I had read on Yelp.com that one of my favorite coffee shops in LA, Groundwork, has lots of vegan options, so I swung by their Venice location this morning before making the drive back to Santa Barbara. The woman at the counter said she was a vegan, too, and that she loved their tofu scramble with bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, and spinach. I got it wrapped in a burrito so I could eat it while driving, and I was totally satisfied! I generally only like firm tofu, because I think squishy tofu has the type of texture only a brain-nomming zombie could appreciate. But this squishy tofu was a lot like scrambled eggs, texture-wise, so I zombied out on that burrito. My large coffee with almond milk was also delicious. I love Groundwork.
On to grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. I had done some preliminary research to come up with a game plan for reading labels. Step 1: Use my brrraiinnzzz. Ask myself if the thing I am holding is a carton of eggs. No? Is it a wheel of brie? No? Okay, move on to Step 2: Check for cholesterol. If it's there, the product is not vegan. No cholesterol? Move on to Step 3: Check for helpful little heads-ups included on a lot of labels after the ingredients list, like "Contains: milk, eggs." Not there? Step 4: Check for sneaky little animal products in the ingredients like gelatin, casein, whey, pepsin, and rennet. Nobody should really want to eat those things on their own (especially pepsin, which is made from hogs' stomachs), but they get mixed up in many otherwise vegan-seeming foods.
My roommates and I are members of a Community Supported Agriculture farm, Fairview Farms, which provides us with a nice variety of vegetables and fruits weekly, so I just picked up some spinach and strawberries to hold me over until we pick up our farm share on Tuesday. I was pleased to discover that my favorite bread, Milton's Whole-grain Plus, is vegan. So is my favorite peanut butter! Anyone who knows me knows that I love peanut butter toast. "Love" might even be an understatement. A word doesn't even exist for this level of commitment. So obviously, I was pleased to find that I wouldn't have to change anything about my current combo. I picked up some Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers to try, and some Vitamin B-12 that I'm going to start taking every day. Overall, I was surprised to discover that I didn't need to change my grocery shopping list that much at all. A lot of the products I already enjoy are vegan-friendly, even if they're not marketed as specifically vegan.
I got home to a lovely Facebook message from Parisa, a friend of a friend whom I haven't seen in years. She recommends a few healthy living blogs:
These seem like they'll be great sources of inspiration, as well as recipes! The most recent post on ohsheglows is about juices - it makes me wish I had stocked up on more fruit at Trader Joe's. I think I'll walk down to the Isla Vista Cooperative tonight to do some more grocery shopping (that place is the hippie-dippie capital of the world, so they'll have lots of things I can eat).
Also on my to-do list: make an appointment with a nutritionist.