Go Nuts: Feed Your Brain
Health & Fitness

Go Nuts: Feed Your Brain

Nuts and seeds are always included as part of a healthy diet regimen. As a commonly enjoyed snack food, they’re inexpensive and easy to take with you when you’re on the go. Whether in the office for a mid-morning snack, on the hiking trail or in your kids’ lunch boxes, nut and seeds help us stave off hunger by supplying fiber and protein which help keep us feeling fuller for longer.

Brain feast: Omega-3 benefits

The most important part of seeds and nuts are the healthy fats that help feed our brains!

Not only do fats make up 60% of our brain matter, they have been shown to help our brains function properly, reduce rates of depression, improve memory and motor skills, promote healthy blood flow to the brain and protect against cognitive decline. Need we say more? So instead of that bag of chips or afternoon sugary energy drink, be proactive with your health (and your day) and grab a handful of nuts and seeds or foods made with them.

Here is the list of our top 7 favorite nuts, seeds and their well-known health benefits:

1. Almonds
One of the most versatile nuts in today’s diet, almonds are an abundant source of high-quality protein and healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Often eaten on their own in either raw or roasted forms, almonds are also available as diced, sliced or slivered as well as in flour, butter and one of our all-time favorites, milk! Interestingly, almonds are actually considered “drupes” (a type of one-seeded fruit) and are not truly nuts. Regardless, almonds have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, decrease cancer risks and keep blood sugar under control.

2. Pecans
Raw or roasted, pecans are a welcome addition to any meal (or dessert!). Rich in omega-6 fatty acids, pecans help reduce the risk of heart disease. They have also been found to contain plant sterols known to reduce cholesterol levels, as well as phytochemicals that offer antioxidant protection from diabetes and cancer.

3. Walnuts
This powerhouse nut is packed with antioxidants and healthy omega-3s, aiding brain health, blood pressure and important in helping keep certain cancers away. One of the richest plant-based sources of ALA, a fatty acid your body converts into heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s DHA and EPA. Walnuts are also an excellent source of copper, which together with iron enables the body to form red blood cells.

4. Cashews
Cashews lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. They also contain the amino acid arginine which has been shown to protect the inner lining of arterial walls. Additionally, the iron in cashews helps our body form and utilize red blood cells, while copper ensures the production of dopamine and serotonin (our “feel good” hormones!).

5. Sunflower Seeds
These small seeds are infinitely more nutritious than their size suggests! Used as a food source for over 5,000 years, sunflower seeds have an incredibly diverse history to match their numerous health benefits. The sunflower seed oil lowers triglyceride and (bad) cholesterol levels, helps maintain healthy skin by preventing damage from the sun and pollution, prevent cancers and reduce the risk of diabetes by maintaining a balanced blood sugar.

6. Pumpkin Seeds
When searching for a healthy source of soy free plant-based protein, look no further than pumpkin seeds. A healthy snack all year-long, pumpkin seeds are full of protein, fiber and minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium. Pumpkin seeds get their green color from chlorophyll which alkalizes the blood, preventing high levels of inflammation from today’s otherwise acidic diets. In a small 1-ounce serving, pumpkin seeds contain high amounts of tryptophan which enhances serotonin production and is sure to boost your mood!

7. Sesame Seeds
Similar to sunflower seeds, don’t underestimate the power of sesame seeds because of their small size. Sesame seeds are packed with a variety of disease-fighting properties sure to make you take a second glance next time you’re in the bulk aisle. Full of fiber, protein, zinc, copper and phytosterols, sesame seeds support digestive health, healthy skin, lower cholesterol and relieve arthritis pain while strengthening bones and joints. Additionally, sesame oil has been shown to prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, protect your heart and even prevent wrinkles from sun damage!

8. Queen Chia
Chia, native to South America is among the healthiest foods on the planet. Chia seeds are very small blackish seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica. Chia seeds have recently become a superfood stample for a modern person even though these seeds were a very important in the diet of the Aztecs and Mayans.

We know that we all heard about salmon is being high on Omega-3, but for all of us palnt-based eaters this is not an option. Chia seeds are one of the highest known sources for omega-3 fatty acids, containing 7.5 times more of these essential oils per ounce than salmon! This is a true testament to the power of plants!

Chia is a true nutrient powerhouse!


