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Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities of 2016


You can get tasty vegan meals almost anywhere today, which is why 2016 is #TheYearOfVegan. We’ve scoured the country and selected the most vegan-friendly cities. Did your favorite city make the cut?

1. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Michael Silberstein / Flickr

This year, Portland, Oregon, takes the top spot on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) list, thanks in part to its array of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. For example, Back to Eden Bakery serves up egg- and dairy-free baked goods and ice cream sundaes. Vtopian Cheese Shop & Deli offers more than 20 vegan artisan cheeses, plus vegan pepperoni melts, paninis and cheesecake. Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ features meat-free barbecue and cheesesteak subs, tempeh ribs and Mac No-Cheese. Portobello Vegan Trattoria prepares lobster mushroom potato cakes, ravioli, tiramisu and house-made coconut ice cream—all-vegan, of course. Petunia’s Pies & Pastries serves everything from vegan biscuits and gravy and Belgian waffles to blue corn tacos and vegan grilled cheese. Even Portland’s iconic Voodoo Doughnut now offers vegan doughnuts.

In addition to many meat-free restaurants, Portland’s all-vegan enterprises include a bed and breakfast, a summer camp, a punk-metal bar, a strip mall, a tattoo shop and even a strip club for those seeking a bit more excitement!

And that’s not all. It’s fairly easy to find vegan family medical practitioners, vegan counselors, vegan real-estate agents and other lifestyle services offered by vegans in Portland.

2. Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles. Photo credit: Jeremy Miles / Flickr

The City of Angels has more listings on HappyCow—a website that lists regional vegan and vegan-friendly eateries and events—than any other U.S. city. LA is home not only to an animal rights–related museum but also to PETA’s West Coast headquarters, so you can rest assured that the vegan options have been thoroughly, um, tested.

Crossroads is a star-studded vegan restaurant that serves mouthwatering fare, including Scaloppini Marsala and artichoke oysters, prepared by celebrity chef Tal Ronnen. PETA’s pal Moby recently opened little pine, a Mediterranean-inspired vegan restaurant and donates a portion of proceeds to support our work. Gracias Madre, eLOVate Vegan Kitchen & Juicery, Ramen Hood and Sage Organic Vegan Bistro are just a handful of other popular vegan eateries in the city. Locals also love Mohawk Bend, where all menu items are vegan unless marked “NV” for “not vegan”; the all-vegan Japanese restaurant Shojin; and Spork Foods, a vegan food company and culinary school that conducts cooking demonstrations and in-home teaching. It also provides vegan culinary services, as does Veggie Fixation.

Looking for vegan guilty pleasures? Stop by Donut Friend, which offers a wide variety of unique vegan doughnuts and vegan fillings, such as coconut cream, cream cheese and more. Erin McKenna’s Bakery LA, Scoops and Donut Farm are just a few others that offer mouthwatering vegan desserts. Anyone looking for late-night vegan cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries can head over to Doomie’s Home Cookin’.

It would take ages to mention all the vegan-friendly spots in the city, but BuzzFeed’s “21 Vegan Places in Los Angeles That’ll Make You Want Seconds” should help convince you that vegan options abound in LA.

3. New York City

New York City Skyline. Photo credit: Mr Hicks46 / Flickr

Is it any surprise that the Big Apple made the list again this year? In 2014, PETA named the city the most vegan-friendly spot in the nation and actor Alan Cumming presented the mayor with a sculpture of the New York skyline made entirely of vegetables.

In addition to Candle 79, Blossom and the other restaurants mentioned in PETA’s 2013 list of top vegan-friendly cities, there is by CHLOE, a vegan restaurant featuring locally obtained ingredients and Franchia Vegan Cafe, which is one of the best Asian-fusion restaurants in the country. VSPOT, which has a location right next to New York University, serves scrumptious Latin fare and Blossom du Jour, V Burger, VLife and Terri have locations throughout the city where diners can get an inexpensive and delicious vegan lunch.

