Feeding Body & Soul

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

As with any other great societal shift, it seems that there are many different roads to the same destination. For some it starts with a health crisis and stern warning from one’s doctor to avoid certain foods. For others, it’s the inhumane conditions and disease ridden factories of commercially produced meat and dairy. For me, it started with pleasant memories of trips to India and the masterfully delicious vegetarian meals I had there. These and other Asian meals taught me that there is life beyond tofu and salads.

Over the years I attended a lecture from the Dalai Lama that I really took to heart in which he called for reduced meat consumption. Later I started one of the popular low-carb diets, but after reading about the animal abuse, disease, and horrors of the giant food conglomerates I ended up watching carbs AND watching my meat. Things really got serious when I turned 50, started getting a Wheat Belly and had to worry about things like high cholesterol and bone density.

It turns out that everything is converging to the same point: save the planet, save your body. The same diet that will not exhaust and deplete the earth will not exhaust and deplete me, either. I believe that others are coming to this realization as well, and that this will have long term repercussions for the food industry. We can’t turn the ship around on a dime but now, every time I hear of another friend or relative who has eliminated or greatly reduced their cheap carbs, sugar, or meat intake I think, “Mmhh, another person voting with their wallet.” And that’s a guaranteed recipe for change.


The Unlikely Vegan Gets His NY Fix by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So, my brother-in-law Dan and I went to NY, and it was an awesome trip from start to finish. My father picked us up at the airport and took us to Royal Palace in White Plains, NY. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth talking about again. Dan and I were famished, so a buffet was definitely the way to go. We loaded up our plates and went to town. The staff there is so great, asking us what we liked and didn’t like, and talking to us about India and where the foods come from when we expressed an interest. I will go there any time I’m in the area. The next day we went to Long Island to see my grandparents, and go to Town Bagel (I needed my NY bagel fix).

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Happy New Year from the Unlikely Vegan

| by Phil Shainmark

While texting back and forth with one of my friends in Texas, we got on the discussion of sandwiches. I was lamenting that one of the only foods I genuinely miss is an Italian combo. Not that stuff you get out west where it’s a little ham and salami and some oil and vinegar (they put mayo on them out here!! MAYO!!) I mean a legit east coast, 10 types of meats with banana peppers and provolone, ITALIAN COMBO (which, if you ever find yourself in Hawthorne/Valhalla, NY, check out Pops Deli. Get menu option C4 – best Italian combo ever). So I was on a quest to get as close as I could to those flavors, and I feel that I’ve come pretty close….

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The Unlikely Vegan Visits New York by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So I went to NY to visit family, and while there I had some GREAT food. Got in on a 7 something flight that evening, and my Dad took me to an excellent Indian restaurant, with a buffet. They had a whole set up for Vegan/Vegetarian food. Not a surprise. But it was nice to walk into a place that wasn’t specifically a VEGAN restaurant, and not only have a ton of choices, but also have meat food for those who want. Yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to be fighting the industry and trying to convince people that they shouldn’t be eating meat… But, I don’t want to. It’s a stupid move. And no one wants to listen to you tell them all the bad stuff about the food they’re about to eat. (More about this later.)

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The Unlikely Vegan – Part Two, by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So after another month I can say that this is no longer even an “adjustment,” it’s now just the way I eat. And the benefits just keep coming – my energy levels are higher than they were pre-cancer. Hell, I barely drink coffee in the morning anymore. If I have a cup it’s because I like the taste, not because I need it. I found out this week that there’s a 100% Vegan doughnut place near the only other shop I ever worked at. Gonna have to head over there at some point. It’s not near anything I normally go to, but I LOVE doughnuts, so it’ll be worth the trip.

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