Need a post-Café Gratitude job? Check out the Tree of Life in Arizona  »

Our pal, Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown, is possibly the nicest person we know. She just wants everyone to be healthy and happy! She rocks the raw vegan lifestyle like a boss, but you know, a totally peaceful and nice boss. To that end, after reading the unhappy news about Café Gratitude closing its eight Northern California locations, she wrote us with the following offer:

The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, a raw vegan retreat center located in Patagonia, Ariz., run by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. is currently hiring for volunteer and paid positions in the 100 percent organic, live vegan cafe, in the natural dispensary, videography and I.T. department, veganic garden, and other areas at our center, and would love to extend an invitation for Café Gratitude employees who will lose their jobs due to the closing of all Northern California locations to apply to join our team.

Working at the Tree of Life includes many benefits, including all organic, raw, vegan meals included, access to yoga classes, an InfraRed sauna, pool, hot tubs, daily meditation and regular qi gong, access to our gorgeous scenic facilities and more. Click this link to find out more about opportunities, and for information on how to apply for open positions.

Thanks so much, Sarah! Please don’t steal all the awesome raw vegans away to Patagonia!

This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog,
Queer Vegan Food.


Guest interview: Krisanga Cowen of Vivapura!  »

I have a history of awesome vegan roommates (see: Vegan Myths Debunked creators Jonathan and Ivory). My new roommate here in Patagonia, Ariz. is the awesome Krisanga Cowen. Krisanga (far right) took a break from grinding sprouted raw nut butters and making coconuts delicious to tell Vegansaurus readers about how much he loves promoting a health-conscious, plant-based lifestyle through Vivapura, the vegan superfoods company he co-owns here in Patagonia. Here’s the skinny on this fit and loving veg guy and his approach to incorporating superfoods in a plant-source diet! Hope you enjoy!

Vegansaurus: How did you get into veganism?
Krisanga Cowen: My best friend since kindergarten Todd got me into the Smiths. At 16, we dyed our hair blonde to look like Morrissey and kind of idolized him. In 1985 Smiths came out with “Meat is Murder.” That song opened our eyes to what actually goes on in this country and factory farming and how animals are mutilated. We went vegan overnight. Later, I read John Robbins’ Diet For a New America, and I actually went to vegan restaurants, which I’d never done before. I studied with yogini Kali Ray for seven years on and off, taking classes [and] workshops, [being] among other teachers, and really admired her way of eating plant-source-only, mostly live, all-organic foods for health and yoga.

How did your previous business, Cocopura, which sold only coconut products, become Vivapura, which sells an extensive line of superfoods?
I had one product in four different sizes: coconut oil. My quest for developing more products was moving to Patagonia in 2007, renting a 6,000-square-foot warehouse. I met Chris Whitcoe, and he and I were both master’s students. I had connections for superfoods. I had just built a commercial kitchen for coconut products and I started selling gogi berries and Incan berries and nori sheets and Monukka raisins, basically out the back door. I mainly sold to guests and people working at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. That’s how Vivapura was born.

When did Vivapura officially take off?
We formed Vivapura in September 2008, and got into Whole Foods and other stores in 2010, in addition to our online and in-store sales. The idea behind Vivapura was to create raw vegan products that haven’t been seen or available on the marketplace—unique, hand-crafted products like coconut crème that’s stone-ground, our chaparrel coconut oil, our soaked and dehydrated nut butters…. Sourcing products that are heirloom varieties that are unique to different regions of the world. Styrian pumpkin seeds are only grown in Austria in that region, and heirloom variety of pumpkin seeds that are robust and GMO-free and high in zinc and protein and chlorophyll. Our products were designed to be eco-friendly, vegan, non-GMO, and delicious. We hope Vegansaurus readers will enjoy them!

Is most of the Vivapura team vegan or vegetarian?
We support local people and give them a voice inside our company…we open a space for people to transform. A lot of people become vegetarian or vegan after working with us; we accept the mainstreamers and teach them about gogi berries and how to eat vegan and feel great on superfoods. We expose people to ways not to need processed foods, in a healthy, supportive environment where your voice matters and is taken into account for decisions the company makes. That really impacts an individual. They shift, grow, expand and become more open and expressive. Naturally, that often leads to vegetarianism or veganism.

This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog, Queer Vegan Food.


Some kind of hot/cold fashion/weather pun: Men’s winter coat round-up!  »

What up, homeboys?! I didn’t forget about you! I know you get cold. How about some nice winter coats?

But not before a refresher on the evils of down (not for faint of heart):

So sad. And as the video says, there is no way to tell where the down in any particular jacket comes from. Let’s look at pretty coats and be happy we don’t hurt geese.

First up, this Patagonia number.

This is your standard hooded-bomber that anybody can wear. It’s filled with primaloft and made of 100 percent recycled polyester! Yay! Besides the many eco-benefits of these down-alternative coats, many of them say down-alternatives mean you stay warm when the coat gets wet. NICE! We RULE!

