Welcome to Veg Out to Eat!

Hello and welcome! My name is Stacey and I currently live in Orlando, FL. I am making the change to a whole-foods plant-based diet (WFPB) – and I would like to do so without giving up my love of going out to eat. My blog attempts to find drool-worthy, healthy, plant-based meals  at various restaurants whether in my hometown or traveling.

Why? It all began in 2007 when I was in physical therapy school and we worked on cadavers. I could not get past the fact that human muscle looks just like roast beef. I know, gross. But true. Eventually all raw meat had this effect on me and I have been a pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats seafood) ever since. Since then, my diet was reinforced by several documentaries on the factory farming food industry and, in my opinion, animal cruelty. I also learned more about all the hormones added to animal products. So for a few years I only purchased hormone-free, cage-free milk/cheese/eggs (although that’s not really possible at most restaurants).

While I had paid some attention to health research in the past, in early 2013 I really began read studies on the harmful effects of ALL animal products on our health and links to various diseases (the The China Study includes several chapters of multiple research studies regarding the benefits of going plant-based and was the tipping point for me, or you can check out this quick summary of its findings). This includes dairy which I always thought was good for you; I consumed tons of skim milk, cheese and greek yogurt. However, we as a public have been taught a lot of myths by the dairy industry (one example is this study on dairy and fracture rates). Wondering how you get calcium without dairy? The Harvard School of Public Health’s (HSPH) website states “milk isn’t the only, or even the best, source” and has other information dispelling some popular myths perpetuated by the dairy industry.  The HSPH also has a Healthy Eating Plate which is getting pretty close to the WFPB diet advocated in The China Study – note the glass of water rather than the glass of milk the USDA promotes (although the recommendation to consume oil is at odds with current research related to heart health). And just how important are fruits and veggies to your health? See what the World Health Organization has to say.

By this point I firmly believe in the value of eating a WFPB diet. I have a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell University. I make a concerted effort to avoid and minimize all animal products and processed foods. This is getting easier when I cook at home (although that has been its own adventure given I rarely cooked prior to this change), but I don’t want to stop going out to eat, to any restaurant if possible. I also don’t want to go out and only be able to order a garden salad – neither my foodie side nor my hunger levels would tolerate that. If options are limited I will occasionally eat fish, have soup that I’m not sure is vegetable broth based or eat a black bean burger that may not be vegan. I still consider this to be a WFPB lifestyle. So I would not say that I am strictly vegan, but it’s easier to use this term when out a restaurant and I do use it on this site.

So enjoy my attempts to find delicious plant-based meals without staying at home and my advice on what and how to eat well when dining out (you’ll likely see my transition progress throughout my restaurant posts). I also hope you find the research articles related to diet informative as well as get some laughs over my general posts about how making the change in my diet is going for me:)

To keep life interesting my husband, Dan, has always been a meat and potatoes man. As in, no fruits or vegetables at all. Except potatoes. And corn. This is a guy who still ate kids’ sugar cereals for breakfast. He has also seen the research and decided it was time to change his eating habits. He is now trying to convert to a WFPB diet, although, not surprisingly, it has been more challenging for him than me. You will hear from him from time to time during his journey at “A Hardcore Carnivore’s Attempt to Change“.

If you go to any of the restaurants I’ve reviewed I’d love to hear what you think. Also, I welcome your suggestions of places to try, so if you have a favorite let me know!

29 Responses to Welcome to Veg Out to Eat!

  1. Hi Stacey! Since you started following my blog I wanted to check out your blog and say, “Hi.” What an interesting path to becoming vegan (or almost vegan:-). That’s great that your husband has come onboard with healthy eating. I know several people who are struggling with the transition because their spouses don’t want to change. I feel very fortunate that my husband is 100% on board with a plant-based diet. It’s so wonderful to connect with you! Your blog is great and I look forward to getting to know you better.

    • Stacey says:

      Hi thank you so much for the compliment and following my blog as well! My path has certainly been unique and I’m pretty interested to see what my husband will post. It is really nice having more than just myself to cook for at home now. I will definitely be trying your almond chocolate chip cookies:)

  2. Mom says:

    Enjoyed reading the articles and the transition to vegan blog addition

  3. Lindsay Gray says:

    Hi Stacey! I have nominated you for a Liebster Award! Its an award given to fellow bloggers whose content I enjoy and who inspire me. Check out my post on the Liebster Award if you want to participate! http://leakingboob.com/2013/04/25/i-was-nominated-for-the-liebster-award/

  4. Hey Stacey!! I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger’s Award. Congrats! To find out more about the award, check out my post on it at http://honkifyourevegan.com/. Celeste:)

  5. coreypyle382889977 says:

    Hi Stacey,
    My wife just found your blog and we were very excited to see that not only do you follow a WFPB diet like us but that you also live in Gainesville! We started back in Feb. of this year after I watched a few documentaries and began researching. We also started a blog and thought we might be the only whole foodies in town but what a happy mistake! Maybe we’ll see you around. Keep up the good reviews, I’ve been curious about the Jones Eastside and now I want to check out the pancakes. Have a good one.
    -Corey

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Corey, I’m glad you guys found my blog! I only started eating this way in March, right about the same time. The China Study convinced me.
      I’m glad you are enjoying my reviews; if you go to some of the same restaurants let me know what you thought. And yes, delicious pancakes at the Jones!
      What’s the link to your blog? I’d like to check it out.

