Our idea of what constitutes "food" in American culture has become so skewed that it is almost unrecognizable. Our supermarkets are packed with products whose ingredients include unpronounceable chemicals, dyes, bacteria, and growth hormones. They are irradiated without our consent and contain GMOs.It's time to bring back FOOD. Pure unadulterated organic RAW food.This blog is a documentation of my continuing journey on a plant-based lifestyle.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vegas Is Not For Hippies

Nope. It most certainly is not. And if you go there thinking you might find an awesome health food store tucked away on a side street off The Strip... Or buffets piled high with various fruits and a cornucopia of salad options (like I did) you are sorely mistaken. Not even at The Bellagio, not even.

I suppose my idea of what Las Vegas was really like was something out of a movie, say, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicholas Cage-type Vegas. I pictured only gambling tables, men in suits, women in '80 shoulder-padded dresses -- like a cross between Dynasty and Miami Vice; classy with a drive through wedding chapel and a fake Elvis here and there...

Vegas was a culture shock.

Vegas 2010 is really: People that start drinking at 8:00 A.M., that is, if they've even gone to bed from the night before. They stare like inebriated zombies into dollar slots while chain smoking. They've got mullets and missing teeth. They wear nascar jerseys and acid-washed cut offs and mom jeans.  Everyone is ENORMOUS, yet they dress like they wear a size two. Their kids, who I'm positive all have asthma and will surely develop lung cancer from all the second hand smoke thanks to their parents, have RAT TAILS and are running wild like feral children all over the casinos. The old women haven't gotten the memo that they're OLD and shouldn't be wearing mini-skirts and tube tops, especially when they've got a muffin top and a behind the size of Texas.

Oh, what I wish my eyes didn't see.

And the buffets, good luck, because you couldn't pay enough to eat that slop; I've seen better variety and quality at Old Country Buffets and that's saying a lot.

We had planned that on the second day we would buy the all day pass and just eat at the buffets, so in preparation we literally checked out EVERY buffet on the Strip from Excalibur to The Venetian. I had imagined overflowing bowls of pineapple, watermelon, spring mix, avocados galore - I mean, it's a buffet...there's supposed to be OPTIONS. I planned to gorge myself and bring containers for late night snacking.

I would have been lucky to find a piece of ripe melon...

We wound up eating at Whole Foods both days and saving a considerable about of cashola. They must know that there is nothing for Vegans in Vegas because nearly everything from the bars was at least vegetarian. And they had a Burrito Bar with tons of Vegan options and Vegan Veggie Pizza as well...two days in a row. You can't even get that kind of consistency in Cali! Fortunately, I'm a smart biatch and brought my usual stuff with me to Vegas: dulse, my huge farmers market organic cucs, lemons, nutritional yeast, avos. I added some stuff from the salad bar like romaine lettuce, arugula (love this lately), and red peppers and made myself a delicious raw food meal 'on the road' so to speak. I was even able to snag  considerable amount of vanilla-cakey coconut date rolls!

Whole Paycheck Foods sometimes makes me very angry with their over-priced products and conventional produce, but they seemingly always come through in travel situations and for that I am so, so greatful!

So what the heck did I actually do in Vegas??

Well, when I wasn't having to plug my nose, hold my breath, and run from inhaling cigarette smoke - Kevin and I walked up and down the Strip, just checking out the hotels and some of the free shows that they offered (Mandalay Bay and Wynn were my favs.) I got Kevin to do Bikram with me and we both got our bums kicked. We did some window shopping in the Bellagio and in the Planet Hollywood mall. And we treated ourselves to some Starbucks Soy Mistos and Iced Lattes.

Hey, if my only Vegas vice was some decafe coffee and soy milk then I'm wayyy ahead of the game! Right?!

Overall, Vegas was...interesting...to say the least. I love love LOVED the heat and all the sun and wish I could have taken it back to California with me. The highlight of the trip for me was definately discovering Rick Moonen's seafood restaurant which only uses sustainable seafood and ingredients. And Susen Feniger's restaurant that uses only organic, all grass-fed, sustainable meats and produce, with no processed food whatsoever. They even had some vegan options (tho wildly expensive) and sweeten their food with agave necter! I'm a Top Chef Master's nerd, sorry, I nearly peed my pants with excitement since RM and SF are incredible culinary masters and they really have done a lot to bring awareness to sustainablity in the reataurant biz.

