August 29, 2017

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Another reason to visit Orlando: Sloppy Joes and Chilly Daws, Vegan Style

In our latest blog post we shared with you our adventures in Pandora, The World of Avatar, where we had a delicious lunch. It was a really short trip to Orlando, FL, but we still wanted to try out at least 1 vegan restaurant in the area, and this time we chose Dixie Dharma. Just take note that the building itself is called Market on the South, so once you see those words outside, you have arrived.

Market on the South Exterior - The Dharma Store

Market on the South Interior - The Dharma Store

Market on the South is a shared space where vegan vendors offer their products. The place offers a restaurant, bakery and bar with full plant-based dining and beverage menu including BBQ and desserts. For savory you have Dixie Dharma, and your sweet option is Valhalla Bakery (we were so full we didn't have a chance to try it, next time for sure). They also carry vegan artisan goods from local vendors. Check out the menu from Dixie Dharma:

Dixie Dharma Menu - The Dharma Store

So what did we order? Well, we were super hungry, so we tried what we believed was more filling, so we got The Orangebird (vegan BBQ sloppy joe) and Moghul Chili Dawgs (vegan chili hot dogs). Both of them included your choice of side. We got baked mac n' cheese and tater salad. 

The Orangebird - Dixie Dharma - The Dharma Store

Moghul Chili Dawgs - Dixie Dharma - The Dharma Store

The portions are very generous, and the food is very fresh. Everything is well seasoned and satisfying. We loved the fact that they don't have a huge menu, because it gives them the chance to focus on quality instead of quantity. We also liked the general ambiance, very chill, clean and friendly. 

This place is definitely worth trying, if you are around the area you should try them out. Go in fashion with one of our newest designs!

Runs on veggies and compassion t-shirt by The Dharma Store

 

 

August 09, 2017

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Vegan in Pandora!

Hello! This year we went to Animal Kingdom for the grand opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar, and it was a quite an amazing experience. We didn't really have a plan in terms of vegan food, since we trusted our friends at Disney. We were confident there were gonna be vegan options for us, and we were right. We still suggest to bring vegan snacks because some of the lines are quite big; we brought vegan cookies and plenty of water.

Avatar Flight of Passage

We can easily tell you all the vegan options Animal Kingdom has to offer, but this time we want to only talk about the The World of Avatar. We wanted to experience the whole Avatar theme, and that's why we chose a place inside Pandora with vegan options. We had lunch at the Satu'li Canteen, and it was a great choice.

The World of Avatar

A lot of people were eating vegetable Bao Buns. We thought those were vegan; seemed to be filled up with vegetables only. However, since we always want to be 100% sure, and we knew customer service at Disney is great, we asked. The manager of the restaurant told us the filling was all vegetables, but she wanted to make sure the dough did not have eggs or dairy, so she came back with a list of all the ingredients they use for each dish. Guess what? the dough was not vegan. We don't remember exactly if it was eggs or dairy, but you can always ask once you get there.

So how do you know what to order? Well, thankfully the restaurant has a separate menu called "Satu'li Canteen Allergy-Friendly Menu", and it is also written there that guests may consult with a chef or special diets trained cast member before placing an order, so you can be informed. Just be aware that they also state that they are unable to guarantee everything is allergy-friendly since the kitchens used are not 100% free of allergens, and the ingredients used are reliant on supplier ingredient labels, which the restaurant is unable to guarantee. 

From that menu, we chose the "Build Your Own Bowl" option with tofu as the protein, and for the base we had the quinoa and vegetable salad, and the red and sweet potato hash (this one is more filling!). The sauce was the Charred Onion Chimichurri. Everything was delicious:

Satu'li Canteen - Build your own bowl (vegan)

Satu'li Canteen - Build your own bowl (vegan)

Wondering about what to visit in The World of Avatar? There are only 2 attractions at this moment, but the landscape of Pandora is so amazing that you will still enjoy it. Quick tip: start with the ride "Avatar Flight of Passage;" if you love it as much as we did you will definitely want to do it at least a second time. The other attraction is called "Na'vi River Journey." You can leave that for last because even though the animatronic of the Shaman is amazing, the ride is quite short. We hope you have a blast next time you visit Pandora!

Ready to make more vegan friends during your vacation? Then don't forget to grab one of our new vegan vacation t-shirts. Use coupon VEGANTRAVEL1 at checkout to get a special discount on this design only (3 colors available) - Expires on August 20th, 2017

This is my vegan vacation shirt - Vegan Shirt by The Dharma Store

August 11, 2016

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Are you taking the right vegan B12 supplement?

Are you taking the right vegan B12 supplement?