Chai, Carmen. Global News Canada (2013). Why Are Nuts Good For Us And How Many Should We Eat? https://globalnews.ca/news/1003078/why-are-nuts-good-for-us-and-how-much-should-we-be-eating-daily/
Herrington, Diana. Care2 Healthy Living. 20 Huge Health Benefits of Sesame. https://www.care2.com/greenliving/20-health-benefits-of-sesame-you-wont-believe.html
Kerns, Michelle (2017). Livestrong. Walnuts Vs. Pecans Nutrition. https://www.livestrong.com/article/358859-walnuts-vs-pecans-nutrition/
Landau, David. How Eating Fat Can Make You Smarter. https://greatist.com/eat/healthy-fats-best-foods-for-brain-health
Mayo Clinic Health System (2015). Pumpkin: Loaded WithScary-Good Ingredients. https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/pumpkin-loaded-with-scary-good-nutrients
Mayo Clinic. Nuts and Your Heart: Eating Nuts For Heart Health. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635
McClees, Heather (2017). One Green Planet. The Perfect Seed: Why Everyone Should Add Pumpkin Seeds To Their Diet. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/why-everyone-should-add-pumpkin-seeds-to-their-diet/
Natural Food Benefits. Benefits of Pecans. http://www.naturalfoodbenefits.com/list-details.php?CAT=5&ID=102
Nordqvist, Joseph (2017). Medical News Today. The Health Benefits of Almonds. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269468.php
Real Food For Life. Small Sunflower Seeds Are Packed WithNutrition. http://www.realfoodforlife.com/small-sunflower-seeds-are-packed-with-nutrition/
Robinson, Allan (2017). Livestrong. Nutrition Information ForPecans. https://www.livestrong.com/article/85150-nutrition-information-pecans/

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The Mystery Of Second Brain  
Health & Fitness

The Mystery Of Second Brain  

Have you ever heard of your Second Brain, or that it resides in your digestive system? Did you know that anxiety and depression can be affected by your gut microbiome and your diet?

Most of us are already familiar with the effects an unhealthy digestive system can have on overall health, but many have still never heard of the gut — brain connection.

We’re beyond fascinated to learn that some of the mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc) can be addressed through our 2nd brain: OUR GUT!

It’s all about communication

The extensive network of communication between our gut and brain is transmitted via the nervous system, various hormones and the immune system. Also referred to as the Enteric Nervous System, the main highway of communication occurs along the vagus nerve, a direct connection between the microbiome and the brain by engaging neurotransmitters. The gut microbiome, or bacterial makeup of our intestines, interacts with the immune system and has the ability to release inflammatory cells, stress steroids and initiate a complete body stress response. Therefore, it can be easily be seen how the optimal balance of gut flora can help turn off the hormones that cause long-term effects on the body.

Two way street

However, the information of the gut-brain connection appears to flow in both directions. The brain has also been shown to affect the gastrointestinal and immune systems in a way that helps shape the gut’s microbiome. And as we’ve all experienced at one point or another, emotions such as anger, anxiety, sadness or joy can trigger symptoms in the gut.

Influential Probiotics

Scientists have identified specific strains of bacteria, or probiotics, that reside in our gut but directly affect the brain and/or human behavior. These influential organisms, referred to as psychobiotics, have even in some cases been shown to be more effective than traditional Western medications for treating anxiety and depression. As Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterolgy, Dr. Jay Pasricha says: “… In a way, gastroenterologists are like counselors looking for ways to soothe the second brain”!


Deans, Emily. 2014. Psychology Today. The Gut-Brain Connection, Mental Illness and Disease.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201404/the-gut-brain-connection-mental-illness-and-disease

Harvard Health Publishing. The Gut-Brain Connection. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Gut-Brain Connection.https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection

Schmidt, Charles. 2015. Scientific American. Mental Health May Depend On Creatures In The Guthttps://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-health-may-depend-on-creatures-in-the-gut/

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Top 5 Eco-Friendly Resorts of the West Coast

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Resorts of the West Coast

Sustainable tourism and the idea of eco-friendly resorts has been rapidly gaining interest over the last several years. There are many more eco-conscious travelers today than perhaps ever before, and companies are noticing the change in consumer behavior.  So much so, that we are seeing new eco-minded resorts and hotel chains in many of the popular destination locations.  Traveling green is often misconceived as something where you must sacrifice some of the amenities for a planet-friendly experience, and that is certainly not the case. Let’s take a closer look at 5 green friendly resorts, where you can get away from it all without compromising some of the luxuries we enjoy while traveling.

Treebones Resort – Big Sur, California

If you are hoping to check out the coast and a prefer a “premier glamping experience,” then Treebones Resort is a must visit because that is exactly what this resort offers on their website.  Located on California’s Big Sur Coast, relax in your comfortable yurt with a queen-size bed, natural pine flooring and beautiful views of the Pacific Coast.  The founders of Treebones say that they value the land, sea, and animals and take great pride in taking care of them.  This is a wonderful resort option if you want to be green-friendly and enjoy nearby hikes, kayaking or some of the other great amenities on-site, for example, an in-yurt massage. This resort is complete with a heated pool, hot tub, and a clean-burning generator.  They also have eco-nests available, which allow you to spend the night high in a tree.

