Located in the heart of Leslieville in Toronto, Sweat & Soda serves up a plethora of healthy options, no matter what diet or lifestyle you follow. From breakfast jars to salads to delicious vegan wraps, all of their food is made from scratch, in-house, and with a lot of love.
In addition to their fabulous coffee and tasty treats, they’ve recently launched an in-house brand of pantry items called The Side Kitchen and you can now buy jars of their EPIC vegan kimchi , lemon preserve and granola to-go. Also for sale are gym accessories, including water bottles, baseball caps and their newest addition, our Marin Hand Towels (perfect for your workout!).
Sweat & Soda is not your average café, they focus on fostering and supporting healthy lifestyles and community. Located in a neighbourhood filled with health and fitness professionals, they’ve created an information hub for all your fitness needs! Whether you’re looking for a new yoga/spin class, a personal trainer, massage therapist or a group to run with, go see them. They know people, and are happy to help.
We've just returned from an amazing week in NYC and a highlight of our trip was all the delicious vegetarian dinning we were able to squeeze in. We’re excited to share some of our top picks with you!
This plant-based restaurant, cafe and juice bar is our favourite breakfast and brunch spot! Their menus are 100% vegetarian, and mostly vegan and gluten-free. They‘re committed to buying produce from local and organic farms and supporting their community’s sustainability. Their menus are designed to allow customers to “eat with the season.”
Our Top Picks:
Brass Monkey Smoothie
Spicy Kale Ceasar Salad with Tempeh
Smashed Avocado Toast Benedict
Beyond Sushi is a pioneer in the plant-based sushi movement. It’s 100% vegan eatery that celebrates the flavors of locally-sourced, seasonal produce. Their mission is to promote a sustainable, all-natural, and compassionate menu. Chef Guy and his culinary team fuse unconventional pairings of fruit and vegetables with whole grains to create wide-ranging vegan dishes with different offerings at their five outposts in Manhattan.
Our Top Picks:
Nutty Buddy Rice Paper Wrap
Pickle Me Roll
This award-winning, plant-based, fast-casual brand offers a vegan menu of comfort foods that features locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form. Their goal is simple —to redefine what it means to eat well. They’re passionate about feeding their customers hearty meals made from whole ingredients.
Our Top Picks:
Mac 'n cheese
Air baked sweet potato fries (and their homemade beet ketchup)
Guac Burger (by far the best veggie burger we have ever tasted)
ABCV is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s third and latest restaurant inside of the ABC Carpet & Home furniture store and it is INCREDIBLE. This vegetarian restaurant boosts an exciting menu which includes many vegan options. It's the sort of restaurant where the menu has a preface. ABCV, it explains, “is here to serve, inform and inspire a cultural shift towards plant-based intelligence.” The food is not simply vegetarian; it's “high vibration,” and has the goal of nurturing “our personal and planetary ecosystems.” And boy..do they ever succeed!!
The evolution of fast fashion has led us to become extremely disconnected with the things we buy. In the 1960’s, more than 95% of US clothing was produced domestically. Present day, this number has dropped down to only 2%, while the rest is manufactured offshore (BoF, 2016). This rise in offshore production has completely shifted the way fashion is produced, consumed and disposed of. As our fashion options have become so cheap and disposable, its ultimately shaped how we think of, and reflect on the things we buy.
Let’s rewind to Rana Plaza in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013. That day, over a thousand people lost their lives in the largest factory collapse in history. Prior to this day, it was extremely easy for brands to get away without saying much about their supply chain. This tragedy truly revealed how the industry was operating with absolutely no regard for the treatment of workers, and it sparked a revolution. Consumers began demanding more transparency and the right to know #whomademyclothes? The reality is that most of what we wear is manufactured in countries such as Bangladesh, India, China, etc. and the workers are literally forced to work in extreme and harsh working conditions, similarly to the unsafe factory of Rana Plaza.
Did you know, that the average worker in the above mentioned countries lives on only $2-3 per day? They are usually paid about 1-3% of the retail price of the garments they make. In other words, the human being who made your $10 t-shirt was most likely paid between $0.10-$0.30 (Labour Behind the Label, 2015). Although many argue that the cost of living is much lower in these countries, these wages are nowhere near enough to even afford basic needs such as food, shelter, water, and medicine. This denies people the opportunity for a decent life. Often, these workers are also forced into incredibly unsafe working conditions (flashback to Rana Plaza), and struggle to make ends meet working anywhere between 10-14 hour days. More often than we care to think about, these workers are children.
