Is The Pfunky Griddle in Nashville a Vegan Friendly Restaurant?

Hi, I’m Nick Shell, the manliest vegan on the Internet. (No other male vegan has ever disputed this!) And yes, I can confirm that a vegan can indeed dine at The Pfunky Griddle. Because I recently did…

A few weeks ago, my family had a great time at the Nashville Zoo. But first, we had a splendid breakfast at The Pfunky Griddle, which is only 4 miles away.

I admit, I had my doubts whether or not I would just be assisting my wife and kids in preparing their meal, yet myself not having anything to eat.

So before I left the house, I had some coffee and made myself my famous “Manly Vegan Smoothie”, which consists of a banana, a cup of blueberries, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.

That way, I had a solid base of vegan protein and fat already in my system in case things didn’t work out for me at The Pfunky Griddle.

My main role in being there was ultimately indeed to prepare and serve my family their pancakes. They are vegetarians, so they can have eggs and dairy, which I can not.

That is the reason I specifically didn’t order the pancakes. Instead, I had the hash browns and the veggie sausage.

I assume that you know the whole premise of The Pfunky Griddle is that you make your own breakfast, thanks to a griddle which is built into every table.

Now, was my meal perfectly vegan? No.

It could have been, but I knowingly let two things slide:

I assume the veggie sausage contained egg whites. While I would never choose to eat egg whites, I will overlook it if there is a trace of it in the food, as I did with the veggie burger last month at Mellow Mushroom.

But I refuse to eat egg yolks, which contain the cholesterol.

I am a vegan because it allows me to consume 0% of my daily cholesterol; not for animal rights’ reasons alone.

Also, the spray for the griddle contains butter as an ingredient, though it’s so little that it still registers as 0% cholesterol on the nutritional label. (This spray is not necessary to even use, but it definitely makes the food easier to cook.)

We had fun as a family and we will definitely be going back. As is the norm with my vegan lifestyle, I made it work and I refused to be a stick in the mud.

Because not only am I the manliest vegan on the Internet, I’m also the coolest vegan anyone has ever met in the history of the world!

Dear Holly: You are My Golden Senorita who Loves Munching on Tortillas

1 year, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

I doubt most people would guess it, but you are indeed part Mexican. My grandmother’s parents were born in Michoacán, which is in southeast Mexico. She was born in Buffalo, New York, but was completely Mexican. So Nonna is half Mexican, I am a quarter, and you are 1/8th.

You’re 12 and half percent Mexican. Of course, your golden hair sure doesn’t help imply that. Nor your blue eyes. Nor your fair skin.

But if nothing else, you have definitely been showing your Mexican roots in that you are currently obsessed with Tortilla Land brand tortillas.

I like them because right there on the package, it says there are only 5 ingredients: wheat flour, water, canola oil, salt, sugar. No unpronounceable chemicals or preservatives. Plus, I can eat them because they are vegan.

Mommy gets them at Kroger, which is where we buy most of our groceries each week.

You just can’t get enough of these tortillas. I love watching you use your little figures try to aggressively grab the little morsels that Mommy and I tear for you. You quickly stuff them in your mouth as if each time were the last time.

Of course, your brother regularly eats them for breakfast, so I suppose there is indeed some legitimate concern that we could run out of these tortillas before you’re ready for another one.

And Mommy makes quesadillas out of them as well. She uses avocado instead of cheese, since I can’t have dairy.

I’ve been trying to get your brother into spicy foods, but he thinks black pepper is spicy. So if I can’t convert him, maybe I can convert you. I need to have at least one kid who can appreciate spicy food.

Perhaps it all starts with a 1 year-old little girl’s fascination with tortillas.

Love,

Daddy

This is 36: I Hate Onset Diabetes Enough to Prevent It (Inside the Mind of a Crazy Vegan Dad!)

Something peculiar I have learned over the years about my active, plant-based lifestyle is this:

The most outspoken (and predictable) demographic who opposes my lifestyle consists of overweight men who have onset diabetes.