The Allison Inn and Spa – Newberg, Oregon

Located at the heart of Willamette Valley’s wine country in Oregon, The Allison Inn and Spa is so environmentally conscious, they insist that each “stay becomes an inspiration.” In fact, the developers brought in more lush greenery and mature trees than the entire project had displaced, resulting in something to certainly brag about- an actual net agricultural gain. The resort has also implemented a variety of renewable energy systems to reduce the overall environmental impact of tourism to the area. Some of these include their solar hot water, photovoltaic cells, and “Sedum Green Eco-Roofing” on the West Wing.  Guests can enjoy winery tours at over 200 wineries nearby or enjoy a soothing walk through the landscaped gardens after a therapeutic visit to the spa.


The Stanford Inn by the Sea – Mendocino, California

Have pets that travel with you? The Stanford Inn by the Sea is a pet-friendly eco-resort that may be perfect for you. Mendocino County has long been known for the gorgeous coastline and some of America’s greatest wines.  Since the 1970’s free spirits have been drawn to the area, so it is no surprise that those of us who are looking for sustainability and care about the environment are drawn to this area of the West Coast.  There are a variety of eco-friendly activities available including canoeing, biking, and dining, plus much more.  The on-site vegan restaurant, The Ravens, features delicious menu items made from organic and local food.  The Stanford Inn even maintains their own organic crops and vineyards.

Majestic Yosemite Hotel – Yosemite National Park, California

If distinctive luxury and breathtaking views are on your list of must-haves, then look no further. The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is not only a National Historical Landmark but is also an active member of the Green Hotels Association, which ensures that all business decisions the hotel makes are taking into consideration the environmental impact as well.  Guests of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel enjoy a “parkitecture” feel, as the National Park Service took great effort in planning each building so that it would co-exist with nature and minimize the environmental impact.  The hotel is situated in such a way that there are views available of Glacier Point, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls. In addition to the great views, the site of this location was chosen so that a natural, fossil-free heat source could maximize sun exposure and again minimize the impact of the environment.

Jumbo Rocks Campground – Joshua Tree National Park, California

Finally, for those of you who prefer to “rough it” in the great outdoors, Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park is the destination for you. Not far from Skull Rock, near the western border of the park, Jumbo Rocks Campground consists of 124 campsites which are equipped with pit toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables. You will need to bring the classic camping essentials like a tent and if you are like me, your air mattress and favorite pillow. There are endless outdoor activities nearby such as biking, hiking, or horseback riding. Many campers also enjoy rock climbing in the area. The number one tip for this destination is to bring more water than you need!

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Beyond Diets With Clean Eating
Health & Fitness

Beyond Diets With Clean Eating

In the noisy world of social media, there’s an over-abundance of tips on how to eat healthy, dress fashionably and “make-up” yourself. But what all beauty bloggers forget is that true beauty doesn’t start in the gym, on pages of fashion magazines or with contouring kits: it starts on our plates.

Eating clean is not a new trend. As a matter of fact, “clean” is how nature intended food to be eaten in the first place. Beyond any diet, eating clean is a long-term investment in SELF. The quality of our lives is 100 percent dependent on one important vehicle  – our body (sorry, Tesla). The main principles of clean foods are those that:

  • Are made from whole food ingredients (fresh fruits and vegetables, dried legumes, nuts)
  • Were made with minimal pesticides (think ‘certified organic’)
  • Have not been processed (the way nature intended them)
  • Free from additives or other artificial ingredients

In Ricky Gervais’ new stand up ‘Humanity’, he jokes about the multitude of opinions people have on even a solid fact such as Earth’s age. At the end of the day, Earth IS 4.5 billion years old. No opinion can ever trump (no pun-intended) scientific fact. The same goes for food.

“No disease can result from the deficiency of nonessential food components.” – Dr. Royal Lee, Father of Holistic Nutrition.

So What’s Up With Whole Foods?

Whole foods are those which are minimally processed, unrefined and otherwise kept as close to their natural form as possible. The result is a natural nutritional energy boost without additives or preservatives. And where, might you ask, do you find whole foods? Start by shopping around the perimeter of your grocery store, where you’ll typically find whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Mission Possible: Unrefine!

Have you ever thought what “enriched bleached flour” is and why is it enriched? In the food world, “enriched” or “refined” is not an elegant description of quality. Because the agricultural industry strips down valuable nutrients and microelements from whole grains (such as bran and germ) during “processing”, they become so nutritionally inferior they have to be mechanically “enriched.” Everything has already been perfectly arranged by nature so why go through this ‘process’? As more people are beginning to realize we no longer need to consume empty calories from refined grains, the ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and brown rice are staging a comeback story that’s built for longevity.

