Unexpected Benefit of Being Vegan

Vegans enjoy better customer service (for now).

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Out with our friend at a pizza place, the waitress walked up to our table and greeted us. She said, “Hi guys. Are you ready to order drinks? I’ll bring the vegan bruschetta right out…”

She recognized us from our last visit, weeks before. This was not a vegan restaurant so obviously we stood out in her mind (we were also seated at the same table as before, which probably helped). Still, it was pretty cool to be recognized and served well.

Usually, being vegan only makes you feel ostracized and singled out but occasionally it has its perks. It also makes you memorable, and if you are friendly, frequent the same places, and tip well, it can help you jump ahead in line.

#VeganWinning.

The Joys of Being Chubby

Being overweight isn’t ALL bad.

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Even being vegan and active, I would not classify myself as a “health nut”, and like many people I struggle with weight. I usually carry an extra pesky 20-30 pounds that do no good for my physical health or self-esteem. Also, like many people, I have a mostly sedentary career and a few “sitting” hobbies, like watching movies and reading. I also delicious sweet baked goods and sweet stuff.

I mitigate my diet as much as I can without feeling deprived. For example, I rarely drink soda, I gave up my sweet, sweet welcoming morning lattes, and I don’t eat candy bars or even chew sugary gum. Plus, I am moderately active, especially on the weekends. Still, that pesky 20-30 hang around like a group of jobless, loitering high school hoodlums.

I know what to do to lose the weight but I choose not to. I do not want my life consumed by conscientiously eating small amounts of tasteless food or spending hours of my week walking in place or lifting heavy things up and putting them down over and over.

I guess, for me, having a little extra weight is not all that bad. Think about this… thanks to my being fat:

I am almost never cold. Nicole is petite and she always complains how cold it is (we live in TAMPA, FL). Even when we were inside and the temperature is set to 78 degrees, for Nicole it is sweater time. For me, it’s always shorts weather! Chubby = 1. Skinny = 0.

I can survive for days without eating. I wouldn’t want to, but I could skip a few (well, several) meals if suddenly the vegan store ran out of tofu (people think that is all vegans eat). Not only that, but I would also be bigger than all the scrawny people left and I could take their food without much effort after waiting them out a week or so. Chubby = #winning!

I am more cuddly. Because Nicole is tiny, when I wrap my arms around her, I feel bigger, stronger, and more manly than I probably am, but I also have to worry about crushing her if we are laying next to each other and I roll over. On the other hand, when Nicole cuddles with me, she knows she is safe because I provide a pillowy wall to keep her from accidentally rolling off the bed. I am fat because I care about her safety. Plus, cuddling with me is like embracing a big, warm, hairy teddy bear. Who doesn’t love teddy bears? Probably fish, but they don’t cuddle so it doesn’t matter.

 

I am still going to pursue, with mild to moderate will, eliminating the pesky 20-30 extra pounds I carry but then I will have to worry about being a shivering, starving, unsafe mangy bear.

One problem at a time, I guess.

 

How To Torment Vegans

Today’s Lesson: With friends like these…

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10 Ways To Torture Your Vegan Friend:
1. Every time you see your vegan friend, ask how they are getting their protein.

2. Buy them Animal Crackers (animal crackers are vegan!). Whenever they eat one, look on in horror.

3. Or, open the box of Animal Crackers, bite the heads off all the crackers, re-seal the box, and then give the headless animal snacks to your vegan friend.

4. And, the next day, give your friend another box of animal crackers, only filled with the missing heads.

5. Be sure to let them know you could never go vegan, even if they have never asked you to. Like ever. It’s important to make sure they know.

6. Whenever you walk by a lawn, ask your vegan friend if he or she is hungry.

7. Ask if they were born vegan. When they say “No,” ask, “Then how did it happen–lightning?”

8. At the end of every meal, ask, “Are you going to eat the rest of that green stuff?” Followed by, “I wouldn’t either.”

9. Send them memes of bacon every chance you have. Vegans love bacon jokes.

10. Whenever you are eating a charred dead animal carcass in front of them, be sure to ask, “…But don’t you miss it?”

 

Have fun with your vegan friend but remember… a little goes a long way. They are already doing something weird and probably feel ostracized every time they go out to eat with non-vegan friends. Really, like every time.

