The Vegan Starter Kit

When people ask me why I am vegan, or what prompted me to go vegan, it really comes down to information – I was simply exposed to new information that I could not unlearn or un-see. This new information came in the form of books and documentaries. Sure, some people could be exposed to the exact same information but it won’t resonate with them at all; well, not me. I simply could not deny all the facts, data, and research presented in these sources. So what was this amazing new information that I learned you ask? Here it is, these are the sources of information that I wish everyone and anyone would see – they will answer all your questions about the why, what, where, and when of a plant based diet/life. I truly wish this was common knowledge; I’ll take it one step further, I wish this was mandatory reading/viewing in school!

So if someone were to ask me “why or what made you go vegan,” my response would be – “just watch these documentaries here, all your questions will be answered.” I invite you to take a step behind the curtain of OZ, and see the truth! (These are all available on Netflix).

WARNING – EXPOSING YOURSELF TO THIS INFORMATION MAY CAUSE IRREVERSIBLE AWARENESS

  1. Forks Over Knives

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This gem right here will answer all your questions about food and health, such as:

  • What’s wrong with eating animal protein?
  • What’s so wrong with milk and dairy? Don’t you need milk for calcium and strong bones?
  • But since vegans only eat grass, where do they get their protein? (ugh, how many times I get asked this question – please do yourself a favor and watch this now, and forever have that damn questioned answered).
  • What about fish?
  • Well then, what the hell do you plant based people eat?
  • Why should I even care about this plant based stuff? (hint, your health, the animals, and the environment ya dummy!)

 

2. What The Health

This is probably one of the most eye-opening documentaries to recently (2017) come out MV5BOGRlYzI3OTMtMWM4NS00Y2U4LTg3Y2UtMzUwYTgyM2M2Mzk5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI5MjI4MTc@._V1_SX772_CR0,0,772,999_AL_about the food industry and human health; and this is definitely at the top of my list when it comes to recommending any documentary! I myself was blown away by all the information presented in this film; it got me so riled up I just wanted to shout it from a mountain top! Finally, a documentary comes out that shines the light on all the corruption going on in the meat and dairy industries to keep the general public misinformed, confused, and most important of all continuing to consume their products albeit at the cost of their very own health. Moreover, this film also does an incredible job of hitting all the points on health in regard to consuming animal products, and all the common questions and concerns of switching to a plant based diet…extremely comprehensive! This documentary is a MUST!!

 

3. Cowspiracy

This one here will help you understand the Cowspiracy_ScreeningPoster3environmental dilemma of sustaining a planet on animal protein, and how switching to a plant based diet can really help save the world (no, I’m not exaggerating – just watch it!). No, this video isn’t going to turn you into a tree hugging environmentalist, or Leonardo DiCaprio; BUT it sure as hell will inform you and create AWARENESS (and that is what’s all about)!! Moreover, this will shed light on what factory farming actually is, and the cold hard cruelty behind it – I know, I know, ignorance is bliss…but suck it up and watch it!

 

4. Plant Pure Nation

2015-06-27-1435380438-2053434-PlantPure_PosterloresAnd lastly, this amazing documentary will help you understand why it is that the information laid out in the last two documentaries is not mainstream knowledge (yet). You may be asking yourself, ok well it seems like all you vegans know about this stuff, but IF animal products are actually not the best for your health, then why would the government still include it in their food pyramid, why are they still serving it at every school, why wouldn’t doctors be talking more about this, why is this the first time I am hearing such a thing?  Here is something to think about; the meat, poultry, and dairy industries are HUGE (as you may already know)! Well, you know what comes with that? Lots of money of course, but also lots of lobbying power. So what does that mean; it means they have the ability to actually influence what the people of this planet eat, regardless of what it might mean for your health. Moreover, believe it or not, it comes with the ability to manipulate or even suppress information! Yes, this is true, the meat, poultry, dairy, and fish industries hope you never see any of these documentaries or become of aware of any of the information they contain. Because heaven forbid, it might actually create well informed consumers, that no longer simply buy their food products blindly just because that is what they have been doing for years. Please, just watch this!

 

So there it is, these are three of my favorite documentaries that I wish every human being could/would watch! I honestly feel like any non-vegan/vegetarian person cannot have an actual intelligent debate with a vegan/vegetarian person until they have been exposed to the information contained in these documentaries. Regardless of what you choose to sustain yourself on, be it animal or plant based, if you haven’t seen any of these documentaries, please do yourself a favor and watch them…I challenge you!