Hey, Sugar Baby!

Sugar, sugar, sugar. It’s around every corner, but not all sugars are created equal. Clean, unprocessed sugars are:

  • coconut sugar (low GI)
  • date sugar
  • raw honey (we said goodbye to honey because bees are more important to us)
  • maple syrup (dark is even better because it has more nutrients)

Stick to this list and you’ll avoid some of the greatest offenders in today’s modern diet such as high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar! Keep in mind that ‘good sugar’ is only ‘good’ in moderation…

Building That Muscle With Clean Proteins

Clean eating includes eliminating a major violator from our plates: saturated fat. Most saturated fats are found in animal products, so how else do we get enough protein in our diet? Plants!

For us, if our protein has eyes, organs, children or parents we don’t want it. And just like any other protein source, plant-based proteins contribute to satiety, provide energy and help build and maintain muscle. It turns out there are tons of powerful, plant-based protein sources (and they aren’t refined or processed, either!).

Beans and other legumes are the “kings” of plant-based protein. Did you know that 1 cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein, 12.5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of cholesterol?

 “Beans and legumes keep you fuller longer because they are so fiber-rich. Animal sources of protein, in contrast, have no fiber at all. Beans and legumes are also much higher in antioxidants.” Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, Cleveland Clinic

Clean eating is not about dieting, it’s about maximizing every meal and every snack with nutritionally dense whole foods. By practicing “clean eating” we become more mindful of food’s pathway between its origin and our plates, allowing us to prioritize local and/or fair trade practices whenever possible. So next time you find yourself at the grocery store, “think clean”.


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5 Romantic Getaways for Valentine’s Day Weekend

5 Romantic Getaways for Valentine’s Day Weekend

Even though Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, there are still plenty of reasons to extend the romantic holiday through the weekend. Across the country, resorts, hotels, restaurants, etc. are offering options to celebrate Valentine’s Day for more than just one day. Whether you’re looking to spend your weekend on a beach, in the mountains or somewhere in between, here are some ideas to help you plan your getaway:

The Nines
Portland, Oregon

One of Portland’s historic and hip hotels, The Nines, offers a weekend package for those looking for something romantic, yet in a laidback environment. Their “Luxury Romance Package” includes overnight accommodations for two, daily room service in bed, and flowers and champagne upon arrival. The hotel’s central location means you’ll have plenty of options for activities both day and night. Discover nearby boutiques, dine in the chic Pearl District or utilize the eco-friendly MAX light rail to explore more of the city – including museums, gardens and trendy neighborhoods. When you and your loved one are done adventuring for the day, a glass of bubbly and a romantic room for two await your return.

Kiawah Island Golf Resort
South Carolina

With a weekend package that includes both golf and a trip to the spa, everyone is sure to leave happy from the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, located near Charleston, South Carolina. The “Tees and Tranquility ‘His and Hers’ Spa Package” is a two-night deal that includes garden view accommodations at The Sanctuary Hotel, two rounds of golf and two 60-minute spa treatments. The resort also offers tennis, outdoor activities such as kayaking and splendid views of nature. You’ll leave your Valentine’s weekend getaway feeling refreshed and relaxed – and ready to book your next trip to the resort.

Breathe into Winter Retreat

Are you an adventure-loving couple? Book your reservation for a retreat in the Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana held February 16-21. The Breathe into Winter retreat combines yoga and discovery, enabling you to detach from day-to-day stress with the one you love most. Join YogaKoh and Dancing Spirit Ranch for this five-night, six-day getaway, where each day you’ll begin with yoga practice. Following breakfast, you and your partner will explore the depths of Flathead Valley as you cross-country ski, snowshoe and more. Complete each day with a warm bath, a delicious cocktail and occasional live music.

The Raleigh
Miami, Florida

For those looking for fun and warmth, The Raleigh in Miami has a suite that includes a Jacuzzi tub and dual showers. The five-star hotel also features a beautiful outdoor pool with luxurious poolside cabanas and access to the sandy beach. Located in the heart of South Beach, your romantic getaway to The Raleigh won’t be complete without a dinner at Restaurant Michael Schwartz and an after-dinner drink at Martini Bar. This Valentine’s trip to Miami is sure to stir up the love and life in your hearts for the year to come.

French Lick Resort
French Lick, Indiana

Don’t count the Midwest out for your Valentine’s Day getaway. The French Lick Resort is nestled in the hills of the Hoosier National Forest, and the historic resort hosts two hotels, three golf courses, two spas and a casino. To make your getaway extra special, indulge in a couple’s massage at the spa, enjoy the Afternoon Tour and Tea, and relax in the atrium while listening to live music. You can also take a cozy carriage ride through the grounds and dine at Table One, where you’ll be served dinner on Versace dinnerware. This resort has more than enough to keep you and your partner busy, yet relaxed, all weekend long.

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15 Vegan Restaurants in LA

15 Vegan Restaurants in LA

Los Angeles is fortunate enough to have vegan hotspots in every neighborhood. Wherever you may find yourself in this city, vegan food is never far away. Whether you’re out with your friends or simply want to enjoy the delicious cauliflower pizza in your area, here is a list of 15 local faves across Los Angeles.

1. Crossroads Kitchen

Home of the “Impossible Burger” this restaurant is the to-go spot for when there are meat-eaters in your party.


This Vietnamese inspired restaurant is an obligated visit when you’re strolling down Promenade Plaza, and an excellent place for celebrity gazing.

3. The Springs

Featuring made-from-scratch raw dishes, The Springs offers a variety of dishes that will satisfy all your cravings.

4. Sage Vegan Bistro

This restaurant is perfect for brunches, though it also serves dinner. Make sure to try their vegan tacos, as you won’t forget them!

5. Shojin

This is one of the few vegan restaurants in Little Tokyo, but it’s one of LA’s best, thanks to its macrobiotic sushi rolls.

6. Kitchen Mouse

If you’re looking for LA’s best brunch restaurant, look no further. This family friendly vegan restaurant has your back.

7. By Chloe

If you find yourself missing fast food, make sure to visit by Chloe, where you’ll find vegan mac-n-cheese, hash browns and more!

8. Cafe Gratitude

Café Gratitude is a collection of plant-based restaurants specializing in gourmet cuisines. They strive to create a menu and environment that supports health and sustainability for both the community and the planet.

9. Flore Vegan Cuisine

Not all vegan dishes have to be pretentious and Flore is the perfect example of that. Make sure to order their biscuits and gravy!

10. Donut Friend

If you’re looking for delicious, affordable and cruelty-free donuts, look no further. Donut Friend is the place to go.

11. Vegan Glory

Thai food is already very vegan friendly but that’s taken to the next level in Vegan Glory, when you’ll find delicious dishes big enough to curb any appetite.

12. Doomie’s Home Cookin’

Soul Food and veganism aren’t mutually exclusive and if you find yourself craving some fried chicken, you have to visit this vegan restaurant.

13. Cruzer Pizza and Pasta

This restaurant is the perfect option for those days where you’re just craving Italian food. Trust us, you won’t even notice the missing meat.

14. Vegan Joint

Serving up vegan flavors of all types, especially Thai. Join them for pancakes, lentil burgers, soups, sandwich wraps & more!

15. Native Foods

From the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger to Native Nachos, their unique and seasonally-changing menu items are 100% plant-based, chef-crafted, and made in-house, including their tempeh, seitan, sauces, dressings and desserts too!

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10 Vegan Fashion Brands In U.S.

10 Vegan Fashion Brands In U.S.

Plant-based diet is definitely a great first step toward better animal welfare, but vegans also avoid cosmetics, clothing, and household products that contain animal products.  According to PETA, animal products used in clothing manufacture aren’t just byproducts. They point out, for example, that leather sales help support slaughterhouses by providing extra income.  Raising animals for clothing and accessories is often cruel to the animals and harmful to the environment.

The fashion industry also leaves behind a huge environmental footprint, from the pesticides used in growing cotton and the chemicals from the toxic dyes, to the landfill impact of clothes that wear out and the energy required to produce each piece.

In this article we wanted to share 10 vegan fashion brands you will be sure to love.

1. Stella McCartney

The lifelong vegetarian, Stella McCartney, has never used leather, skins, fur, or feathers in her products. She defines her look as “sharp tailoring, natural confidence and sexy femininity.” “This is not about public relations,”  McCartney says, but creating “real change in an industry that desperately needs it.”

Instagram: @stellamccartney
Twitter: @StellaMcCartney

2. Vaute Couture

VAUTE (“Haute” + V for Vegan)  is the world’s first vegan fashion brand, founded with a mission of taking animals out of the fashion equation, by creating something better, using innovative, high-tech, sustainable textiles, cut and sewn in NYC’s garment district with love.

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart is the CEO & Creative Director of Vaute Couture says, “When I spend time at the animal sanctuaries cuddling with rescued sheep and hugging some sweet cows, I think: One day, no one will wear your families or friends. I’m doing my best, guys. I’m doing my best!”

