Whole Roasted Cauliflower

whole-roasted-cauliflowerThe first day in my mono-diet challenge week #1: cauliflower. I’ve had an interest in mono diets for years now and have loosely followed one before, about 8 years ago and again 2 years after that. The term “mono diet” might raise red flags in the eyes of some people as an extreme elimination diet or unhealthy obsession. Granted, some people do take it to the extreme i.e. nothing but bananas for 1 week. In contrast, my version of a mono diet takes 1 whole food and builds basic dishes around it using 5 ingredients or fewer. I’ve decided to start with cauliflower, an in-season vegetable that thrives during the winter months. To kick off this week, I chose to roast a whole head of cauliflower. Unlike other recipes for whole roasted cauliflower, this one does not call for oil.

This recipe works great for 1 person (providing leftovers to eat throughout the day, making it very easy to stick to a mono diet) or to share. It also makes a great main dish to cook for the entire family. Cut into it like you would a quiche or a pizza, and serve with greens. *On a mono diet, I never eliminate raw greens. The calorie-free nutrients they provide help to maintain nutritional balance and avoid nutrient deficiencies that might otherwise occur from eating only 1 food for 7 days. In any case, I prefer for my vitamin and mineral intake to come from vegetables and greens rather than isolated sources such as multivitamins or supplements. However, if you take a daily multivitamin I would recommend continuing to take it during periods of mono-eating.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower


1 head of Cauliflower, leaves & tough core removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk


Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine the lemon juice, garlic, and almond milk with the salt and pepper. Evenly coat the cauliflower head with the mixture. Place in a large shallow roasting pan and place in the center of the oven.

Roast for 25-35 minutes, occasionally rotating the cauliflower to ensure it cooks evenly. Remove from oven, let cool, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper if desired.

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Puerto Rican “Crab Cakes”

vegan-crab-cakeConsidering association(s) of the dish with Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore, It surprised me to find crab cakes served in shacks on the beach in Puerto Rico. This recipe adapts the type of crab cake commonly found in Puerto Rico, which differs from other vegan adaptations that tend to emulate the style of crab cake most people expect in the states. Instead of using Tempeh or another “meat substitute” I used heart of palm, which seemed more appropriate in this case not only culturally speaking–but also for the fact that it makes the recipe not only paleo-friendly but paleo-approved. I’d like to hear rebuttals of this statement, if anyone begs to differ.

I find it easier to make the mixture for the cakes the night before, so that the flavors combine and the cakes form more easily. Since this recipe adaptation doesn’t call for breadcrumbs as many crab cake recipes do (which tends to help them to keep from falling apart), I highly recommend going this route if you can. Otherwise: no worries. Just apply a bit more care to the handling of the cakes while frying.

Also—if you make the aoili the day before I guarantee a flavor upgrade. Even a few days before (fyi the lemon juice acts as a natural preservative so no need to worry; it will keep at least a week).


Puerto Rican “Crab” Cakes


For the cakes:
1 (14 ounce) can or jar heart of palm, chopped
1 cup water
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for pan frying
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 Large Garlic Cloves (pressed)
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
1/4 cup soy-free vegan mayo
1 Lime, juiced
1 Tbsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp dulse granules

Garlic aoili:
1/2 cup soy-free vegan mayo
1/2 lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp celery seed
pinch of cayenne pepper, or a bit more to taste


Thoroughly combine all ingredients for the aioli in a small bowl. This does not require a mixer or food processor. Cover and move to the fridge.

Transfer all ingredients for the crab cakes in a bowl and mash with a fork. You can also use your hands.

To cook the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron or otherwise non-stick skillet over medium heat. Scoop approximately 1/4 cup dough and form into a ball with your hands. Flatten gently and add to the skillet when ready. Depending on the circumference of your skillet, you can cook more than one at a time. When I developed this recipe I could only fit one in my (ridiculously small) cast iron skillet. I imagine most people own a larger one! But when cooking for 1, it works like a charm. Anyway: fry each 1 or each batch for 3 minutes on each side, allowing for the margin of error that could occur between types of stoves, skillets, oil used, etc.

Serve with lime wedges and garlic aioli. I think it tastes especially great atop flavorful wild lettuce leaves (such as “spring mix” that contains spicy lettuce i.e. arugula in addition to milder varieties e.g. baby romaine leaves). If you want to stick to authenticity of the region from which I adapted this recipe, serve it with shredded cabbage. *Totally unrelated: it’s my favorite vegetable…but I didn’t have any on hand for the photo.


