Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stuck in Small Town America as a Vegan

For those of you who know me you probably know I try to eat as healthy as possible. I'm a stickler to organic produce and whole grains. I avoid trans-fat, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and all of that junk.

I'm in the process of moving to Canada. Well, I ended up not eating as healthy during my trip from Seattle to Pennsylvania.

My wife and I broke down on the Indiana toll road. The car randomly overheated so we pulled over. It was probably in the high 80s or 90 and really humid. We had our dog and two cats in the back seat. It was very scary because they started overheating. Luckily, the tow truck arrived not too much later.

We were towed to Michigan City, Indiana on Sunday, where we stayed until Thursday waiting for the car to be fixed. It took so long because we drive a Volkswagen diesel and had to have parts shipped in.

Anyway, if you've never been there, I highly recommend never going to Michigan City. It's very vegan-unfriendly. It mostly consists of a huge highway and big box stores. When walking to get food I had to walk on the shoulder and sometimes on the highway.

Nonetheless, we made it as vegans. My goal is for vegans in similar situations to use this a guide to surviving in vegan-unfriendly America.

Papa John's

A Papa John's pizza, without cheese of course, is vegan! Check out the Papa John's FAQ to see for yourself. Also, Papa John's now offers whole wheat pizza. No, it wasn't the best pizza ever but my wife and I were excited to have someone deliver something vegan to us the first night we were in Michigan City.

Note: avoid the dipping sauces. One isn't vegan and one has hydrogenated oil.

Subway

Subway's Italian bread is vegan. The wheat bread contains honey, which is extremely lame. Check out the Subway FAQ.

I'm well aware none of the vegetables were organic, but at least that was another easy vegan meal when stranded in the middle of nowhere.

So, in a pinch, a Subway veggie sub on Italian (hold the cheese) is vegan.

Meijer

I'd never heard of Meijer before walking by one in Michigan City. Meijer is a huge everything store. Think Wal-Mart, but less evil.

Anyway, Meijer had a huge produce department and, surprisingly, a decent selection of organic fruit and veggies. My wife and I bought a bunch of organic veggies and had a huge, healthy salad one night. We were craving real food.

In summary

In summary, those three places are your friends if you're ever stuck in Michigan City, Indiana. Learn to appreciate them for the time being because those are really your only options.

We're excited to finally be in Pennsylvania. I'm relaxing in the mountains as I write this post.

I'm glad to be back on the East Coast!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Seattle Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant Guide

There's a wonderful Seattle vegetarian and vegan restaurant guide that's handed out at several of the veggie restaurants here in the city. I've been meaning to upload or link to the guide for a while now. As I'm leaving Seattle and probably won't be blogging much about the city anymore, I want to provide you all with a great resource for your future trips to the area.

The guide is put out by Action for Animals. You can download it in pdf format below.

Seattle Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant Guide

Saturday, July 5, 2008

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Fiona at NursingDegree.net pointed me to an article posted on the site entitled 57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan.

Vegans are frequently misunderstood as fringe eaters with an unnatural passion for animal rights. While many vegans do feel passionately about animals, its time for others to see that a vegan diet and lifestyle go way beyond animal rights. Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits as well as prevention of some of the major diseases striking people in North America. Find out from the list below how eating vegan can help you in your search for better health.


Some of the topics discussed are nutrition, disease prevention, physical benefits, and the American diet.

I'm very excited to see veganism being discussed on nursing website. I don't meet very many vegetarian or vegan nurses, although one of my good friends is a vegan nurse. It would be wonderful to have more nurses understand the benefits of a vegan diet. Their direct relationships with patients gives them the opportunity to really make a difference and turn more people onto veganism.

I highly suggest you read the article on Nursing Degree.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Goodbye Seattle: an East Coaster's Reflection on the Emerald City


As you have probably guessed from the title, I'm leaving Seattle. I'm moving to Prince Edward Island - remote Canada. I've been here two years now and, while I've enjoyed most of my time here, I'm really ready to move.