Plant-based eating has become so popular that famed restaurant owner Ravi DeRossi is making his 15 bars and restaurants vegan! Vegan pop-ups appear throughout the city as chefs rent out locations to try cutting-edge new vegan fare. New York City has a plethora of animal advocates who routinely speak out against horse-drawn carriages, fur and using animals for food. There’s even a Veggie Pride Parade each April.

4. Detroit

Detroit Skyline. Photo credit: Haljackey / Flickr

Detroit is going through a revitalization and vegans are being welcomed with open arms. Residents rave about Detroit Vegan Soul, which offers mac and “cheese,” “catfish” tofu, barbecue tofu sandwiches, collard greens and okra stew, among other vegan dishes. Seva serves vegan buffalo tempeh wings and Thai noodles. Whether you live in this former “meat and potatoes town” or are just passing through, be sure to check out these noteworthy vegan-friendly spots:

  • Russell St. Deli offers vegan options, including a TLT—a tofu, lettuce and tomato sandwich with house-made vegan mayo. Brooklyn Street Local has a vegan Reuben with house-made seitan and vegan poutine (a Canadian dish that’s typically made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy).

  • Detroit is known for its bar scene, so we have to mention that dive bars and fancier establishments alike are offering up delicious fare—like beloved PJ’s Lager House, which offers up vegan fried pickles, veggie burritos with spicy vegan queso and po’ boys. And popular bars Jolly Pumpkin, HopCat, Green Dot Stables and others have vegan options.

  • Nearby Om Café serves a Quinoa Protein Salad and Loaded Vegan Mac and Chive Kitchen focuses on fresh and local products.

  • You can get sweet potato–black bean chili and vegan nachos at the Shimmy Shack, among other yummy dishes and the Mac Shack will make mac ‘n’ cheese and French fries with vegan cheese sauce, upon request.

  • Avalon International Breads offers several vegan items, including savory sweet potato bánh mì sandwiches; a variety of vegan muffins; and more.

5. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville. Photo credit: John Beasley / Flickr

Nashville, Tennessee, is perhaps best known for country music and vegan country star Carrie Underwood has helped put vegan living on the map. It’s now easier than it’s ever been to find vegan options in the Grand Ole Opry state, which is why Nashville is on our list for the first time. You can find vegan offerings everywhere, from Vegan Vee bakery to Avo, a new vegan restaurant that offers vegan wine and tree nut cheeses. Coco Greens café went from vegetarian to vegan in 2014 and the ever-popular vegan-friendly Sunflower Vegetarian Cafe has “more vegan and gluten-free options than you can shake a stick at!” Frothy Monkey lists tofu as a meat, The Urban Juicer is one of the many spots offering almond and soy milk and Mad Donna’s offers a vegan black-bean burger.

You can get vegan cheese pizza at many pizza places, including Five Points Pizza, Mellow Mushroom and Two Boots. You can find vegan offerings at other restaurants, too. Bagel Face Bakery offers agave and vegan sausage. The Post East offers a chickpea salad sandwich, vegan Caesar salad, buffalo-style tofu and vegan ranch dressing. Sloco serves a vegan meatball sub and a seitan sandwich. And MyVeggieChef is Nashville’s popular plant-based meal-delivery service.

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6. San Diego

Nightfall in San Diego. Photo credit: Rich Bitonti / Flickr

Los Angeles isn’t the only vegan-friendly city in California. A lot of restaurants in San Diego now offer vegan options. Take, for example, Civico 1845 in Little Italy, which offers an entire vegan menu, including desserts. And if dessert is your thing, you’ll probably also like Moncai Vegan, a vegan restaurant and bakery that sells vegan cupcakes, vegan cinnamon rolls and vegan doughnuts. Speaking of vegan doughnuts, they can also be found at Donut Panic.

