Love is in the air: Loving Hut leap of faith pays off

I had never heard of Loving Hut until a fellow Aussie vegan blogger residing in Brisbane wrote how it was one of his favourite restaurants early last year. I was thrilled to learn a Perth branch opened. Not just one, but two! A restaurant and a café!

First off, a history of the business. It’s a family of global vegan restaurants that has won numerous awards such as VegNews 2012 Favourite Vegan Restaurant, 2012 Vegan of the Year: Outstanding Vegan Business (Asia) and 2012 Vegan of the Year: Oustanding Vegan Restaurant (UK/Europe) – Menton, France. The founder believes (as do all vegans) “a plant-based diet is healthier, more compassionate, and is the only sustainable diet for the whole planet”.

Each Loving Hut is individually owned and managed (ie. Owners are given full autonomy of the menu), meaning no two restaurants are the same.

I have been to both Perth Loving Huts several times, and on this occasion hubby and I dropped in for breakfast to the café. I opted for the raw sandwich, only because it was something I’d never tried before and hubby chose the Big Breakfast. For drinks – two freshly pressed juices.

Hubby is blessed with a fast metabolism. He can eat like a horse and not exercise. Doesn’t gain a kilo. Mucho unfair *fist shaking in the air*. He was sceptical how ‘big’ Loving Hut’s Big Breakfast was going to be, but ceased all worrying when his food arrived.

The big V brekky

The big V brekky

For $15, it’s really good value. Toast, scrambled tofu, cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and a vegan sausage. He managed to finish it and said the scramble tasted exactly like eggs.

My raw sandwich consisted of ‘bread’ on either side of julienned vegetables. The dehydrated flaxseed bread wasn’t too salty and the texture was as bread-like as you could get. It was just right. The tasty relishes on the side were ohhh la la. One was tomato chutney and the other I’m actually not sure. It was sweet and yellow. Hmm, will have to ask next time.

raw sandwich

raw sandwich

A cursory glance at the desserts cabinet and I’m a goner. I never can say no. Problem: It was a bit early for sweets in the day. Solution: Takeaway! Hubby was too full to even go halves with me. On previous occasions I’d tried the (cooked) tiramisu, chocolate, mocha and carrot cakes, and of course the to-die-for soft serve icecream. Opting for the raw route, I take home a slice of raw mixed berry cheesecake and a raw pistachio macaroon.  (Side note:  later that afternoon we devoured the desserts.  Hubby said it’s the best raw cheesecake he’s had out of all the establishments we’ve tried!)

in the raw:  berry cheesecake and pistachio macaroon

in the raw: berry cheesecake and pistachio macaroon

The Loving Hut café not only has organic coffee, teas, juices, a salad bar, hot food station and dessert cabinet – they also dedicate a few shelves to vegan products such as Notzarella cheese, Primal Strips seitan vegan jerky, the Lam Yong range and Tofutti mock cream cheese among others.

As we were enjoying our meal, there was a steady stream of customers dropping in. The owner of Loving Hut Perth, Lee, says a wide variety of people come through the doors. Many are not vegans, they simply want a good feed that doesn’t cost the earth, like most things in Perth.

The next time I visit? I notice they have a Vegan Dim Sum on the menu. Their menu changes according to what’s in season, which keeps things fresh and sustainable.

Want to know more?

self-serve salad bar

self-serve salad bar

The Loving Hut Low Down:  1 Minute with Lee Mah, Owner of Loving Hut Perth

Lee Mah and her entire family are vegan.  She has a background in the restaurant business, owning two vegetarian establishments before foraying into the Loving Hut family.  In addition to running the two Loving Huts, Lee is also the Western Australian producer of vegan cheese Notzarella.  Those that haven’t tried it – you gotta.  A subtle tasting cheese, it melts and shreds just like mainstream cheese.  Melted on top of pizzas, lasagnas or as a grilled ‘cheeze’ sandwich?   Ohh la la…

Vegetarian / vegan since:

Vegetarian for over 15 years, vegan for 5 years.

Most popular dishes on the menu:

Thai green curry, sizzling peking and the mushroom delight.