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Paleo Vegan Bagels

Until recently I never attempted to make my own bagels, since I imagined the task required fancy appliances and a lot of skill. The only paleo-friendly bagel recipes I’d found online required eggs–for which replacements such as flax or chia seeds should work in theory–but finding the perfect egg replacer in vegan recipe development can take many tries and several messes to clean. When you live with roommates, a mess in the kitchen can cause arguments and annoyed glances that just didn’t seem worth it in this case. Finally, while house-sitting one day I couldn’t resist the opportunity to utilize the empty kitchen and peaceful, quiet environment to make as many messes as it might take to develop this recipe. On the third try, after tweaking a few of the ingredients and proportions, my efforts paid off.

For this paleo vegan bagel recipe you need neither a bagel pan nor a mixer. Personally I found it easier to mix by hand, since it required significantly less clean-up afterward.

Paleo Vegan Bagels

This recipe yields 6 paleo vegan bagels. You will need:


1/2 cup blanched almond meal aka almond flour
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds or flaxseed meal
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup coconut butter, softened
sesame seeds or poppy seeds, optional


1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, or in a food processor or mixer if you prefer.
2. Add the 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 softened coconut butter. Continue to mix until ingredients combine to form a dough.
3. Separate dough into 6 uniform pieces and form into balls
4. Create a hole in each bagel (about the diameter of a quarter)
5. Sprinkle bagels with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, optional.
6. Bake on parchment paper at 350*F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, and let cool for an hour before serving.

To store the bagels for later use, transfer to the refrigerator or a cool, dry space in an airtight container.

Paleo vegan bagel topping ideas, some of my favorite combinations:


Savory Toppings

Avocado with red onion and black olives
Cilantro-pesto cheez with sliced heirloom tomatoes
Tahini with raw vegan sauerkraut

Or try my version of a “pizza” bagel:
Raw tahini with sun dried tomatoes, kale or arugula, and artichoke hearts; try it with Tofu ricotta for a low-fat version if you don’t have qualms about soy.

I usually make this open-faced but you can make it a bagel sandwich by spreading a thinner layer of tahini or tofu ricotta on both sides. If you spread it on both sides too thick, the flavor of the tahini tends to overpower the other ingredients. Too much tofu ricotta, on the other hand, will spill out both sides when you try to eat the sandwich.

Sweet Toppings

Tahini with thinly sliced apples, sprinkled with cinnamon
Hempseed butter, lightly sprinkled with cinnamon-stevia “sugar”
Almond butter with blueberries or blackberries (you can add them whole or mash them to make a spread or a “jam”. Add stevia to taste, optional, depending on the sweetness of the berries). Spread atop the almond butter.

Enjoy these paleo vegan bagels with different variations of your favorite ingredients.


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1 Food You Should Learn to Make in College

…when you don’t want to eat like this:
college-food-pyramid (1)

College is difficult to navigate on many levels, with or without the dreaded “freshman 15”. In my case, as a raw vegan, I could’ve avoided it easily with a bit of planning ahead–but unfortunately (as a raw vegan entering college at 17) there weren’t any resources geared toward people of my demographic. Sure, vegan how-to guides for college students existed…but most of those focused on the need to appeal to a younger or otherwise “college-age” crowd, i.e. the irony was so thick you could cut it with a knife. *Disclaimer: The copy in those books never ceased to be clever, and for that I think they’re great. I adapted many of the recipes to suit a raw food diet and later said recipes actually became quite helpful. That said, the avocado-date-kale smoothies I made in the dorm kitchen prior to moving out did not do me many favors in terms of staying fit. The walks from work to school and drinking coffee instead of breakfast did. I’m not saying you should skip breakfast, in college or otherwise. Knowing your body takes time. It’s complicated. The recipe that saved my physique, taking the place of too much fat and sugar, as well as too much coffee, in order to stay alert and not fall asleep in class…is this:wakake-carrot-tahini

Wakame-Carrot-Tahini Bowl

I invented this after acquiring a food processor at Goodwill in February 2008 that I noticed while in search of cassette tapes (this was pre-smartphone/iPhone, obviously) for my 1996 Subaru Outback. I admit I’m a bit of a blender snob (if that’s a thing; I doubt it is) so the 1985 Oster blender caught my eye immediately. So did the 1981 food processor. Ironically and to my sheer and utter delight, I found both that day. After that fateful second-hand shopping spree, inevitably my raw (and later, paleovegan) recipes started to require a food processor or blender. Take note, parents and grandparents of college students or other progeny with hectic schedules: sometimes you can’t take the time to eat a salad. It is, however, possible to throw said salad in a blender, pour it in a coffee mug, and drink it on the way to class or to work.

