Meet a Vegan Texan

Part of what inspired us to start writing Lone Star Plate are the constant jokes and quips about the impossibility of being vegan in Texas. Just the other day I saw “Real people eat meat” scrawled across the wall of a restaurant in Texas. So, dear reader, clap if you believe in vegan Texans.

That’s what I thought.

In a new occasional series, we’ll introduce you to real live Texas vegans from all across the state. The first person in the series is Anna from San Antonio. Anna blogs at Carrot and Potato Time and also runs the etsy shop Analog Accessories.

Anna, San Antonio

Why are you vegan?
I’m vegan for ethical reasons. I was lacto-ovo-vegetarian (still consuming dairy and eggs) for about 8 years before I was introduced to information about dairy, eggs, and honey that made me reconsider my habits. I read Diet for a New Americaby John Robbins and I felt that a vegan diet would be more aligned with my feelings about animals and their use.

How long have you been vegan?
10 years

What’s it like to be vegan where you live?
When I became vegan I lived in Los Angeles and it is extremely easy to be vegan there. Next I lived in San Diego, which was also pretty accepting of vegans. Living here in San Antonio, I feel I need to make more effort to reach out to people who do not have negative reactions to my choices. Fortunately though, San Antonio is large enough for a certain level of diversity. We do have a Whole Foods, and Green Vegetarian Restaurant is great for getting a vegan meal. Just about a month ago, San Antonio’s first vegan restaurant, Vegeria, opened up and we are really excited about that.

I have a three year old son, so when we moved here I got involved in a couple of mom’s groups right away. One of them is focused on more natural living, and I have met a couple of other vegans in that group, however their children are not entirely vegan. One thing I would like is to find some other vegan buddies for my son because he is getting to be the age where he’s more tuned in to group dynamics. Not that I would only have him play with other vegans, but I don’t want him to be the only vegan child we know. That has been a bit difficult here. The new families we’ve met, although most are not vegan, have been very nice and often make and bring vegan foods to share when we meet for playgroups. I don’t expect them to do so but I think it is so thoughtful of them.

What’s your favorite resource for finding vegan food? Your favorite vegan restaurant dish?
We use Happy Cow to look up vegan restaurants when we travel. For local food, word of mouth has been the best resource. Through a friend I discovered a totally vegetarian Indian restaurant here that I didn’t know existed. It’s called Pavani Express. They make some super spicy and delicious vegan dishes.

Right now my favorite vegan restaurant dish is the tamale plate at Vegeria. They also make an outstanding portabello sub sandwich with a homemade cashew cheese on it.

What’s your favorite vegan Texan food?
Green Vegetarian Restaurant has some great vegan southern style items. It’s hard to pick a favorite, they are all good! I’m still new to Texan food and I probably haven’t really experienced it in its full glory yet.

Since I moved to Texas I have definitely developed a new fondness for okra. During the summer we get a lot of okra in our CSA share and I just love it.

Do you have a secret vegan weapon? Laser vision? Kale? A larabar in your pocket?
Sounds funny saying it this way, but lately my secret weapon is seaweed. In recent months I have been attempting to incorporate a lot more seaweed into my family’s diet. It’s packed with excellent nutrients and even helps the body remove radiation! Iron, vitamin C, iodine, enzymes, and most of the minerals found in the ocean are all found in seaweed. It helps regulate blood sugar, is great for cardiovascular health, and has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fortunately I don’t have to force my family members to eat a huge pile of sea vegetable salad every day to get these plants into our diet. I add a couple of pieces of kombu to my crock pot of beans to make them easier to digest. I incorporate bits of dulse into my pasta sauces and stir fries. I use agar-agar to thicken the soy yogurt and “cheese” that I make at home. I add a bit of spirulina to our smoothies.  We each occasionally snack on toasted nori strips, and my son has become accustomed to eating his tofu cubes with bits of arame stuck to them.

If you could only choose one, would it be tofu, tempeh, seitan, or beans?
I would choose beans. I always feel great after eating beans!

What advice do you have for people in your area about being vegan?
– It can sometimes help to seek out other vegans. Here in San Antonio we have SAVS (welcomes vegetarians and vegans of all types, but is essentially a vegan group) and a vegan Meetup group.
– Take heart that the food options in San Antonio are becoming more diverse. Green Vegetarian restaurant is opening a second location soon and I’ve heard rumors of yet another vegan restaurant in the works.
– Support Vegeria, our new vegan restaurant.
– Support Sunny Day Farms, our local animal sanctuary.
– I have a vegan dining guide on my blog and I hope it’s helpful. I will continue to update it as things change, so keep your eye out for that.
– Also, a brief trip to Austin can be great if you want some dining adventures!

2 thoughts on “Meet a Vegan Texan

Leave a Reply to lazysmurf Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *