Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot

March 24, 2020 by  
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Madison,  Wisconsin  is defined by water. It’s only one of two cities in the US built on an isthmus (the other is Seattle), and it has five lakes. The population of just over a quarter million is overwhelmingly young and educated, thanks to the massive University of Wisconsin. Mad City is one of the Midwest’s more progressive places and regularly features on “best of” lists. But you have to be tough to live here. Winter temperatures regularly dive below freezing, while summer temperatures often top 90 degrees. Outdoor activities in Madison Madison’s outdoor recreation revolves around its lakes. If you like kayaking , stand up paddleboarding or water skiing, you’re in luck. This is also a place to try more extreme water sports, such as wakeboarding, kiteboarding and flyboarding (where water can propel you almost 50 feet in the air). Those who are looking for something more contemplative will enjoy a trip to  Olbrich Botanical Garden . The 16 acres look their best in spring and summer, but even in winter you can enjoy orchids blooming in the sun-filled glass Bolz Conservatory. The garden’s 30-foot high Thai pavilion was a gift from the Thai royal family. The red lacquer and gold leaf structure was built in  Thailand , shipped by sea, rail and truck to Madison, then reassembled by Thai artisans without using screws or nails. At the  UW Madison Arboretum , you can meander through woodlands, wetlands, savannas and restored prairies on more than 17 miles of  trails . You can also see rare effigy mounds built more than 1,000 years ago. The arboretum features events like fungi workshops and expert-led nature walks. In the winter, it’s a popular place to snowshoe and cross-country ski. Wellness in Madison The Garver Feed Mill building is the latest wellness star in the Madison scene. After the US  Sugar  Company constructed this brick behemoth in 1906 for beet sugar processing, it became known as the Sugar Castle because of its dramatic arched gothic windows. Later it was a factory for formulating livestock feed, before sitting derelict for a couple of decades. But just last November, it reopened as a spectacularly popular event space, site of the farmers’ market during winter, and home of wellness providers and artisan food makers. The whole building is gorgeous, with lots of exposed brick walls, big windows and chandeliers. For the perfect wellness-focused day at Garver, take a class at  Perennial Yoga , eat a healthy meal at plant-based Surya Café, then visit  Kosa Wellness Spa & Retreat  to relax in the steam room and sauna or to get an Ayurvedic treatment.  “Something society doesn’t afford us is quiet and space,” said owner Shilpa Sankaran, who aspires to provide Madison with just that. “Where do you hear your own voice? That’s where the remedy lives, in our own knowing.” She sources most of her spa products from Wisconsin and has a special interest in supporting women in business. Women in  India  who have escaped sex trafficking manufacture the spa’s robes. I especially liked how they left some of the more attractive graffiti in place on the treatment room walls from the years that squatters filled the building. If art uplifts you, the  Chazen Museum of Art  on the UW campus houses lots of work by famous artists, including Miro, Picasso, and Louise Nevelson, plus interesting installations by UW art faculty. This big  museum  is free and well worth visiting. Dining out in Madison Madison is an easy town for vegetarians and  vegans . The  Green Owl Café , Madison’s first all-veg restaurant, is a cheerful and comfortable hangout spot for bowls, veggie burgers, vegan wings and vegan desserts like lava cake and coconut cream pie.  Surya Cafe , in the Garver Feed Mill, features more adventurous — some might say startling — combinations, such as a curried cauliflower waffle with maple-cumin kale and mango jalapeno sauce. Himal Chuli serves Nepali food, with several veggie and tofu-based options. The roti is so excellent I ordered a second serving.  Ian’s Pizza has several locations and is one of my favorite Madison eateries. You can custom order a gigantic salad with more than 40 mix-in options, and they often have vegan slices. For vegan dessert, don’t miss  Bloom Bake Shop . This bakery has a whole case of vegan cupcakes. Public transit Since Madison is largely a college town, you’ll find lots of public transportation and  bikes . It’s known as an extremely bikable city, so if you like biking, check out Madison  BCycle , the local bike share program. This program is designed for short trips of under an hour. If you want a bike for longer-term use, the  Budget Bicycle Center  rents various kinds of bikes. Metro Transit  is Madison’s bus company, serving the greater Madison area. Eco-wellness lodging The white dome of the Capitol filled my window at the  Madison Concourse Hotel . In addition to this stunning view and a convenient downtown location, the Concourse has been refining its eco measures for a decade. The  hotel uses energy-efficient lighting, offers reusable glass cups instead of plastic in guest rooms and is a member of REAP Food Group, which works on shortening the distance from farm to table. The Concourse’s Ozone laundry system and high-efficiency water heaters save an estimated 400,000 gallons of water per year. For an out-of-town sojourn, the  Holy Wisdom Monastery  in nearby Middleton has private rooms in its retreat house and two additional secluded hermitages.  Holy Wisdom offers the choice of a communal spiritual experience or lots of solitude as you hike trails through its prairies or read in the  library . You can even wear a silence tag if you want to take a silent retreat, and people won’t talk to you. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot

Upcoming vegan festivals around the US in 2020

March 5, 2020 by  
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As plant-based eating has crept into the mainstream in recent years, vegan festivals have proliferated. In addition to the long-established fests, like those in Boston and Portland , Oregon, vegan fests have sprung up in surprising places, from West Virginia to Houston. This is by no means an exhaustive list of vegan events but a sampling of some of the top 2020 U.S. vegan festivals, large and small. Vegan Street Fair Los Angeles, March 21-22 The Vegan Street Fair in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles takes over a boulevard and fills it with vegan food and product vendors. Sample everything from plant-based “mozzarella” sticks, burgers, fried “chicken”, macaroni and “cheese” bites and more. The event is free, and you can purchase small samples or full meals from vendors. If you live in the area, the street fair is a larger extension of the weekly Vegan Exchange event in the same neighborhood. Related: Best US cities for vegans and vegetarians Savannah Veg Fest, Sunday, March 22 Savannah is simultaneously historic and progressive, with lots of good vegan food . On March 22, locals will celebrate all things vegan in beautiful Forsyth Park at the Savannah Veg Fest . Organizers are asking folks to RSVP for an accurate head count, as they’re aiming for a zero-waste event. Whole food advocate Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not to Die, is the keynote speaker. Inland Empire Vegan Festival, March 28 The Inland Empire is a vast swath of southern California between Los Angeles and Nevada. While California is known as a land full of vegans, the Inland Empire is less so. Edward Yniguez and Kawani Brown, in partnership with their nonprofit Plant Based For All, are behind several popular vegan events in southern California, including the annual Long Beach Vegan Fest. Last year, they put on the first Inland Empire Vegan Festival . “We didn’t know what to expect,” Yniguez told Inhabitat. “It was just a huge response. That’s why we’re doing it again.” Expect dynamic live performances from musicians like Mia Sera and Rebecca Jane, and a music fest-feel that might make you want to stay all day. Yniguez recommended the perfectly spiced vegan carne asada from Cena Vegan, which will be at the fest. “The seasoning, how they do it, that’s the killer right there.” VIP tickets get you early access to the event, a swag bag and a shady, seated area by the stage. Puerto Rico Vegan Fest, March 29 Started in 2016, the largest vegan festival in Puerto Rico features 25 food kiosks from around the island, cooking demos, an art exhibition, vendors selling cruelty-free crafts and special activities for kids. An exercise pavilion features talks about vegan athletes, a boot camp class with Malcolm Cuadra and Cris “Chally” Maldonado and the Booty Vegan Workout led by trainer and herbal nutritionist Pearl Alessandra. Santa Cruz VegFest, April 11 Santa Cruz, California always makes the lists of top vegan cities. So you can expect it to throw an especially good vegan festival. More than 5,000 people attended in 2019. This year, more than 100 exhibitors will be showing off cruelty-free beauty products, educating people on animal-related nonprofits and offering samples of vegan foods at the Santa Cruz VegFest . Experts will lecture on plant-based kids, food justice and vegan nutrition. Internet sensation Brian Manowitz, better known as the Vegan Black Metal Chef, is sure to draw legions of fans. Alabama Vegan Fest in Birmingham, April 26 Desare Flournoy, owner of Elegance on any Budget, founded this festival last year and was thrilled to have more than 2,000 people attend. Flournoy told Inhabitat that this year’s fest will include several local bands, spoken word performers and belly dancers. She’s also introducing a series of speakers, with topics like managing fibromyalgia naturally and understanding veganism. The Alabama Vegan Fest aims to welcome omnivores and the vegan-curious, not just die-hard vegans. Orcas Veg Fest, May 16 If you find yourself in Washington State’s San Juan Islands in mid-May, support the fledgling Orcas Veg Fest , debuting in 2020. In addition to the food samples and educational booths, the Orcas Winery will facilitate a special wine and beer garden. Plant-Based World Conference & Expo 2020, New York, June 5-6 This one is for the pros. Now in its second year, the Plant-Based World Conference & Expo bills itself as “The only professional 100% plant-based focused event for food service, retail, and healthcare professionals, distributors, investors, manufacturers, and the savvy consumer community.” Want to find out what’s next in revolutionary plant-based products? Looking to invest in the next big vegan thing? Looking for new suppliers for your wellness business? Network on the exhibition floor and attend sessions like “Data-Driven Plant-Based Merchandising: How to Turn Retail Insights Into Results” and “Why Big Food is Betting Big on Plants.” Vegan SoulFest in Baltimore, Aug 22 Baltimore’s seventh annual Vegan SoulFest invites the local community to bring their lawn chairs and spend a summer day in Clifton Park soaking up soul and hip-hop music, watching cooking demos, trying yoga or a workout with Khnum “Stic” Ibomu (now a wellness trainer) of the legendary rap group Dead Prez and, of course, eating lots of good vegan food. Co-founders Naijha Wright and Brenda Sanders are deeply involved in the local vegan scene. Wright co-owns vegan soul food restaurant Land of Kush , and Sanders heads a public health organization and co-directs an animal advocacy group. Portland VegFest, October 24-25 Now in its 16th year, Portland hosts one of the country’s biggest vegan festivals. The schedule hasn’t been released yet, but expect tons of food samples and a full day of lectures and cooking demos from this two-day fest. If you’re especially interested in health, a plant-based nutrition conference takes place on the Friday before Portland VegFest . Boston Veg Food Fest, October 24-25 Another biggie, the two-day Boston Veg Food Fest is turning 25 this year! There will be plenty of exhibits and speakers, not yet announced, not to mention an abundance of vegan foods to try. Expect to be greeted by a huge inflatable cow. The event, parking and food samples are all free. Seed Food and Wine Miami, November 5-8 For a more upscale veg experience, Seed bills itself as, “the premiere plant based food and wine festival in the country.” Activities span a week and include celebrity chef dinners, yoga, spirit tastings and endless vegan food and wine samples from more than 150 restaurants and brands. Via Veg Events Images via Inhabitat, Inland Empire Vegan Festival, Santa Cruz VegFest, Mary Margaret Smith Photography / Alabama Vegan Fest, Orcas Veg Fest, Plant-Based World Conference & Expo, Vegan SoulFest, Boston Veg Food Fest and Shutterstock

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Upcoming vegan festivals around the US in 2020

UK carbon emissions decline 29% in past decade

March 5, 2020 by  
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A recent analysis by Carbon Brief has revealed that the United Kingdom’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by 2.9% last year, bringing the total reduction to 29% since 2010. The data indicates that declines in coal use was the main factor that led to last year’s carbon emissions decrease, as both oil and natural gas usage levels remained unchanged. When viewed over the course of the past decade, U.K. carbon emissions from coal dropped by as much as 80%, while natural gas was by 20% and oil by only 6%. Carbon Brief was quick to point out two encouraging pieces of news from its study. First, “U.K. carbon emissions in 2019 fell to levels last seen in 1888.” The U.K. has also seen a faster decline in emissions compared to any other major economy. Related: Renewable energy surpasses fossil fuels in the UK Decarbonization and the move to expand renewable energy capacity have been important goals for the U.K., especially given that nations across the globe have been striving to limit rising temperatures under the Paris Agreement . According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), “Through the 2008 Climate Change Act, the U.K. was the first country to introduce long-term, legally binding national legislation to tackle climate change. The Act provides the U.K. with a legal framework including a 2050 target for emissions reductions, five-yearly ‘carbon budgets’ (limits on emissions over a set time period which act as stepping stones toward the 2050 target), and the development of a climate change adaptation plan.” The CCC explained that the U.K. is making some progress toward meeting its carbon budgets but is not yet up to par with its legally binding carbon targets. It has met its first three carbon budgets, “but is not on track to meet the fourth, which covers the period 2023-27.” Carbon Brief elaborated that U.K. carbon emissions need to fall by another 31% in the next decade to meet its carbon budget, but based on current policies, only a 10% cut is projected. While there has been a transition in the U.K. toward decarbonization, there is still urgency to focus on renewable energy while further reducing reliance on coal, oil and natural gas. + Carbon Brief + The Committee on Climate Change Image via Paisley Scotland

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UK carbon emissions decline 29% in past decade

The best sources for plant-based protein

February 4, 2020 by  
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Many researchers and doctors around the world agree that a plant-based diet provides many benefits. It is credited with lowering inflammation in the body and disease prevention. But many people are concerned that a plant-based diet does not provide enough protein, an essential nutrient responsible for fueling the body and a critical component in building body tissue. Unfortunately, a long marketing campaign sending the message that meat is the primary source of protein has led to a lot of misinformation about the quantity of protein found in plants. If you are looking for ways to bring more plant-based foods onto your plate, here are 10 excellent sources of plant-based protein. Please note that the minimum recommended amount of protein for a sedentary lifestyle is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women, but this amount increases with factors including activity level, general health and age. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how much protein your body needs. Related: 10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home Seeds Although seeds are small, they pack a punch when it comes to providing protein. Adding some chia or flax seeds to your fruit smoothie will keep you feeling full for longer. Tossing sesame seeds into your vegetable stir-fry or snacking on sunflower seeds is another easy way to up your protein consumption. One cup of pumpkin seeds provides 12 grams of protein. A couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 11 grams, and even those teeny-tiny poppy seeds add 2 grams in just over a tablespoon. Quinoa Although typically cooked like a grain, quinoa is actually a member of the spinach, chard and beet family. The frequent debate about whether it is a vegetable or a grain is somewhat satisfied with the label of pseudocereal, which means it’s not part of the grass family. Whatever you choose to call it, quinoa is a versatile and protein-packed food with over 8 grams per cooked cup. Lentils Once you get the hang of cooking lentils, you’ll find them to be an essential addition to or centerpiece of your diet. They are versatile and tasty. Plus, one cup of lentils provides more than 1/3 of the minimum recommended daily amount of protein at around 18 grams. Beans Beans rank nearly as high as lentils on the protein scale, and there are myriad options to match any taste profile. Daily value (DV) amounts for one cup look like this: white beans (35%), split peas (33%), pinto beans (31%), kidney beans (31%), black beans (30%), navy beans (30%), chickpeas (29%) and lima beans (29%). Nuts Nuts are a great snack, and they provide both protein and healthy fats. But they also make a nice addition to many recipes . Pick your favorites and experiment. For example, peanuts, almonds and pistachios contain 12 to 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Nut butters are another option for adding protein to your diet. Watch for added salt and sugar when choosing your peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter. Two tablespoons is considered a serving size of these nut butters. Soybean products There are a variety of products sourced from soybeans. Edamame contains about 8 to 9 grams of protein per 1/2 cup and can be eaten boiled or shelled. Tofu has long been associated with vegan and vegetarian diets as a protein replacement for good reason. It contains around 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup, and tofu can be added to just about anything, from soup to salads to sandwiches. Tempeh is another soybean-based food that brings 31 grams of protein per cup. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative Peas Vegetables should be a priority in any diet. While most offer some protein, veggies also offer a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Peas, however, rate among the highest when looking specifically at protein content, with 8 grams per cup. Plus, they are convenient to toss into most meals. Leafy greens You’ve probably been lectured before to eat your leafy greens. That’s because they are loaded with nutritional benefits, including 3% to 12% of your daily recommended amount of protein. So load up on spinach , kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard and collard greens to increase your protein intake. Unsweetened raw cocoa powder You may not have expected to see chocolate on the list, but unsweetened raw cocoa powder provides a host of nutritional value, not the least of which is 1 gram of protein per tablespoon. Sprinkle it on fruit or throw it in your smoothies for a delicious protein boost. Nutritional yeast Nutritional yeast offers the essential vitamin B12, and a single tablespoon has about 5 grams of protein. Nutritional yeast can be used as a substitute for cheese. Shake it on popcorn, pasta, pizza, soups, potatoes and cooked veggies for a savory flavor and added protein. Via Choose My Plate , Health and My Food Data Images via Shutterstock