Most touching Loving Hut moment:

At last week’s Running Raw around Australia Fundraising event in Cottesloe, Lee experienced something innately rewarding. A customer told her that her mother, after visiting Loving Hut Perth Cafe some months ago – has turned vegan. Lee further shares “I am touched…., and overwhelmed with gratitude and warmth. Though we have no intention of trying to convert anyone, we are simply providing vegan food and a venue for people to have an experience of eating vegan meals, However comments like this mean a lot to us all at Loving Hut Perth.”

(Note:  Running Raw around Australia is the initiative of cancer survivor Janette Murray-Wakelin & partner Alan Murray.  This couple are running 1 marathon per day for 365 days around the nation.  Why?  To draw attention to conscious lifestyle choices, kindness, compassion, sustainability and environmental awareness).

The Future of Loving Hut:

Exciting plans are underway to expand Notzarella production and Loving Hut’s famous pies.  In just 3 weeks’ time, you’ll be able to purchase Lee’s pies from your local IGA.  Hurrah!  Cue happy dance here.  As for Notzarella, Melbourne and Adelaide will follow suit, and there are currently 100 outlets in WA which stock it with this number set to increase.

Lee describes Loving Hut as being the medium to which she can promote a benevolent and peaceful world, a simple, humble vegan cafe and restaurant which is hoping to be able to serve the Perth community.

A generous soul, Lee has offered a 10% discount for my blog followers! Give the code “FriskaLove” to the Loving Hut staff when dining in the café or restaurant. This discount is valid from 3 months as of today. That means it expires on 12 December 2013 people.
NB: As of 23 September, Loving Hut East Victoria Park will only be open for dinner on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as they ramp up Notzarella production.  Rest assured this is only temporary!  Best to like their Facebook page to keep abreast of their updates.
Loving Hut Cafe and Mini Mart
Shop 19, 366 Albany Highway
Victoria Park (Mon-Fri 10am-2.30pm, Weekend 10am-4.30pm)
9470 3969Loving Hut Restaurant
64A Etwell Street
East Victoria Park (Wed-Sun 5-9pm, Fri-Sun 5-9pm as of 23 September)
9470 6162
hot food station

hot food station

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Guilt-free Gelato – Raw, Vegan, 1-button, 5-ingredient Deliciousness

Yes, I have been MIA of late.

The lack of posts are attributed to moi doing more eating than ‘raw food-ing’ of late.  Winter does that to the best of us.  (At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😛 )

Let me make it up to you!  An easy peasy dessert awaits.

Late in the night, hubby and I had a hankering for something sweet.  However that something sweet couldn’t be the calorific equivalent to slaving away for 2 hours on a treadmill.

Enter some staple vegan ingredients.

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

I was all out of frozen bananas (my go-to substitute for icecream), but was determined to make this work.

Throwing everything together in my trusty kick-ass blender, I pressed a button and waited for the magic to happen

Guilt-free Gelato – Raw Vegan Choc-Blueberry 

handful frozen blueberries
2 tbs agave
1/4 cup coconut cream
4-5 tbs raw cacao powder + optional raw carob nibs
1 tsp vanilla essence
ice blocks (approx 3-5)

Blitz the heck out of it till creamy.  Scoff.

Ohh, so good.  The creaminess of the coconut combined with the obliterated ice blocks gave it a soft-serve luxurious texture.  I decorated with a sprinkling of shredded coconut on top.

Hubby gave it the thumbs up too.

The flavour combinations are endless!

Does anyone have any rare flavoured gelato recipes?  I’d be keen to try something out of the ordinary, like fig and macadamia perhaps?

instant gelato, blender required.

instant gelato, blender required.

Pushing the sushi envelope – Aisuru Sushi’s vegan offerings

I’d heard a lot of good things about Aisuru.  Its vegan and vegetarian sushi offerings for one.  Its entire menu being 100% freshly made to order the other.

Relishing the opportunity to meet the man behind the chopsticks, hubby and I shared a quick meal with Ken, the proprietor of Aisuru Sushi.

It is apparent Aisuru Sushi is not your average sushi restaurant.  Hi-tech touches include iPads to take orders, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for seamless communication and printing of receipts – all housed in a contemporary setting.  The Subiaco establishment is the newest kid on the Aisuru block, a large open space with a family-friendly feel.  And guess what peeps – you can actually making bookings here, unlike its Northbridge counterpart!  Cue mass hysteria and cheer from families, groups and function organisers.

