I'm here and full of exciting news!

Sorry I haven't been updating as frequently as I would like to. I have been extremely busy with school, interning, and starting my business. Oh, I don't think I had mentioned the business. Let me first discuss that. My business partner, who used to be my 10th grade Chemistry professor, are planning an elaborate cafe and wellness center in South Philadelphia. Our mission is to create a sustainable haven in this small community where people can come get healthy, delicious food and also have the ability to join classes and workshops to help create total wellness in their lives.

First, let me give you a bit of background on the community itself. It lies not far outside of Center City, but the two couldn't be more different. This small community is a melting pot in every sense of the word, it contains blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, and many other ethnic backgrounds. What is interesting about this melting pot, is how interconnected this community seems to be. Neighbors say hello, everyone seems to know each other, and there is an overwhelming sense of security as everyone seems to look out for one another.

This community seems to be missing one thing, which is the one thing that most of America is missing, and that's wellness. Not just as it relates to diet, but also as it relates to the mind and body. We held our first "Wellness Workshop" earlier this month and we had an overwhelming response. My business partner, Leslianna, and I, prepared all the food for the workshop. I thought it would be interesting to bring a nutritionally balanced, vegan array of foods to see how the community would react.

I don't even think I got to mention that everything was vegan, it went over so well. There were some kids from the after-school program and surprisingly enough, their favorite food was a broccoli kale slaw prepared with vegan mayo! I would have never expected them to like that, but I guess that goes to show how easy it is the build up stereotypes, whether you're aware of it or not.

Let me tell you a little about the cafe and wellness center. The cafe is going to reach an entirely new market of people, in my opinion, because the offerings are going to be about half vegan and half "omni". My business partner does eat meat, so that is why were not going totally vegan, but I think this sets up an interesting scenario. Many of the people that will visit this cafe would almost always opt for a meat dish, but imagine how tempting it will be when they see the beautiful array of vegan options that are just as nutritionally adequate. In my opinion, this is my chance to show people that would have never before considered a meat-less meal, that they can enjoy a plant-based meal and have it be as tasty and fulfilling as what they would normally have consumed.

The other interesting thing about this cafe is that it will be attached to a wellness center. This will be a place where people can come to learn about nutrition, yoga, dance, cooking, meditation and even personal finance. I plan on teaching several classes and workshops pertaining to the importance of choosing primarily plant-based foods and using that as a preventative nutrition measure. These classes and workshops will help to create more "well" individuals, but also a more "well" community in general. One of the really interesting things I noticed at our last workshop was that although many of these people could not even pinpoint what they considered "well" to be, they were completely open and receptive to the idea of learning about and having greater wellness in their lives.

Our future goal would be to have this plan be so precise and successful that we could take this concept to any community in the world and use it to create a better sense of awareness and wellness to those who would have never even considered the thought. I will post more entries about this project as we move forward, but in the meantime I would appreciate any comments, feedback, or criticism anyone has to offer.


  1. I was at Mr Martinos tonight with my boyfriend and swear I recognized that face??? I subscribe and when I got home checked my emails and this was one of them and I believe it all came together. As a yoga devotee and vegetarian of 14 years (just turned vegan) I am excited to hear of the possibilities of this opening. I am located in South Philly and am disappointed at the lack of yoga/wellness/education facilities. I think this would be a true blessing for the entire neighborhood. Can't wait to hear about the progression! Thanks!

  2. Wow. This is a great idea, I hope the business goes great! I would have loved to have something like that in my home town. Good Luck!

  3. kbug324,

    What a small world! It's so exciting to hear from you. Yes, that was me at Mr. Martinos, the real coincidence is that I was there with my two business partners to discuss the cafe. One of my partners, Leslianna Federici, works at Mr. Martinos on the weekends. Do you go there often? Maybe you know each other. Where do you do yoga now? Also, would you like me to include you on our email list, so you know when we are holding these workshops? We would love for you to come. The next workshop is on March 4th, but we are having one every month until we get the center up and running. If you're interested, let me know your email address and I'll be sending out a flyer for the next workshop shortly. By the way, what did you eat that was vegan at Mr. Martinos, because I know our selections were limited! I look forward to hearing from you. Be well.

  4. Sheena,

    Thanks for your support! If all goes according to plan, hopefully we have have one in your town before you know it. We're definitely not holding back ;)

  5. Ed,
    That sounds totally awesome. It seems so often that when people think about being 'well' they don't include healthy diet and lifestyle in the mix. That's quite an accomplishment to even be involved with this at your age. Looking forward to you setting up shop in Boston in the future!



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