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The best sources for plant-based protein

1920s building in Buenos Aires becomes a gorgeous, solar-powered residence

February 4, 2020 by  
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Buenos Aires is known for its beautiful architecture, but retaining the city’s historic character while breathing life into its abandoned buildings is often challenging. Thankfully, local firm Moarqs  rose to the challenge when presented with the task of renovating a 1920s building into what is now the Tacuari House — a modern, energy-efficient residence that operates on solar power. Located in the Barracas neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the home was previously a dilapidated building that, according to local records, dates back almost a century. The building was originally broken up into several rental units centered around two open-air courtyards . Related: A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist Led by architect Ignacio Montaldo, the design team faced numerous challenges when working on the historic building’s renovation . The first objective was to update the space into a modern residence while retaining its character. According to the studio, some elements, such as the ironwork and some ornate plasterwork, were able to be salvaged in the updated building. The first step was to rework the home’s layout so that the first central courtyard on the ground floor would become the heart of the home. To expand this space, the team demolished the back rooms to create a new central space, complete with a swimming pool and garden. The second step to the renovation process focused on adding a new building on the second floor, which would be used as the primary living space. Setting the new structure back from the official line of the home allowed the residents to have more privacy as well as more outdoor space. The new structure is made of a metal enclosure painted jet-black to contrast nicely with the bright outdoor space. A series of operable black shutters shade the interiors from the harsh sunlight in the summer , while welcoming in the heat and light during the cold winter months. Moarqs was able to restore the original calcareous and wooden floors as well as some of the home’s original ironwork. To modernize the space into an energy-efficient home, the designers added an array of solar panels on the roof and thermal panels for heating water. Now, the home perfectly blends its historic character with contemporary, green design. + Moarqs Via ArchDaily Photography by Albano Garcia and Javier Agustin Rojas via Moarqs

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1920s building in Buenos Aires becomes a gorgeous, solar-powered residence

Treehouse hotel in Bali offers maximum views with a minimal footprint

February 4, 2020 by  
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Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier has become known for his tropical architecture that creates a seamless connection between the human-made and nature. His latest project, the incredible Lift Treetop Boutique Hotel just outside of Ubud, Bali, continues the architect’s signature building technique of elevating eco-friendly structures off the ground to further reduce environmental impact. Located in Penestanan, a village just outside the popular tourist town of Ubud, the Lift Treetop Boutique Hotel is comprised of three soaring treehouses , each one distinct from the next. Embedded into a lush tropical forest, the treehouses offer guests the perfect spot to reconnect with nature while enjoying incredible views from high up in the canopy. Related: Prefab homes on stilts include solar panels, water collection systems and organic gardens Although all of the thatched-roof accommodations come with king-sized beds with en suite bathrooms and outdoor spaces, the treehouses are all different from one another. The Ernest Hemingway House was built using traditional methods of the Javanese people. The lowest of the three units on offer, this treehouse offers guests a serene, one-story lodging filled with rattan and reclaimed wood furniture. The George Orwell House has two stories. The top floor of this serene treehouse has a bedroom with an extended outdoor balcony and a rooftop deck for a bit of stargazing or bird watching. Next up is the largest of the three treehouses — the luxurious Stanley Kubrik House. Here, guests will enjoy a world of understated luxury, with an interior that offers unobstructed views from any angle. This treehouse offers a large en suite bedroom as well as an outdoor area with plenty of seating, including a hammock . Guests of the hotel will not only be able to immerse themselves in their own little paradise up in the trees, but they can also enjoy the hotel’s luxurious common areas. The treehouses are gathered around a central area with an abundance of lounge spaces, including a small sauna and a swimming pool. There is also an elevated yoga deck for getting bendy before hitting up the snack bar. + Alexis Dornier + Lift Bali Via ArchDaily Images via Alexis Dornier

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Treehouse hotel in Bali offers maximum views with a minimal footprint

