Whenever I am feeling frustrated, I try to do something for myself. It's an act of defiance, to prove to that all the demands on my time do not get to control me. I get to choose.
Among my favorites indulgences: Binge-watching Netflix, getting a massage, paying to have my nails done, buying something that I want and don't need, watching funny dog videos on YouTube...These all feed a part of me that my To Do list ignores.
However, my ultimate guilty pleasure is this: RESTAURANT FOOD
I have my favorites, like Border Cantina, Olive Garden, China Cafe and Benitos.
I ignore the calories - which is mandatory for such an indulgence!
But...for my '12 Diets in 12 Months Nutrition Challenge,' VEGAN month has brought me a sharp correction for this escape. I was soon to discover that eating at a restaurant as a VEGAN is nearly impossible. After the first week, as I was struggling with cravings, I was informed by my Patient family, that perhaps, I was just a tad crabby. And perhaps, it might be good to order out and let someone else make the food.
I thought, "Why yes! Yes! That's a wonderful idea!"
So, I gleefully scanned some menus and zeroed in on a veggie quesadilla.
Surely, they will put a generous serving of veggies in there....wrong. While the rest of my family devoured their overflowing meat and cheese enchiladas, I stared down my pathetic $10 plate of nothing. A tiny tortilla, folded in half, with a few slices of steamed squash - about 5 total - no kidding. And, to make matters worse: No sauce. No guacamole. No pico. No lettuce or tomatoes. Nada. Waaaaaaah.
2 days later, we tried to order out again, but I only was able to eat fried onion rings. Then a few days later, a veggie calzone sealed my fate. Just steamed veggies (this time I asked for extra) stuffed in a thin bread. Even though I live in suburbia, the VEGAN options are sparse to nothing.
Most restaurants that advertise VEGAN options only offer
a garden salad or a veggie burger substitute.
The only good VEGAN restaurant that I know of is 'Seva', in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their food is amazing, with flavors that you remember a week later. Unfortunately, they are not an option this month -- as the 30-minute drive would violate the Stay Home Stay Safe Covid-19 mandate. sigh.
Crabby? You bet. It was beyond frustrating to be thwarted by such options.
Fortunately, I am a fair cook. By 'fair' I mean - a very good cook.
My son once told me, after eating ribs at a steak house, that I've ruined him for restaurant ribs. Yes, I'm bragging. I love to cook. And this is exactly why my guilty pleasure is eating out. I enjoy the fact that I get to take a break, and that someone else brings the food to me.
I will survive this VEGAN month, but dear reader, if you are thinking about going VEGAN, learn your staple dishes. Once you are familiar with foods like tofu, tempeh, sprouts, grains, greens and nutritional yeast, then you will be ready. This will set you up for success, and help you through -- when even your guilty pleasures cannot.