 

As always, I would like to hear from you, what other documentaries would you add to this list? Leave a comment below.

Do We Value Taste Over Life?

This is the question we have to ask ourselves, this is the crux of the issue. Do we – as a society, as individuals, value our taste buds above the life of another living being?

It seems that whenever I engage in conversation with non-vegans about veganism, they immediately want to discuss nutrition (or in their mind lack thereof). They inevitably lead with protein, and broadly challenge the health claims of a plant-based diet. We live in a culture dominated by instant gratification where people expect and crave immediate results with the least effort and inconvenience. So when it comes to making any type of life change, to their habits, or culinary choices, they immediately want to know what they are going to get in return for their “sacrifice.” It’s as if I were to say anything less than, “Yes, it’s true, you can levitate and lift a car on a vegan diet” they won’t even pay attention or be open minded enough to listen.

Most people never stop to take a moment to think outward, outside of themselves, and think what effect a personal choice might have on something or someone else other then themselves. Especially when it comes to “diet,” and the food we choose to consume!

I understand that people believe consuming animal products is a personal choice, but have you ever stopped to consider the personal choice of the animal who wants to live, and who was killed for your meal? That animal based meal you recently consumed gave you 15 minutes of sensory pleasure in the form of taste, but for the animal it took their life. Just because something is said to be or assumed to be a “personal choice” doesn’t make it personal or justifiable. For example, if someone made the personal choice to abuse or beat a dog, would that make it morally justifiable? Or if someone murdered another human because it was their personal choice, would that make it ok? Or when an abusive parent makes the personal choice to abuse their child, is that morally justifiable? So when someone says to me, “but it’s my personal choice to eat animals,” they are clearly not thinking about the personal choice of the animal that shares the same innate will to live just as we humans do.

As consumers we need to be more aware of what we are supporting when we make a purchase; when you buy something at the store you are not only supporting that company and its products, but you are also giving them a “yes” vote with your dollar in approval of that item. The company will continue to provide it’s products as long as consumers continue to give them “yes” votes. Have you ever stopped to consider what you are saying yes to when it comes to the animal products you purchase at the store?

Here is a very brief synopsis:

Eggs – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

Male chicks are fed down a conveyor belt and ground up alive in a macerater, or sometimes they are simply thrown into trash bags while still alive where they will eventually suffocate. This is simply because male chicks cannot lay eggs, and therefore they are seen as a waste of space and of no commercial value to the hatchery or farmer. All of this just so that you can eat a hens embryo…which is rather weird in itself isn’t it? How come we don’t eat any other animal embryos? Not to mention the cholesterol, saturated fat, and choline you are ingesting; there is much misleading information about the “nutritional benefits” of eating these eggs.

 

Chicken – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

Chickens crammed into warehouses, debeaked (a painful industry practice where the birds sensitive beak tips are clipped or seared off to prevent them from pecking each other to death – due to the stressful environments they are forced to live in), genetically engineered to grow faster and larger then ever before (resulting in terrible health and suffering for the birds), and of course they are pumped up with antibiotics because no bird could possibly live as long as they do in the unsanitary conditions that they are forced to live in. And please understand that “cage-fee” and “free-range” are at best just marketing terms (euphemisms) meant to make you feel better about your purchase. At the end of the day no matter how the chicken lived, it is still slaughtered simply for your appetite.

 

Milk and Cheese – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

Some people don’t realize that female cows only produce milk after they are pregnant (just like any other animal – humans included); yes shocker I know, cows aren’t just like a soda fountain for milk. So how do you get a cow to continuously produce milk? Simple, keep impregnating her through artificial insemination – the practice of forcibly impregnating a cow with bull sperm…over and over again! Furthermore, cows are expected to produce a certain yield of milk, and thus they are milked over and over during their milk producing time; their teats become swollen and infected, pus seeps from their teats into the milk they give, and of course they are fed a healthy dose of antibiotics in order to power through this process. And then, nature forbid that a cow should give birth to a male calf (as of course they do many times), that male calf is taken away from the mother within hours of birth (ok in rare instances they are a bit “nicer” and wait a day or two), and that calf is either shot dead (because just like with the male baby chicks, they have no commercial value and take up space), or he is raised in a tiny cramped crate to be slaughtered for veal. At the end of the day, even if the cow lived a wonderful, free life grazing on green open pastures (which we all know is NOT reality), she is still slaughtered and killed for your sensory pleasure of taste – for milk and cheese.

 

Meat – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

Cattle raised for meat live a grim existence; confined in small spaces, abused, tortured, and mutilated. Yes, cattle do get to be outside at times, but it’s far from the green hill pastures that are portrayed in commercials and children’s cartoons. I have seen it first hand here in California; these cattle lots look like enslavement camps where only suffering and death exist. Doesn’t matter if you buy grass-fed, “humane,” or any other bullshit marketing term used to make you feel better about the fact that at the end of the day all of these animals still meet the same fate – death. And anyway, how do you “humanely” kill someone that wants to live? Humane by definition means “having or showing compassion or benevolence.” Can you really kindly, or compassionately put a bolt gun to a cows head, shoot them, and then slit their throats to drain their blood? Not possible! These are social animals, they have familial structures, and inherently seek pleasure and want to live!

If you consume meat, you are also consuming all the fear, stress, and adrenaline that was pumping through this poor animals body just before slaughter:

 

Pork (yes, this includes your precious bacon) – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

An animal that is as smart as a household dog or cat, forced into a life of suffering and torture; confined to gestation crates so small that they don’t even have enough room to turn around in, mutilated by having their tails cut off, their teeth ground or clipped, and the male piglets castrated – all of this usually done without the use of any anesthesia. The treatment of these poor intelligent creatures is nothing short of appalling! Some slaughterhouses even use gas chambers (“CO2 stunning”) as a form of “humane slaughter” before slitting the pigs throats; and as you can imagine there is nothing “humane” about this process! All of this just to satisfy humans taste for their flesh…and hear the typical response of “but, bacon though.” Nothing is more facepalm inducing then this!

 

Fish – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

The fishing industry is responsible for some of the most environmentally damaging practices affecting the oceans; commercial fishing employs such methods as trawling, gillnets, and longlines that unintentionally end up catching all sorts of other sea life outside the intended target – this is called “bycatch.” Furthermore, these practices are depleting populations and disrupting ecosystems all together; at a faster rate then they can replenish their populations.  Not to mention, from a health standpoint, the animal protein (IGF-1), high cholesterol and saturated fats, contaminates and pollutants, that are all being ingested when you consume fish. At the end of the day, a living creature is still being killed to satisfy your taste preferences; and yes, even fish feel pain!

 

Slaughterhouse Workers (humans) – this is what you vote YES to with every purchase:

This is probably the last element that most people think of when it comes to consuming animal products and factory farming; but yes, someone had to actually kill that animal in order for them to get on your plate, or to get their by-product on the super market shelf. Put yourself in the shoes of a slaughterhouse worker for a moment, do you really think you could shoot a bolt gun into the head of a living animal, slit their throat to drain their blood, and then do this over and over again to hundreds of animals a day….AND expect to remain somewhat mentally “normal”? Can you imagine just how much these workers have to suppress any innate emotional response, or compassion towards a living being. Not to mention, the dangerous work environment they have to endure which comes with a high injury rate, health hazards, potential death or dismemberment, long hours, exploitation (many come from low-income neighborhoods and/or are undocumented), and add to that the constant sight and smell of death. Unfortunately, these workers are simply a victims of the system , and inevitably suffer high instances of PTSDrepetitive mental trauma, and have been shown to exhibit violent behavior towards other people. It’s no surprise that these workers then turn to alcohol and other drugs to cope with the stress of their daily work routine. Yet, human appetite and demand for animal products is what is making these jobs exist in the first place. The alternative? Plant/vegetable farms, farming crops for human consumption, plant-based product facilities, etc. All these would involve harvesting plants instead of abusing, torturing, and killing animals.

 

This is simple supply and demand, and as long as consumers continue demanding these animal products and voting YES (with their dollars), these factory farms will continue to supply this cycle of abuse, torture, and death. BUT, we as individuals have the power to create a shift in this supply; as aware and conscious consumers, we can opt for plant-based and vegan products instead when we go to the store or restaurant. Each time you purchase a plant-based/vegan alternative, you are saying NO to animal cruelty and the killing of these innocent beings, and saying YES to demanding more plant-based/vegan alternatives.