We were walked through the menu and given a crash course in history simultaneously.  His passion, knowledge and enthusiasm are obvious.

Aisuru Subi

Aisuru Subi

8 Little Known Gems

  1. Ken personally trained as a chef in Sydney and Japan to get an intimate knowledge on the workings of a kitchen
  2. No chefs he interviewed knew how to fulfil his vision
  3. The California roll was the 1st fusion sushi roll.  Japanese migrated to the US in droves in search of better opportunities.  When these migrants arrived, they wanted Japanese food.  Salmon was very expensive at the time, and they sought an ingredient which mimicked the texture and consistency – avocado was the substitute
  4. There was joy when the disabled ramp he installed was actually used
  5. The Aisuru menu is 2 years of Ken’s time, perseverance, and dedication
  6. Aisuru offerings only came in 8 pieces, however customers consistently requested half rolls in order to sample more of their dishes
  7. An external consultant was brought on to advise on creating vegan and vegetarian dishes – what to use, what not to use, ingredient substitutions and flavours
  8. The vegan menu was accepted from Day 1 – and not just by vegans

Now what you’ve all been waiting for… the FOOD.

First off the bat, two very popular dishes:  The Crunchy Buddha’s Delight and Veganpillar.

Veganpillar

Veganpillar

The first had a satisfying crunch in every bite, combined with creamy avocado and flavoursome mushrooms.  I chose to have the Veganpillar with plum sauce.  You can also have it with the special mustard sauce.  All sauces are made in-house.

A sight for the eyes is the sensational Beets International.  Deep red beetroot, neon splashes of mustard sauce contrasted with the greens of cucumber, avocado and asparagus.

Beets International

Beets International

Now I love this name… Apple of Love.  Awww.. its actually seasoned and blow torched razor thin tomatoes layered on top of rolls filled with greens.  Why Apple of Love?  Well (another fun fact from Ken here!) when tomatoes first arrived in France, they did not know what it was.  They needed a name for it obviously.  Given their kinda-sorta shape similarity to apples, the French decided to call it the Apple of Love, because of its rouge colour.  So romantic.  So French.  Oui?

Apple of <3

Apple of ❤

Another favourite of customers on the menu is the Magic Mushroom.  No, it does not have any of “those” sorta magic mushrooms.  This G-rated version combines enoki and button mushrooms in the one roll.  This one was lower on the totem pole in terms of flavour.  Rather, the subtle natural flavour of the mushroom is allowed to shine through. 

At the insistence of Ken, we tried the Sweet Corn Tempura.  Literally corn straight off the cob.  Kinda like popcorn shrimp without the shrimp!  Hubby found it hard to stop picking at it, very Moorish and very easy to OD on.  Thank God we weren’t at home in front of the telly otherwise he would’ve polished off the whole plate.

Corn Tempura

Corn Tempura

Hubby just had to try the best-selling double-wrapped Plum flower roll.  Somewhat of a flagship dish at Aisuru, it’s chicken teriyaki and avo wrapped in nori and shari, then wrapped once more in tamago egg and liberally doused with sauce.

A brand new addition to their new 2013 menu (out soon)  – vegan yakitori sticks!!!  We sample two varieties of tofu yakitori:  one with sea salt and ginger, the other with traditional yakitori sauce.

all vegan sweet beancurd skin roll

all vegan sweet beancurd skin roll

By this point I am fighting the urge to undo the top button of my jeans.  Yeah… been chowing down like it’s going out of fashion.  It’s catching up with me!  Taking a sip of water while hubby takes one for the team and demolishes what I can’t finish, my thoughts start to wander to dessert.

As the green tea matcha ice cream isn’t vegan, I opt for the Banana Split Maki.  The description doesn’t do it justice: fried banana topped with fresh fruits and whipped cream.  Sprinkled with icing sugar.  Drizzled with chocolate and raspberry sauce.   We’re told customers throw caution to the wind and actually L-I-C-K the plate clean.  Some don’t even order sushi and just go straight for this baby.

The dish arrives and…

banana split maki

banana split maki

Holy.  Moly.  If looks could seduce… we’d all be in our birthday suits right about now.

