Dear Holly: You Love Vegan Avocado Toast!

1 year, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

To say you are a picky eater is an understatement. Plus, like me, you have negative reactions to consuming dairy, so I am so happy to see you less dependent on milk for your food throughout the day. Even just since graduating from formula, your skin is looking much better.

Ah, finally- you are munching on food you have to chew.

As you can imagine, with you being born to a vegan father, I am eager to teach you from a very young age, how to get your proteins and fats from plants, like I do; as opposed to believing that protein and fat from animals is necessary in order to healthy, like our government teaches and like most people believe.

So when Mommy introduced you to avocado toast (bread, avocado, vegan butter, salt, pepper), and you actually loved it, I was in my glory. It’s quite typical on Saturday mornings for Mommy and me to have that for breakfast. Sort of on a whim, Mommy steered the avocado toast to your mouth, in the off chance you would actually taste it and try it.

Apparently, you thought it looked similar to the contents of all those organic fruit and veggie pouches we give you. Even though avocado tastes nothing like what you’re used to eating, you immediately went back for a second bite. And a third and a fourth…

Mommy actually had to make you a 2nd entire piece of vegan toast!

With your brother being a big fan of cheese, I know there’s no chance of me convincing him to convert from vegetarian to vegan until at least past his teenage years.

But as you, my dear daughter, I think I might just be able to corrupt you, I mean convince you of a life dependent on nuts and seeds for fat, instead of dairy.

I will keep trying to entice you…

In the meantime, I will make sure you have plenty of access to avocado toast!

Love,

Daddy

Nashville’s Sunflower Vegetarian Café Also Caters to Vegan, Gluten-Free, & Oil-Free Dietary Restrictions

As The Manliest Vegan on the Internet, I have toured America in search of cities that cater to people with plant-based lifestyles like mine, from Lake Tahoe, California; to Asheville, North Carolina; to Atlanta, Georgia; to Pensacola and Destin, Florida; to Louisville, Kentucky, just to name a few.

But despite living in a bedroom community outside of Music City, I have pretty much not mentioned Nashville, Tennessee… until now.

Over the weekend, I made my way to Nashville’s Sunflower Vegetarian Café, which is fairly close to the I-65 exit, and fairly close to the Nashville Zoo. I have been craving a homemade garden burger (a vegan burger made of veggies, nuts, and/or nuts) ever since our family road tripped to Louisville last month but our schedule did not allow for it.

At last, I got my manly garden burger. For my side, I chose collard greens, and I am so glad I did!

Not only does Nashville’s Sunflower Vegetarian Café cater to my vegan needs, but they are very open and upfront about how their menu is friendly to anyone seeking food made without oils, gluten, or meat. They also have a children’s menu, as well.

So if you’re looking for a good vegan or vegetarian restaurant that also caters to anyone looking to avoid oils and gluten, but don’t want to drive into downtown Nashville to do so, I say just head over to Nashville’s Sunflower Vegetarian Café. The parking there is free and easy, too. Just drive behind the restaurant.

You will immediately feel welcomed and accepted just as you are. No one at Nashville’s Sunflower Vegetarian Café thinks you’re weird or sees you as a label on the fringe of society. You don’t have to explain the reason for your dietary choices. It’s a really great environment.

And obviously, the food is superb. I am very much looking forward to going back!

Freshening Up Mealtime with Moe’s; Even for Vegetarian/Vegan Families Like Ours

Anyone who has been reading my blog for the past couple of years knows that I frequently mention Moe’s Southwest Grill. Not only is it a ritual for my son Jack and I have dinner there right after we go see a movie together, but last November when my wife and I told him he could go anywhere to celebrate his 6th birthday dinner, he chose Moe’s– with no hesitation! Yes, that’s a true story.

In a time when parents are paying more attention than ever to what’s in the food their family is eating (for example, steering clear of GMO’s) and how it’s prepared, while at the same time catering to any particular dietary needs (like how I’m a vegan but my wife and kids are vegetarians), as well as, the often picky eating habits of children, Moe’s has naturally become our stress-free, go-to place.

Over the weekend, our 1 year-old daughter wasn’t quite feeling herself, so my wife Jill wrote down a lunch order that we could pick up and bring back to the house.

Once we arrived at Moe’s, I asked Jack, “Same thing as always, right?” He confirmed, having just mumbled back to the staff, “Welcome to Moe’s…”

The nice young man across the counter/food prep station began making Jack’s “cheese only” quesadilla and my wife’s vegetarian taco salad (cheese is the thing that keeps my wife from being a vegan like I am).

I got my usual: the “earmuffs with tofu”.  It’s a delicious bowl full of rice and beans, with tofu and mushrooms as my protein, along with grilled onions and peppers. (All proteins, whether meat or not, are grilled on a consistent production stream so they’re hot and ready as soon as you order.)

Then I build a salad on top, with salsa and guacamole; both of which are prepared from scratch daily. It’s a great dichotomy of warm protein on the bottom and chilled greens on top.

