Welcome to the fabulous Las Vegan Nevada
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Local advocacy group aims to shed light on the Vegas ‘veg’ culture
Put down that bucket of chicken and opt for something a little more “veg.”
Vegas Veg is a local group of more than 220 people passionate about veganism, vegetarianism and animal rights. Monthly events held by the group include the “Vegan Donuts,” “Vegan Drinks,” and a “Vegan Potluck.”
Vegas Veg originally existed as an independent potluck group, according to the head of the group and UNLV alum, Elaine Vigneault.
“The organizer was frustrated when so few people showed up to the events that he stepped down as organizer,” she said. “I stepped up and renamed it Vegas Veg. Then another vegan group’s organizer moved out of town so we merged the two groups together.”
Rather than focusing on activist movements and protests as some vegan groups do, Vegas Veg calls itself a social group.
“The main purpose of Vegas Veg is to help vegetarians and vegans meet each other,” Vigneault said. “They might spark a friendship, a business plan, or an activist project.”
She added that it is a great networking opportunity and good for part-time and new vegans to try new food and get active in the vegan community.
Vegan chef Mayra Trabulse joined Vegas Veg after a friend referred her.
“I am a vegan because of planet and animal rights and health,” she said. “I joined with hopes to assist, educate, facilitate, network, promote and serve the community.”
Member Rick Aco, owner of the restaurant Samosa Factory which features numerous vegan and vegetarian options, explained that vegans and vegetarians are often misunderstood.
“People sometimes believe that we are Birkenstock wearing hippies who just eat granola and rabbit food,” Aco said. “The truth is that there are many people with many reasons for eating this way. It could be from a medical condition, allergies, religion, animal rights or they were raised in a household that was vegetarian.”
Professional poker player Ed Miller is a vegan member of the group who has seen significant health benefits of the change in lifestyle.
“I initially started changing my diet in 2002 after my cholesterol measured at 296 and my blood pressure at 140/90,” Miller said. “I was also roughly 100 pounds overweight at the time.”
Miller said that he opted out of medication the doctor wanted to put him on. Instead he changed his diet and has seen positive changes in his health.
Vegas Veg hopes to provide locals with a casual, easily accessible means of learning about vegetarianism and veganism, and a fun way to meet locals with similar interests.
“That’s why Vegas Veg exists, so vegetarians and vegans in Vegas don’t feel like outcasts anymore,” Vigneault said.
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