  6. Jann says:

    Just found your review of Vine, on Hilton Head Island. My husband and I live in Hilton Head, and whether here or on the road, have our antennae out searching for places to eat with good veggie options. We mostly cook at home…but it’s fun to eat out occasionally! And we like a break from the constant round of shopping, preparing, and cleaning up.

    If you return to this area, try:
    – Delisheeeyo in Hilton Head (a tiny frozen yogurt place with high quality juices, wraps, and salads)
    – Brighter Day grocery in Savannah (has an amazing, small deli at the back of the store, but limited hours)
    -The Grocery in Charleston (high end, adventuresome menu)
    – Alouette’s in Charleston (looks a little shabby on the outside, but try the Lima bean soup)

    Have fun!

    • Stacey says:

      Jann, thank you for the suggestions! We loved Hilton Head so I would definitely like to go back sometime. I don’t know if you saw the comments on the Vine post, but the chef posted that he has some great dishes he can make that aren’t even on the menu.

      • Jann says:

        Yes, we’ve been to Vine. We liked it, and were encouraged to return by your descriptions of veggie / vegan options on request. Guess what! We learned not to try this in the height of tourist season, unless you are walking or biking to the restaurant. Could not find a parking place! Cars were circling like sharks, looking for the next opening. We had to cancel our reservation. They were very nice about it – we will be back. (In the Fall)

        Meantime, we’re looking forward to trying a new tapas cafe opened recently by the owners of Vine. It’s called “843”; it’s in the Fresh Market Shops center.

      • Stacey says:

        Wow, although I can believe it. We went to Vine in early March so we had no problems since the island seemed nearly deserted. I’ll take that any day over big crowds!

        Let me know how 843 is when you try it. A fresh and local tapas restaurant sounds amazing.

  7. Hi Stacey! My name is Mike Sanford and I am the editor of Gainesville’s Lunch Out Blog.

    http://gatorglob.com/

    I was looking for an image of The Top Restaurant’s store front and I saw a pic on your website and I was wondering if I could possibly use your image on our upcoming TOP RESTAURANT BRUNCH story?

    More importantly I really like the veggie content of your Blog. It would be great if you and I could talk and perhaps you would like to write a column, or share your information in the GLOB about eating veggie and healthy?

    I couldn’t pay you but the GLOB is enjoying excellent readership with a 6,000 plus subscribers to our newsletter called The Daily GLOB. We also have averaged aver 2 million page views a month for several years. So if you are an enterprising writer we can offer you extensive visibility.

    I see the last post is close is close to a year old. I hope to hear from you Stacy, and good luck on your blog!

    Mike Sanford, http://gatorglob.com/about/author-profiles

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Mike! I’m glad you found and like my blog. Yes, you may use my photo. I just ask that you credit me and my blog.
      I live in Orlando now, but I would still like to talk to you about doing something for GLOB – sounds fun! I found the GLOB Facebook page and left you a message there with my contact info.

  8. Hi Stacey-I enjoyed your story about becoming a pescetarian who doesn’t use dairy. It’s been over a year since I’ve eaten meat and I am happy about my choices. My husband is also a big meat eater but at least I’ve gotten a promise from him to only buy pasture raised meats. I also have issues with the dairy industry but haven’t resolved that yet. I just started blogging around Thanksgiving and really enjoy the blogging community.

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Joyce, glad you enjoy my blog! I never pressured my husband to change how he ate – as long as he cooked the meat himself- but after looking at the evidence he made the choice on his own (eventually) to stop eating meat. It’s been quite a journey for both of us as I’m sure you can relate. I checked out your blog and I am going to try your chili lime tofu, looks yummy!

  9. Stacy, I’m with Savoree and I’d like to offer you a free meal for your wonderful review. We want to thank you, the article was excellent.

  10. bethhooked says:

    Stacey,
    I just found your IG account, great posts! I too am living wfpb and raising a family to eat that way as well. I’m curious about a certificate in plant based nutrition…do you mind me asking where you got certified?
    Congrats on making the switch to a wfpb diet! It’s the best way to live! Mind, body, soul…the best way to be!!
    Thanks so much, look forward to more IG posts!
    Beth

    • Stacey says:

      Hi Beth! Nice to “meet” a like-minded mom:) I got my certificate through eCornell, the T. Colin Campbell course. It doesn’t make you a “nutritionist” but it teaches a LOT about how to optimize your diet for health which was really important to me for my family. I didn’t want my little guy to be deficient in anything. I thought the course was pretty comprehensive and I did all the extra/optional things too – you get out what you put in right?
      Thank you so much for the kind words, hope you keep enjoying my posts!
      -Stacey

  11. Shari Hardin says:

    You are awesome! I am too trying to live the WFPB life! I appreciate your blog, and personally knowing you really makes it special!

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks Shari! Good to hear from you! I’m not perfect but I do the best I can, I think that attitude keeps me sane 😀 I’m so glad you like my blog!

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