Tips for Moving when Vegan {Vegan MoFo #6}

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by JL Fields on October 8, 2012

Today’s Vegan MoFo “tip” is actually an announcement and how I plan to work my vegan lifestyle into said announcement.

We are moving!

After twelve years in New York, my husband and I have decided to relocate to Colorado Springs!

We are both doing consulting and coaching work which means we can live anywhere.  We have chosen Colorado for all kinds of wonderful reasons.

Since my Vegan MoFo theme this month is offering tips and tricks for vegans when it comes to food and food prep, I thought I would share some things I’ve done to prepare for the move.

  1. Find the vegans.  In May we made the decision to move (I can keep a secret, can’t I?) and I immediately signed up for the Colorado Springs Vegetarian Group Meet Up.  This group is very active and all summer I’ve been jealous; I wanted to join them for everything! Lucky us, last week we were in the Springs to secure our new housing and there was a Meet Up event at Trinity Brewing Company.  We had a great time meeting new friends and I – the red wine lover – even had two pumpkin ales.
  2. Find the vegan-friendly grocery stores. Obviously I can find lots of vegan food at any grocery store: fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and nuts/seeds. But this vegan loves nutritional yeast, vegan Worcestershire sauce, Daiya cheese, bulk beans and grains, sea vegetables, vegan mayonnaise and more. While I may find some of these things at the local grocers (Albertsons, King Soopers, and Safeway stores are all within two miles), I suspect I will be spending some time at the Whole Foods seven miles away (which, incidentally is about how far my current Whole Foods is from my home in New York).  Mountain Mama Natural Foods is close, too, and has a bakery: “Golden Brown, Hearty, Delicious… a few words to describe our awesome breads.  No preservatives & nearly all organic ingredients.  A few wheat-free breads are on the menu as well as some great originals.  Also, if you have never tried a vegan cookie, you have not lived, seriously.”  When in Denver I will also be sure to stock up at Nooch Vegan Market.
  3. Find the vegan-friendly restaurants.  Done and done!  I have dined at, and enjoyed, the following:  Trinity Brewing Company, Poor Richard’s, Rasta Pasta, TAPAteria, and Adam’s Mountain Cafe (where I got this amazing Coconut Curry Tempeh Bowl).I can’t wait to try Uchenna Ethiopian Restaurant in December!
  4. Get involved.  I will be researching ways to get involved with the Vegetarian Society of Colorado, Vegan Outreach, Pikes Peak Animal Rights Team, and Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, located in Deer Trail, CO which is just a two-hour drive (not all that different from my drive to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary).

Moving when vegan isn’t just about the destination – this woman has to eat on the journey!  We will be driving across I-70 over four days – if you know of any vegan friendly markets or restaurants along the route, please let me know! Oh, we will be traveling with two cats and could use any advice you can offer on that element of the move, as well – thanks in advance!

I have seven more weeks as a New Yorker and I plan to eat my way through the vegan joints in NYC – a farewell tour, if you will.  More on that, later.

  • Epicurean Vegan

    I may be biased (I’m in Fort Collins), but you picked THE best state to live in! Welcome to Colorado!

    • JL

      Awesome that you’re in Fort Collins – I hope our paths cross!

      • Epicurean Vegan

        I hope so too!

  • Bianca- Vegan Crunk

    Wow! What a change! But I bet you’ll conquer Colorado Springs in no time. I follow these same tips when visiting places too!

    • JL

      I’m really looking forward to it, Bianca!

  • Veronica Craker

    Sounds like an exciting time in your life! I moved across the country with two cats in three days. It was intense! We drove for about 10 hours the first two days so I was worried about our kitties. We bought a bigger travel carrier and kept them together with a blanket. In the corner I put a shoe box lined with newspaper and kitty litter for them to use the bathroom. And they did! Whenever we stopped to eat or use the bathroom we put water bowls and cat food in there for them. I will admit the first day and a half they cried the ENTIRE time. I just went to my happy place. 🙂
    Good luck!

    • JL

      Veronica, I’m laughing about your happy place – and then it’s a great idea to tap into mine on the drive!

  • Great moving tips and congrats on your new life. Great new views–and as athletes, living at that altitude will sure be nice 🙂

    • JL

      I’m counting on that altitude being my friend, Dynise! 🙂

  • Great tips JL! The biggest advice I can’t give your for the trip is to pack a cooler.

