Day 118: The Vegan Mecca

As my fourth month of plant based living comes to a successful close, I am amazed at how much my life has changed and how much it has stayed the same.  I am much thinner, my blood pressure is way down, my cholesterol has jumped ship, my clothes are either very loose or very new, and I feel great!  Yet, I still get concerned about flying.

I don’t get scared or terrified or even tearful when it is time to board the slender cylinder.  I get medicated.  I’ve found out that Xanax gives me the bravery of a flight attendant.   I can smile through turbulence and offer reassuring words to those around me when before I would have endangered the entire flight by shorting out electrical systems with my puddles of tears.  To be completely honest, if I found out that Xanax was made with kittens I’d probably still take it when flying and I would feel dreadful about it until the medicine kicked in.

I also learned from my father, who is a very experienced flyer, that when there is turbulence or a shaky take-off you can tap your feet on the floor in front of you so it seems like you have some control over the plane’s erratic movement.  I’m developing a product that takes this a step further.  Hopefully it will be available in the Sky Mall catalog soon.  The Chicken’s Yoke (patent pending-pending) is a device that nervous flyers can inflate before taking off.  When fully inflated, the device resembles an actual pilot’s yoke and gives the user the sense of being in complete control as they slip the surly bonds of Earth.  Once cruising at 32,000 feet, the frightened flier can deflate the device until it becomes necessary for landing.  With enough Xanax this wont even seem like bizarre behavior.

My days as a geographically stationary blogger are over, and not just because I can get my big butt off of the couch now.  I’ve been going on and on about my transformation from complete carnivore to complete herbivore, but from a central Florida stand point.  Now, thanks to my awesome job, I am on a working vacation in Austin, TX and I can take the vegan experience on the road.

Austin, TX can sound like a scary place to the newly veganated.  Texas conjures up images of cowboys sitting around a campfire at night, slowly roasting cows and rattle snakes while skinny vegans watch from just beyond the light of the fire.  From the poles they’d been tied to.  Obviously, a state so slathered in bar-b-que sauce is a place for even the bravest herbivore to fear.

However, it is said that Austin is nothing like the rest of Texas.  Granted, I’ve never been in any other part of Texas, but based on cowboy movies and broad generalities, this seems true.  Here in Austin I haven’t seen a single wagon train, saguaro cactus or baby calf branding station.  In addition, the only stampede I saw was when a lone taxi driver pulled up near a crowd of people at the airport.

The Engine 2 Diet book I talk about so often was born in a fire station here in Austin.  Rip Esselstyn wanted to be a fireman and save people from burning buildings but instead he spent the majority of his time rescuing people from their own destructive behaviors.  Heart attacks and diabetic emergencies had become the primary work done by the brave firemen.

Yesterday from my 14th floor hotel room I watched Engine 1 race down the nearby highway and pull right up to the gas station next door to me.  From my bird’s eye view I watched five firemen jump out of their truck and hustle over to a prone figure I hadn’t seen by the gas pumps.  It was a sobering example of what Rip had been talking about.  I changed my life four months ago because I didn’t want to be the man who wasn’t able to finish pumping his gas.

The Whole Foods Market Flagship store is here too, and it is like seven regular Whole Foods stuck together.  Then, for good measure, there are about seven food counters thrown in where a vegan can find every kind of delicious food there is.  One of the many employees that I engaged in conversation told me that this Whole Foods Market is the most popular tourist destination in Austin, and I completely believe her.  I think there should be a hotel next door for the foodie tourists like me.

Austin has been called the vegan Mecca because even in its unlikely location you can find a massive and friendly herbivore community.  There are more vegan restaurants in Austin than there are in the rest of Texas and the surrounding states.  I have been given so many suggestions from friends of the blog that I may have to eat five meals a day to get to them all.  Another solution is to return in a few months to visit all the vegan tourist stops I don’t get to on this trip.  That would require more Xanax and the Chicken’s Yoke, but it is a small price to pay to return to such an amazing place.


About jasongillett

I'm Jason Gillett, 2 year VEGAN, and a 41 year old family man. My wife & I teach in a FL school. I am using a blog to chronicle our family's new life. View all posts by jasongillett

19 responses to “Day 118: The Vegan Mecca

  • Jenn

    I want to go with you when you go back. Figure out a conference we need to attend together and make it in Austin!

  • Kale Crusaders

    You could probably spend an entire week eating only the vegan deliciousness in the Whole Foods Market Flagship. It would be both awesome and a shame at the same time given the amazing vegan choices Austin has to offer.

  • Bridget

    Daniel and Jessi dine out almost exclusively vegan and have yet to find a restaurant inAustin that doesn’t offer multiple options. Jessi even mentioned that you can get a vegan breakfast burrito at the Austin airport!

    • jasongillett

      Some of my favorite meals were made from places that had the flexibility to change their menu items without making a big deal about it. Juan in Million was my abso favorite~ writing about it for tomorrow’s post made my mouth water and water. Definitely going back to that city soon.

  • Sheree

    You are making me want to visit Austin (and that Whole Foods store) right away! Putting Austin on my “must visit” list! Thanks for the vegan foodie review! (I hope you take photos of the wonderful dishes you are served around town~~I love looking at beautiful vegan food and trying to figure out how I can make it here in my little neck of the woods)

    • jasongillett

      This city really can be considered a vegan vacation destination. If I hadn’t had work to do I would have rented a bike and a kayak to work off each calorie I ate while touring the coolest city I’ve seen. There is so much to see and do. And eat of course. I’ll be sharing that part tomorrow~ most food was devoured before a picture could be taken, but I got a few to share!

  • Kasey

    From the poles they’d been tied to! HA!

    As usual, you totally crack me up. 🙂

    • jasongillett

      I was worried that there would be a a special cowboy knot they used and I would be vegan-tied. Luckily, it was just my imagination, or my inclination to run from people with cowboy hats that kept me safe.

  • Kat

    I do believe Austin Tx was voted in the top 5 healthiest cities to live in.

  • Joshua E. Bigger

    I’m always quite cheerful and friendly to other passengers on the plane. After all, I’ll probably die with them in an enormous explosion of fire and metal.

  • Mike GILLETT

    I believe i said “Stomping your feet wildly up and down”…..”tapping” really is not satisfactory

    • jasongillett

      I am not brave enough to stomp my feet in an airplane for fear of knocking the delicate machine off course or falling through the floor. Tapping is a gentler version~ I had to adapt for my special condition. But the advice is still solid.

  • Jacki

    wow, Austin has more vegan restaurants than Dallas? that’s amazing. I thought we (in Dallas) had an abnormal amount of vegan places! Fantastic! San Antonio is still my fav city in Texas, despite it’s lack of abundant vegan restaurants. I’m glad you survived your flight. 😉

  • Day 197: Juan in a Million « Watch Me Lose 150 Pounds…

    […] I was returning from a business trip in Austin, TX, which I lovingly refer to as the Vegan Mecca. I kissed the ground after the harrowing flight- or at least that’s what I claimed I was […]

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