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Eating out vegan…or so I thought – Madam Mam’s – Austin, Texas

For years I have been a regular patron of Madam Mam’s. It is our go to lunch spot during the week. They have amazing food, fast and attentive service and there is no limit to their ever growing Thai menu.

The revelation I came to after reviewing their restaurant is that nearly everything I have been eating is NOT actually vegan. There are only 4 vegan dishes on the menu. 2 appetizers and 2 entrees. I am a little bummed out by this, but not deterred. I just know what to order now. And, I know to forever ask if what I would like to order is, in fact, vegan.

Check out my review of Madam Mam’s on Yelp.com.

What to order: Start with the Tofu Spring Rolls. I have yet to try the two entrees that are listed as vegan-friendly on their website. I will get back to you…

What NOT to order: Any of the 496 out of 500 dishes on the menu that aren’t vegan.

If you don’t want to miss out on any of my reviews, checkout my “Veganese Please” list and become a fan on Yelp!

Recovering Carnivore Step #5 – Educate yo’ self

Step #5:

We have admitted that all our ideas about healthy food are crap and that the people who taught us about health don’t have a clue either. We are free to right the wrongs of our dietary past and move on with our lives.

 This is a 12-part series delving deep into each step of the Recovering Carnivore 12 Step Program.

I really got mad when I first heard that the average doctor, who has over 7 years of education, only takes about 3 hours of nutrition courses to become a Doctor.

I mean, these people save lives. At least, that is the way I’ve always viewed them. Doctors are automatic hero’s. They show up at work everyday, they heal, cure and bring people back to life and BOOM! HERO!! It is an amazing thing.

And yet, think about all the lives they could save by prescribing dietary changes to avoid the life saving moments.

We could get into the politics of it all and the money. Oh, the beautiful money. But let’s take a moment to rise above it all…

If we take responsibility for our own lives, rid ourselves of the old ideologies we have about food and eat our way into a healthier existence; we can avoid having to go see a Doctor, to get another prescription, to push our healthcare costs up even higher, etc, etc.

Let’s come together as intelligent, focused and conscious human beings and change not only our lives, but also make a dent in the world doing it.

Eating out vegan… Mother’s Cafe and Garden – Austin, Texas

You’ve heard the phrase, “Brother from another Mother”, right?

Mother’s is a “Restaurant from another Mother”.

Disguised as a quaint, local, run-of-the-mill eatery; Mother’s is definitely from another planet. The planet is made up of people who only shop local, source their ingredients from their own backyard or local farmer, only eat veggies and never where watches. This place exists in its own time space continuum… and that’s why I love it!

Check out my review of Mother’s Cafe and Garden on Yelp.com.

What to order: The vegan pancake of the day and coffee.

What NOT to order: Any of their mexican dishes. I don’t know why they don’t work…they just don’t.

If you are feeling frisky, get a desert. You won’t be disappointed.

Mother's Cafe and Garden - Click here to see their menu

If you don’t want to miss out on any of my reviews, checkout my “Veganese Please” list and become a fan on Yelp!

Recovering Carnivore Step #4 – Say No to the Pillbox

Step #4:

We have made a searching and fearless inventory of our general health and realized that it is complete shit. SAY NO TO THE PILL BOX.

This is a 12-part series delving deep into each one of these steps.

“Say no to the pillbox” is becoming one of my favorite phrases. It is my mantra, my call to arms, my power-phrase. It’s what I say when I am frustrated with my food choices and need to get back on track. If I were to give a Braveheart-esque speech, this would be how I would finish it.

Before I get too carried away with this… You all do know what a pillbox is, right? It is that rectangular box with the different compartments with the days of the week written on them.

Say No to the Pillbox!!

You might have one, your parents might have one, your grandma, sister, neighbor, etc might have one. The point is, these boxes are a growing trend in American health care. And that scares the hell out of me.

Think about it… every morning when you get up, having to go over to the pillbox and pull out your meds. All the insurance co-pays and trips to the pharmacy for refills. I can’t even begin to imagine how much money in pill form that little box sees over its lifetime. And to think—it’s all because of the foods you choose to eat that the pillbox is even in your life.

Making a decision to adopt a plant-based diet for me is a long-term decision. I hope to never get to that point in my life where I become slave to the pillbox and it’s contents within. It has never been more clear to me that veganism + exercise = a long and healthy life.

Say no to the pillbox and say yes to life!


7 Easy Steps to a Healthy Life!

So, you’re ready to take the plunge into being a recovering carnivore and don’t know where to start.

Great, I can help with that! To begin, let’s keep the recipes and meal planning very basic. Don’t over think, appreciate.

1. Green smoothie for breakfast.

  • It’s like a regular smoothie, only you add kale.

2. 4-5 smaller veggie, nut, seed and grain filled meals per day.

  • Keep the engine burning all day long. Watch your gut vanish and your energy rocket up, up and away.

3. Get a juicer or find a juice bar and drink fresh juice everyday.

  • Shock your system with raw, nutrient-rich fruits and veggies in a glass. Nature makes the best energy drink out there.

