Raison d’être

full, happy and (almost) ready for a trans-Atlantic flight

Why?

Because I adopted a mostly vegan diet in Paris, which it turns out isn’t the best place be vegan. I’ve always like a challenge, however, so it seemed fun to present ways you could eat out or make delicious vegan food while living here (occasionally I order something like chia seeds from Amazon though.)  I’m not the most “strict” vegan in the world, meaning I still eat chocolate from time to time and if traveling and no other option is available (think South France), I will have some fish or cheese.  As far as why I choose to not eat animal products… it’s about 80% for health reasons and 20% because I really like animals.

Saying hello to some cows in south Belgium

How did all this get started?: In the winter of 2010, after living in Shanghai for almost two years, I ran a marathon and then I moved to Europe. While living here, despite eating (red) meat several times a week, I started to have a lot of issues with iron deficiency. I went from running 10 kilometers as an “easy day” to not being able to walk up stairs in a matter of months. I canceled my registration for my next marathon and continued to battle this and other nutritional issues for over a year and soon I was out of shape, tired all the time and consuming 3 cups of coffee per day along with plenty of French cheese and other animal products. At one point I even tried to eat a hamburger everyday for lunch to help with the iron issue —  that resulted in nightmares about cows.

1059670

Over the summer, I started to read about other runners who were on plant-based diets. They seemed to all be healthy and very much enjoying their food. I thought I would try it (as well as quitting coffee) and after experiencing it and researching more, I don’t think I will be changing back to an omnivorous diet anytime soon. It turns out there are plenty of non-animal sources of iron.

Is it difficult being a vegan? Yes and no. The hardest part is going to restaurants, especially in Paris when customizing your food is generally not accepted. I now live with my steak-loving boyfriend, so cooking brings the added challenge of pleasing a non-vegan. As working people we also face significant time constraints, meaning I don’t have time to source ingredients like tempeh or prepare a fancy vegan cashew cheese pizza from scratch. Mostly I view it as a challenge in simplicity and feel I have re- discovered vegetables in a way. As an added bonus, I have not had a cold once since I started a mostly vegan diet. (Edit, I caught one cold after standing around in the cold and rain for half a day after running the 10k of Mont Blanc – oops!)

zen plate

A delicious plate of food from my favorite vegan-friendly restaurant in Paris – Le Grenier de Notre Dame

And the blog? The blog is an exploration of simple recipes readily available in the Parisian food market (most often Monoprix and a local fruit/vegetable stand) as well as restaurant reviews from around Europe. I do my best to update it at least once a week, but don’t always succeed. I also include plenty of my adventures with running, which compliments the vegan diet as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Waving 'hi' at the 16km mark

Waving ‘hi’ at the 16km mark in the rain

 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Raison d’être

  1. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. My human daddy would really love to run in Paris or Vienna. We all look forward to following your runs and trying your recipes. P.S. Sorry about the picture of the hot dog. I’m usually a really healthy eater, but this was a very special treat!

    • Well, thank you! It was quite a pleasure seeing your blog – very creative and original! Don’t worry about the hot dog, I’m glad you enjoyed your special treat 😉 Look forward to hearing about your marathon training adventures!

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  4. Hey there! I discovered your blog through Veedine Intervention. I’m on a plant-based diet too. I discovered the diet when I took a cooking class at Whole Foods Market. I love eating plant-based – it’s really changed my life. It’s interesting that you came to this diet through reading about plant-based runners. I recently read Rich Roll’s ‘Finding Ultra’ and it was really inspirational. Anyway, I’m so glad to have discovered your wonderful blog and I look forward to reading more of your posts. Celeste 🙂

  5. Hi Amanda,
    I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a bit, having stumbled upon it hopping through the vegan blogosphere as well as when planning for a trip to Paris. And here I am, doing a two month internship. I was wondering if you’d be interested in meeting a fellow vegan for a meal sometime? My friends in Paris are highly reluctant to experiment with me, sticking to falafel everytime we go out! They refuse to listen when I tell them there are places like cafe pinson and bob’s they might even enjoy. Their loss!
    So, I actually just attempted to send you a message on facebook with this little invitation and some more personal nonsense…and it turned into a friend request from my sloppy attempt at doing this as quickly as possible at work without anyone noticing. I’m sure you’d be very confused by this friend request if not for this comment- so be on the lookout!

    • Hi Gwendolyn!! Just got your message, sorry for the late reply. We should definitely meet up for a vegan meal 😀 Accepted your invite on FB so msg me there… next week would be great!

  6. Hi Amanda,
    I also had an iron deficiency while I was pregnant (and not a vegetarian at the time). What followed was a b12 deficiency. I have been a vegetarian who cooks mostly vegan and both my deficiencies are taken care of. Like you said, there are definitely plant based sources of iron. B12 was a little trickier, but with a lot of research and speaking with an ayurvedic doctor, I got it all sorted out. Many times it isn’t that we aren’t getting enough of these nutrients, but more so that we are not absorbing them effectively. Anyway, I look forward to looking through more of your blog and following your plant-based adventure!
    Sophia 🙂

    • Thanks Sophia for your nice comment for sharing your experience!! An ayurvedic doctor, huh? That sounds like an interesting experience! I definitely feel like for all the advances we have made in Western medicine, it’s mostly is way off. Anyway.. how are you managing your B12? Vitamins? Interesting comment on the absorption. Wish I was a sponge ;P

      • Hi Amanda,
        Yes, my first yoga teacher was also an ayurvedic practitioner, and since I wasn’t really getting anywhere with my GP (who only ever suggested I eat meat), I started consulting with her. I prefer a more holistic approach to my health, and most GPs do not really look at our daily diets when assessing our health.
        Anywho! as for the B12, yes, I started with a few injections because I was very low in the vitamin. I then took a daily supplement, but after consulting with my dr, I began to limit dairy (a lot) to absorb the nutrients better. It really helped me. I also add nutritional yeast to many meals, plus consume it from fortified soy milk, etc.
        That was an earful! 😉
        Sophia

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