One of the first things you learn when transitioning to a vegan diet is that you have to take a vegan B12 supplement. In truth, even meat eaters can have vitamin B12 deficiency if they have absorption problems, but it seems to be more prevalent in vegetarians and vegans because the food sources for B12 are all from animal “products.” Sadly, you can’t rely on plant-based foods to get your B12 vitamin, and even though you can find many fortified alternatives such as nut milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast, sometimes these fortified foods might not be enough to get you covered. From our research we have gathered that when it comes to B12 you can’t just “wing it,” because this vitamin is essential for a multitude of functions, including neurological and other fancy sounding cellular stuff

When we became vegans we took no chances and just started taking the B12 supplements without lab results, but later testing confirmed our B12 levels were good. The B12 supplement we take comes with a suggested daily dose, so it is easy to just start. But since we are in charge only of our own health, we must suggest you talk to a doctor first. There is a blood test and a urine test that can be ordered to check your levels of vitamin B12. Your doctor can make recommendations based on the results, and also considering your medical history because for example, one of the forms of B12 (cyanocobalamin) is not recommended for smokers.

So, the next question is, if vitamin B12 comes from animals, is there a vegan vitamin B12? Most of the products we found don’t really disclose the actual source of their vegan B12, but what we did find is that in general, this vitamin comes from bacteria that are in the soil, so the key is literally in the dirt that the animals eat, and not in their meat per se. Some people even don’t wash their veggies to get this benefit, but since we are not organic farmers we can’t be sure of what else is lurking in the produce we get from the supermarket.

According to this article, there are four different kinds of vitamin B12. From what we’ve gathered so far, the two most commercially available types of vitamin B12 are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. The cyanocobalamin is a synthetic, lab made vitamin B12 that is super cheap to produce. The catch is that your body has to process cyanocobalamin to extract the actual B12 from it, and that process generates cyanide (yes, the poison), though it is in such a low amount that it supposedly doesn’t pose a health risk. However, given the fact that we are bombarded with chemicals on a day to day basis -fluoride in the water, BPA in our cans, pesticides in our food, and god knows what else-, we are inclined to steer away from cyanocobalamin if only to give our bodies a break from this permanent toxic assault (same reason why we say no to GMOs).

The other kind of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, is a bioavailable form of supplemental B12, which means it is all ready to be used by our bodies. Methylcobalamin is considered by many to be a better source of supplemental B12 because it is the pure form that our body needs to use literally right away without having to be converted; it naturally circulates in our blood plasma as methylcobalamin. We also found out that it is best to ingest it sublingually, because in this form the methylcobalamin is absorbed into the bloodstream directly via the oral mucosa, so it completely bypasses the digestive system. You just pop the lozenge under your tongue and let it dissolve.

There are a lot of brands in the market, in different kinds of presentations. The one we take daily and recommend is Jarrow Formulas Methyl B-12.

Jarrow Formulas Methyl-B12 1000 mcg

 

We find that 1000 mcg a day is enough for us, though we have tried the 5000 mcg presentation, and they also have them in 500 mcg and 2500 mcg. The lozenges are a good size (smaller than a dime, but around 5 millimeters thick). The 1000 mcg presentation is lemon flavor, but we find them not to be lemony at all, but mostly mildly sweet and generally pleasant.

Jarrow Formulas Methyl-B12 1000 mcg lozenge size

If you take 1 per day this bottle will last you 100 days. We like them because they are also vegan, gluten free and nut free, among other things.

TL;DR If you just recently switched to a plant-based diet, don’t put off checking your vitamin B12 levels to find out how much to supplement. Our preferred kind of vegan B12 is in the form of methylcobalamin lozenges, especially this brand. Supplement what you need and keep going plant strong!

 

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November 12, 2015

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Stay fresh

Nothing more summery and fresh than a pineapple, right? Since we have neglected to update this blog (so much to do!), we thought we'd share a random doodle with some random ramblings of our current state of affairs here at The Dharma Store headquarters. We are so bummed summer is over...

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June 19, 2015

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A little bit about us

Our journey is just starting. There is so much that we didn't know (about GMOs, animal cruelty, and sooo much crap!) that we are making changes in our lifestyle as we learn. It has been difficult, and very challenging because everywhere you turn there's cheese, meat, processed food, high fructose corn syrup and god knows what else. What is worse, we were totally addicted to that stuff.

One day we learned about what we were really REALLY eating, and it marked the first turning point for us. We swept our fridge and pantry and threw out tons and tons of "food," basically anything that had countless unpronounceable ingredients. We thought it would have been mean to donate food that we wouldn't even eat ourselves, so everything went to the garbage bin. No regrets.

We were left with a deserted kitchen and a slight panicky moment of "what now?." But now that we know what is really in those snacks we liked so much, it was easy to let go. We were not so far gone that we would keep consciously eating foods that we are certain would have made us very sick one day. We are still learning as we go; we are not perfect, but we are trying.

Our goal is to go back to the basics, to grow our own produce and to be in better harmony with ourselves and with earth. After all, we were not born eating steak, we learned to eat it. We can unlearn; we can share the earth with the other living creatures that have feelings and deserve as much freedom as we do. We are in for this ride, and if you are here reading, I'm sure you understand us and we are very grateful that we can share this life philosophy with you. 

If you feel like sharing, tell us about your journey in the comments!