Planted Seeds Sprout

Some friends we met while living in Paris visit their family in Los Angeles every summer and are great about driving up to SB to see us while they are stateside.

Usually, we spend their whole visit catching up on what each of our families have been up to, how they like their current city/country, where they are moving to next (they are still expats exploring the world), what is going on with our children, mutual friends, etc.

This year, however, while the kids were reconnecting in the waves, Lynn and I had a multi-hour discussion about our favorite RRP (Rich Roll Podcast) episodes, how their whole family has cut out beef and reduced consumption of pork, poultry, and dairy. We talked about the vegan movement and how you don’t have to be perfect to still make a huge impact. Lynn has lost 22 pounds since last April, has more energy than she can ever remember having, and just generally feels better.

She was also candid with me about her reasons for still sometimes eating animals which I appreciated. Very often people get defensive and/or go on the offensive on this topic, but we were able to have a deeply satisfying discussion that was honest, non-judgmental, and heartfelt on both sides. She is becoming more and more vegetarian, but is taking it one step at a time.

“Progress, not Perfection” is our mantra here at OneGreenSmoothie. Many people say it’s too hard to become vegan so they don’t do anything because they can’t do everything. We say, “do something!” and that something can be as easy as incorporating one green smoothie into your daily routine. The more you crowd IN plants, the less room and desire you’ll have for animals and their secretions.

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Lynn and I packing up after our marathon convo. We probably would have kept on had the wind not picked up and the temps dropped.

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She even brought us vegan chocolate!! That was one of the most personal and thoughtful gifts! Truly touched my heart!

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Juliette spent the night with us so of course we offered her a green smoothie. Let’s be honest, Linnea is not the most enthusiastic green smoothie drinker. In fact, it’s rare. But she was a good sport since her friend was game for trying one.

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And yay, they liked them!

And to think, this all started with with a few seeds planted during this past year. You never know when or if those seeds will germinate and what will grow from them. I’m so proud of and delighted for Lynn and her family and can’t wait to hear more about their progress over the next year until we meet again.

(Update: Lynn just emailed saying she hasn’t had any animal products since our conversation a week ago and feels even more incredible! She even made it to the new Chef Chloe vegan restaurant in Silverlake (Los Angeles area)).

PS Lynn’s sister, Paula, made the visit with them and she was such a good sport about hanging with our single-minded conversation. I’m secretly wondering if any seeds were planted with her. Time will tell and I’ll be sure and keep you posted next summer when they return for their annual visit:).

 

Swedish Surprise

Earlier this week, we had visitors from Sweden; friends from our Uppsala University days 23 years ago.

Swedes typically have a strong culinary culture of meat, potatoes, dairy and bread. Not being a natural cook,  I ruminated often over the past several months on what to serve them (Scandinavians in general take their vacations seriously and plan well in advance) .

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The Moe kids were wiped out from their full day of beach sports, but still, you’d think they could muster a basic smile for their mom, sheesh…

I ended up having back to back appointments during the day of their arrival so luckily had the idea of just ordering dinner from my friend, Nimita, whose Ayurvedic food is mostly vegan and all of it beyond delicious!

I decided before they arrived that I wouldn’t mention anything about the whole “vegan” thing, but rather just focus on enjoying their company.

Toward the end of the evening, however, I couldn’t help myself and said, “thanks for being such good sports about our vegan dinner.” To which they responded, drumroll please, “we’re mostly vegetarian now and were so looking forward to some good vegetarian food.”

What?!?! What?!?!

Turns out, their 15 year old daughter even wrote a paper for school about the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on our environment.

What a wonderful surprise! Things are happening, people!  Let’s keep this conversation going!

We have three more sets of visitors from assorted European countries over the next two weeks so who knows what’s in store, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Dallas

I drafted this post the night before the tragic shootings in Dallas last week so let us first take a movement to express our deepest sorrow. Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Dallas and everyone suffering from this tragedy.

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Joakim’s volleyball team had qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships last fall and we had been looking forward to the competition in Dallas ever since. We just returned and I thought I’d share how we fared trying to be plant based during the 5 day trip to BBQ Country.

We prepared by packing some plant based staples such as bars, oatmeal, coconut milk powder for coffee, nuts, and a greens powder.IMG_0404

The evening we landed, we were lucky enough to hitch a ride with another player and his mom over to Whole Foods. They had a fantastic raw veggie noodle bar that I should have photographed because it was as delicious as it was stunning. I’d not seen one before and have my fingers crossed that our WF in SB will create one!

They didn’t have any vegan pizza slices left as it was late, but the gal behind the counter offered to custom make us a fresh one with vegan cheese, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and sun dried tomatoes. Vegan cheese has come such a long way and I can honestly say it was beyond delicious! Joakim had spent the three days prior with a friend and had eaten a ton of cheese pizza and his face exploded with acne as a result so he definitely wanted to stay away from dairy. He’s vegan at home, but will eat cheese pizza if that’s his only option with friends. We also stocked up on fruit for the rest of the weekend.

The next day was a long one with 12 hours at the arena either playing, reffing, or resting. We subsided on bars, fruit and nuts because while there were several vendors advertising vegetarian options, none were actually made that day (nor the entire time we were there). The menu indicated things like “veggie wrap” or “vegetable crudites plate”, but when we tried to order, they said, “those were not made today.”

The following day we ended at noon and most of the team wanted to go to a traditional BBQ place for lunch. I pulled up the menu from the restaurant on my phone and saw that there were no vegetarian much less vegan options, so while it was incredibly awkward not to participate, we opted out. Luckily, Joakim’s friend and his mom decided to skip too, so we headed back to Whole Foods for a fabulous and fresh lunch from the salad bar!

The final day, on our way out to the airport, we headed over to an amazing taco place that actually had three vegetarian options! Seriously, we’re not just talking rice, beans and some soggy bell peppers and onions. There was Thai tofu, BBQ tofu, and Falafel with tahini sauce!

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We all agreed these were the BEST TACOS EVER — meat or otherwise! We’re still talking about them. If you are in Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth or Chicago, definitely check out Velvet Taco! You’d think we’d be able to get good vegan tacos here in health conscious California, but they are still rare. Luckily we have Mesa Verde in SB and would love to hear more local options if you know of any.

While we were gone, Niklas took the twins to Magic Mountain for their 13th birthday and they actually found a vegan friendly place in the park called Go Fresh Cafe–Nitro. The kids loved the plant based chicken which was a pleasant surprise since they claim to dislike all “fake” meats.

And when we returned, I found this on the counter…IMG_0460

Niklas had made a special vegan 4th of July BBQ for the kids. Pretty good for a former meat and potatoes Swede.

Overall, I’d say both the California and Dallas bound parts of our family did pretty well during our travels. Totally worth the extra effort, that’s for sure! Oh and the team came in 17th in the country. I think they were hoping for a better performance, but it was still a good showing.