When they learn I don’t eat meat, dairy, eggs, or drink soda, and that I haven’t for over 4 years, they scoff at the concept. They basically mock me for “not getting enough protein.” They insinuate that because my kids are vegetarians, I am depriving them of proper nutrition as well. They have clearly told me on multiple occasions that there is no way I can possibly be healthy, since I am a vegan.

Have you processed the irony yet? These claims about my health are coming from overweight men with onset diabetes.

People who are officially not healthy are confidently telling me how unhealthy I am.  What?!

No other demographic is more openly opposed to how I live my life.

I don’t argue with them, though. I choose to let them continue to believe their version of reality. I am so confident in my beliefs, that I have no desire to try to convince them that my way is superior to theirs.

My motivation is to not become like them, in both their closed-mindedness and in their physically unhealthy state of being.

For me it’s pretty simple. I know that both an increased intake of processed sugar and meat lead not only to onset diabetes, but also prostate cancer.

I refuse to become another stereotype 20 years from now.

Therefore, I eat only plant-based foods, just 6 “food groups”:

Vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

I consume zero percent of my daily cholesterol (which is a default of the vegan lifestyle), while still consuming at least my minimum of daily protein and fat intake. My doctor has confirmed I am healthy and getting enough protein; and that I am healthier than most men my age.

Not to mention, I am perfectly in the healthy weight range for my age, height and weight. In other words, I am neither underweight nor overweight.

But what I eat is only 80% of it. The other 20% of what helps me avoid prevent diseases and health issues is the fact that I faithfully exercise and work out.

Being the busy full-time working husband, dad, blogger, and YouTuber that I am, I make my hour long lunch break at work my time to work out.

It’s basically a Triathlon of running 2 miles, along with either mountain biking or skateboarding.

This particularly diet and workout plan is what works for me personally. Before I became the crazy vegan, I was not consistently happy with my health.

I have nothing to prove to overweight men with onset diabetes.

I only have something to prove to myself:

That I indeed have much control over preventable diseases and health problems.

-Nick Shell, vegan, age 36

 

Top photo: Jasmine Moreno

 

If you found this blog post mildly intriguing, then you will definitely enjoy…

Top 10 Reasons My “Diet” is Consistently Successful and I am Still Healthy & Fit at Age 36 (from a Non-Vegan, Non-Vegetarian Perspective)

Dear Jack: Our Day Trip to Pensacola (Ride the Lightning 2017 Toyota Prius Road Trip)

6 and a half years.

Dear Jack,

Mommy has 7 brothers, so that means you have 7 uncles on her side of the family. And since most of them live in different states scattered across America, it can be quite difficult for you to get to know them.

Fortunately, last week while our family was in Florida, you got to spend some great quality time with Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca. They recently moved to Pensacola, from northern California where Mommy grew up. (You remembered him from a couple of years ago when you swam at his pool).

Our condo was in Destin, which is just about an hour away from Pensacola.

So we took the 2017 Toyota Prius on a one hour drive to visit them, along with Grandma, for lunch at Jaco’s.

After we dined on pizza (mine had avocado instead of cheese to suit my vegan needs)…

We visited Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca’s new house, which is currently under construction.

You were less interested in the grand tour and more focused on putting yourself to work outside in the hot Florida sun.

Using a scrap piece of marble counter top, you smashed rocks into powder. Uncle Joe didn’t even pay you for your labor!

Well, actually, I take that back… He and Aunt Rebecca followed us back to Destin and stayed with us the rest of the week- and our first day there together in Destin, he took us out to lunch at a wonderful Mexican place called Don Pedros.

While we waited for the food to arrive, Uncle Joe and Aunt Rebecca helped you download fun dinosaur games on their phones for you to play.

As I sat across from the three of you, it became very obvious I was truly witnessing the dynamics of a young boy who was naturally enjoying getting to know his uncle and aunt.

But there was much more fun to come, as we then ventured over to the go-kart race track!

To be continued…

Love,

Daddy

Destin, Florida is Still Not a Vegan Friendly City… A Year and a Half Later

If, as a vegan, you end up in Destin, I will help you out by highlighting some of the places you will be able to eat. But I’m telling you up front, it’s a challenge…

The most obvious choice is Whole Foods Market, which was still being built the last time I was in Destin back in 2015. While it is glorious and new and easy to get to from the main road, it is not vegan friendly.

