3 Types Of Vegan Restaurants

Many of my readers know I’m vegan.  I began the process of eliminating animal-based foods rather abruptly almost 2 1/2 years.  Initially Russ thought it was going to be a short-lived thing but after all this time he seems to have grudgingly accepted my culinary oddity.

Most people know that eating too much meat and cheese and eggs is bad for you.  The reason I became vegan is that there is very good research data suggesting there is NO amount of meat and cheese and eggs that is GOOD for you.  Animal-based foods promote hardening of the arteries which leads to heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease.  They are also pro-inflammatory, create acid which your kidneys must eliminate, and cause gout.  There is evidence that eating animal protein promotes the growth of cancer cells.

So how do I eat?  I pack a yummy plant-based lunch every day and my staff can vouch that apart from cookies (which I have a real weakness for) and the occasional baked-potato bar or scoop of green beans, I don’t eat the lunches the pharmaceutical reps bring.

My husband and I are foodies.  We LOVE eating and we love trying out new restaurants.  It got a little more complicated after I gave up animal-based foods, but for those who are willing to be flexible and adventurous (and assertive) it is nearly always possible to find a delicious meal containing only plants.  Here are my 3 categories of restaurants for vegans.

1.  Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants

There are very few restaurants that cater ONLY to those who eat vegan and vegetarian.  I have only ever been to one such restaurant.  That was The Wild Cow in Nashville, TN.  Yum.  If anyone is ever in Nashville and wants proof that vegan/vegetarian food tastes fantastic, PLEASE stop in.  And it’s next door to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (which carries to-die-for sorbet).  I have high hopes of trying Treehuggers in Berea sometime soon, for those who are tempted to comment that I should go there.  It’s on the list!

2.  Restaurants With Vegan Entrees

Most restaurants have entrees that either already ARE plant-based or can easily be made plant-based with a few omissions.  My favorite local place with lots of vegan options is Aladdin’s Eatery.  At other restaurants, big leafy salads are easy (just hold the cheese) and many burger places have house-made black-bean or chickpea patties.  Two that come right to mind are The Rail in Montrose and Flipside in Hudson.  (Remember I’m an eastsider).

3.  My Number-One Favorite Kind Of Place 🙂

The absolute best kind of place is one that has NO vegan options on the menu but has a chef that likes a challenge.  Take tonight’s dinner for example.  We’re spending a few nights in Columbus over the holiday and decided to go to Columbus Brewing Company.  I ordered my salad without cheese and asked for the grilled eggplant dinner.  The waitress came back to let me know the risotto and the cauliflower gratin were both made with cheese.  I told her roasted vegetables, corn or green beans would be fine.  She came back one more time to ask if I liked brown rice (and yes, I do).

OMG.  They brought me grilled eggplant with mushrooms perched on a brown-rice pilaf with sautéed spinach and smothered with tomato-basil compote.  It was heaven.  I.  Was.  Stuffed.

There are a few restaurants that have no plant-based options, nothing modifiable to plant-based, and a chef without imagination.  We don’t go to those types of restaurants 😉

Maybe you’re thinking about eating more plants or, heaven forbid, giving up meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs.  Think it would be tough if you like to eat out?  Think again!  If you are adventurous and assertive you can have delicious meals at an enormous variety of restaurants.  Take it from me, I’m a foodie and going plant-based did NOT put any kind of dent in my enjoyment of food and restaurant dining.  Give it a try!

Question:  What is your favorite restaurant?  Would I enjoy eating there?  Leave a comment, I’m always looking for a new place to eat!

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Influenza Vaccination: Yes or No?

Did you get your influenza vaccination this year?  I did 🙂  And like every year, I had no ill effects from it.

This year I have had quite a few patients come in complaining of bad effects from the vaccine.  This year Parma hospital instituted a policy where all staff must show proof of vaccination or wear a mask during flu season whenever they are within six feet of patients. So this year I’ve had a number of patients get vaccinated for the first time.

I strongly recommend flu vaccination for anyone but especially for those at high risk of exposure to influenza and those who don’t have normal immune systems or respiratory function.  This includes schoolchildren, medical personnel, diabetics, asthmatics, and many other people.

That having been said, there are those who mustn’t receive the flu vaccine.  If someone is allergic to the vaccine, to egg or to latex, they can’t have the vaccine.  A past severe reaction to vaccine would make me anxious about giving it.

What are the possible reactions to flu vaccine?  There are the usual injection-site soreness, body aches and fatigue.  These side effects are direct results of the immune-system stimulation of the vaccine itself and are NOT “bad reactions” to the shot.  In fact, if you haven’t been vaccinated before (or haven’t in many years) these reactions are reassuring that the immune system is robust and responding properly.

There is a very serious, life-threatening reaction called Guillain-Barre syndrome caused by vaccination.  It is a neurological disorder that causes numbness and paralysis.  If someone has a family history of Guillain-Barre, they should not get the flu vaccine.

The risks of vaccination are very low.  Serious reactions happen but they are rare.  Influenza infection, however, is common and can be very serious.  Many people die every year from seasonal influenza.  It is particularly dangerous for the young and the old.

One last thing:  Many people are under misconceptions about influenza.  They think the “flu” is an illness that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  In reality, influenza is a pure respiratory illness.  It starts suddenly with a high fever, severe headaches and body aches, and a dry cough.  It generally lasts 7-10 days.  In the elderly and the very young it can cause complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure.  Even young healthy people can die from it.

If you don’t have to get influenza, you shouldn’t get it.  If there’s no special reason you shouldn’t get the shot, you should get vaccinated.

Question:  Have you gotten the flu vaccine this year?

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