Vegan organization receives post-hurricane windfall

April 19, 2019 by  
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The Million Dollar Vegan campaign gave $100,000 to vegan humanitarian aid organization  Chilis on Wheels  to help survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. As reported here in February, 12-year-old activist Genesis Butler made an intriguing proposition to Pope Francis: go vegan for Lent, and Butler and her Million Dollar Vegan campaign would donate a million dollars to the charity of Francis’ choice. Unfortunately, the pope did not accept the offer. With Easter upon us, the project decided to pick a charity and donate $100,000 from the Blue Horizon International Foundation . Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the September 2017 hurricane , which took a death toll of 3,000 people and displaced thousands more. Chilis on Wheels hurried in to serve vegan meals and provide water filters, groceries, hygiene products and solar lanterns. Then, the organization set up a permanent community center in San Juan that has continued to serve vegan food. Butler visited Puerto Rico and attended a Chilis on Wheels cooking workshop for local families. Related: Will the pope go vegan for Lent? “It was very humbling and inspiring to meet people in Puerto Rico who are helping to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Maria,” Butler said of her visit. “It was wonderful to see how vegan food — as a sustainable food choice — can help hurricane survivors in a country where many people have been forced to go hungry.” Butler’s letter to Pope Francis appeared in major newspapers worldwide. In response, Butler received a letter from a Vatican official assuring her that the pope got her letter and was praying for her, but he made no comment about her proposal. Cattle, pigs and chickens around the world let out a collective sigh of disappointment. Still, Butler remains optimistic. “Even though the Pope didn’t agree to go vegan for Lent, I’m really happy that many people in need will still benefit from this campaign, and that we were able to encourage thousands of people to try a vegan diet — to help animals, our planet and our health .” + Million Dollar Vegan + Chilis on Wheels Image via Million Dollar Vegan

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Vegan organization receives post-hurricane windfall

RBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags

April 19, 2019 by  
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The North Face and British designer Christopher Raeburn of RÆBURN  have recently collaborated to launch a new line of accessories handcrafted from recycled tents. Introduced late last month, the unique collection consists of three distinct items—a tote bag, drawstring bag, and Rae Bag—that all feature RÆBURN’s iconic “REMADE, REDUCED, RECYCLED, RÆBURN” tagline. The partnership marks the iconic outdoors brand’s first sustainable collaboration and is part of both brands’ commitment to reducing waste without compromising quality. British designer Christopher Raeburn built his reputation on developing stylish streetwear with an environmental focus . From fashioning garments out of parachutes to breathing new life into unwanted military surplus items, Raeburn works his craft with unusual materials that raise awareness about the staggering amounts of global textile waste and creative upcycling. The RÆBURN brand has since collaborated with many leading brands to produce environmentally conscious apparel, including Disney and Timberland. “The North Face has been inspiring a global movement of exploration and conservation for over fifty years, and we couldn’t be prouder to be collaborating on this special project, applying our RÆMADE ethos to transform surplus tents into unique bags,” says Christopher Raeburn. “At RÆBURN we’re motivated to work with brands, other designers and individuals to drive positive change in our industry and it’s been fantastic to work alongside the talented team at The North Face to bring this project to fruition.” Related: H&M releases sustainable fashion line made from fruit and algae In The North Face collaboration, RÆBURN designers recycled different parts of the bright yellow, polyester-and-nylon tents so that every bag would be unique and vary in color and tent parts. Each bag also features the British brand’s iconic 4R’s tape used as straps and an internal pocket for additional storage. All items are extremely lightweight and packable. The limited edition collaboration launched March 26 and is currently out of stock online. + The North Face x RÆBURN Images via RÆBURN

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RBURN upcycles North Face tents into one-of-a-kind bags