Mine is the one on the end – without the cream.  The challenge was to eat the whole thing in one go to get the mish mash of different flavours in your mouth.  Banana split maki – 1.  Friska – 0.  It took me 3 mouthfuls to finish it off!

That topped off our first Aisuru dining experience.  But definitely not the last.

At the end of our meal, I asked what prompted Aisuru to commence offering vegan and vegetarian choices.  He synthesizes what I had been noticing myself.  People want vegetarian food.  People want vegan food.  I have noted it is now less of a struggle for me to buy vegan items in mainstream cafes, restaurants and supermarkets.  Change is happening!

Aisuru wanted to:

a)      Be different

b)      Give consumers the choice

c)       Be innovative

d)      Never compromise on quality

e)      Provide fusion sushi comparable to the most cutting edge restaurants in Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong, New York – the renowned “food capitals” of the world.

f)       Cater to the growing ex-pat community who are looking to recreate the same dining experiences they had while living abroad.

What can I say except mission accomplished.

Magic Mushroom

Magic Mushroom

Soon those with food intolerances can rejoice with glee!  There’s gluten free and lactose intolerant options currently being worked on by the team.  The Subiaco space will also have a separate lounge area and a fridge dedicated to cakes and other sweet things to tantalise your tastebuds.

Other than that, expansion is on the cards for Aisuru.  Perth will forever be known as its first home.  Future plans are underway to roll out the concept in South Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, and the USA among many others.

I’m chuffed to think we will have a home-grown global success story.  Thinking more near-term, I’m even more ridiculously chuffed for the ability to eat sushi with hubby and non-vegan friends – without having to order the borrrrrrrr-ing cucumber roll.

Thumbs up from me.  Thumbs up from hubby.  Hubby hails from the birthplace of ‘fusion sushi’ – California.   Every so often in a fit of nostalgia he’ll wail in disappointment ‘I miss the food back home!  It lacks flavour here, it’s expensive and service is crap!’

He thanks Ken with deep sincerity “food like this makes being far away from home so much more bearable”.  You know you’re onto a good thing when the proprietors of Little Caesar’s and Jacksons’ are your regular customers.

Final verdict?  Nobu quality, Subway prices.

The finer details…

Aisuru Sushi Subiaco

480 Hay Street Subiaco – Bookings available on 9381 2919

Closed Public Holidays, Sundays and Mondays. Moving to 7 days a week very soon.

Lunch 12 to 230. Dinner 6 to 930 (till 10pm fri and sat)

&

Aisuru Sushi Northbridge

208 William Street, Northbridge

7 days a week. Lunch 12 to 230. Dinner 6 to 930 (till 10pm fri and sat)

selection of thirst quenchers

Geoff P: Vegan Snag Royalty

This profile is of a man who, along with his partner Ramona, greatly supported me in making the transition.  An engineer by trade, Geoff worked in Japan and is now happily settled in Perth.  You can find Geoff at most vegan events, just look for the long line of hungry customers at his Vegan Hot Dog stand!

geoff and ramona

geoff and ramona

The Basics:

Geoff Pape, 37, plenty of fur kids, Offshore Rig Mechanic, volunteer engineer for Sea Shepherd, volunteer for PAWS (built a vegan catering van for them).

Your journey to vegetarianism / veganism:

I gradually went vegetarian with the help of my partner Ramona Janssen.  I was vegetarian for 10 years, during which time I met other vegans like Craig Dearth, through his Vegans Unite Perth group.  Even then I had not gone vegan, although it was starting to make sense.  I was involved with PAWS in Perth and bought a copy of Earthlings, because I heard it was a good film to see.  I watched that and declared to go vegan.  I no longer wanted to be a part of any animal’s cruelty.  I have now been vegan about 7 years.

I had absolutely no difficulty transitioning from Vegetarian to Vegan.  Once the mental decision had been made it was easy.  And the food just got better. I discovered new things like nutritional yeast, how to culture vegan yogurt and I’m presently learning to make cultured vegan cheese.  I found a recipe for the best vegan sausage ever.  I use these sausages to get the  message across to those people who should be vegan, the animal charities of Perth who do meat sausage sizzles to raise money for animals.

Other good films are the Youtube video of Gary Yourofsky’s Speech “The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear”, documentaries “Got The Facts About Milk”, “Peaceable Kingdom”, “The Cove”,  “Earthlings”, the movie “Bold Native” book called “Animal Experimentation A Harvest Of Shame” by Moneim A. Fadali.

