Looking at the Menu

The world has changed a lot since 2011, a time when being vegan/vegetarian meant you were forced to stick to the appetizer and sides menus at restaurants. In 2017, nearly every restaurant I go to has at least one meatless entree item and choices that accommodate the dairy-free. When I went to this restaurant called Earls a few weeks ago, I ordered a vegan burger which prompted the manager to come by our table just to tell us that they offered a vegan alternate to every item on their menu (side note: Earls has the best vegan sushi rolls I’ve ever tasted, which the manager gave to us on the house).

If I’m out to dinner and there’s someone at the table I’ve never met, one of our mutual friends will undoubtedly make my diet a topic of conversation before the waiter comes by to take our order. It usually starts off with someone saying, “oh, Natalie is vegan by the way,” to which this new acquaintance will either say “me too!”, or ask a bunch of questions about what it means to be vegan like “where do you get your protein?” or “do you care if I eat meat in front of you?”

As a culture, we are desensitized to what it means to eat meat. Even as a vegan, I can’t say it bothers me to see people eat meat because it is so engrained in our culture. But if I really think about the question “do you care if I eat meat in front of you?” I have to think, why are you eating meat if the ethical option is there for you? When we think about the health risks of eating meat, how animal agriculture is damaging our environment, and the millions of animals who are suffering for five minutes of our gustatory satisfaction, contributing to this industry seems insane but our society does it anyway. The right choice is clear but we’ve designed it to be the alternative, and although the groupthink is changing, it’s not changing fast enough.

This week I’m going to write about the three common reasons people become vegan/vegetarian: health, environmental, and moral. I think a lot of people who aren’t vegan/vegetarian assume vegans/vegetarians abstain from meat eating because we don’t think animals should be killed for human consumption. While that is part of the reason for many of us, it’s not all of it.

How I Dealt With A Boss From Hell

In January of last year, I took a job that taught me a lot about interpersonal relationships, office politics, and how to deal with an alcoholic for a boss.

Within the first week at this company, my boss was already bad-mouthing employees in front of me, asking me (at noon) if I wanted to join him for a shot of whiskey, and speaking disparaging things about women, arabs, and black people in casual conversation (he believes racial/ethnic slurs are only politically incorrect). Within a couple of months, he was bad-mouthing me to the CEO’s daughter, inviting my interns to the bar after work, and aggressively endorsing Trump at company events. I’d had other bosses before so I knew what it meant to be professional. This guy was a real piece of work.

Luckily, this person was only the boss I directly reported to, so there was a hierarchy above him that I could approach concerning his behavior. Here are some tips on how to deal with a boss like this.

  1. Take them to lunch. Why would you want to take someone like this out to lunch? If they’re behaving this way, it could just be that there’s something going on in their personal lives. Try to create a respectful work relationship (since they couldn’t) and show them that you’re on their side. This may not work but it’s worth a try.
  2. Keep record. If your boss tells you to change something on an assignment or do something other than what you should be working on, ask them to send you an email request. If they deny the email request, notify your boss, your team, and relevant higher ups via email that you’ll momentarily be working on a different assignment or changing the project at hand. If your boss’s decision ends up being questioned by their boss, they won’t be able to blame it on you (I learned this the hard way).
  3. Set boundaries. If they start talking about subjects that are unprofessional or make you uncomfortable, politely redirect the conversation. If they continue circling back to these topics, tell them you don’t like discussing those topics at work.
  4. Don’t drink with them. It took me a month to figure out my boss was an alcoholic. Before this, I’d joined him and the team out for drinks after work a few times to get to know them. While it’s definitely okay to grab drinks with coworkers every once in a while, my boss did this at least twice a week in addition to his showing up to work hungover and drinking on the job. If you notice that your boss is a alcoholic, don’t participate in drinking behaviors with them. If they ask you to go for drinks, ask them for coffee or tea instead.
  5. Address the problem. Chances are, the both of you know there’s tension between you. Schedule a meeting with your boss and HR to talk about it. If things don’t improve or if they worsen (as it worsened in my case), schedule a meeting with your boss’s boss (or a relevant authority to whom you both report to/hold meetings with). Do not invite the boss who is giving you trouble to this meeting. I had this meeting with my boss’s boss (he was always in our team meetings and we already had a professional and friendly relationship). While the meeting didn’t help to improve my direct boss’s behavior, it did change who my direct boss was. I no longer had to report to the disrespectful boss because his boss changed the office hierarchy so that we both had to report to him.

As you can imagine, this change really bothered my now former boss. He became more erratic and drank even more. The situation at the company wasn’t really changing so I began looking for a job that allowed me to work remotely until I started medical/law school (I had taken this managing position after graduating university and was using it to fill time while I decided between medical school and law school). I’ll be starting law school in the fall and am very grateful for the time I spent at that company. I learned a lot about how to deal with people (terrible bosses in particular) and I know that it will be invaluable to me in the future.

Spoiling Your Loved Ones On Valentine’s Day–Gifts For Girls

Valentine’s Day is next week! Here’s a list of things a girl between 15-30 would love. You can buy any of these items for a sister, friend, significant other, what have you! These are all cruelty free gifts 🙂

 

LA VEDETTE MESH FULL BLACK for $114 at CLUSE

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 4.35.04 PM.png

ROUGH EMERALD RING for $35 at RINGCRUSH

 

VEGAN PUPPY LOVE or PRETTY IN PINK 16 pc. for $24.95 at ROSE CITY CHOCOLATES

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 5.00.25 PM.png

PEACH EMOJI HAT for $14.99 at BRAINDAZED

 

FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 90 INSTANT FILM CAMERA for $123.00 at FUJIFILM

Petty Politics

My dad is an old school Cuban; born right before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, he witnessed enough crimes committed by the Castro Regime to despise anything that resembles communism. My great grandfather immigrated to Cuba from Catalonia, Spain in the late 1800s, my grandfather built on the work of his father, and my father was destined to do the same. But as a child, my dad had to watch as the Castro Regime took his family’s businesses, lands, and any surplus my grandparents and great grandparents had ever worked for and distributed it to people who hadn’t earned it. My dad had to watch as the Castro militia murdered by firing squad anyone who opposed the revolutionaries. As a result, my dad had nothing but grit to his name when he left Cuba in the early eighties (grit that you can still see today). When he arrived to America he saw the land of opportunity and the chance to rebuild a legacy the way my great grandfather did when he had arrived in Cuba from Spain. My dad, by all accounts, achieved the American Dream and he is the perfect example of what it means to be a hard-worker and to put family first.

Back when my dad emigrated from Cuba to the U.S., the U.S. president was Ronald Reagan. Reagan was an anti-communist roast master and a champion for amnesty and immigration; that combination was all it took to make my dad a loyal Republican for decades to come. In 2007, my dad voted for John McCain (in spite of his VP pick) who is one of the most stand-up, honorable republicans I’ve had the pleasure to watch; I’m a registered Independent, and while I don’t agree with everything the republicans (or democrats) believe, I know a decent human being when I see one.

John McCain was the last presidential nominee my dad voted for who was a republican.

If you ask my dad why he doesn’t vote republican anymore he’ll tell you it’s because there aren’t any decent republicans running against the democrats for the oval. My dad has an immeasurable amount of respect for the office of the president and he finds it impossible to stand behind any person or party that doesn’t hold the office of the president to the same high standard. While both parties can be “petty,” one party outdoes the other in pettiness (the republicans were staunch against helping the Obama administration make changes, and are now staunchly silent at the Trump administration’s serious faults).

I want to see a lot of changes in Washington, and if the next four years serve only to make the condition of Washington worse, then I have hope that within the next ten years we can see it get that much better. I know that our government can work, but we need to elect people who will fight for everyone and do so with integrity. And that starts with us, the voters. That means hearing each other out, that means compromise, that means meeting somewhere in the middle, that means respect, that means no name-calling. I really can’t wait to see a Reagan or McCain type of Republican run for president. Those are the kind of republicans who respect the oval and respect the American people. Until then, my dad and I are voting blue.

Where Do Vegans Get Their Calcium?

Hi guys! I made another clustered bar graph to show my common sources of calcium. The graph is based on the serving sizes on nutritional labels. If you haven’t tried Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Milk, you’re missing out!

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-2-27-47-pm

For more information on vegan sources of calcium, click here. Below is a quote directly from The Vegan Society webpage which easily explains calcium absorption.

Some foods, such as spinach, contain a high amount of calcium but is bound to a substance called ‘oxalate’ which hinders calcium absorption.This is why replacing spinach with low-oxalate vegetables such as rocket, cabbage and kale are key to a calcium-rich diet.

Interestingly, calcium in cow’s milk is not as easily absorbed, meaning that vegetables such as kale are much better sources of calcium than animal milks or ‘dairy’.

🙂

On The Muslim Ban

“I am in love with every church
And mosque
And temple
And any kind of shrine
Because I know it is there
That people say the different names
Of the One God.”
— Hafiz
We are a nation founded on religious freedom. We are a nation of immigrants. The Muslim ban is not only morally wrong, it is unconstitutional, illegal, and un-American.

My Top 3 Vegan Restaurants in South Florida

There are plenty of vegan/vegetarian restaurants to try in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. Below are my top 3 based entirely on the taste of their food. I wish we had a “Loving Hut” down here (it’d definitely make the list). If you’re ever in South Florida and only have the time to eat at one of these, go to Vegetarian Restaurant By Hakin. It’s a tiny little restaurant with the best vegan/vegetarian food you’ll ever try.

Vegetarian Restaurant By Hakin

Address: 73 NE 167th St, North Miami Beach, FL 33162

Menu here

Eden In Eden

Address: 1248 SW 22nd St, Miami, FL 33145

Menu here

Plant Food + Wine

Address: 105 NE 24th St, Miami, FL 33137

Menu: here