Keep your pantry stocked with these staples for a plant-based diet

March 22, 2019 by  
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Switching to a plant-based diet is a lifestyle change that requires a lot of meal prep and planning. In a world of convenient, pre-packaged food, stocking your pantry with healthy, plant-based products isn’t easy. It takes time to figure out the right pantry staples, and it takes even more time to figure out how to use those items when preparing snacks and meals. If you are new to the vegan lifestyle and are looking for some help with setting up your kitchen, here are some pantry staples that everyone needs for a plant-based diet. Legumes When you are eating a plant-based diet, you will need to find ways to get your protein . A great way to do that is from legumes. They also contain fiber, essential fatty acids and complex carbohydrates. You will find recipes from all over the world in every style of cuisine that feature beans. Not only are they incredibly filling, but they are also good for your digestive health. You can buy beans in bulk, or you can opt for canned and dry versions. Here are some legumes that should be part of your pantry: Black beans Butter beans Chickpeas Edamame Black-eyed peas Lentils Lima beans Pinto beans Soy beans Split peas Kidney beans Whole grains You want to keep plenty of minimally processed whole grains on hand, so you can get fiber, B vitamins and good, energizing carbs in your diet. Some of the best products include: Brown rice and wild rice Oats Quinoa Corn (polenta, popcorn kernels) Whole grain bread Whole grain flour Whole grain crackers Whole grain pasta If you want to really dive into plant-based cooking, other great whole grains to have in your kitchen are: Barley Amaranth Buckwheat Rye Millet Whole wheat couscous Sorghum Teff Kamut The most versatile whole grains on this list are brown rice, oats and quinoa, because you can use them in a ton of different recipes. Also, don’t skip the freezer section, because you can find microwavable and steamable whole grain products that you can prepare in just minutes if you don’t have time to cook from scratch. Seeds Seeds are great for sprinkling on salads, soups and sandwiches. Ground seeds are also a great addition to dough when you are baking or when you are making smoothies. Flax and chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants, and hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber and multiple vitamins and minerals. The health benefits of seeds are endless, and you should always have a few kinds in your pantry. Related: Is the flexitarian diet right for you? In addition to flax, chia and hemp seeds, other seeds that are great for a plant-based diet include: Sesame seeds Sunflower seeds Pumpkin seeds Nuts When you are eating a plant-based diet, nuts will be your go-to snack option. They are loaded with healthy fats, protein and fiber; just make sure to pick nuts that are minimally processed and have zero added salt. You want to keep plenty of these nuts in your kitchen: Almonds Cashews Hazelnuts Walnuts Peanuts (technically a legume) Not only can you eat these raw for a snack, but you can also chop them up and add them to salads, cereals, batters and dough. If you want to get really creative, trying making your own nut butter. Oils and fats To make sure you absorb all of the vitamins and minerals in your plant-based foods, some believe that you need to include healthy fats. However, there is some debate about including oils and fats in a plant-based diet, and many recipes will not call for them. Extra-virgin olive oil Coconut oil Earth Balance or other buttery spread You can opt for fats from avocados, nuts, seeds and bananas if you want to keep your plant-based diet oil-free. Seasonings and condiments Load up on the seasonings and condiments, so your plant-based meals have plenty of flavor. This is an important section in the pantry, so you want to make sure your spice rack is fully loaded and your condiment shelf is stocked. Cumin Cinnamon Turmeric Paprika Oregano Thyme Apple cider vinegar Balsamic vinegar Mustard Sriracha Ketchup Barbecue sauce Vegetable stock The one thing that you want to look for when buying seasonings and condiments is salt content. You want to choose the no-salt-added or low-sodium versions. You can also grow fresh herbs at home, or visit your local health food store to get the ground and whole-seed versions of things like cumin, celery and fennel seeds. Miscellaneous Other items that you may want to have on hand include milk alternatives , like soy or almond milk, and sweeteners, like maple syrup or molasses. Nutritional yeast, cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla extract, tomato paste and diced tomatoes are also found in many plant-based recipes, so you can’t go wrong when you have those items in your pantry. Images via Monicore , U. Leone , Conger Design , Petra , Piviso ( 1 , 2 ), Steve Buissinne  and  Westerper

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Keep your pantry stocked with these staples for a plant-based diet