Your vegan friend can laugh about being vegan but in truth, they don’t want to tell you it is a tired laugh. They do not care what you think about their being vegan (but they would maybe like you to care about learning why you are not).

Remember, it’s always fun until somebody loses their animal cracker head…

 

Beef-Eating Vegan

Today’s Lesson: Know why you make your choices.

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Imagine beef grown by cultivating live cow tissue, lab-grown but not “fake” meat, not “cloned” meat, real beef in every way. Even better, no animals were harmed in the making of this meat, and it is perfect beef–all the right enzymes and proteins, and the perfect amount of fat for taste and health.

If there was an abundant supply of meat to feed the world and you could have the perfect-tasting steak or burger with every bite, would you do it (because we are probably closer than you think)?

Does it matter where the beef came from? Do you know where your beef comes from now? As long as the steak shows up on your plate and tastes delicious, what is the difference?

Would you eat cultured beef? I am not sure but I think I would. That might come as a shock, as I have been vegan nearly two decades. Pardon the pun, but my “beef” with not eating animals is not a problem I have with being an omnivore. Unlike nearly all other animals, humans are able to eat both plants and animals and are able to be absolutely perfectly healthy on a purely plant-based diet.

The problem I have with eating other animals is that we have to harvest them and kill them and we do so with impunity. My problem is with our being bad stewards of the planet and thinking we do not have to live up to the ethics and morals we value among each other when it comes to the rest of the world–indeed, to the rest of all known life.

But a healthy burger without the factory farming, killing, causing pain, or creating environmental havoc? Sure, count me in.

Oh What A Feeling…

It’s okay to pay for the brand that understands you.

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The Prius 4 is not a cheap car to our pocketbook, but Nicole and I just bought one each. Of course, we are spitefully cute because we have matching cars now and we are dirty hippies because we don’t kill animals and we drive Priuses. Or Priai. Or Pris. Or whatever the plural of “Prius” is. Maybe it’s still Prius–like “deer”.

Anyway, there are three things that have already made owning a Prius the best car experience I have ever had. I am blown away by what Toyota has done right and stunned that other, particularly American-based, car companies have not followed suit.

1. The car leverages technology. The Prius comes with a suite of applications that pair up with my smartphone and come with full-blown subscriptions to popular services like Slacker and Pandora radio–no ads for as long as I own the Prius. Of course, it has hands-free calling and navigation included in the car, with a crazy floating heads-up display that only the driver can see. The locks and ignition are remote so I never even have to take a key out of my pocket to open, lock, or start the car, and that is just the beginning.

2. The savings on fuel is unbeatable. In its price range, I was unable to find a car to even come close to what a Prius obtains on gas mileage. Before we bought ours, Nicole and I rented a Prius and drove from Grand Rapids, MI to Savannah, GA and back. Our average miles per gallon was 55, well over the reported 48 on the sticker. I have already driven 80 miles and my fuel gauge has barely budged. I was spending about $80 per week on fuel; I expect that to be cut in half or better.

3. The customer service is unreal. This was the knock-out punch for me. Toyota takes care of their Prius owners like no company I have yet experienced. I will not pay a dime on service or maintenance on my car for the next seven years. Toyota will take care of everything, including oil changes, fluid top-offs, tires and tire pressure, dings, dents, roadside assistance, towing, everything. All I have to do is take it to any Toyota dealership anywhere every 6 months or 5,000 miles. Parts and labor is included.

4. (Bonus point, not for everyone) Toyota knows their target audience. In the Prius brochure, they show you how to use the cargo net to hold groceries. Prominently placed in the picture is a yoga mat. I had to smile. They know exactly who they are catering to. When we were looking at options, our sales rep (Brandon, who was great) showed us the “leather” upgrade option. We shrugged and explained we are vegan and he said, “I am so glad you said that. We call it ‘leather’ because it has that look and feel to most people, but it is actually a proprietary material called Softex that uses no animal ingredients. It is a synthetic ‘leather’ that is vegan!”

Toyota’s website not only confirms that but also explains the environmental benefits of this fabric over conventional synthetic leather.

