Tag Archives | Getting Started

Summer road trips

Gas prices are high, but I hope that won’t stop you from a little travel this Summer. My last road trip was to visit my parents in Indiana, which is definitely NOT the most vegan-friendly place on the planet. Despite that, I still find plenty of vegan food to sustain me when I visit.

What always surprises me the most about being vegan is that the people who I think are going to be the least likely to support my vegan lifestyle tend to be the ones who are the most considerate and interested in my good health.

My dad and step-mom are always very accommodating and want to make sure I get enough good food. Why this is surprising to me is that my dad is a hunter, and for whatever reason, I believe in my heart he “gets” why I am vegan, and my step-mom was so excited about finding a “vegan burger” on the menu at Cheeseburgers in Paradise, of all places, that she couldn’t wait to take me there for dinner.

Nonetheless be prepared when traveling. Know your options in advance and be flexible. Are you driving? Taco Bell and Subway are good options for road trips. For instance, I know when I visit my parents, who live in different cities, that there aren’t any vegetarian restaurants, so I have researched online veg-friendly restaurants in both areas. Also, I always bring food with me and stop by the grocery at the first chance when I visit my family. 

In my opinion, it’s just best not to make a big deal out of it, but I refuse to suffer. I always make sure vegan food is available whenever I travel, but know I will certainly encounter delightful surprises along the way. Being vegan is good Karma. You never know where a delicious piece of vegan chocolate cake will pop up.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Comments { 2 }

Reading material

As you may have read by now, I contemplated becoming vegan for many years. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I just couldn’t commit (but when I did I was there 100%). It seemed like a big deal to give up all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, leather, wool, etc.). As much as I didn’t want animals to suffer I didn’t want to suffer either. I knew if I gave up meat and all animal products I would feel deprived if I didn’t have good, solid subsitutes. I had already given up meat but the rest was a huge leap.

Until I realized all the resources available, I couldn’t imagine myself being vegan. Once I started reading about others who made the change and finding all the resources on the internet, it became easier to envision. There are several books that got me started:

voices-from-the-garden.gif   becoming-vegan.gif   living-among-meat-eaters.gif   cover_shadow.jpg

Voices from the Garden: Stories of Becoming a Vegetarian — Short stories of others who chose vegetarianism and why. Good if you need inspiration.

Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet— Good nutritional resource. (Funny story about this book. I bought it a couple of years before I became vegan. It sat on my book shelf and then sat some more. In fact it sat there so long I started to feel it staring at me, so I got rid of it. I obviously wasn’t ready. Must have bought it too soon. So I bought it again when I was ready. Are you beginning to see how hard I thought this would be? I had it all wrong. It’s easy being vegan. Now I know.)

Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Handbook — Good book to help you get through your first Thanksgiving dinner with omnivores and other tricky situations.

Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian’s Survival Handbook— For those who feel like they just don’t fit in.

Comments { 0 }

You Don’t Have to Wear Ugly Shoes

Being a vegan is about more than just the food you eat. An important part of being vegan is what you wear. Vegans don’t eat or wear animal products. (Check out CowsAreCool.com to learn why leather is cruel.) It was probably harder for me initially to wrap my brain around this than it was to think about giving up cheese. Basically it went something like this…”I have to give up cute, leather shoes…I don’t want to wear ugly shoes…I’m going to have wear hippy shoes if I go vegan…Where am I going to shop?…I don’t want to wear ugly shoes!” This was my small, uninformed mind thinking these silly thoughts.

Well, guess what! You don’t have to wear ugly shoes. Cute, fun, fashionable vegan shoes are widely available for guys and girls. Yippee! I mean a girl needs her cute shoes. And, guys, you too can have cool vegan shoes. Like I said before, no one should suffer.

Vegan shoes come in all different types of materials–not just “pleather” anymore. Yep, you will find pvc but you will also find microfiber, canvas, fake suede, hemp, and many other types of fabric. So where can you get some cute vegan shoes? I have listed some web sites below but often times I have found vegan shoes in major department stores and national chains such as the Gap, Ann Taylor Loft, and Macy’s. There are lots of options out there and for all different budgets. Read the labels and look for “man made.” It’s a phrase I have come to adore.

Happy (vegan) shopping! Don’t forget to pick up some new vegan belts and purses while you’re at it!

1. Moo Shoes

2. Alternative Outfitters

3. Vegan Essentials

4. Charmone

5. Beyond Skin

6. Ethical Planet

7. Earth Vegan

8. Payless

9. Zappos (vegetarian section)

Comments { 6 }

Find Your Tribe

You don’t have to go vegan on your own. It’s important when you go vegan to surround yourself with like-minded people. If you are friends with a few vegans, it will make your transition easier. If you don’t know any vegans, then get active and meet some. You will appreciate having their support.

You can volunteer with animals at your local shelter. It’s a great way to meet other animal lovers. You are bound to run across a few people who have made the connection between food and animals, but don’t be surprised by how many meat eaters love to care for homeless cats and dogs either.

Better yet, join a local animal rights group that takes more than companion animals into consideration. There are many groups all over the country. If there isn’t one in your area, start one.

Another idea is to check out meetup.com to see if there is a vegan meetup in your area. The group in Chicago meets once a month at a veg-friendly restaurant to enjoy a tasty vegan meal. You will meet some new folks and also try new restaurants.

Many people go vegan for their health or for the environment, so you could also research groups of this nature. Check to see if there is a local chapter of EarthSave in your area.

It doesn’t matter why you went vegan, it just matters that you find your tribe. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will make all the difference. When I went vegan I had two vegan friends and knew a couple of vegetarians, so I soon started a veggie dinner club. In the beginning my invitation list was at most six people. After two years it has grown to over 25 people. I invite vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores. Everyone eats veg. Even the omnivores give up meat for one night. It’s win-win and before you know it, you will find your people and love being vegan.

Comments { 2 }

The End of Cheese as You Know It

Vegan Cheese That Melts

Do you think it would be too hard to give up dairy?

I felt this way for years until a friend of mine pointed out the link between the dairy and veal industries. (Thanks, Megan.) I knew right then I had to make the change. For more information on what’s wrong with dairy, click here.

I use to live on cheese. So if I can give it up, anyone can give it up. 15 years ago the soy cheese options weren’t so good. They didn’t melt and many actually included casein, a milk-by-product.

But now we live in 2007 and there are great vegan cheese alternatives. My favorite is Follow Your Heart brand. It tastes delicious and it melts! It comes in cheddar, mozzarella, nacho, and monterey jack flavors. You can buy it at Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and many natural food stores. If you don’t live near a store that sells this product, you can buy it online. See how easy this is?

You can use it on pizzas, sandwiches, nachos, anything really! For instance to use it on a pizza, you would put the pizza under the broiler for the last minute or two to melt it. Yum! Try it and let me know how you like it.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

Comments { 0 }