Reduce food waste with your new best friend Meal Prep Mate

March 15, 2019 by  
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In a world filled with convenient fast-food wherever you go and a focus on instant gratification, it can be a serious challenge to eat healthily and keep your food waste to a minimum. For many of us, our busy lives cause us to make daily food decisions that fill our diets with highly processed foods, which are often wrapped in single-use packaging. But there is a way you can not only eat  healthily , but you can reduce food waste while saving time and money, too. The answer is meal prep. In an effort to reduce food waste, the Save the Food campaign has launched Meal Prep Mate, a free online program that helps with meal prep no matter if you are brand new to prepping meals or a seasoned pro. Save the Food Back in 2016, a public service project called Save the Food began after the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) partnered with the Ad Council. The goal was to reduce food waste with a print ad campaign featuring close-ups of different foods that have the label “Best if used.” The ads also included food waste statistics. Now, the campaign is going further with Meal Prep Mate , a free, online resource that helps with every step of the meal prep process: meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and portioning. The new Meal Prep Mate website “walks you through step-by-step guides of ‘what to know,’ ‘what to have’ and ‘what to buy,’ and it allows you to choose pre-designed plans or build your own plan.” No matter which route you take, you can plan your meals for up to five days each week and up to three meals each day. Meal Prep Mate The new website offers four different pre-designed plans that include a variety of dishes from meat-based to vegan  and everything in between. Once you choose how many days you want to plan for and how many meals and snacks you want to prep for each day, the website will give you recipes, a shopping list and nutritional information. There is a bit more work involved if you want to build a customized meal prep plan. You start the same way that you would with the pre-designed plans by choosing how many days and meals you are prepping for. Then, you must select proteins, produce and grains for each meal before getting your shopping list and ingredient quantities. To further reduce food waste, the website also includes ingredient storage tips, ideas for scraps and leftovers  and recipe suggestions. Portion control Meal prepping can definitely help with eating healthy meals each week, but one of the biggest challenges is portion size. Meal Prep Mate aims to help with that by suggesting portion sizes, so you don’t buy too much or too little at the grocery store and prep too much or too little food. Because everyone’s nutritional needs are different, Meal Prep Mate’s suggestions could be too large or too small. The first time you use the tool, be aware of how the portions work for you, and make any necessary adjustments. Getting started with meal prepping Have you seen those Instagram food prepping accounts that look like they prep 21 meals plus snacks every Sunday? They make it look so beautiful in the pictures and seem so easy in the captions. But these posts really just give many people visions of a time-consuming grocery shopping excursion on Sunday morning and hours of hard work over a hot stove. Food prepping shouldn’t be intimidating; you just have to start small. There is no need to prep every single meal and snack for an entire week. Instead, try just two or three days each week and aim for one or two meals each day. Katie Lolas, the expert food prep Instagrammer behind the popular Lady Lolas page, said that when you get started with prepping , think about what gives you the most trouble. “Pick your problem areas,” Lolas said. “For example, if you don’t have an issue cooking dinner, but always seem to make unhealthy snack choices, or you skip breakfast , then spend your time prepping options that will make those times easier for you.” If unhealthy snacks are the biggest problem in your diet , then focus on prepping those. If you always find yourself in a drive-thru after work or ordering take-out every night, then consider prepping a few dinners on Sunday. Yes, meal prep is important for healthy eating and reducing food waste, but it should make your life easier, not harder, said Lolas. The environmental impact of food waste Every year in the United States, Americans waste 40 percent of their food, according to NRDC . That is equal to 400 pounds per person. To make things worse, many Americans toss everything in the garbage, which means the food winds up in a landfill and releases methane. The great thing about food prepping is that it not only helps you live a healthier lifestyle while saving you some cash, but it also is a big help to the environment by greatly reducing food waste. + Meal Prep Mate + Save the Food Via NRDC Images via Shutterstock

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Reduce food waste with your new best friend Meal Prep Mate

