Going vegan in Southwest Riverside County

To be a vegan in this area of Riverside County you have to be creative, said Laura Miller of Temecula, 45, who has been vegan for almost two years.

Adapting to a vegan lifestyle in Southwest Riverside County can be somewhat difficult, she also said; she’s a busy mom and wife.

Unlike a vegetarian diet where one can eat dairy and eggs, vegans do not consume any animal by-products.

Miller is originally from San Diego County where the options for vegans are unlimited. Since moving to Temecula, she’s found it a lot more difficult.

No-meat kitchens like Veggie Grill and Native Foods, popular in Orange County and San Diego County, are hard to come by in this area.

With any Google search one will see that there are no meat-free kitchens within the area. It seems odd, since veganism and vegetarianism are becoming more popular, Miller said, and it would be smart of business owners to begin doing so.

She explained how she has met a lot of vegetarians and vegans in the Temecula area through websites such as Meetup.

“If a place here had vegan stuff, it would go like wildfire,” she said.

Miller said although there no meat-free kitchens in the area, she doesn’t need it as long as restaurants will offer vegan options.

She found that Earth Bistro in Temecula and @Thai in Murrieta are two great options for vegans. She said @Thai will bring out a vegan menu if you ask for it.

Miller thinks that part of the reason why vegetarian/vegan restaurants are slow to expand in this area is because the cities are still new. And with that, there are a lot more chain restaurants in the area, and although she’d like to eat Chipotle everyday she’d rather support small businesses.

Chipotle recently added sofritas – tofu with chilies and spices – and they also removed the bacon from their pinto beans. The sofritas are “really good,” she gushed.

Miller and her husband both work full-time and they eat out a lot during the week. She calls herself a convenience food shopper and in the future she would love to see a Whole Foods Market in the area.

“I could run in and grab something, without having to resort to Chipotle,” she said.

She said the demographic to open a Whole Foods is right for the area. The closest location to Whole Foods from Temecula is in San Diego.

Although Southwest Riverside County has Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Roots in Temecula, these places don’t carry everything she needs. She’ll have to go to about three places to get everything she needs. One of the downfalls to shopping at Roots is that it’s really expensive, she said.

For those who are looking to try veganism but are worried about it being too expensive Miller suggests a blog called “Plant Based on a Budget” (plantbasedonabudget.com). The blog does a whole menu plan and shopping list for the week for single, couples, or families.

Both Miller and her husband went vegan for health reasons, and later ethical reasons, and both used to love meat.

She said going from cooking omnivorous dishes for over 20 years and transitioning to cooking vegan was hard. She also said the holidays are really hard because of family.

As for going vegan, “If I can do it, anybody can do it,” she said.

Her husband and two of her daughters are also vegan. When her husband went vegan he lost 30 lbs. and his blood pressure went way down, she said.

Miller said being vegan has made it easier for her as a working mom. She doesn’t have to worry about coming home and thawing out meat. She said it can be as simple as cooking a pot full of beans for $0.99 and using it throughout the week to cook meals such as bean burritos. She also said her children love it.

Miller’s daughter Angela, 13, hasn’t gone vegan yet. She’s also had health issues in the past, such as eczema, but since eating her mom’s vegan meals the patches have seemed to have disappeared.

“The food was better than I expected it to be,” she said.

Angela also said she is considering going vegan someday when she gets older, but she still can’t give up some of her favorite foods like cheese.

Even coworkers with Miller’s husband have become interested in what he’s eating.

“Sometimes they’ll eat quinoa with him,” she said, laughing.

Quinoa is a grain-like crop and high in protein.

As for a change in the future Miller said she would like to see the owners of restaurants to promote vegan options on the menu.

She said, “Their counterparts in other counties know how to do it.”

7 Responses to "Going vegan in Southwest Riverside County"

  1. David Wishengrad   January 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    There is no such thing as a person being vegan. People are not their actions. To state such a thing is to lie. The evidence of this is provided by The Most Important Truth in Life.

