A few years ago I decided to try to follow a vegan diet. By saying this, I don’t mean I was on a diet, I mean I wanted to see if this style of eating would create some healthier boundaries for me. A the time I was working for Whole Foods Market, and as a company we were embarking on a partnership with Rip Esselstyn creator of the Engine 2 Diet, and espousing a plant strong style of eating. There was a lot of talk about The China Study, which I read, and found terrifying, and it seemed like a plant strong, vegan lifestyle was a good idea.
I gave it ninety days. I was committed to seeing this through, and giving it my best effort. In fact, I felt like this was going to solve my food issues, help me lose weight, make me feel and become healthier. During this time some friends came to town to visit, and invited me to dinner at the Four Seasons. I called ahead, and told them I was vegan, and asked if they could accommodate me, they were quite gracious, and assured me they could indeed. I have been friends with the husband half of this couple for most of my life, and he spent the first part of the evening teasing me about being vegan, until he saw the food I was served. I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had, vegan or otherwise, and if you are a vegan, and are interested in a wonderful splurge, I urge you to dine there!
Last night on Chopped I got to watch a great vegan chef Rich Landau from Vedge here in Philadelphia. Rich makes amazing vegan food, and is really committed to his vegan principles. His food is amazing, and if you dine at Vedge, I promise you will not miss anything!
As it turned out I wasn’t a happy vegan. Not surprisingly, I found I was able to translate all my food issues right over to veganism. I often felt hungry, and unsatisfied, and as the weather got colder, I found I felt cold and empty often. What surprised me was that the only thing I really missed and craved was butter. In my experience there is no substitute for butter. When I reintroduced animal protein into my diet, I did it slowly, and still don’t eat nearly as much meat as I did before. Perhaps if I could have eaten nightly at the Four Seasons, or Vedge I might still be a vegan, but that’s not possible.
One of the many take-always from that time was I greatly expanded my repertoire of cooking vegetables, and broadened my view of what a meal should consist of. I began to see food in a new way, and have continued to look at new ways to increase my veggie consumption. I like most vegetables, there are just a few I really don’t like; green peppers, raw celery, turnips and rutabagas come to mind, but these are fairly easy to avoid (if you don’t order tuna or chicken salad).
Here is a great recipe for Saffron Cauliflower