If you a native Seattleite about their city they'll tell you that Seattle is the best city in the world. It really seems that Seattleites are unable to say anything bad about their city. Well, Seattle isn't a perfect city and it's definitely not suited for everyone.

As I'm leaving in two weeks, I thought I'd write what I hope will be a helpful guide to Seattle (and the Pacific Northwest in general). I aim to provide you with pros and cons about living in the Seattle area. My main goal is to present an accurate and fair guide to the Emerald City.

I'm originally from the Washington, DC area. I've discovered I'm still an East Coaster at heart.

Please remember that this is my opinion and is based on my personal experiences. This is in no way intended to insult Seattle or the people who live here. It's just not for me.

Alright, on with the pros and cons.

Pros
  1. Extremely vegan-friendly

    • I consider Seattle to be the most vegan-friendly city in the world. People in Portland, OR will fight to the death over this. It gets annoying. They're both very vegan-friendly.

  2. Extremely liberal/leftist

    • It's nice to be surrounded by people who all understand and agree our President is a moron. Seattle has the be the most liberal city in the United States.

  3. Great coffee

    • I wasn't much of a coffee drinker until I moved here, but Seattle really does have the best coffee. I recommend Caffe Ladro and Wayward Coffeehouse. You'll be amazed at how many places serve organic, fair trade coffee.

  4. Free wifi everywhere

    • As an Internet junkie, I really appreciate the fact that each and every cafe in Seattle has free wifi (except for Starbucks...but why the hell would you go there anyway?). If you happen to find the one cafe that doesn't have free wifi, leave and walk to the next cafe...probably only one block away in Seattle.

  5. Natural beauty

    • The area surrounding Seattle is extremely beautiful...when it's not overcast and misty/rainy. You can see snow-covered mountains in every direction. The city is very hilly and the downtown skyline is beautiful.

  6. The people

    • You'll notice a change in Seattle if you're used to the East Coast. People are much nicer and actually want to talk to you. However, they aren't perfect. See below.

  7. Outdoor sports

    • Great hiking, cycling, skiing, etc. However, like many other Seattleites I hibernate during the crappy weather. Grey skies and rain does not make me want to get on my bike.

  8. Job market

    • Seattle's job market is great. You won't have a problem finding a job here if you decide to move here. However, because the job market is so good the housing is extremely overpriced. See below.


Cons
  1. The weather

    • Seattle may be the most vegan-friendly but it's the worst place to live in regards to weather. Nine months of the year you don't see much of the sun at all. It's overcast and rainy. I can't stand the weather here. I never realized how much my mood is tied to the weather, but I need to see the sun. I can't stress how awful the weather is here. If you're someone who needs sunny days throughout the whole year and not just summer don't move to Seattle.

  2. The drivers

    • Don't get me wrong, the drivers here are courteous and cautious. However, they take it to the extreme. Many people drive extremely slowly here. It's not uncommon for me to be behind someone going 20 mph on the street I live in (the speed limit is 30 mph). Trust me, you'll want to take the bus. It's so much less stressful.

  3. The people

    • While the people here are nice, they also prefer an indirect method of communication. I'm used to direct communication. In my experience, people in the Washington, DC area are direct and rude and people in the Pacific Northwest are indirect but nice. That indirectness sometimes turns into passive aggressiveness. Also, Seattleites are extremely flaky. If someone makes plans with you don't assume they're set in stone.

  4. Cost of living

    • This city is outrageously overpriced and continues to rise. I have no desire to continue to pay far too much to live in a city where the sun don't shine. I pay over $1,000 for a studio apartment.


Conclusion

For me, Seattle is a great place to visit but not somewhere I want to live. I've enjoyed my time here and have met some great people, but I'm ready to move on. I need to live somewhere with better weather (I can't think of anywhere with worse weather) and that's less expensive.

I'm also ready to live in a more rural area for a while. I'm finding cities to be a little much right now. I need some space and some peace and quiet.

Let me know if you'll be out on or near Prince Edward Island, Canada. I'll probably be making trips to Halifax, NS once in a while, as it's the closest city.