The traveling vegan

Like most of my fellow human beings, I love to travel. Everything about travel makes me feel so alive; new places, new people, new smells, new…FOOD! Food has to be one of the most unique things about travel. Truly “taking in” another culture. I used to think, like many people still do, that veganism was a hinderance to the experience of eating when traveling, but I now see how it is in fact the opposite!

One of the most fulfilling parts of my travel now is discovering local vegan food; what creations people have come up with. There are so many mouthwatering vegan restaurants I’ve had the opportunity to try and more just keep popping up! This way of eating my way through the world is the furthest thing from limiting. I’ve had tapas in Barcelona, francesinha (a delicious sandwich dish) in Portugal, cheese in France, Gyros in Greece…and the list goes on! Everywhere in the world people are taking traditional dishes and giving them a vegan twist, and the results are mouthwatering.  It is the perfect balance of experiencing a culture’s culinary delights and not having to sacrifice ethics along the way. Compassion is the tastiest ingredient, amiright?

Of course there have been and will be destinations that are a little less vegan “friendly” but then comes the fun challenge of ordering vegan at a non vegan restaurant (which I like doing even if there are vegan restos around). I remember once my friend Danielle was having her birthday dinner at a restaurant that had nothing on the menu remotely vegan but they ended up putting something together for me and it was absolutely delicious! I hope that experience showed them that there is a demand for this food. I should go see if they’ve added a vegan option to their menu! Another amazing part of eating vegan while traveling is the lovely, like-minded people you meet along the way. I’ve had such inspiring conversations and have learned so much about vegan culture around the world. I ALWAYS leave these businesses with a happy belly, totally buzzin’.

Happy Cow is a great resource for finding vegan/veg places to munch, or by just taking a walk you may stumble on one by accident. I was walking in Barcelona with my friend Katie and out of seemingly nowhere a chalkboard sign written “vegan burgers” popped up. Have more beautiful words ever been written? We ended up trying all 6 burgers on the menu and having a lovely chat with the owner, who is originally from the UK. The place is called Cat Bar, for anyone in Barca!

Often when I find myself in a discussion about veganism the person with whom I’m chatting will ask me about travel and how the two go together. (I work as a flight attendant, so travel is always in the mix.) Many of them say things like “I think I could be vegan/veggie but when I’m traveling I want to really experience the culture, like if someone invites me into their home, I don’t want to be rude or an imposition.” That was my mentality for a long time and I do still understand it! However, what veganism has shown me is that our dietary decisions are so much bigger than just diet, so much bigger than us. Animals, humans, and our home, Earth, are directly effected by these choices. So instead of looking at it as being an imposition or rude, one could instead see it as an opportunity to spread an important message, in a respectful way. Dialogue and conversation in life are so important, especially when you believe something to be morally right. The last thing the world needs is for you to keep it to yourself. This doesn’t mean going in hot and aggressive, but rather with compassion and understanding. As I’ve touched on in my blog post “Spreading the message” , everything is in communication and knowing when it’s the right time to speak up and how to do so effectively (something that is a continuous learning process for me). One of my favourite quotes is, “Always be the vegan you wish you met before you went vegan”. Listen, relate, empathize. We’re all in this together and having healthy debate is how change happens and is how we evolve.  As well, if you’re invited to someone’s home, you could bring a yummy vegan dish, and maybe (probably..definitely?) surprise some palates!

These conversations and new foods may open your host’s mind to ideas they had hitherto never thought about.  This can, and should always, be done with respect and love. By doing so, you’ll have successfully spread this important message, even if just subtly.

Traveling is an enriching experience in so many ways and veganism doesn’t take away from that, it makes it even richer! 😉 I hope these words have resonated with you and have maybe shown a new perspective!

I leave you with all my love as I take the final bite of a delicious brownie, sitting in a vegan restaurant I discovered in Orlando, FL.

