Food is everywhere, it’s on the internet, in magazines, on television. It pervades our programming and our brains. Food is something we need to survive. It is also a guilty pleasure.
There are many cuisines, many flavors, and many choices of how we eat. One of these choices is to eat meat-free. 20 years ago being a vegetarian meant having very few choices when dining out. The grocery store shelves were lined with foodstuffs made with animal products. It was hard to get food that wasn’t laden with lard or chicken stock. That has changed.
Today’s grocery stores now stock food that is meat and dairy. Soups are made with vegetable broth, modifiers that are free of whey protein and other animal products are soon to be the exception not the rule. There is more available than just TVP (textured vegetable protein) and rice cakes.
Phoenix has a large vegetarian/vegan population. And the grocery aisles reflect this. If you are planning to travel to Phoenix, or better yet, move there, compassionate eating is at your fingertips. Major products are available (Gardein and Morning Star), as well as more regional items. There are several kitchens that are vegan and gluten free that produce and sell at the Farmers markets. And don’t forget the raw connection. Raw foods are huge in the Valley, and everything from crackers to cakes are available in both the grocery aisles and the Farmer’s markets.
If you are looking for a fully dedicated vegan grocery market, there isn’t one, yet. But there are several restaurants that sport compassionate eating menus, with no dairy, eggs, or meat. Be sure to check out Green New American Vegetarian (two locations), Pomegranate Café, 24 Carrots Natural Café & Urban Juicery, Fresh Mint, and Sage Kitchen. For yummy baked goods check out Nami and Treehouse Bakery. And you can find various retail stores that are catering to the vegetarian/vegan crowd.
Other cities have quite a few choices as well. Austin and Denver come to mind. A quick internet search will reveal where in these cities a vegetarian/vegan can shop and eat. And while across the board markets are inconsistent, at least now there are choices.