4. Don’t eat first thing in the morning and don’t eat within a couple of hours of going to bed.

  • Your stomach will fool you in the morning by groaning and moaning. Hold off until after getting a light workout in. We also drink a cup of hot lemon water to help with digestion.
  • As for bedtime, your body stops breaking down calories as soon as you fall asleep. You will also feel better in the morning if you don’t have that late night snack.

5. Listen to your body: Eat only when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full.

  • Simple, but effective.

6. Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins.

  • 6 to 8 glasses per day and make sure it’s filtered.

7. Cook the food yourself.

  • You will definitely know where your food comes from and how it is prepared if you do it yourself. Plus, it is so much more rewarding when you can say that you made it from scratch.

After these simple steps, the rest is downhill.

Recommended reading to simplify your life and your health. Why should eating healthy be so complicated anyway??

Pick up a copy of Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It is a quick read and will fundamentally change the way you approach food.

Vegan restaurants and their hokey names

The title of this post kind of explains it all….

Straight up hokey vegan restaurant names include:

Beets Cafe 

Beet's Cafe is a raw food restaurant on West 5th.

Mr. Natural 

Two locations - one on East Cesar Chavez and the other on South Lamar

Veggie Heaven

Veggie Heaven is near UT campus

Borderline hokey name restaurants:

Conscious Cravings 

Food Trailer near UT campus

 Mother’s Cafe and Garden

Mother's is North of UT campus in Hyde Park.

The only cool vegan restaurant name that is edgy, fun and to the point is…

Counter Culture

This is a food trailer in Hyde Park

Note: This in no way takes into consideration the quality of the food of any of these restaurants. As a guy’s guy and former meat-eater turned vegan, it is just hard to take these places serious based on the name alone. I can tell you from eating at all of these fine establishments, their food is no joking matter–it is all very delicious and healthy!

Real Men… join a CSA.

What is a CSA, you ask?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

It is basically a partnership between the consumer and the farmer. We, the consumer, pay in advance for a share of the farmer’s harvest. Twice a month we receive a box of veggies. In turn, the farmer is able to cover their overhead or start a special project.

Our favorite part is that they deliver the box of veggies to a pick up spot just down the street from our home. Since becoming vegan, we go through a ton of veggies and this helps us stay local, organic and seasonal. We mix that with what we pick up at the grocery store and tah-dah, we are healthy!

There are a few different grocery delivery services out there. There are also other CSA’s out there as well. We decided to partner with Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

First, these guys are always out in force at the farmer’s market. They have a ton of variety and they are trying to continue to grow. That’s where we come in…

By joining their CSA, they are able to move quicker towards their goal of building out their facilities. Plus, it’s just cool to buy our organic veggies straight from the source.

Checkout their website. Go meet them at the farmer’s market. And support your health and your local farmer by purchasing their produce–total win-win!

We got our first box today and it is badass. Or at least as badass as a box of vegetables can be.

Take a look at the box and all the great veggies we got below:

JBG CSA Box November 1st. 2011

JBG Share - Side of the box.

JBG - bottom of the box.

JBG's Stash this week. Click here to see their pic of the spread.

This box contains… drum roll please…

Radishes
Broccoli Raab
Salad Mix
Tomatillos
Green Beans
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Okra
Beets
Rainbow Chard
Onions

If you are going to consider joining a CSA near you, I highly recommend getting to know your farmer before getting involved. The up front cost means you are locked in for the year. Not all CSAs work this way, many offer a variety of options to make it easy for you to join. We chose the year long commitment because of the cost effectiveness. Each box costs us around $28 each.

We are going to go check out Johnson’s Backyard Garden’s operation soon and maybe even help plant and harvest the crops. Real men are definitely planters and harvesters.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you have any tips for joining a CSA, please share in the comments.

**************

Coming soon to a blog near you… a price by price comparison of the cost of buying the same organic veggies we got from our local farmer, from our local grocer.

Recovering Carnivore Step #3 – Be the change you want to see in the world

Step #3:

We have made a decision to turn our will over to the produce section. We have shut down our deep fryers, put away our steak knives and started going to a Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning.

This is a 12-part series delving deep into each one of these steps.

Everyone has read the infamous words spoken by an even more infamous person…

Be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Ghandi

The point I am trying to make with the 3rd step of a recovering carnivore is very simple: Love your diet like you love yourself. There is no better way  to influence your friends and family, than living the life you love. They will recognize the changes for the better and start questioning their own eating habits.

There is no need to preach about “being vegan”. Practice what you preach and you won’t have to. The extra energy, focus and natural glow cannot be ignored.

There are also some other mental shifts you should consider. Like…

Changing your vocabulary from, “I can’t eat that because I’m vegan” to “I CHOOSE not to eat that because I’m vegan”.

And…

  • I don’t want to have a triple by-pass at age 50
  • I don’t want to have high cholesterol
  • I don’t want to have type-2 diabetes
  • I don’t want to die from cancer.

If you just want to keep it simple… I just want to look good naked.

How difficult of a concept is that?

________________________________

Essentials books, movies and websites to help your cause:

Essential reads for vegans:

Essential movies for vegans:

Essential websites for vegans:

If you have any suggestions to add to these lists, please share in the comments!