    Life is Most Important in Life. To argue that mutually defined point of Truth one must use Life, and thus commit hypocrisy (lie). Challenging this Truth is as silly as saying we can change our own past or we are not really alive.

    It has been unfortunate that Bevi Edlund was never reminded of why they are Most Important in human words. Such is this world we live in that is filled with lies. It is very common that a person has never heard in human words why, EXACTLY, AND CORRECTLY, BASED IN 100% TRUTH, that they are Most Important.

    Life is Most Important in Life is not only Truth, but The Most Improtant truth of all in Life.

    This Truth, specifically, states we are Life, Most Important, and equal. To state that someone is factually a vegan, or some other lifestyle choice (action) is an attempt to contradict The Most Important truth in Life.

    There is no such thing as a vegan. We are equal.

    There is also no excuse for killing and enslaving animals for the needless purposes of personal gratification (taste, unneeded nutrition, fun).

    Veganism is based in the Truth of the Importance and equality of Life.

    This, "I’m a vegan", "They’re a vegan", stuff is completely made up fairytale non-sense.

    The fastest and surest way to turn someone away from real veganism is to call anyone a vegan and impart the lie of inequality.

  2. Peter   January 4, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Congrats Laura Miller for adopting a vegan diet and then recognizing the ethical issues. David W’s remarks are incoherent and ignorable. Unfortunately, I don’t see vegan restaurants coming to town soon.

  3. David Wishengrad   January 5, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Well now Peter,

    Here is a quote from my first comment:

    "Life is Most Important in Life. To argue that mutually defined point of Truth one must use Life, and thus commit hypocrisy (lie). Challenging this Truth is as silly as saying we can change our own past or we are not really alive."

    Do you agree that Life is Most Important in Life or not?

    Yes, then when you say, ‘incoherent’, about my comment, you lie.
    No, then you use Life in hypocrisy (lie).

    Either way, you don’t have a valid comment to support your own importance. Nothing you can ever dream up will establish your Truthful Importance other than the Most Important Truth in Life. You tried to shoot down the comments of the first person your have ever had contact with in your entire Life that spoke complete to Truth you that is 100% in reality.

  4. Wendy G.   January 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    To David:

    From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    Vegan: ˈvē-gən also ˈvā- also ˈve-jən or -ˌjan
    : a ***person*** who does not eat any food that comes from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather)

    reference: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vegan

  5. Danielle   January 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    As the manager of the Farmstead Market in Murrieta I would like to take the time to comment. The first and foremost goal of our store is to bring in locally grown produce, most of which comes from our own farm located 4 miles away as well as from the garden on site. We then use some of these products in our kitchen to make fresh salads each morning. We offer several vegan selections in our deli case daily. To name a few are cucumber tomato salad, made from scratch kale salad, sesame tofu drops, and citrus quinoa salad. Elsewhere in the store you will find Bold organic vegan pizzas, and the So Good Gluten Free line of vegan products, and Tasty Naturals line of local products, again, to name a few.

    However, I don’t want to mislead you, our kitchen is not meatless. It is interesting that we were not mentioned in the article but we are a fairly new, family owned operation so it is understandable. I hope that you will take the time to visit us. You might want to visit our facebook page via the farmstead market murrieta.

    Thank you, Bevi
    and Laura, I hope your search is fruitful.

  6. Craig   January 6, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Try the Farmstead Market in Murrieta.

  7. Organic Roots   January 14, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Bevi – Did you know that our store, Organic Roots in Temecula, has food bars? We have a Juice & Smoothie Bar, A Burrito Bar, A Hot Bar with in store prepared foods made fresh daily (menu changes weekly), A Full Salad Bar with about 40 topping options, a coffee bar, an in store bakery, and a Deli for sandwiches and wraps…and yes we have a Vegan bread option. All of these food bars actually have vegan options. If you ever wanted to take a tour of our store on all our vegan options, for on the go food and items to buy to prepare meals at home, we would be more than happy to arrange that. Actually we will be starting store tours soon! We are really excited about it.


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