Now I know what you are thinking…”ok but if the world goes vegan tomorrow, then what are we going to do with all these animals in the factory farms? They are going to overrun us all!” This is something I hear many people say when simply discussing veganism. This comment is akin to people asking me “well what would you do if you were stuck on a deserted island, what would you eat then?” Point being, it’s simply unrealistic. Just as unrealistic as the entire world going vegan overnight. What is realistic? A gradual shift over time; one that would/could unfortunately take many decades to achieve. So don’t worry people, we are NOT at risk of the world going vegan overnight and being overrun by farm animals! Not to mention, that the only reason these animals exist in such great numbers in the first place is because they are bred into existence to meet consumer demand/appetite. Take away that demand (or decrease it), and such intensive breeding will slow, and ultimately has the potential to cease all together. Thus, bit by bit, as more and more people become aware, and begin to demand more and more vegan products, supply will change, industry will adapt, and companies will pivot to meet consumer demand of these vegan products. As this happens over time, less and less animals will be bred for consumption, the existing farm animal populations will naturally and gradually die out over time, and some animals will be sent to farm sanctuaries where they will be cared for, and left in peace to live out their lives freely.

What about the farmers, and all the jobs associated with animal agriculture? All those jobs will be lost! Not exactly, they simply need to ride the shifting wave of demand and start farming plants and vegetables instead of animals, plant-based milks instead of animal-based milk, vegan meat alternatives instead of animal flesh, egg substitutes instead of eggs, and on and on (just visit the vegan aisle of any grocery store and see all the alternatives already available – all of these have industry and jobs waiting behind them). Moreover, I’m sure that slaughterhouse workers, and butchers would much rather be harvesting, cutting, and slicing vegetables and vegan meat alternatives then actual screaming, suffering, bleeding animals. They can still be employed, they just need to shift into the new industries as well.

Fore example, Tyson Foods Inc., one of the largest meat processors in the world, now owns a 5% stake in the plant-based protein start-up Beyond Meat – maker of the vegan Beyond Burger, that is now even outselling beef in some stores. The rise in sales of plant-based alternatives is undeniable at this point, and other companies like Campbell Soup Co. are also getting in the game by selling Bolthouse Farms plant protein milk. Another example, Nestlé the worlds largest food maker, predicts that plant-based foods will continue to grow in demand and is already working to expand its presence in this sphere by introducing a almond-based coffee creamer by Coffemate, and a non-dairy ice cream. Moreover, restaurants are also getting in on this shift by offering more plant-based options, or in some cases going 100% plant-based all together. Large corporations are also trying to meet this new demand by incorporating more vegan initiatives in the work place. These are just a few examples, do your own research and you will find many more examples of new and existing companies getting involved in this vegan shift.

Humans are a very creative and innovative species, just as we have figured out how to land a man on the moon, over time we will figure out the best way to work with and prosper with this shift in demand away from animal products, and the adoption of plant-based products. And just as in other times in our history, we don’t have to have all the answers figured out right now (as we already established the world is NOT going vegan overnight), over time industry will find the best way to meet this new growing demand, as more and more people vote YES to plant-based products, and ultimately NO to animal cruelty and suffering!

It is time we begin to value life over taste; use your dollars wisely…every vote counts!

 

What You Eat Matters

Yes, this is true, what you eat really does matter! And no, not just for yourself, but for the animals, and for the environment.

I recently came across this new full-length documentary on YouTube called “H.O.P.E. – What You Eat Matters” (H.O.P.E. standing for Healing Of Planet Earth), and wow this is a very powerful documentary that really makes you think and feel! The documentary features discussions about the benefits of a plant based diet, based on science and researched, and the environmental impact of farming animals for consumption, as well as [most importantly] the welfare of these poor animals, and the moral aspect of consuming them.

Hope

Here is another documentary I wish everyone in the world could watch; it’s thorough, comprehensive, and does a great job at presenting all the facts (backed by research), and showing the harsh reality of animal consumption and it’s consequences. Anyway, I could go on and on here, but the documentary simply just needs to be watched! Please take the time, do yourself a favor, and watch this movie.

WARNING: Watching this documentary in it’s entirety may cause irreversible awareness and compassion. Precede at your own risk of awakening. 

 

Vegan 2017

Another year of eating kale, and another year in the advancement of the vegan movement! It seems now more then ever that the plant based movement continues to grow exponentially every year, with the sharing of information, books, documentaries, YouTube videos, social media, events, and festivals. Moreover, it’s so great to see how many more new vegan restaurants are popping up, vegan options in “non-vegan” restaurants, vegan foods and alternatives at the grocery store, vegan apparel, and vegan movements! Love it!

