Vegan Day For The World


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I’m embarassed to admit that it took a non-vegan late-night talk show host, Craig Ferguson, to remind me of World Vegan Day this year. Albeit, Ferguson referred to it as “National Vegan Day” instead of its proper designation. In reality, I suspect Vegan Day is largely unknown and unobserved outside the US and UK.

Last year, my partner and I promoted World Vegan Day by giving away vegan baked goods in our downtown Tokyo neighborhood, but this year I’m visiting family on the US east coast, and staying up late due to lingering jet-lag.

Just prior to Ferguson’s show, I saw Janet Jackson discussing her (“on and off”) vegan diet with Jay Leno, and recommending her two favorite vegan restaurants, Vegan Glory in Los Angeles, and Red Bamboo in NYC. Seeing how Jay’s girth has increased, following Janet’s advice would probably do him a world of good.


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Being a long-term resident of Japan, where awareness of veganism is almost non-existent, seeing vegan news and hearing celebrities promoting healthy vegan lifestyles on TV is downright exciting. A friend of mine recently mentioned she thought there’s no excuse for Americans not to adopt a vegan diet, and I’m beginning to believe the same.

As opposed to Japan, where I dine at home almost exclusively, when visiting the States, I end up eating out a lot to save time. And while vegan restaurants are relatively common in the US vs other countries, they are not necessarily convenient in suburban areas.

For years, lacking vegan options, I wound up eating lunch with a (non-vegan) friend at an Italian restaurant in a strip mall near his home. Like many Italian restaurants, in addition to meat and/seafood (which can be easily avoided), every item on the menu contains cheese by default.

Of course, I instruct them to remove the cheese, but the price stays the same (they don’t even substitute anything in its place) and the main source of flavor of the dish is lost. Furthermore, they don’t serve whole-wheat pasta or foccacia, and the garlic bread is made with butter!

I try to play down the fact that the food is not important as meeting up with my friend, but isn’t life is too short not to feel good about every meal? On my current visit, I used HappyCow.Net and expanded the search distance a little further to discover two vegan restaurants (both Chinese) within about 10 miles of both of us.

I checked out one place with him, and another yesterday, with another friend. I was so pleased, and they enjoyed it, too. My dear old aunt commented that my friends are doing me a great favor by accompanying me to eat at vegan restaurants. Is it naive of me to think to that most everyone (i.e. besides my aunt) would prefer to follow a healthy vegan diet, if only it tastes good and is convenient?

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