Kayla

My vegan Montreal (cafés)

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Montreal is a great city to live in. It is beautiful, unique and there is no shortage of things to discover! When I’m traveling I make it my priority to try out local vegan spots and do the same when I’m staycationing! Being a vegan in Montreal is getting increasingly easier and more palate pleasing as the years go by! New spots are popping up left right and center! In a series of posts I will showcase my vegan Montreal.  This post will highlight my favourite vegan coffee spots in Montreal…

 

Esquina (4526 Avenue Papineau)

This has to be the best cup of coffee in the city. I am no coffee connaisseur, but damnnnn it goes down smooth. I love the almond milk latte iced or hot. What makes it so amazing, besides the delicious coffee, is that the owner, Roxanne, makes her own almond milk (sweetened with dates!!!). I discovered this place while taking a stroll last summer. I saw a sign on the street advertising vegan pastries and I lit up like a christmas tree! I walked in and immediately saw a plate of fresh blueberry muffins. I was in love. If you’re in a savoury mood try their avocado on toast or (and?) hummus on toast. They are both divine and sprinkled with delectable toppings! Go go go! Bring your laptop or your favourite book and spend an afternoon immersed in feel good vibes. See you there! **Grab their loyalty card! After the 9th coffee the 10th is free. To borrow from lays…bet you can’t go just once! 

 

Cafe Tuyo (370 Marie-Anne Street East)

Cafe Tuyo is an unbelievably great spot. The minute you walk in you feel like you could spend the whole day there. The vibes are cozy and the music always has you saying “I love this song” or asking the staff “who is playing right now?”. A lot of their treats come from Sophie Sucrée (another scrumptious vegan spot!). My favourite is their lavender scone washed down with their homemade fermented tea! (I feel like fermented is a scary word for some, but trust, it’s delicious and gut healthy too!) I usually go all out and get one of their sandwiches as well! Guys, they are so good and SO loaded with deliciousness. Veggie pate, cashew cheese, apples AND MORE! All stuffed inside their freshly baked rye bread. I feel lucky to live a 2 minute walk away from this gem!

 

Cafe Résonance (5175A Park Ave)

This spot is a total go-to for me, especially in the winter. It’s slightly underground so you’ve got those hibernation vibes going strong. It’s the perfect place to go hang out with friends or have some quality solo time. I usually stay for a few hours eating and drinking my way through their menu ;). When it comes to coffee I usually go for a simple soy milk latte but they also have a popular coconut/almond milk blend that is sure to make your taste buds jump! The perfect pairing with that is their banana bread. It is divine, especially warmed up with a nice layer of their homemade sunflower seed butter! SUH GUD! But my ultimate thing to rave about here is their homemade coconut yogourt. It is creamy, tart and simply full of yogourty goodness. Dairy based yogourt was definitely a staple in my diet before going vegan and the store bought dairy FREE yogourts that I’ve seen are full of weird ingredients, so finding resonance’s definitely brightened up my life! (You can also buy some to go!) As if all that isn’t enough they have a full savoury menu as well. Chili and guac on rice with sunflower seed sour cream, anyone?! Bonus, at night they have a variety of different music shows! Can’t get much better than that!

 

That’s what I got for ya for now! But I’ll be sure to add on to this as I discover more! Let me know if you have any go-to spots here in Montreal or around the world!

 

Kayla

 

 

compassion=veganism

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Com·pas·sion
noun
  1. sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

    “the victims should be treated with compassion”⠀⠀⠀

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    Compassion is the ultimate form of love. When we see another’s pain as our own we can begin to transcend the ego and start living a more conscious and spiritual life. Pain and suffering shouldn’t cease to exist to us just because we aren’t experiencing it first hand; the tree does make a noise even if you’re not in the forest. We must feel the pain and suffering of others in order to begin alleviating it.

     

    Let this quote wash over you:

     

    “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”

     

    -Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

     

    Don’t sleep my friends. Join the vibration and let us carry the universe together.

     

    Another quote that really struck a chord with me comes from a little unknown indy film called Love Actually 😉 :

     

    “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

     

    Beautiful.

     

    We have so much love inside of us. Love is human fuel and it’s pumping in our veins. And while there exists hate and discrimination in the world, if we look closer, on a smaller scale, there is so much love! That love just needs to transcend our individual circles! What I hope to do with Vegan Soul Call is humbly be a part of people’s realization that when we consume we either perpetuate peace or pain. There are so many issues in the world about which we may feel powerless but the beauty of veganism is that we call the shots and can make such a positive impact as individuals!

