You’ve probably already seen a hundred borderline preachy Facebook posts about it posted by some vegan activist friend, and tried a decent veggie burger for lunch from time to time even if your co-worker’s raw coconut-quinoa salad still isn’t quite up your alley.
Why Choose Vegan Food?
You already know vegetarian and vegan food doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive, and it’s not like you hate animals or don’t care about the environment, but still….
There are a lot of solid reasons why someone might consider cutting meat from their diet or at least cutting down on it, but not all people see the real benefits or are simply discouraged by the fact that this choice might also affect their social life.
Maybe you’re already living a healthy lifestyle and you just want to know some more about the personal benefits before you take the plunge and make any real commitment to changing your diet so drastically. After all, you live in Houston and Texas is the home of many meat lovers and barbecue experts. Savory, saucy temptation is everywhere!
Fortunately, though, there are a lot of awesome vegetarian and vegan food options when eating out as well, particularly in the Houston area, so you don’t have to miss out on having restaurant meals with friends and family if you decide to try out the meatless life.
Health Benefits of Eating Vegan Food
But first, let’s get to those health benefits. What’s really in all this for you?
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
The evidence from several studies suggests that vegetarians have fewer heart attacks and heart diseases in general than meat eaters.
Of course, you can’t slack off on nutrition and expect good results even if you do give up meat. If you don’t replace the protein sources with heart-healthy alternatives, you won’t be doing any better for yourself and your body than before you stopped chowing down on steaks and bacon.
With the constantly rising costs of health care, those racks of ribs you didn’t think twice about ordering in your twenties might turn out to be more expensive than you ever imagined in the long run. Red meat consumption specifically increases the risk of colon cancer. Red meat and processed meat products may also contribute to a higher risk for breast cancer, as some studies have shown.
Diabetes and Obesity? No Thanks!
Plant-based diets may reduce people’s likelihood of getting diabetes since they’re generally also diets that are lower in cholesterol, saturated fat, and total fat than those of meat lovers. For the same nutritional reasons, they also help prevent obesity.
Reducing Inflammation and Pain
Small studies are beginning to show that vegetarian and vegan diets may also provide a significant improvement in stiffness, pain, and inflammation in people who suffer from arthritis after being followed over a period of nine months or longer.
10 Houston Restaurants with Vegan Food Options
So now you have a better idea of how a meatless diet could possibly affect your health for the better. Great! Where are you going to go have dinner next weekend now, without eating meat? Here are ten Houston restaurants with amazing vegetarian and vegan food options to try out
- Green Vegetarian Cuisine
This restaurant is part of a small chain, originally founded in San Antonio. They offer vegetarian and vegan comfort food with an international flair, both breakfast, and dinner, with a good selection of kid-friendly food options for the little ones in your group too. Mexican food lovers will definitely want to try the Deluxe Chalupa Plate for a healthier take on the late night fast food flavors many of us love. Green Vegetarian Cuisine also bakes 100% vegan cupcakes, cookies, and brownies for dessert!
- True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen is another chain with a Houston location. Not all their food is vegetarian, but they definitely care about the vegetarian and vegan visitors with their wide variety of meatless selections. All of their food comes from a health-conscious angle, from vegetable-infused juices and smoked tempeh sandwiches for brunch to teriyaki quinoa bowls and butternut squash pizzas for dinner. Gluten-free food is served here as well. Be sure to ask about their creative desserts and interesting beverage options including matcha horchata. Their wine list isn’t bad either!
- Field of Green’s
This vegan restaurant has a unique focus on fresh, raw food. Many of the items on their small but interesting menu are raw such as the Raw Vegetable Rainbow, which features tabouli, guacamole, pico de gallo, and much more in a lettuce wrap. You can also get hot foods such as the daily soup or grilled burgers. Don’t worry, none of the burgers actually contain meat. Instead, you can choose from several options like portobello mushroom slices, multigrain tempeh, falafel, or eggplant slices on your bun.
- Pepper Tree Veggie Cuisine
This restaurant offers what they describe as “homestyle vegan Asian food.” All of their food is vegan, free of MSG, and low in cholesterol. If you’ve found yourself hankering for a buffet, they have one in the late morning and early afternoon on Saturday and all day on Sunday! Pepper Tree has a gluten-free menu for people with gluten concerns as well as their regular menu, and some tantalizing lunch specials featuring your usual Chinese restaurant favorites with a vegetarian twist.
- Loving Hut
Loving Hut is another vegan restaurant, a chain this time, mostly featuring Asian dishes like vegan sushi, curry noodles, wonton soup and but they also offer American specialties as well like veggie burgers and create-your-own wraps. They even have vegan spaghetti on the menu. Loving Hut offers a lot of ways to customize your food, and their cold beverage selections are incredibly beautiful and creative as well as delicious.
- The Hobbit Cafe
Tolkien fans will obviously want to give this family-owned place a try for the name alone, but for everyone else, you might find yourself delighted simply by the beautiful location, beers on tap, and an eclectic menu that features many vegetarian options though they have also been serving meat as well for some time now. They have been open in Houston since 1972 and have had some pretty famous guests over the years.
- Ruggles Green
Ruggles Green is a healthy, certified green chain with multiple locations in the Houston area. Not all their food is vegetarian but they clearly mark which items are and all their food features local organic ingredients. Ruggles Green has everything from paninis to wood-fired pizzas to tacos, so picky eaters will certainly find something that suits them among the culinary offerings. They also serve breakfast.
This New American restaurant from native Houston residents is an upscale choice in an intriguingly industrial setting with tasting menus geared towards vegetable lovers. Their six-course meals do include meat, but its presence is limited, and most of its dishes are usually vegetarian-safe or even vegan-safe. They have a wide selection of high-quality beer and wine available and ready for pairing.
- Green Seed Vegan
Green Seed Vegan is a casual, usually busy spot that started originally as a local food truck but now has a brick-and-mortar location and much bigger kitchen to work from in Houston. Meatless burgers and sandwiches are some of their top choices, but they also make healthy smoothies and tasty snacks like cauliflower nuggets. They have a raw menu, and dessert cases too if you need a sweet treat with your lunch.
- Sunshine’s Health Food Store and Vegetarian Deli
This cozy restaurant designates itself as a meat-free zone with signs outside, and the inside certainly doesn’t stray from that agenda. Opened in 1983, Sunshine’s serves healthy, fresh, and colorful food that definitely makes up for the lack of meat with plenty of flavors. Try the black bean po-boy with chipotle vegan mayonnaise for something on the spicy side, or one of the many raw salads with piles of nutritious kale.
As you see, there are plenty of great options in Houston to have an awesome meal without reaching out for the steak knife …and just by writing about them I totally feel like going out and try some of these delicious dishes!
Do you know any other places you’d recommend?