A Taste of Mexico at the Boulevard Market!

unnamedBaja is definitely on the foodie radar these days and San Diegans enjoy crossing the border for flavorful foods and a dose of culture! Likewise, we appreciate the pieces of Mexico interwoven into our lives here in Southern California.

I wanted to share a little something cool going on in the San Diego-Tijuana border region that entails vegan tacos, cross-cultural collaboration, and fun to be had!

I am not surprised that this project comes from El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association, a group always keeping an eye out for revitalization and creative projects. Vayan al Boulevard Market Aug. 19 y disfruten!

August 12th, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

Unconditional Love

It’s a good time to share a few positive messages in this era of mass shootings, racial tension, people burning homeless folks in San Diego, and the recent loss of my sweet father. Somehow even with all that going on, my strength and joy of life are intact. My father taught his four kids and others blessed to be in his life about unconditional love and joy. I am lucky to be surrounded by many great people. It seems important to focus on loving relationships and the good in the world to prevent being overwhelmed by the horrors around us.



July 9th, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

Juice, Juice Everywhere

My latest habit when I feel a cold coming on or want to give my body an oil change:  run to the nearest juice bar and slurp down a drink filled with beets, spinach, apple, ginger and other goodies known to be nutritionally cleansing. Luckily, juice shops are all over the place these days in health-conscious, often sunny San Diego.

Where to start in the sea of juice bars? Take a tour, at your own pace. Most of the spots mentioned also offer smoothies, acai bowls, protein bars and other snacks.

juiceIn charming South Park, not far from the newish vegan restaurant Kindred, step into cheery Sacred Juice at 2967  Beech St. (pictured, right).

Hit up Whole Foods Hillcrest at 711 University Ave. for freshly-made jugo along with a treat from the salad bar. Not far on University Ave. you can find both Project Juice at 1080 University, Ste. H107, and Juice Crafters at 401 University Ave. (along with other locations).

Closer to the sea and fresh on the Point Loma scene, Liberty Public Market at 2820 Historic Decatur Rd. didn’t miss the trend, with healthful drinks at Fully Loaded Juice.

juicesavesIn the East Village, stop by Juice Saves (pictured, left) which offers a plethora of smoothies and superfoods from spirulina to chia seeds to camu camu. They serve up breakfast bowls and a few salads as well.

For a less pricy option, head to Logan Heights not far from downtown, where you can get a juice from Coty’s Deli or La Colmena Wanavana for under $7 and enjoy hearing Spanish.

That should get you started! What other juice bars did I miss? Please leave any ideas in the comments.


May 28th, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

San Diego Proud of New Public Market

2Something reminiscent of vibrant markets in San Francisco, Seattle, and cities worldwide has arrived in San Diego like a breath of fresh air: the Liberty Public Market. Liberty Station, a buzzing spot in Point Loma, has totally transformed from its Navy training station days into a walkable area boasting everything from nonprofit office spaces to Trader Joe’s to art events, and now, the market.

The market, open daily and on the smaller side, is modern, clean, and packed with people. The line for Argentinean empanadas didn’t let up.  I had some delicious Thai food at Mama Made Thai, dubbed as Bangkok street food. While I didn’t see many veggie options, the choices at Fully Loaded Juice and Garden Fresh looked nutritious. There were flower stands, fancy dessert vendors and other feasts for the eyes. Lucky for locals, San Diego always has new businesses sprouting up and interesting things to explore!

April 25th, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

Tea Time

indexAny techniques that help humans slow down and savor the moments in our fast-paced lives should be taken advantage of. Whether we twist ourselves into unimaginable yoga poses, walk along a beach, or sit still for a few moments of peace, self-care is always beneficial. For thousands of years and across the world, one way that people have relaxed is by sipping a cup of tea. Teas also offer many herbal properties that I love to put to use.  Mint and ginger soothe stomachaches, lavender and chamomile calm our nerves, and African rooibos gives a little buzz without the side effects of caffeine. With the conveniences of modern life, there are instant water heating devices that make boiling water incredibly easy.

Over the years, my younger sister Blair and I have mailed tea bags to each other across the country, adding a personal touch to our letters and cards. My other younger sister Tara moved to London and sweetly gifted me with this box (pictured) which I immediately filled with various tea bags. Now something as simple as drinking a cup of tea feels like a special ritual.  Tea, anyone?

March 22nd, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

Real Food Daily Rocks Repeatedly

2I must confess I can’t seem to go to my hometown of Los Angeles without stopping by Real Food Daily. Whether it’s the Santa Monica or the West Hollywood location, I love the creative, delectable food and the stylish atmosphere.  My family, a mix of vegetarians, pescatarians and carnivores, enjoys dining at Real Food Daily often. Someday we need to try the Pasadena spot.

indexAt the Santa Monica locale, the bakery display shines and tempts. Yesterday I happily started my day with an herbal caffeine-free coffee called Teecino, along with a Breakfast Sammie filled with tempeh bacon, chipotle aioli, vegan cheese, avocado  . . .the list of yummy ingredients goes on. It was great; a lot of other menu options would have taken the cake as well.

The only thing wrong with this place is that it’s not in San Diego. Our fine coastal city boasts many more herbivorous choices these days, but having a Real Food Daily would move us into the category of a truly veggie-friendly and hip city.

February 23rd, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

Puerto Vallarta – Healthy Options by the Sea

sunset2Puerto Vallarta may have been crowded at Christmas, but my boyfriend and I had a great time walking along the vibrant oceanfront malecon, exploring nearby beaches by bus, and cafe-hopping. This was my first Puerto Vallarta vacation, but I have been to Mexico several times, slowly discovering more of the beauty and inexpensive travel not far from home.

