Nicora Johns Does It Again!

By Kelly Behr 

Sometimes I get discouraged about finding shoes that are made from vegan products. My trusty Target go to is always a great option for man-made leather but when looking for some higher end shoes, there is always Nicora Johhs. This brand makes effortlessly cool shoes for both girls and boys. My newest obsession is their waxed canvas lace up boots. Check them out here. (ps: waxed canvas is a great leather alternative and looks pretty rad too).


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Could there be anything cooler to wear while walking your dog?!

Vegan Scene Hits the Venice Scene!

by Lauren Neuschel

Native Foods Cafe


We're sooo excited!! Opening Fall 2014 in Venice Beach is Vegan Scene, a vegan shop and event space! Apparently their moving into their new pace at 610 Main Street next week, but just for hiring purposes…Right now they're accepting applications for contributors and retailers in the vegan space. We can't wait to see this store in action! May have to take a little looksee this week…


Vegan Scene

Protecting your skin…with vegan sunscreen

By Kelly Behr 

Native Foods 


Summertime and the livin's easy…and so is it to acquire one of those nasty sunburns. Those Sublime song lyrics refer to the bit slower pace and relaxing aura that surrounds nice warm summer day. I love being out in the sun, whether is be sitting and ready by the pool or just walking around exploring the city. 

Now that the sun is out in full force we need to be sure we are protecting our precious skin. No one likes a burn! So lathering up the SPF is no longer an option but a necessity. 

The good news is you have generously apply that sunscreen without comprising your ethics, there are more and more vegan sunscreens popping up on shelves everyday. 



This is one I have used before and it can normally be found at a Whole Foods or other natural grocery stores. If there are not some in your area you can also buy it right from their website:



I have not tried the Lavanila…yet. I love their deodorants and when I saw they had a line of sun screen, I added it to my list. This bottle can also be purchased right from their website: I have gotten the deodorant at Sephora, but I have yet to see this in a store. 

Luscious (vegan) Lashes!

By Kelly Behr 


Mascara is one of the most used cosmetic products on the market. I know people who leave the house without so much as running a brush through their hair, but wouldn't dare leave the hosue without a few swipes of mascara on their lashes. (I may or may not be referring to myself). Anyway… with all the mascara particulars…color…brush type…thickness….vegan? The last one might not be on everyone's mascara list, but it is on mine. And if it is on yours then you appreciate a good vegan mascara when you find one. 


I found one while traveling in Portland. It is by Pacifica. I love my Pacifica coconut water infused face wash, so I was confident I would like their mascara as well. I was right! And the best part is it is available at Target, so for me it is like the unicorn of mascaras! And why yes, that is vegetable glycerin in the ingredients! 






5 Reasons to be a Vegan Beauty This Week!

By Kelly Behr 

Native Foods Cafe


I have written about Vegan Cuts before, in fact …the founder, Jill Pyle, was one of our In the Spotlight newsletter guests back in December. 

My friend was asking me about non-food related vegan products the other day… like how do you tell if something is vegan without them outright telling you? Well, that can be tricky as cosmetics use a lot of different ingredients that might not always be as easy to identify as a food label. 

I always reccomend doing research ahead of time. Vegan Cuts has made this process very simple. My friend's question had me heading over to their site and thought I would share some of the great beauty products I have learned about from them. 


1.) Mascara

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This might be one of the harder items to find that is guarenteed 100% vegan, so for this cosmetic bag staple I definitely reccomend doing your research. It might take a few trys to find one you like, I know how people like their mascara a certain way! I have been meaning to try this one. I love Glam Natural's glosses so I can imagine I would like this product too. 


2.) Lip Gloss 

Speaking of..

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This is a good gloss in my opinon, it comes in several colors and is a great way to give your lips a quick boost and a slight bit of color. 


3.) Eye-Shadow


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Here are some rad vegan eye shadow options. Give your lids some love at your next cocktail party! 


4.) Make-Up Bag 



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I actually might be one who likes make-up bags better than the make-up itself and what better way to store all your cruelty-free products than a bag that supports a company who makes vegan shopping a breeze! 

5.) Vegan Starter Kit 

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Does your entire cosmetic collection need a vegan make-over? Then you can opt for their vegan beaurty starter kit and see for yourself which cruelty products are most suited for your beauty routine! 

