The Second Rough and Tumble Week of Being a Vegan

After the initial shock and my body's refusal to cooperate for a week, I put up my hands and surrendered to the vegan diet. Actually, let me say that I immersed myself in it. Looking at Menupages.com became my daily routine and I was shocked to find 118 results in NYC for Vegetarian Cuisine.

Day 8: My boyfriend and I have a Hummus café that we go to almost every Monday on St. Marks between 1st and A. I had a Greek salad and hummus, devouring every bite. We walked out and I wanted a Vegan cookie. What did I see across the street? A vegan bakery! It must be my lucky day. We ate amazing rice puddings while sitting in Tompkins Park. I was so inspired that I made my own Greek salad and brown rice that night for dinner. “Succeeded with honors.”

Day 9: It gets better. Spring Street Natural Café for brunch. I think this is the best granola I’ve ever had! While there is a lot of controversy over whether soy is good for you due to isoflavones and genetic modification, I put it in my granola since it is the vegan substitute for milk. I have to say, sometimes these vegetarian, “healthy alternatives” are not so healthy. But that’s for another article altogether on packaged vegetarian food. I had Greek leftovers later that day and we explored Citysearch for dinner. While I’d rather not travel all the way up to the Upper East Side just to eat, I had heard raving reviews about Candle Café. We had a Mexican plate that was so tasty, it reminded me of the fresh vegan food in Kauai where my brother lived. We spent more than we anticipated, but it was worth every penny to feel physically healthy and satisfied that I “Succeeded with honors” two days in a row.

Day 10: Steel Cut Oats, Leftover Vegan Buffet, Eggplant with Tahini paste, white bean dish, hummus, rice with Israeli seasoning. “Easily Succeeded.”

Day 11: Brown rice and roasted red peppers, hummus, Thai at Highline. Another “Easily Succeeded with honors.”

Day 13: No breakfast, tofu salad for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien, Whole Foods Peanut Sauce noodles with peppers and asparagus for dinner. Since I starved until lunch, I’ll just give myself a plain “Succeeded.”

Day 14: Brunch at Josephine’s on Broadway at 62nd (excellent veggie wrap), grain samples for clients with roasted veggies for dinner. “Succeeded.”

Reflections on week #2:
I have noticed a sharp directional change in my body. It does what I want now; I can get up early, I don't have to worry about mood swings and energy shifts throughout the day. It's smooth and steady now. Today I went to yoga in the morning and martial arts in the evening. My body moved like a locomotive; it built up steam and pushed ahead. I exerted power in the strengthening exercises that I've never had before. My mind cleared and I felt a connection to the class that I've never experienced. Not only can I do this, but now I’m also ready to take this to a spiritual level and understand why people become vegans instead of just vegetarians.

Final recommendations after week #2:
Pamper yourself with vegan cuisine. Check out Gobo, Zen Palate, Candle Café, Josie’s and Curley’s as some good places to start. Being a vegan does not mean that you have to eat steamed vegetables that have no flavor; spice it up and use sauces generously. Get support from family and friends. If your family and friends think you are a freak, find new friends on meetup.com.

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