It’s been a few days since I decided to try a vegan diet again. I’m going for 90 days. This sort of thing has never been hard for me. I like eating fruit and smoothies more than anything else, and my wife is a good cook (and a vegan). At home I more or less eat a vegan diet anyway because of my wife’s kitchen tyranny.
As always, I feel tremendous. Which annoys the hell out of me. Trust, I want nothing more than to feel weak and worthless on these fruits and veggies. That’s not the case.
My allergies have gone away, my energy levels become intolerably high, my bowel movements are glorious, and I’ve saved enough money by not eating out to buy myself some sweet new kicks.
Veganism is super easy. As with most diets, it’s a matter of will. The biggest issue for most is social disapproval and fear of missing out. It’s definitely a bit of a drag to not be able to try new eateries or recipes. Vegans, for the most part, are more concerned with favor imitation instead of innovation, and there is rarely a new vegan thing that’s worth trying. Usually the best you can get is somebody’s horrible attempt to knockoff the hot new fun thing.
It’s becoming clearer to me that my issue is how mouth pleasure measures up to general health. I can ultimately eat whatever I want to (not a real vegan), but I want certain health outcomes. The evidence that many cooked and processed meats cause colon cancer is extremely compelling to me.
When I worked at farmers markets it was easy to eat a paleo diet. I came home almost every single day with fresh produce and the best meat you can buy. The only thing better than Prather Ranch (where I worked) in those days would be going out and killing your own deer. But paleo is much harder to adhere to 100% of the time. For me at least, it’s much easier to slip up and eat “bad” meat on paleo than vegan.
I was doing a ton of Crossfit at the time I was at maximum paleo. I became very strong and functionally fit, but I was always carrying a bit more fluff than I’d like. My joints were often sore. When I switched over to a vegan diet and started a movement based, calisthenics and yoga fitness practice, I stayed almost as strong, but leaned out a lot, and had majorly reduced joint pain. My blood work also came back better on a plant-based diet.
For some reason people don’t want to believe it. They want to hear that you’ve become deficient in some critical area of your health and can only be saved by putting butter in your coffee and eating offal sandwiches with shots of exogenous ketones on the side. A couple of years ago I was doing a vegan stretch and made a comment on the internet somewhere about feeling pretty good on fruits and some anonymous person called me a liar and mass posted all the usual unread animal studies that supposedly support high-fat being healthy. It’s such a weird reaction people have to veganism.
If I was on a diet where I ate only raw meat and Cool Ranch Doritos, I don’t think people would have anywhere near the concern.
I’ve done a lot of personal experimentation and for me, the most logical way of eating is something like what’s detailed in the Blue Zone Diet: mostly plants, with a little bit of animal products made sustainably and shared socially. Even deer will occasionally eat a finch or eggs from a ground nesting bird.
The only thing I really miss is the Philly Cheesesteak from Clove & Hoof. At the end of my 90-day veg run, it’s the first thing I’m going to have. I keep meaning to explore their new dinner menu, but I never want to risk not having the greatest sandwich ever made.
Meat and dairy substitutes are never as good as the real thing taste-wise. The best vegan cheese on the market, Miyokos, would still lose in a blind taste test against a Kraft American cheese single. Veggie sausages taste like smoked rubber. Vegan charcuterie is an excuse to charge a 300% markup on thinly sliced vegetables with a little vinegar splashed on them.
Vegan restaurants are almost universally terrible on just about every metric you can imagine. Service is awful, prices are high, and taste is infuriating. There are quite a few vegan spots in the Bay Area. Here’s the scoop on the most popular ones I know. Some of them I actually like.
Souley Vegan. This black owned vegan soul food place is awesome. I don’t know what sort of deal with the devil they signed, but their mac n’ whatever they’re using for cheese is better than it has any right to be. I usually get two orders of that with the BBQ Tofu and sweet yams. The one complaint I have is with their cornbread situation. It’s dryer than a fresh litterbox.
The weird thing about this place to me is that even though there is no way in hell this place can be healthy (fried errything!) I never feel bad after eating there. The staff is super sweet, too.
Millennium. This spot is world famous for its fussy flavor combinations and great cocktail menu. Just about anyone who’s vegan in the Bay Area has celebrated at least one special occasion here. My wife and I ate here for pretty much every major holiday for the first couple of years of her veganism.
The food is indeed amazing, but the price is shock that ass high. I just don’t see what justifies the price since the ingredient aren’t usually anything super rare. Some people counter that there’s a high amount of labor that goes into each dish, but that’s pretty much the same as any spot you’d go to with complex dishes.
My number one issue with Millennium is that every single time I eat there, I leave there with an unbelievably bad stomachache that reliably transitions into explosive diarrhea.
Herbivore. No eating establishment on Earth has ever been as mediocre. This place is exhibit A in my argument that if you’re vegan for any extended period of time you forget what food tastes like. The waiters and waitresses here are on another level of terribleness. Stoned Sloth would be quicker on the floor
Recently their Divisadero St. location in San Francisco closed. And no one cared. San Francisco is a city that loudly mourns every single old business that closes down, no matter how shitty it actually was (I’m looking at you Lucky Penny). Yet not one peep about herbivore.
Gracias Madre. Of all the Bay Area’s vegan spots, this is the one you can take non vegans to and make everyone happy. The food is usually excellent. We’ve taken meat eaters here on many occasions and they usually happy with what they’ve ordered.
Like most eateries in San Francisco, it’s offensively priced. Like all vegan businesses, it’s staffed by people I’m amazed have been able to get through life in a world that rewards hustle and effort. Plus it has communal seating, which is the fucking worst.
Cha-Ya. This Japanese joint is really good. I sort of think ordering veggie sushi is pointless most places, but these dishes are interesting and include a bunch of Asian and sea vegetables you don’t see very often. When we go here we get fried errything.
My favorite thing to eat is what my wife cooks. She has a knack for throwing dishes together. We make a lot of potato dishes and rice bowls. The discovered a really unique flavor combo last year that I love; tahini mixed with BBQ sauce. It’s weird, but I like it.
To wrap up, veganism is going good. I’m hoping to get back into the gym for a little sport shortly. Later gators.