Some friends I have left behind as I have made compassionate changes to my lifestyle and they choose not to.  Family has always been a struggle.  They watch the documentaries (Earthlings etc) but still can’t connect, or refuse to connect may be more to the fact.  It is a big disappointment for sure.  Especially when I see other vegan’s families changing after being exposed to a vegan lifestyle.

 What’s the most remarkable benefit or change (could be physical, mental or emotional) you’ve noticed since becoming vegan?

Physically better because without dairy my mucus production is less.  It really affects my sinuses.  I no longer get the bad stomach cramps that I used to get as a child.  But mentally I’m way better off.  All the guilt is gone.  I am lighter, both mentally and physically.

A typical day’s meals:

Fresh Juice/Smoothie, marinated tofu burgers with heaps of fresh veges, and organic soy mayonnaise.  Black bean vege stir fries, fresh salads, pastas, pizzas.  The list is really endless!

Favourite no-fail recipe:

Spicy vegan sausages – check it out here.

Biggest challenges / obstacles of being vegan:

Trying to get my family to go vegan, or at least vegetarian.  Sometimes it can take a lot longer to find somewhere to eat when out and about.  The Happycow app certainly make things easier when travelling.

Advice to newbie vegans:

Join a local Vegan meet up group, you’ll make great friends and get tried and tested recipes.   Get the Happycow app for travelling.  Ask lots of questions from long time vegans, they are always willing to help.  Join vegan fb pages, you’ll get lots of info and advice.

Biggest misconception about vegans:

We’re weakling freaks with low iron levels and no protein.  So not true:)  And people think we are limited in our choice of food.

Cruelty Free Festival 2012

Cruelty Free Festival 2012

Top 10 Vegan FAQs: Common Myths and Answers

veg·an  /ˈvēgən/ (Noun) A person who does not eat or use animal products.

I was having a conversation with a woman on my lunch break when she queried what icecream brand I preferred – Sara Lee or Browne’s.  I smiled and said I was vegan so I didn’t eat either.  Her facial expression evolved to one uncannily similar to that of a stunned mullet if I ever saw one.  It was as if she just witnessed an immaculate conception.  I checked to see if I had inadvertently grown horns on my head.  I hadn’t.  I glanced around.  There were no aliens behind me either.

“Wow! Vegan! That’s pretty extreme, it must be so hard!”

“Umm, no, not really.” I answered. “I eat icecream – it’s just made from nuts, tofu or coconuts – not animals.”

What invariably follows is the usual barrage of questions and well-meaning comments that I’m often subjected to.  I must say at times I liken it to being subjected to the Spanish inquisition!  People are curious creatures.  I’ve noticed regardless who is asking the questions, there are common themes which arise time and time again.

So drawing from my experience, here’s a standard set of Vegan FAQ’s for carnivores, omnivores, vegos, vegans and everyone in between!

Question 1: Where do you get your protein?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question, I could buy a wardrobe-full of pieces from the (vegan) Stella McCartney collection!

Hats off to the meat and dairy industry: I covered this in a previous post.  They are indeed fantastic marketers.  There’s a widespread fear among the majority of the population they’re not consuming sufficient protein.  We’re led to believe our protein shortfall will inevitably result in weight gain, hunger or muscle loss.  Cue panic and mass hysteria.

It is simply not true. Plants have protein, people.  Kale for instance, has more protein than red meat.  As do many other vegetables.  There is abundant protein from non-animal sources – you just gotta know where to find it.  Grains, legumes and pulses are all protein-rich.  For instance, many of the foods on this link are ones I regularly consume.  Google not only the protein but nutritional content of some staple vegan foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, blackbeans, chickpeas (I could go on forever) – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

mccartney collection advertisement "stella <3 bambi"

mccartney collection advertisement

Question 2: Our predecessors ate animals, isn’t it natural to eat them?

Yes, cavemen did eat animals.  They also lived in caves and ate their own poop in desperate times.  That was eons ago and they had no choice, if they did not eat meat they would die.  For them, it was a matter of survival not of personal taste.  Our predecessors were true hunter gatherers, like any other species in prehistoric times.  They did not wander down to the nearest Woolie’s and pick up a kilo of chops.  Did you know out of the billions of species on the planet, we are the only one that eats cooked meat?

