La vida vegan - Page 3

A panel of animal product-free Bay Area-ites tell it like it is

Chef Carmen Vazquez brings vegan to the people: "Gracias Madre has everybody, not just your dreadlocked hippies."

Bottom line? There are challenges to being a Bay Area vegan. But there are victories as well: feeling "lighter," minimizing your impact on the environment, being your own person, and delicious meals, to name a few. After hearing everyone's stories, I realized that becoming a vegan in the Bay is a lot like being a human in the Bay: endlessly frustrating, completely crazy, but also a chance to be a part of an earnest try for a more sustainable world.



challenges to veganism in the bay area? really?
i don't think so...
not compared to MOST every other place in the US. There are more vegan restaurants AND grocery stores that very much support veganism than in any other urban area in the entire country!
if you think this is difficult here, try montana, colorado, or any other state between both coasts. i think your article should celebrate how easy it is here instead of bemoaning something that isn't true. in no other whole foods market in the country can you go to a contracted ENTIRELY VEGAN restaurant inside the store (like you can at oaklands WFM/ cafe gratitude). That to me is a positive affirmation of how widely accepted veganism is here and how easy it is to go vegan in the bay area.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 9:03 am

This article is about awesome vegans and welcomed change in food availability. Your point about Montana, et. al. is kind of a given -- but since the Bay Area has a reputation for being awesome about food activism, we should and do hold it to a higher standard (and as proud progressives, endlessly analyze the things we love).

My main challenge as a wannabe-gan? CHEESE. Though I just got the lowdown on some fly vegan queso from Food Lovers (thanks Ruggy!)

Go vegan! Fist pump!

Posted by caitlin on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 10:11 am

I love that line about how vegans secretly, quietly love other vegans. That is true for me, and I'm only a near vegan. I love you, vegans! We share a spirit, wherever we are on our food lifestyle journeys.

Anyway, it is actually not easy here to dine well vegan-style. It's tres chic in SF and surrounding areas to eat sustainable, organic meats -- e.g., $100/lb. for pancetta raised in France by pigs who are fed only truffles, available at Bi-Rite. (Note that grass-fed/organic/sustainable meat is only about 1% of the meat industry...)

And there are PLENTY of people here who eat the standard American diet, probably as much as in Montana, and look at you strangely as if you are some kind of outrageous radical when you say you don't eat meat, or eggs...

On the other hand, it is not tres chic to be vegan here. We are a tiny minority. In fact, I get shit about it. So I have stopped mentioning my personal choice when I'm with meat eaters. And I have accepted that it's the company not the food when I go out to eat, frequently. And when the menu does treat my preferences equally, I am delighted and surprised.

So the main point of this post: I am writing a story on raw vegan nut cheeses and mliks -- which taste amazing, even to meat eaters who don't know what they're eating. Yet there are only 2 restaurants that serve these, and a handful of chefs, in the entire East Bay, which is supposedly a hot bed of raw food activism in the Bay Area.

So there.


Posted by Guest Jillian Steinberger on May. 01, 2011 @ 9:35 am

For more free info, check out Eco-Eating at with its tons of info and loads of links.

Posted by Dan on May. 02, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

Thanks for the article; I appreciate any info. I hear about other vegans. And it is kind of curious that there isn't much cohesion in the bay area vegan community. I know a few vegans and have heard about others, most of which hadn't heard about each other. It would be nice if there was some kind of central meeting place that was reasonably well known, real or virtual.

Re. taking crap for being vegan, I've been vegan for about 5 years (vegetarian for a long time before that - and in both cases I feared that I'd miss certain foods but never found that to be the case). I've grown reasonably strong in my convictions, but realizing that any views ultimately have to be provisional, I try to stay off any high horses. But after a few situations where it was too obvious to avoid explaining that I was vegan and was assailed for it I hunted around for some handy and very succinct arguments. On that score I found a great resource in Gary Francione, the vegan legal scholar at Rutgers. Check him out -

Also, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has an interesting podcast at her website ( reviewing a book (forget the authors name at the moment) that takes Pollen to task for what she considers his rather callous view of animal rights.

Go vegans !

Posted by Karl on May. 02, 2011 @ 9:53 pm