 

Readers of this blog know I am well-versed in both Marketing and Salesmanship. It makes me practically giddy to see both done well. I have never blogged about a car but this one totally won me over. Looking forward to many years of driving. Also, I do not make recommendations lightly and because this blog is a labor of love running on my dime, I think it is important to note when I do it is because I was genuinely moved to do so of my accord. I do not get any perks for saying this, but if you are in the Tampa area and looking for a Prius, I can not recommend highly enough our salesperson Brandon Bailey at Stadium Toyota.

He did a remarkable job respecting our needs, helping us balance our wants and genuinely giving us a few laughs along the way.

You already know this but, you get what you pay for, so it is better to pay for people or brands that get you

 

Don’t Worry About the Starving Kids In Africa

Throwing food out is not a crime.

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Almond milk, it turns out, is not Nicole’s favorite addition to a latte. She tried one today, and drank about half of it.

She debated over throwing it out because it didn’t taste great but it was not a cheap cup of coffee either.

I understood. I often finish meals because I don’t want something to go to waste (especially if it was expensive). If you think about it, though, it is probably better (for most of us) to throw away an unfinished meal than it is to try and stuff ourselves (assuming for some reason we can not take home leftovers), in an attempt to get our money’s worth.

I would rather pay six dollars not to eat an additional 450 calories than to force myself to eat an extra 450 calories I will never burn off. I would rather lose a few bucks instead of trying to lose a few inches.

Nicole tossed the latte and we headed to the beach. Good trade off.

Why I Went Vegan

There is a documentary being made about how regular vegans live regular lives and why they decided to stop eating animals and animal products in the first place. I shared my story with them and I thought the vegans (or veg-curious) people I know might like to hear it, too…

*****

I became vegan mainly for religious reasons. I am not religious now but about 20 years ago I remember reading the Ten Commandments and noticing there was no asterisk after the statement, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.

It got me thinking. Murder is obviously condoned in the Bible (blood of sheep over doors, “an eye for an eye”, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) but I noticed it was always done by men and never with God’s explicit instruction. It was always based on hearsay. Somebody said that God said… The only 10 irrefutable rules God provides in the Bible directly are His Commandments (and not for nothing, but He calls them “Commandments”, not “guidelines”, “recommendations”, or “good ideas”).

I could not help but wonder if God intentionally did not have any asterisks there. The First Commandment does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Kill***” with a footnote elsewhere that reads… ***except on burger night or if a fly is really annoying you, or if there is clear DNA evidence to support it. Other restrictions may apply.

He just says, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Period. End of line. There is no way to dispute the commandment, no loophole, no misinterpreting it, no ambiguous double meaning. This is one of the few places the Bible and God’s demands are crystal clear and irrefutable: Thou Shalt Not Kill.

I thought also, how interesting that of all animals on earth, God chose only one–only humans–to give both free will and the choice of whether or not to murder for food. Maybe it was a test, I began thinking. Maybe God really is watching and placing a tick-mark for every one of His flies that we swat, each spider we squish, or cow that we chop to pieces and grind up into bloody patties.

The animals themselves seem to be warning us. A fly avoids a fly swatter. You have to sneak up on the fly because it clearly does not want to die. A spider jumps away from the swipe of a hand. A cow fights and tries to flee just as a human would when it smells the blood and gore of the slaughterhouse and senses imminent doom.

To put it plainly, there is no merciful way to murder something that chooses NOT to die.

Of all creatures on Earth, only humans are burdened with the responsibility of choosing and living with their actions. Interesting.

So that is how my vegan journey began.

I have since traded my Faith for Reason and Logic but the conclusion on being vegan is the same. I remain vegan for one simple reason: I have not come across a good enough reason not to be. No one has yet presented a single valid, logical argument for murder or eating dead things.

There is no vitamin, mineral, or nutrient that comes from other animals that I can not find from plants, fruits, vegetables, legumes, or other plant-based sources (even B12–the toughest of the vegan vitamins to obtain, I can easily get without killing animals). There are not too many animals on the planet. We do not need to “cull the herd” (but we do need to cull the factory farming of herds). There is no environmental reason to support a carnivorous diet. There is just no reason to avoid being vegan.

Think about this. We humans are burdened with the responsibility of being kings and keepers of the Animal Kingdom, whether we like it or not. To say we are at the top of the food chain is an understatement. We have removed ourselves from the food chain. We have no predators. We do not live in fear of being hunted and eaten. This also means, however, we are the default stewards for the safekeeping of this planet. Because we are the only ones with choice, we are also the only ones with responsibility for our choices. We are the kings of the world.