Instagram: @leannemaily
Twitter: @VauteCouture

3. Cri de Couer

Cri de Coeur, pronounced “kree duh kur”, is a French expression that means, “cry from the heart.” It is an innovative new company in the fashion footwear arena. The Collection consists of the highest quality vegan materials – including Ultrasuede made from recycled plastics, eco-PU that’s low-VOC, breathable and biodegradable, organic cotton, hemp and reclaimed wood and is committed to choosing vendors who abide by our ideals of earth-friendly manufacturing processes and fair treatment of workers.

Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow say “Cri de Coeur’s mission is to become a name synonymous with high fashion and uncompromising ethical values. We will also attempt to make a real impact on people’s mindsets as they shop by helping them to be more aware of how their purchases affect the planet.”
Instagram: @cridecoeurnyc
Twitter: @cridecoeur
The idea behind MAT(T)erial and NATure originally came to life in 1995, in Montreal. “From the start, being committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in our designs felt natural to us. Each season, we continue to explore new innovative ways to remain sustainable and eco-friendly. Over the years, we’ve been experimenting with different recycled materials such as recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork. Since 2007, we’ve been committed to using linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. We have also recently introduced recycled bicycle tires to our collections.”

Matt & Nat collections can now be found in boutiques across Canada, the United States, the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia.

Instagram: @matt_and_nat
Twitter: @MATT_AND_NAT

5. OlsenHaus

Olsenhaus – Pure Vegan was founded by Elizabeth Olsen in August of 2008 in New York City.

Elizabeth is an outspoken advocate against the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation and entertainment while assisting in movement towards a higher state of consciousness for planet earth and all of mankind. Olsenhaus works with and donates to the country’s leading animals rights organizations for education and rescue. The company has donated product to hundreds of animal organization for fundraising events.

6. John Bartlett

John Bartlett is a graduate of Harvard University and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  His 2011 “The Tiny Tim Collection” collection was created to help raise funds for the designer’s nonprofit 501(c)3 animal-rescue organization, “The Tiny Tim Rescue Fund” which helps support independent rescue groups across the country.

Bartlett has worked alongside the Humane Society of the United States, the North Shore Animal League and other animal rights organizations helping to raise awareness and spread the message of compassion. In September of 2011 the designer was chosen as a winner of the ‘CFDA/Lexus Eco Fashion Award’ and made Fashion-Week history with the debut of the first ever eco-luxe, 100% cruelty-free menswear collection at New York Fashion Week in February of 2012.

Instagram: @johnbartlettny
Twitter: @johnbartlettNY 

7. Melie Bianco

Melie Bianco’s Premium Vegan Leather has the look and feel of real leather, without the harmful ecological side effects of PVC (melted down plastic). They pride themselves in offering a cruelty free alternative to high style. The company manufactures their items in a Sweatshop Free environment using fair trade principles. In 2016 Melie Bianco had the honor of being featured in Vogue UK; winning a covetable PETA UK Vegan Fashion Award for ‘Best Animal-Friendly Accessories’.

Instagram: @meliebianco
Twitter: @meliebianco

8. Beyond Skin

Footwear brand Beyond Skin use a variety of environmentally friendly materials including soles made from 70% recycled rubber resin and insoles made from 70% post-consumer cardboard. They’re also the first shoe brand to use Dinamica faux suede material, which made from 100% recycled PET plastics. Just in time for winter, these knee-high boots are perfect for pairing with jeans, or if you’re in the sunny Northern Hemisphere, your favourite dress!

Instagram: @beyondskin
Twitter: @BeyondSkinTweet

9. Brave Gentleman

Embracing a slow-fashion production model, Brave Gentleman makes a stylish range of vegan menswear, including suits, shoes, bags and belts. These vintage-inspired boots, made from a polyurethane-based, Italian-milled microfibre called ‘future-leather,’ are perfect for stepping up your outfit game.

Instagram: @brave_gentleman
Twitter: @BraveGentleMan

10. Delikate Rayne

Delikate Rayne is committed to making fashionable and luxurious cruelty-free clothing for women. This faux leather skirt and bustier are fantastic for a chic and cruelty-free festival look. All of their products are made in a family-owned factory based in the USA.

Instagram: @delikaterayne
Twitter: @DelikateRayne

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Top 100 Instagram Food Bloggers

Top 100 Instagram Food Bloggers

Here is our list of the best Instagram food bloggers. We find them the most ‘drool worthy’ ones out there. Many of them have food blogs outside of Instagram: YouTube is where we get to see their vlogs and hear the sizzle of their cooking and Pinterest is the great place to dive into the recipes. Instagram is a platform that just captures it all for us: from kitchen stories, to the most exotic foods from across the world, we travel together with them and millions of their followers. Every picture is sensational, every plant dish is taken from the right angle. The first time TMI is a really good thing! We want more, and we will never get enough.

