Ethical Business Spotlight: Sunflower Diner

Hello again!

This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Hayette Bouras, Co-Owner of the all-vegan Sunflower Diner in Asheville, North Carolina! Discover more about Sunflower Diner’s journey to create scratch-made, vegan comfort food!

Let’s jump right into the interview!

Sunflower Diner, Asheville, North Carolina

1. What inspired you to create Sunflower Diner and what makes it unique?

Sunflower Diner is the culmination of a lifetime of interests for me. I have always been a lover of food and health and spent 20 years working in many different restaurants. Having been a vegetarian since age 7, it wasn’t until a few years ago that a nutrition course in college inspired me to go vegan. Sunflower Diner is unique in that it is the only 100% vegan diner in the area and that it is situated in an awesome local natural foods market.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup IG @sunflowerdineravl

2. Your IG feed features mouthwatering dishes like cornbread waffles with organic sweet potato and black bean chili, tacos with maple dijon seitan crumbles, Cuban sandwiches, baked goods, burgers, pancakes, and much more. If you had to choose just one menu item to represent what Sunflower Diner is all about, which would it be and why?

So hard! The mission of Sunflower Diner is to create vegan comfort food that anyone can enjoy, regardless of dietary preference. With that in mind, I really love our Westside Hot Mess dish. It’s one of our fluffy coconut cream biscuits, smothered in our savory mushroom gravy, topped with our tofu scramble, drizzled with our sunflower-cashew queso sauce and served with a vegan sausage pattie. It’s so comforting and yummy.

3. On October 1st, you celebrated Sunflower Diner’s one year anniversary. Congrats! What has been the biggest challenge and biggest surprise during your first year?

Not only was it the first year that we were open, it was my first time opening and co-owning a restaurant. There was no way of knowing what 2020 would bring and so navigating the pandemic was definitely the biggest added challenge to this already challenging learning experience for me. Luckily, we had the support of our customers, our staff, and the community of people who make the West Village Market continue to thrive. The biggest surprise for me has been the overwhelming enthusiasm for our vegan menu. The vegan community of our area and beyond are showing up and showing support – it has really been heart-warming and encouraging.

4. Asheville is a fun and artsy city situated in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains that is quickly becoming a destination spot for delicious vegan food! How has the community played a role in the diner’s success during this year’s shutdowns and restrictions?

As I mentioned before, we would be nowhere without the amazing community of vegans in our area. So many people reached out to us to buy gift certificates, and continued to support us through our curbside and takeout options. As restrictions were lifted, we were surprised to have many people from other cities and states coming to dine with us and appreciate every single person who makes the trip to our tiny little diner.

5. What’s next for Sunflower Diner?

Well, in the near future, we would love to expand our hours which were greatly reduced as a result of the pandemic. Further out, we hope to outgrow our little space and think about a stand-alone brick and mortar in a couple of years.

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Sunflower Diner is now open for take-out orders and delivery. Check out their Facebook page and Instagram for info and updates!

Head on over to my Instagram to enter to win a $20 gift card to Sunflower Diner!

Dr. Brite Berrylicious and Mint Chip Natural Toothpaste… and Special Discount Link

If you’ve stopped by my blog before, you probably know that I’m a superfan of Dr. Brite’s toothpastes and teeth whiteners! Their products are vegan and cruelty-free (of course), flouride-free, Non-GMO, and Gluten-free. It’s worth adding that they have AWESOME flavors that you won’t find anywhere else!

If you want to check out some of their newly released spring line, check out my review of their Coco Chai Organic Coconut Oil Whitening Toothpaste, Get Brite Whitening Pen, Stay Brite Natural Teeth Whitening Pen, and their Brite and Fresh Breath Freshener, here!

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love Dr. Brite’s products anymore… look what arrived in my mailbox! Their new Berrylicious Natural Vitamin C Toothpaste and Mint Chip Natural Antioxidant Whitening Toothpaste do NOT disappoint!

If you like strawberries and clean teeth, you will absolutely love the Berrylicious Natural Vitamin C Toothpaste! The berry flavor is definitely there, but not overpowering in anyway. As you brush, it foams slightly (there is NO need for chemical-filled foaming toothpaste for a clean, healthy smile) and gives your teeth and mouth a fresh, thoroughly cleaned feeling. I love this stuff and it is a great change from typical mint toothpaste.