Who’s up for Mexican? Ranchos Cocina is a vegan-friendly Mexican restaurant that offers vegan cheese and a variety of faux meats and be sure to check out Casa de Reyes, a restaurant in Old Town. Pokez Mexican eatery also offers various vegan options. If you’re in the mood for Thai, try Veganic or the vegan-friendly Plumeria. If you’re looking for vegan fast food, try Evolution and Plant Power Fast Food. Want fresh fruits and veggies? Check out Sol Cal Cafe, a vegan-friendly market and juice joint, which was created in part by former NFL great Jacob Bell.

Kindred is a vegan death-metal cocktail bar that serves everything from Seared Cauliflower Steak to Memphis BBQ Jackfruit sandwiches and Peace Pies is a vegan spot that practices a “strict zero waste” policy. Other vegan-friendly places in San Diego include The Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro and Sipz Vegetarian Fuzion Cafe.

Because California has had a drought for so long, local activists persuaded many “meaty” restaurants in town to put up signs encouraging customers to choose their vegan options as a way to help conserve water. Vegan food is everywhere you look in San Diego, including at Petco Park, which made PETA’s annual list of vegan-friendly stadiums last year and peta2 named the University of California–San Diego a vegan-friendly campus in 2015.

7. Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu Panorama. Photo credit: Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

What’s paradise without vegan food? Hawaii’s capital is becoming more and more vegan-friendly every year and it’s currently home to these and other vegan-friendly restaurants:

  • Simple Joy is all-vegan and offers barbecue drumsticks, vegetable lasagne and more.

  • Greens & Vines is a gourmet vegan restaurant offering vegan sushi, “living” lasagne, vegan cheesecake and more.

  • Peace Cafe is an all-vegan café serving up curry egg-free salad, teriyaki tempeh sandwiches, vegan Caesar salad, homemade vegan ice cream and more.

  • Downbeat Diner & Lounge is a sports bar that offers vegan hot wings, vegan barbecue wings, a vegan burger and more. The place isn’t exclusively vegan, but every menu item can reportedly be made vegetarian or vegan.

  • Ruffage Natural Foods is a casual spot that offers vegan chili, a tofu scrambler and other healthful vegan options.

  • Blue Tree serves several vegan options, including a tofu curry wrap and oatmeal made with almond milk.

  • Banán is a dairy-free food truck featuring vegan ice cream.

  • Nickie-Café is a small spot with popular vegan options, including vegan pho.

  • Loving Hut is an all-vegan chain restaurant with locations around Honolulu.


8. Austin, Texas

Austin Skyline at Dusk. Photo credit: Randall Chancellor/ Flickr

It may be in cattle country, but Austin, Texas, has plenty of places that serve cow-free food. It even took the top spot on PETA’s list of vegan-friendly cities in 2013. In addition to all the vegan food trucks, vegan-friendly restaurants and the vegan ice cream parlor that we raved about in 2013, there is now Counter Culture restaurant, which serves meat-free and dairy-free food featuring produce from local farmers. Locals love vegan food trucks, The Vegan Yacht, The Vegan Nom, Guac N Roll and BBQ Revolution. And there are even more all-vegan businesses: Arlo’s, Bistro Vonish, Capital City Bakery, Casa de Luz, Cool Beans, Happy Vegan Baker, Rabbit Food Grocery, Skull and Cakebonesand Unity Vegan Kitchen.

9. Seattle

Seattle Skyline. Photo credit: FCB Excalibur / Flickr

Not only is Seattle full of vegan-friendly coffee houses and cafés, including 701 Coffee and Chaco Canyon Organic Café, it also has an all-vegan grocery store called Vegan Haven. Vegan options are available throughout the city, including at Pizza Pi, the country’s first vegan pizza place; Plum Bistro; Cycle Dogs, a bicycle-pulled vegan hot dog cart; Wayward Vegan Cafe; and Thrive, which serves raw and vegan food that’s gluten- and peanut-free. It’s clear that no amount of rain can dampen Seattle’s hard-core vegan spirit!

10. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond Virginia sunset. Photo credit: Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr

Virginia’s “River City” is packed with many vegan-friendly eateries. Among them is Strange Matter, a popular hangout that has vegan nachos, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, vegan chicken cheesesteak sandwiches and much more. Phoenix Garden, a Vietnamese noodle house featuring plenty of filling vegan food is another not-to-be-missed restaurant. Harrison St. Café, Ipanema and 821 Café all offer mouthwatering vegan options. For the Love of Chocolate even caters to vegan chocoholics.


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Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Niq Steele / Getty Images

By Sherry H-Y. Chou, Aarti Sarwal and Neha S. Dangayach

The patient in the case report (let's call him Tom) was 54 and in good health. For two days in May, he felt unwell and was too weak to get out of bed. When his family finally brought him to the hospital, doctors found that he had a fever and signs of a severe infection, or sepsis. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. In addition to symptoms of COVID-19, he was also too weak to move his legs.

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We are neurologists specializing in intensive care and leading studies related to neurological complications from COVID-19. Given the occurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in prior pandemics with other corona viruses like SARS and MERS, we are investigating a possible link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19 and tracking published reports to see if there is any link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19.

Some patients may not seek timely medical care for neurological symptoms like prolonged headache, vision loss and new muscle weakness due to fear of getting exposed to virus in the emergency setting. People need to know that medical facilities have taken full precautions to protect patients. Seeking timely medical evaluation for neurological symptoms can help treat many of these diseases.

What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.

Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.

To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.

Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients' blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.

The majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients improve within a few weeks and eventually can make a full recovery. However, some patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome have lingering symptoms including weakness and abnormal sensations in arms and/or legs; rarely patients may be bedridden or disabled long-term.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Pandemics

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, many neurologic specialists have been on the lookout for potentially serious nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Though Guillain-Barre Syndrome is rare, it is well known to emerge following bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, a common cause of food poisoning, and a multitude of viral infections including the flu virus, Zika virus and other coronaviruses.

Studies showed an increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, suggesting a possible connection. The presumed cause for this link is that the body's own immune response to fight the infection turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nerves. This is called an "autoimmune" condition. When a pandemic affects as many people as our current COVID-19 crisis, even a rare complication can become a significant public health problem. That is especially true for one that causes neurological dysfunction where the recovery takes a long time and may be incomplete.

The first reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in COVID-19 pandemic originated from Italy, Spain and China, where the pandemic surged before the U.S. crisis.

Though there is clear clinical suspicion that COVID-19 can lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, many important questions remain. What are the chances that someone gets Guillain-Barre Syndrome during or following a COVID-19 infection? Does Guillain-Barre Syndrome happen more often in those who have been infected with COVID-19 compared to other types of infections, such as the flu?

The only way to get answers is through a prospective study where doctors perform systematic surveillance and collect data on a large group of patients. There are ongoing large research consortia hard at work to figure out answers to these questions.

Understanding the Association Between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barre Syndrome

While large research studies are underway, overall it appears that Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare but serious phenomenon possibly linked to COVID-19. Given that more than 10.7 million cases have been reported for COVID-19, there have been 10 reported cases of COVID-19 patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far – only two reported cases in the U.S., five in Italy, two cases in Iran and one from Wuhan, China.

It is certainly possible that there are other cases that have not been reported. The Global Consortium Study of Neurological Dysfunctions in COVID-19 is actively underway to find out how often neurological problems like Guillain-Barre Syndrome is seen in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Also, just because Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs in a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, that does not imply that it was caused by the virus; this still may be a coincident occurrence. More research is needed to understand how the two events are related.

Due to the pandemic and infection-containment considerations, diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study that used to be routine for patients with suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are more difficult to do. In both U.S. cases, the initial diagnosis and treatment were all based on clinical examination by a neurological experts rather than any tests. Both patients survived but with significant residual weakness at the time these case reports came out, but that is not uncommon for Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients. The road to recovery may sometimes be long, but many patients can make a full recovery with time.

Though the reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far all have severe symptoms, this is not uncommon in a pandemic situation where the less sick patients may stay home and not present for medical care for fear of being exposed to the virus. This, plus the limited COVID-19 testing capability across the U.S., may skew our current detection of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases toward the sicker patients who have to go to a hospital. In general, the majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients do recover, given enough time. We do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19-related cases at this stage of the pandemic. We and colleagues around the world are working around the clock to find answers to these critical questions.

