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Wellness

Why Trying Vegan Food Can be a Worthwhile Experience Even for Non-Vegans

Up until a few years ago, I bought into the stereotype that although vegan food is healthy, it is generally bland and unsatisfying in comparison to its non-vegan counterparts. Growing up in a household where meat was served with every meal, I was also rarely exposed to vegan options.

It wasn’t until I started college in Los Angeles where vegan and other health foods are trendy that I became interested in expanding my horizons. In my journey of trying new vegan restaurants, I have found two go-to places around my area: one cheap option for when I’m craving takeout and one option that is more pricey but has a perfect atmosphere for dining in.

Cost-Friendly Option: Veggie Grill
Veggie Grill is a restaurant chain with multiple locations in the LA area including Santa Monica and El Segundo. It has a casual atmosphere and the option for dine-in or take-out. Its menu features burgers, sandwiches, bowls, salads, and desserts that are all plant-based and some of which are also gluten-free. My favorite menu item is the Santa Fe Chickin’ sandwich that features mashed avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, and a southwest mayo sauce. The “chicken” has a similar texture to real chicken and is just as filling. This sandwich always goes
well with an order of regular or sweet potato fries and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Website: https://veggiegrill.com

Closest Locations to LMU:
720 S Allied Way
El Segundo, CA 90245
2025 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403

More Expensive Option: Margo's Plant Based Santa Monica
I was first introduced to Margo’s a few months ago at my aunt’s birthday dinner. The indoor seating has a pleasant modern atmosphere and features a bar with a wide variety of drinks. My aunt ordered a plate of nachos to share, which I was most skeptical to try since the most important components of meat, cheese and sour cream would all be plant-based. I was completely shocked when the nachos ended up being not only my favorite menu item but in my opinion, indistinguishable from non-vegan nachos. The second menu item I tried was the mushroom pizza which was noticeably different from traditional pizzas but was flavorful and delicious nonetheless. I returned to Margo's for a second time a few weeks ago and sat on the outdoor patio since it was a sunny day and is located in a beautiful neighborhood. The patio has an artsy feel and is decorated with string lights. If you go before 3 pm, you can catch their brunch menu which features short stack pancakes, jumbo french toast sticks and huevos rancheros. Margo’s even has mimosas and other brunch cocktails that I recommend trying if you’re over 21.

Website: https://www.margossantamonica.com/

Location:
1534 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Although I still don’t follow a strictly vegan or even vegetarian diet, I believe that going out of my comfort zone has been a valuable experience, has given me an appreciation for vegan options and has reduced the frequency that I eat meat. Eating vegan is also beneficial environmentally as it decreases your carbon footprint by not supporting the meat and dairy industries. It's important to note that vegan foods are not always accessible and cost-efficient for everyone, but if you have the means to try it, I recommend giving vegan restaurants a chance!

Hi I'm Ashley McCluskey and I am a Junior Urban Studies major at Loyola Marymount University!
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