Armed with my list researched on the web, I found a decent array of veggie options; I wish I could have made it to more of them. A favorite was Restaurante Vegetariano Mary (inside Hotel Paloma del  Mar), where you are greeted by a lovely owner and a casual buffet that makes you feel like you are in someone’s home. Mary told us about her powerful change of heart — she went from owning a carniceria (butcher shop) to practically giving the shop away once she felt compelled to go vegetarian.

planetavegAnother bright buffet in a peaceful setting is Planeta Vegetariano, conveniently close to the Lady of Guadalupe church and the ocean.  Not fully vegetarian — but still a mainstay in the Zona Romantica — was Salud Super Food, a popular place owned by expats from the U.S. which served up wraps and smoothies and used health-conscious items such as chia seeds, quinoa, and alternative beverages like almond milk.

veggietableAt the Saturday farmer’s market in the Zona Romantica, I caught not only some lovely local art but a vendor called Veggie Table that dished up veggie tacos, soy meats, burgers and other delights. They have a new shop in town, too.

Even though I wasn’t eating as abundantly as I do in San Diego, I had many fine meals with a Mexican flair, and enjoyed the sunshine, the beach, and lively streets, as often happens in Latin America.

January 21st, 2016 by veglady | No Comments »

Helping Create a Community Park

12376605_10156329239130483_7929877980172315683_nI’m fortunate enough to be prepping for a holiday vacation in Mexico so I won’t say much, though I wanted to share a lil’ something we have been working on in the low-income area of Logan Heights near downtown San Diego. The dynamic project involved design input from the community, after which me and other people recruited hundreds of volunteers (especially high-schoolers) to build the Gilliam Family Community Space and Garden on Imperial Avenue. The 5,000 square foot space includes an amphitheater, maze, huge treehouse, picnic benches, and a teaching garden, among other unique features.

Check out the video:


The space tentatively opens in January 2016. The part at the end of the video about the fence coming down was a mistake by the reporter. Feliz fiestas!


December 20th, 2015 by veglady | No Comments »

Chocolate – How I Love You

chocolateI will admit it feels like something is missing if I don’t have a piece of chocolate each day. Not a coffee drinker, I choose chocolate for a bit of a wake-up as well as to savor something decadent. Nowadays there are chocolate bars flavored with everything from mint to raspberry to hazelnut so almost anyone can join the fun.

The good news is that chocolate is increasingly touted for its health benefits, and the list keeps growing!  Want more physical energy and alertness? Hunting for an aphrodisiac? Looking to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or diabetes, or to live longer? Would you like to improve your gastrointestinal flora? Amazingly, chocolate takes the cake.

The higher quality and darker the chocolate, the greater the health benefits. So cacao products and minimally processed chocolate products are reportedly the best bet. It’s also important your chocolate doesn’t have too high a sugar content; Trader Joe’s makes some yummy sugar-free chocolate bars.

Treat yourself!

November 17th, 2015 by veglady | No Comments »

African-Inspired and Woman-Powered Crafts

Photo – Southern Journeys Collective

I wanted to repost this article on an interesting and worthwhile pursuit – a worker-owned social enterprise inspired by weaving, piece sewing and quilting traditions originating in the rich cultures of West Africa and rural African American communities in the US south. Enjoy reading about Southern Journeys Collective in this intervew with Lara Jealous, textile designer.

What inspired you to get involved with this project?

There is so much that inspired me and made me want to be part of this project!

I have a passion for crafts.  As a textile designer, I work with large companies, developing textiles and products all over the world.  I was thrilled to be asked to support the Southern Journeys Collective – a sustainable social enterprise that celebrates American textile traditions and empowers women artisans.

I first met the members of the Southern Journeys Collective during a trip to rural Georgia nearly two years ago.  We met in their communal sewing room and I was immediately inspired by their dedication to their craft, the historical references they draw from and their deep desire to share their sewing and quilting traditions with the next generation.

In addition, I come from a long line of women who sewed, quilted, crocheted and embroidered.  Sometimes all this making was due to necessity and sometimes it was because it was a way to express their creativity and love. Their creations are family heirlooms and treasures that link me to them and our family history.  When I talked and worked with the women in Southern Journeys, it was like sitting with someone from my family. Because of this, my connection to the project is very personal.  The more time I spent with the women who are part of Southern Journeys, the more touched I was by their sense of community,  friendship and mutual support.

Did any of the women have stories of their lives that particularly stood out?

The story of each woman is unique.  I find their perseverance and dedication, despite extreme challenges and obstacles, both admirable and humbling.

11218714_912001582169184_2599130554640094778_nHow does a purchase make a difference in their lives?

Southern Journeys Collective grew out of the work of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative.  SRBWI facilitates rural women’s access to resources and community-centered economic development.  It empowers black women in 77 counties spanning some of the poorest and most remote communities throughout Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.  A purchase of a Southern Journeys product provides fair wage income to women with very limited earning opportunities.  In addition, Southern Journeys makes the textile traditions and its members’ stories seen, enjoyed and heard. This, in itself, makes a difference.

Their products are handmade from recycled natural fabrics including denim, cotton and silk as well as reused burlap coffee sacks, and hand dyed cotton.  The hand dyed fabrics are sourced from a women’s collective in Acessa, Ghana which in turn provides income and educational opportunity to local African women.

For more information, see the Facebook page, and to make a purchase, go to their website. Bags can also be purchased at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC and Global Exchange in Berkeley, CA.


October 23rd, 2015 by veglady | No Comments »