     

    Compassion is one transaction away.

     

    Simply put, if we wouldn’t wish pain or suffering onto dogs/cats/guinea pigs/hampsters etc, we should feel the same about all our animal friends, even those who don’t necessarily fall into the “pet” category.

     

    We gotta stop eating/wearing/supporting the torture of our friends!

     

    I know so many people believe in this already! We just have to, collectively, step into the fulfilling world of veganism!

     

    Let’s strip it doowwnnnn.

     

    A question that can be asked is:

     

    Are you against the torture/exploitation of animals?

     

    Yes?

     

    THEN YOU’RE A MUTHAFUCKIN VEGAN!

     

    Let’s realize this and LIVE IT!

     

    This spiritually awakening realization will lead to so many others.

     

    Where does our clothing come from? Our veggies? ANYTHING WE CONSUME!

     

    Veganism is about choosing to be a global citizen. Veganism is compassion.

     

    Veganism is love.

     

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Spreading the message

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This one goes out to, well, anyone who’s reading this! But especially to all my vegan babes eager to make a change.

 

I’m still trying to figure out the best way to spread the vegan message: how to make it the most digestible for people! It’s a big/loaded topic and I know it’s on my mind from morning to night. I, and I think I can safely say all vegans, carry around a heavy heart knowing about all the abuse that is happening as we go about our day. I sometimes feel like screaming (and actually the other day I took a pillow and did exactly that after seeing a particularly heartbreaking video…) So, the question is, how do we harness that energy into something productive? Like I said, I’m still figuring it out, but I do believe I’m finding my way with every passing day!

 

The first and most important thing is to be non-judgmental. Everyone is on their own path and it took many vegans (including myself) a good chunk of time to adopt this lifestyle. I know I would have wanted people to be kind and non-judgmental with me BV (before vegan ;).  Here’s a quote I saw floating around the internet that sums up this idea quite perfectly, “Always be the vegan you would have wanted to meet before you were vegan yourself!”

 

Throughout my journey with veganism, my passion has grown every day, and I have found the best way to pass on that passion is by starting a conversation. Also, the more knowledge you have on every aspect of veganism, the more of an impact your conversation will have! Pass on that passion! When chatting with someone about veganism, it’s important to really listen to their perspective; allow the person to be heard. We may be firm in our beliefs, but having a dialogue is important. !Bonus! In my experience, truly listening to someone, although I may not have always agreed with them, helped me to better articulate myself in future discussions.

 

So we’ve touched on starting a conversation, which brings me to my next thought: pick and choose your moments! I could talk about veganism ‘til I’m blue in the face, but for some, it may be a lot to digest. Although from my perspective it may simply be truth and information, for others, it may create discomfort or even feel like an attack. Veganism is an important cause and while we have a duty to speak up, if we overload people, they will tune out, making our efforts futile.

 

Be patient, be kind, and know when the other person is getting full!

 

Numero trois: LEAD BY EXAMPLE! What a wonderful way to change the world! Bring yummy vegan desserts to work; cook a meal for your family; share recipes; show people how sacrifice-free a vegan lifestyle really is! Simply living this life creates a ripple effect around you. I made vegan cheese cakes a little while ago (shout out to minimalist baker!) and brought them to a lil’ gals’ night.  One of those gals was a pretty big vegan sceptic, but when she tried these little bites of heaven she couldn’t stop raving about them, even saying “These are the best desserts I’ve ever had, vegan or not!” That being said, she didn’t become vegan, but that night her mind was opened to what a vegan really eats!

 

Those are some thoughts and ideas I have on the topic. I would love to hear from you! Thoughts, advice, stories, anything and everything!

 

A global movement is happening and THE MORE THE MERRIER!

 

Big big hugs to all y’all.

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“I am sometimes asked, ‘Why do you spend so much of your time and money talking about kindness to animals when there is so much cruelty done to men?’ I answer, ‘I am working at the roots.”

 

-George T. Angell