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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

‘The Nature’s Co.’ Vegan Cosmetic Brand



For more vegan/cruelty-free cosmetics reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

One hundred percent *desi. One hundred percent Vegan.

These are the two qualifiers that spontaneously come to the mind when we think about The Nature’s Co.

The Nature’s Co. gets its values from parent company, Amar Remedies Ltd. (ARL). ARL was established in the late 1960s and in those days was the first company in India to produce cruelty-free toothpaste under the brand name ‘AMAR’. **AMAR toothpastes did not contain animal-derived gelatin.

The legacy of compassion was continued by Natasha Shah, the present Director who launched ‘The Nature’s Co.’ vegan line of products in February 2009.

The Nature’s Co. Products and Philosophy

The Nature’s Co. is a vegan brand for a range of skin, body, hair care, and wellness products.

The website of the company clearly states that;

“All the products of The Nature’s Co. are one step ahead of being vegetarian, which is vegan. We don’t use any kind of animal derived ingredients in any of our products, including, ingredients like milk, honey, beeswax and lanolin which are a few of the essential materials in any skin care product. We also do not test any of our products on animals and ensure that all our vendors follow the same policy.”
Click here for the source.

The Nature’s Co. is certified by PETA and thus has a PETA cruelty-free bunny sign (image above) in all its stores and product labels.


Furthermore, the philosophy of The Nature’s Co. is deeply rooted in Nature. As we all know, before humankind discovered advanced survival techniques, humans lived off the five forms of nature – air, sun, water, earth, and forest. These forms have inspired five distinct ranges of body and bath products at The Nature’s Co.: Atmospure, Starrize, Foressence, Earthborne, and Aquaspark. The range is designed to soothe the mind, body, and soul.

Besides this, The Nature’s Co. lays equal emphasis on environmental-friendly practices. The product development and designing teams take immense care to ensure that the packaging used is only of materials such as Glass, PP, PETG, and acrylic. All these materials are recyclable, biodegradable, and conserve natural resources.

Plant-based Ingredients Versus Animal-derived Ingredients: A Note on what The Nature’s Co. Products Contain

All of The Nature’s Co. products contain natural extracts and essential oils only. No chemical or synthetic preservatives are used.

All products contain the plant-based alternatives to animal fats and oils. For example, vegetable glycerin is used instead of animal-derived glycerin.

All products are free of dairy elements such as milk and curd, and also free of eggs, beeswax, lanolin, and honey.

The Nature’s Co. candles are made from pure plant waxes. Vegetable-based candles are biodegradable and water soluble, and do not damage carpets or furniture. They burn cooler, more uniformly, and last up to 50% longer than traditional candles!

Where and How to Purchase The Nature’s Co. Products

The Nature’s Co. has boutique stores in the following cities: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune. Please click here for the addresses of these stores. You can also place online orders for The Nature’s Co. products that can be delivered anywhere in India and abroad.

Concluding Notes

How has the response to The Nature’s Co. been? Ami Gupta, Brand Manager has this to say: “The response so far has been excellent. We keep getting suggestions and appreciation mails from our customers. We feel we are going on the right path!”

It seems that the ideals of an environment-friendly, cruelty-free brand has appealed to the senses of many people. As consumers and vegans we are glad when there are more compassionate products in the market. 


What better than to end the post with a thoughtful note from Ami Gupta:

We have received a lot from Mother Nature and we must acknowledge the same by nurturing Nature. We have already started various environmental friendly initiatives and over the coming years we will take these forward to encourage people to be more environmentally conscious.”

We will really look forward to that, all the best!


Notes

*desi = Indian
**AMAR toothpaste is still available in various organized (few Modern trade stores) and unorganized retail formats. Currently, there are four variants of the toothpaste. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

South-West Asia Vegetarian Congress


South-West Asia Vegetarian Congress
Oct. 30 – Nov. 2/2010, Bangalore, India

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." 
~Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Father of the Non-violent Political Struggle in India~


The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) together with the Indian Vegan Society is hosting the first South-West Asia Vegan/Vegetarian Congress in Bangalore, India from October 30 till November 2, 2010!

Why is veganism good for the body and mind?
How does veganism contribute to protecting the environment?
How can we promote the values of veganism?

These are just some of the questions that will be discussed during the Congress. Apart from the discussions, there will be traditional music, excursions, and opportunity to interact with individuals from 20 different countries. Participants can also enjoy the vast array of vegan-organic dishes that would be served during the Congress!! The venue of the Congress is E-Inn, a luxury star vegetarian/vegan hotel in Bangalore.