New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

March 11, 2019 by  
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Cochineal beetles are rejoicing this month as the Hansen sweet potato proves a viable alternative for producing the carmine color crushed beetles have long added to foods and cosmetics . Chr. Hansen, a bioscience company based in Denmark and founded in 1874, developed and commercialized the Hansen sweet potato™ Ipomoea batatas . “For the first time, we’ve created a whole new variety of vegetable to create the natural color our customers are asking for,” said Jakob Dalmose Rasmussen, vice president of commercial development at Chr. Hansen Natural Colors. Vegetarians have long wanted an alternative to this common coloring, but the sweet potato took time to develop. “Over 10 years ago, we discovered a promising pigment in a root vegetable’s tuber, but the plant’s pigment content was on the low side. We took this plant and embarked on a process of selective breeding using traditional, non-GMO methods. The result is a plant-based , brilliant red that gives our customers a natural alternative to carmine and synthetic colors,” said Dalmose Rasmussen. Related: California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics Chr. Hansen launched its FruitMax® line of concentrates to provide a variety of red coloring options. “Strawberry red is a popular shade for food products — from cakes to confectionery to milkshakes,” noted Dalmose Rasmussen. “But until now it has been nearly impossible to make a fire-engine red color with no risk of off-taste without using carmine.” Cochineal beetles live on cacti in Latin America. Their color comes from carminic acid, a substance which deters predation and makes up almost a quarter of the insects’ weight. The Incas and Aztecs both used the beetle for dye. Once Spaniards arrived in the New World, they quickly discovered that the cochineal beetle dye was far superior to anything they had in Europe, and dried bugs became the second most valuable export after silver. It’s still big business. In 2017, Peru exported more than $46 million dollars’ worth of carmine. Over the centuries, people have used the beetles to dye everything from cardinals’ robes to modern lipsticks. As the Hansen sweet potato gains popularity, perhaps the cochineal beetles will be able to relax on their cacti. While some studies indicate that plants also feel pain, the legless tuber could neither run nor be reached for comment. + Chr. Hansen Via Food Navigator Image via Aunt Masako

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New sweet potato dye spares bugs and pleases vegans

Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project

March 11, 2019 by  
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As the construction industry continues to evolve and adapt to innovations like green buildings, the push for more sustainable materials  and the efforts to reduce waste, there is one trend that is pushing the limits of design — cargotecture. Steel shipping containers have been a key component of global trade for the past 50 years, and now these steel boxes that are 8 feet wide by 8-and-a-half feet high — and either 20 or 40 feet long — are becoming a recycled building material that you can use to build your own home. There are millions of shipping containers all over the world just sitting in various ports, as returning empty containers to their original location is extremely costly. But now, these shipping containers are being used to build everything from low-cost housing to fabulous vacation homes instead of being scrapped. However, could cargotecture be too good to be true when it comes to building a home? Here are the pros and cons of using shipping containers for your next construction project. Related: Massive shipping container shopping center to pop up in Warsaw Pros Cost-effective The shape of shipping containers makes them ideal for repurposing into buildings . Compared to building a similar structure with brick and mortar, on average, a cargotecture can be 30 percent cheaper. However, the savings will depend on the location and what type of home you are building. Another thing to keep in mind is that a cargotecture home won’t be the same as what you are used to in a traditionally-built home— if cost is a top priority. The look and function will be different, and you will have to make compromises.  You can upgrade to get the features you want with a little more money. Ultimately, you can definitely cut costs when using cargotecture. Structural stability Since steel containers are designed to carry tons of merchandise across rough ocean  tides, they are “virtually indestructible.” Earthquakes and hurricanes are no match for cargotecture, which make containers an excellent choice for building a home in areas prone to natural disasters. Construction speed A traditional housing structure can take months to build, but with cargotecture, all you need is about two to three weeks since they are basically prefabricated. Not to mention, modifications can be made quickly off-site. Or, if you are a hardcore DIYer , you can build a home out of a shipping container much easier than you could with lumber, a hammer and nails. You can also customize a layout by stacking the containers for multiple floors and splicing them together for a larger space. However, there is a lot of modification required when you use cargotecture. Depending on the design, you may need to add steel reinforcement. Heating and cooling can also be a major issue, so you definitely need to have a temperature control strategy in mind. Recycling materials When recycled shipping containers are used in cargotecture, it can be extremely eco-friendly . Repurposing the containers instead of scrapping and melting them can save a lot of energy and carbon emissions while preventing the use of traditional materials. Safety Good luck breaking into a cargotecture structure. Unless thieves have some dynamite or a blow torch, they are not getting inside. This makes cargotecture a perfect choice for building in rural and remote areas. Related: Stacked shipping containers transform into a thriving arts space in Venezuela Cons The green myth The downside with cargotecture is that sometimes it’s not as green as you would believe. Some people are using brand new containers instead of recycling old ones, and this completely defeats the purpose of cargotecture. And, to make a container habitable, there is a lot of energy required because of the modifications like sandblasting and cutting openings. Plus, the amount of fossil fuels needed to move the building makes cargotecture’s ecological footprint larger than you might think. Health hazards Obviously, when shipping containers are made, human habitation was not a factor in their design or construction. Many shipping containers have lead-based paints on the walls and chemicals like arsenic in the floors. You must deal with these issues before moving into a cargotecture home. Temperature control We mentioned earlier that modifications need to be made when you use cargotecture, and one of the biggest concerns is insulation and heat control. Large steel boxes are really good at absorbing and transmitting heat and cold. This ultimately means controlling the temperature inside your cargotecture home can be a challenge. You don’t want to be living inside an oven or a freezer, right? Building codes With cargotecture still being relatively new, it has caused some issues with local building codes. When you build small structures and don’t use traditional building materials , you should always check to see if they meet local regulations. Images via Julius Taminiau Architects, Mattelkan Architect, Whitaker Studio