And of course, there are also the immense environmental issues. There’s an absurd amount of water used in production, hazardous amounts of toxic chemicals are dumped into the freshwater supply, and pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are used to grow crops such as cotton. And of course, the carbon dioxide released during transportation, and the operation of big machinery.
Textile waste is another increasingly problematic issue. In North America, over 85% of our clothing ends up in landfill, which is 10.5 million tons of clothing. Elizabeth Cline, the author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, notes that this is five times what it was 25 years ago. And, did you know, 95% of it could be reused or recycled?
As we reflect on these real world issues and think about how we’re contributing to the oppression of workers on the other side of the world, and to the destruction of our planet, we feel uncomfortable, and we begin to think about how our complacency is something that we can question and change. By the taking the time to do research, and ask the right questions, we can make sure that we’re supporting companies that have fair and ethical business practices.
It can definitely feel overwhelming and unsettling to think about these problems and injustices on a global scale, and although most of us desire to ‘do better once we know better’, sometimes it’s really hard to know where to start. However, on the flip side, it also empowers us to create change on an individual level and highlights the opportunity for us to harness this knowledge as power and take action to create a better world.
So, what do we do now? How can we make a difference on an individual level? Next time you shop, consider these tips on how to shop with purpose:
Buy less and buy quality. The statistics mentioned above on textile waste make it evident that overconsumption is a huge problem. Due to the increasing rate of fast fashion, we now see weekly trends, and even daily trends in some stores. But what is important to realize is these garments are of incredibly poor quality. These garments are not made to last, in fact, it’s opposite, they’re made to be disposable so that we’ll reach into our wallets and make another purchase very soon. Next time you are going to buy that $10 t-shirt, ask yourself “Do I really need this new thing?” Buying less of fast fashion means you will have more money to invest your dollars in well-made, quality garments that are ethically produced and have a positive impact!
Get clear on your values. Do you care about animal rights? The environment? Fair Trade? Once you understand where your values lie, it will be easier to align your purchase with your values. Always ask yourself, “does this purchase reflect what I believe?” If it doesn’t, put it down. There are so many good options out there in the marketplace that cater to the socially and environmentally conscious consumer, that with a little research, you should be able to find an option that has you feeling good about where you spend your money, who made your garment and how our planet was affected by its production.
Ask the right questions. The most important question shouldn’t be, will this look cute on me? It should be, who made this and how was it made? Ask yourself, how did this garment get here? What implications did the transportation of this garment have on people, and on the planet? Who made this? Were they paid fairly for their work? Were their working conditions safe? Were they forced to work against their will? What processes were involved in the creation of this garment or accessory? By asking the right questions, you can make informed conscious purchasing decisions that consider humans and our planet.
Aim for progress, not perfection. Perfection doesn't exist and the pursuit of it can be maddening. We can spend a long time searching for the perfect garment, the perfect accessory, or the perfect brand, but they will always fall short. There is no perfect. But once we’re informed and armed with an inquisitive mind, there are certainly MUCH better choices that we can make.
It’s all about learning as we go, making informed decisions and feeling good about the brands that we support with our dollars. It is not enough to speak about change. We must all, in our own way, try to affect change. In the end, fashion is still about being creative, having fun and expressing yourself. But isn’t it better to look fabulous AND feel fabulous about where your garments came from?
With a business degree and love for fashion, Cassandra Ciarallo partnered up with artisans in Bali and launched Chic Made Consciously: a company offering fair-trade and eco-accessories from repurposed tire tubes. Her passion is to infuse style and sustainability, as well as bring awareness to how we consume and shift behaviour.
Essential oils are naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds that are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Not only are they beautifully fragrant, but they’ve also long been used for food preparation, beauty treatments and health-care practices all over the world.
Here’s a brief review of our top three go-to essential oils, and a few great uses for each!
Lavender, the most versatile essential oil, has a long list of benefits. The fragrance is calming, relaxing and balancing, both physically and emotionally. Its refreshing and relaxing scent has balancing properties that also bring a sense of calm. Although this oil is most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the body, therapeutic-grade lavender does amazing things for the skin! We ALWAYS have a bottle of lavender in our purse; it’s like having your own personal first aid kit, perfume and pick-me-up!
Here’s how we use it:
Use topically to relieve joint or muscle pain.
Inhale to calm nerves and enhance relaxation.
Aids with digestive discomfort.
Use topically to heal burns, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations and bites of all kind.