12 surprising things that arent vegan

January 16, 2020 by  
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It’s hard to stick to a vegan lifestyle. It can be easy to be foiled by ingredients that just slip right by you, and these aren’t just in food . A surprising number of non-food items also contain animal-derived ingredients. What’s a wannabe vegan to do? Remember that drastically cutting down on animal consumption is good for the planet, even if you fall short of 100 percent. If you want to be as close to completely vegan as possible, here’s a list of some surprising foods and other items that aren’t necessarily vegan. Sugar The sugar industry uses bone char from slaughtered cattle to remove the color from sugar so it becomes a lovely, bright white. What about using brown sugar? Unfortunately, that’s made of white sugar with molasses added to it. If you want to avoid bone char-processed sugar, buy organic, unrefined, beet or coconut sugar. You can also consult PETA’s list of manufacturers that forego the bones. Condoms Many condom manufacturers use the milk derivative casein for a smooth feel. If you can do without that texture, check out vegan-friendly brands . Altoids Would you like some tendons with your fresh breath? Yep, those ubiquitous mints contain gelatin. Time for a Tic Tac instead, or opt for the Altoids labeled “sugar-free smalls,” which do not contain gelatin. Related: 10 vegan myths, debunked Tattoo ink Charcoal can be made from plant or animal origins. But many of the black dyes used in tattooing are made with charcoal derived from animal bones. Other non-vegan ingredients in tattoo ink are glycerin (from animal fat), gelatin and shellac (made from crushed beetles). If vegan ink is important to you, consult this international list of vegan-friendly tattoo artists . Apple juice Now, it’s time for something really gross. Some companies use isinglass, or fish bladders, to clarify their apple juice. Paintballs Animal tendons and sinews find their way into a lot of food and non-food products. The outer layers of paintball capsules are usually made of gelatin. Dryer sheets Dryer sheets are designed to fight static electricity and make clothes soft and lint-resistant. But what keeps the sheets from drying out? In some cases, animal fat. Urban Vegan assembled a list of vegan alternatives , if you happen to use dryer sheets. Alternatively, you can also reduce your waste by opting to use wool dryer balls. Paint and makeup brushes Artists and anybody who uses makeup might wonder, where did the hairs in my brush come from? They might be synthetic, or they might be from some poor pig, squirrel, sable or Siberian weasel. Artists, consult this list of cruelty-free brushes , and here’s a list of vegan makeup brushes . Related: The pros and cons of going vegan Crayons In other art supply news, crayons contain stearic acid. This ingredient occurs naturally in plants and animals. But it’s often animal-derived, a slaughterhouse byproduct. Crayons are one of many products that contain stearic acid, including soaps, cosmetics, candles, lubricants, chewing gum and hairspray. If you prefer your crayons vegan, check out these triangular ones made by Melissa and Doug . Worcestershire sauce Newer vegans might not have realized this yet, but traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. Instead, make your own or buy this vegan, organic Worcestershire sauce from trusted brand, Annie’s. Soy cheese If you’re vegan, you probably already know that many regular cheeses aren’t even vegetarian, because they contain rennet, enzymes produced in bovine stomachs that help cheese curdle. But did you know many soy cheeses aren’t vegan? They often contain casein, which seems really weird, because why would you even want soy cheese if you weren’t vegan? British money Vegans who live in or are visiting Britain aren’t thrilled to handle the £5 notes, which contain tallow, an animal fat derivative. It is used to make the bills anti-static and less slippery. British vegans and vegetarians have been protesting since the new notes were introduced in 2016. This month, a British employment judge ruled that the Equality Act should also apply to people who sincerely believe in ethical veganism. How an indirect discrimination case will affect the bank notes is still to be seen. Plastic bags Could be beef tallow, could be chicken fat — most plastic bags use some type of animal fat as “slip agents” to prevent bags from sticking together. One more good reason for banning plastic bags ! Images via Shutterstock

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12 surprising things that arent vegan

Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

January 16, 2020 by  
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Romanian architecture firm BLIPSZ has created a near-autonomous holiday home that combines the charms of rural Transylvanian architecture with a sustainable and contemporary design aesthetic. Surrounded by gently rolling hills and valley views, the Lodge in a Glade comprises two barn-inspired structures with green-roofed surfaces that appear to emerge from the earth. South-facing solar panels generate about 90% of the building’s energy needs, which are kept to a minimum thanks to its passive solar design and underfloor heating powered by a geothermal heat pump. Located in a Transylvanian mountain village, Lodge in a Glade is a luxurious retreat that seeks to embrace its surroundings while minimizing its visual impact on the landscape. To that end, the architects used mostly natural building materials, including locally molded clay bricks and mineral gabion wall cladding, as well as gabled roof profiles that recall the region’s rural vernacular. The expansive size of the four-bedroom home is partly hidden by its horizontal massing and the local grasses that cover the non-pitched roof sections.  The green roofs provide insulating benefits that are reinforced by cellulose, wood fiber, and compacted straw bale insulation. Triple-glazed windows frame views of the outdoors while locking in heat. The thermal mass of the timber house also benefits from the clay brick wall fillings and thick polished concrete floors throughout. Thirty-three solar panels generate the majority of the home’s energy needs and are complemented by a safety back-up electrical grid connection for very cold and cloudy days. Rainwater is collected and reused for automated irrigation.  Related: Solar-powered Dutch home produces all of its own energy with surplus to spare “The challenge of the project was experimenting with a multitude of alternative techniques and materials to seamlessly integrate traditional and high-tech elements demanded by the clients along with the sustainable , green solutions,” the architects said in a statement. “The required interior area is quite impressive, especially compared to the modest, traditional local households nearby. Shapes and materials were chosen to blend the expansive building in the special scenery.” + BLIPSZ Via ArchDaily Images by Makkai Bence

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Stunning, sustainable lodge blends into beautiful landscape

Impossible Foods debuts plant-based pork at CES

January 9, 2020 by  
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Impossible Foods has unveiled its newest meatless product, Impossible Pork. The Silicon Valley-based company continues to break ground since launching the Impossible Burger in 2016 to help minimize the use of animals as a food source. The Impossible Pork debuted at the recent Las Vegas CES 2020 event, renowned as the largest digital technology show worldwide. The Impossible Pork is gluten-free with reduced fat and no cholesterol. Even better for eco-minded consumers is the Impossible Pork’s smaller carbon footprint . According to the Impossible Foods website, “Animal agriculture uses a tremendous amount of the world’s natural resources,” particularly land, water and energy. By comparison, creating a plant-based pork substitute is a more sustainable process. It reduces not only the deforestation associated with animal agriculture but also minimizes carbon emissions and water usage. Related: Impossible Burger is now available in grocery stores Venturing into pork was a natural decision for the company. As CEO Pat Brown explained on an Impossible Pork promotional video, “Beef is popular around the world. But in many cultures, the most popular and familiar and common dishes use pork as the main source of meat. So, for us to have an impact in those markets, pork was a necessity.” Brown elaborated further, “Our mission is to completely replace animals in the food system by 2035, and expanding our impact globally is a critical part of that. Impossible Pork is also an amazingly delicious product that consumers around the world, who love dishes that are traditionally made with pork, will finally be able to serve to their families without the catastrophic environmental impact.” The Impossible Pork aims to reach new consumers, particularly in China, according to the New York Times and Grist . The meatless product is also halal and kosher, meaning it can be enjoyed by many people worldwide. “Pork is delicious and ubiquitous — but problematic for billions of people and the planet at large,” said Laura Kliman , senior flavor scientist at Impossible Foods. “By contrast, everyone will be able to enjoy Impossible Pork, without compromise to deliciousness, ethics or Earth.” On the Impossible Pork’s heels will be the Impossible Sausage’s launch at Burger King in late January. The Impossible Sausage will be featured in the BK Croissan’wich. + Impossible Foods Image via Impossible Foods

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Impossible Foods debuts plant-based pork at CES

