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Keeki Pure and Simple

Finding health and beauty products that fit our ethical standards can be tricky for vegans. Luckily for us, Natalie Bauss of Keeki Pure and Simple wants consumers to know that you don’t have to sacrifice your ethics or health for beautiful skin, lips, and nails. Keeki offers a variety of products for face, skin, nails, and lips that are cruelty-free and earth-friendly. They are also locally produced, being based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They never test on animals and are Leaping Bunny and PETA certified as well. I recently sat down with owner Natalie Bauss, and asked how she got started. Natalie is a mother of two who lives on an organic farm in West Michigan. She told me that her daughter Kiana (nicknamed Keeki), like many young ladies, was constantly painting her nails, and this left Bauss concerned about the chemicals that she was being exposed to. You probably know the overwhelmingly noxious smell of nail polish and remover. That can’t be good for you. Knowing what she put into her children’s body in terms of food, she discovered that what they put ON their bodies was just as important. “Our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs up to sixty percent of what we put on it.” Bauss explains. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and her daughter’s namesake company was born. “I started out creating recipes in my kitchen from things we’d grown on the farm, just experimenting,” she says. Her daughter Keeki now develops, tests and critiques all products before they hit the shelves. Here are some of my favorite Keeki products: 1. Nail Polish:     I was impressed by how quickly the polish dried, but the most amazing part was when she told me to smell the nail polish. The normal chemical fume smell of nail polish was non-existent! They come in many colors, named after delicious treats. Note: Be sure to use their nail polish remover, because it took quite a bit of elbow grease to get it off with the traditional remover I had at home. 2. Day Rejuvenating SPF 15 Lotion & Night Rejuvenating Serum:   I absolutely love this dynamic skincare duo. They are made with high quality, non-GMO ingredients like walnut oil, pomegranate oil, and aloe vera, and green tea. I used this for a month and wanted to share my before and after photos...
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Happy To Be Dairy Free contest winners announced

A big thank you to everyone who entered the #HappyToBeDairyFree contest. The contest celebrated the new dairy-free case at the Knapp’s Crossing D&W Fresh Market. The case is stocked solely with amazing dairy-free items, like Daiya cheese, Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, Silk, Blue Diamond, So Delicious milk, and Toffuti cream cheese. We would have had a hard time choosing our favorites, and so we had to rely on a random number generator to help us select the two winners. Congratulations to Kate and Megan! Each wins a $50 gift card to D&W so they can stock up on all their favorites for free! Kate’s winning photo shows her beautiful happy, smiling daughter and her favorite, Almond Dream yogurt.   Our next winner chose the Teese Vegan Cheese Alternative. Check out Megan sportin’ her happy face and showing off that Teese. Congrats, Megan! The new case at D&W Fresh Market marks a huge shift –  a whole case filled with dairy free products at a major grocery store? Can you believe it?! We’d like to thank D&W Fresh Market’s Living Well Lifestyle Expert, Margaux Drake, as she was instrumental in making both the dairy-free case, and contest happen. We want better, healthier choices in all our grocery stores and D&W and Margaux are giving those choices to us. Right now the case can only be found at the Knapp’s Crossing location, but it’s our hope that they will roll these out in all their locations very soon! Thank you to all of you, our awesome Vegan Grand Rapids community for participating, sharing, commenting and doing everything YOU do to help make Grand Rapids a more healthy and compassionate place to live. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at Vegan Drinks in September. If you haven’t grabbed your tickets yet, do it now. They’re almost...
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Tree Huggers Bulk Grocery

Originating from a partnership between Bartertown and Tree Huggers, a new package-free bulk vegan and vegetarian grocery is up and running in Grand Rapids. Located at 947 Wealthy Street SE, Tree Huggers offers “products you can feel good about purchasing.”  We love this store! Not only can we find many of our staples in one place, we can feel good about shopping here also. Tree Huggers  is a big believer in selling only the very best recycled, organic, locally made and fairly traded items. Every thing in their store has been carefully researched and hand picked. They also offer a free recycling program to residents and workshops; a recent one showed attendees how to make your own green cleaning supplies at home. One of the great things about shopping here is that you can bring your own containers and take only what you need while reducing packaging waste. If you forget to bring your own, don’t worry they also sell them! So what can you find at TreeHuggers? For starters, they carry our favorite tofu (China Rose from Ann Arbor) at a fraction of the cost of finding it anywhere else. Our other favorites are Vegenaise (including some flavored by Bartertown), shredded daiya cheese, tempeh, nutritional yeast, peanut butter, dry beans, raw nuts, spices, and local produce. As a price comparison, Daiya Cheese ordinarily sets you back close to $6 for the 8oz. package. If you get 8oz. at Tree Huggers, it’ll only cost you $4.40! There is also a kiosk of earth-friendly bulk household goods like liquid laundry detergent, window cleaner, dishwasher soap, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, and more. There are also some ready-to-eat items like raw desserts from Deliciosity and sandwiches from Bartertown. Pro tip:  Keep an eye on their Facebook page for announcements you will need to act fast on (we scored one of only 6 available loaves of  bread one day just for jumping on it). Treehuggers is open seven days a week from 10 am – 10...
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Latest Escapades in the Home Kitchen

Been a while since we’ve blogged! We’ve definitely been up to stuff, and I am anxious to hear your thoughts on a few things. First question! Have you tried the new Daiya Cheese Wedges? We’ve been a fan of the shredded cheese from these guys for a while, but the wedges are the next level! Believe me, I was skeptical about them. Vegan cheese that’s good enough to eat right from the fridge on a cracker? Seriously, if you haven’t tried them yet, do it! They come in cheddar, jack and a jalapeno-garlic havarti. Just like the shredded version, they melt but as previously mentioned, these wedges are good just to eat raw. Among other things, I’ve made a seriously delicious nacho cheese sauce with them. Look for them at Harvest Health and Apple Valley stores across the GR area. Ironically the second part of this post is about making an effort to move away from the processed products. As we all know far too well, being vegan or vegetarian can often become a diet full of the tofurkeys and other products out there to help fill a need for something meat-like. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we decided that we wanted to try to cut back on those things – in favor of a more whole foods type diet. We initially looked into a cleanse, but I’m not a big fan of anything that involves starving myself – no matter what the outcome may be. So after a bit of googling, we’ve decided to just focus on eating more salads, and less processed food. Also, the plan is to cut alcohol for the next month. So the second question is this; have you tried any “cleansing” diets? What were they and how did they make you feel? And lastly, a confession. I cook A LOT but I am the world’s worst food blogger. Even if I intend to, I never take photos through the process, and I never write down what I put in, how much, and how I did anything. But I made a really tasty taco “meat” from tempeh the other night – it was delicious and very easy, so I thought I’d try to let you know how I did it… Tempeh Taco Meat 1 8 oz. pkg Tempeh (any kind works here) About 1/2 cup of water Taco seasoning Teensy bit...
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