I don’t eat out very often. I realize that’s probably something you won’t read often on a site devoted to veganism but that’s the case with me. I love to cook. I think I can cook anything at home and it be better than what I can find in a restaurant locally. I’m sure you feel the same about your own cooking. I also like to save money and we all know eating out in any restaurant that’s not fast food can get expensive. In our house we cook something from scratch at least 5 days out of the week. The other days it may be leftovers. So, what do you like to cook? Show me your food pictures. Find more of my own on Instagram.
We find ourselves at a new year. 2014 has passed and we’re ready to take up 2015. Some of us will stay with our ways into this new year but some will advance and make changes.
A vegetarian or vegan diet change is a popular New Year’s resolution. Many jump onto the bandwagon in a desire to get healthy and run amok in the natural foods section of their local grocery store. If you are one of these people let me first say congratulations. You are on your way to making a change in your life that will make an impact few other simple changes can make. Energy, health and a sense of pride in knowing you are doing something right can be had if you set off onto this road in the right way. Allow me to give a few pointers.
1. Watch what you eat. This is a given but I don’t mean count your fat intake and watch your protein. I mean watch the processed foods. There’s a full range of fake meat products in the refrigerated section; these are aimed at the transitioning vegetarian. The one who liked their sausage and biscuit every morning can still have it with that roll of processed starch packaged just like a roll of Jimmy Dean. Those fake cheeses have come a long way in just the last 5 years. Daiya and Teese make some products that will fool a dairy cheese loving pizza freak but they’re still not the best for you. Sure they’re healthier than dairy cheese and a little here and there isn’t going to break you but use it in moderation. If you want this new endeavor to make you shine and you want to get all you can look down the produce aisle or visit your farmers market. There’s power in those fresh veggies!
2. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. You will have people tell you that one cannot survive on a vegan diet because of a lack of protein. It’s a common misconception. You will get plenty of protein on a vegan diet. There’s protein in that spinach. Black beans, or any bean for that matter, is packed with protein. The protein you’ll get from plants is a more soluble protein than the protein from animal products and you’re not getting any of the bad cholesterol.
3. Learn to cook if you don’t already know how. If you like cookbooks you’ll find shelves full at your big box bookstore and while some are much better than others there’s much to be learned from all if you’re new to the vegan kitchen. Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are much more plentiful now than they were 15 years ago when I decided to go down this road. Finding a vegan item on a menu that wasn’t salad was nearly impossible then. You may live in a large metropolitan area that has a Veggie Grill on every corner and even though you can find some great vegan restaurants these days nothing will give you more satisfaction in a meal than cooking it yourself. Not only will you save money but you’ll impress friends and family with how great those veggies can taste!
4. The vegan lifestyle is more than food. It is not only what you eat it is how you live. A compassionate outlook on the world involves many changes from your daily routine. From the food you eat before you walk out of the door in the morning to the toothpaste you use to brush your teeth before you go to bed. The shoes you wear and the soap you shower with will likely change if you continue your journey into vegan lifestyle. Don’t think it all has to be done immediately and instantly. You may only stop at the plant-based diet and not choose a vegan lifestyle but then you may go further and adopt all. It’s your choice but the bigger the choice the greater the reward.
If you have questions or need advice I’m here to help. You can use the contact form to reach me, leave a comment or find me on Twitter where I tweet about many things not only the vegan lifestyle. There’s a great community of good vegans out there who will be ready to answer your questions as well and it’s not difficult to find them. There’s also a group full of negativity who can crush you so beware.
I wish you the best on your journey!
Every vegan has been in the situation before: Going out to eat and no vegan options so you settle for the burrito joint. You’ll be able to get a black bean and rice burrito with a spoon of guacamole if you’re lucky. Now nothing is wrong with black beans and I’m never one to shun some guacamole but sometimes you need a little extra on your burrito and I don’t mean lettuce and cucumbers.
Chipotle has been rolling out their Sofritas, a spicy seasoned tofu, for a while now. Presently, it is available in 24 states. On October 13th, that will expand to the south and southeast US. That means you’ll be able to get a little extra protein on your vegan or vegetarian burrito in Nashville.
I was invited to try Sofritas last week and even though I have traveled out west a couple times this year where Sofritas is now served at all Chipotle restaurants this was my first time trying it.
As you go down the line and and get you rice and beans the Sofritas is right there next to the chicken and beef. I know what you’re thinking – CROSS CONTAMINATION! – because, let’s be honest, vegans think about those things. If you’re vegan don’t lie, you think about it every single time someone touches cheese and then asks if you want it on your burrito making an assumption. Well, this is a fast casual eatery so things happen but it has it’s own spoon and at the restaurant I was at the Sofritas was behind all other animal products so no dripping would occur as other items were served. Set you mind at ease or don’t eat out, right?
Chipotle is a restaurant that is big on local and fresh ingredients. Of course sourcing local tofu all over the country is not an easy task so they have chosen one supplier, Hodo Soy of San Francisco, as their tofu supplier. Chipotle goes as local as possible with their other ingredients. They source from a 350 mile radius of the restaurant’s market for ingredients such as tomatoes, which are hand chopped each day in the restaurant, and lettuce. The rice used in the Nashville restaurants is grown in Arkansas. Bet you didn’t know there were rice patties in The Natural State!
When I tried the Sofritas I was expecting a bit of heat, just a mild bite, since it is seasoned with roasted poblano and chipotle chilis but it was a very mild, sweet flavor. The tofu is a super firm tofu and it is in tiny bits. It is very chewy and holds the flavor of the sauce very well.
A Sofritas burrito is $6.50. While you may be accustomed to getting your vegetarian burrito at Chipotle with a heaping scoop of guacamole included that is not the case with a Sofritas burrito, guacamole is extra. I opted for guacamole on my Sofritas but in the future may leave it off as I thought it didn’t blend well with the spices of the Sofritas and it made the burrito too heavy flavored. I would rather have the guacamole on the side with chips.
Now is your chance to try Sofritas courtesy of Chipotle and Nashveggie.com. I will be giving away cards for a free burrito. Leave a comment below tell me, and Chipotle, your favorite thing to order at Chipotle. I will also choose another winner on Twitter. To enter there just retweet this tweet and be sure you follow @nashveggie:
— NashVeggie (@nashveggie) October 10, 2014
All winners will be chosen at random on Friday, October 24.
For a while J. Alexander’s had had an excellent veggie burger that has been vegan. However, on a recent visit I inquired about the veggie burger once again. I was told that the recipe for this burger had changed recently with a menu revamp and now contained eggs and that the bun now had an egg wash. Unfortunately, for the local veggie burger fans this is one less choice.
Do you have a favorite veggie burger in the Nashville area? Let us know in the comments where you find it and be sure to specify if it is vegan.
Saying goodbye to 2013 for me is easy. It happens to be one of the worst years I can remember. I am ready to move on and hope you are, too.
With the new year I hope to find more time to spend here as lately I’ve neglected Nashveggie.com.
This post is a simple Happy New Year and to ask if you have made a resolution going into 2014. Will you be trying a vegan diet? Giving up a certain food? Making other lifestyle changes? If you need help along the way feel free to post questions and I’ll help all I can as well as many others who read this site are likely to chime in with assistance.