Despite the monologue regarding blenders, this post concerns a recipe that doesn’t require one. (It was merely to foreshadow upcoming posts for future recipes geared toward paleovegan college students). This wakame-carrot-tahini bowl incorporates every component of the type of meal that scientific studies have proven to meet the requirements of satisfaction regarding the human palate. It’s true: see this article. It also contains 160 calories…about the same as a Luna bar, a Lara bar, or other “bar” I previously relied on for a “snack”. It does contain fat (13g) but the absence of oil makes it paleo. I lost 10 pounds after eliminating oil, avocados, and bananas from my diet. *Note, I’m not against the consumption of avocados or bananas. In fact, I actually really like them. It’s just not natural, in my opinion, to eat them in non-tropical regions of the world. If you live in a tropical climate and those fruits are available in-season, locally…you should incorporate them into your otherwise balanced paleovegan diet.

wakake-carrot-tahini (2)

The Need for Seaweed

I’m discovering more and more how significant a part seaweed plays in a paleovegan diet no matter where you live. Seaweed is available and sourced naturally from one end of the earth to the other. Wherever there’s ocean, seaweed exists. Granted, some states and provinces are landlocked…but never more than halfway across a continent from a beach. Eat seaweed. But do take note of the semi-recent radiation scare re: Fukushima…and also be aware of the fact that only hijiki seaweed is thought to have been affected. So, avoid hijiki if you’re worried about the potential radiation (which many studies show did not actually affect the seaweed) but don’t worry about other varieties. Seaweed contains iodine, a nutrient missing in most other foods but considered important according to science. A member of the algae family, the plethora of seaweed available falls into three different categories: brown, red and green. The most commonly used by chefs throughout the world are the brown varieties such as wakame (the seaweed used in this recipe) followed by kelp (of which there are so many varieties I can’t list them here). Then there is red seaweed, a subgroup of seaweed that includes nori (the type used in sushi).

 Wakame-Carrot-Tahini Bowl: The Recipe

…so easy and satisfying, you’ll kick yourself for the times you brought ramen noodles to school or microwaved frozen dinners for late-night sustenance.


Makes 1 serving

3/4 cup dry wakame seaweed
1 cup raw julienned carrots (or you can use a vegetable peeler to shave off noodle-like pieces).
2 Tbsp raw tahini (or you can use roasted, which some people prefer and is the type generally used in hummus and babaganoush)


Put wakame in a small bowl or mug. Pour enough water over it to cover and let sit for 10 minutes (wakame is perhaps the quickest to hydrate of all the seaweeds, hence the use of it in this “quick and easy” student-friendly recipe).

After wakame is hydrated, there shouldn’t be much water to drain. It depends on your salt preference. If you like ramen noodles or recently stopped eating meat or cheese, don’t drain it. If your taste buds are more fine-tuned (having gone vegan at least 6 months ago), drain at least part of the water.

Add raw tahini to the carrot pieces to coat them. Then add carrot to the seaweed, stirring as you would a salad.


…and await more raw vegan and paleovegan recipes. Focus on your studies and let me take charge of your meal plan. You’ll thank me later.

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Low-Carb, Fat Free, Delicious Blended Soups