About the for the Congress


The International Vegetarian Union (IVU) founded in 1908 is a global network of independent organizations that promote vegetarianism/veganism, worldwide. For more details about IVU, please visit their website by clicking here


The Indian Vegan Society promotes a healthier, environment friendly lifestyle by spreading awareness about veganism. For more details, please visit their website by clicking here

Registration and other details

For more details on the Congress – the schedule of the program, the speakers, details of the venue, registration process, fee, menu, accommodation, and so on please click here.


For the registration form, please click here.


For quick queries and more information, please write to Mr. Shankar Narayan, IVU Coordinator for India, South and West Asia at indianvegansociety@rediffmail.com.

Hope you can come and make this event a grand success! Do not miss the elaborate vegan menu that will be served at the conference.


Update as on June 11/2010: Stalls are available at the Conference for Vegan businesses and animal organizations. For details, please contact Mr. Shankar Narayan at the email address given above.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

‘Urban Herbivore’ Chinese Vegetarian Restaurant, Bangalore


For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Urban Herbivore – the name simply inspires!

Today we bring the story of the dining experience at Urban Herbivore, E-Inn’s (now the hotel is called Sai Vishram) exclusive vegetarian Chinese restaurant. After Luo Han, this is the second vegetarian/vegan Chinese restaurant that we have come across in Bangalore.

One highlight about Urban Herbivore is that no ajinomoto is used in any of its Chinese preparations. And, the other breathtaking highlight about Urban Herbivore is that it has an exclusively labeled vegan Chinese menu card!! If you click the image on the right and glance at the bottom of the menu card, you will know exactly what we mean! Generally speaking for most vegans, we get an adrenalin rush when we spot the word “vegan”, especially on the menu card of a restaurant and then we settle down with an air of resplendent satisfaction and we think, “ah, we are getting somewhere!!”

The Vegan menu at Urban Herbivore may not run into pages, yet Urban Herbivore inspires a satisfaction that most other restaurants may lack. This is one place where you can bask in the ambiance, concentrate on your conversations, and get a “feel good” feeling as you get pampered by the hospitality without having to worry about what you have put into your mouth. You completely trust. Recently we heard the horror story of a friend who discovered a bone in his vegetarian dish ordered at a non-vegetarian restaurant! Need we say anymore about trust!

Manchow Soup
Momos
Eight Treasure Fried Rice and Vegetable Dumpling in Black Bean Sauce
Banana and Apple Toffee

Timings

Urban Herbivore is open between 12:00noon to 3:00pm and 7:00pm to 10:30pm.

Address

You can click this link for the complete address of E-Inn where Urban Herbivore is located.

Enjoy All!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

‘Time Traveler’ Vegetarian Multi-cuisine Restaurant, Bangalore


For more vegan-friendly restaurants in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Time Traveler is one among the two restaurants at E-Inn Luxury Star Vegetarian Hotel (now the hotel is called Sai Vishram) in Bangalore.

The restaurants at E-Inn run on the no meat, no gelatin, no eggs, no ajinomoto, and no artificial flavor and color policy. All dishes at the restaurants are prepared with olive oil. Both restaurants offer many preparations that are already dairy-free. You could also call in advance to especially request for a Vegan spread.

Introduction to Time Traveler

Time Traveler is E-Inn’s 24-hour coffee shop/restaurant that provides a global vegetarian/vegan a la carte menu and also buffet meals for lunch and dinner.

The Buffet Area

BUFFET @ Time Traveler: Let us first take you on a tour of the buffet experience at Time Traveler. As you enter the restaurant, you are escorted to your table and welcomed with a 'Welcome Drink', soup, and starter.

Kathi Roll with Cashew or Tofu Filling

After you have received the enjoyable tease, you can walk to the buffet area to help yourself. The buffet at Time Traveler consists of a large selection of very interesting, gorgeous-looking, scrumptious, and healthful salads; farm-fresh organic fruits; main course dishes in the Continental, Chinese, North Indian, and South Indian styles; and desserts. The photographs you see here are of the dairy-free dishes in the spread on the day we had lunch at the buffet.

Broccoli 'n' Cherry Tomato
Farm Fresh Greens with Orange
Scallion and Sprout Salad
Oregano Sauteed Vegetables

We are told that most guests are pleasantly surprised by the sheer count of dishes in the buffet spread because they think that vegetarians do not have many choices! In fact, each day has a different menu spread and one spread is likely to repeat only two times a month. We are also told that this variation inspires guests to come back to the buffet and many have embarked on making a switch to plant-based foods in their daily lives!

Manchow Fried Rice
Three Bell Noodles

Our findings and some pointers

We found that the spread for the day had 35 dishes out of which half of them were dairy-free or vegan already! However, to ensure more choice in vegan desserts and to also ensure that dishes such as the soup, pulao, breads, North Indian inclusions, and so on are dairy-free, you will just need to call in advance.

