Posts tagged Chicago

Welcome Chicagoland’s First Vegan Shoe Boutique!

Amour De La Terre photo

Amour De La Terre Photo

I am over the moon excited for a friend of mine who has just opened Chicagoland’s first vegan shoe store. Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

The store boasts “Beautiful shoes with beautiful souls.” These shoes are Vegan, eco-friendly and ethically produced!

Alisha Kettner with her husband Kris, opened this little gem in Oak Park, Illinois on August 6th, 2014. Their grand opening will be this weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11-6.  I am excited to be going for the ribbon cutting, which is first thing Friday. I would love to see you there! See below for details.

Some people are very curious… why vegan shoes? Alisha recently had a great interview with Ashley Gilday.  Here is a little insight from Alisha:

“I learned of the toxic chemicals used to prepare the animal skins (into leather), the contamination of waterways, the massive amounts of water used, the high incidence of cancer in leather tannery workers, the frequent child-labor involved and the animal abuse, specific to the leather industry. The thing that really pushed me over the edge was learning that some of the leather we buy can be cat or dog skin!”

Read the entire interview here to learn more about Alisha and her reasons for opening a vegan shoe store. You can also read more about Amour de la Terre on their website.

I personally learned the ugly truth about the leather industry from the much recommended documentary Earthlings. We all think we know before we dig deeper, but we really have noooooo freakin’ idea.  I have had dreams of shopping at a vegan shoe store ever since.

I met Alisha a few years ago when she was a beautiful bride (and vegetarian at the time). I had the pleasure of doing her wedding hair.  One wonderful day, while we were practicing her updo we had a conversation about vegetarian vs. vegan. She wondered how I could live without cheese as a vegan, and I shared with her a little truth about the dairy industry. Voila, another vegan couple was born. I say couple because Alisha’s wonderful husband Kris followed her lead. Well, I guess it really wasn’t voila… it was actually after doing her own homework and research that she came to the vegan conclusion. But still, isn’t that cool? I had no idea that a little inspiration and meaningful conversation would lead to a much needed vegan shoe boutique! YOU are ALL very welcome. Lol!

I always say, if I can inspire just one person, it’s all worthwhile… and this is really really exciting for me because Alisha is someone I am so proud to have inspired, and in turn she will inspire so many more through her beautiful store.  You never know who you might inspire or how you might play an important role in others lives. So vegans… please keep on being your awesome vegan selves and sharing your light and your knowledge. We are making a difference!

Again, this weekend will be the grand opening of Amour de la Terre at 130 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60301. Come see it for yourself and enjoy some snacks and enter the raffle. It is sure to be a fabulous time. By the way, you certainly don’t need to be vegan to visit Amour de la Terre. Beautiful shoes are beautiful shoes. And if veganism is a new concept that speaks to you, taking “steps” toward a better planet while rocking some cool shoes is an awesome start. You can find Amour de la Terre at their website: Amour de la Terre,  on Facebook, and on Instagram

Amour De La Terre in local news paper

See you soon,

~The Karmatarian


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Zullo’s is a Zero Waste Kitchen… Is Yours?


Waste~ produced every single day, averages out to about 2,000 pounds per person! And I did say per day! The majority of this waste comes from the Food Industry. From how the animals are raised, the produce grown, to all the materials produced, used and discarded into landfills, the food industry is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage.

A few reasons to buy local~  ever consider how far food has to travel to reach the grocery store or your local  restaurant?  Try an average of 1,500 miles!  To make the long trek, food has to be doused in chemicals to keep it “fresh” on top of all the pesticides and  herbicides it takes to grow if it isn’t organic.  Unnecessary transportation only adds to environmental damage.

Good news~ there are conscious, passionate leaders in the food service industry who are devoted to help shift it to an environmentally sustainable evolution. Dear fellow vegans, this may not be a vegan restaurant, but promoting organic, local and seasonal is a major stepping stone in the right direction for the food industry. They are helping  promote awareness.  It’s highly commendable!