The Mint Chip Natural Antioxidant Whitening Toothpaste is probably the most amazing toothpaste I have ever tried. It gives you a kick of refreshing mint along with delicious chocolate flavor and the same clean, healthy feeling as their other toothpastes. You might be confused when you use this… are you brushing your teeth or eating dessert? You might not be able to tell! 😉

If you’re looking for fantastic quality products that are fun, effective, vegan and cruelty-free, you can’t go wrong with Dr. Brite! These toothpastes and teeth whiteners have been a part of my daily routine for months now and my smile has never looked so good!

If you give some products a try, please let me know which ones are your favorite! To save 10% you can use my affiliate link and enter code VeganTreasureHunter!

Talk soon! 😍

Dr. Brite’s New Spring Line – Launching April 10th!

Company: Dr. Brite

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I’ve been a fan of Dr. Brite products for quite some time… their products are healthy, work wonderfully, and of course, they are vegan and cruelty-free! That’s why I was so thrilled to get to try out these brand new products that are launching on April 10th!

First up, is the Coco Chai Natural Organic Coconut Whitening Toothpaste. Yup, you read that correctly! This toothpaste is Coconut Chai flavored! Dr. Brite describes this to be “a warm and cozy cinnamon, cardamom, and coconut creation inspired by chai lattes.” Ummm… sign me up!

This toothpaste really does taste like a delicious chai latte from Starbucks, yum! It makes your teeth look and feel nice and clean. This toothpaste does not foam up like traditional toothpastes… and that’s a good thing. Colgate, Crest, etc. are filled with nasty ingredients that make you think you are getting a nice, healthy smile but they are actually filled with crazy chemicals that nobody needs. After just a few uses of using this Coco Chai toothpaste, not only did my mouth look and feel clean and healthy, but I did notice that my teeth were also looking whiter! Love it!

Next, is the Brite & Fresh Breath Freshener with Activated Charcoal. This spray is “formulated with a fantastic blend of organic essential oils that help soothe gums and freshen breath instantly with just a couple of spritzes.” Well, that description is spot-on! With just 2 sprays, my breath was fresh and my mouth felt clean for quite a long time! The conveniently sized bottle is perfect for throwing into your purse or keeping in your car for when you stop by Chipotle for lunch and have a meeting right after. Aloe, peppermint, menthol, clove, holy basil, organic coconut activated charcoal really get the job done, naturally!

Next up, are the Get Brite Brilliant Teeth Whitening Pen and the Stay Brite Natural Teeth Whitening Pen. The Get Brite pen delivers “fast results that can help people achieve teeth that are 2 shades whiter in 2 days.” This claim is absolutely correct!  Food-grade hydrogen peroxide and organic coconut oil gently whiten your teeth to give you a bright, radiant smile! It has a minty flavor and there is no need to rinse it off, so it is perfect to use just about anywhere or anytime! I liked to use this in the morning and right before bed, buy hey, its up to you!

The Stay Brite Pen “helps maintain the appearance of pearly whites by preventing daily stains.” Now that my teeth are looking fantastic, I really love that this pen helps to  prevent stains. This pen can also be used anywhere, anytime but this one is great to take with you. You know you’re going to have something that could potentially stain your teeth at some point during your day. Just stick this pen in your bag, pocket, wherever, to help keep your movie star smile!

The Bottom Line

I love Dr. Brite’s products! The newCoco Chai Natural Organic Coconut Whitening Toothpaste is a must try for all Chai Latte lovers! The Brite & Fresh Breath Freshener with Activated Charcoal is fantastic way to freshen your breathe while you’re on the go. The Get Brite Brilliant Teeth Whitening Pen delivers fantastic results quickly and safely (White Strips, who?!) and the Stay Brite Natural Teeth Whitening Pen is a quick and simple way to keep your teeth looking gorgeous all the time!

I HIGHLY recommend picking up these products when they are launched on April 10th!

Thank you, Dr. Brite, for sending me these products to review!

Banza Chickpea Pasta – The Perfect, Healthy Alternative for Pasta Fiends!

Company: Banza Chickpea Pasta

“Chickpeas make delicious pasta. That’s why we used them to create Banza®. We took a household favorite and made it even better, turning the pasta you love into the pasta that loves you back!”

Product: Banza Ziti Made From Chickpeas  – $25.00 USD for a case of six, 8 ounce boxes

Review: Who doesn’t like a great pasta dish? I know I do, but don’t eat it as often as I’d like because I’m trying to get “healthier.”

