Dining Out with a Gluten Free Vegetarian.
I woke up at a reasonable time today because Adam is visiting from New York!!! Adam is one of my good friends and also my former boss from when I worked at Bikram Yoga Harlem. He arrived about 11am, and looked around my apartment and said, “What it going on. I’m seeing a Paleo Cookbook, another book called Kale and Coffee, Crazy Sex Diet, and another pile of health books.” I explained to him I’m doing research for a project and that I’m blogging about different diets right now.
He looks at me dead in the eye, “Please tell me you’re not—“
“Yep, I’m Paleo.” I reply before he can finish, “But only for two weeks! Then, I’ll be vegan.”
“That’s opposite ends of the spectrum!”
“Exactly why I’m doing it! I’m seeing how each make me feel. Also, both Paleo and Vegan are more than just diets they’re lifestyles.”
Adam has been a vegetarian since he was a kid and was even vegan for many years. Now he’s vegetarian and “gluten light” as he calls it. So he’ eats wheat based products sometimes but very rarely.
I made us each a cup of tea and we immediately get into the differences between the two diet/lifestyles. I told him that I feel great, and dining out hasn’t been a problem so far. Adam points out that Paleo is a diet people do because the want to eat “real” food and the reasons behind it are purely health reasons. Whereas most vegans and vegetarian he knows make that choice out of moral reasons and not just health. I agree, and I have been thinking about it. Though, I’m loving Paleo, if everyone in the world was Paleo, I don’t think the planet could sustain that amount of meat consumption. Adam urges me to check out a documentary on Netflix called Cowspiracy where they look at the negative effects raising cows, even grass-fed organic cows for slaughter. I plan on checking it out. Probably the day before I go vegan though.
This has been pretty much a no-cooking day for me, and probably will be for the next few while Adam’s here as we can only agree on eggs and vegetables. I did make us a huge green smoothie in my new toy using carrots, celery, apple, kale, spinach, ginger, and lemon. The Vitamix ground it all down to an awesome smooth consistency and I split it between Adam, Tom and I. It was great. I also had a leftover scotch egg for some protein. Adam and I went on a walk around Regents Park to help with his Jet-lag and then headed to Fierce Grace Yoga.
Fierce Grace is a hot yoga series created by Michele Pernetta. At one point Michele owned several Bikram Studios around London, in fact, she’s the person who first brought Bikram’s series to the UK. Wanting something more diverse, she took her combined her years of yoga knowledge and created her own series. Fierce Grace Primrose Hill is a 15 minute walk from my house. I love both the series and the studio and have been practicing it more than Bikram since moving to London. This is only the second yoga class I’ve taken in 2016 and my relationship with yoga is a bit complicated. My own personal practice has been a swinging pendulum of highs and lows. At my most flexible, I competed in the New York Asana Championship, and now, with all the weight-lifting and Crossfit, my flexibility has changed. I’m more flexible than the average person but my hamstrings now suck, and I can’t extend into a pretty standing head-to-knee pose at the moment. It really fucks with my ego, especially practicing next to Adam who’s kept a consistent practice for 14 years. over my 11 years of Bikram I’ve come and gone for various reasons. But that a whole separate blog in itself. In Fierce Grace practicing next to Adam, it felt good to sweat and stretch, and I was excited to share with him this new series.
After yoga, we head back toward my place. There’s a vegan/vegatarian restaurant that just opened up near me and I’ve been dying to try it. We take a look at the menu in the window and I’m crest-fallen, “I can’t eat anything here.” I say. If the dishes doesn’t have grains, it has legumes, or cheese. If we go to this place, all I can eat is a side salad. Adam, pokes fun at me as earlier, I was bragging how being Paleo I can eat anywhere. I will amend that now to I can eat anywhere that doesn’t cater exclusively toward vegetarians and vegans. I suggested a pub I like knowing I can get a steak and salad. We look at the menu. Nope, the only vegetarian option is a mac & cheese which is a no-go due to Adam’s light gluten rule. Together we are insufferable. We finally settle on an Indian restaurant.
When I went through The PPC
, this for this weeks meals, I just picked the foods that most excited me not realizing I picked all red meat. It’s been great, but it’s starting to feel a bit heavy. On the menu I find a chicken kabab that sounds nice. I asked the waiter if it had dairy in it. “Are you allergic?” he asks. “I just can’t have dairy.” I say, not wanting to go into the whole explanation. He assumes I have an allergy, and gets the manager. She tells me, one is marinated in yogurt, the other is not. So I go for that. About 5 minutes later, she comes back to me and tells me the chef has informed her that the chicken is cooked with butter, but he can make me a lamb dish with no dairy in it. I say, ”Yes that’s fine, thank you for being so thorough.” I’m actually a bit embarrassed to have been such a high maintenance client especially since I don’t have an allergy. I just hope they don’t remember me from the next time I go in and I’m off the Paleo thing. That chicken dish looked good and I want to try it.
It’s my first time, feeling difficult since I’ve been on the Paleo Diet. I doubt at the end of this I’ll be 100% Paleo all the time. But it’s only two weeks so I want to experience the strictest version I can for now. I’m excited that Adam and I could find a restaurant that served both our dietary needs. It’s been a successful day. When we get back to mine, our mutual friend Megan who also is also an American living in London like me, invites us to lunch at her’s on Wednesday. She checks that Adam is still a gluten free vegetarian and then Adam and I look at each other, “Oh no, we have to explain the Paleo thing too!” We’re like Jack Sprat and his wife. Or to mute it another way, together we’re two yogis with high maintenance eating habits. So the worst. We’re the worst.