Peggy Raisglid walked through the doors of a Unitarian church 20 years ago a "hardcore carnivore" and an hour later she walked out a "committed vegan."
She heard a lecture that day on vivisection -- the process of cutting up animals for either food or cosmetic purposes, she said.
"It was just so compelling -- that day I went out and had my first vegan meal in an Asian restaurant and it was delicious," said Raisglid, the owner of Lovin' Spoonfuls, 2990 N. Campbell Ave., and UA alumnus of 1997. Being vegan is more of a lifestyle, she added, not just a diet.
"For most people, vegan means no animal products whatsoever," she said.
Raisglid opened the restaurant in 2005, despite doubtful reactions. She remembers hearing, "People will never support a vegan restaurant in Tucson."
Lovin' Spoonfuls is the only exclusively vegan restaurant in town, and Raisglid said the restaurant is doing well, with roughly 150 customers daily.
On the menu, customers will find a variety of tofu scrambles for breakfast, soy burgers with organic buns and vegan mayo for lunch, a variety of pasta dishes for dinner and bakery items for dessert.
Lovin' Spoonfuls also has a full liquor license. "Initially I didn't realize that even organic wine is not necessarily vegan wine," Raisglid said. "During the fining process, they remove fines by using gelatin or egg white, which makes it non-vegan."
When she first opened the restaurant, Raisglid said she did not realize how many vegans there were in Tucson and thought it was just her small circle of friends.
She added that most of her customers aren't even vegetarians, but rather just like to eat healthier once in a while.
She reminisced about her early days as a vegan living in Los Angeles, saying it was a challenge back then.
"I had to go miles and miles just to get basic products that were vegan," Raisglid said. "I remember when I first saw soy milk appear in a grocery store, I was thrilled."