Friday, August 20, 2010

contemplating kindness

Happy Friday, my sweets! I am exhausted. With the countdown to Road Trip USA down to 16 days, I've got a lot on my mind and a lot of things I want to get done before I leave. What's that phrase? "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Hm, good times were had last night, but overall it's not really as fun as it sounds. :).
Monday night, my grandmother stopped in to check up on me with a massive salad in tow. I added half of a diced avocado, left-over quinoa and a Sunshine falafal burger to the spring greens, cucumbers, red bell peppers and celery, topped it all off with some olive oil and white balsamic, and around 1 p.m., delved right  in to Tuesday's vegan lunch. It was a delicious medley of flavors, textures, and all around clean freshness. Then, three hours later, I had a Fage as a snack.
I don't try to define the way I eat, (too restricting,) and I certainly don't want to feel guilty about my choices, but after meeting so many amazing women following vegan diets at the HLS, I'm more tempted than ever to cut out dairy.
As far as eggs are concerned, I find them to be deliciously-satisfying, nutritionally-sound, and I am confident that I can purchase dozens that have been brought about in a humane and sustainable way. When it comes to fish, well, dare I say that I simply enjoy it too much to give it up. Not to mention that it sure does make eating out and traveling, two of my favorite passions by far, all the more simple and exciting.
And yet even so, most of the time a plant-based meal is all I need. Tuesday night I met the forever roomie (my random freshman year college roommate turned best friend), C, at the Chelsea Market for dinner. The plan was to dine at The Green Table, a small seasonal and organic restaurant that has been on my mind for quite some time, until we saw the "under construction" sign.
So, we settled for Friedman's Lunch, an equally as quaint and eco-conscious café. I had a Garden Veggie Sandwich (lettuce, carrots, sprouts, avocado) on grilled sourdough bread with a mixed green salad and the necessary glass of red. I also "borrowed" a couple of C's Herbed French Fries because she's generous like that and gets full ridiculously fast. 
Afterwards we strolled around Chelsea Market a bit, enjoying the many food vendors, and glancing into the home goods boutiques. There was an Anthropologie as well... but allowing myself to enter would've been a bad idea for my poor wallet. I could've easily take compulsive shopping to a whole new level.
In the end though, I ended up splurging anyway with a cup of café gelato.  Or rather, C splurged, and treated me to it. If I had chosen thoughtfully, this could've been a smarter choice; sorbetto, gelato made with only fresh fruit, sugar, and water, was also readily available. Talk about food for thought.
If there are more than enough irresistibly delectable foods to satisfy my body, heart, and soul then what is keeping me from going 99.9% meat- and dairy-free (specifically in situations where I have complete willing control over my choices)? I cannot be sure. Looking back at the Cooking Ethically panel from the Healthy Living Summit, I'm reminded of the Skinny Bitch rant and The Kind Diet raves. I own both, although I'm entirely more partial to Alicia Silverstone, so surely I have the resources to aid my adjustment of habits.
The Kind Diet, in particular, describes 3 levels towards a plant-based diet. As the book description summarizes, "Flirts learn to dip a toe into the vegan pool, reducing their meat-eating and swapping out a few key foods for plant-based substitutes to see quickly how even small changes can reap big results. Vegans get to experience the life-altering effects of forgoing animal-products entirely, while still enjoying many convenience foods and meat substitutes in addition to the wonderful grains, vegetables and fruits that form the core of that diet. True enlightenment comes with the Superhero program, based on the principles of macrobiotics and built on a foundation of whole grains, vegetables, and other yummy foods that Alicia describes in detail."

This morning, as I sat at the dining room table with a scrumptious bowl of oats cooked in almond milk and topped with banana, blueberries, and almond butter, the wondering continued. "Your body already knows how to heal itself, you just have to get out of its way." I read on page 93 of September's Whole Living (yes the magazine is marketed toward middle-aged women, and no that doesn't deter me from savoring each page of balanced goodness).  I'm certainly not sick but I've had skin issues since forever, I could do without the bloat, and my energy levels are inconsistent. Maybe the Kind Life is the answer for me, maybe it's not, either way I'm just going to have to flirt a little to find out... no complaints here ;).


  1. I've been feeling the same way about dairy. I don't think I want to give it up, but for some reason I'm eating a whole lot more than I ever have and I need to cut back on it.

  2. I think it's great that you don't define the way you eat and at the same time you are considering other options. As a vegan, I can say that it is a great way of eating, although I know many people who would disagree! Remember, you don't have to use a label such as vegan or vegetarian to make a positive impact in your health and the lives of animals. Every little bit counts!

