I like Eugene.
It's on my list of places I would move if I ever had to leave CA.
Anyway, good luck on your new veganism. There are threads on hidden ingredients around here. If I find one, I'll come back and post a link. I make most of my food from scratch, especially in the summer when I have free time, so I don't worry much about the hidden ingredients. I do think it's weird that veggie cheese isn't usually vegan, but since fake cheese is nasty (in my opinion), that's not really a concern of mine.
Milk wasn't hard to cut out since I never liked it, but cheese.... that's my bane. I'm not vegan, but at home I don't eat anything that isn't vegan, and then if I go out to eat I let myself eat cheese. For some reason, knowing that I'm not denied it forever helps me not miss it so much even though I don't often have cheese when I eat out (since, lately, I only eat out at Thai places and they don't use cheese
). So... finding cuisines that have never used cheese in their food is a good place to start. You may miss cheese on a veggie burger if you're used to having cheeseburgers, but you're not going to miss cheese in Pad See Yu (there is no way to spell that with English letters...grr) because that food never had any associations with cheese to begin with.
You can definitely continue your active lifestyle. There are a bunch of us here who are exercise fiends. You may want to check out the hamster thread. While that thread is more about logging your exercise than nutrition, I'm sure they'd love to give you tips on what they eat for energy.
Have fun hanging around the boards.