I’m a huge fan of blended soups, year round. Besides gazpacho and other raw soups, I wasn’t always this way. Between 2005 and 2007 I swore by a 90% raw diet but in February 2008 learned to compromise a bit…and found that hot steamed vegetables and vegetable soups ward off cravings for things like refined carbohydrates and sugar. Also, raw fruit i.e. bananas or avocados transported here from a tropical climate in the middle of winter never did me any favors in terms of staying fit or feeling energized enough to exercise. So over the years of revising my diet (I initally stopped eating raw after an argument with my significant other at the time who had cooked a vegan dinner for me and I dismissed it for not meeting the standards of the way I preferred to eat) I actually ended up losing weight after that fateful evening, since I made the compromise to cut out avocados and nuts if I were to integrate cooked vegetables and beans–and it turns out I “thrive”, so to speak, on a lower fat, reduced carb diet as opposed to a high fat, 95% raw, fruit-laden one. Granted, I always eat at least one raw meal or “snack” per day, even if it’s a handful of carrot sticks, sliced cucumber, or celery. It’s difficult, when you have a full-time job or are a student with a full schedule, to stay hydrated and maintain energy levels–and things like chopped veg or packaged “baby carrots” or cauliflower florettes have been lifesavers for me. When I worked part-time as a full-time student in college, I think most days I started with a quad-shot espresso, a double shot after school and/or before work, snacked on raw vegetables or an apple on the drive between Ashland and Medford (from my work to my night classes), brought a cup of coffee to the night class, and maybe ate some leftover cooked vegetables upon returning home if I had a paper to write for a different class, or some math homework, or something (there was almost always something). On days that I didn’t have night class I rode my bike instead of using my car, and thus burned more calories so I usually relied on something like a soy latte or a bit of trail mix to stay alert whenever there was a lull in the day.

Although I’d abstained from grains for 4 years prior to 2010, I’ve made compromises. For example, in January 2010 when I volunteered in Ecuador I ate quinoa because vegetables were expensive and raw vegetables not always safe to eat (though I did eat a lot of raw cucumbers and cabbage, and other things that come with a “wrapper”), and because quinoa is cheap and budgets for volunteer accomodation in Ecuador are very, very minimal. Ironically, quinoa is considerably cheaper than white rice in markets there, an explanation for which can be summarized as: white rice is a symbol of affluence, associated with developed nations, and quinoa is a symbol of poverty. I also ate oatmeal with chopped mango and papaya for breakfast, because the walk to the school I worked at involved a few miles (much of which was an uphill climb). I didn’t consider myself any less healthy for eating some grain, or any less vegan for eating the vegetables out of a soup made with chicken broth and subtly handing the broth to my ex-boyfriend to make it look as if I ate it all (to avoid offending the person who prepared the soup and so generously offered it to me). Living/volunteering abroad is material for its own article, so moving on…there was also the time when I had to taste-test every item on the menu at the restaurant I worked at in college (as was required of all employees). Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem, since at most restaurants the majority of dishes are not vegan. At this one on the other hand, every single wrap, panini, salad, and beverage could be adapted to accomodate vegan customers. For example, cheese could almost always be replaced with hummus, aoili with veganaise (actually, come to think of it, there was a vegan aoili), milk with soymilk, cream with coconut milk…and all of the breads/wraps were vegan by default. Looking back on that time, I recall my then-significant other coming in handy in this situation also (I would order the wrap or panini to-go, take a bite to say I’d tried it, and he was happy for the free lunch–and I’d eat an apple or have another coffee or something). Thanks, ____, for bailing me out of eating wheat (and chicken broth).

Anyway, I thought this post required a detailed backstory in order to express my deep, profound love for blended vegetable soups. The recipes I’ve created or adapted are very low calorie (to put that in context, I think they’d measure in at 0 Weight Watchers points, or would be considered “negative calories” by some diet philosophies). Sadly, most blended soups offered at restaurants contain unneccessary ingredients like heavy cream, and the vegan ones often have a coconut milk base (which is totally unnecessary, and tastes revolting once you start making your own without it). I cannot stress this enough: a “creamy” texture and body can be achieved very easily through the utilization of cooked carrots and kale or collard greens. Even Indian dahl–which is normally lentil-based, is defined by the spices (FYI–cooked carrots and/or cauliflower or green beans provide the same texture as lentils, + more vitamins, minus the carbs. Get the spice ratio right, and the difference is undecipherable).