At EFFi Foods we love what we love which is plant-based, vegan foods and snacks, so every time we see a new rendition of a same old avocado toast we get exited beyond measure!

The creativity splashes out of the perfect Instagram photo grid’s of these bloggers. If you like raw, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian cuisine or if you are flexitarian – these top 100 bloggers are for you!.

1. Jamie Oliver – 6.2M followers


2. Ella Mills – 1.2M followers


3. Kevin, FitMenCook™ – 1.1M followers


4. Yovana Mendoza – 1.1M followers


5. Nora Eisermann and Laura Muthesius – 984K followers


6. Dana Shultz – 962K followers


7. Michael Zee – 770K followers


8. The Infatuation – 711K followers


9. Samantha Lee – 690K followers


10. Sam Schnur – 640K followers


11. Brad Lau – 638K followers


12. Neto – 585K followers


13. Samira Kazan – 574K followers


14. Lindsay Ostrom – 534K followers


15. Sarah Phillips – 532K followers


16. Tessa Gluck – 496K followers


17. Yotam Ottolenghi – 495K followers


18. Tieghan Gerard – 449K followers


19. Brunch Boys – NYC Food Lifestyle – 440K followes


20. Happy Foody – 431K followers


21. Joy The Baker – 422K followers


22. Mel – 397K followers


23. Food In The Air® – 389K followers


24. Sarah B – 361K followers


25. Rachael DeVaux – 327K followers


26. Gennaro Contaldo – 321K followers


27. Hungry Betches – 315K followers


28. Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley – 307K followers


29. Ashley Alexander – 299K followers


30. Alexa Mehraban – 295K followers


31. Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park – 294K followers


32. McKel Hill – 294K followers


33. Mouth Water Food (community) – 291K followers


34. Ida Skivenes – 277K followers


35. Madeleine Shaw – 272K followers


36. Molly Yeh – 270K followers


37. Mike Chau – 261K followers


38. Rachel Mansfield -251K followers


39. Lee Tilghman – 247K followers


40. Jeannette Ogden – 246K followers


41. Jessica Merchant- 225K followers


42. Izy Hossack – 222K followers


43. Chungah Rhee – 218K followers


44. Jaclyn Bell – 216K followers


45. Sara Forte – 215K followers


46. Hannah Koestler – 201K followers


47. Brittany Wright – 199K followers


48. Alissandra Maffucci – 182K followers


49. Clerkenwell Boy – 170K followers


50. Ali Martin – 166K followers


51. Julie Lee – 163K followers


52. Steph and Mike – 163K followers


53. Nico – 162K followers


54. Georgia McDermott – 158K followers


55. Plant Based Jane – 155K followers


56. Edd Kimber – 135K followers


57. Nina Olsson – 134K followers


58. Amelia Freer – 126K followers


59. Kathryne Taylor – 123K followers


60. James Thompson – 122K followers


61. Jo Rodgers – 120K followers


62. Jo Yee – 112K followers


63. Sarah – 106K followers


64. Leyla Kazim – 101K followers


65. Mandy Lee – 99.3K followers


66. Natasha Kadimi – 98.2K followers


67. Life & Thyme – 94.7K followers


68. Natalie Mortimer & Holly Erickson – 90.2K followers


69. Emily Smith – 89.3K followers


70. Heidi Larsen – 87.5 followers


71. Tara O’Brady – 78.1K followers


72. Nick Neves – 72K followers


73. Dan Doherty – 71.6K followers


74. Bella Karragiannidis – 69.7K followers


75. Krissy – 69.5K followers


76. KS By Name|Food&Travel My Game – 67.4K followers


77. Minnie Kim – 66.4K followers


78. Josh Beckerman – 65.3K followers


79. Katerina – 59K followers


80. Josh Schere – 57.3K followers


81. Kezia and Jared – 57K followers


82. C.R Tan – 56.1K followers


83. Carey Nershi – 56K followers


84. Dishing Up The Dirt – 55K followers


85. Felicity Spector – 52.8K followers


86. David Hagerman – 50.1K followers


87. Kevin Lynch – 49.1K followers


88. Andy – 42.4K followers


89. Jessica Jones and Wendy Lopez – 42K followers


90. Cait – 40.5K followers


91. The Curious Pear – 29.9K followers


92. Sam Linsell – 25.1K followers


93. Lisa Z – 24.1K followers


94. Evan Sung – 23K followers


95. Anna Barnett – 20.7K followers


96. Ruth Tam – 19.5K followers


97. Alex Fletcher, also know as The Xandwich – 17.6K followers


98. Elias – 12.1K followers


99. Lucia Lee – 11.2K followers


100. Mika S. – 11K followers


**The main photo credit @alphafoodie

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NFL Players are Going Vegan, & They Feel Great About It
Health & Fitness