Where to call

You can call the restaurant at least two hours in advance and request for vegan options in the spread for that day. The restaurant will ensure that you have a good combination of vegan dishes and the friendly restaurant staff will guide you through the vegan dishes.

Chilli Peanut Vegetables
Stir Fried Beetroot
The buffet can include oil-free, sugar-free, and Jain meals upon your request as well. All you need to do is call and request in advance. In any case, it is always advisable to book a table beforehand to cut down on your waiting time. Time Traveler buffets have become hugely popular!

Hakkalkkai Masala Fry
Noolkol Battani Curry

Buffet timings

Between 12noon to 3pm for lunch and 7pm to 11pm for dinner.

Cost factor

The buffet costs around Rs.275/- per person. 


A LA CARTE @ Time Traveler: Apart from the buffet, the Time Traveler features an a la carte menu that includes Greek, Mexican, Oriental, European, and Moroccan vegetarian cuisine. The restaurant is very open to serving you the dairy-free counterparts of all the dishes mentioned in the a la carte menu. All you need to do is call the restaurant at least two hours in advance and inform that you need vegan options.

A la carte timings

Open 24-hours.

Cost factor

A meal for two at the a la carte can cost between Rs.500/- to Rs.650/-.

E-Inn Address

You can click this link for the complete address and telephone number of E-Inn.

We would like to end with our special thanks to the Restaurant team for giving us exclusive time to cover this story! We also thank General Manager, Mr. Nitin Phadnis (not in the photograph) for giving us his time.

From left to right: Restaurant Manager Prakash Shetty, Head Chef Mani, Chef de Partie Prakash, and Chef de Partie Arun

Sunday, April 11, 2010

‘E-Inn’ (now called Sai Vishram) Luxury Star Vegetarian Hotel, Bangalore


For more vegan-friendly hotel cum restaurants in Bangalore reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.


The Entrance
“We make business a healthy affair.” This is the motto of E-Inn (now the hotel is called Sai Vishram), among the few luxury star hotels in the country that is completely vegetarian and partly vegan!!

Situated in Electronics City, the main business hub in silicon city Bangalore, E-Inn sends out strong signals that it really means healthy and ethical business! A stone statue of Sai Baba of Shirdi at the hotel entrance conveys that the hotel has its heart at the right place!

More than three years after inception, this 252-room business hotel is attracting many travelers, business people, and local customers! E-Inn has proved skeptics wrong who wondered whether it would survive!

The Tudor-style architecture of E-Inn

Apart from the “no meat” policy, there are other notable social and environmental principles that guide E-Inn’s business model. We list some of them. The hotel:

•    uses freshly grown organic produce from neighboring farming communities,
•    provides opportunities to the local youth by employing them,
•    practices rain water harvesting,
•    uses re-cycled water to maintain the lawns,
•    provides individual ACs in the rooms instead of centralized air-conditioning which helps maintain fresh air supply in common areas,
•    serves only fresh fruit juice and does not serve aerated drinks or colas,
•    follows a strict policy of “no smoke”, “no alcohol”, and “no meat”.

Facilities at E-Inn


E-Inn offers all facilities for a luxurious, healthy, and comfortable stay that includes a world-class spa. You can click this link to find out all about the luxury-star and business facilities offered by E-Inn.

Where to contact for stay at E-Inn  


You can call the board number or write at the 'Reservation' email address given in the E-Inn website for room reservations. The website also contains the address at which E-Inn is located. You can click this link for the complete address of E-Inn with the board numbers.

You can also click here to read some lovely, heart-warming customer reviews about E-Inn.

Dining at E-Inn 

E-Inn has two fine restaurants that run on the no meat, no gelatin, no eggs, no ajinomoto, and no artificial flavor and color policy. These restaurants are called the Time Traveler and Urban Herbivore. Both restaurants offer Vegan menus.

Time Traveler

Urban Herbivore

Info byte

E-Inn is run by Akkayya Consultancy Services (ACS) and according to this highly inspiring internet report, ACS plans to launch around 108 branches of E-Inn luxury star hotels across the country by 2015. All luxury star branches will follow the same no smoke, no alcohol, and no meat policy.

We cannot stop feeling impressed by E-Inn. Bravo E-Inn for demonstrating that 'luxury' can go hand-in-hand with compassion and kindness. Also, kudos for dispelling many myths about vegetarianism!

“Cats, pigs, flies, cows, etc. are one with Me. He who sees Me in all these creatures is My beloved.” ~Sai Baba, The Great Indian Saint~

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

‘Mother Earth’ Vegan-friendly Store, Bangalore and Mumbai


For more vegan-friendly stores reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.