So in case you’re wondering, that’s what such a manly vegan as myself eats at Moe’s. With over 20 fresh and flavorful ingredients to customize my meal; there are just so many options. It’s quite a colorful masterpiece on my plate!

I let Jack pick out our table, then I made my way to the salsa bar (which is a must). Not only is all the salsa and guacamole prepared from scratch daily, but they always have extremely spicy options for pepper heads like me.

As we enjoyed our lunch together, I looked over and caught Jack dancing to Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit, “Beat It.” That tends to happen a lot when I take him to Moe’s. After all, did you know that Moe’s is actually an acronym for “Musicians, Outlaws, and Entertainers”?

 

 

Before we headed back home, we made our way back up to the counter to put in a to-go order for our family’s dinner. I ordered burritos for my wife and myself, while Jack predictably ordered another cheese quesadilla; being the picker eater he is.

My wife was delighted to see us return with not only an easy dinner, but also, her lunch. She reminded me several times not to forget the chips, which are flash-fried daily and come free and unlimited, along with the salsa as well.

So for dinner last Saturday night, we reheated the burritos and quesadilla in our oven. It is such a glorious thing to know you can eat a meal in your own home, yet not have to worry with a sink full of dishes.

Our family proudly supports Moe’s, as each one is locally owned and operated; which yields that true hometown feel. And even though we have dietary needs that most can barely cater to, Moe’s makes it easy for us. It’s family dining. It’s easy dining.

Have you been to Moe’s recently? We have.

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Moe’s Southwest Grill;

however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Breaking News: “Manliest Vegan on the Internet” Rides Skateboard to Target for Carrot Juice; Refuses to See Himself as a Hero

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in Spring Hill, Tennessee when Nick Shell, 36, drove his family in a 2017 Toyota 4Runner to the local “weigh and pay” frozen yogurt shop, Sweet Cece’s; after his wife suggested it would be fun.

Joined by his parents who were visiting for the weekend, he carried in his 1 year-old daughter as his 6 and a half year-old son ran ahead. As the Shell family walked to the back of the shop, deciding which flavor they each were in the mood for, Nick noticed that unlike any other time he had ever been to Sweet Cece’s, the dairy-free option was temporarily unavailable.

He kept this information to himself, though his wife soon took notice, asking him, “Oh no, are they out of the watermelon sorbet for you?”

Allowing his entire family to get their own frozen treats, he waited until after everyone was settled in at the table before he whispered to his wife, “I’ll be right back. I’ll just go pick up something at Super Target across the street.”

He pulled open the hatch door of the 4Runner, where he had been keeping his skateboard for just an event such as this. Within minutes, he found himself at the Super Target entrance.

His family, back at Sweet Cece’s, were not even halfway through their treats, when he returned with a bottle of Bolthouse Farms 100% carrot juice in hand.

“My name in Greek means victorious. I find a way to be victorious in everything I do. I will not allow myself to be a victim. So when I saw that Sweet Cece’s was temporarily out of my vegan option, it did not affect me emotionally. Instead, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to use my skateboard and catch up on some Vitamin A from carrot juice. Some might even refer to me as a hero, but I refuse to see myself that way. I’m just a regular guy who did what any decent manly vegan would do in that instance,” Shell strangely explained.

After clarifying to him that no one was referring to him as a hero, Nick Shell then continued to speak about the incident, but I had to sort of tune him out. He kept referring to himself as “the manliest vegan on the Internet,” even though in the same breath, he admitted no one has ever questioned him on that title.

If you see him in public, it’s best you just smile and nod, while slowly walking away, backwards.

Otherwise, he may offer to let you take a selfie with him for your Instagram account, as he pressures you into tagging it:

#themanliestveganontheinternet

What Do Vegans Eat for the 4th of July? Just Ask Me, The Manliest Vegan on the Internet!

It’s understood in our American culture that a real man takes pride in eating bacon, sausage, and beef.

Especially on July 4th. He simply (and ironically) laughs in the face of high cholesterol and onset diabetes.

Why? Because it’s manly to eat meat.

And because… ‘Merica!

How else could a man possibly get enough protein?

However, I am currently taking America by storm, as I am stumping both scientists and sociologists alike…

They are being forced to take notice that I am in deed the manliest vegan on the Internet, yet I am still alive and well.

Miraculously, I am perfectly in the correct height/weight/age range. I not overweight nor underweight. In other words… I’m getting enough protein.

How is it that I am not a walking skeleton? Why does I seem so happy and content in life? 

I am currently baffling our nation, as Americans everywhere are trying to wrap their minds around the fact that I haven’t eaten any pork (which includes bacon and sausage) in 8 and a half years, any meat at all in 5 and a half years, and no eggs or dairy in over 4 years.

My protein comes from six sources:

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

So what does a manly vegan eat on July 4th? Whatever I want, as long as it consists of veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.