NFL Players are Going Vegan, & They Feel Great About It

In the world of the NFL, professional football players are always looking for their competitive edge. While we prepare to sit and watch this year’s Super Bowl 52, NFL players are either striving to make the big game or are already getting a head start on next season. When it comes to diet one can only imagine the lengths these athletes go to fuel their bodies. But there’s a popular trend brewing in the NFL revolving around a plant-based diet that’s making even 300+ pound lineman reconsider what they’re eating for dinner. These vegan athletes are ahead of the curve and have nothing but rave reviews about how a vegan diet has improved their game.

Theo Riddick, RB Detroit Lions: “Watching things like ‘What the Health’ is alarming on a lot of levels because of a lot of things you don’t know in terms of things you eat on a daily basis such as chicken and drinking milk has no nutritional value. You have to be conscious of what you’re putting in your body.”

Trent Williams, OT Washington Redskins: “You feel an overall difference with your energy. I’ll never go back to eating meat. There’s no temptation.”

Bennie Fowler, WR Denver Broncos: Asserts his decision to eat vegan explains the improvement in performance on the field, making him feel faster and lighter.

Demaryius Thomas, WR Denver Broncos: Thomas was able to reportedly drop 14 pounds last offseason after switching to a vegan diet.

Tyrann Mathieu, S Arizona Cardinals: “I was tired of eating poison and was tired of supporting people that don’t support us in a healthy way.” Tyrann is also credited for bringing attention to the dangers of keeping animals locked in hot cars through his viral YouTube video.

Griff Whalen, WR Baltimore Ravens: “Nutrition plays a huge part in how quickly you can recover, how hard you can push yourself the next day. I feel like following a plant-based diet has helped me tremendously.”

Derrick Morgan, LB Tennessee Titans: “My energy levels have gone up. And it’s just putting in good fuel to your body. It’s worth it for me staying on top of my health.”

Arie Kouandjio, OG Washington Redskins: Was introduced to veganism through teammate Trent Williams and recently switched to a vegan diet after watching ‘What the Health.’

David Johnson, RB Arizona Cardinals: “We’ve learned that meat is bad for you. But it’s really where you get the meat from and how much you eat of that meat each sitting, because most Americans eat lunch, dinner, supper and it’s always meat and it’s always a huge portion. We’re just learning about that stuff.”

Brandon Mebane, DT Los Angeles Chargers: “Once you educate yourself on meat, you have a new mindset. You have a mindset of what you put into your body and what’s good for your body.”

Wesley Woodyard, LB Tennessee Titans: “I feel like a 20-year-old.”

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What 3 Top Nutritionists Say About Probiotics
Health & Fitness

What 3 Top Nutritionists Say About Probiotics

By now we’ve all heard about probiotics and the ever-increasing wealth of information about our “microbiomes.” The amount of information can be overwhelming, so let’s take a quick look at what some of the top nutrition experts across the country have to say about probiotics:

Dr. Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., Mayo Clinic.

“Probiotics appear to offer a benefit for maintaining health and potentially treating disease. We know the microbiome supports digestion, maintains immune health, influences how drugs are metabolized, controls glucose levels and may even affect your mood and behavior.”

Dr. Mark Pimentel, MD & Director of the GI Motility Program at Cedars Sinai.

“I think probiotics are the way of the future. This is a very exciting time in terms of the microbiome.”

Dr Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Taking probiotics is a good habit that can really benefit your digestive system, which is intricately connected to your overall health. Yet, most Americans are still unfamiliar with them and the good they can do. The good bacteria in probiotics do more than keep your digestive tract peaceful. They also fight inflammation, urinary tract infections and ulcers; counteract antibiotics. Spore form probiotics are the Chuck Norris of probiotics: total tough guys.”

Dr. Mary Ellen Sanders, Chief Science Executive of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP).

“Probiotics provide an extra layer of strength. They behave like soldiers in your intestinal tract to combat pathogens.”


Health WorldNet. Probiotics.


Kresser, Chris. (September 10, 2015). RHR: SIBO Update – An Interview with Dr. Mark Pimentel. https://chriskresser.com/sibo-update-an-interview-with-dr-mark-pimentel/

Miller, Erin. (December 15, 2009). Got Gas? Probiotics Can Make It a Problem of the Past.


Rosen, Sharon. (September 21, 2017). Mayo Clinic. Making sense of probiotics and prebiotics – what we know, have yet to learn.


The Plain Dealer. (October 18, 2011). Spore Form Probiotics Keep Your Digestive Tract Happy: You Docs.


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