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Thanks to LA’s ever-growing appetite for all things plant-based, there’s no shortage of vegan establishments sprouting across the city. Case in point: RING Baked Tofu Donuts in Woodland Hills, meat-free deli Counterpart in Echo Park, and plant-based American fusion concept O’Cado Restaurant, among handfuls of other options.
But there’s one standout shop in East Hollywood that’s making its mark by reinventing everything you thought you knew about your neighborhood convenience store. Say hello to BESTIES Vegan Paradise, the hip iteration of 7-Eleven dedicated to selling and serving hyper-local, sans-meat products.
What was once an unassuming corner market is now what can only be described as a vegan’s dream come true. A plant-based eater herself, that’s exactly how co-founder Alison Shead characterizes BESTIES, a bodega that she and her two best friends opened to make vegan goods easily accessible by bringing your everyday essentials together under one roof.
Their motto “All Vegan Everything” says it all. When you walk into the specialty store, you don’t need to question whether the ingredients are plant-based or scrutinize food labels. BESTIES has taken the guesswork out of living a veggie-only lifestyle by exclusively carrying 100% cruelty-free and vegan brands.
The refrigerators that once housed dairy and meats now showcase entirely plant-based products from mainstream and local names alike. Most importantly, though, Alison and her partners strive to be a platform for fellow LA-based vegan companies. Which is why they are committed to cultivating personal relationships with their vendors to ensure BESTIES can stock as many fresh goods from area purveyors as possible.
Not convinced? Just peruse the aisles and you’ll find a slew of products made in and around LA. Reach for The Beyond Burger, the beloved plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and satisfies like the real deal. Or, if you’re on the go, grab some Nodoh Mock ‘Tuna’ Salad, Rabbit Hole Foods Un-Chicken Curry Salad, or Mort and Betty’s Carrot Lox that is sure to fool your taste buds.
In addition, you can pick up the usual suspects you’d find at a run-of-the-mill convenience store, just in the form of a healthier, plant-based version. Think jerky, cereal, crackers, Ramen, milk alternatives, and juice, as well as protein powder, deodorant, and toothpaste.
Craving a hot meal? Every Saturday from 12 pm to 4 pm, BESTIES hosts various local vendors dishing out delicious eats. Dig into bites like Heart Attack Rolls from Jade Vegan Sushi, Philly Cheesesteaks from Enjoying Earth, and Unreal NY Reubens from Original Herbivore, to name a few.
Then there’s Vrank’s, a permanent vegan pop-up serving classic franks, Beyond sausages, chili and cheese add-ons from The Vegan Hooligans, and Nodoh Nozzarella sticks. Need we say more?
Open every day from 8 am to 8 pm, BESTIES truly is a vegan paradise. But don’t take our word for it — sling your reusable tote over your shoulder and go check them out for yourself.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.