What kind of kings should we be, then? Benevolent and kind or brutal and merciless? How well has the “brutal and merciless” approach worked for any king so quick to end the lives of his subjects throughout all of history?

Unlike plants, animals have a brain and nervous system; they experience pain and emotions and do not wish to die. It is not the same for plants. They have automated defense systems against pests but their very design is to be food. When you pick an apple from a tree, you do not murder the tree. In fact, the tree is counting on you to help spread its seeds and grow more apple trees. The same is true of nearly all plants and non-animals. Our relationship is symbiotic with them.

Moreover, there are clear health benefits for being vegan, and arguably environmental benefits as well (you can Google those–to keep this post from becoming a book, I will just leave it at that–as always, though, check your sources and only accept actual peer-reviewed literature as worthy to base your opinion on).

The bottom line is, going (or being) vegan is a win-win.

 

If I can choose my diet and be perfectly healthy without killing or causing pain to other animals, then… why wouldn’t I? 

 

P.S. If you want to support or share your vegan superhero origin story with the Vegan Movie people, visit this link.

 

The Truth About Why I Went Vegan

There is a documentary being made about how regular vegans live regular lives and why they decided to stop eating animals and animal products in the first place. I shared my story with them and I thought the vegans (or veg-curious) people I know might like to hear it, too…

*********

I became vegan mainly for religious reasons. I am not religious now but about 20 years ago I remember reading the Ten Commandments and noticing there was no asterisk after the statement, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.

It got me thinking. Murder is obviously condoned in the Bible (blood of sheep over doors, “an eye for an eye”, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) but I noticed it was always done by men and never with God’s explicit instruction. It was always based on hearsay. Somebody said that God said… The only 10 irrefutable rules God provides in the Bible directly are His Commandments (and not for nothing, but He calls them “Commandments”, not “guidelines”, “recommendations”, or “good ideas”).

I could not help but wonder if God intentionally did not have any asterisks there. The First Commandment does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Kill***” with a footnote elsewhere that reads… ***except on burger night or if a fly is really annoying you, or if there is clear DNA evidence to support it. Other restrictions may apply.

He just says, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Period. End of line. There is no way to dispute the commandment, no loophole, no misinterpreting it, no ambiguous double meaning. This is one of the few places the Bible and God’s demands are crystal clear and irrefutable: Thou Shalt Not Kill.

I thought also, how interesting that of all animals on earth, God chose only one–only humans–to give both free will and the choice of whether or not to murder for food. Maybe it was a test, I began thinking. Maybe God really is watching and placing a tick-mark for every one of His flies that we swat, each spider we squish, or cow that we chop to pieces and grind up into bloody patties.

The animals themselves seem to be warning us. A fly avoids a fly swatter. You have to sneak up on the fly because it clearly does not want to die. A spider jumps away from the swipe of a hand. A cow fights and tries to flee just as a human would when it smells the blood and gore of the slaughterhouse and senses imminent doom.

To put it plainly, there is no merciful way to murder something that chooses NOT to die.

Of all creatures on Earth, only humans are burdened with the responsibility of choosing and living with their actions. Interesting.

So that is how my vegan journey began.

I have since traded my Faith for Reason and Logic but the conclusion on being vegan is the same. I remain vegan for one simple reason: I have not come across a good enough reason not to be. No one has yet presented a single valid, logical argument for murder or eating dead things.

There is no vitamin, mineral, or nutrient that comes from other animals that I can not find from plants, fruits, vegetables, legumes, or other plant-based sources (even B12–the toughest of the vegan vitamins to obtain, I can easily get without killing animals). There are not too many animals on the planet. We do not need to “cull the herd” (but we do need to cull the factory farming of herds). There is no environmental reason to support a carnivorous diet. There is just no reason to avoid being vegan.

Think about this. We humans are burdened with the responsibility of being kings and keepers of the Animal Kingdom, whether we like it or not. To say we are at the top of the food chain is an understatement. We have removed ourselves from the food chain. We have no predators. We do not live in fear of being hunted and eaten. This also means, however, we are the default stewards for the safekeeping of this planet. Because we are the only ones with choice, we are also the only ones with responsibility for our choices. We are the kings of the world.

