Many of my readers know I’m vegan. I began the process of eliminating animal-based foods rather abruptly almost 2 1/2 years. Initially Russ thought it was going to be a short-lived thing but after all this time he seems to have grudgingly accepted my culinary oddity.
Most people know that eating too much meat and cheese and eggs is bad for you. The reason I became vegan is that there is very good research data suggesting there is NO amount of meat and cheese and eggs that is GOOD for you. Animal-based foods promote hardening of the arteries which leads to heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. They are also pro-inflammatory, create acid which your kidneys must eliminate, and cause gout. There is evidence that eating animal protein promotes the growth of cancer cells.
So how do I eat? I pack a yummy plant-based lunch every day and my staff can vouch that apart from cookies (which I have a real weakness for) and the occasional baked-potato bar or scoop of green beans, I don’t eat the lunches the pharmaceutical reps bring.
My husband and I are foodies. We LOVE eating and we love trying out new restaurants. It got a little more complicated after I gave up animal-based foods, but for those who are willing to be flexible and adventurous (and assertive) it is nearly always possible to find a delicious meal containing only plants. Here are my 3 categories of restaurants for vegans.
1. Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants
There are very few restaurants that cater ONLY to those who eat vegan and vegetarian. I have only ever been to one such restaurant. That was The Wild Cow in Nashville, TN. Yum. If anyone is ever in Nashville and wants proof that vegan/vegetarian food tastes fantastic, PLEASE stop in. And it’s next door to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (which carries to-die-for sorbet). I have high hopes of trying Treehuggers in Berea sometime soon, for those who are tempted to comment that I should go there. It’s on the list!
2. Restaurants With Vegan Entrees
Most restaurants have entrees that either already ARE plant-based or can easily be made plant-based with a few omissions. My favorite local place with lots of vegan options is Aladdin’s Eatery. At other restaurants, big leafy salads are easy (just hold the cheese) and many burger places have house-made black-bean or chickpea patties. Two that come right to mind are The Rail in Montrose and Flipside in Hudson. (Remember I’m an eastsider).
3. My Number-One Favorite Kind Of Place 🙂
The absolute best kind of place is one that has NO vegan options on the menu but has a chef that likes a challenge. Take tonight’s dinner for example. We’re spending a few nights in Columbus over the holiday and decided to go to Columbus Brewing Company. I ordered my salad without cheese and asked for the grilled eggplant dinner. The waitress came back to let me know the risotto and the cauliflower gratin were both made with cheese. I told her roasted vegetables, corn or green beans would be fine. She came back one more time to ask if I liked brown rice (and yes, I do).
OMG. They brought me grilled eggplant with mushrooms perched on a brown-rice pilaf with sautéed spinach and smothered with tomato-basil compote. It was heaven. I. Was. Stuffed.
There are a few restaurants that have no plant-based options, nothing modifiable to plant-based, and a chef without imagination. We don’t go to those types of restaurants 😉
Maybe you’re thinking about eating more plants or, heaven forbid, giving up meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs. Think it would be tough if you like to eat out? Think again! If you are adventurous and assertive you can have delicious meals at an enormous variety of restaurants. Take it from me, I’m a foodie and going plant-based did NOT put any kind of dent in my enjoyment of food and restaurant dining. Give it a try!
Question: What is your favorite restaurant? Would I enjoy eating there? Leave a comment, I’m always looking for a new place to eat!