I struggled to find something to eat there, that would provide for my protein needs. I had to rely strictly on the buffet, but even then, it was nearly impossible to find grains I could eat. The options with rice or pasta all contained meat or dairy.

Briefly, I thought there was a ray of hope when I walked over to the sandwich bar, as there was a veggie sandwich (Le Provencal) on the menu that I could have ordered without the cheese. But when I tried to order it, I was told they no longer have that option available- not just that day, but permanently.

The guy then suggested I try their Caprese Classico sandwich instead, as he informed me that their pesto sauce does not contain dairy. I then delicately explained to him a Caprese Classico sandwich without the cheese is ultimately just a big piece of toast with a tomato on it.

That’s the thing: People who aren’t vegan fundamentally don’t understand how vegans get their protein:

Veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

I made things work, but was ultimately limited to spending $14 a pop at the Whole Foods buffet; surviving mainly on tofu and beans.

Of course, there is a Mellow Mushroom on the main drag, as well. So that was the next place I took my family in the 2017 Toyota Prius. That’s an easy go to for me when I’m travelling. I experimented with their veggie burger for the first time.

I was very pleased, though I did have to cheat a little, knowing there were traces of egg whites in the burger. The reason this didn’t wreck my conscience is because I’m not a vegan because of animal rights. I follow a 0% cholesterol lifestyle for the health benefits- and I know that the cholesterol of an egg is in the yolk, not the egg whites.

There’s also a place called The Dig, which for a vegan, serves in the likeness of a juice bar. That’s where I met Aaron Sundstrom, who is another fellow male vegan. He switched to the plant-based lifestyle after he survived a bout with cancer.

Perhaps the easiest place for me to dine and got a solid meal was Don Pedros Cantina, which is on the main road but off to the back and easy to miss.

I ordered the veggie fajitas, minus the sour cream and cheese.

So there you have it. Vegans typically don’t end up in Destin. It’s not an inviting place for us, when it comes to food.

It’s not Destin’s fault. Destin is simply catering to who’s showing up.

Apparently, the vegans are visiting other cities instead, like Pensacola.

In fact, the next time I visit Florida on vacation, I will be staying in Pensacola but will take a day trip to Destin.

I get it. I am an intelligent guy. I understand how the free market works…

The reason that Destin, Florida is still not an easy place for a vegan to eat, as I became aware back in December 2015, is not the fault of the city. Instead, it’s simply demographics.

I theorize it like this: Destin is mostly comprised of older, retired residents who live there during the winter, then rent out their condos to young families (like mine) during the warmer months.

The majority of people either living in or coming through Destin are demographically, by design, not the target market for the vegan lifestyle.

Compare that to Pensacola, just about an hour away, which I deemed as very vegan friendly back in May 2015.

Pensacola isn’t a tourist town, the way Destin undeniably is. Instead, Pensacola is an actual city with established residents. Pensacola has employers that run businesses that go beyond the scope of tourism. Pensacola has spunk. It has character.

Destin, not so much. Destin is simply a beautiful place to stay when you want to enjoy a vacation at the beach. It’s plenty of fun, for sure. But Destin is not an environment that typically attracts the vegan type.

But hey, I made it work. If you’re a vegan who ends up in Destin, you can survive too. I just have a feeling you’ll need to bookmark this blog post to serve as your guide.

And if you’re a vegetarian, like my wife and kids are, it’ll be that much easier for you.

Top 10 Reasons My “Diet” is Consistently Successful (from a Non-Vegan, Non-Vegetarian Perspective)

I have a healthy relationship with food. I eat all throughout the day and I never choose to go hungry. I am happy with my weight. I am perfectly in the proper BMI range for my height, weight, and age.

