Why Vegan?

Background Story 

When I first tell people that I’m a vegan, their response is, “Why?” and, “For how long?” So I have decided to finally write about my vegan journey. It first started freshman year of college in August of 2015 where I needed a change in workout style and what I was eating. The cafeteria food seemed to make me sick and I had never truly enjoyed the taste and texture of meat, fish, and poultry. After talking with my new friend, Faeln who has been vegetarian since she was a baby, I was influenced to cut animal’s out of my food pattern.

When you’ve only had meat all your life, it is hard to think of meals without animal in it. It can seem overwhelming and scary, but all it takes is research and connecting with other vegetarians to find new dishes to make. I have noticed a reoccurring pattern of when I speak with people about my lifestyle that they immediately try to defend the reason why they eat meat. Let me note right now that I do not and will never judge anyone by what they eat. Just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean I expect everyone else to cut meat out of their meals.

*** If you are planning on going vegetarian or vegan, make sure that you do it right. There are plenty of people who are vegetarian/vegan that are living unhealthy and not making sure they are keeping a balanced lifestyle. Like what? A vegetarian/vegan can be unhealthy? YES! So please, please, please do your research on processed foods and where to get proper protein, carbs, fats, etc. ***

After a year of being vegetarian, I felt my body becoming lactose intolerant. To avoid becoming sick so often, I chose to try cutting out milk products. This lead to me eventually taking out all products produced from animals (this includes eggs). I instantly felt a change in my health and how I viewed the food I was putting into my body.

However, I am not writing this post to convince you to change your lifestyle or start a new diet. I wanted to share my story, inform people on the difference between a vegetarian and vegan, include some benefits, and hopefully spark conversation. If you have ANY questions about my journey, do not hesitate to email or comment below. 

Vegetarian vs. Vegan 

VEGETARIAN: No animals like fish, meat, chicken, and shellfish

VEGAN: No animals AS WELL AS nothing produced from an animal like eggs, milk, and honey (Honey is debated in the vegan community, but I chose to eat local honey to help my allergies)

3 Main Reasons 

Health

Ethical

Environmental

Stereotypes 

  1. Vegan’s don’t get enough protein – FALSE!!! Vegan’s get plenty of protein from sources like beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts, black bean burgers, quinoa, buck wheat, soy, and more. Studies have actually shown that American’s are probably eating TOO MUCH protein primarily from animal sources. (Articles – https://melmagazine.com/youre-eating-way-too-much-protein-3a3c3eb7e4c7 // https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/well/eat/can-you-get-too-much-protein.html // http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vsk/vegetarian-starter-kit-protein // https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/know-your-nutrients/do-americans-eat-too-much-protein //) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/5/1554S/4650421
  2. Vegan’s only eat salad – SOOO FALSE!! Vegan’s can still enjoy food, we actually eat a LOT of it. We can also still eat sweets don’t worry.
  3. Being vegan is a diet – It depends. Some people do a vegan diet for a month while other’s consider being vegan as a lifestyle. For myself, being a vegan is a lifestyle since I eat this way every single day rather than just cutting out animals and animal products for a select amount of time.
  4. All vegans are hippies – False. Becoming vegan is actually a rising movement.
  5. Vegan’s only want to talk about being vegan – False. Not every vegan wants to discuss their lifestyle. And those that want to discuss being vegan do it because it’s part of their journey.
  6. Vegan’s hate non-vegans – FALSE FALSE FALSE. This is not true at all! Vegan’s are actually judged by non-vegans more. Becoming a vegan is a personal choice and we do not judge, or want to be judged by others for choosing what we eat.
  7. Vegan food is boring – Uhh heck no. If you’ve seen my vegan Instagram page (katiekimikoeats), you can tell that vegan food is very colorful and flavorful. Don’t knock it till you try it!

