What a day! Today we visited the Atlanta Zoo & our favorite vegan friendly restaurant in downtown Atlanta, R.Thomas Deluxe Grill off Peachtree Street. Whenever we are in the city, we try to sneak in a visit to R. Thomas. R Thomas is the ultimate eclectic diner. They are open 24 hours. They have a great selection for meat eaters AND vegans, which is hard to find! They have smoothies, fresh juices, & lots of organic produce & wines. They also use wild caught fish & natural range meat, which (even though we don’t eat meat) is always a plus to support. (check them out @ www.rthomasdeluxegrill.com)
Today I ate the Lucky Green Tea (which is quinoa, veggies & tofu that have been simmered a green tea miso reduction). My husband had the Southern Vegetarian (collard greens, millet corn casserole, smashed potatoes & shiitake mushroom gravy with dots of butternut squash). My kids ate the R’s Veggie Burger, which is delicious and exactly what kids always want! We also had The Thai Express (quinoa with sautéed veggies & tempeh in a spicy peanut sauce). As you can tell, we can’t ever quite decide on what to order!
To top it all off, there is always an incredible vegan dessert! (Tonight’s was a slice of hummingbird cake, which was incredible with hints of pineapple & coconut… Last time we were there we had a slice of raw apple pie that was FANTASTIC!) Oh yeah, they have some raw dishes too! I could go on and on… I seriously recommend checking them out!
We have been to the Atlanta Zoo a few times already this year. I know there are many vegans that don’t believe in going to the zoo, since the animals are there locked inside without a choice. I do see their point. But I also grew up going to the zoo and I sincerely believe that it nurtured my love for animals. Seeing these animals face to face definitely encouraged my curiosity and love for other living beings. Where else would a child see these amazing creatures, like an elephant, giraffe or gorilla… without going to another country or in a book?
I think seeing these animals and looking into their eyes, studying their movements, seeing how they are like us, or how they are different, is key to developing love and respect for animals. In a way, the animals in a zoo are martyrs. They very unfortunately give up their lives and personal freedom, but by doing so, they foster love for animals in children of all ages, even adults.
If these animals being captive can help us understand and learn to appreciate other animals in the wild, I believe it is worth it. I will always feel sorry for them, yes, but what they are giving to the world is priceless. For every child that falls in love with one animal they see at the zoo, a positive future for all animals in the wild rises. Maybe they can even teach US how to live in peace and love each other a little bit more.