In 1985, Gene Baur went on a cross-country road trip. But his highlights weren’t the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. Instead his route ran through places overlooked by most: stockyards, slaughterhouses, and farms.
“I saw the proliferation of factory farms—the mass raising of animals for food,” Baur said, “and was appalled at the animal cruelty inherent in these places.” Those images were powerful, and Baur became vegan, a lifestyle of abstaining from animal products. One year later he co-founded Farm Sanctuary
, a nonprofit organization that rescues and raises awareness about farm animals.
Recently, he visited Chicago for Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Farm Animals
, an annual series of fundraising and awareness-raising events across the country and in Canada. While in town, he took some time to dine at some popular vegan spots, including the new-ish Upton’s Breakroom
(2054 W. Grand Ave.), and the Chicago Diner
(3411 N. Halsted St.), a “perennial favorite” of his that “continues to make vegan food hip and easily accessible in Chicago."
Below, Baur shares his top go-to meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that anyone—vegan or not—can easily make and enjoy.
1. A green smoothie with kale, spinach, bananas, blueberries, and flax seeds with water and/or nondairy milk.
“It is healthy, quick, and easy.”
2. Scrambled tofu with hash browns.
“On lazy weekend mornings, it’s sometimes nice to enjoy a leisurely, ‘stick to your ribs’ breakfast.”
3. Raw oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and soy milk.
“This one is also quick and easy. And it is filling and healthy! The nourishment stays with you for hours.”
1. Arugula salad with tofu, tempeh, or beans (or sometimes all three!) topped with avocado, sunflower seeds, sesame sticks, and balsamic vinegar.
“It is healthy, can be prepared quickly, and provides a good deal of protein to boot.”
2. Hummus and tabouli with bread.
“This is my go to meal when I am really in a hurry. And it tastes great!”
3. A tempeh or baked tofu sandwich with tomatoes and greens, along with some broiled brussels sprouts with a touch of salt and olive oil.
“It is really filling, and brussels sprouts are amazing.”
1. Root-vegetable stew over brown rice.
“This is a warm, hearty meal that I love to eat when it is cold outside. And, with root vegetables, you can use the whole plant, from roots to greens. Those beet greens usually find their way into my morning smoothie.”
2. Portabella mushrooms with onions and broccoli over pasta.
“I love the rich taste of portabella mushrooms. They add heartiness to the pasta, while the veggies add color, texture, taste, and fiber.”
3. Quinoa salad with beans, peppers, and veggies.
“This is a balanced meal with veggies and protein-rich quinoa. It’s light tasting but really fills you up.”
Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary