Living Vegan

West Coast, Best Coast: 4 Stops on Your Vegan Foodie-Friendly Road Trip

Cropped image of assorted salads in a buffet

Stop it, stop it right now. Stop whatever you’re doing and listen. It’s time to go on a road trip — that vegan foodie-friendly road trip you’ve been dreaming about for months.

You’ll see some sights, jam to your favorite songs, go on a hike, discover a new city on your bike and, most importantly, try the local grub. If you’re serious about planning a vacation around your vegan values, send this tips to your friends and start packing. more→

Why Going Vegan is Good for Fibromyalgia

Vegetables at a farm market

It’s safe to say that most fibromyalgia sufferers would love to discover a miracle cure for the illness—or at least something that would provide significant symptom relief. While the medical and scientific communities still look for a surefire cure, following a vegan diet appears to offer substantial relief of fibromyalgia symptoms.

What is a Vegan Diet and What Can You Eat?

Many people define a vegan diet by what you’re not allowed to eat: namely, any products of animal origin. That includes meat, eggs and dairy products, but also less obvious sources like gelatin and honey. Some vegans also avoid white sugar because it is bleached in animal bones.

But a vegan diet is really just one that relies primarily on plant-based matter like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Although it can be challenging to follow such a diet, particularly if you frequently have to travel or eat in restaurants, the popularity and accessibility of products like soy milk and restaurants (such as Chipotle or Subway) where you can customize your own meal make it easier than ever to make a vegan diet very doable.

Health Benefits of Vegan Diets

Plant-based vegan diets have known benefits for many health conditions. Former President Bill Clinton famously adopted a mostly-vegan diet after undergoing emergency heart surgery. Researchers have already seen that vegan diets have positive benefits in managing heart conditions, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome that is a precursor to diabetes.

Vegan diets may be beneficial in treating fibromyalgia because plant-based foods are unlikely to cause inflammation, which can lead to pain and all-over soreness. Vegan, plant-based foods are also more likely to give you energy, which can help to counteract the fatigue that is common in fibromyalgia.

Drs. John McDougall and Dean Ornish have both created comprehensive diet programs that are low in fat and high in plant-based foods. As part of their research and the outcomes of those who follow their diets, they have discovered that a long list of health conditions are substantially improved by avoiding high-fat, animal-based foods.

Top view of various leguminous with a wooden cookware, Flat lay

Image: Peangdao/Shutterstock

The Right Kind of Vegan Diet

Following a vegan diet is not just about avoiding animal foods like meat and dairy. Many of us have known “junk food vegans” who still manage to avoid animal foods but don’t include many fruits and vegetables. The wide variety of processed foods means that it is now possible to follow a completely vegan diet that would still be considered unhealthy. If you don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables, a vegan diet can actually be worse for your health than one that includes meat and dairy. While it is entirely possible and realistic to follow a vegan diet and to be much healthier than someone who eats meat and dairy products, the nutrient content in vegan junk foods is usually just as poor as it is in traditional junk foods.

The desired outcome of following a vegan diet is that it can provide the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Proper nutrition can actually heal your body from many health conditions, including fibromyalgia. Look to the purest foods that nature has to offer and you will almost certainly feel better, even if it’s not a complete cure.

This article originally appeared on FibromyalgiaTreating.com as Will going vegan provide fibromyalgia relief.

Lagusta’s Commissary Opens in NY’s Hudson Valley

Lagusta Commissary in New Paltz, NY

Residents of the Hudson Valley are already lucky to have Lagusta’s Luscious, a vegan confectionary, located in the heart of New Paltz. Creative and delectable, this radical take-out confection shop at 25 North Front Street also features Sweet Maresa’s melt-in-your mouth vegan macarons. What I’m excited to tell you about is the opening of Commissary! — the exclamation point is part of the name, as it should be — at 11 Church Street in downtown New Paltz. more→

Plan Your Ultimate Healthy Vegan Summer Road Trip

asphalt road on cloudy spring day in the forest

Summer is the perfect time to hit the road and get away from it all, while visiting new places and having new experiences. However, a traditional road trip isn’t always easy when you are vegan.