    Don’t count on being able to find vegan food on the road, especially if you don’t want to get stuck eating junk. This year I’ve traveled from Texas to Florida, Florida to North Carolina, North Carolina to Texas, Texas to Arizona, then (finally) Arizona to Colorado.

    One thing I’ve learned is to use glass jars for anything I don’t want to run the risk of water-logging in the cooler. (More than once I’ve packed wraps in foil & plastic only to have them filled with water.) Salad jars are great, but I always take a bowl along to eat out of. (Obviously I’m not driving at that point in time!) You may be able to find vegan places if you are willing to go out of the way – we are always power driving and getting these trips done with max one night in a hotel. We actually take a griddler into the hotel with us so the boys can have a warm meal!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

    • JL

      YES, the cooler is key – and thank you for the suggestion. The good news is that we are going through some urban areas….whew!

  • hooray! how fun that you guys are moving! ive never been to colorado springs, but ive heard great things about it. 🙂

    • JL

      It’s really beautiful, Elise! The Garden of the Gods is a half mile from out front door and PIke’s Peak will be peaking in every window!

  • Oh poo! I’ll miss you not being close by but I think it’s great!

    • JL

      I’m going to miss you, too, Marica! THIS is why I couldn’t start working on a Westchester Veg Fest….but SOMEONE should (hint, hint)!

  • Best of luck to you and the felines!!

    • JL

      Thank you, Gigs!

  • How exciting JL! Good for you for following your dreams! Had you had your mind set on Colorado Springs for awhile? I have traveled 3,000 miles with a cat and it had some ups and downs. At first he cried a lot. We had some meds in case he didn’t settle down. But eventually he did. We had a larger crate than he needed with a small litter box and food bowls that attached to the crate. Of course once he did a #2, we had to pull over and empty it, which was tricky to do without him getting out. Each night (it took us 5 days) we let him run around in the hotel room to stretch his legs. We did have to be careful with certain hotel beds because he would jump under the bed and get stuck. As for food, pack ahead. We used mason jars to put ice in and other tupperwears that the first day had food in them. We used the Happy Cow app on our phone, but mostly tried to stop at health food stores and Whole Foods along the way. It was tricky to time it sometimes, and I had to knock on the door at 9:01 as one closed to beg for food. We had cases of energy bars as back-ups and for breakfast. We would try not to stop for lunch so we would sort the food out in the morning or the night before. I also have tons of advice for packing and shipping and stuff but that wasn’t solicited so I’ll stop now. But let me know if you do! And good luck! The new community is lucky to have you.

    • JL

      Bitt, this is advice is excellent and I thank you! We’re actually planning on feeding and hydrating the cats about an hour before we leave for the day, so they can visit the litter box, and then they eat and hydrate again when we get to the hotel – meaning they stay in their carrier all day. We’re taking them to the vet Friday and plan to ask her opinion, too.

      Love the idea of energy bars for back-up and your suggestion is spot-on for what were thinking. Breakfast at hotel, snack and lunch in the car and then dinner at end of day destination. I love advice and welcome more (thank you!)

      Colorado Springs has been on our mind since my husband started triathlon coaching. It’s a great place for him to be as a coach, a great place for us to be as an “outdoorsy” couple, and I can do my work (consulting and coaching) from anywhere. It all just made sense and we’re so excited!

      • Yes you are right, the kitties likely won’t use the box much even if it’s in the carrier and would probably be Ok to wait but we had some long 16 hour days (including loading and unloading) and our kitty had some history of constipation so we didn’t want to have to stop just based on that. Plus we had dogs too. So having the food and water and litter box in there just made it one less thing to worry about. Although if I was doing a shorter trip, I would consider not doing that and just making the length of travel shorter, especially if you are just driving in a regular car. We rented a van so we had plenty of room for a larger carrier (it was a small dog one we got on freecycle).

        I am not sure if you are thinking of doing a POD or moving van or what. That sort of stuff we researched a lot if you want any info there. a lot of it comes down to cost, although none of it is cheap. We chose to keep some pieces of furniture that would cost less to move than to replace. I wish I had gotten rid of more paperwork and books because it’s a year later and i still haven’t unpacked them!

