The Chicago Vegan
May 15, 2018 § Leave a comment
A Quick Guide To All Things Vegetarian In The City
Explore the vegan life in the windy city. They grow, they eat, they drink, they shop, they read, they wear… Vegetables, fruits, plants, algae and cereals, these products given to us by Mother Earth that many have chosen over meat, fish or poultry. Are there many vegetarians and vegans in Chicago? More than you think: vegetarians and vegans are here and live the good life in our fair city.
We usually focus on Thai massage, meditation and herbal remedies, but nutrition is responsible for 80% of our health. It would therefore be silly for us to ignore this hugely important element of our life.
The Vegan Jargon
Vegetarian, vegan, fruitarian… What’s all this? There’s more to not eating meat than one would expect. One might eat eggs, drink milk, only eat fruit or consume all fruit and vegetables in their raw form.
Vegetarianism means not eating meat products, this fact is well known. But besides consuming vegetables and fruit, a vegetarian might also eat some animal products, such as eggs, milk and honey. The vegetarian does not eat meat or fish, or any of their by-products such as gelatin or beef and chicken stock.
A vegetarian and a rabbit: a vegetarian eats plants, certainly, but these plants are not only composed of the obvious green leafy vegetables and bright fruit. Vegetarians also eat algae, mushrooms, seeds, yeasts, roots…
On top of fruit, roots, nuts, seeds and vegetables, the lacto-ovo vegetarian eats eggs and drinks milk. People with a sweet tooth will delighted as cakes are allowed. Furthermore, there can be 2 Lacto-ovo vegetarian sub categories… You’ll encounter the lacto-vegetarian (who consumes plants and milk) and the ovo-vegetarian (who consumes plants and eggs). Not too lost I hope?
The vegan never eats any animal products and only consumes plant based products. Say goodbye to eggs, milk, honey, cheese, seafood, which are enjoyed by vegetarians. You might think that it doesn’t leave much, but think again, the choice can actually be quiet surprising! On top only consuming fruits, roots, seeds, nuts and vegetables, the vegan is usually very aware of any kind of cruelty performed towards animals. He or she will often stay away from places that might exploit certain animals such as sea parks, where orcas and dolphins are trained to perform tricks, and elephants camps, where tourists enjoy rides on poorly treated elephants.
Raw veganism is the strictest lifestyle in all of the vegetarian categories. It’s essentially the same as veganism with the exception that all foods are consumed raw.
Where to shop for food and eat vegan in Chicago
Probably one of oldest grocery store in Logan Square, Food Smart has a great selection of vegan, organic, local, gluten-free products.
Good Foods Vegan / Vegetarian Deli
Everything is in the name; this deli (which also has a restaurant), offers vegan and vegetarian dishes, desserts and drinks, to enjoy on the spot or to take away.
Green Grocer Chicago
A small neighborhood store that has everything to make your average vegan happy; great, local and organic products, all presented by an adorable staff.
Whole Foods Market
Located all over the US, as well as in Canada and the UK, Whole Foods is now infamous for high quality produce and its wide selection of vegan and vegetarian products. Organic honey, raw apple cider vinegar, gluten-free breads, goat’s milk, Whole Foods has it all. There are currently 15 Whole Food Markets in the Chicago area.
Another American favorite with more than 450 stores in the US, 17 of which are in Chicago, Trader Joe’s offers vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or fat-free products. “Fake” chicken beef without beef, vegan mozzarella, free range chicken eggs, Trader Joe’s is essentially in the same league as Whole Foods..
For who prefer to do their shopping from the comfort of their home. Vegan Essentials is now the most important online vegan store in the US and offers everything from food, to books and DVDs and to supplements.
Some of Chicago’s favorite vegetarian restaurants
Native Foods Café
Launched in California in 1994, Native Foods Café is America’s very first fast-vegan restaurant, serving fine and fresh cuisine. You can enjoy dishes from around the world, burgers, chili, wraps, Moroccan salads… Four locations in the Chicago area, Native Foods also offers a catering service as well as delivery.
Founded in 1983 by health expert Karyn Calabrese, Karyn’s mission is to transform the vegan lifestyle into sexy, while glorifying the power of nature and its wonders. She now has 4 restaurants and 1 spa in the Chicago area.
Located just a stone’s throw from Belmont Harbor, Kitchen 17 serves all sorts of delicious foods you would of never thought possible for a vegan cafe: pizzas and burgers, that have nothing to envy to the “real ones”.
Urban Vegan offers vegan Thai dishes with delicious Asian flavors. You don’t live in the neighborhood? No problem… For a small fee, Urban Vegan will deliver your favorite dishes to your door.
Lush is now relatively famous for its natural and vegan beauty products and treatments. For 30 years, this British brand has branded itself around the fight against cosmetics being tested on animals and is boycotting all the companies that practice this.
In spite of the name, no leather is used in the manufacturing of these shoes. In fact, MooShoes is more than just shoes… The store also offers bags, wallets, belts, t-shirts and sweatshirts, jackets and accessories all made of synthetic microfiber polyurethane. And, as a bonus, veggie lovers can find books and DVDs to help them become a bit more vegan. MooShoes doesn’t yet have a Chicago location but its online store is pretty awesome.
Vaute Couture Fashion
This independent fashion house created by a former fashion model and Chicago native Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart offers stylish designer creations, crafted of recycled and recyclable fibers.
The vegan state of mind: online ressources
Being vegan is much more than just a diet; it’s a whole state of mind, by which adepts clearly and simply indicate their refusal to use any product derived from animals.
American Vegan Society
The American Vegan Society posts interesting facts about the vegan lifestyle.
There is also the VegSource, a true media outlet that covers a large variety of topics touching veganism, such as health, fashion, conferences and events. Want some crispy info on vegan celebrities? It’s also on VegSource.
Vegan Beauty Review
Learn everything about the ways to be beautiful naturally. The Vegan Beauty Review blog offers great tips about make-up, fashion, hair care as well as as host of information to live a cruelty-free life.
The ultimate guide for anything and everything that’s vegan in the Chicago area. This great online database lists vegan businesses according their activity, ‘veganity’ and their location in the city. You can also suggests new businesses for them to list..
Many of us obtain information via social media and for this Facebook group pages are extremely useful. Chicago Vegans is such a group and anyone can join this group in order to inquire about all things vegetarian in the area.
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