5 Reasons to Vegan

by, Kelly Behr 

Native Foods Cafe



1.)  Jamberry Nails

These nail covers have been all the rage over the last few months. I have seen people I know rave about them on Facebook and snap their newest nail collection on Instagram and although I am not one to sport colorful designs on my nails, I can appreciate this creative concept and another vegan endeavor.


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2.)  Jersey Shore Sun lip balm

This lip balm is the best thing I have put on my lips this winter. I live in the windy city and having a good lip balm is crucial. This not only conditions your lips and wards off lip cracking it has a delicious spearmint flavor. The only downside to this product is having the restraint not to actually eat it, yes, it tastes that good.  The winter mint flavor is vegan and from the packaging, there is no mistaking it. 




3.)  Rise energy bars

We sometimes are the lucky recipients of samples that are sent to our office. Our latest samplings were of Rise energy bars. We were given a box and after a few people tried them, word spread and I was soon getting a lot of visitors to my desk of people wanting to get their hands on a Rise bar. They come in several unique flavors that are all natural, vegan and delicious. My favorite part is that they are all super soft and make a great mid morning snack. I liked them so much that when I was home for the holidays I saw them at our local market and picked up some for the whole family. The flavors we were sent that are vegan are: Cherry Almond, Coconut Acai Berry,  Apricot Goji and Blueberry Coconut. 


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4.)  Beanitos

It almost wouldn’t be five reasons to vegan without including my latest chip find. I have found bean chips to be some of the best chips I have eaten. Many companies are jumping on the bean train and creating delicious snacks. I got these vegan black bean flavored ones and found them to be the perfect compliment to my vegan taco dip I made for Christmas Eve this year.


5.)  Upton’s Natural Chorizo Seitan

Speaking of homemade vegan taco dip, this product was the shining star. It can be purchased at Whole Foods and was loved by my whole non-vegan family.  It has such good flavor that no other spices are needed. I crumbled it and cooked it in a skillet with a little bit of oil and created the base of my taco layer dip.

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5 Reasons to Vegan, Holiday Gift Guide

By, Sammy Caiola

Native Foods Cafe

Christmas shopping is tricky for everyone- and it’s even trickier if you’re shopping for vegans. Whether you’re in search of the perfect cruelty-free makeup kit or a dairy-free box of chocolate, we know a secret that will help you check off your list in no time. The Vegan Cuts Holiday Gift Guide is an awesome resource for all sorts of eco and animal-friendly holiday gifts, from lip balms and body butters to healthy snacks.

The website separates products into six different categories, including “under $25”, “stocking stuffers” and “kiddos.” The interface is chic and navigable, and you can browse all of the pages in less than 25 minutes. Add another 15 minutes for online ordering and you’ll still have gotten all your shopping done for less time than it takes to check out at Target. It cuts down on time and waste without skipping an ounce of holiday spirit. And these gifts aren’t just for vegans- they’ll look great under anyone’s tree!

Note: I’m personally lost when it comes to beauty products or accessories, but there’s lots of that if you’re looking for it. For this roundup, I decided to pick out the quirkiest, most unique products—the ones I’d most likely buy for myself.


1. Ecojarz drink top and straw kit


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Who says jars are just for food storage? These stainless steel lids and straws will help you turn any tomato sauce or nut butter jar into a portable beverage vessel. Just clean out a jar, and top it with a lid and straw, which are dishwasher safe and perfect for on-the-go slurping. 

*Upgrade this gift with a few packets of Vega protein smoothie mix. Completely plant-based and non-GMO and they only take a minute to make!

2.) Produce Lovers Tote


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This adorable woven cloth bag features a happy avocado declaring “I’m GOOD fat!”. Friends can bring it to the grocery store or use it to carry schoolbooks, as long as they’re ready to tout the veggie love loud and proud.

*Upgrade this gift by filling the bag with yummy produce-inspired snacks, like kale chips and dried fruits.

3. Vegan Cuts Beauty Box



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If you’ve been waiting for the vegan spin on Birch Box- today’s your day. For $70, send your vegan beauty guru a monthly supply of cruelty-free pampering supplies. With different products every month, it’s the gift that just keeps giving.