        • JL

          We are hiring movers so the car will just be two adults, two cats, cooler of food, and, in the trunk, personal electronics and our clothes for the week. So we’re doing very easy 7- 8 hour drives each day with nothing to do but walk into the hotel. So that really helps! We could get there sooner by driving hard, but our belongings won’t be there so we figure no rush and let’s take it easy on Ernie and CK. We’re doing something similar – ordering a new mattress and a new living room couch to be delivered the day we arrive so we’ll be fine for the remaining days it will take the movers to arrive.

  • Congratulations!! If you are driving anywhere near Kansas City MO you must stop at Cafe Gratitude there (obviously) but also be sure to try Port Fonda. Amazing mushroom tacos.

    • JL

      YES! We’re thinking of staying in Topeka, so that our final day of driving is shorter, but Cafe Gratitude is on my radar to stop enroute to Topeka. Now Port Fonda is on my radar, too. Thank you!

  • Lisa V.

    Congratulations on your exciting news! I’m in Columbus, Ohio. About one days drive away from New York, and there’s definitely a few great vegan and vegan-friendly options here. I suggest Till, Whole World, Northstar Cafe, and Betty’s Food and Spirits to name a few. Feel free to send me an email if you would like some more details. Good luck with the move!

    • JL

      Lisa, thanks so much for the these tips and the kind offer! Much appreciated!

  • wendy@healthygirlskitchen

    Two words: Dirt and Candy. Oh, and if you need a place to stay as you travel, and Cleveland is convenient, you have an open invitation to stay with us!

    • JL

      I love Dirt Candy and you’re right, I need to get back there one more time. You are a DOLL for offering a place to stay I wish I could detour to Cleveland just to meet you!

      • JackJohanson

        Sorry but when Amanda Cohen talked down to vegans as a whole and NYC vegetarian restaurants (saying they were all horrible and the people working there had no culinary background), I decided not to to get angry. When asked what her favorite restaurant was when she ate out, she said Kate’s Joint. I cannot take her seriously if that is her favorite. I’ll steer clear of her establishment. HuffPo article about her was entitled- “How Not to Market a Vegetarian Restaurant.”

        • JL

          Hi Jack, thanks for your input!

  • You make moving sound like so much fun!! Looks like you’ve done all the homework and wow–sounds like you already fit right in. What an anstonishing view!! 🙂

    • JL

      A planner to the point of obnoxious! 🙂 I can’t believe my morning run is going to be through the Garden of the Gods!

  • JL

    Thanks, Frances! I was lucky enough to have lunch at City O’ City last week. I’ll be sure to put Watercourse Foods on my list!

  • Reia@TheCrueltyFreeReview

    We welcome a fellow blogger to Colorado! I’m in Denver, but the Springs isn’t too far away so maybe we’ll get to meet one day. Barb from That Was Vegan is leaving the Springs to move to Denver so it’s good there will be someone to take her place! Safe travels!

    • JL

      Thank you, Reia! I hope we do get to meet!

  • Barb@ThatWasVegan?

    Just make sure you eat something before you go to Uchenna… the food is worth the wait, but you *will* wait… and wait… 🙂 Also, make sure you check out Sputniks and Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver- 2 of my favorites. BTW- it was nice to meet you at Trinity the other night- I was the one who stopped on my way out and “warned you” about the Springs 🙂 It’s a beautiful city though, I think you’ll love it there! Lots of stuff to do- and only an hour from Denver.

    • JL

      Hey, I was just on your blog today – that broccoli cheese soup… WOW! I’m LOL about Uchenna because we were going to eat there on our last night and it was PACKED! I’m bummed we’re missing each other in the Springs but I have no doubt I’ll be in Denver regularly!

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  • laura @ hip pressure cooking

    JL, good luck with your move! 3 years ago I was in your same situation: we both work form home and can live anywhere. There’s plenty of space here in Italy if Colorado Springs doesn’t work out!! ; )

    Ciao and drive safe!!


    • JL

      Italy seems like an excellent Plan B! 😉

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  • Fran@BCDC

    We were in Colorado Springs in 2011 for my husband’s Army reunion. What a beautiful place!! I love your ideas for meeting up with other vegans/vegetarians. I think I’ll try them when I get to NM!!

    • JL

      I’m really glad I got meet some folks, and find vegan-friendly places, before moving, @37254f3d08a97046fcec5edcfd23c999:disqus ! It’s made for a very easy transition.

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