Well, needless to say, I was thrilled to try out this chickpea pasta from Banza! It only has 4 ingredients: Chickpeas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, and Xanthum Gum. This badass pasta is gluten-free, non-GMO, and of course, Vegan! Each 3.5 ounce serving contains 25 grams of protein (whoa!!!!), 13 grams of Fiber, and 43 grams of carbs! Did I mention it was gluten-free?

Ok, so you may have tried brown rice pasta or some other pasta varieties that just don’t cook nicely. They get mushy, stick together, or take on a not-so-appetizing gummy texture. I’m happy to report that this Ziti was simple to cook and it took just 8 minutes to get to the perfect, slightly more than al dente texture.

Trust me when that one serving will fill you up… even for the biggest pasta fiends! All of that protein, fiber, and carbs really make one satisfying meal! I’d love to make some into a pasta salad and take it with me for lunch or after the gym for some long-lasting energy.

I decided to make a Chiken Alfredo… something I haven’t had in a decade. I was worried that my cashew-based sauce was too thick (is there such a thing?) and it would cause the pasta to break apart. NOPE! The ziti and my crazy rich Alfredo sauce paired up perfectly!

The Bottom Line

Banza Chickpea Pasta is some pretty amazing stuff! I can’t get over how easy it was to cook! It tastes just like regular pasta, only it is jam packed with protein and fiber. This is perfect for people that love to carbo-load while watching Black Mirror (me!) or for fitness enthusiasts that want a satisfying, clean meal. I can’t recommend this pasta enough!

Thank you, Banza, for sending me your pasta to review! 

Bodyceuticals Calendula Skincare: Vanilla Avocado Body and Hair Oil Review

Company: Bodyceuticals Calendula Skincare

About the Company:

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Product:

Vanilla Avocado Body + Hair Oil – Sheer Body Oil Spray

Review:

Y’all know that I love a good multi-purpose product! That’s why I was so excited to try out this Vanilla Avocado Body and Hair Oil from Bodyceuticals Calendula Skincare! I absolutely adore anything vanilla-scented and c’mon… I’m vegan, obviously I’m a huge fan of avocado!

http://www.calendulaskincare.com/whychoose.asp

So, what exactly is calendula oil and why it is so great for the skin? Calendula inhibits bacterial, viral and fungal microorganisms. It also reduces inflammation, protects against free radical cell damage, increases collagen levels, and helps to prevent scars. It includes a long list of skin-loving ingredients such as fatty acids, beta-carotene, and quercetin for anti-inflammatory and protective properties. Read more about the wonders of Calendula, here.

Well, how did this product perform?

First, the vanilla scent is sweet and delicious. It is the kind of vanilla scent that I love to wear every day. Vanilla is great for anytime of year or occasion and the scent of this hair and body oil is absolutely gorgeous!

This product contains all organic ingredients including: coconut oil, aloe vera, olive oil, calendula flowers, virgin avocado oil, Madagascar vanilla, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. I mean, it doesn’t get any cleaner or natural than that, amiright?

As a body oil, I love to use this after I dried off from the shower. All you do it spray it on, rub it in, and you’re good to go! It absorbs very quickly and leaves your skin feeling soft, hydrated, and smelling amazing. It also leaves a subtle sheen on the skin that is so pretty! I have very dry skin and this product did a great job moisturizing my skin to make it look healthy and cared for. Love!

When this product arrived, I was actually struggling through the Flu. I had been in bed for days and my hair was the last thing on my mind. Needless to say that when I was finally feeling well enough to shower and tend to my hair, it was a dry, tangled mess. Even after I used my normal conditioner, my hair looked dead and I thought I would have to at least get a few inches cut off.

Just out of curiosity,  I worked 2-3 sprays into the ends of my hair when it was still damp. I couldn’t believe how much better my hair looked after using this! It was shiny and actually looked healthy! My hair needed a lot of help after all of that time that I was sick in bed and this oil seriously helped! I love this stuff!

The Bottom Line

Bodyceuticals Calendula Skincare offers vegan, cruelty-free products that naturally care for your skin. They are sustainably made with the environment and your health in mind. The Vanilla Avocado Body and Hair Oil absolutely brought my hair back to life and it was also a fantastic moisturizer for my dry skin. Of course, it smells absolutely wonderful!

I highly recommend this product and look forward to trying more from this company! Head on over to Bodyceuticals’ website to read more about their mission and products!