  3. Lately I've been questioning just how "kind" my diet is, too. For awhile I told myself I didn't want to feel restricted in my eating habits so as not to bring up old, um, stuff, but that stuff is so old that it's no longer an issue, so the kindness factor should come into play in SOME ways once again, but i can't imagine missing out on fabulous dining out experiences... I know I should limit my meat intake a little bit, but right now I'm not kind enough, I guess. :) I try to buy organic dairy and chicken when I can, which is a positive first step.

    Looove Chelsea Market. That gelato is irresistible - I most certainly got a cup of it last time I was there! :)

  4. I have been going back and forth with the idea of cutting WAY back/eliminating dairy for the same reasoning with my skin. I'll be interested to see what you decide - maybe I'll even pick up a copy of Alicia's book and join you! I have Skinny Bitch and the overall tone of it just turns me off.

    I LOVE Chelsea Market! Did you see the big mustache in the picture frame? That was my favorite part. I'm such a tourist.

  5. That gelato looks wonderful- I think it was a perfectly good choice :)
    I tried eating vegetarian/vegan in my freshman year of college and needless to say it didn't last long/just didn't work out for me. I eat meat, fish, and dairy on a regular basis, but I'm very conscious about where it comes from- usually from humane local farms. I go to a college where many people "go vegan" upon entering their freshman year, but I've met far many people who seem to not know why they're eating that way/do it for the label and in my opinion I think that one should eat what they like/crave ( vegetarian perhaps most of the time but not be opposed to eating fish or eggs or whatever else if the opportunity presents itself.) Hope that makes sense.
    Oh yes and I read Skinny Bitch a few years ago...couldn't stand it.

  6. That veggie sandwich looks scrumptious! I think it's great to try our different ways of eating and see what works best for your body. I've been experimenting for years. :)

  7. What a lovely salad combination! Avocado and white balsamic sounds perfect.

  8. My random roomie and I wound up as ultra close friends too! Love it :)

    As far as the vegan thing goes, I like to keep a vegan kitchen and go for vegan alternatives whenever possible, but if I go out with friends or am a guest at someone's house, I'm okay with having a little dairy. It seems to work out pretty well for me - my body likes it, but I never have to turn down an invite to meet friends for ice cream!

  9. Danielle have you ever thought about becoming a pescitarian? It is a person who just eats fish! I have been trying this diet out for about 2 months now and I love it! Oh and funny you should mention Anthropologie...I work there, and yes it is every every difficult!

  10. As a former vegan, I have to say that I would not go back to that lifestyle again. While I felt really good about how I was supporting animal rights, I probably acted a bit righteous at times, thinking veganism was better than other ways. Plus, it's hard to say no to great food so much, and I felt unhealthy.

    However, everyone's bodies are different - some people need meat, others need fish, others are fine as vegetarians or vegans.

  11. Rachel: It definitely is something to think about. Maybe we shouldn't go out for Mac & Cheese when I visit ;).

    Jessie (Bites and Pieces): Ah, you're so right! I just need to figure out the balance that is right for me.

    crunchygranolagal: I think it's awareness and effort mostly. Some people are fine without eating any animal products, others continue to do it but with care for where they're making these choices. Limiting your dining experiences is never the goal... :). And I want to move into the Chelsea market. Yes, oh yes, I do.

    thetwentyfifthyear: Could be a nice challenge? Skinny Bitch turned me, and a ton of other bloggers from HLS (as I learned from our discussion) off as well. For the record, I was taking a picture of everything in Chelsea Market, and I am not a tourist :) not all of them came out clear though. Loved the mustache, haha.

    sprinkledwithcinnamon: It actually makes perfect sense. I certainly couldn't have "decided" anything a year ago because I had less control over my food but now it might be a good thing to try out for me right now. We shall see :). Another vote against Skinny Bitch, ha, I am not surprised.

    Dorry: It's one of the many joys of life :) thanks for the encouragement!

    BroccoliHut: Thanks, it was.

    Faith @ lovelyascharged: It's serendipity, I tell you. I actually kind of love your eating style... hope you don't mind if I copy it. At least for the time being :).

    Aryn Rapp: I actually have been pescatarian-ish for quite some time, and you're right it really is a nice way to eat. Right now I'm just considering going dairy-free for a while too. Thanks for commenting, sweetheart! Good thing I didn't know you worked there this summer, I would've been harassing you for a discount ;).

    lisasfoods: I am definitely taking this into consideration. I want to make sure that I choose to eat a certain way for the right reasons, and for healthy reasons. But you're right, everyone's bodies are different with different needs... I guess now my time is to figure out what exactly is right for me.


Penny for your thoughts...