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Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project

The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refill solutions for myriad household and beauty products

March 5, 2019 by  
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With the nearly constant conversation about zero waste and minimization in general, single use packaging is a hot topic. For many consumables, customers don’t seem to have many options in avoiding packaging waste. Think about the liquid products in your home and you’ll know what we’re talking about here. Shampoo bottles, hand soap containers, dish soap, cleaners, bubble bath and massage oils are just a few commonly-used items that come to mind. One company has taken a stand against single-use packaging and now provides a refill service so you can use your favorite containers again and again…and again, without the waste of individual bottles. The Refill Shoppe opened their flagship store in Ventura, California in 2010 with the idea that customers should have a place to refill regularly-used products. Think of it as a bulk section for household liquids. The founder, Michelle Stevens admits that she wasn’t sure people would buy into the business model. After all, it was a relatively new idea in this era of convenient consumables. But it didn’t take long for people to find out about the business and begin frequenting the location. Related: Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US The idea took off and now the company offers an online, mail-order options so you can order refills from the comfort of your home, even if you don’t live near the store. The process is as simple as any other form of online shopping. After scouring the website, customers choose the products they want and select their favorite scents. Up to six scents can be combined for variety. If you don’t already have an adorable bottle that you’re looking to refill , you can choose one from the site. Otherwise, you order will be refill pouches filled with your favorite product. Whether you bring your own container into the store or request a mail order, all ingredients are charged by the ounce. In-store, you can even bring a partially-full bottle . You simply weigh it with the contents before adding more and then weigh it again to calculate the amount of product you’re buying. For mail order, all per-ounce prices are listed on the site. Shipping fees are a flat rate $7 or free for orders over $100 throughout the continental U.S. They also ship to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada and Mexico for an additional charge. The website offers hundreds of products you likely use daily. Bathing and beauty products include face wash, shampoo, scrubs, salts and lotions, but they also offer sponges, brushes and mitts to apply the products. For the home you can find dishwashing liquids, laundry products and even yoga mat sanitizer, alongside reusable containers and other zero-waste products. They also stock cleaning products and eco-friendly supplies like wool dryer balls and burlap gift wrap. They even have men’s care, perfume and baby products. The Refill Shoppe realizes that no business model is perfect for the environment but they focus on doing everything they can to operate with a low-carbon footprint . All refill pouches are reusable , so after you’ve emptied the contents into your favorite container at home, simply drop it back into the pre-paid envelope and send it back, where it is sterilized and refilled for the next customer. All packing materials are reused and they try to use paper products exclusively. For packaging glass bottles, however,  they do employ pre-used bubble wrap. Because transportation emissions are a major eco-no-no in general, the company relies on USPS in an effort to deliver using regular, already-traveled routes. This avoids sending trucks out on special routes that increase emissions . Another way the company reduces transportation issues is with domestic production. With the exception of Himalayan bath salts, all items are produced in the United States. Related: Some of the largest manufacturers are going green with the milkman model   In addition to reducing waste, the company aims to provide products that are eco-friendly , cruelty-free, mostly vegan (with the exception of honey and beeswax in a few products), mostly gluten free, although items are manufactured in a facility that handles gluten, 99.7 percent GMO free, and proudly void of a host of toxins commonly used in other cleaners and beauty products. For their efforts, The Refill Shoppe has passed the qualifications to become a Certified B Corporation. This stamp of approval means they’ve passed rigorous standards of environmental and social responsibility up and down the supply and customer chain. In fact, the company has been recognized with awards and accolades by many notable agencies such as the Ventura County Reporter, Ventura County Board of Supervisors, California Air Resources Board, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and the California Resource Recovery Association. In a country a long way from leading the planet in sustainable practices, companies like The Refill Shoppe not only offer an alternative for those aiming to live more sustainably, but also bring awareness to an industry currently guilty of significant plastic waste . + The Refill Shoppe Images via The Refill Shoppe