*Alternative: Vegan Cuts has also assembled a Snack Box, so you can send monthly vegan foodie offerings instead.


4. Fur and feathers board game



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This animal-friendly board game is perfect for kids or for vegan friends with little ones. The game helps children foster compassion for animals by asking them about animal factoids and letting them make choices about adopting animals from shelters and ordering animal-friendly dishes in cafes.


*Upgrade this gift by making it part of a Board Game Pack. Wrap it up in a nice basket with other family favorites (Jenga and Scrabble would be my picks).


5. Sprout Kit



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For the amateur horticulturist, this sprout kit provides all the essentials for growing your own lentils, mung beans and chickpeas. It’s easy pea-sy! Also makes a great gift for kids.


*Upgrade it with some mixed wild rice from Whole Foods or a helpful spice like cumin, so the sprouted beans can eventually be used in a meal.

No time to order online? No worries. There’s plenty of vegan gift options that you can run out and get day-of. You’ll find fun Cherrybrook Kitchen baking mixes at your local Whole Foods as well as a station where you can grind natural peanut or almond butter, which makes a great gift. Also, PETA says that Ghirardelli hot chocolate is vegan! (Or at least the double chocolate, mocha, hazelnut and white mocha varieties).



5 Reasons to Vegan, Holiday Edition part 2

By, Alison Vellas

Native Foods Cafe

A Vegan’s Holiday Gift Guide 


If you didn’t get all your shopping done on Black Friday, here’s a list to inspire your animal-friendly gift giving this holiday season.


1. Vegan Goodies: Arguably the perfect gift, sweets are always welcome during the holidays. High quality and gourmet vegan sweets can be hard to come by, unless you order them online. That’s where Obsessive Confection Disorder comes in, serving up caramel, toffee, and peanut butter cups. Allison’s Gourmet also has a huge selection of mouth-watering confections. Give some to your loved ones, and be sure to keep some for yourself.


2. Vegan Grooming: You might say a bar of soap is a boring present, but I say not when it’s as awesome as a bar from LUSH! LUSH is a pioneer in cruelty free beauty: NONE of their products are tested on animals, and all vegan items are clearly labeled (some contain egg and honey). You can take the simple route and go for one of their adorable pre-wrapped gift boxes, or mix and match their huge selection of bath bombs, body scrubs, soaps, shampoos and more (they have stuff for guys too!).


3. Vegan Wine: This one’s a no-brainer. For red, how about a Carmel Road Pinot Noir? Or if you prefer white, try Frey Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc. If you need a little more help, has a complete list of wine, beer and liquor with vegan status, so you know which brands are animal-friendly.



4. Books for Vegans: For someone who’s just discovering the vegan lifestyle, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (author of Everything Is Illuminated) would be a great pick. It’s not light reading, per say, but Natalie Portman cites it the reason she went vegan after 20 years of vegetarianism, and it’s pretty much required reading for new vegans. You might want something a little more lighthearted, and for that I would recommend Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week. Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author ofVeganomicon and queen of the vegans, has a new cookbook out, and that means you have to buy it.




5. Vegan Winter Wear: Finding acrylic-knit (non-wool) scarves and hats is easy enough, but I have searched high and low for a stylish pair of vegan leather gloves. Luckily, UNIQLO’s online shop has three different styles to choose from. Three! My favorite is this beige one with polyester fur cuffs. Classy and cruelty-free for this freezing Chicago winter.

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5 Reasons to Vegan, my holiday gift guide edition

By, Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe


Gifting is one of my favorite things to do. It is so rewarding to find the perfect gift for someone that you know will appreciate it. I always get so excited about giving my friends and family the presents I got them, sometimes it is even hard to wait until Christmas.

But, with every business offering gifts and specials during this time of the year, it is easy to lose focus on the act of giving. There are some companies that have been started and thriving in helping others. I wanted to take this opportunity to show some sweet gift ideas from places that help others or help the planet.