Sherry H-Y. Chou is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh.

Aarti Sarwal is an Associate Professor, Neurology, Wake Forest University.

Neha S. Dangayach is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Disclosure statement: Sherry H-Y. Chou receives funding from The University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the National Institute of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Faculty Advancement Award. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a member of Board of Directors for the Neurocritical Care Society. Neha S. Dangayach receives funding from the Bee Foundation, the Friedman Brain Institute, the Neurocritical Care Society, InCHIP-UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Seed Grant. She is faculty for emcrit.org and for AiSinai. Aarti Sarwal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Reposted with permission from The Conversation.

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Unity Task Forces formed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled sweeping party platform recommendations Wednesday that—while falling short of progressive ambitions in a number of areas, from climate to healthcare—were applauded as important steps toward a bold and just policy agenda that matches the severity of the moment.

"We've moved the needle a lot, especially on environmental justice and upping Biden's ambition," said Sunrise Movement co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash, a member of the Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force. "But there's still more work to do to push Democrats to act at the scale of the climate crisis."

The climate panel—co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry—recommended that the Democratic Party commit to "eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035," massively expanding investments in clean energy sources, and "achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030."

In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez—the lead sponsor of the House Green New Deal resolution—noted that the Climate Task Force "shaved 15 years off Biden's previous target for 100% clean energy."

"Of course, like in any collaborative effort, there are areas of negotiation and compromise," said the New York Democrat. "But I do believe that the Climate Task Force effort meaningfully and substantively improved Biden's positions."


The 110 pages of policy recommendations from the six eight-person Unity Task Forces on education, the economy, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and healthcare are aimed at shaping negotiations over the 2020 Democratic platform at the party's convention next month.

Sanders said that while the "end result isn't what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country."

"I look forward to working with Vice President Biden to help him win this campaign," the Vermont senator added, "and to move this country forward toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice."

Biden, for his part, applauded the task forces "for helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country."

"I am deeply grateful to Bernie Sanders for working with us to unite our party and deliver real, lasting change for generations to come," said the former vice president.

On the life-or-death matter of reforming America's dysfunctional private health insurance system—a subject on which Sanders and Biden clashed repeatedly throughout the Democratic primary process—the Unity Task Force affirmed healthcare as "a right" but did not embrace Medicare for All, the signature policy plank of the Vermont senator's presidential bid.

Instead, the panel recommended building on the Affordable Care Act by establishing a public option, investing in community health centers, and lowering prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate prices. The task force also endorsed making all Covid-19 testing, treatments, and potential vaccines free and expanding Medicaid for the duration of the pandemic.

"It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health insurance—but in a pandemic, it's potentially catastrophic for public health," the task force wrote.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Sanders-appointed member of the Healthcare Task Force, said that despite major disagreements, the panel "came to recommendations that will yield one of the most progressive Democratic campaign platforms in history—though we have further yet to go."


Observers and advocacy groups also applauded the Unity Task Forces for recommending the creation of a postal banking system, endorsing a ban on for-profit charter schools, ending the use of private prisons, and imposing a 100-day moratorium on deportations "while conducting a full-scale study on current practices to develop recommendations for transforming enforcement policies and practices at ICE and CBP."

Marisa Franco, director of immigrant rights group Mijente, said in a statement that "going into these task force negotiations, we knew we were going to have to push Biden past his comfort zone, both to reconcile with past offenses and to carve a new path forward."

"That is exactly what we did, unapologetically," said Franco, a member of the Immigration Task Force. "For years, Mijente, along with the broader immigrant rights movement, has fought to reshape the narrative around immigration towards racial justice and to focus these very demands. We expect Biden and the Democratic Party to implement them in their entirety."

"There is no going back," Franco added. "Not an inch, not a step. We must only move forward from here."

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.