Adriana Marzullo, Creator and Owner of Zullo’s, an organic Italian restaurant founded on the principle of sustainability based at the French Market in Chicago, provides fresh, seasonal and organic Italian food which all comes from local farmers! Adriana wanted to recreate the essence of her family’s heritage from the Molise province of Southern Italy, the town of Castel San Vincenzo. Zullo’s menu is made up of rustic recipes that are passed down from Adriana’s grandmothers, all while keeping the environment in mind.

Going Green = More Green $

To create a green business plan, Adriana sought out the help of a well respected Chicago Chef, Caterer and Consultant, Greg Christian who’s Sustainability Consulting company helps the food service industry reduce their environmental footprint and become more profitable by going green. Greg has over 25 years experience in food service, catering, and sustainability.   Click to read more about Greg Christian . Greg formed Zullo’s into a Zero Waste, B-Corp Certified kitchen. Everything used within the kitchen is recycled, composted or reused. Even the cleaning products are environmentally friendly. They serve their food in biodegradable materials from a booth that  was  even  created from recycled goods!  Learn how to green your  food service business and become more profitable

Cooking with Greg Christian

Recently, I was invited by Zullo’s, to come learn how their Zero Waste Kitchen operates and to cook with Greg Christian. I jumped on this exciting opportunity and brought along my great friend Rochelle to share a new experience.

Antonio and Abraham

Our morning started very EARLY! We met with Greg who is just a really cool guy and very passionate about what he does. Then we met Abraham, Greg’s Sous Chef and Antonio the kitchen assistant, two really nice guys! We also met Adam who stopped in to shoot video for the Zullo’s blog. He was really great and hopefully I will be adding his video to this post as soon as I get my hands on it! We also had the pleasure of meeting Adriana herself who stopped in to check on some things before getting on with her day, and then it was down to business. We had lots of work ahead of us, cooking for two farmers markets and Zullo’s at the French market. We were a little slow trying to learn our way around what is normally a very fast paced kitchen, but no worries because Greg was excited to show us what he does.

Greg and Adam

Zero Waste~It’s All in Your Head

Still wondering just what a Zero Waste Kitchen is? Sounds high tech, sounds intimidating, but really and surprisingly it’s not! Similar to other industrial kitchens with the main difference being the level of consciousness regarding food and waste. It’s about thinking a little… keeping separate containers for garbage, one for food scraps plus paper products for composting and another for recyclables. In the freezer, to avoid stinking up the kitchen, were two very large garbage cans to store that compost waste which is picked up weekly. Grease is also saved for a local farmer who picks it up and uses it for his equipment. We didn’t turn all the lights, burners and stove on first thing and leave them going all day long (even when not in use) like most other kitchens. We only turned things on when we needed them and respected the fire and the flame. Keep in mind, that we didn’t get into all the details that go on behind the scenes of a Zero Waste Kitchen. I know there’s much more to it. We were  just focused on the fun stuff… Cooking!

We were very conscious of the pans we used, and used the same ones on the stove over again with what seemed to be a planned out system regarding what foods we were cooking and in what order… Or maybe it was pretty early? Because this however, was just my observation. Less pans mean less water used for cleaning. Everywhere we could save, we did. The point is, that thought was put into the entire process and in turn there’s less waste and more profit. You have to wonder why all kitchens don’t operate this way?!


Getting into the ZEN of Food

While Rochelle was busy working with dough for the pizzas, I got to help out with the veggies. I learned that each food/veggie is different, Greg taught us about how certain veggies prefer to  be cooked  and others prefer to be cut, the main lesson was, to respect food and learn from it, how it wants to be handled and cooked. I never realized the importance of using all of your senses in the kitchen, like listening to the food cook for instance, while you are doing something else… this helps multi-task!