1.)   Pura Vida (Spanish for pure life) Bracelets

I love these bracelets. I first saw them in a small store when I was on a vacation and really loved all the colors in which they came. They took me back to my days of friendship bracelets, a trend I never really grew out of. The coolest part about these bracelets is the story behind it:

During a visit to a small community in Costa Rica, they crossed paths with two men named Jorge and Joaquin who were peddling bracelets on the street. The colorful bracelets were handmade in a simple way that seemed to capture the essence of their journey. When they first met Jorge and Joaquin, they were living in a single room with three beds shared by several other members of their family. Seeing this, Paul and Griffin asked them if they would be willing to make 400 bracelets to take back to the United States with them. Jorge was delighted to make such a sell, and the guys were thrilled to help them out, but to everyones good fortune, soon after returning to the states their friendship blossomed into a full-fledged business relationship. –


 The pura vida bracelets come in tons of colors and styles and if what these two guys did for this small business in Costa Rica isn’t enough they also have a charity line with a variety of causes from Animal Rights to LGBT and everything in between. All of their bracelets can be purchased right on their website. 

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2.)   Pangea products

This is an interesting company that started in Boulder, CO. They wanted to have a line of products that helped (rather than hurt) the environment at every stage cycle. Their goal is to create a more sustainable future. The motto is, “You only have one body, and we only have one planet. We promise to do all that we can to take care of both.”

This holiday season they have great gift sets to offer. Pictured below is one of their body care sets, to find out more about their company and to see all their product lines, visit


3.)   Hooray for the Underdog

Hooray for this company! Anyone who helps show rescue and shelter dogs  in a positive light gets a gold star in my book. Shelter dogs can have a bad rap. People do not always think to look at a shelter first, they think that they are not going to have the pure bred breed they are looking for, when a lot of times they actually do. Dogs end up in shelters for so many different reasons, people move, they lose their job, their landlord says no, they are put in a nursing home, etc. It isn’t just because a dog isn’t desirable. If I had it my way everyone would adopt a dog before even thinking of buying a dog. This company is doing their part in making shelter dogs the star of the show. This professional photographer duo has made a line of stationary and greeting cards that feature all shelter animals and part of the proceeds go to help these shelters. Not only are these cards adorable but they are helping such a worthy cause! 


Now you tell me who wouldn’t want to receive that card in the mail?! 

All of their cards and stationary can be found on their website at


4.)   Lush Charity Pot

This body lotion made of fair trade cocoa butter, almond oil and ylang ylang oil is giving 100% of the proceeds to small grassroots organizations that need the extra help. So for the beauty product junkie on your gift list, Lush has you covered (in lotion).  Visit their website


5.)   Krochet Kids hats

This company empowers the women of Uganda and Peru to make products for a sustainable life by knitting and crocheting hats and other items. I encourage you to go to their website and read the story of how a couple of kids were able to get this company off and running.

Their story is uplifting and their products are pretty rad and everyone could use a new beanie this holiday season, right?

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Native Foods Cafe, a vegan restauarant, vegan beauty, vegan make up, vegan lifestyle 

The Web is the New Black

By, Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe



Native Foods uses this image courtesy of ABC. 

Do images like these evoke fear in you?  Black Friday has taken a major turn in the last couple of years to the point where it shouldn’t even be called Black Friday sine retailers everywhere are jumping on the Thursday opening bandwagon.

I remember waking up super early with my father growing up and hitting one of the major retailers. We were never going for anything in particular we would just go for the experience of maybe buying a large tin full of popcorn for $2.00. We definitely weren’t sleeping in our cars over night or fighting people like the scene in Jingle All the Way.  We were calm cool and collected and usually home before my sister and mother had attempted to get out of bed.

As a child this seemed like a fun adventure with my dad, as an adult it seems like more of a nightmare. And with the Internet at our finger tips, going out on Black Friday can be left to only the thrill seekers.

So if this isn’t your cup of tea I have compiled some of the websites where you can buy great vegan gifts right from your couch.


1.)   Herbivore Clothing  and they even have specials throughout the weekend with this link :

2.)   Matt and Nat, this is one of my favorite vegan line of products and their website offers access to all their products.



3.)   Mooshoes offers all sorts of stylish vegan shoes including their own brand, Novacs which affectionately means, no cows.



4.)   Alternative Outfitters, an online vegan boutique.



These are just a few samplings of some sites online that offer great and unique vegan products. Be sure to keep checking our blog as we will be unveiling some of our favorite gift ideas for the season.