I'm probably wading into a minefield here, but I'm going to do it anyhow. In Sunday's Sacramento Bee, restaurant reviewer Blair Anthony Robertson critiqued two local vegan restaurants: The Green Boheme and Loving Hut. First, let me just say that I love the fact that he wrote a thoughtful review of these restaurants. But secondly, I appreciated this quote from the article: "I love animals and believe there is a moral responsibility that comes with being at the top of the food chain. I'm also interested in a healthy lifestyle, and these days that means that two of my three daily meals are entirely fruits and vegetables, i.e. vegan."
Robertson is not a vegan. He still eats non-vegan food items for one of his three daily meals. I know there are purists out there who think that anything less than all vegan, all the time, is unacceptable. But I believe that this approach discourages people from making changes to their diets that would be beneficial, not only to their own health, but to the health of the planet as well.
I happen to know that many of the people who read this blog do not follow a strictly vegan -- or even partially vegan -- diet. But the fact that you read the blog at all tells me that you think about what you eat and that the idea of vegan eating isn't entirely abhorrent to you. So the purpose of this blog post is just to plant the seed that, even if you don't believe that you could ever embrace a strictly vegan diet, maybe you could think about eating a vegan meal once in awhile.
How hard could it be? Think about some very common items that people eat all the time without giving any thought to the fact that they're vegan: spaghetti with marinara sauce (but no Parmesan on top, okay?); a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sourdough bread; minestrone soup; oatmeal with apples and cinnamon; chips with salsa or guacamole.
Then expand that to include some vegan items from local restaurants that are similar enough to your regular diet that you might not even notice that you are eating something vegan: create your own salad at Jack's Urban Eats using only vegan toppings and balsamic vinaigrette; have the Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps or Vegetarian Dumplings at P.F. Chang's China Bistro; order the Spaghetti Aglio-Olio at La Trattoria Bohemia; try the Vegetable and Lentil Curry at Star Ginger; or treat yourself to the Vegan Boca Bacon Cheese Burger Combo at Downtown's Kitchen at the Round Corner. And if you are looking for something sweet to top off your meal, stop in at Here's the Scoop! and get a cup of absolutely decadent Very Cherry Chip soy ice cream.
You may not have any intention of ever going totally vegan, but you might want to think about at least trying to eat a vegan meal now and then. You may be surprised to find out that it's not as hard as you think.