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t mean to imply I’m a hater of coconut milk. To the contrary–I wish the rest of the world would jump on the dairy-free alt-cream bandwagon. Even Thai restaurants, bubble-tea shops, and Asian bakeries in Chinatowns in cities across the United States, have abandoned coconut milk in favor of dairy cream (a fact saturated with irony–considering that in the traditional cuisine of most Asian cultures, dairy is nill). Example: my friend took me to a creek-side Thai restaurant in the heart of Ashland, Oregon (where roughly 60% of the population doesn’t eat dairy) for my birthday last year, and we ordered Stoli-infused thai iced teas with coconut milk substituted for heavy cream (my idea, since the presence of coconut milk in the kitchen was a no-brainer) and for each $9 cocktail $3 was added to the bill ($24 for weak cocktails was–even though I wasn’t responsible for the tab–kind of a buzzkill…on principle). After that night, I decided to stop relying on cashews or tahini for a “creamy” texture in the soups and salad dressings I make. Now that I’ve stopped, both seem much too rich…a flavor/texture that leaves me unsatisfied because the “creaminess” dulls the natural richness of the vegetables and the kick provided by the meticulously calculated spice-salt-stevia ratio. To prove this theory, I utilized my NutriBullet (BTW any food processor or blender will work, just maybe not as quickly) to re-create all of the blended soups I’ve tried over the years and loved at restaurants around the world. Each example includes a description of where and when I discovered the soup, and how to eliminate the empty calories (sugar and fat) while achieving the same (if not more satisfying) flavor profile.

Curried Carrot Soup

Paleo Carrot Soup Continue reading

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Tofu Rancheros with Quinoa Tortillas

I took all photos with my phone instead of a proper camera, out of eagerness to post this recipe.
tofu rancheros with quinoa tortillas

Quinoa Tortillas – Step 1

To make the quinoa tortillas you have two options: With a tortilla press, or without. I will describe each method to give you an idea of what you have or plan to buy before we start rolling (the dough).

Option A

Use a tortilla press. I’m not talking some sort of “as seen on TV” appliance i.e. “The Perfect Pancake” (someone in my family purchased one when I was a child, and now I associate all informercial purchases with smoke alarms and messes). I’m referring to the “traditional” tortilla press, made of cast-iron or cast-aluminum. I was lucky enough to find another one at Goodwill (after my college roommate took the first one, which was also from Goodwill), so chances are you might find one if you’re willing to sort through bins of kitchen appliances at your local thrift store. If you live near one of the so-called Goodwill “Bins” (where everything is dirt-cheap), you have a roughly 75% chance of finding one–if you are eager for a treasure hunt and have 5 hours to spare. On the other hand, if you are not eager or willing to search for a needle in a haystack, you can buy one on Amazon for under $10 (at the lower end, usually cast-alluminum and could be flimsy but works well) or if you have the cash I recommend the cast-iron version which is around $30 and works like a charm. Tip: Don’t buy a fancy CucinaPro 1443 Flatbread and Tortilla Maker. At $70 I think it’s overpriced and it is “Not recommended for use with non-gluten flours”. This makes no sense, since corn (masa) flour is gluten-free.

Option B

When developing recipes I brainstorm all the possible ways a dish could be prepared in absence of a certain utensil or appliance, because not everyone has a food processor on hand (or in this case, a tortilla press). These methods can take longer, but I like to think that most of my recipes can be done with just a knife, fork, spoon, bowl, an oven or stove and a little creativity. So yes, you can make quinoa tortillas without a tortilla press.

Quinoa Tortillas: Step 2

To make the dough you will need:


2 cups toasted quinoa flour
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (because it’s rich in B vitamins and otherwise good for vegans, and it gives the tortillas the appearance of yellow corn)
3/4 cup water + a bit more if the dough is too dry
1 teaspoon coconut oil or your cooking oil of choice (I used coconut because it’s paleo and the flavor complements the quinoa)
Salt to taste. Optional


Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, adding water to form the dough. Divide into 12 equal parts and roll each one in your hand to form a ball.

Place each ball between two pieces of parchment paper. Place into a tortilla press if you have one or roll out with a rolling pin, using a small bowl with a circumference similar to that of a standard corn tortilla.

Once each ball of dough is formed into a tortilla, remove one side of the parchment paper and place that side on a skillet over medium heat. Immediately remove the parchment paper from the top side and cook until the edges turn brown and small bubbles begin to form (approximately 2 minutes). Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Repeat until you have a plate of warm and delicious quinoa tortillas. Set aside.

tortilla press

Image courtesy of Chefscatalog.com, featuring the tortilla-making process in a cast-iron press. I am in no way affiliated with them, but you can purchase this item and other types of tortilla press directly from their website or on Amazon.com

Now for the filling.

