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..