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5 Tips For Visiting Family As A Vegan During the Holidays

5 Tips For Visiting Family As A Vegan During the Holidays

By on Nov 22, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

Our family is Puerto Rican and Sicilian, and for us, the concepts of family and food are almost synonymous. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are particularly important times of the year for our families to get together and express our love to one another with sharings of our favorite cultural foods. When I became vegan, I needed to find a way to stay connected to the food I love and the people that cooked it, while simultaneously honoring my own choices and new food traditions. The great thing about culture is that it is not a stagnant body of water, but rather, an ever flowing river, gathering new things and letting go of some of the old along the way. We see evidence of this as families from Puerto Rico and Sicily, two very multicultural countries, that are now residing in the even more multicultural US. Our food is a profound story of our history and our present day, changing over time and location. This is how I approach my family during the holidays each year, as the beautiful river of food and culture continues to flow, and my story becomes a part of the journey. Here are 5 tips I offer to you as vegans to help you integrate your food tradition into your family’s holiday: 1. Honesty is the best policy. Generally, I find it helpful to let my family know what my dietary needs are as soon as possible before a gathering. If it is new to your relatives, it is helpful to give them time to adjust, and can help to reduce awkward moments during the holiday. Occasionally, my family will crack a joke or two, but overall they truly love to make us happy and well fed, and will usually do whatever they can to make that possible. It is helpful to explain what vegan means, by specifically requesting no meat (including fish), dairy, honey, or eggs. It’s even more helpful to tell them what you love to eat, and even suggest some simple things they can make, buy or replace. I have seen so much joy come from hosts who watch us enjoy the special meal they have put together for us when...

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Gluten-Free Vegan NYC Bagels

Gluten-Free Vegan NYC Bagels

By on Nov 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

One of my favorite things I love to eat in the world is a good old bagel from New York City. I regularly travelled to NYC a in my childhood to visit my grandparents, one set who lived in East Harlem, and the other in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I can’t remember the exact day that I first ate a bagel during my childhood, but I have distinct memories of the pure joy I received getting a fresh warm bagel from the bakery. Today, my family still experience this collective joy when we fly or drive into the city. JFK and LaGuardia are the primary airports we use for international travel, and we often find ourselves practically jumping off the plane to get to get to one of our favorite bagel shops as we quickly as possible. It is our favorite reward after long travel, and our acclimation back to home. My excitement visiting the city recently turned to sadness as I accepted the fact that my body does not like gluten. I could probably giving up any bread product on the planet, with the exception of an NYC a bagel. But being that NYC is one of the hippest cities in the world. I thought it would be worth a shot to see if any of my favorite spots were now carrying gluten-free bagels. By the grace of goodness they do! One of our favorite bagel shops we run to is Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company, particularly the one on Broadway in Queens. It is not too far from the airport and very close to where Gaetano’s family live. I’m my most recent trip there I learned that they in fact do carry gluten-free bagels, and it was absolutely delicious! However, be aware that they sell out fast, so grab it early. The next day, I went to grab another gluten-free bagel at 10am and they were all out. But because we are in NYC I did not give up hope. After a Google search and some phone calls I found another great bagel shop that carries delicious gluten-free bagels. New York City Bagel and Coffee House has a fun atmosphere with a lot of eating space...

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