For this July 4th, my wife made a vegan lasagna (containing noodles and veggies) and some vegan sausage by Field Roast Grain Meat Co. as well. And I liked it.

I didn’t feel left out. I didn’t feel victimized. And I didn’t feel jealous.

Why? Because I am the manliest vegan on the Internet.

Instead, other men surely felt left out that they are not part of my manly vegan club.

(Mic dropped.)

 

Louisville, Kentucky is Definitely a Vegan Friendly City: Officially Endorsed by The Manly Vegan (That’s Me, Obviously!)

Fact #1: I am the manliest (and most humble) vegan on the Internet- and the entire world refuses to refute my claims.

Fact #2: Your family will have no issues finding plant-based, cholesterol-free food in Louisville, Kentucky.

Just a little over a month ago I proclaimed that Destin, Florida is still not a vegan-friendly town; after my 2nd visit there in 2 years. But being the emotionally intelligent man I am, and being a man who understands how the free market works, I quickly acknowledged that it’s not Destin’s fault they don’t cater to vegans:

There is simply not a demand in Destin for vegan food. Destin instead attracts a lot of families with young kids who are okay with feeding their families fast food.

Louisville, Kentucky is the complete opposite. It attracts enough crazy people like me; people who depend on veggies, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds for their nutrition; as opposed to animal products.

I was extremely impressed by Louisville’s Whole Foods. One of the best I’ve seen, actually! Not only was it conveniently close to the Louisville Zoo where my family was visiting, as we ventured in the ever-manly 2017 Toyota 4Runner, but the Louisville Whole Foods had the most impressive array of vegan baked goods; including vegan donuts, which I have found are rare beyond the West Coast.

By the way, my wife and kids are vegetarians; not vegan.

Something peculiar, in a good way, that I noticed about the Louisville Whole Foods was this:

There were are lot of older people shopping there. I have never seen so many healthy, fit senior citizens in one place.

It was such a delight. Because that will be me in 20 years. I will be the healthy, fit 56 year-old vegan jogging man. Forget migrating to Florida when I retire! I just need to find my way back to Louisville!

My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to try the alluring vegan jerky of Stan Chase’s Louisville Vegan Jerky Co.

I did, however, manage to quickly snap pictures of his vegan jerky options for future reference. By the way: Stan, if you’re reading this, and want to send me some samples, I would be honored to do a special blog post, and YouTube video, featuring your product…

After all, I am the manliest vegan on the Internet, as we’ve already well established. I am clearly the perfect demographic fit for your jerky.

So yes, fellow vegans of America… go to Louisville, Kentucky.. You belong there.

There are plenty of options of places you can eat, like Chuy’s, where I enjoyed the veggie fajitas; which I ordered without sour cream or cheese.

Ah, I am just so happy. So happy to know that despite my major disappointment in Destin, the ying to the yang exists in Louisville.

Fact #3: Louisville, Kentucky is man enough for the Manly Vegan.

Fact #4: Destin, Florida is not.

Fact #5: I am very curious about vegan jerky now.

This is 36: We Celebrated Our 9 Year Wedding Anniversary by Taking Our Kids on a Road Trip to Louisville, Kentucky

Yes, it was indeed nine years ago today that my wife and I were married at Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church. We purposely got married right next to a holiday (July 4th) so that we’d sort of always have a built-in day off for whatever we ended up doing for our anniversary.

For our 9th anniversary this year, we decided there was no better way to celebrate, than the load up our 6 and a half year-old son and our 1 year-old daughter and take a random road trip to one of my favorite cities in America:

Louisville, Kentucky.

Perhaps a more normal couple would have ventured there without the kids- and checked out some venues that are little more anniversary-ish and perhaps not so focused on catering to the attention spans of children.

Nah. Not us.

If we’re going to spend the money on a road trip, even just a 3 hour one across the state line, we might as well make it a family affair.

Being the world’s most famous vegan family friendly daddy blogger, Toyota helped us out by sending a 2017 4Runner; which proved to be ideal for our laid-back adventure to the Blue Grass State.

Because we’ve got our annual family zoo pass from Nashville, we were able to get in the Louisville Zoo for half off.

And because we’re cool adventurous people, we even took an unplanned stop at Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky on the way back home to Tennessee.

Thanks to some points we’d earned, my wife was able to cash in a free stay at the Marriott Courtyard Louisville East, just a few miles from the zoo.

I must say we were quite entertained by the “New Japan Pro-Wrestling” tournament that happen to be on, while we enjoyed our dessert treats from Whole Foods Louisville; which was also just a few miles away too.

Two queen size beds between the four of us…

You can imagine how it must have been getting our daughter to sleep too; in the pack-and-play bed next to ours.

It was around 10:30 PM by the time both our kids were asleep. To ensure we didn’t disturb them, we laid out a towel on the bathroom floor in front of the sink, and enjoyed our gourmet vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods.

This is 36.