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What is Veganism?

Veganism. Some may say – “I have heard about it, but do not know anything about it and what it entails.”  Basically, veganism represents a person who does not eat or use anything that comes from an animal.  This includes meat, fish, eggs and honey.  Individuals who are vegan do not wear leather, fur, silk or wool whether it be a coat, pair of shoes, scarf, etc.

Veganism is a lifestyle, however most people start to dabble in it while only focusing on one part of their life, like food.  The whole point of being a vegan is that you don’t need to harm an animal in order to eat healthy, look fabulous or feel beautiful.  The reason people go vegan is because they want to minimize their negative impact on the world.

They want to be healthy, not harm the earth or animals.  However, making the transition can be difficult.  I discovered a website: www.TooChicForMeat.com that makes the introduction into veganism effortless.  It’s a blog written by New Yorker Nicole Faith, she introduces you to products – beauty, fashion, etc. in a well done manner.  Additionally, she gives vegan-friendly tours of New York for locals and tourists alike. I have taken 3 tours of areas in New York City that have focused on vegan food, shopping as well as many attractions that one must see when in New York.  Personally, I toured the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Soho.  Each tour is separate and I have booked them well in advance because Nicole gets filled up very quickly.  It is a personalized tour so you are not dragged around like cattle.  It is you and/or your “party”, up to 4 people.   You pick the area and that is where your day is focused on.  Each and every tour, I loved.  They were each different in their own right.  The food establishments we went to were great!  And the shopping, well, FANTASTIC!  Nicole is so sweet and informative.  Although I am not a vegan myself, I learned so much and became so educated.  This was always something that interested me but I never knew where or to whom I should inquire since the topic is so vast.  I have taken 3 tours and counting.  As the summer is upon us, I plan on booking at least 2 other tours that I have not taken yet.  It is money well spent!  Bring a very comfortable pair of shoes, money and a large appetite.  I not only ate during the tour but took many food items “to go” so I was able to enjoy them once the tour was over.  Check out “Too Chic for Meat” and the tours offered.  The tours encompass most New York City neighborhoods with several stops along the way which include food establishments, retail stores, attractions and parks.  Nicole is the only person that offers vegan tours of New York City’s neighborhoods, and she is a true expert in every sense.

There are many different food establishments that serve vegan cuisine in various cities in the United States.  Here in New York City, there is a standout chain called “Blossom” that includes varying menus along with varying price points.  Situated along the West Side of Manhattan, there are several locations from cheap eats to high end.

Blossom Du Jour is the vegan fast food restaurant.  The chicken caesar wrap is to die for along with their chocolate peanut butter milkshake. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are quite large.  They have counter seating in a very intimate atmosphere.  Blossom Cafe is a bit more upscale as it has a dining room with waiter/waitress service.  This is a bit higher in price than Blossom Du Jour however the food is fantastic and well worth it.  Additionally, there is the Blossom Bakery which offers a wide array of desserts for anyone who has a sweet tooth.  Lastly, there is Blossom on Columbus.  This restaurant is more high end than the others but well worth the price.  The food is excellent and the service is second to none.  The way that the food is prepared at any of these eating establishments, no one would ever know that it is vegan.  It looks, smells and taste like the “real deal.”

Another fabulous restaurant for vegans is Peacefood Cafe. Located in downtown Manhattan, it is a very large yet homey restaurant which mirrors their food.  Everything I have ordered there has been excellent and leaves me wanting for more. Think: soup, burgers and chickpea fries.

Shopping as a vegan can be challenging at first however with a little patience and research, you would be surprised at how many stores – brick and mortar as well as online have items that are applicable to this lifestyle.  Moo Shoes (www.mooshoes.com) is the only vegan shoe store in New York. They are located in Los Angeles and New York City’s East Village and appeal to customers by offering a wide array of shoe styles and colors to fit any taste and to correspond with any outfit. Sneaker, heels, boots- they have it all. On your way out, don’t forget to pet the store mascot (a cat) that sits in its own shoebox on the counter.

Melissa Shoes (www.melissashoes.com) which is located in Soho carries many different styles to compliment your outfit.  Their selection includes sandals, flats, heels and rain boots, to name a few.  I personally own a pair of rain boots from Melissa and absolutely love them.  Not only are they functional but they are so fashionable.  I receive compliments every time I wear them.

Matt and Nat (www.mattandnat.com) which is based in Canada, offers a great selection of handbags, wallets and briefcases that look like leather but are not.  Not only do they wear like iron but they are water resistant so don’t worry about caught in bad weather, your Matt and Nat handbag will “weather the storm.”

Know a vegan or someone that is transitioning to become one and don’t know what to buy them for a special occasion?  Subscription boxes are a great way to go.  This way you can try new products from different companies and decide for yourself which products you would then like to go out and purchase for the long term.  It is a great way to sample new products – new to you and new to the market.  You can be assured that each and every product is vegan certified by the box curators.  Vegan Cuts (www.vegancuts.com) is a great box because you can choose either vegan food or beauty products.  Petit Vour (www.petitvour.com) is a cool box that includes luxe cruelty-free and vegan beauty products only.  So, if you know someone who loves to try all the latest and greatest beauty products then this box would be for them.  Another cruelty free, just beauty box is La Ritzy (www.laritzy.com).  Prices vary for the monthly beauty boxes so pick one that fits into your budget and either treat yourself or someone else. Whether it’s a gift to that newly vegan friend or an introduction to kinder ingredients for you, this is a purchase that leaves minimal regret behind. You will only be sorry you didn’t try it sooner. There is a difference between cruelty free and vegan when it comes to beauty products.  Cruelty free is when a product is not tested on animals and vegan is where the product does not come from animals.  Therefore, a product can be cruelty free but not necessarily vegan.

Not all of us will or want to become a vegan but becoming knowledgeable about a topic in order to make the right decisions for ourselves can only bring about a positive outcome.

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