An eco-travel guide to Bend, Oregon

January 7, 2020 by  
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Bend, Oregon is a sunny spot in a state known for rain. This area of central Oregon is the fourth fastest growing region in the country. About nine people move there daily, often because they want a healthy outdoor lifestyle and a smaller town. Tourists love this town of 81,000, too. If you’re venturing that way, leash up Fido; Dog Fancy magazine once nicknamed it Dog Town, USA. Bend outdoors Start your Bend adventure with an easy walk around downtown. Incorporated in 1905, Bend has many attractive, century-old buildings that now serve as cafes and boutiques. Crow’s Feet Commons is a must-visit for outdoorsy types who stop in for ski boot fitting, bike shopping and Oregon craft beers. If you’re ready to pick up the pace, check out Bend’s 51 miles of in-town trails. For a short run, the 3-mile Deschutes River Trail loop is very pretty, and you don’t even have to leave town to enjoy it. Visiting runners can pick up trail maps and connect with locals at FootZone , a running shoe store that sponsors running events. Bend is probably best known as a magnet for rock climbers. About 25 minutes outside of Bend, the 651-acre Smith Rock State Park attracts climbers from around the world. It offers challenges for all levels, from newbies taking their first lessons with local climbing schools to pros ready to tackle the 500-foot volcanic rock walls. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly planted on a trail, the park also offers a lovely, flat trail along Crooked River and a steep climb to the tops of cliffs. Seventy miles southeast of Bend, the Fort Rock State Natural Area makes for a geologically intriguing day trip. Fort Rock is a volcanic tuff ring that rises 325 feet above the surrounding high desert plain. This is a magical, quiet place, with soft, sandy trails, scrubby bushes and orange and chartreuse lichen coating the rocks. The nearby Homestead Village Museum is an interesting collection of old buildings, including a small church and a one-room schoolhouse. Did you bring Fido? After a day of exploring Bend and environs, stop by Pine Nursery Park so he can cool off on the seasonal splash pad. Join a canine-friendly canoe adventure with local outfitter Wanderlust Tours . Don’t forget a doggy life jacket made by the Bend-based company Ruff Wear. Bend wellness Jinsei Spa is a local favorite for facials, massages and body treatments using natural and organic ingredients. Namaspa Yoga Community offers public yoga classes in the Baptiste power and yin styles, as well as yoga for groups such as seniors, people in recovery and inmates at the local jail. They also provide Reiki, massage, cupping and energetic healing. Those who like to drink while doing yoga will enjoy Bend Beer Yoga . While these teachers usually hold classes in craft breweries, they may also add the odd cocktail, cider or glass of wine . Plant-based restaurants in Bend For vegan burgers, milkshakes and fries, visit the original location of the Bend-based chain Next Level Burger . Its house-made burger patties feature combinations of quinoa, mushrooms, beans, chia seeds and other nutritious ingredients. Taj Palace has an excellent lunch buffet with several vegan dishes. In addition to curries, Taj Palace also serves South Indian specialties like idlis, vadas and dosas. The cheery interior and friendly staff make it an extra nice place for a meal. Bethlyn’s Global Fusion is a cute cafe with a wide-ranging menu. Vegan choices include a Thai coconut curry bowl or a Vietnamese lettuce wrap. Lots of menu items can be made vegan upon request. For a fancier night out, Joolz is a Mediterranean-themed restaurant that uses the tag line “where the Middle East meets the Wild West.” Delicious menu items include dukkah nuts, an appetizer of toasted bread, olive oil and crushed mixed nuts flavored with coriander and cumin. The vegetarian platter provides a good variety of Mediterranean foods, such as tiny stuffed grape leaves, garbanzo beans and roasted cauliflower. Ice cream-lovers flock to Bonta Natural Artisan Gelato . The shop crafts inventive flavors, including a few sorbets and coconut-based ice creams for those avoiding dairy. Bend’s public transit While a car is very convenient for traveling outside Bend to places like Smith Rock, it’s possible to fly into Bend and get around town without driving. Cascades East Transit provides bus service in Bend and to nearby towns. It also operates recreation-based shuttles, including the Ride the River bus during the summer for folks floating the Deschutes River and the Mt. Bachelor shuttle in winter for skiers . The Ride Bend shuttle cruises around downtown and the Old Mill District during summer. There’s also a bike share program run by Oregon State University – Cascades. It’s open to the public as well as students. Uber and Lyft operate in Bend, too. Sustainable hotels in Bend The Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend is especially known as a chic, boutique eco-hotel. It was built with sustainable materials and operates on 100 percent renewable energy . The Riverhouse on the Deschutes is Oregon’s only LEED Silver hotel and convention center, featuring high-efficiency HVAC and renewable energy. If you want to go for LEED Gold, the Helios Eco-House is available as a vacation rental. The McMenamins Old Saint Francis School is a 1936 schoolhouse that was turned into a hotel . Highlights include a movie theater and an extensive collection of works by local artists . Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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An eco-travel guide to Bend, Oregon

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