Here’s a rather exciting coat, the Special Blend Rifle insulated jacket.

I’m into it. It’s kind of subtly ’80s.

Here’s a handsome coat!

Hello, Shimmer Me Timbers jacket from Columbia! Let’s cozy up!

For a grown-up look, here’s the Hamilton jacket from Marmot.
What’s up, dad! No, but for real, I like this jacket. And it has like 80 million features, which is exciting!

Let’s get a little hipper with this Under Armour coat.
This jacket highlights another bonus you get from synthetic insulation: you can move! It’s warm but thin.

Here’s my favorite, a good-old Carhartt parka!
There is nothing better than a nice boy in a Carhartt—that’s my word! Holler at me, Carhartt boys!

Finally a vest! It’s the Baffin vest from Marmot.

I wouldn’t recommend this vest for everybody but it’s pretty cool. Only get it if you think you can pull it off. Just leave it home if you’re going out on the Razor, please.

There you go, boys! Stay warm!

Women’s winter coat round-up! Stay down-free without freezing!  »

Good lord, I totally forgot about snow! That shiz is COLD! My peacoat was fine in SF but New York is going to require some serious GEAR. Plus I know you SF bitches go skiing and whatnot—suit up with my women’s winter coat round-up! Totally DOWN-free. Why? Let’s ask the World Society for the Protection of Animals:

[…] [M]illions of birds are plucked alive every year in Europe alone. The figure is even higher in China, the world’s largest producer of down and other feathers. China exports to a number of European countries where the down is used in duvets, pillows and jackets. Regardless of the origin of the feathers, the consequences for the geese are clear: they are tormented and badly stressed during the plucking process.

That’s right dudes, they pluck them LIVE. Holy crap.

On to the beautiful coats!

First up, this lovely Patagonia number, the women’s Rubicon Rider jacket.

Check it: “Insulated with lightweight, compressible 150-g Thermogreen® polyester (90 percent recycled) that stays warm even when wet”—sounds good! I like this one because it’s modern but it kind of has a ’70s, Three’s Company vibe. Especially in the red.

Next, a nice faux-fur hooded parka!

The Berghaus Mid Insulated Parka
is also filled with polyester. I like faux-fur and I like how brownish faux-fur looks with the black coat. Also, this looks warm!

Next, from North Face, we have the Whitby jacket.

Another “eco” insulated jacket! See? Once again, we vegans are better for the environment! Huzzah!

Now from Marmot, we have the women’s Zurich jacket.

This one is uber-modern looking. I’m into the contrast piping and stitching. This would be great for riding your hover-board during the winter days!

On the super-high-end vegan side, here’s the Airs from Vaute Couture.

Another coat with environmentally friendly insulation! Unfortunately, there are only a few sizes left in this design, but they say they are making more so keep an eye out. It’s pretty fly. Comes in hot pink too for you daring girls! What’s that? I can’t hear you over how loud your coat is!

Finally, a nice Patagonia vest.

The Kitlope
shell is 100 percent recycled polyester. Booyah! I’m loving how eco-friendly this list is turning out—it’s purely coincidental! We just rule! Now, I love this vest, I’m really into the yoking, I just don’t remember how to wear vests? I know I used to in my high school Wu-Tang days but now I can’t remember why we wear vests? Don’t your arms get cold or your body gets too warm? Still, it’s dope.

Have a happy, goose-friendly winter, pals!


Winter boot round-up from Planet Shoes!  »

Hey people! You know I have fly shoes and now that I’m back on the East Coast where we got the snow, I began to worry about my superdope boots! I don’t want the rain and snow to ruin them! AND THEN! Reader Shelly P. sent us these Patagonia boots to check out as they are made of all kinds of vegan materials! Perfect timing, Shell-boogie! (today only! Free nicknames!) So I was looking for the boots online (you know, the internets) and found them along with several other nice winter boots on, who has a lovely vegan shop. Let’s check them out!

First, we have the Patagonia boot that inspired this round-up. It’s pretty dope. I like the whole handle thing it’s got going on, seems very practical. And you know me! Señora Practical Shoes! But for real, I’m always like, Why the heck do I not own a shoehorn? The shoehorn is really some genius time-tested technology. It should totally be added to the Simple Machines list. I know, right?

Next we’ve got the Earth Pride boot. I like the fake shearling and it comes in plum—purple is so hot right now. So hot.

This is a hemp boot from Simple. Look jerks, I’m not a hippy! These are just kind of cool and look a little rough and tumble. Or rififi as les French say. Damn, I’m always teaching you guys stuff. Congratulations!

All right all right, here’s your round-up wild card: the Acorn Ergo bootie! I know, they look a little ridiculous. Truth be told, I could do without the embroidery but I think it’s quiet enough over the charcoal color. These could be totally fly with some skinny jeans, for real. And like all the others, they are waterproof! SHWING! (today only! Wayne’s World exclamations!)

OK, that is your winter boot round-up—for the time being! Stay warm! And classy!

[images courtesy Planet Shoes]

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