5 Reasons to Shop Locally

Shopping is fun for most people. You go shopping and usually you buy what you need or like. It is a fun process for many. Most of the time the criteria to shop are if the items are of good quality, and if they have a price tag you are willing to pay. But there are more criteria for shopping that will be very interesting for you to think about for a moment. For instance, do you know the whole history behind the product or the shop you purchase goods? Do you know where the money you spend goes to? Besides you buying something new and exciting, you spending money at a certain local shop can be life-changing for many people, for many reasons.Let me explain to you.

Some communities make easy guides to their local shops.Some communities have easy guides to their local small businesses and shops 

 

5 reasons to shop locally

1. When you shop at a local shop, you spend your money in a way that helps the shop owner and his or her family directly.

You are not sending your money off to another big corporation. If these small business owners earn money, they can take care of themselves and their family, and keep their business open. Sometimes you even get a better deal than at a big brand store. But most important: you are basically making sure these people, your neighbors, can make a living. Isn't that alone already a really good reason to spend your money in local shops?

Lonneke at AUH20 I love the cute finds and incredible low prices at AUH2O in the East Village! (Still in business!)

2. You get the best service

Small, local business owners care about the goods they sell very much. They have the most know-how of the products they sell, sometimes they make it themselves. In that case you can find out exactly how the products are made, something I always like to know. You just can't get any better advice on these products anywhere else. (Imagine big shops with employees that really don't care about you or the products they sell?) In the case you experience a problem, it is easy to speak directly to the person who owns the shop. These small business-owners exist on giving good service, and will find a product or service that will custom-fit your needs. They also will be helping out when there is a problem. They just want you to be a returning and loyal customer, and will do almost everything to make you, the customer happy with your purchased goods. When shopping locally, you can feel like people really listen to you, and really want to help you.

I did not know what bubble tea I should choose, so the owner of Thirstea NYC made me a custom-made bubble tea.the owner of Thirstea NYC in East Village made me a custom-made bubble tea (unfortunately out of business)

3. You support your local community

When you get out of your house, and see how the streets and shops in your neighborhood look, or how the local children's playground looks, imagine that when you spend your money in a local shop, your money will help care for these important building blocks in a community. Whether through taxes, or through direct payments from local business owners, they all together can make living in your community a pleasure. So putting it simple: when you spend locally, most of your money stays locally, and is spend again locally.

Lonneke Engel at Sustainable NYC

My friend Munemi and I at eco-friendly shop Sustainable NYC in East Village (unfortunately also out of business)

4. Bringing diversity to products offered

If we only buy products from big companies, the diversity in offered products will decrease. That's why it is important to shop with people who offer different products, and maybe even show their true craftsmanship. Also, by giving individuals a chance to make a living, it can pave the way for new ideas to develop into better products than the ones that already offered.

Actress Jennifer Esposito has a gluten free bakery in the East VillageActress Jennifer Esposito opened an 100% gluten-free bakery in East Village NYC: Jennifer's Way. (also out of business)

5. Social contacts

If you shop locally, you get to know who lives in your neighborhood. Your social contacts will become stronger. Remember, a community is build on the people who live in it. The more active the people in a community are working on strengthening their local community, the better and nicer it will be to live in it. And you might even make new friends too!

Vito the Dog, Navy Lamey at Local NYC

Vito the Dog and my nephew Navy Lamey are chilling at Local Cafe NYC in Soho after our trip to the East Village. Local has since become a bar to have drinks at night instead of a café.

What I like the best about shopping locally is the enthusiasm of local business owners. They are passionate about what they sell, they really chose to be in that business. I love all the information I get from them, and I am always excited to return. I hope my 5 reasons to shop locally has inspired you to explore your local community.

Love, Lonneke

First published on July 29th 2015, updated in 2019

p.s. As you can see most businesses I gave as an example have gone out of business. Unfortunately that is what happens if too little people support them so they are financially strong to survive. So if you know of a small business in your hometown, please support them, so they can stay in business and feed their families!

