March 14, 2012

Project Kale Does Texas Y'all!

Living a plant-based lifestyle is really not too tough.  It does, however, get a little more complicated when traveling.

And even more so when traveling to Texas, where grilling meat is a competitive sport.

However, I also knew that I'd be able to get guacamole with every meal.  And I could eat guacamole by the boat load.  Plus, I've been living this lifestyle for over 2 years now, so I'm not tempted by much at all - I'm to the point now where even the smell of meat, cheese, and butter turns my stomach.  Although I completely understand if you're not there yet - no biggie.  

If you're not there yet, you might be tempted when traveling.  You might say to yourself, "Oh it's just easier to cheat, and I'll start back on it when I get home."  Yes, it's easier to give in and cheat.  But really, with some planning, it's not that difficult to stick with it........and it's just as - if not more - satisfying, and obviously much healthier (check out yet another study - this one a 20+ yr study from Harvard - that's come out warning of the dangers of meat consumption).

As usual, planning is key!  So, let me give you a run-down of my vegan adventure in Texas!  

On my way to the airport, I knew I'd be hungry on the plane and there may not be many options for food at the airport.  So I did two things - I packed a cr*pload of Larabars, a banana, and some Veggie Sticks.  I then stopped at Subway on my way to the airport, so I could eat lunch while waiting to board.  Subway is a vegan travelers BFF.

Subway - $5 footlong baby!
Veggie Chips

When I arrived, I met my brother and sister-in-law at their apartment.  Now, I have a very supportive family, who got awesome vegan food in while I was in town.  They also found some interesting and fabulous places at which we could eat out.  If you inform your family, friends, or whoever you're visiting, that you're on a strict plant-based diet, you most likely will find that they will be happy to help you find places to eat with good vegan options.  Most people are cool like that.  And who knows, maybe you'll inspire them a little :)  They had two different kinds of amazing cookies for me (my "junk food cheat" since they had a ton of sugar):

Delicious vegan cookies
Vegan Newman's Own Oreos - YUM!

I'm quite happy eating my vegan cookies

So after eating a couple of cookies , we downed a few glasses of wine, then headed out to eat!  

First stop was The Hobbit Cafe.

 


I'm a huge Lord of the Rings dork fan, so I was in heaven!  Plus, they had vegan options!  Although I was in meat-loving Texas, I was in one of the largest cities in our country (Houston), and usually metropolitan places have vegetarian and vegan options galore.  Plus, Mexican food is always a great option for vegans - and there was a ton of Mexican food!  At Hobbit Cafe, I had the vegan black bean burger - and of course, lots of guacamole!



Before
After

The next day, we went to the Houston Rodeo.  Now, initially, I thought this would be a vegan's nightmare.  However, I was really excited to go to a rodeo, since I've never been.  I figured I wouldn't be able to eat much there, so I packed some Larabars, and ate a lot before we went.

YEEHAW!!
The rodeo was quite the experience - watching real-life cowboys getting bucked off a horse, while not breaking their backs or necks, was amazing!  The food.....not so much.  As we made our way to the food court, I looked at the menus:  Sausage, sausage on a stick, steak, steak on a stick, hot dogs, hot dogs on a stick......you get the idea.  I found some guacamole (thank God!) and a baked potato (well, it was stuffed with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon and pork).  Here's how that gem of a conversation went:

Me:  "Can I please have a plain baked potato."
Cashier:  "Okay, plain so just with butter and cheese then?"
Me: "Um, no, just totally plain, with nothing on it."
Cashier (looking very confused):  "Oh....okay, sure."

So this was my rodeo meal:



I put the guacamole on my baked potato - and it was really good.  It gave it the saltiness and creaminess that cheese would have, but without all the cancer.  Plus, I mean what's not better with guacamole!?!?

Next stop was my favorite restaurant while in Houston - Chuy's!  It's a fabulous Mexican restaurant with the BEST guacamole soft tacos I've ever had.  I mean, I dream about these things.  I was a happy, happy vegan.

Guacamole Tacos with rice and beans
Inside tacos
Besides eating guacamole and shopping with my sister-in-law, I had some fun QT with my niece, Daisy Mae.

Daisy Mae

She's not vegan.


Taking a break for a moment from the guacamole, we headed out for sushi on my last night in town.  This  sushi restaurant actually had a separate vegetarian menu.  How cool is that!?  I was excited when I found out that the tempura was vegan.  A lot of times, the tempura vegetables are made with an egg-based batter.  But these bad boys weren't.  And they were freaking awesome.  I forgot, for a moment, that I wasn't eating guacamole at this meal.

 



My last day in Houston was great - the weather finally cleared up and I had a really nice, relaxing lunch with my brother and sister-in-law.  We went the a restaurant we had been to before - it's almost completely vegan and so it's almost completely awesome.  Field of Greens.  Yeah so it also has an awesome name.  



I got the Vegan Tofu Burger.  I'm not usually a huge fan of tofu, but the dude at the counter said it was one of his favorites on the menu.  I ended up having to ask someone advice on what to order because it was taking me forever to decide.  As a plant-based rock star, I'm not used to actually having more than 2 or 3 options at a restaurant.  This was quite the treat!!  My brother went with the Green Pasta - a gluten free pesto pasta salad.  Both were amazing! 

Tofu Burger with a side salad
Had guacamole on it....phew!


Happy girl!
Salad even had vegan ranch dressing!





Pesto Pasta


I also treated myself to a green smoothie - naturally.  

 


It was a great trip.  I think I ate my weight in guacamole while I was there.  And I'm okay with that, because it was my little "splurge" for the weekend.  You would think that all I would be thinking about was what I couldn't eat........but on the contrary, I was so ridiculously focused on the yumminess that I could eat.  I mean, you see the things I ate!!  It was freaking plant-based heaven.......y'all!

Love & Kale,
Ali


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