Finding food you can eat while traveling the country can be difficult, as is finding fun vegan and animal-friendly destinations along the way. The secret to any successful road trip is planning, so before you hit the road, consider these great vegan-friendly vacation destinations that have a lot to offer. more→

4 Resources To Help You Stay Cruelty-Free Outside Of Your Home

Set of vegan labels for product package. Vector hand drawn illustration.

You are serious about doing everything you can to prevent cruelty to animals. In addition to eating a plant-based diet, you are devoted to furnishing your home and taking care of your body with animal-free products.

But you know how hard shopping for personal care items can be. You know how it feels to stand in the beauty aisle with all of the shampoo, lotion, makeup and cleaning products and not knowing how to choose. To help you maintain the cruelty-free life, check out the following resources: more→

Four Ways To Energize Mornings Without Caffeine

Above shot of a woman with a bowl of berries, a bottle of almond milk and two bananas wearing a sportive outfit.

If you want to be alert in the morning, step away from the caffeine. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports caffeine can cause negative effects such as increased heart rate and breathing rate, nausea, sweating and diarrhea–not great conditions to have during that early morning meeting. It can also delay the timing of your body sleep clock, disrupting your sleep and making you feel groggy the next day. As your body develops a tolerance for caffeine, higher amounts are needed to feel any energy benefits, which wear off more quickly. Addiction to caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, bad moods and low energy when it’s not constantly being consumed.

If you add any sugars or calorie-laden mixers to your caffeine-filled drinks like coffee, and caffeine taken in the morning becomes more unhealthy. Use these four tips to energize your morning naturally, with no negative side effects.

Eat A Well-Balanced Breakfast

Even if you don’t typically find yourself hungry when you wake up, prioritize a nutritious early-morning meal. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports breakfast provides energy for morning activities, contributes to increased concentration and prevents low energy in the afternoon.

Protein from sources such as tofu, such as in tofu scrambled “eggs,” helps sustain energy over long periods of time and is essential for any work involving physical activity. Complex carbohydrates in whole grains fuel stamina, while fruits and vegetables deliver essential daily vitamins to ensure your body works at peak performance.

Stimulate Your Mind

Get your mind working before heading to work with fun mental activities. Create some ready-made free word puzzles to work on while you eat breakfast. Read a daily newspaper. Notch in a chapter of a book or take in a magazine article.

You could also use morning time to get in an ideal state of mind by writing down essential tasks to be completed for the day to stay focused. List out three goals you have for the day, such as spending one hour outside with your kids, solidifying a meeting with your boss or dedicating time to working on a painting. Writing down a few things you’re grateful for helps positively boost your mood and makes you feel invigorated about being alive.

Drink Lots Of Water

The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking at least nine to 13 cups of water per day, depending on gender. Get a headstart on drinking your daily amount by consuming a couple glasses in the morning.

Staying hydrated flushes out toxins and keeps your body working optimally to perform daily functions. The Mayo Clinic reports even mild dehydration can cause tiredness, which is why stocking up in the morning is beneficial in case your day gets busy.

Exercise

Exercising in the morning may seem counterintuitive, but instead of making you tired early on, it provides bursts of energy throughout your day and boosts your metabolism. From getting limber through yoga stretching to going for a swim or a jog, exercising immediately delivers feel-good endorphins and boosts serotonin, elevating mood.

Regular exercise throughout the week also increases endurance and builds muscle strength, benefiting overall energy and giving you the power to work optimally long after you’ve exercised. Pair exercise with a daily duty such as walking the dog, and you’ll be able to check something off your to-do list and alleviate extra stress throughout the day.

Pair these practices with waking up at the same time every day to get your body used to a regular sleep and wake schedule. Exposing yourself to natural sunlight is also a stimulant for your brain’s internal clock that stops the production of sleepiness-inducing melatonin. Draw back the curtains, and say hello to your day.

6 Car-Friendly Healthy Vegan Snack Ideas

Dried fruit varieties

Road trips are fun and exciting. They offer the freedom to stop anywhere and take in the beauty of nature, or sample urban culture. They create memories that become part of a family’s shared history. What kind of food to take on the road is an important aspect of planning. You and your family or travel companions may be tempted to stop for fast food, but of course, that’s not the best choice. Light, natural, and preferably vegan snacks can be prepared and carried easily. If you’re health- and budget-conscious, it’s nice to have some of your own food handy in the car, especially on long stretches of highway. For spring break or summer travels, here are 6 vegan snack ideas to keep you and the kids happy and energetic throughout your trip — and not make too much of a mess in the car! more→

Allergies 101

Allergies have been on the rise for the last few decades. Whether seasonal conditions like hay fever or allergies to food and environmental elements, this chronic condition is more than just inconvenient. This graphic gives some information on the impact of allergies and tips on combating them, balancing traditional and natural remedies. more→

5 Of The Best Vegan Eateries In The United States

vedge philadelphia cocktails

The number of purely vegan restaurants in the United States is growing exponentially. It is encouraging to see some restaurants commit to a 100 percent plant-based menu, as there are many exciting things chefs can do with produce. These restaurants have menus that fully utilize local and seasonal ingredients and entice diners from all dietary lifestyles. Vegan restaurants show people the multifaceted flavors that come from fruits and vegetables and strengthen the vegan presence in the culinary world. Here are five of the best vegan eateries in the United States you should visit:

Gracias Madre in San Francisco and Los Angeles

Gracias Madre is a Mexican restaurant that is 100 percent plant-based and organic. The restaurant environment feels elevated in its design through a mix of exotic comfort and well-curated decor. Behind a graphic-tiled bar lies a large selection of vegan spirits, such as Captain Morgan, almond milk horchata and tequila blanco.

The restaurant was inspired when the owners, who also own Cafe Gratitude, visited the families of their Mexican employees. They wanted to capture the passion and tradition of Mexican food, but through plant-based ingredients. The food celebrates Mother Earth as well as the beauty of the Mexican culture and cuisine.

The Butcher’s Daughter in Los Angeles and New York

Part juice bar, part cafe, The Butcher’s Daughter is a haven for healthy fare. The restaurant has a produce calendar, which showcases the season’s fruit and vegetable offerings. The restaurant knows that seasonal and local produce tastes the best and enhances the community’s sustainability.

One outstanding juice on the menu is the Goddess of Green, which promotes mental clarity. It includes kale, cucumber, pineapple, fennel, green apple, thyme and blue green algae. Other show stoppers include the tacos verdes, spinach artichoke crock, avocado tartare and raw pesto linguine.

Kajitsu in NYC

Kajitsu is a one-star Michelin restaurant that offers exceptional vegan Japanese fare. Kajitsu’s shojin cooking style originates from Zen Buddhism and is regarded as the foundation of all Japanese cuisine. The multi-course meal is composed of seasonal and fresh ingredients and prepared with methods that enhance the flavor profile of each component.

One outstanding dish is the Takiawase, which is made of cauliflower, pumpkin, daikon, fried tofu, scallion, Nama-fu and yuzu. The dishes at Kajitsu excel in flavor and are beautifully plated for a complete and sensational delight.

Vedge in Philadelphia

Vedge was launched by the husband and wife team, Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby, in 2011. The menu spotlights seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, and it uses zero animal products.

Its winter menu features delectable dishes, like cauliflower cottage pie made of mushroom ropa vieja and whipped and pickled cauliflower. Its sticky toffee pudding is a highlight for any vegan who has a sweet tooth. The sweet toffee pudding is layered in its flavor profile with the addition of cedar ice cream and smoked chestnuts.

Canteen in Portland

Canteen is the epitome of Portland veganism. It is unapologetic in its passionate pursuit and knows how to do vegan food right. The restaurant brings in strong flavors from all over the world, including southern barbecue, curries, Mexican spices and kimchi.