Benefits 

    • Reduced risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer
    • Help decrease animal cruelty such as small pens and cages that animals are forced to live in and the slaughtering of animals
    • Reduce the environmental footprint
    • Lower blood sugar levels and improve kidney function
    • Can help lose excess weight
    • Healthier skin
    • Longer life
    • And SO MUCH MORE !!!

AGAIN, if you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to reach out. I would love to share recipes and more of my journey with you.

Feel free to follow my vegan Instagram page: katiekimikoeats, and my fitness Instagram for more updates: katiekimikofitness

Featured Image from: https://www.veganmotivation.com/what-is-a-vegan/

Paris, France

Nov 3rd-5th // Paris, France

A place of romance, beautiful views, history, friendly residence, & delicious food

Day One

We set out this morning for a long, productive day. The first step was to get from Roehampton University to the EuroStar. This included a quick bus ride and then a train ride. Once we got to the entrance of the EuroStar, we had to go through Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 11.42.50 PM.pngsecurity before we could begin boarding. This process was quicker than imagined, which is pretty rare in London. We then ran to our seats and made ourselves comfortable for the two and a half hour train ride. This includes going UNDER the ocean?! Hard concept to grasp? Just look at the map on the right. You hardly notice that you’re traveling underwater, the only indication is the black walls surrounding you for what seemed like thirty minutes. We finally arrived in Paris and attempted to make our way to our beautiful Airbnb. This processes included taking a few trains where we then got off, walked outside of the station, and looked up to see a massive tower.

It’s hard to truly understand what sometime looks like until you stand in front of it. You see the Eiffel Tower in photos and get a gist of what it looks like, but I believe that you don’t truly understand the power and history behind the figure until you are there in its presence. After a couple of minutes of staring, no words having to be said, we made our way to our Airbnb. There’s no way to describe the view of our Airbnb so I’m just going to include photos below for you to see…

Unbelievable? I know. We got so lucky with booking this Airbnb as it happened to be free the ONE weekend we were in Paris and it wasn’t too costly! We spent hours on the window seal just staring at the tower, admiring its beautiful, and taking in the moment. I still sit here in my London room with warmth in my heart and an obsession with the view from this Airbnb. If you’re ever in Paris and want a good place to stay with a view, hit me up!

After Facetiming friends and family to show them our view, we decided a late lunch was necessary. We found a small vegan restaurant nearby that we walked to since it happened to be a gorgeous day despite what the weather app predicted. For more information on this meal and the restaurant, see my blog post “Brasserie Lola” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog. After, we proceeded to walk around, grab some Starbucks mugs, and pick up a few souvenirs. By the time we got back to the Airbnb, or what we called home for the weekend, the Eiffel Tower was glistening, indicating the city of Paris that it was now night. Fae and I sat and stared, tears filling my eyes at the fact that I was currently sitting in Paris, looking at the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom, beside my best friend, listening to Bob Dylan. It was one of those moments that feels like a dream, that life is too good to be true. I was woken up from my daydream, I mean reality? to a text message from a friend indicating where to meet before dinner. “Meet next to the Eiffel Tower?” the message stated. Unreal. Fae and I quickly changed, finding it hard to take our eyes off the massive structure outside our window and headed out for a night in Paris. It was right before stepping outside the door that we noticed the tower begin to sparkle. Not just sparkle, but take on a dancing pattern of lights going crazy on the tower. I’ve attached a video below so you can experience what we were seeing. (We soon learned that this occurs every hour on the hour and lasts about fifteen minutes until one o’ clock at night)

 

We decided to explore the city a little before going to dinner. We ended up walking

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Arc de Triomphe

to Arc de Triomphe without even knowing it! We sat on a bench as orange leaves fell from the tree next to us. We watched the roundabout in astonishment at the fact that it was chaos, but controlled chaos. Cars raced in all directions without hitting each other and getting to their destination exit. After, we walked back a different route where we ended up at sitting at the edge of a river, people watched, enjoyed the live music, and soaked in the moment. We then met Sarah, Avery, and Yvette for a delicious dinner in the city. We shared laughs, caught up on our trips so far, and enjoyed this moment, five girls grabbing a meal in the beautiful city of Paris.