Alright, let’s see you hunt a la naturale.  Go fashion a spear out of wood, stake out your prey, run after it (using your legs not a car!), hunt it down, use your bare hands and teeth to rip into raw flesh.  Natural enough for you?  I don’t believe we are natural carnivores.  We can thrive just as well, if not better, on a plant-based diet.

Low and behold, we have evolved.  We can make choices in food consumption now.  Choices that no longer impact whether or not we survive.  We’re living in a different time, spoiled with a plethora of plant-based foods.

Question 3:  Why the emphasis on not killing animals, plants are also living beings?

Do plants feel pain? I am not aware of any research that confirms this.  We know animals feel pain and suffering, much like humans.  The central nervous system signals to the brain when pain is felt.  How would you explain the tears that fall when a mother cow is separated from her calf at a dairy farm?  All animals, not just those commonly slaughtered for food (cows, chickens, fish) feel pain.

Let’s simplify.  Think of spearing a whale.  Compare that to trimming a hedge.  Which would you rather do?  If ground-breaking findings support plants can actually feel pain, a vegan diet still causes less suffering.  Animals require feed.  By eating animal products, you are creating the demand for the slaughtering of animals.  The result is you’d be killing both the plants (feed for the livestock) and the animals.  A Western meat-heavy diet kills more plants than an exclusively plant-based diet due to the land and feed required to raise livestock.

Question 4:  What’s the environmental benefit of following a vegan diet?

This arguments expands on Question 3.  Global meat production has increased rapidly in the past half century, partly attributed to the meat-centric eating habits of the burgeoning Chinese and Indian middle class.  This equates to global warming, pollution, topsoil erosion, water scarcity and potentially endangering many species – more animals means more crops are required to feed them.  The earth cannot cope with a simultaneously increasing farm animal and human population.  A vegan diet requires only 1/3 of the land of a conventional diet.

Question 5: So what do you eat?

Definitely not just carrot sticks and lettuce leaves.  My answer is “everything you eat”.  A little substitution of ingredients, and you can veganise any recipe your heart desires.  People are of the mindset veganism is this limiting, extreme lifestyle which pigeonholes you into consuming only fruit and veg.  But it’s not just fruit and veg.  There’s an extended family of vegan foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, tempeh, seitan, polenta, couscous, tofu, millet to name a few.  Check out your local health food store and the array is mindboggling.

It’s not a boxed in, exclusive diet.  Educate yourself, start experimenting and asking questions.  You’ll be surprised at what you can create in your kitchen.

Question 6: I can’t afford a vegan diet.

Says who?  It’s the poor man’s diet!  The cheapest staple items are vegan.  Compare dried beans at $4/kg vs red meat $15/kg.  Pasta, rice and bread are easy on the wallet too.  Cook up a kilo of beans and you’ve got lunch for 2 adults for the next five days.  Cook up a kilo of meat?  You’ve got one meal for two people.

The higher end of the price spectrum are ‘superfoods’, gourmet cheeses, yoghurts and icecreams.  These are special occasion foods anyway.  Solution?  Make your own.  Yes, chia seeds may be $20/kg, but you only need 1 tablespoon a day.  It lasts for months.  Ditto for items such as maca powder, wheatgrass powder, spirulina et al… a little goes a long way.

As I said before, we now have the opportunity to choose what we put in our mouths, without fear we’ll become extinct.  Healthy veganism is about prevention, not cure.  Jamie Oliver loves to bring attention to the fact that homicide accounts for 0.8% of deaths, whereas diet-related disease is a whopping 60%.

Spend more on fruit, veg and other good stuff for you now and avoid ridiculous medical and surgery bills down the track.  Perhaps even eliminate the need for facelifts or expensive face creams and lotions?  Sign me up!

jamie oliver aka naked chef

jamie oliver aka naked chef

Question 7: I’m quite the athlete / fitness fanatic. Wouldn’t I faint from hunger / not be able to perform on vegan foods?