What kind of kings should we be, then? Benevolent and kind or brutal and merciless? How well has the “brutal and merciless” approach worked for any king so quick to end the lives of his subjects throughout all of history?

Unlike plants, animals have a brain and nervous system; they experience pain and emotions and do not wish to die. It is not the same for plants. They have automated defense systems against pests but their very design is to be food. When you pick an apple from a tree, you do not murder the tree. In fact, the tree is counting on you to help spread its seeds and grow more apple trees. The same is true of nearly all plants and non-animals. Our relationship is symbiotic with them.

Moreover, there are clear health benefits for being vegan, and arguably environmental benefits as well (you can Google those–to keep this post from becoming a book, I will just leave it at that–as always, though, check your sources and only accept actual peer-reviewed literature as worthy to base your opinion on).

The bottom line is, going (or being) vegan is a win-win.

 

If I can choose my diet and be perfectly healthy without killing or causing pain to other animals, then… why wouldn’t I? 

 

P.S. If you want to support or share your vegan superhero origin story with the Vegan Movie people, visit this link.

 

10 (Possibly True) Things I Have Learned About Tampa

As follow-up to 10 (Possibly Crazy) Things I Believe About Tampa, I thought it might be fun to compare to what I have actually learned so far, after moving here…

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We have been living in Tampa for a few weeks now and it is a little different from what I thought it might be like. Here are a few surprising things I did not know about the area but have learned so far through observation and experience…

 

1. The birds are nuts. I am dumbfounded by the diversity of wildlife here, especially birds. It probably makes sense being right off the ocean but I find myself gawking almost everywhere I drive. There is a crazy array of goofy-looking birds. There are real flamingos, pelicans, and brightly colored… somethings… everywhere! They are brave, too. We watched a bird steal an old lady’s sandwich on the beach (she did not react at all so she might have been dead, but still). The vultures here are BIG. Oh, and there are actual vultures here. They are big. I assume they get that way by stealing babies. If I see an empty stroller, my first thought is there must be a fat vulture nearby.

2. You will die of old age waiting for traffic lights to change. You can seriously walk back to your house, shave, shower, make coffee, check your email, and walk back to your car while waiting to turn left here. The traffic is insane and I am certain it is because the guy who controls the lights has narcolepsy. However, he is not as bad as the guy with sleep apnea who was in charge of road signs.

3. Road names randomly change. I am 100 percent serious about this one. Follow me on this. I turned right onto Gunn Highway, drove a quarter-mile, then turned left onto Gunn Highway, drove another half mile and turned right onto Gunn Highway, and then hung a right on Gunn Highway a mile later. I do not even know how to get to the mall which is less than five miles from our apartment, but I have been there at least ten times (in all fairness, six of those times were by accident). What bipolar wannabe comedian named the roads here?!? I don’t even know who I am anymore.

4. Tampa is prepared for the zombie apocalypse. There are elaborate, large screened in yards everywhere here. Imagine an entire yard, from the ground to the second story of the house caged in giant mesh screen, including the roof. It’s like your yard and roof are made of window screens. It is weird. They call them “lanais” (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) but in reality these steel mesh cages exist so senior citizens can sip sweet tea and watch zombies mope outside their steel caged yards. We are not going to miss a day of sunshine because of a little zombie apocalypse. More suga’, Ethel?

5.  We are weird about hot water. True story. The shower water here is only lukewarm. Nicole called maintenance because she thought the water heater was broken but the complex explained it was fine. They just keep the temperature low for our safety. We actually had to sign a rent addendum saying we are responsible for any burns or scalds caused by our inability to operate a faucet if we ask the apartment to raise the water temperature (not joking–seriously had to sign it before they would do it). I don’t know if this is a legal thing or because many residents are too dumb to turn the nozzle back the other way if the water gets too hot. My understanding is if you want drive-thru coffee from McDonald’s, you have to prove you have a fire extinguisher in your glove compartment. It’s just a Florida thing, I guess.

6. The weather is amazing. It’s for real. I think when you live in Michigan for a long time, you forget the rest of the world looks different in the winter. During winter in Michigan, you can start the hot water for your shower and then go plow your driveway while you wait for it to warm up. In Tampa, I turn on the water and it is already warm. It actually took me several showers to figure this out because I would just turn the water on and then brush my teeth and make tea, being surprised each time the water was already warm when I came back. It creates a bit of scheduling havoc. I have to be certain I am actually ready to get in the shower before I do now.

