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!


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

Vegan for Your Sole

By Kelly Behr 


As summer rapidly approaches and I think it just might be safe to start pulling out some of my warmer weather clothes. I said maaaybe, I mean I do live in Chicago. The city where it could still snow in May. 


But I am in Portland.  So I decided to stop into my favorite store, Target. This isn't as dangerous of an excersion as in other cities because Portland has no sales tax, which is like the raddest thing ever. So in my quest for more vegan face wash I ended up perusing the shoe department and came up with these: 





They reminded me of my real pre-vegan birkenstock wearing days but unlike those, these are vegan. So way to go Target, you always have my back. Now for tanks, denim shorts and BBQs, vegtable ones of course. Summer…I can almost smell you! 



(Vegan) Fashion Week!

by Kelly Behr

Native Foods Cafe


Vegan Fashion Week? Okay, this doesn't actually exist but with my second post in a week on cruelty free fashion it might as well. 

One of our team member trainers emailed me a link to a site that sells, you guessed it, vegan fashion. The site is called Vaute Couture. The name hooked me in and I was eager to see what animal friendly finds this site offered. 

I was not disapointed. I know winter is coming to a (very slow) end, but it is still pretty cold up here in Chicago. So the coats are still relevant… at least a little while longer. But the best part is they are all on sale. Vegan sales for everyone! 

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Pretty sweet coats right? 

Well the website was created by model with a soft side for animals. From the website:

Our Founder, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, has been advocating for animals since she was 8, and while modeling in Hong Kong during her MBA summer break, realized that there still was no option for a outerwear that was at once flattering, warm, and cruelty free. She spent her life savings and a year developing the first line of winter dress coats that is more protective than wool but animal free by combining high tech weatherproof performance fabrics with dress coat textures and structures, thus creating the best winter coat you’ve never had: weatherproof & stunning at once. The line is also made of recyclable and recycled fibers, and produced locally in NYC’s garment district.


So I urge you to check them out and shop your little vegan heart out! 


5 Reasons to Vegan this week

By Sammy Caiola

Native Foods Cafe

For many of us, the joy of the holidays has worn off and the back-to-work excitement has morphed into back-to-work dread, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be happy about. I can think of a number of things for vegans to be happy about this week. Well, I can think of five. Here they are:


1. Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter

Almond butter

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Almond butter is considered a healthier alternative to peanut butter and a staple of the vegan diet. Unfortunately for me, I always thought it tasted like Elmer’s glue. But a friend recently recommended Chocolate Almond Butter to me, and boy am I happy she did. This is a jar full of premium chocolate, dry roasted California almonds, sea salt, cocoa butter and magic. Put it on toast, sandwiches, apples, really whatever you want. It is hands-down the best way to get your daily dose of almonds.


2. Saving on Taxes

As of the new year, Los Angeles is joining a number of California municipalities in banning disposable bags in grocery stores. Customers must bring their own reusable bags or pay a ten cent fee for each grocery bag requested. This is a huge step toward limiting the amount of deadly plastic in oceans and waterways. If you’re reading this post you probably already use your own bags, so you’ll be in the clear while everyone else is getting taxed! Plus, you can buy these really adorable grocery bags. 


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3. Real Salt


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I’ve been experimenting with sea salts lately, and this pink, grainy stuff is the best. It’s got more than 60 trace minerals in it and no added nonsense, which gives dishes like risottos or even eggs a really raw, earthy taste without being too chunky (I found courser varieties to be too disruptive to the texture). If anyone starts telling you that this is no different than Morton’s, take their advice with a grain of salt.



4. Vegan Cowl Scarf

Cowl scarf

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I am obsessed with this cranberry knit/crochet scarf that serves as a both a shoulder covering and a hood. It looks super cozy and would fold perfectly into most winter wardrobes. I love how it’s so big and bulky, but still fashionable thanks to the little wood button. Definitely worthy of your next shopping splurge. 


5. Poptarts are vegan!

Well, not all of them, but a few! I am not, by any means, promoting these as a healthy choice. They’re still processed and full of funky chemicals. But sometimes I get this strange, nostalgic craving to buy a box in the grocery store, and it’s nice to know that there are cruelty-free options. The original unfrosted blueberry, strawberry, apple cinnamon and brown sugar cinnamon are OK, according to


Pop tart

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5 Reasons to Vegan, Holiday Gift Guide

By, Cassie Younger

Native Foods Cafe

“Holiday”, aka shopping season is among us. I hope everyone is enjoying the joy and madness that this wintery season brings! By now I also hope you all have figured out that shopping online  from home with a glass of wine is infinitely better than pushing people over in the aisles Target with a full cart on Black Friday. Right? OK now. Let’s get started as to what to buy those fellow vegan/ animal lover/ foodie/ conscientious lovely people in your life!!! My picks:

  1. Lord knows vegans love their nooch. Mmm cheesy, yeasty B vitamins! Since you know they’re putting it on everything from pizza to popcorn, just let them leave it on their counter with this cute jar.



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2. Along with shopping season, it’s also party season. You’re probably going to have to bring a few bottles to a few different hosts, so why not make sure it’s vegan? Lots of wines aren’t.  Or surprise your vegan buddies with this sampler. Let’s drink and be merry.


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3. Dudes can be hard to shop for. How many ties and t shirts can you get a guy? If you haven’t bought  him a million wallets already, buy him this one. It’s upcycled from old dress shirts and the rest is made with sustainably harvested bamboo. Cha-ching.


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4. I have already discussed the amazingness of avocadoes. Thankfully, most people agree with me and give them they the respect they deserve.  Everyone should have a homemade avocado tree ornament to celebrate this perfect food. Or at least some other cute vegetables lining the branches


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5. For tea lovers and animal lovers alike. Simply adorable. 


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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.