Hmmm, tell that to Mac Danzig, Carl Lewis, Scott Jurek, Steph Davis, Martina Navratilova, Robert Parish, Dave Scott, Alexander Dargatz to name a few.  Google vegan athletes and you’ll come up with a list of ultra-sports people from wrestling, running, MMA, bodybuilding and many sports in between.  Muscle can be built from plant-sourced protein, even better than animal protein.  Why?  Plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals yet have no saturated fats or cholesterol.

Mac Danzig

Mac Danzig

Question 8: What about travelling overseas?  It’s hard enough being vegan at home.

Happycow website.  Happycow app.  Lifesavers.

Preorder your meals before you fly.  All airlines have vegan menus available.  No-brainer.  I pack nuts, fruit, snack bars or bliss balls in my travel backpack. Also there are travel-size vegan essentials in some healthfood stores such as squeezable coconut oil and sachets of chia seed.  Although more pricey and not as good as fresh, supplements (vitamins, minerals, probiotics, green powders) do come in handy when you don’t have access to appliances and a kitchen.

Do some googling – some of our best experiences have been visiting the local farmers markets!  Good thing to know where your local supermarket or healthfood store is, and map out how to get there from your hotel too.  Learn from my experience:  note the opening hours.  We trekked all around Lyon in the freezing snow looking for this “must-see” specialty food co-op… we arrived nearly 2 hours later – only to find it closed early in winter.

I’ve never visited a restaurant that did not have a veg only dish.  And if for some reason they don’t, I’m sure they will be willing to create one for you.  I recall being in Spain and there were no vegan dishes on the menu.  I asked for a dish identical to the one hubby ordered, but asked for the meat to be excluded and doubled the veg instead.  They were more than happy to accommodate.  Most mainstream restaurants have vegan options, such as seasonal vegies or house salad.

Little-known vegan haunts are everywhere.  We love stumbling upon vegan treasures the world over.  It’s part of the fun and makes for priceless memories.

happycow.net

happycow.net

Question 9: If a vegan diet is supposed to be so healthy, how come I got sick on it?

Bizarre.  Many people report being healthier on a vegan diet, even eliminating various allergies, ailments and diseases that plagued them for years.  Any diet lacking a variety of vitamins and minerals can be unhealthy and deficient, not just a vegan one.  So focus on nutritional content this time round.  Perhaps you felt unwell not because it was a vegan diet, but rather it was an unbalanced one.  There’s plenty of information out there on what constitutes a well-balanced vegan diet.  Read up on it, speak to other vegans and by all means ask questions!

Question 10: How extreme are you?  Do you wear plastic shoes, roam around on a pushbike, have a penchant for tie dye and pay no attention whatsoever to personal grooming?

Many people mistake ‘vegan’ as a codeword for “tree-hugging hippie with generous lashings of patchouli”.

They come in all shapes and sizes, undiscriminating against race, sex, age or gender.

One well-known vegan is Anne Hathaway, of Les Miserables fame.  She famously insisted the Tom Ford gladiator heels she wore to the red carpet premiere were to be remade in faux leather (she also wore custom-made vegan shoes in the film).  Other celeb vegans are Drew Barrymore, Woody Harrellson, Stella McCartney, Russell Brand and Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi to name a few.

Everyone is at different stages and makes their own personal choices.  I wish vegan shoes / cosmetics / skincare / vegan-anything really was more affordable.  Who doesn’t!  And yeah, I can understand (and have felt) how difficult it is to fork out three times as much for the vegan option compared to the mainstream option.

Some vegans dedicate their efforts to eliminating animal foods and animal by-products from their diet, others embrace the vegan lifestyle through their homewares and furniture choices, some through deciding what charities to support.  It’s a full-time job being 110% vegan 24/7, as so many products contain eggs and other animal sources, even beer and wine!  We are limited by our available resources (time, money) and do the best we can with what we have.

No matter where you are on your journey, every little bit helps.

“We do not inherit the planet from our parents, instead we hold it in kind for our grandchildren.”

I absolutely love the quote below from a man I profiled in a previous post.  It really sums up what veganism is all about – so compelling on so many fronts.

“I learned there wasn’t just my one reason for being a vegetarian or veganspiritual, there were several others: ethical (animal rights), economic (it was cheaper), ecological (less polluting and better for biosphere), health (many factors), and aesthetic (wasn’t it more beautiful?)”  Warren G

What about you?  Why did you choose to follow a vegan lifestyle?  Or what’s holding you back from it?