 

Day Two

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Place de la Concorde

Tourist day as I called it. I was determined to visit all the “must see” spots of Paris. We started at one side of the city and walked all the way back to our home. First on our list was Place de la Concorde where we took two quick trains to get there. After, we got delicious salads and lemonades at a restaurant nearby, see my post “Le Paradis Du Fruit” in the Travel –> Study Abroad –> Foreign Eats section of my blog for more details. Fae and I enjoyed the cold air outside and the fact that we were experiencing a real autumn so no public transportation was needed today, only our feet and a map.

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Notre Dame

Next on the list was Notre Dame Cathedral. On this walk, we experienced live musicians, a man blowing gigantic bubbles, and cheap thrift stores. We got to the cathedral, took an abundance of photos and then set out for our next location, the Louvre.

We continued walking the same road that we stared on until we came across three giant glass pyramids. A pretty good indication

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The Louvre

that we had reached our destination. We took photos in front then proceed to join the line of people into the museum. A fun-fact for those of you that are students, if you show them your student ID and some proof of identification, you get into the museum for FREE! I have heard rumors that you have to pay more to see the Mona Lisa, and let me tell you that this rumor is FALSE! Follow the signs inside, or the group of people running, and you will find the Mona Lisa in the back of the museum. There is a rope in front of here and a few guard that ensure her safety. You may have to wait a couple of minutes and use some force to get to the front and snap a quick photo.

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Do I really have to caption this one for you?

There is a bullet proof glass in front of her so your photos may have a glare, but you must have some evidence that you were there correct? This was another one of those experiences where I had to step back and remind myself that this was real and that I wasn’t in a dream. Yes, I did run back and forth and yes, her eyes did follow me. Just tourist things right?

The rest of museum is huge and very easy to get lost in, just a warning, this did happen. Actually, it’s the largest museum in the world! Being said, you could spend hours, days, even months in this museum! Fun-fact time!! “If you ever had 100 days spare, you could probably squeeze in every piece of art, but you could only spend 30 seconds on each piece – and that’s if you were there all day, every day.”1 There are 380,00 pieces in total! Another fun fact is that the Louvre wasn’t originally a museum but rather a fortress and then a royal palace. Also, Napoleon was the first to ever hang the Mona Lisa in his private bedroom. Fun-fact number three is the fact that the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911 and then returned two years later. For the final fun fact, there is said to be a Louvre Ghost that dates back to 1190 and thought to be haunted by a mummy called Belphegor.

  1. http://thelistlove.com/10-interesting-facts-about-the-louvre/#

In need of some coffee, we set out by foot to find a cute little coffee shop. While walking, we discovered a beautiful area that we found out was called Place de la Concorde pictured below. Although we never ended up finding a cafe, we enjoyed our sunset walk while following the Eiffel Tower back home.

Exhausted and just wanting to pick up a cheap dinner, we spotted a Subway and you get we got a foot long, apple juice, and a bag of chips?! Throwback to childhood. We sat in our bed, glancing at the Eiffel Tower a few times while watching Modern Family and eating our vegan dinners. The perfect ending to the perfect day.

 

Day Three

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part. Thank you Paris for inviting us into your city and showing us so much hospitality. You were more than I ever imagined you to be. You have so much history and beauty within your city that it’s hard to comprehend the fact that people live in you year round. I look forward to the day where I get to visit you again, which will hopefully be soon.

 

xoxo,

katie davis

Brasserie Lola

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Nov 3rd // Paris, France 

When in Paris am I right? I just had to get this famous dish, vegan style of course! Pictured is a vegan croquet monsieur, poireaux vinaigrette, and dou de samoussa. This famous sandwich with ham and tomato on the inside with a slice of cheese on top is pretty common in Paris and tasted similar to a meat grilled cheese. It was delicious and I finished every bite of it! If you’re ever in the area, you HAVE to check out this wonderful vegan restaurant!