7. No one believes you live here. Obtaining proof of residency here was like winning an Olympic medal. After you change your address, you have 30 calendar days to prove you are a resident. To be a resident, you have to show proof of bills being sent to your new address (which would happen after the first 30 days, of course), you must provide your Social Security Card, W-2, Passport, DNA swab, have at least 3 friends vouch that you are an “okay guy”, and demonstrate you are within at least 3 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Lucky for me, I bumped into Will Smith coming out of Cliff Bells in Detroit one time and he was in After Earth with Zoe Kravitz who appeared in X-Men First Class with Kevin Bacon… so, it was close but I made the cut.

8. Vegans here think it is 1974. This is a strange nether-world for vegan living. There are no less than 3 Whole Foods within a 20 minute drive from our apartment and they all have the typical vegan options Nicole and I would hope to find at a Whole Foods. We like to eat out, though. Exploring vegan (or at least vegan-friendly) restaurants is one of our favorite pastimes. The vegan restaurants here, though, are basically manufacturing cardboard. The food is straight-up old school hippie vegan with grains and nuts in everything. The other day, after being served the wrong item three times by a 74-year old long-haired waiter in shorts and wearing a headband, I finally accepted the oat-wheat sandwich with sprouts he was pushing. After the first bite, I considered using the bun as a weapon to hold the place up and find out where they were hiding the Daiya cheese. Luckily, Chipotle has Sofritas–a little reminder that vegans can eat like normies anywhere.

9. Florida thinks it has potholes. I drove by a road crew and observed them filling a dinner-plate sized dent in the road. At first, I thought this was just a way to waste taxpayer money and maybe the State was trying to justify union jobs or something. Or maybe there was a small amount of toxic leakage they were cleaning up. Then, after three more separate incidents, I realized they actually thought those little dents were potholes! In Michigan, potholes are where you might find trapped miners, possible alien abductees, smaller cities, and your cousin Jamal who left to put gas in his Iroc-Z 8 months ago. When Nicole and I drive by a pothole in Tampa, we treat it with the same awe and excitement as seeing a puppy. “Awe, look at that little baby pothole. You’re so cute, yes you are!”

10. The lizards are faster than your lizard brain. Some of the only animals that don’t gross us out (lizards are cute, they eat bugs, and they have no inclination to crawl in your mouth at night) still find a way to freak us out. They are literally everywhere. Yes, even there. Literally. The thing is, you can tell the tourists and new Tampa transplants by the sheer fear we have of stepping on one of the cute little buggers. However, lizards are frighteningly fast. You can not step on one. They move like little street magicians doing sleight of hand tricks with every step. And they wear top hats but it is tough to see them because they are so fast and politely take them off before getting out of your way. (I know… where do they keep the top hats, right? I don’t know. They are little street magicians!)

 

So that’s it. Those are the first 10 (almost certainly) true things I have learned about Tampa so far. I should add one note about snakes. I am trying to think of them as “footless lizards” so they don’t terrify me as much… but I still check the toilet before I use it. Footless lizard or not, a person needs a place of sanctuary.

 

Today’s Lesson: Florida traffic lights have never met traffic lights from other states. Tampa is prepared for zombies. Google Maps works as effectively as a Magic 8-ball here. This is the insane asylum for birds too crazy-looking to be in the rest of society. Vegans think “raw oats” is its own food group and exclusively what you feed to other vegans. Instead of “potholes”, Tampa has “pot-dips”. The water is warm, the weather is amazing, and lizards wear top hats (but politely remove them before you see them). Oh, and snakes–I mean, footless lizards–are still creepy, even in Tampa.  

 

Hello world!

Dearborn Farmers Market

Hello, World! Welcome to A Couple Vegans–a blog of exploration and adventure in Tampa’s vegan culture (and pretty much anything else we do related to health). Check back often for restaurant reviews, vegan snacks discovered, ramblings on health, living better, and other Tampa treats. Subscribe to the blog to have new posts sent straight to you (we never share your info with advertisers, other bloggers, or anyone else). Follow us on social media and let us know what you like, don’t like so much, or what you would like to see us cover (or discover)! Thanks for stopping by.

-Michael and Nicole-