Save 100 Million Gallons of Water!

by Shea Lewis

Native Foods Cafe


The scarcity of access to fresh water has been cited by National Geographic to directly affect 1.8 billion people around the world. In the past four years the number has hit home with Americans, especially with California experiencing the worst drought in recorded history. This year the California State government instituted a policy that requires communities to reduce water consumption by 25%. (   ) The State claims the best way to fulfill this 25% cut is for people to take shorter showers, turn off their faucets and even replace their lawns with Ocean-Friendly Gardens ( California hopes to save 400 billion gallons of water by enforcing these policies with heavy financial penalties.

Native Foods and our partner, the Surfrider Foundation (, believe we need to consider alternative approaches to this looming problem. Reducing the length of your shower and the amount you water your lawn will save an incremental amount of water, especially when you consider that your diet makes up 92% of your water footprint. Instead of cutting the 8% consumed by our daily routines, we present you with an opportunity to address the largest contributor to your personal water consumption – your diet!

When striving to reduce your water intake, look down at your plate. It takes approximately 1,800 gallons of water to create one pound of beef, which is equivalent to about 60 showers. Real Simple found that by removing beef from just one of your meals a week you can save 3,300 gallons of water. We estimate that by eating one veggie meal a week for one month you could save 14,000 gallons of water! Thus the Native Foods Veg Pledge (insert link)! With our friends at Surfrider Foundation, we are challenging America to save the world 100,000,000 gallons of water.

Take the Veg Pledge, substitute one vegetarian or vegan meal a week for the month of August and earn Native Foods Café rewards! For completing the pledge all participants will receive $14 on your Native Foods rewards card –or $1 for every 1,000 gallons of water you save!

Tree of Life

By Shea Lewis

Native Foods Cafe

Although we love our fruits and veggies at Native Foods, July of 2015 our hearts belong to the Moringa tree. It has often referred to as the tree of life and we believe rightfully so. But before we tell you why here is a little back ground. The Moringa Tree was originally found in at the base of the Himalayas and has since spread virtually every culture around the globe. The wide use of Moringa by global cultures is due to its versatility and unparalleled health benefits. The Tree itself boasts of tremendous drought tolerance, while its seeds and leaves carry staggering amounts of nutrients. A single serving of 100 grams provides 4x the amount of vitamin A as a carrot, 7 x the amount of vitamin C as an orange and almost 3x the amount of Potassium as a banana. On top of this 100 grams of dried leaves contains 27 grams of protein! I’m switching to Moringa!


Native Foods uses this image courtesy of

We absolutely love this plant because of its health benefits but even more so because people are using it to save other people’s lives. In tropical regions, such as Malawi, El Salvador and Zimbabwe Non-Governmental Organizations are using Moringa to combat malnutrition and provide a natural nutrient source to struggling populations. Some of these organizations include Trees for Life International and World Vision. In conjunction with NOG’s using Moringa to save lives in a 2011 annual report of The World Health Organization they published a study affirming the anti-diabetic effects of Moringa.

Undoubtedly this tree has incredible benefits, so make room in your garden and save yourself the trip to the vitamin store because Moringa really is the tree of life.

All statistics are courtesy of Trees for life.

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life!

By Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe

Native Foods Welcomes Gene Baur in Westwood!

gene talk 5

We were very excited to host Gene Baur, co-founder and president at Farm Sanctuary. Gene recently wrote a new book, “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life” and stopped by our Westwood location to speak to a packed house.

Gene is really the epitome of compassionate living and an incredibly engaging speaker. I have heard him speak on a few occasions and never miss an opportunity to hear him again. He raises awareness of the dangers of factory farming and how plant based food is good for our bodies in way that isn’t scary. I mean as less terrifying as you can be when speaking about factory farming in our country.


He knows the animals names by heart at the sanctuaries and talks about their very differing personalities. He tells survivor stories about some of the animals now living a comfortable life on one of the 3 sanctuaries they own.

After his talk he graciously took questions from the crowd. A new vegan asked him, “Do you have an elevator speech about how we get our protein?” He laughs and says, “Well, no one has ever died from lack of protein.” Then goes on to say that it is in everything from leafy greens to lentils to the more protein dense products like tofu.

Afterwards people lined up to grab his new book. I hope we have created some new plant-based fans!

gene signing 4

Be on the look out for special Native Foods events at locations near you! Thank you to Gene and to our Pals at Farm Sanctuary for a very special evening.

What about Bob?

