Vegan in the Village

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Last Wednesday, I typed ‘healthy’ into Yelp for a very specific range of streets in the West Village and one of the first choices to pop up was a casual dining place called By Chloe. I’d never heard of it before, but I’m always open to try to occasional vegan restaurant and Kristen, whom I was meeting to see Company XIV’s Snow White with later in the evening, is always down to be casually vegan, so off we went (or met, rather).

This place is obviously incredibly popular among the NYU crowd as the line was to the door when I got there and eventually it went out the door and down the street. I usually really enjoy myself at vegan restaurants if I don’t go too crazy (no fake cheese for me, thank you). I had the spicy Thai salad (it was ginormous) and a small side of butternut/something else soup. They were both delicious. They need to work on their portion control though.

Anyways, it was a really lovely meal and experience. I would maybe go back but not if the line is still out the door. 100% recommended for vegans and non-vegans who like eating vegetables.

I’ve read Skinny Bitch and it was compelling. I know how horrible the dairy industry is. I’ve watched Food Inc, and Forks Over Knives, and Food Matters (was that the name? I don’t remember). The truth is I never buy milk. If it’s in my fridge it’s because I needed it for one very specific recipe and now the rest of it is slowly going bad, or my boyfriend bought it because there’s only so many times he can stomach the coconut milk that I buy. I buy mozzarella occasionally, and eggs maybe once a month from a local place.

The truth is: I like eating meat. Especially chicken, and the occasional burger (I don’t actually like steak). And I also occasionally like dairy. Mozzarella is delicious and whipped cream makes the taste of coffee bearable.

I think the vegan dairy alternatives to cheese are just gross. And they’re also filled with a whole bunch of other shit that is unnecessary to be ingesting if you just eat a piece of natural fucking cheese. Here’s the ingredient list for Daiya dairy-free cheese: “Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Palm Fruit Oil, Expeller Pressed non GMO
Canola Oil and/or Expeller Pressed non GMO Safflower Oil, Coconut Oil,
Pea Protein Isolate, Natural Vegan Flavors, Vegetable Glycerine, Brown
Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Yeast Extract, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid (Vegan,
for flavor), Annatto (for color) Carrageenan, Titanium Dioxide (a
naturally occurring mineral), Vegan Enzyme.”

What? Ew. Give me regular mozzarella cheese or give me death. So, while I totally enjoyed my experience at By Chloe, I’m not going vegan anytime soon.

Say Cheese.

My colleagues and I like to go to the Calexico cart in SoHo for lunch every now and then (meaning a few times a week, but I go about once a week). I always get a burrito with a side of crack sauce because: CRACK SAUCE. It’s so good. Calexico is fantastic Mexican food and it’s decently priced – about the same as Chipotle. But this past Monday I decided to switch things up and have a quesadilla instead.

Oh boy, did I ever regret that decision. Don’t get me wrong: It was delicious. In the moment. Then… then I wanted to die. I felt sick and bloated for a good two days after. It wasn’t tainted food (Calexico, you’re delicious, it’s not you, it’s me, I swear) it was that my stomach wasn’t used to all the cheese that I was eating.

Since I was diagnosed with a sinus infection in February, I’ve steered clear of dairy (well, mainly cheese). I still eat greek yogurt on the regular and mac’n’cheese sometimes, but never foods that are HEAVILY packed with cheese like this was. 

So, what’d I do? Stopped drinking the iced coffee that I was having in the morning (the iced part of it makes you bloat and slows down digestion) and exchanged it for green tea. Then I ate meals that consisted mostly of whole-ish foods: carrot sticks, zucchini, hummus, chicken, and pita (this is not really a whole food, I know, but it’s delicious). And some nuts. And guess what – the veggies kept me full and I felt great!

I also realized on MyFitnessPal that my fat intake was way too high compared to my protein intake. I have it set right now to 50% carbs, 20% protein, and 30% fat. I don’t know if this is the best settings for weight loss, so if you know, let me know. I only want to loose 5-10lbs that I gained over the horrendous winter, so if you have any suggestions over what the correct ration is, I’d love to hear it.

But I’ve learned my lesson: no more quesadillas or anything really loaded down with cheese. My insides cannot take it.