Why being vegan is made easier by being in Chicago!

Hello all,
Amidst making coffee, studying, watching children, and occasionally applying to graduate school, I have indeed been researching the vegan lifestyle, as well as the eco-lifestyle.

The transition has been incredibly strange for me. Throughout the past year, the amount of time that's past since I gave up meat...cold turkey (hehe), I've felt like more and more people have switched to a veggie or moderated veggie lifestyle.

One of the best things about Chicago (and I suppose any urban city) is the amount of cheap European/Mexican markets. My friend Travis and I frequent our local Morse Market, and we're able to stock up on not only cheap produce, but ORGANIC produce. Trav is also experimenting with the Raw lifestyle, which means nothing heated over 100*F to help preserve the food's natural enzymes. I've also read some of Ani Phyo's stuff (and subscribed to her podcast), and in addition to ameliorating some of my dairy-based habits, I've made a larger effort to incorporate some of the raw foodist's dream foods. She makes a peach cobbler on her show that makes me want to convert...or move to Georgia?

My boyfriend and I decided to celebrate a bit of an earlier Valentine's Day, and he took me out to the Blind Faith Cafe (of which I've blogged about before, when first experiencing Ratatouille!) and I had the BEST pasta dish ever! It had sprouts, broccoli (a generous heaping amount too, none of this "Noodles and Company" mostly pasta bullshit), and handmade pasta and tomato sauce....with cheese. My chai was milk based as well, but my boyfriend without realizing it ended up having a completely vegan meal. AWESOME! He's so supportive, and even though he gets a little anxious about what would happen if he had a vegan girlfriend whom he had to introduce to his McCain-lovin' crowd, at dinnertime he's willing to try some animal-free dishes.

*Note about Blind Faith....they're awesome...but don't try the Rice Dream Latte, or any milk alternative latte, without an extra shot of espresso- that's just my coffee snobbery opinion*

So, overall, I've subsided to a 75/25 vegan diet. If I had the time/money to go all the way, I probably would. I think the reason that people are leaning towards this (especially in Chitown) is that it's so much better for the environment, and because it just makes you feel better! Anytime I eat dairy, without my probiotics or zinc supplements, my face BREAKS OUT. Acne is not a fun thing, kids, and when in college...dairy, meat, and alcohol (and stress..duh!) are all super fine contributors. Gross. I'd rather have a "easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl" face (a phrase I've gotten accustomed to using during the support group I lead...Travis says I'm getting gay-er everyday!)

There's lot of networking food sites, like Vegan Chicago, but I prefer just a simply yelp.com search.

I'm going back to NYC in March for spring break, and my awesome friend Scott (omnivore extraordinaire) is also looking into getting some vegan/ vegetarian cookbooks. Kiss Me, I'm Vegan is a wonderful blog, as well! Ms. Wolf (Mrs?) has been essential in helping me be less-cruel to animals and find cheap places to eat vegan in NYC (which will be crucial considering how much this veggie girl spent the last time she was there!)

WEEEEE! I hope everyone has a magnificent Valentine's Day. As I always say, don't be bitter on V-Day, eat bittersweet chocolate :)


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