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The Refill Shoppe enforces zero-waste packaging, provides bulk refill solutions for myriad household and beauty products

This skincare and natural deodorant is made from apple cider vinegar

February 27, 2019 by  
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Transitioning to natural skincare isn’t always easy. If you’ve used conventional products for years, it can take some time for your skin to eliminate the build-up of chemicals. Sway is hoping to help with that transition with a line of detoxing natural deodorants and new vegan and cruelty-free skincare, all of which is primarily made from apple cider vinegar. Sway’s mission is to gently help your body adjust from a lifetime of personal care products laden with toxins, synthetic fragrances and more icky ingredients to items made from natural ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, aloe vera and rose water. While anyone can make the switch, Sway’s products aid your body in detoxing years of build-up of chemicals, such as the aluminum used in antiperspirants. Moving from conventional body care items to plant-based products can often cause itchiness and irritation, but using carefully selected ingredients, Sway makes the transition comfortable, quick and easy. Related: These are our favorite beauty retailers from the Indie Beauty Expo We tested Sway at the Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles , and we were blown away. Founder Rebecca So is as passionate about skincare as she is about natural ingredients — she helped us try all of her products and explained the ingredients and health benefits of each and every one. Naturally, we decided to push the products to the limit by trying them for several weeks at home, the office, the gym and any other general, everyday situation we could think of. Sway’s claim to fame is a detoxing deodorant as well as an armpit mask. The deodorant’s main ingredient is organic apple cider vinegar. While the deodorant is lightly scented (we tried vanilla), it’s clear upon opening that ACV is the star of the show. Luckily, this smell dissipates quickly. Interestingly enough, this deodorant was originally developed as a face toner, which shows just how gentle it is for skin. Alone, the deodorant works best if you reapply a couple times throughout the day, especially if you are in the process of ditching antiperspirant. While it doesn’t block sweat (and it shouldn’t — sweating is a natural bodily function!), it does keep unpleasant odors at bay. It does take awhile to dry, so it is recommended that you apply it right after a shower and as you get ready for the day. This does make a reapplication more difficult, but Sway offers a dry dusting powder that helps the deodorant last longer. We have not tested the powder, but it would be great to help cut back on the need to reapply the deodorant. The armpit mask is completely game-changing. It’s a charcoal-based mask, not unlike a mud mask you’d use to wind down on a lazy Sunday evening. Other impressive ingredients include the brand’s beloved ACV, as well as bentonite clay and jojoba oil. Together, this roster of plant-based materials helps remove chemical build-up, particularly aluminum, from under the arm. It smooths dryness and flakiness and makes transitioning to natural deodorant simple. Long-term use of antiperspirant is also known to cause underarm discoloration, and this mask helps even out the skin tone in this area. It’s easy (and admittedly pretty fun) to apply, and a quick hop in the shower rinses the mask and all the gunk away. Sway also debuted a brand new line of natural skincare at IBELA, and we’ve been talking about it ever since. Particularly appealing, the cucumber face toner, the Vitamin C serum and the daily moisturizer have all become integrated into our all-natural morning skincare routines. The texture of each is very light, while still providing plenty of moisture to dry, wintry skin. The smell is nice, too — each offers a refreshing, slightly fruity scent. “Extending the same philosophy we used to develop our detox deodorant, we recently launched our skincare line that offers total body care solutions,” So said. “We understand using only flower extracts and oils cannot change the appearance of wrinkles, so we combine the best of nature with biotechnology in making our products. As you can see, all our products are jam-packed with high-quality ingredients, such as peptides, apple stem cell, etc. without the price tag.” + Sway Images via Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Sway. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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This skincare and natural deodorant is made from apple cider vinegar

Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo

February 27, 2019 by  
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Hong Kong’s vegan and vegetarian scene has proliferated in the last few years, and now the autonomous territory of China has its first vegetarian restaurant within a hotel. Veda, inside the freshly revamped Ovolo Central Hotel, is open for business. Well-known Australian vegetarian chef Hetty McKinnon devised the menu, and MALE and KplusK Associates designed the space. Despite an upsurge in the availability of veg foods, Hong Kong is still the world’s third largest per capita beef consumer, according to Beef2Live . McKinnon isn’t necessarily trying to convert everybody. She’ll be happy to reduce consumption. “I remain undaunted in my vision to win diners over with the other major food group: vegetables!” she told afoodieworld.com . “I think it’s a matter of communication — even though the food I create is vegetarian, I want people to understand you don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat it. My food is inclusive, it’s for everyone — carnivores and herbivores alike. My recipes are not centered around the ‘without’; rather they are 100 percent focused upon the ‘with’ — with food, with flavor, with texture, with creativity, with thought.” Related: These are the world’s top vegan cities Diners will find lots of Asian influences on the menu, from Nepalese momos made with ricotta, spinach and smoked chili to a congee featuring shitake mushrooms, quinoa and kale chips. Desserts include dark sponge cake and a vegan fig cheesecake with caramel sauce. While everything on the menu is vegetarian, the many vegan options are clearly marked. The Ovolo Central has a modern look. Its façade boasts a glazed black metal grid that invites ventilation and natural daylight. The hotel describes the décor of its 41 rooms as having an “edgy, rock-n-roll vibe” with many commissioned artworks. The 700 square foot Radio Suite, designed by award-winning firm ALT-254, takes up the hotel’s entire top floor for unbeatable Hong Kong views. Ovolo is a private, Hong Kong-based, family-owned hotel brand with properties in Hong Kong and Australia. McKinnon has high hopes for Veda. “Hong Kong is a sophisticated, food-loving city with truly international people, so I strongly believe that they will embrace this new, healthier way to eat,” she told afoodieworld.com. “I applaud Ovolo for their forward-thinking approach to the future of food. A predominately plant -based diet is the way of the future — without getting too political, eating meat-free is one of the single biggest ways to reduce your impact on the earth . Frankly, it’s the smarter way to eat, for your body and the planet.” + Ovolo Central Images via WEILL

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Hong Kong welcomes Veda, the first vegetarian restaurant inside upscale hotel Ovolo

Will the pope go vegan for Lent?

February 13, 2019 by  
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Pope Francis is known for his simplicity, favoring what’s been called “papal athleisure” over the fine silks worn by his predecessors, and urging Christians to forego greed. He doesn’t want to be a millionaire. But will he turn down the chance to donate a million dollars to the charity of his choice? That’s what a group of celebrity vegans, led by 12-year-old Genesis Butler, are offering if Pope Francis goes vegan for Lent. The group Million Dollar Vegan launched earlier this month by sending a letter from the young activist newspapers around the world. Butler’s open letter to the pope appeals to Francis’ concerns about climate change , environmental degradation and poverty. “In your encyclical letter, Laudato si’, you stated that every effort to protect and improve our world will involve changes in lifestyle, production and consumption. I agree with all my heart and seek your support in tackling one of the largest underlying causes of the problems we face: animal agriculture.” An encyclical is a papal letter sent to all the Catholic bishops. Related: If you won’t go vegan for yourself, will you do it for Beyoncé? Butler chose to go vegan at the age of six. She’s the founder of a nonprofit called Genesis for Animals and is the youngest person to give a TEDx talk. Million Dollar Vegan is a nonprofit campaign, launched by Matthew Glover and Jane Land, with a mission to fight climate change with diet change. Vegan heavyweights like Paul McCartney, Moby, Mean Suvari and Woody Harrelson support the campaign. Lent is the six-week period before Easter. Catholics mark this solemn time with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In the Catholic tradition, fasting means significantly reducing food intake, rather than abstaining completely. Many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent. However, also giving up fish, eggs and dairy is a big jump. The whole world is watching to see whether Pope Francis will agree to change his diet for six weeks. “We are launching this deliberately bold, audacious campaign to jolt our world leaders from their complacency,” Glover said. “We are thankful that Pope Francis has spoken out on these issues and that is why we are humbly asking him to try vegan for Lent and set an example of how each of us can align our principles of caring and compassion with our actions.” + Million Dollar Vegan Images via Million Dollar Vegan and Pete Souza

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Will the pope go vegan for Lent?

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