled foods! Although pickled foods don't possess those live cultures, they're a great addition to add some kick in your meals.
For those still curious, we've made a visual of the differences between pickled and fermented foods!
All photo credits go to the City of Toronto Archives
(Before we get started, be sure to read all the way to the end for a special announcement!)
The journey we’ve been on to get to where we are now is seriously no joke. Moving from Parkdale to the east end, in Leslieville, has been quite the adventure but it’s always nice to sit and think about how things have changed over time. Just as VAMs has grown, the Leslieville neighbourhood has undergone years of changes to become what it is today. BlogTO recently released an article showcasing the transformation of Leslieville and we absolutely loved the buildings and streets they highlighted.
A quick history lesson about Leslieville: the East-end neighbourhood was named after George Leslie, founder of Toronto’s most prominent nursery during the 1800s. Leslieville also used to be home to numerous factories, including the famous gum company, Wrigley. Leslieville’s rich history has brought a lot of attraction to this part of the city and aided in the shifting culture of the area and we love that we could be a part of it all.
Our first move to Leslieville we were located at 235 Carlaw Ave, formerly the Wrigley Building, next to our then partner, Smash Juice Bar--a project that had good potential but got hit hard with a foreign takeover. We were soon fighting to get our company back, and fortunately, we did. Long story short, we needed to move, and quickly, in order to continue production. Thank goodness for our lovely friends who agreed to let us occupy space in their commercial kitchen located within the area. With their help, we were able to thrive, but we still needed more.
Word on the street was that there was a shared vegan kitchen on Carlaw we could maybe use as a second site. Turned out that lots of other brands including Culcherd Cheese, Unbaked Cake, Sweet Hart Kitchen (who’s opening a cafe in Kensington, can’t wait!) and Turmeric Teas would also call this spot home. We spent the last summer months getting to know our new friends and learning how hot and sticky things could get in a small kitchen. Yet, we continued to grow, and once again a larger space was needed. And that’s when we started calling 388 Carlaw Ave. home. We’ve been here since the fall and have continued to grow and utilize the larger space since.
As we remain in our current space, our goal is to continue making healthy options available to our customers that please the palate and enhance the body. Inevitably, as we continue to grow, we will have to move into an even bigger facility and when that time comes we will welcome new adventures with open arms.
We love that we could be part of Toronto’s rich manufacturing legacy over here in the east-side. Leslieville has definitely helped us grow as a brand and as professionals. And of course, all of this is worth it thanks to our amazing customers who have supported and continue to support our endeavors. Thank you.
Psst, here's the announcement you've been waiting for! We're doing a VAMS trivia with a special giveaway! Head over to our instagram @vamsculture to stay updated and get the chance to win some prizes! Trivia will start on Monday April 3. *Hint*: Be sure to keep this blog post handy 😉
*All photos used were taken by VAMS unless stated otherwise
Drinking copious amounts of kombucha is sure to leave your gut feeling like a well oiled machine but that also means having a bunch of empty bottles laying around the house. You now have 2 options--recycle the bottles OR reuse them! We opted for the latter and encourage you to do the same. To spruce up the look of the bottles, we gave them a quick makeover. We tried out a few different techniques to get a variety of different looks.
Sea Glass Spray Paint
The first one is crazy simple. You only need one thing--Sea Glass spray. We used Krylon’s Sea Glass spray in Sea Foam but feel free to choose whichever brand and colour is available. 1. Take your clean, empty bottles and flip them upside down on a protective material so you don’t get paint on unwanted surfaces. 2. Spray. Make sure you’re in a well ventilated space while spraying, preferably outdoors. Once you’ve sprayed it to your desired look, 3. let it dry in a cool place.
Spray Painted Yarn Wrapped Jars
This next one is similar to the sea glass spray with just a small addition. Before spraying the bottle, 1. take some yarn and wrap it around the bottle however is desired and then make sure the yarn is kept in place. 2. Flip the bottle upside down and spray. Again, make sure you’re in a well ventilated space when spraying. 3. Leave it in a cool space to dry.
(Photo credit: Goods Home Design)
Oven Baked Decal
For this one all you need is an oil-based sharpie/permanent marker, and oven. 1. Take your permanent marker and design your bottle! Don’t be afraid to get creative with it. When you’ve got your desired pattern, 2. let the ink dry for an hour or more. 3. Place the bottles in an oven preheated to 350 for 30 minutes to dry. *Pro-tip/safety tip: put your bottles in the oven before you begin to preheat it and also leave it in the oven after while both the bottles and oven cool to prevent cracking.
Autumn Stained Glass
Be prepared, these autumn stained glasses are a bit of a process, but worth it! 1. Put about 1tbsp of mod podge in a mixing cup/bowl. *Pro-tip: Try to get a disposable materials for mixing to allow an easier, mess-free cleanup. 2. Add food colouring to your liking and mix with the mod podge. Keep adjusting the colour until you get something you’re happy with. 3. Pour the mixture into the bottle and slowly coat the entire inside of the bottle. 4. Prepare a baking sheet lined with newspaper or scrap paper and flip the fully coated bottle upside down onto the tray to let the excess run down. 5. Leave it on the tray for about an hour to allow the excess to drip down. 6. After an hour has passed, turn the bottles over and transfer onto a baking sheet. 7. Put the baking sheet with your bottle(s) in an oven preheated to 225 for 45 minutes. For full and complete instructions, click here.
Now that the bottles are done, you can use them as vases, fill them with spices, turn them into soap and lotion jars, and pretty much anything you can think of! Enjoy your creations!
2017 is the year to keep it trendy, and that doesn’t just mean with your fashion, music, or technology--expect to see some trends with your food too! Now, we’re not just talking about any food, we’re talking superfoods. The spotlight is moving away from kale and onto these new goodies.
First things first, what exactly is a superfood? A certain food is given its “superfood” title based on 3 things--nutrient density, the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index system (ANDI), pH balance, and the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) value of that food. To put in simpler terms, a food that has lots of nutrients with few calories, regulates the body, and is filled with antioxidants will be considered a superfood.
Here are our top 5 superfoods for 2017:
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has actually been both consumed and used around the house for years but it’s starting to pick up some speed and more people are jumping aboard. Apple cider vinegar has numerous benefits when consumed or even used on topically on the skin. When your energy is on the low side or you feel a cold kicking in, drinking apple cider vinegar can help combat those nasty germs, while potassium and enzymes in the vinegar help the feeling of tiredness. It can also help lower blood sugar levels due to the effect of it being acidic. Bonus, if you have a special occasion you’re getting ready for, a wedding, a hot date, whatever it is, apple cider vinegar can also help you clear your acne, reduce dandruff, and get rid of bad breath so you’ll be ready for anything! P.s. Look out for a drink inspired by apple cider vinegar from VAMS soon -wink, wink- Photo credit: Ali Blumenthal for Reader's Digest via www.rd.com
Turmeric: Already, turmeric has been popping up more and more. It’s no longer just a spice you put into your food while cooking. You can find turmeric being added to anything from kombucha to lattes.Turmeric is a great superfood for its anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease any body pain such as joint pain, muscle fatigue, and arthritis. This spice is believed to be so powerful that its strengths are compared to work similar to ibuprofen. Except, of course, choosing turmeric is a much more natural and delicious alternative. Check out VAMS’ Lime + Turmeric kefir water! Photo credit: greenblender.com
Matcha: Matcha is another one of those foods that’s been around but hasn’t exactly had the spotlight directed at them. Matcha is actually quite accessible, at cafes, restaurants, dessert shops, you name it, but it’s beginning to become recognized for the amazing superfood that it is. Matcha is known for its energizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike coffee, matcha gives you the needed energy to power through the day sans jitters--more focus, less wanting to bounce off the walls. The high chlorophyll content that comes from matcha is another great benefit since it helps your skin, protects your heart and the blood that’s pumping through, and prevent inflamed joints. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Jari Hindstroemgrafvision via eater.com Photo credit: vegkitchen.com
Maca: Maca root originated from Peru and has made it’s way across the world to be on our list of 2017’s superfoods. Maca almost takes shape similar to that of a garlic bulb. It can be used either whole or bought in a powder form. The three most prominent health benefits that maca is believed to have is the ability to balance hormones, increase energy, and wait for it….increase sex drive. Now, before you all rush to the health goods store to stock up on every possible maca product available, does this mean you’re absolutely good to go after consuming as much as your body allows? Probably not, sorry! Maca is a superfood but it won’t give you superpowers in bed. Buzzkill...I know. But don’t be afraid to incorporate this root into your diet to reap the all the positive benefits.
Photo credit: Getty Images via telegraph.co.uk
Chaga: This medicinal mushroom is something you should definitely keep your eyes out for in 2017. Chaga has a special characteristic that really makes it stand out from the other superfoods mentioned. This special quality is its adaptogen property. Chaga is almost like a brain where it knows exactly which way your immune system needs support. When your immune system needs a boost, chaga will do exactly that, but when your system needs to take it slow, it’ll aid in slowing your system down. Other benefits present include antimicrobial, antioxidant, and soothing properties which help to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. Work this mushroom’s magic by giving VAMS’ E3 Live + Chaga kombucha a-go.