Shopping for eatables at the Mother Earth store can be a delight for the organic-conscious vegans! Before this, we hadn’t found such a vast range of organic eatables from so many organic food suppliers under one roof. Some products even have delightful labels that read, “suitable for vegetarians and vegans”. How divine that feels!

Products at Mother Earth 

Mother Earth retails organic products only. You would need to read the ingredients to make sure they are vegan. The product types you will find at the Mother Earth eatables section are: spices, different types of pulses & rice, flour, roasted snacks, sweetmeats, juices & fruit bars (without artificial flavors), breads (organic, whole-wheat, and different flavors), jaggery, organic dosa & idli mix, cold-pressed cooking oils, cereals, baby food, dry-fruits, tea, coffee, and others.

Mother Earth store locations

Mother Earth has four stores (one each in Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai). But, the packed organic-vegan eatables are available at the stores in Bangalore and Mumbai only. Also, fresh organic fruits and vegetables are available on Saturdays and Sundays at the Bangalore store only. You can click here for the complete address of the stores in Bangalore and Mumbai.

USP of Mother Earth eatables section

The USP, as we have said before, is the presence of products from several organic food suppliers. This gives you lots of choice to compare and then make your purchase if you love doing that!

Organic-vegan notes

What is the fuss about! Why organic? You can find out by clicking here.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead, Anthropologist~

Saturday, April 3, 2010

‘The Green Stove’ Vegan Bakery, Mumbai


If Bangalore can have a delightful range of Vegan baked goodies from Carnival Cakes & Breads, Mumbai can have the very same from The Green Stove!!

'The Green Stove' is a Vegan bakery in Mumbai set up by Rithika Ramesh. After Rithika became Vegan, she started to extensively cook and bake Vegan food for her family and friends. Says Rithika:
“I have always loved to cook and I wanted to show my friends that vegan food could be fun. For family pot lucks I try making things that people wouldn’t imagine could be vegan such as buttermilk made with peanut curd or ice cream made with coconut milk.” 
Soon Rithika’s friends and family began appreciating not only the delicious Vegan meals she served them but also the ideals behind a cruelty-free diet. 
“My friends still talk of the cashew cheese and pasta with vegan pesto that I made in November last year!” reflects Rithika.
One thing led to another, and, in February 2010, Rithika launched a Vegan bakery and called it 'The Green Stove'. The Green Stove has two product lines: Dough-Ray-Me and Animal Treats. Dough-Ray-Me includes all Vegan baked goodies and Animal Treats includes ready-to-eat Vegan treats for dogs and cats.

Dough-Ray-Me products


Dough-Ray-Me offers a delightful range of Vegan cakes and cupcakes, breads, cookies, mousse, and chocolates to name a few. You can click the here for the list of all the Vegan baked items offered by Dough-Ray-Me.

Cupcakes

Customizing your order with Dough-Ray-Me

Dough-Ray-Me offers you the option to customize your order as well; you can choose the frosting, flavor, shape, color, and ingredients in your cake or cookies. For example, you can ask for whole wheat as opposed to refined wheat or ask for sugar free items in which case stevia syrup is used. Stevia is a plant that works as a very healthy sweetening agent and is being recommended to those who suffer from high blood pressure and obesity.

How does Dough-Ray-Me operate? 


Dough-Ray-Me operates on the model of baking fresh on your order. The bakery is open on all days. So, you can discuss and place your order in advance, between 9am to 9pm. It is preferable that you place your order two days in advance.
 
To place your order, you can call 9819955320 or write at thegreenstove@gmail.com or veganchef@thegreenstove.com. Items such as chocolates and cookies can also be delivered by courier to anywhere in India. Please check with Rithika at the email address given above and get the details.


Concluding notes


How has the response to The Green Stove been is something we cannot desist from asking Rithika! Barely a few months old, The Green Stove has already started getting return customers. Elaborates Rithika: 
“Right now people who have called me are mostly health conscious, curious non-vegans. Many people can’t imagine how cheesecake can be made without dairy cream cheese or even cheese spread without cow’s milk!”  
As the old adage goes, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,”– establishments such as The Green Stove give an opportunity to test the wonders of healthy and dairy-free baking! 

We leave you today with the online links of some amazing Vegan bakeries from across the world. You can click the names below to check them out!


Black Sheep Bakery
Danish Bakery  
My Goodies  
Pattycake Bakery 
Sticky Fingers Bakery  
Sweets from the Earth


“I am sometimes asked: Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty to men?’ I answer: ‘I am working at the roots.’” ~George T. Angell, Founder of Massachusetts SPCA~

For a story on Angelfoods, a vegan lunch service cum bakery in Mumbai reviewed in this blog, you can click this link.