The food has a way of letting you know when it needs tending to by the change in sound as it cooks.  This is fascinating to me because I cook so often but can’t believe I really didn’t notice this before! The bottom line is: PAY ATTENTION and be gentle. Greg had us thinking about the food we were working with and where it came from. There’s something different about the fact that it was seasonal, organic and local that really heightened the level of honor and respect for that food. When you stop for a minute and realize that a farmer put much care into growing it for us organically, you see it in a totally different light and you certainly don’t want to waste it!


My Serious Scorpio

Don’t Be A Flavor Chaser

I did not have a pen in hand because my hands were immersed in Zullo’s potato salad (delicious by the way!) among other things, so I may be leaving out a few important details. I won’t quote Greg as I certainly don’t want to mis-quote Greg, but while we worked we had great conversation which really resonated with me as I totally get into the “deeper” meaning of just about everything! We talked about how disappointing it is that most Chefs are busy chasing only Flavor. It’s a shame and almost sinful, because a talented Chef can make any dish taste fantastic with whatever ingredients are available, so why not respect the environment and use sustainable food to create wonderful dishes that not only taste great, but which are far more satisfying on a much deeper level? I was happy that my own beliefs, being that food grown with respect to the environment and the animals tastes SO much better, were actually validated by a well respected Chef!

Not only are most Chef’s chasing flavor, but most people in general lack respect and honor for food and themselves by choosing only to chase the flavor. Being rather gluttonous, living to eat rather than eating to live, most people tend to think every bite needs to be pleasureful. We are not put on this earth just to pleasure ourselves with food, which we talked about with Greg, if pleasure happens, Great, but we should honor and respect food and our bodies!

This lead into Greg’s deeper philosophy (which I love) about knowing which foods your body actually needs rather than wants… We talked about holding love energy or  the love vibration in your mind and heart when making decisions for yourself or for who you may be cooking for, at say the grocery store or while deciding from a menu, the right food with the right nutrients your body needs will  jump out at you (so to speak) when you are in that loving place. Like animals, we also have that ability to “know” what our bodies need for nourishment but we are far too busy and our minds far too cluttered to listen.

Food and Forgiveness

Greg wrote a  book called Food and Forgiveness: How  a Chicago Chef Came Around. “Ultimately, it will be forgiveness of self and others that will allow us to move ahead together in partnership to envision and create a safer, saner world.” Learn how the debilitating asthma of his youngest daughter caused him to search for ways to help her recovery, both through organic food and holistic medicine


Click here to buy your copy of Greg’s book from the Karmatarian E-Store


Our Finished Products

We made beautiful dishes from Specialty Pizza’s to Eggplant Parmesan, Potato Salad and more! These are a just a couple of pics because I didn’t take too many.  Everything turned out amazing to be enjoyed on every level (physically, mentally and spiritually… let’s not forget environmentally!). I am not sure if it’s because Greg is a fellow Scorpio lol, but I really admired his passion and thought he was an excellent teacher! We had an awesome time! Rochelle and I want to give a BIG THANKS to Greg and Zullo’s for a fantastic experience!

What?! Did you really think I was going to leave you with pictures of Rochelle and I taken at 6 am! We are both Hair Stylists… Pleeeeeez

Visit Zullo’s in Chicago

Zullo’s Blog

Catering Available call-1-312-454-5900


The Green City Farmer’s Market

Located next to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N Cannon Dr.

Chicago, Illinois 60614

Every Other Saturday (First weekend in 2011 will be January 15th)

8 am – 1 pm

* The South end of Lincoln Park between Clark and Stockton


The Glenwood Farmer’s Market

6900 N Glenwood Ave

(the annex space of the Glenwood Bar)

Second Sunday of each month during winter months 2011

Nov 14, Dec 12, Jan 9, Feb 13, March 13, April 10, May 8

9 am- 2 pm

Enjoy the Journey,

The Karmatarian~

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Statistics about Waste~Facts and Figures!

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