Website: https://www.happycow.net/reviews/brasserie-lola-paris-52172

Madrid, Spain

They say eating in Spain is difficult for vegans, however, we did a great job of finding amazing food from Madrid. Although it took some research and searching around, we managed to get by. Here are some photos from our eats in Madrid with  restaurant names and meal titles included. Enjoy!

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    Paella

This small outdoor restaurant is located in Plaza Mayor. There are several outdoor restaurants in this area that all serve the same meals at the same prices so pick a spot and eat up! This meal was completely vegan with carrots, red peppers, a lemon, lima beans, rice, and artichoke.

 

 

 

2. Cafeteria Los Jamonimos

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Gazpacho

 

Website: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187514-d4778309-Reviews-Cafeteria_Los_Jeronimo-Madrid.html

 

 

 

 

3. La Encomidena

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Tacos

 

This all vegan restaurant has a plethora of options. These four tacos with soy, corn, tomatoes, guac and soy filled me right up! Something I found to be the coolest thing about this restaurant was that all the plates and most of the decoration was hand made with pottery.

Website: http://www.laencomienda.es

 

 

 

4. The Urban Bites

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Chocolate & Vanilla Donuts

 

Although you can’t tell by the photo, these donuts are mini and can be eaten in one bite. It’s always a good day when I can also find some vegan donuts!

Website: http://www.theurbanbits.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  GramaBar 

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Arepa

 

A warm black bean arepa in Spain hit the spot.  We also ordered an appetizer of wedged potato fries but those were eaten up before a photo was taken!

 

Website: http://gramabar.com

 

 

 

 

6. Walk to Wok

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Custom Wok Bowl

Custom food is the best for vegans! I ordered brown rice as my base, with tofu, spinach, and mixed peppers with teriyaki sauce.

 

Website: https://www.woktowalk.com

 

 

 

7. Cafe Prado

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Raspberry Sorbet

Website: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187514-d8445169-Reviews-Cafe_Prado-Madrid.html

 

8. Cafe & Tapas

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Wok

 

Noodles, mushrooms, red peppers, sesame seeds, and a delicious teriyaki sauce.

 

Website: http://cafeandtapas.com

 

 

 

 

 

9. Taco Bell

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Crunch Wrap, Fries, Chips, Salsa & Guac

 

 

Late nights mean taco bell in Spain. I was surprised when I ordered my Crunch Wrap (substitute the meat with beans, no cheese or sour cream) and it came out with some fries! I also ordered a side of chips, salsa, and guac.

 

Website: https://tacobell.es

 

 

 

10. Viva Chapata 

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Vegan Burger with Fries

 

Vegan burger, mexican style with cheese, guac, and corn paired with some yummy fries!

Website: https://www.facebook.com/vivachapataMadrid/

 

 

 

11. Chocolateria San Gines

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Chocolate Churros

 

Although this isn’t vegan, it is a must in Spain for others! This restaurant is the most well known in Madrid for chocolate churros so be sure to go here and get some famous desserts!

Website: https://chocolateriasangines.com

Wasabi Sushi & Bento

 

October 15th // Wasabi Sushi & Bento

Busy days call for some a fast sushi lunch. The photos shown above include the Yasai Roll Set with Brown Rice, inari, carrot, avocado, red pepper, cucumber in one roll, avocado, cucumber, inari and red pepper in another roll with an inari pocket, mixed leaves, fresh beens, and edamame with a ride of soy sauce and wasabi. The soup shown is the miso soup with traditional Japanese soup made with a dash broth, miso paste, and topped with tofu and wakame.