Native Foods uses this as courtesy of
We here at Native foods are always trying to find meaningful and innovative ways to eliminate animal cruelty from our lives. That’s why we have turned our attention to Illinois and its newly proposed legislation, Bill HB 352. In a nut shell, this HB 352 will be submitted to Illinois govern this week proposing for the establishment of a new hunting and trapping season for bobcats. You know those wild cats who are only a little bigger than a house cat and have incredibly crazy awesome ears?? 
Yeah well Illinois wants to start hunting these guys. But they aren’t hunting them because they are threaten farm animals or providing food for people. Nope, it’s because people want to sell their pelts.  This seems a little out of whack, especially when the DNR estimates that there are only 3000- 5000 of these guys in Illinois. Stand with us and our friends at the Humane Society and lets #savethecats.
 Here’s how you can help

1. Contact Governor Rauner’s office in multiple ways every day

o Call his office during business hours (8am – 5pm) at (312) 814-2121. You can leave a polite message like, “I’m a constituent, and I live in [CITY], IL. I’m calling to urge the governor to veto H.B. 352, the bobcat hunting bill. This hunt has no basis in science, and is irresponsible wildlife management. Thank you.” You can also call after business hours.

o Post a polite comment on the Governor’s Facebook page (instructions here), asking him to veto HB 352. Please check back often to see if there are new posts; you can comment on each new one. “Like” others’ comments urging a veto as well.

o Email the Governor using this online form. Politely ask him to veto H.B. 352 and keep bobcats protected.

o Tweet at Governor Rauner every day asking him to veto the bobcat bill. Make sure to use the relevant hashtags #VetoHB352 and #SaveOurCats. Here’s a sample tweet: “@GovRauner, please #SaveOurCats and #VetoHB352!!” You can also retweet and favorite others’ polite tweets asking the Governor to veto HB 352.

  1. Submit a letter to the editor! Letters to the editor of a newspaper are really important because public officials pay special attention to this section, and it also makes that particular paper more likely to run stories or editorialize on the issue. If you’re willing to send a letter to the editor, email Samantha Hagio at and let her know the city you live in and she’ll send draft content (which you’re free to edit or use as is), as well as simple instructions for submitting it electronically. It would take less than 5 minutes!
  2. Sign and share this petition!
  3. Engage Others: Please engage ten of your friends and family members and ask them to take the above three actions! Feel free to forward this email!
  4. Phone bank for bobcats! With an easy-to-use online system, you can make phone calls to Humane Society members in Illinois, asking them to call Governor Rauner office. It’s easy, fun, and makes a big difference. Contact Will Ogden at to get started making calls! They can be made at any time of the day before 9pm, any day of the week.

Bake and Destroy!

by Kelly Behr


A blogger reached out to us inquiring if we had a good eggs benedict (sans eggs of course!) recipe. And we sure do, in fact it is one of the many recipes in our Celebrations Cookbook. (this is my plug to get everyone to pick one up, and you can thank me later after you fall in love with the shroom burgers) But back to the egg-less benedicts. I wanted to give a shout out to the Bake and Destroy blog which not only has a sweet design behind it but is full of vegan recipes, animal facts and little tid-bits everyone should know to help make our planet a more sustainable place to live.

I invite you to click here to enter the rad world of Bake and Destroy and to see our recipe in all its eggless glory.

But where do you get your protein?!

by Kelly Behr

Protein Myth

This could quite possibly be the most asked question a vegan will ever encounter. And why is no one concerned about getting TOO much protein. It’s as if this couldn’t possible happen.

Protein keeps managing be the star of the show.  Now even the dairy industry is pushing protein. Their new commercial shows how much almond milk you would have to drink in order to get the same protein as dairy milk. A man proceeds to chug an enormous jug of almond milk and then they make lame jokes about less milk and less bathroom breaks with dairy.  All this shows is that the big bad dairy industry is feeling a little threatened by our plant based alternatives.

But, thankfully The New York Times took to this protein myth today. Addressing that diets high in animal protein and fat are leading to heart disease. Duh. But even diets low in fat and high protein are not all they are cracked up to be. It seems the only real diet that improves your chances of a pro-longed healthy life is a whole foods and plant based one.  So a point for the plants!

Read the entire article here and give yourself a pat on the back for choosing the diet that is the best for your and our planet.

California Water Crisis Continues

by Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe

Native Foods uses this image courtesy

“Somebody told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared.” -Jack Handey

Things such as the water crisis in California is what keeps me up at night. But, I feel when I talk about this with other people I get shoulder shrugs and comments like, “well I am sure they will figure it out.” But will they?

I read an article on CNN about the scientist from NASA who claims the state of California will be out of water in one year. One year!? The article goes on to state that CA is encouraging shorter showers and less toilet flushing. Great, but these just do not seem like adequate solutions to this everlasting drought situation, might as well add in “do a rain dance every night before bed.”

This immediately brings me to think about factory farming and on the large scale our country is producing meat. I read it takes almost 2,000 gallons of water to make 1 pound of beef where the average shower uses 14 gallons. So, that is  A LOT of water being used for each person to enjoy one hamburger. Yet, I do not see any solutions being “cut down on meat consumption.”

This is just another way again that adopting a plant based diet, even part time can make a dramatic impact on helping our planet. We shouldn’t have let CA get this far but I feel the time to make some dramatic changes to help our plant needs to start now.

Food for Thought on a Meatless Monday…

by Kelly Behr

Macy Acton Pig

Three people in which I have come to know and deeply respect talked to NPR last week about some of their views on a vegan diet, the article was titled “Does Being Vegan Really Help Animals?” They touched on a supply/demand issue, how people in the United States do not need meat to survive and the impact animal production has not only affected our country but others we use fill our meat demands.