Tofu Rancheros – Filling for the Quinoa Tortillas


1 package extra firm tofu, drained
1 cup onion, minced
1 can fire roasted tomatoes. You will find these in tiendas (‘Mexican markets’) in the states, or in the ‘Hispanic foods’ section of corporate grocery stores i.e. Safeway, Lucky, Fred Meyer, H.E.B but if you can’t find them use ‘Mexican-style’ stewed tomatoes instead
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 can black beans
1 cup fresh corn (or frozen. You can use a can, but it tends not to work well with recipes like this).
1 4oz can fired roasted green chiles – FYI the Hatch brand and the Trader Joe’s brand (which is probably Hatch anyway, since TJ’s tends to rebrand things according to the relationships it forms with independent brands) sell these diced/chopped. If you can’t find them diced or chopped in a can, buy them whole and chop/dice post-purchase. Or, if you have the skills to do so, fire-roast raw green chiles on your own and then slice/dice them like a pro.
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
chopped cilantro, according to taste or number of people you are serving
fresh sliced lime
1 Tbsp agave nectar
(omit the agave nectar if using Mexican-style stewed tomatoes instead of fire roasted tomatoes, as stewed tomatoes contain sugar so with the agave the result would be too sweet and overseasoned)


1. Heat the oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, and oregano. Sauté 5 minutes. Stir in smoked tomatoes, tofu, and corn; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the black beans and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Plate the tortillas (warm them if you made them in advance). Top with tofu rancheros filling and fresh tomatoes, and garnish with cilantro and fresh lime.

¡Buen provecho!
tofu rancheros and quinoa tortillas

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Vegan In-Flight Dining Guide

Inflight DiningMany airlines offer special meals to accommodate passengers of varying lifestyles and dietary preferences. American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Continental Airlines, to name a few, provide a number of alternative meal types on long-distance flights including Western vegetarian/vegan, vegetarian Jain (pure vegetarian/vegan meal adhering to the principles of the Jain belief system), and raw vegetable and/or fruit plates. These alternative meals must be confirmed in advance at the time of ticket purchase or at least 72 hours prior to check-in. These options might vary according to seasonal availability and changes in budget.

Choosing a Vegan In-Flight Meal

When booking your flight, keep an eye out for a “special dietary preferences” checkbox or button. This will take you to a new page or menu where the following options should be listed: Continue reading

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Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Eateries in The World

In my life, throughout my travels and time periods lived in foreign countries and in the USA, I have found hidden gems as well as better-known and/or popular vegan restaurants, food carts, etc.  I would like to share these establishments with fellow and prospective vegans, as well as anyone who might be interested in broadening their culinary/dietary/foodie horizons.  One stand-out restaurant is mentioned per category.


Gracias Madre – San Francisco, CA


Photo credit: Yelp

100% vegan, local and organic. Committed to their love for food, the earth and the divine feminine, as well as consciousness-raising on the planet. The brainchild of Cafe Gratitude.

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Throwback to the 90’s – Vegan Style

River Phoenix

RIP River Phoenix

I’ve been vegan since 2005. Even though I was a late bloomer to some extent (I ate meat occasionally until 2003, and dairy and eggs every so often between that year and 2005), vegan products always fascinated me as a child growing up in the 90’s. I would often go to Costco with one of my parents (who always ate relatively well as semi-vegetarians for health purposes) to shop for things like granola bars, whole grain bread, and yogurt in large quantities.

So, due to my over-active imagination, I viewed myself as the James Bond of Costco, escaping for mere minutes to secretly investigate the frozen food section without anyone noticing (aside from my younger brother, who stalked me in those aisles to find out exactly what I was doing). I was a vegan wannabe spy, looking at the labels of packaged foods that basically no one in Sonoma County had heard of at the time, such as rice-based “ice cream”, soy-based “hamburger”, and god forbid things that were vegan in and of themselves rather than an imitation of some SAD (Standard American Diet) staple or novelty.

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

vegan paleo pumpkin spice pancakesWhile it’s obvious Autumn has ended (so pumpkin pie isn’t exactly en vogue), I was brainstorming what could be a nutritious, vitamin-rich, low-carb breakfast recipe– and decided that pumpkin spice pancakes were the way to go. Per 1/2 cup serving, pumpkin contains 1g sodium, 2g fiber, 1g sugar..yet only 6g carbs — at only 25 calories.
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