Canteen’s bowls and salads are simple, but strong in flavor. It also offers a variety of fresh-pressed juices and smoothies. The Maca & Friends smoothie makes for a wonderful snack, as its ingredients of banana, almond butter, dates, vanilla, almond milk and maca will thoroughly nourish you.

Vegan Goes Culinary: Hotspots Across the US

Romantic Young Couple at Restaurant

Being the only vegan in your group of friends can be lonely, not to mention difficult when it comes to dining out. But if you travel to any of these hotspots, you’re sure to feel right at home. From coast to coast, you’ll find an impressive assortment of vegan cuisine options to indulge in. Here are four U.S. cities with more vegan options than you’ll know what to do with.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The city of brotherly love may be best known for its famous cheesesteaks, but the city’s vegan food scene is thriving. From classic cafes like HipCityVeg, to fine-dining experiences like Vedge and even an all-vegan pizzeria, Blackbird Pizzeria, Philadelphia has plenty of cruelty-free food options in every price range, with style and culinary flair to spare.

Make a night of it at bars that specialize in vegan fare, like Bar Bombón and Charlie was a sinner. The majority of the city’s vegan hotspots are concentrated near Rittenhouse Square and City Center, so if you’re planning a move to Philadelphia or just a trip, look for accommodations near this hub.

Phillies fans enjoy the vegan options available at Citizen’s Bank Park, including a wild mushroom and tofu cheesesteak, which earned the ballpark the runner-up spot on PETA’s recent top 10 ballparks list.

Los Angeles, California

Few cities are as health-conscious as the City of Angels, which is why the thriving vegan food scene in LA is no surprise. Whether you’re craving a cupcake (visit Erin McKenna’s bakery), sushi (try Shojin) or some soul food (check out Stuff I Eat), if you crave it, you can likely find it here.

Gracias Madre is a must for those looking for a healthy Mexican food fix, this West Hollywood staple is the place to see and be seen. Café Gratitude is another acclaimed vegan hotspot that’s not to be missed.

Austin, Texas

When most people think Texas, vegan food isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind. But Austin is a city that breaks many molds and PETA recently called it the “food truck capital of the world.” From tacos and BBQ, to soul food and Jewish deli classics, Austin’s thriving food trailers offer something for everyone.

Be sure to check out the Vegan Yacht, an OG in the Austin food trailer scene, which is well-known for classic dishes like the Freeto Burrito and Freeto Pie. It’s housed in a vintage Airstream trailer and run by a husband and wife team. They might inspire you to make your own tex-mex meal at home. Try out these black bean tostadas.

Portland, Oregon

This family-friendly, bike-loving city is often cited as one of the most livable cities in the U.S., and it’s also home to a thriving vegan culinary scene. Portobello Vegan Trattoria is perfect for vegans looking for classic Italian fare with nary an animal product in sight. For a deli lunch, stop by Papa G’s Vegan Organic Deli, a counter-serve cafe with plenty of comfort food.

If you’re looking for a more creative lunch option, check out Canteen, which is famous for bowls like the Portland Bowl, featuring maple tempeh, quinoa, local hazelnuts and kale. For something a little more hearty, Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ has plenty of options with no shortage of flavor and spice.

I Like Veggie – Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw Tours in Prague

Prague Panorama, Czech Republic

Visitors to Prague who are vegan, vegetarian, or fans of raw food may feel lost among the offerings of traditional Czech cuisine. If you’re looking for healthy, flavorful plant-based dining in Prague, our guides will make sure you find the best! more→

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Moves to High Falls, NY

Goat and sheep barn at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

On Saturday, September 5, 2015, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary celebrated its grand reopening in High Falls New York. And what a festive celebration it was! The sanctuary’s beautiful new facilities on 150 (normally peaceful) acres of pasture land and barns are a bucolic dream. As a longtime fan of the sanctuary and its mission, I am beyond delighted that their new home is just 17 minutes (according to Google Maps!) from my own.  more→

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