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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.
When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do.
How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?
As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.
When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:
In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect.
Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.
When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:
In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.
Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion.
When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:
That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain.