Oh boy oh boy! This post has two parts, and both are exciting and related, so get on your prettiest mermaid fin ’cause we’re diving right in:
The first is to announce VEGAN LEHIGH VALLEY, a brand new Facebook group started by wonderful Alison Leigh (of Eskandalo! and Wink Magazine and the DBA and a trillion other wonderful things). Go click on the link right now! Then come back.
The main focus of this group is for members to post vegan-friendly establishments (this will likely focus on food, but other stuff is welcome!). Ever gone out to eat and had a menu item “veganized”, and it was delicious, and you want to share that with other people? This is the place. Is there a little best kept secret of a lunch spot you found with great food options? Tell everyone!
This group will help to accomplish two things:
First, by posting POSITIVE things and sharing ideas, we will all be made more aware of the many options that are available to us here. This is not the place to say “I went to XYZ Restaurant and couldn’t eat anything, grumble grumble”. Instead, let’s make this a resource of places that DO cater to vegan and vegetarians.
Second, hopefully restaurants will take notice that this is important, and by simply offering two or three vegan options (that taste good!) on a menu, they will draw more business. Tom P of Bird Apartment Designs said it best:
“Here is an open message to all Lehigh Valley restaurants: If you put a vegan option on your menu, and it tastes decent, the vegans will spread the word and will frequent your establishment. If you add something like vegan cheese or fake meats to your menu, the vegans will form a mob and stampede through your door. It’s that easy, and it doesn’t cost that much money. All we talk about is food, and we will talk about you.”
The second part of this post ties in, because I’m sharing with you a totally unexpected, unintentionally-secret place to get some vegan groceries.
*Let me preface this by saying many of these items can be found at your local health food store, and it’s always implied that shopping local and supporting small businesses is the best choice.
Who would have ever thought the store Big Lots! would have a wealth of organic and vegan food items? Well, they do. All the time. And they have for years.
I’ve found they always have wonderful prices on staple items like cereal and shelf-stable soy or rice milks. Every time I go, I discover a new treat tucked in the shelves, and feel like I’m doing something sneaky by buying it. (Good or bad sneaky is not determined.)
I just went yesterday and wanted to share some of the items I found:
And a few goodies from the beauty products aisle:
This nail polish was such a nice surprise! Sula Nail Polish is one of the ONLY truly vegan/eco friendly/not-crappy-for-you nail polishes on the market. Usually a bottle costs $10, but at Big Lots they are only TWO DOLLARS. They only had the dark gray color, but what the heck, that’s pretty right? Did I mention two dollars? (Read more about Sula HERE.)
Also found a few products from the Eco Tools line, endorsed by our girl Alicia Silverstone. Eco tools are made from sustainable bamboo and all makeup brushes are vegan.
*This shopping trip was done at the Big Lots! at the location 2184 West Union Blvd. in Bethlehem – right behind the Giant/Marshall’s/Dan Shantz shopping center.