Clearly, what I am doing is working, when it comes to my diet and lifestyle. But as I share my strategy today, I am deliberately not going talk about being a vegetarian or a vegan, in an effort to help more people. True, I can not deny that much of this info is what I taught myself about a healthy lifestyle only after I became a vegan in March 2013. Still, I promise to refrain from specifically mentioning not eating meat, eggs, or dairy…

Here are the top 10 reasons my “diet” is still successful:

1) I never choose to go hungry. If I’m hungry, I eat. Going hungry means I would subconsciously choose to fill up on empty calories later to make up the difference.

2) I know the difference between being healthy and being overweight. Our American pop culture has confused us, making us belief that as long as we accept our bodies and find beauty within, that we can ignore the fact we still may be physically unhealthy on the inside too; beautiful or not.

3) I know the sources of protein that contain 0% cholesterol. Vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds all contain protein, yet do not contribute any amount to the daily percentage of my daily cholesterol intake.

4) I chose good fats instead of bad fats. Cutting out all fat or even most fat is not healthy, as the human body thrives on fat consumption. However, fat from plants like avocados, almonds, and sunflower seeds contains 0% cholesterol.

5) I chose good sugars instead of bad sugars. Throughout the day, I am consuming fresh fruit, which is packed with natural sugar, along with fiber and some protein. That is good sugar. Bad sugar is any kind of sugar added to or processed with other food.

6) I find a way to exercise daily. Forget the gym. I don’t need it. I run, I ride my mountain bike, I walk, and I even skateboard. I do one or more of these things on a daily basis. I am always on the move.

7) I focus on a healthy lifestyle, not on losing weight. I have learned that by having a healthy relationship with food and exercise, I naturally have maintained my 20 pounds of weight loss from several years ago.

8) I am black and white about the gray areas. When I do chose to eat something unhealthy, I know how often and when- for those truly special occasions. In other words, I don’t keep potato chips, soda, or Oreos in the house. And no, a “truly special occasion” is not “whenever I’ve had a bad day.” I do not eat my feelings.

9) I have realistic standards and reasonable expectations. I don’t need 6 pack abs. I don’t need to compete with the looks of Hollywood. Instead, I focus on actually being healthy, not winning a beauty contest.

10) My “diet” is permanent. Going on a diet to lose to lose weight is an obvious set-up for the weight to return, once the diet is ended. The only way a diet will provide consistent results is to make it a permanent lifestyle, instead of a diet.

All of that information sounds reasonable, right? Who would actually argue with any of those 10 habits? It’s all legit stuff.

I’m not a physician. I’m not an expert. But I am healthy and I do know what I’m talking about.

My life, year after year, is the proof.

True, I am the Manly Vegan… but I can help non-vegans too.

This is 36: Can I Just Eat My Garlic & Pepper Ramen Noodles in Peace?!

After we put our kids to bed last night, as my wife and I were finishing up doing the the dishes, we were discussing how apparently impossible it is just to eat lunch in peace while at work. Seriously, it’s difficult!

Though we work in offices about 20 miles apart from each other each day, my wife and I live by the same daily habits when he comes to our eating routines: We typically just eat snacks during the work day: I make a smoothie each morning, then have oatmeal during lunch. My wife takes cut up fruit and veggies and hummus.

Then after work, we come home and have a good, solid, healthy meal each night for dinner. That’s what our norm is.

So when we occasionally have a “fun day” and take Ramen Noodles to work, it freaks people out. They can’t handle it. Chaos always follows:

“What’cha eatin’ there? Ramen noodles?”

“Mmmm…. something smells good. Let me take a look in your bowl…”

“Oh, what’s that smell? It’s so strong. It smells like onions or something. Ugh…”

“You can eat Ramen noodles? I don’t know vegans could eat pasta!”

“I thought you ate healthy food. What are you doin’ eatin’ that?”

I think the solution is that I need to acquire some kind of secret military grade invisibility cloak.

That might be the only way to get people who are so easily entertained by the sight of another human being eating Ramen noodles to keep just walking by.

I’ve already lost my ability to listen to CDs in my car each day on my 2 hour round trip commute. I feel like I don’t ask for much at this point.

Ramen noodles. In solitude.

Don’t take this away from me. I need this.

No commentary. No questions. No fascination.

Just let me eat my Ramen noodles in peace.

This is 36.