And once again, the folks over at Plant Based News have done a great job of putting together another short documentary (as they did for 2016) that recounts the growth of the vegan movement in 2017. I wish everyone could watch this video because it is packed with so many good clips, news worthy segments, success stories, and challenges that still lie ahead of/for the vegan movement. But the main takeaway is clear, the vegan movement is growing, and there is no slowing down! Check it out here:

Vegan 2017

 

Why Your Doctor Isn’t Talking About This

If living on a plant based diet is so healthy, then why isn’t your doctor talking to you about it? That is a common question (or sentiment) among omnivores when hearing about the benefits of a plant based diet. The truth is, most doctors simply don’t have the training and knowledge of using food as medicine (I wrote about this subject in a previous post); so they can’t really discuss a plant based diet as a prescription to better health, let alone as a means to reverse many common diseases/ailments. Moreover, their practice doesn’t make any money by prescribing vegetables to patients, but they do make money by prescribing drugs – “band-aids” that simply mask symptoms, instead of actually treating the causes of sickness and disease.

Here is a great interview with Dr. Michael Greger that perfectly explains this conundrum:

 

Pretty interesting stuff right?! This really helps explain what is going on in the health care industry, and why none of our doctors are talking about plant based diets as a means to healthier living.

And if that wasn’t enough for you, then check out this next video with Dr. Neal Barnard discussing the same issue:

I hope the information discussed in these two videos answers the question as to why doctors don’t discuss vegan/plant based diets as a means to health. I sometimes get asked, [or teased] the question of “if being vegan or plant based is so healthy, then why wouldn’t my doctor be telling me about this”? Well, this is exactly why I am sharing this information here; I hope this helps to better understand what is really going on here. And I don’t want people to be deterred from trying a plant based diet simply because “their doctor isn’t talking about it, or recommending it.” Do your own research about a plant based diet (and always check the source)…the learning never stops!

Vegan in San Diego

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San Diego, California is home, and I often get asked “what are your favorite vegan restaurants” or “where do you go out to eat” (yes, some people hear vegan and they immediately think I can’t eat anywhere haha). So I thought I would go ahead and put together a list of some of my favorite vegan restaurants in my home town, and a few other non-vegan restaurants that actually have some great vegan options available on their menus. I must say, it sure is great that San Diego is a very vegan friendly city with lots of vegan restaurants, cafes, smoothie/juice stands, and grocery stores…and it seems the plant based trend is only growing here with new places opening up all over town! So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list:

VEGAN RESTAURANTS

1. Cafe Gratitude –  Little Italy – 1980 Kettner Blvd. San Diego, 92101.

This is definitely one of my favorites, and I am sure one of the most popular among vegans and non-vegans (they have multiple locations here in Southern California, and they are a pretty big name in the scene). What I love about this place is that they have such an extensive menu of only vegan options! A variety of cuisines, pressed juices, kombuchas, coffee drinks, and wine/beer/cocktails. It’s so great to be able to finally go into a restaurant and know that you can order anything off the menu, without being limited to one option (like a salad, or just a veggie burger), and not having to modify anything or ask the waiter to leave anything out…ahhhh vegan paradise!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Humble / Indian Curry Bowl
  • Mucho / Mexican Bowl
  • Magical / Double Double Veggie Burger
  • Warm Hearted / Grilled Polenta
  • Brave / Immune Boosting Shot – I always get this, has quite a kick, but really good for ya!
  • Immortal / Ayervedic Latte – so damn yummy; it’s like a sweet, cinnamon, chai like latte, but packed with health!

2. Kindred – South Park – 1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102.

This is a great little hip spot in South Park, all vegan food, and craft cocktails…definitely a cool venue to check out!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Snacks (appetizer) / Skewers – Chargrilled Seitan, with Chimichurri, very tasty!
  • Snacks (appetizer)/ Hearts of Palm flatbread – so damn good!!
  • Dine / Seared Cauliflower Steak
  • Dine / Beet Risotto

Plenty of other good stuff on the menu too, and also the extensive cocktail menu…give it a go!

