Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I just got back tonight from a business trip to Chicago. It was my first time there, and I have to say... I loved it! What a great city. I had heard that Chicago had great architecture, but never really gave it much more thought. Once I got to see the city in person I really understood what a difference it makes.

I got the chance to visit two great vegan restaurants while I was there - The Chicago Diner and Karyn's Cooked. Both were excellent, and my sister, who is not veg, thought they were great too.

We had a bit of a hard time getting to The Chicago Diner - I had written down from the website that you could take the subway to get there and get off at Belmont station. There were a few more instructions that I didn't bother to write down (heck, who needs all the instructions?!) So, we hopped on the subway, got off at Belmont and tried to find our way to the restaurant. Using one of those free maps you get at the hotel. But something wasn't right and we couldn't find it. I won't go into details (I've blocked the memory) but eventually we figured out that we got off at the WRONG Belmont station, there was another one on a different line. Ok, in our defence, why would a subway system have more than one station that's named the same thing? Why not Belmont East and Belmont West? But I digress. We eventually got to the restaurant and it was well worth the wait. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera, so I can't illustrate our meals, but everything we ordered was excellent (salads, Middle Eastern Plate, wings, and vegan carrot cake to top it off) and by the end we forgot our ordeal in getting there.

On another night we went to Karyn's Cooked. It too was really good! We started off with a salad, then we shared two entrees, the spaghetti and meatballs and the Buddha bowl. Both hit the spot! The only thing I can say that disappointed me a little were the meatballs - I was expecting a TVP-ish meatball, but they tasted more like falafels. This threw me off a bit, but none the less I enjoyed the dish.

I love going to new cities and checking out the vegan restaurant scene. I don't usually eat out a lot, so it makes eating out for days at a time something to look forward to.

If you ever go to Chicago (and I think everyone should at some point!) I would highly recommend checking out some of the great vegan restaurants the city has to offer.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Vegan?

One of the first things people usually ask when they find out that I'm vegan is "how long have you been vegan?" and then "why?" So I think it's only fair that since we're still in the 'getting to know you' stage, that I answer those questions.

I started out as a 'non red meat eater' 16 years ago. I was a teenager then, and I can't honestly say I remember clearly why I started. I think it was a combination of thinking that it was healthier and being a teenager (and thus prone to 'phases'). I'm pretty sure my parents thought it was a phase. But I kept it up, and started reading more and more about vegetarianism, and the reasons that people become veg. And eventually, I decided to cut out fish and chicken and become vegetarian. It was pretty easy...eating dead animals just wasn't for me. I never crave meat so I don't find it difficult to resist food or dishes with meat in them. That was 11 years ago.

Over the past few years, I have been slowly moving towards a more vegan diet. I haven't bought milk, eggs or cheese for my house in years (well except for the time last summer when I was training heavily and had this bizarre craving for eggs - but that's a story for another post!). However, I did eat dairy and eggs when I was out... not a lot, but I also didn't worry about scanning ingredient lists or menus to make sure there was no hidden dairy products. My way of describing it was that I wouldn't drink a glass of milk or have scrambled eggs, but I also wouldn't pass up a piece of cake that was made with milk and/or eggs. That worked for me for a while.

But this summer I dated a vegan guy. Wow, how great it was to have someone to go out with to veg*n restaurants, and who liked to cook vegan food. And slowly I found myself scanning for dairy products in labels and then avoiding those products. After not eating dairy/egg products for a while (but not yet 'officially' vegan) we had a party at work with my favorite strawberry shortcake with white chocolate whipped cream icing (I loved that cake)... I debated with myself whether to have cake or not, and finally I caved and had a piece. And you know what? It did not taste good. In fact, it was kinda gross. Probably more because I was thinking of the reasons why I shouldn't be eating it then the actual taste. And so I discovered that I no longer wanted to eat cake with milk and eggs. I could now call myself vegan.

Of course there are many other reasons why I'm vegan, for example health, environment and animal rights. I used to avoid the whole animal rights argument because although I knew cruelty existed, I simply didn't want to deal with it. But I just can't turn my back on it any more. What it comes down to is that if my cat had to live in those conditions and was treated that way, I would be absolutely horrified and devastated (not to mention angry as hell). So why should any other animal be treated that way either?

Anyway, now you know all about how long I've been veg*n and why, and I feel like we're better acquainted already ;o)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First Post!

I stumbled upon the world of blogs about a year ago. Love it. Love reading about other people's lives, what they're going through, what they're doing... I feel like they're my friends. I've always been a lurker - just reading, never commenting or writing about myself. I've thought about starting my own blog for a while, even joke about it with one of my friends... whenever an interesting situation comes up one of us usually comments "see if I/you had a blog this would be a good post". Now I've done it...

So as of right now the plan is to talk about my triathlon training, my vegan lifestyle, and pretty much anything that comes up in my life that is worthy of writing about.