Use a few drops of lavender oil on a wet cloth in the dryer in place of highly toxic commercial dryer sheets.
Putting a few drops on before bed also helps us to get a good night’s sleep! For sleep support, diffusing lavender throughout the night in addition to applying it to the bottoms of feet and ankles before bed will help to ease you into a restful slumber.
Peppermint, like lavender, is another incredibly versatile essential oil! Peppermint oil has a fresh aroma that’s energizing. Naturally refreshing, peppermint helps with mentally clarity, reduces fatigue and increases energy before a workout.
Here’s how we use it:
This is our go to headache remedy. To relieve headaches, rub a few drop of peppermint oil on your temples, forehead, your sinuses (stay away from the eyes) and on the back of the neck. You can also try placing 2-3 drops of oil in your hands, gently rubbing together, and then cupping your palms and inhaling deeply.
Like lavender oil, peppermint oil can also be used topically to help relieve joint or muscle pain.
Inhale peppermint oil when feeling fatigued or when your energy levels are low.
For digestive issues, dilute in a carrier oil and massage into your abdomen.
Place a drop of peppermint oil (make sure it is food-grade) on your tongue and inhale into the nose and sinuses to relieve congestion from a cold. Diffusing peppermint oil in your room can also help to relieve nasal congestion.
Place 2-3 drops in your hands, then gently rub together. Cup your palms and inhale deeply to relieve nausea or travel sickness.
Rub several drops of peppermint oil on the bottom of the feet to reduce fever.
Lemon oil is a third oil that we LOVE for its versatility. It can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces and packs a double punch as an incredibly uplifting and energizing scent for both mind and body. Important to note is that citrus oils should not be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight or ultraviolet light within 72 hours.
Here’s how we use it:
Lemon oil acts to alkalize the digestive tract and is a great substitute for lemon water when you just don’t have real lemons. Using 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil in 8-10 ounces of water can be a great substitute for fresh lemon water. Make sure you buy food-grade organic lemon oil.
Diffuse lemon oil in your home or at work and notice how its fresh and zesty aroma uplifts and energizes both your mind and body. It can also help to improve clarity and concentration.
We use lemon oil to make air freshener by adding 12 drops to a spray bottle filled with distilled water. This air freshener works great in the bathroom, or in any room that may be in need of some freshening. This can also be used as a sterilizing countertop spray in your kitchen.
Less well known, is that lemon oil makes a great spot cleaner. Use 1 - 2 drops of lemon oil to remove stubborn stains.
Place 1-3 drops in trash cans and toilets as a natural deodorizer.
The next time you take a moment to (literally) smell the roses, or hike through a pine forest, remember to breathe deeply—you’re experiencing the amazing power of essential oils.
In other posts, we’ve talked about the importance of self-care, how these rituals look different for everyone and why it's so important to carve out time for ourselves on a regular basis.
One of our absolute favourite acts of self-care during the cold winter months is soaking in a hot bath at the end of the day. Although it’s definitely nice to light up our candles, close our eyes and do absolutely nothing, we can often find ourselves in the company of a good book when taking a soak.
In need of a good read? Here are a few gems that we're reading this month.
THE SEAT OF THE SOUL- by Gary Zukav
The Seat of the Soul is one of those books that changes the way you see the world, and your interactions with other people. It also helps you to gain an understanding of your own actions and motivations. Chances are, you’ll read this book more than once; it's our third time.
"When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment."
NEON SOUL: A COLLECTION OF POETRY AND PROSE- by Alexandra Elle
Alex Elle shares her message of hope through her powerful prose. She writes frankly about her experience of healing from hurt and preparing for joy. Through her writing, she celebrates her triumph over adversity and her incredible resilience.
For those of you on the gram, her account @alex_elle is one of our all time favourites!
HOUSE PLANTS: LIVING WITH SUCCULENTS, AIR PLANTS AND CACTI -by Rose Ray and Caro Langton
Here at Stray & Wander we are OBSESSED with succulents, air plants and cacti; they fill our homes, our office and of course they’re plastered all over our Instagram. As you can imagine, we were SO excited to receive this gorgeous book as a gift.
House of Plants is an exceptionally beautiful guide on how to love and care for your succulents, cacti, tropical and air plants. We LOVE that it offers up tons of practical info on how to look after your plants: soil, watering, light etc. Basically, this book filled with stunning photography, teaches you how to keep these lil beauties alive.
BONUS: They also show you how to take cuttings to share with friends, make gifts, and how to make your own terrariums!