Website: https://wasabi.uk.com

Smile Cookies

 

September 19th // Smile Cookies // Camden Market, London

I have heard about eating raw cookie dough, but had yet to try it. Well, today was the day. I got half and half vanilla and cookie dough with chocolate, bananas, strawberries, sprinkles, coconut, and more! Not only was the dessert delicious, but the man working the stand was the most precious, giving person I have met. He asked us the smile questions of, “Are you happy? Why?” After we all answered and gave our reasoning, he encouraged us to keep being happy and doing what we love. His inspiration and kind heart was so inspiring to see. On his tip jar, it also said that the proceeds go back to planting trees. Intreged, I asked him what this mean and where we plants these trees. He explained that the trees are planted in rural area’s all over the world where they can provide shelter, food, and more for those living there. We need more people like Remy, and also more cookie dough stands!

 

Instagram: @smilecookieslondon

 

Magic Falafel

September 20th // Magic Falafel // Camden Market, London

A group of six girls took to London today with bellies empty and no expectations of what tonight would bring. Ash had heard that this falafel stand was to die for, so we decided to go try it before we headed to a Fresher’s Week event in the city. Ash, Syd, and I all got our vegan falafels, which we inhaled in seconds, while Anna and Kaylee split a burrito as well as fish and chips while Rose just ordered a burrito. All the food was filling and delicious. Camden Market is a very famous spot in London known for their history, food, and shopping. We got to see this first hand and let me tell you, this is not my last time there!

 

Website: https://www.camdenmarket.com/food-drink/magic-falafel

Etnosvet

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September 5th // Etnosvet // Prague, CZ

A post five hour bus ride called for some late night eats. We looked up vegetarian / vegan restaurants near our Air Bnb and crossed our fingers that something would be open at 10pm. To our luck, we found one! We quickly ran a few blocks to Etnosvet where we ordered an Andalusian Salmorejo soup with tomatoes, almonds, pita bread croutons, and coriander pesto as well as a side of vegetables. Our waiter warned us that the soup is served cold, but we didn’t mind, we were just happy to be eating something vegan and yummy! The earthy vibe of the restaurant was calming and well needed.

Website can be found here: http://etnosvet.cz/en

Naturezaveget

September 7th // Natureza Vegetarian House // Prague, CZ

Our last day in the beautiful city of Prague called us to a small restaurant where we sat outset and soaked up the warm sun. I first ordered a mint tea where they put fresh mint in the warm water and a lemon on the side. Now I want to grow my own mint and copy this idea! Imogen and I both ordered a wholegrain pasta with basil pesto that included cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula and parvegan cheese while Fae ordered a greek salad with tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, olives, and red onion. Good conversations with inspiring people over some delicious vegan food made the ending of the Prague trip the best.

Website for the restaurant can be found here: http://www.naturezaveget.cz/en/index.html

Vegan’s Prague

September 6th // Vegan’s Prague // Prague, CZ

Miles on foot and hours of exploring calls for a delicious dinner with a view. Today after walking for what seemed like a whole day, we decided to wander around Prague for some vegan food. It’s neat to be able to turn a corner and run into a vegan or vegetarian cafe since that’s not so common in America. As we were walking, we looked up and saw the sign “Vegan’s” so as a collective group, we decided that this was our dinner spot for the night. Not knowing the climb we were getting into, we started up the spiral staircase where step by step, we lugged our tired and sore bodies to the top level where we perked up when the smell of warm food hit our noses. We specifically asked for an outside table to one, cool off from the trek up the stairs, and to reward ourselves with a balcony view of Prague. We all ordered lemonade that came with some fresh herbs, a lemon, and raspberries that I took down in one sip. Faeln and I ordered an Indian dish with fried rice and grilled vegetables, tempeh, and home made teriyaki dip while Imogen got a carrot bread, hummus, avocado sip, sweet potatoes, zucchini, leek, corn, coriander, and roasted pepper veggie burger that came with a small side salad. As we ate and looked at photos from the day, we started hearing this buzzing noise. Before we knew it, a few bee’s were flying into our lemonade glasses! This was the start to a long couple of days followed by bee sightings and runnings (us running away from the bee’s of course).

Check out the restaurant’s website here: http://www.vegansprague.cz