3. Donna Jean – 2949 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103.

This place just recently opened in the Bankers Hill area right by Balboa Park, and it’s actually right next door to Evolution Fast Food – a smaller vegan restaurant that has a drive through (think more casual, quick-service counter style type of place). Donna Jean has a great outdoor patio with a garden of vegetables being grown right there in house; it looks great at night lit up under the garden lights. The cuisine here has a midwest spin to it, with lots of comfort food like options. They also serve kombucha, vegan beers, wine, and sake based cocktails. I saw lots of good options on the menu, and I am looking forward to going back and trying them all!

Some of my favorite items (they actually change their menu quite often, so some of these items may no longer be on there by the time you visit):

  • Starters/ Baked Riccotta – think of this as a cheese plate served with sourdough bread, pretty damn good!
  • Starters/ BBQ Cauliflower – solid kick of smoky BBQ flavor here!
  • Pizza – any of them!
  • Supper/ Ravioli – House Made Ricotta and Tempeh Filled Ravioli, Arrabbiata, Herbs, Spinach. This was absolutely delicious, some of the best ravioli I’ve had!

4. Trilogy Sanctuary – La Jolla – 7650 Girard Ave #400, San Diego, CA 92037.

Not only is this place an awesome yoga studio (multiple levels, and practices), but it also has an amazing roof top all vegan cafe! Great place to come and grab a delicious healthy bite while taking in the open air vibes. This is definitely also one of those places where I walk in and always have a difficult time making decisions on what to order, because everything just looks so good – lots of food options, smoothies, juices, and coffees/teas too! I’ve also had the pleasure of taking a few yoga classes here, and would definitely recommend giving their classes a try!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Perfect Tacos
  • Trilogy Cheeze Burger
  • Love Bowl
  • BLTrilogy Crepe
  • Sweet Potato Wedges

5. Native Foods Cafe – Point Loma – 3369 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA 92110

This place is more your “fast-casual” type of restaurant; they have multiple locations, an extensive menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, bowls, desserts, and drinks…and yes, all vegan! This chain does a great job of introducing plant based foods to the mainstream population, their menu’s explain what certain plant based foods are, and how they are prepared. They also have a great vegan cook book that makes it very easy for vegans and non-vegans alike to cook a variety of plant based dishes.

Some of my favorite items:

  • Native Classics / Ensalada Azteca
  • Earth Bowls / Thai Meatball
  • Hand Holds / Baja Tacos
  • Burgers / Native Scorpion Burger
  • Sides / Sweet Potato Fries

6. Veggie Grill – La Jolla Westfield Mall – 4353 La Jolla Village Dr. San Diego, CA 92122.

This is another “fast-casual” order at the counter type spot just like Native Foods Cafe; and it’s located right in the Westfield UTC Shopping Mall. This is also a chain, they have multiple locations, and again this type of concept is doing a great job of introducing the mainstream population to plant based foods by kind of taking the alternative healthy [plant based] fast-food approach. Lots of great tasty options here too from salads, power bowls, burgers, and seasonal entrees.

Some of my favorite items:

  • Bowls/ Sonoran Bowl
  • Entree Salads / Quinoa Power Salad (I always add tempeh)
  • Sandwiches / Grilled Quinoa + Veg Burger
  • Sides / Sweetheart Fries

7. Peace Pies – Ocean Beach 4230 Voltaire Street, San Diego, CA 92107

This is a great little hidden gem in Point Loma/Ocean Beach area; they are a fully raw, vegan, organic, and gluten-free cafe. The name is a bit misleading, as you might think they only serve pies. However, this restaurant actually serves all sorts of vegan fare – salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, “pasta,” burgers, and yes of course desserts! Everything I have had here is super good!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Drinks / Superhuman Green Smoothie
  • Entrees / Nori Nirvana
  • Entrees / Voltaire Street Tacos
  • Entrees / Bliss Burger

 

VEGAN FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS 

1. Civico 1845 – Little Italy – 1845 India St. San Diego, CA 92101

Home of the best vegan lasagna I have ever had! This is a great Italian restaurant, with a cool looking interior, and good lively vibes. And best of all, they actually have a full vegan menu in addition to their normal non-vegan menu. So this is a great place to go with non plant-based folks, since everyone will have options (vegans and non-vegans alike). This place is pretty much always busy, so make a reservation or arrive with your patience.

Some of my favorite items:

  • Antipasti/ Vegan Caprese Calda
  • Primi Piatti/ Vegan Lasagna Romagnola (like I said, it’s zeeee best!)

2.  Tajima – East Village – 901 E Street, San Diego, CA 92101.

Who doesn’t like a good ramen, and better yet for us plant heads, a vegan ramen! That is the only thing I come here for, just that one single menu item. They obviously have a bunch of other ramen varieties and small dishes for the non-plant based foodie, but this is one place that actually does the vegan ramen justice!

In this case my only favorite item:

  • Ramen/ Vegan Ramen – spinach noodles in a soy based soup with mixed vegetables, asparagus, mixed greens, corn, kaiware, deep fried tofu, sesame seeds, shredded chili and topped with black garlic oil.

3. Sipz – North Park – 3914 30th Street, San Diego, CA

Sipz

Now this place is 100% vegetarian, so by nature this restaurant is also very vegan friendly; in fact, they have many vegan options, and can always cater to vegan requests. The cuisine is Thai fusion, so you can find lots of stir frys, curries, spring rolls, noodle dishes, and sushi…and they even have some vegan desserts! Lots of options here, so go nuts!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Appetizer/ Fresh Summer Rolls
  • Appetizer/ Lettuce Wraps
  • Spicy Main Dishes/ Spicy Basil
  • Spicy Main Dishes/ Spicy Ginger
  • Mild Main Dishes/ Broccoli Stir Fry

 

This by no means is a full comprehensive list of all vegan/vegan friendly restaurants in San Diego, CA. I know there are many more out there that are not on this list; but these just happen to be a few of my favorites that I frequent the most. As I continue to explore new vegan restaurants, I will be sure to add them to this post. Feel free to comment below with any of your favorite vegan restaurants around town that I might have left out.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Tacos

It is TACO TIME people! Aren’t tacos just great, I mean seriously?! And yes, there is such a thing as vegan tacos, and no they don’t just consist of air and kale wrapped in a tortilla. I like cooking this type of vegan food because A.) it’s more than just cooking kale, and B.) most people (non-vegans) probably have no idea what a vegan taco could or would consist of, so it’s a great way to showcase more vegan food varieties. So here it is, feast your eyes on the creation of vegan tacos; taking it back to my Mexican roots here on this one, time to fully embrace the culture (yes it actually makes a difference to the flavor – the sabor that is), lets get amongst it!! It’s…MUY BIEN!!

And there you have it, that is what vegan tacos are all about folks; so many healthy ingredients, plant proteins, so much zest, and so much damn sabor (again, that means flavor people), all wrapped up in one tortilla! Damn it’s good!! This is vegan food…that is more than just kale (see what I did there)!

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On the left: black beans, red bell peppers, onions, guacamole, cilantro, and red pepper hot sauce. On the right: black beans, baked sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mango salsa, and cilantro.

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On the left – the a little bit of everything taco: black beans, tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, guacamole, mango salsa, and cilantro. On the right: black beans, baked and seasoned cauliflower, salsa verde [green salsa], guacamole, and cilantro.

Get yourself in the kitchen – free your inner mariachi, make some cruelty free, and good for your health vegan tacos! Treat yo body!!

 

 

Carnism

Do you ever actually stop and think why we eat animals, or why we eat the flesh of another living being? Furthermore, do you ever think why it is that we have become accustomed to eating certain animals, but at the same time find it repulsive to eat others (say a cat, dog, lion, bear, or hamster)? This is where the word carnism comes into play. Carnism, as defined by Dr. Melanie Joy, “is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals. Carnism is essentially the opposite of veganism, as ‘carn’ means ‘flesh’ or ‘of the flesh’ and ‘ism’ refers to a belief system. Because carnism is invisible, people rarely realize that eating animals is a choice, rather than a given. In meat-eating cultures around the world, people typically don’t think about why they eat certain animals but not others, or why they eat any animals at all. But when eating animals is not a necessity, which is the case for many people in the world today, then it is a choice – and choices always stem from beliefs.”

So carnism has become the societal norm, as it is considered a given to eat animals (well specific ones at least). Maybe it’s time we just stop and think about that for a moment…thus, I present you this video:

 

It all starts with awareness, and now you are aware of what carnism is.

For all the omnivores and carnivores out there, I hope the information and perspective provided in this video makes you stop and think for just a minute about the un-living creatures you choose to consume on a daily basis, and ask yourself why it is that you don’t feel disgusted about eating a cow burger, but why you would be repulsed if it was a golden lab burger….you might just make the connection.