 

 


10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants

I love eating healthy food and I prefer to visit affordable restaurants! This is the list of my 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants in 2019, where you can go and find healthy food any time of the day. I have stated which ones have good gluten-free options, and all restaurants are in different price categories as well as locations on Manhattan (where I live) My first choice would always going for an organic restaurant, and most of them in my list do focus on offering organic food, except for a few. These are easy going restaurants the bring-your-friends-or-family kind ( no reason to overdress), with a good take-out and delivery selections.

MY Top 10 favorite healthy NYC restaurants of the moment:

  1. le Pain Quotidien (LPQ): This is a staple place to visit whenever you need a good breakfast or lunch. As a true dutchie, I love bread. Since I stick to a gluten-free diet, I am so happy that they have THE BEST GLUTENFREE BREAD IN THE WORLD! There, I said it. LPQ also has great salads, breakfast items, many vegan and vegetarian options (a leaf sign on the menu means the dish is plant based), and most of what they serve is organic. This also counts for their coffee and decaf coffee. My favorites are the different tartines, the chia seed pudding, the lentil avocado salad. LPQ is take out and sit down. Multiple locations around the city. $ www.lepainquotidien.com 
  2. HU Kitchen: This is a great place with paleo dishes and take out treats and juices. That means everything is gluten-free, no dairy, and organic. They serve organic meat, chicken and vegetarian plates.  My favorite is the chicken burger. Every weekday they have a special, sometimes that is a vegan and gluten-free pizza (love it!) One location on 5th avenue between 13th and 14th $$ www.hukitchen.com 

    HU Kitchen NYC
    The Paleo Chicken Burger at HU Kitchen
  3. Dr. Smood: a chain with restaurants all over the city, this place calls itself "probably the healthiest cafe in town. They have a philosophy that people should spend their money on organic healthy food (the real healthcare as they say) and not on doctors. I love getting chocolate treats here, and the strawberry shake is delicious. www.drsmood.com
  4. Caravan of Dreams: A hole in the wall, this eclectic restaurant is dark and cosy, and a perfect place to take your friends for a vegan meal. Everything is vegan, organic and even kosher. They also serve a lot of raw food dishes. They have live music almost every night of the week. Favorites: all salads are amazing! I like the house salad dressing a lot, and the mediterranean salad. I love their seitan. Also the smoothies are great, and i like the ravioli of the day with sautéed greens, garlic tomato sauce and avocado. The raw brownie for desert is delicious. $   www.CaravanofDreams.net
  5. Spring Natural: Formerly Spring Street Natural restaurant, I order from here a lot as well, as they have daily changing menus, with a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. On top of that they try to get organic and local ingredients where they can. Think of this place as an American healthy diner. The salads are huge and their stir fry with veggies and rice can never go wrong. After 40+ years they moved from Spring street to a location just around the corner on Kenmare street. $    www.SpringStreetNatural.com  UPDATE: The location on Kenmare street has recently closed after 47 years of service, and the uptown one has been taken over by the new restaurant Thyme & Tonic. End of an era! Now instead maybe check out the different locations of Jack Wife's Freda!
  6. Bare Burger: Yes it is an organic restaurant and serve juicy and calorie-rich burgers and milkshakes, they also have a big selection of tasty salads and even many vegan and vegetarian options for a burger. I LOVE the black bean burger, and the fava bean falafel. $ www.bareburger.com

    Bare Burger dinner
    turkey burger with gluten free bun and sweet potato fries at Bare Burger
  7. Cafe Clover: This restaurant has a very beautiful look, and I love their out-of-the-box healthy salads and dishes. Sometimes a bit small, and maybe sometimes pricey, it is a nice place to have a nice date with a friend or lover. You can sit outside on the nice terrace too! By the way if you go here, also check out the Clover Grocery next door, as it has delicious organic treats! $$ www.CafeClover.comCafe Clover Salad
  8. Eataly: This inside market across the street from Madison Park gives you a chance to eat the most delicious local dishes. Everything is divided in categories. Of course I like to sit in the vegetable section, and sometimes in the fish section. It is worth a visit even if you don't sit down for food. $$ www.eataly.com
  9. Candle Cafe: I am always amazed by the warm filling nurturing delicious dishes they come up with. Full of many veggies, they are a treat and I keep coming back. The restaurants are completely vegan restaurants and located uptown in the Upper East and Upper West side.  Favorites: anything really. I am drooling just thinking about it. And especially the dishes with seitan. $$ www.Candlecafe.com .
    Candle Cafe
    2 of the yummy vegan Candle Cafe dishes that change daily.