Not sure if I would go back again, this was kind of like an "I only live four hours away and have to go to Vegas at least once," kind of deal.

Although...I could be persuaded with a room at Mandalay...or the Wynn..


  1. This post cracked me up...hope it was meant to:)! Your description was too funny.

    Being so close, you did have to go at least once. I usually check out the Happy Cow website before going to a place I haven't been to, but you would think any buffet would be loaded with things you could have!

    Love the kissing pic:)

  2. I have been to Vegas a few times and feel the exact same way! Although, I grew up in Utah and of course people who smoke there are definitely held in disdain. But I always figured that was my weird cultural background and that no one else felt that way. Glad to see someone elsewhere is completely disgusted by all that! Let's makeover the world with veggies! oh yeah!

  3. Vegas doesn't seem like my cup of tea either! This post was great! :)

  4. Ha, ha! You ARE a crack up and I love the Vegas pic. So nostalgic. Perfect! We haven't been to Vegas in over 5 years. I have yet to see the Wynn! It's definitely not a place for kids, so, we aren't planning a trip there anytime soon...LOL! But, Lake Mead which isn't far is an awesome place to visit - Hoover Dam etc. Love the new look, btw! :) Hope you're having a great week. Maybe, we can meet up sometime this summer - I'll hike Runyon with ya! ;)

  5. omg first love the re-do of your site. it's awesome!!!

    next every single thing you said in your gritty descritpion of vegas is DEAD-ON accurate!! Omg from the nascar to the kids running wild to those who dress like they are size 2's but arent...omg you hit it on the head alysha!

    and no, there is not even a vegan salad bar anywhere. or something that a veggie/vegan could consume and be happy with. iceburg lettuce and gmo'ed tomatoes that will never get ripe is not a meal. you're right OCBuffet is better

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Glad you guys went. I do love Vegas (we got married there almost 10 yrs ago!) but i love it for the shows, shopping, the sea of people and diversity..NOT for the food!

  6. Well I have to be the one dissenting voice here. I lived and worked in Vegas for 5 years. And there ARE raw food options. They simply are not down there in Disneyland. But most of them are not far away. There is Go Raw Cafe. And a trip down Spring Mountain Dr, will reveal tons of Asian places that have raw options. Also several different ethnic grocers that give some wonderful exotic choices. And the last time I was in the Whole Foods that is right there on the south end of the strip.... They had a RAW food bar. Vegas now has a Raw Food Group starting up, something I wish had been there when I lived there.
    My suggestion to anyone planning to go there is to book at one of the outlying casinos, (they try harder) contact and eat where the locals do and only go to the strip for the shows and events...
    Until raw food becomes much more main stream...we will all be paying outrageous prices to eat out, and will have to be vigilant about what we put in our bodies.
    And please remember there is a whole other Vegas..... That most folks never see. And don't blame Vegas for giving its guests what THEY DEMAND.


  7. Great post! I guess I need to reconsider going to Vegas, haha. I have been there once a few years ago and wanted to go back, but now with all my new ways of eating I see that is might be difficult. Glad that they had a whole foods though :)
    Pure2Raw Twins

  8. Kelly,
    I am used to 'working for my food' as a raw foodist so I kind of expected that the buffets wouldn't deliver, however, I was secretly hoping that for once I would get a break. I did use happycow before we left, but that go raw cafe seemed pretty expensive and I personally don't eat all that raw gourmet stuff so I would have been much worse off doing that then just eating at whole foods. (yet, they are the only game in town so I get it.) We also went to a health food store that was pretty ghetto called Rainbows End. The whole foods we went to was the one near the strip and they did not have a raw food bar other than salad. In Fance, for three weeks, I made all my own salads EVERYDAY and ate from the markets - it's the life I choose as a raw foodist, to understand that when I go on vay k, I'm probably going to be making all my own meals. I am sure there is a whole other world that those just going to Vegas for a few days never see. Personally, I have a lot of respect for people who can actually live there - I found it to be very claustrophoic. The fact that you have to drive nearly four hours in either direction to get anywhere near civilization outside of Vegas itself made me feel very trapped. However, I am from the east coast and we don't have that whole vast expanse of desert-nothingness. Like I said, I'm not sure I would go back anytime soon. I can't stand the smoking most of all and the sheer white-trashiness of it all (while comical) just represents everything that I can't stand about american culture.