Eating Vegan on the Road:  Moe’s Southwest 

Burrito joints like Qdoba or Izzo’s are usually a good bet for vegans seeking big, filling meals on the road. 

But Sunday, I  got to eat at the king of them all (so far): Moe’s.

Most of the places just have beans as a protein option.  Moe’s also has tofu. Also, both kinds of beans are vegan, and you can get tofu and beans on the same burrito! 

Moe’s offers several different kinds and heat levels of homemade salsa, and they were all great. 

And, to top it off,  they’re very generous with their chips, their guac is good, and they have a wonderful proprietary peach vanilla soda. 

Just what I needed for a long drive home from Florida. 

Meat-Free Monday: Eating Mexican While Vegan

Last Friday we took my parents out to their favorite Mexican restaurant, Pericos, to celebrate their anniversary. 

We all had fun visiting, and of course they loved seeing their granddaughter.

Pericos is known for their meat dishes, and I can tell you from my pre-vegan days that the reputation is well-earned.

I was a little concerned as to what I was going to order,  because there was no menu online,  and when you have a 3 year old with you,  you can’t always focus on the menu. 

Remember,  this is all taking place small-town Mississippi, fat from the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I may have been the first vegan to darken their doors since, well, maybe ever. 

But I had no cause to worry. They had a short vegetarian menu, and one of the items was “1 bean burrito and 1 cheese enchilada.”

They gladly made that 2 bean burritos, with no cheese or sour cream. They brought out a spicy red sauce on the side. It came with a side of rice and beans, so it was very filling. I added a guacamole salad appetizer and put most of it on top of the burritos. 

The end result was tasty, very filling, and quite affordable. A lovely dinner. Mission accomplished. 

The moral of this story?  You can do it, even in small town Mississippi, and it doesn’t have to be a big sacrifice. 

Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Black Beans and Salsa, the Universal Building Blocks

Here’s what you  do: 

  1. Rinse three cans of black beans.
  2. Place in a nonstick skillet 
  3. Add three cups salsa or private
  4. Cook  on medium heat  (a low, slow bubble) 15 minutes or until thickened

So, why should you do this?

It gives you the core entree for several simple yet tasty meals, with minimal effort.

Black beans and rice 

Black bean burritos (with or without rice, veggies, or guac)

Cheeseless quesadillas (grilled and pressed in a skillet, but with no cheese. These beans are moist enough to hold it all together)

And when you’re tired of beans and salsa, you can turn the leftovers into black bean burgers.

What’s not to love?

Wrestling the god of the Gut, Round Two

Burrito - Photo by Ernesto Andrade, Creative Commons

Photo by Ernesto Andrade, Creative Commons

It’s been 10 days since my “Wrestling the god of the Gut” post, and I thought I’d give you an update on how the match is going.

Let me tell you a little about myself: I’m a southerner, which basically means I’m a natural carnivore.  My two favorite food groups are meat and more meat.  I love deep-fried barbecue pork ribs so much I’ve got breading for skin and barbecue sauce for blood (yes, such a food exists, and yes, it is absolutely as good as it sounds).  I love to eat, but I don’t really like to cook.  And I really love going out to eat with my honey-bunny wifie … in the south, where carne is king.

You’d think that finding cruelty-free meat wouldn’t be so hard in such a meat-obsessed place as southern Mississippi, but nope.  Apparently, folks around here either don’t know or don’t care what’s done to their burger, bacon or chicken while it’s still breathing.

It’s probably innocent ignorance.  We see the cattle grazing on the hills as we drive up Highway 49, and we think the beef we buy locally comes from them.  But it doesn’t; it comes from massive factory operations in the midwest.  Getting meat from the nearby fields involves either tracking down the meat guy at the farmer’s market (easier said than done), or buying a cow and having it slaughtered (hope you have a big deep freeze).

I’ve found some beef and pork at Winn-Dixie.  It’s not local, but it’s pasture-fed, without crates or cages.  I’ve also found free-range eggs, though I can just as easily get those at the farmer’s market (the egg guy’s always there).  It’s expensive, though, and I still haven’t found free-range chicken for any kind of affordable price.

So I just decided to eat less meat.  And I found out I feel better when I’m not eating meat.  It’s crazy, but living on eggs, cheese, grains, fruits, and veggies has been a real boon.  I can even eat sweets again without feeling too bad.  I really only missed meat for the first week or so, and now I’m kind of “over it.”  Maybe this is a phase, too.  Or maybe I’ll be a full-on-vegetarian by year’s end (Nanny Jet’s chicken and dressing recipe does not count, by the way).

It’s funny, because I used to use meat (especially a big hamburger) to give me a boost when I was sick or feeling crummy.  Now, I’m largely avoiding meat, and I feel better than I should.  I had a bad headache yesterday, and I really thought about defrosting some of that free-range beef and medicating with a hamburger.

But my wonderful wifie thought of fixing my Five-Layer Bean Burritos of Doom recipe, and sure enough, it worked.  It actually filled the role that all-beef burgers used to fill.

I’m not 100% sure what my big point is here, except maybe that God has taken my first tentative steps toward reducing the cruelty my consumeristic existence causes, and He has blessed them beyond what I’d ever expected.  I’m excited to see where He’ll lead me next.