     

  10. Westville. Probably not organic, but they have the biggest selection of vegetables. I love to order the market vegetables plate with a choice of four vegetables on the market vegetable list. they also have other nice options, I also like the veggie burger. Nice ambiance to hang out with friends.  Multiple locations $ www.westvillenyc.com

Love, Lonneke

All pictures by Organice Your Life®

Curious to know what changed in my list of 10 best healthy NYC restaurants since my last top 10 list? Check out my previous 10 favorite restaurants HERE!

Last tip: If you suffer from celiac disease you should be careful with these restaurants even if I state they have gluten-free options. There is no guarantee that there is no cross-contamination.


Lonneke Engel is making Roasted Artichokes

Roasted Artichokes

An easy, simple and delicious recipe: try my Roasted Artichokes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoGXoPofUCY

Love, Lonneke

Roasted Artichokes
Roasted artichokes are a great side dish or a starter of a wonderful dinner

Author:
Recipe type: side dish / starter
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 4 Big artichokes
  • Salt & pepper
  • Mild olive oil for roasting (preferably not extra virgin)
  • Lemon juice
  • garlic (unpeeled)

Instructions
  1. Cut of the ends of the artichokes
  2. Open up the artichokes
  3. Add a clove of garlic in each artichokes
  4. Drizzle garlic over the artichokes
  5. Add a bit of salt
  6. Wrap them individually in a piece of alumium foil
  7. Add them in a casserole pan
  8. Put in over on 350 F for about an hour
  9. Check if artichokes are ready and add some more salt and pepper to your liking
  10. Enjoy!

First published on Nov 19th 2012, Updated in 2019


homemade organic acai bowl

I love this organic acai bowl to start my day! And for those people who say a smoothie or juice is not good to eat, because you don't chew your food, this is a good in-between option. Why do some people oppose to having a smoothie? Because they say you don't chew the food, and that way you don't produce essential enzymes to digest your food. That's why our organic acai bowl is a lovely breakfast to eat in the morning!

Acai (really açai) is a berry that comes from a palm tree native to the Amazon rainforest. The berries are already over thousands of years  considered to have healing properties and a high nutritional value that boosts energy. Dr. Oz shares why acai is good for you.

Acai comes in many forms including a dried powder form which I like to use. Check out the below recipe for an energy boosting breakfast organic acai bowl!

p.s. we add peanut butter for taste but also because it contains healthy fats that give prolonged energy and make you feel full for a longer period of time. Normally we wouldn't recommend mixing sugars and fats, but in the morning your energy levels are low and I feel it is not that bad to eat healthy sugars and fats to get started!

p.s. sorry for the bad picture!

Love, Lonneke

homemade organic acai bowl
A nourishing and delicious breakfast bowl that will give you the energy to start the day!

Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Serves: 1

Prep time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 chopped banana
  • 2 handfuls of berries to your liking, we used blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.
  • 1 tbsp of acai powder
  • 2 tbsp spoon peanut butter
  • handful of raw organic cocoa nibs (raw chocolate)
  • handful of organic (raw) granola

Instructions
  1. mix the berries with the milk and acai powder in a blender with half of the chopped banana.
  2. Add the granola in bottom of bowl.
  3. Pour the berry mixture on top.
  4. Add the remaining banana on top.
  5. Add the peanut butter in the middle
  6. Sprinkel the raw organic cocoa nibs on top.
  7. Enjoy!

Notes
You can also use frozen berries instead of fresh berries. Just let them warm up a bit otherwise it is really cold.

organic acai bowl 2