Barbara King of NPR posed these questions to Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society, Alka Chandna of PETA and Bruce Friedrich of Farm Sanctuary.

“Do you find it personally motivating or inspiring to reflect upon the number of animals who live each year, who otherwise would not, because you are vegan?”

Paul: Eating fewer or no animals doesn’t mean that animals who would’ve been killed will now live; it means that animals who would’ve been bred into existence to suffer on factory farms will now not be brought into the world and exploited in the terrible ways that are customary in the meat industry. It’s a supply and demand issue. Less demand should mean less supply.

Bruce: As Paul notes, by removing our demand, we’re sparing animals suffering that is beyond our worst imaginings. I do find it deeply motivating to realize that I can live my values every time I sit down to eat. St. Paul called on the faithful to pray ceaselessly. I like that every time I sit down to eat, I cast my lot for mercy, and against misery — for compassion, and against cruelty. Every meal becomes a prayer for a kinder and more just world.

Alka: I don’t think so much about the numbers of animals who are spared as much as I think about the misery and suffering that I’m not contributing to as a result of my choices. It was learning about the horrific conditions on factory farms — and thinking about the arbitrary cultural lines that determine which animals are eaten and which are spared — that compelled me to adopt a vegan diet; and I feel some comfort in knowing that my actions are not contributing to, or paying for those systems to carry out, their business. Conversely, if I am accidentally served something that isn’t vegan at a restaurant (and I know the dish is going to be thrown away), I feel like I have contributed to the torment suffered by the animals whose flesh or bodily products were in the dish. For example, if I’m given something that contains an egg, I think that my miscommunication resulted in a hen suffering in a battery cage for 34 hours (and all of the ancillary suffering inherent in the discarding of the male chicks, the eventual slaughter, and so on). It’s [weighing] the time that an animal suffered on a factory farm for that item to come into existence, balanced against the few minutes of enjoyment I might derive from eating that item.

“What is your response to a person who points out that on a global scale, veganism simply isn’t practical because people (including people suffering in poverty) must eat meat to survive?”

Paul: That may or may not be true, but we can only control ourselves. Millions of Americans are choosing to eat less meat today for a variety of reasons: to look and feel better, to prevent animal abuse, to protect the planet, and more. It need not be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Whether people are embracing Meatless Mondays, doing Mark Bittman’s “Vegan Before 6:00″ plan, or are doing, as Ellen DeGeneres does (vegan before 6 p.m. and after 6 p.m.!), we’re starting to embrace a saner, more humane and healthier diet.

Bruce: It is certainly not the case that anyone in the United States needs to eat meat in order to survive; I ran a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in inner city Washington, D.C., for six years, and I can say from personal experience that our nation’s poor are suffering from bad food, not lack of food. A move toward whole grains and legumes, in place of meat, would be healthier for them (and cheaper), just like it would be healthier for the affluent. On a global scale, I agree with the World Watch Institutethat diverting crops to animal feed is causing starvation. This is actually why I adopted a vegan diet in 1987, to combat the vast inefficiency of cycling crops through animals, which drives up the price of those crops and leads to starvation. I discuss that issuehere.

Alka: I would point out to that person that my parents raised me and my three siblings as lacto-vegetarians [A vegetarian who eats dairy products]. Through my younger years, my father was a graduate student and my mother worked as a librarian in Canada. But on their rather modest income, they were able to healthfully feed their four young children, preparing meals based on the peasant staples of rice and lentils. My parents didn’t buy junk food or convenience foods, so even with their limited funds, they could purchase plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. My experience is a product of my cultural heritage, of course, but if we consider the global population, I think it tends to be the case that the poorer populations, if they eat, are eating grains and legumes — and not meat or other animal products.

If we look at the volume of resources that are expended to produce meat, dairy and eggs, it seems clear that animal products are, in an increasingly crowded world, the fare of the wealthy. And, we can look to some stark examples — the razing of rain forests in Brazil to raise grain for factory farmed chickens in the U.S., and the exporting of grains from Ethiopia during the height of the Ethiopian famine to factory farmers in Europe, for instance — to recognize that reliance on animal-derived foods contributes to inequality.

Read the full article here, from

Here at Native Foods we strive to make delicious 100% plant-based food that makes eating more meatless meals as easy as pie….like our Oatmeal Creme Pie!

Food & Shoes

By Kelly Behr

Native Foods had an opportunity to be part of a great event at Amour Shoes, an all vegan shoe and accessories store located by our River Forest location.


Students were treated to Native Foods eats and were able to hear our Pals at Mercy For Animals speak about living a cruelty free life! It was like the full vegan circle. Learning about the harmful effects of factory farming to animals and the environment and then treated to both vegan food and fashion, showing these kids how easy it is to incorporate vegan options into their everyday life…great tasting and looking ones!


It is so awesome to expose a whole group of students to plant based cuisine who may have never eaten vegan food before. Thank you Amour Shoes for inviting us to participate!