Saturday, August 18, 2012

Organic and vegan options on your next Yellowstone vacation to Jackson Hole

On our visit to Yellowstone Park this summer, we stayed in nearby Jackson, Wyoming. If you haven't been there, it's a great place to visit. Very quaint and cozy. A little expensive, but you get what you pay for, and it was well worth it. We would definitely go back, so plan a trip if you haven't been there. Jackson is located on the south end of the Yellowstone Park entrance, and it was where we flew into, before heading to the park.

There are many great places to visit and eat in town, but one place we ate twice, the Lotus CafĂ©. They offer fresh organic and natural meats, vegetarian, vegan, and raw choices. Their dishes are from around the world including American, Asian, Indian, Thai, and Latin. They prepare everything in house from scratch including all sauces, dressings, curries, soups, dumplings, breads, pitas, kimchi, sauerkraut, chai tea, coffee syrups, juices and more. They also organically grow greens, herbs, and sprouts. They offer vegan and gluten-free options, and most of their selection is vegetarian. 

For breakfast, I had the "2, 2, and 2", which was a tofu scramble with toast, handmade veggie patties, strawberry jam and roasted "zesty" potatoes. It was delicious, and a healthy way to start our trip. My wife has the "Flap Jackson", which was eggs, veggie patty between two blue corn griddlecakes, served with organic maple syrup. The griddlecakes were amazing! I also had a fresh extracted juice, made from parsley, celery, beets, green apples, and carrots.

We stayed in Jackson at the end of our trip, so we went back for dinner. I ordered an appetizer, the bison wontons, that came with sesame-tamari and korean BBQ sauce. I've never had them before, but it was really good! I also tried the Snake River OB-1 (Organic Beer Number 1), and my wife ordered the Snake River Lager. It's nice to have an organic beer choice for a change.

On a side note about organic beers, on our way back from Jackson, we had a layover in Denver, and ate at the New Belgium restaurant. I was saddened to hear that they will no longer be making the organic Mothership Wit beer. Better stock up at your local grocery store, if you like it. Read more about this story >>

For dinner, my wife ordered the gluten-free Bombay Bowl, which was steamed brown basmati coconut rice, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, red onion, spinach, and carrots. The tikka sauce was made from grapeseed oil, lemon, cinnamon and ginger. I ordered the Indian gluten-free dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, made with grapeseed oil, lemon, cinnamon, ginger, tomatoes and spices. Both dishes were large helpings that we couldn't finish (and I can eat a lot of food)!

If you want to support a great local restaurant that minimizes their impact on the environment, this is the place to go.Visit their website to view the full menu at
The Lotus Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to make people care about an issue, like fossil fuel subsidies

In order to get people to care, you have to personalize your issue for them.

There has been a lot of talk about fossil fuel subsidies recently. But what is missing is the impact to me, as an individual. It's often know as the WIIFM (what's in it for me) approach. It is an effective method to making someone change their mind, or motivating them to do something above and beyond what they were planning to do.

There are numbers thrown out all the time about how many billions of dollars that we give to companies, who are reporting billions of dollars in profit. Sounds like large numbers, but over a million dollars, and even I get lost in how big that is.

From 2002 to 2008 (7 years), the US Government gave the fossil fuel industry over $72 billion in subsidies. I've heard in the past that we spend around $10 billion per year, so that's close enough. The US Government has a budget of around $3.6 trillion dollars (yes, trillion, or 3,600 billion to make the math simpler).

So if we divide the $10B by the total budget of $3600B, we calculate that 0.28% of the US budget is spent on these subsidies.

So in order to personalize it, I need to figure out how much I am personally paying to these subsidies.

I paid in $17,500 in taxes last year, so I can multiply that by 0.28%, and that comes out to $48.60. We'll round to $50, to make it simple. Now we take that one step further, that's about $4 per month. That number doesn't seem that much, but essentially you're buying the fossil fuel industry a sandwich each month, and they're not even hungry. Click to retweet >>