I may have gone overboard in introducing normal foods to my diet on the first day after the vegan sugar detox. I figured since it was a celebratory day, it was OK to indulge. Yes, it is a slippery slope, and once you stray, it's way too easy to go downhill. But I really don't want to lose the benefits I got from the detox. Plus, eating out twice today was almost equivalent to a week's worth of groceries. That alone should motivate me to continue cooking meals as opposed to dining out frequently.
First Meal After Vegan Sugar Detox: Brunch at Bottega Louie
I met up with my former coworkers for brunch at Bottega Louie in downtown LA. First, let me say that this had become my favorite restaurant in recent years primarily because of its lavish displays of colorful confections, decadent pastries, towering gift boxes and most of all .... their French macarons. So to come here as a new vegan was an intense test of willpower and restraint. Everything, of course, had dairy and eggs, which meant they were off limits. It was like putting a recovering alcoholic 3-weeks sober in the middle of a bar surrounded by the world's top-shelf liquor with a no-drinking policy. You get the idea.
Luckily I had done some research before going and found another vegan's experience at Bottega Louie on quarrygirl's vegan forum. Someone had ordered a marinara pizza--so basically a cheese-less pizza. So I Googled to see if pizza dough has eggs, and I read that real pizza dough doesn't. When I asked the server at Bottega Louie about this, he kindly checked with the kitchen staff and confirmed they didn't use eggs in their pizza dough. So I ordered the Napoli pizza (red onions, mushrooms, olives and tomato sauce) without cheese.
After taking my first bite out of the cheese-less Napoli pizza, I concluded that the measure of a quality restaurant is if their pizza tastes amazing without cheese--no easy feat. Bottega Louie had passed my tastebud's test with flying colors.
Then came the dessert: beignets with raspberry sauce. Again, a challenging but necessary training for willpower for a new vegan. I glanced at the soft, pillowy, doughy goodness in front of me as my friends dug in. I just made sure not to stare at it too long and distract myself by people watching. I felt pretty accomplished after getting through that meal at what was once my favorite restaurant--and perhaps, still is ... just from a distance.
Breakfast for Dinner at LA Vegan
One of the things my boyfriend and I had been craving throughout the detox was the pancakes at LA Vegan. For a primarily Thai food restaurant, they serve ah-mazing breakfast food: light, golden pancakes (that taste just as good reheated the next day), tofu scramble (infused with curry for that scrambled egg look) topped with dairy-free cheese and a side of soy bacon strips. Oh, and before that, we ordered another favorite of ours: soy chicken sate with peanut sauce. It's hands down the best appetizer there. It looks and tastes just like chicken ... without the guilt.
I wish I had taken pictures of my meal but I was too eager to eat it. I did get a bit lightheaded, probably because I shocked my body with too much sugar. Luckily the lightheadedness went away about half an hour after dinner. The food made it worth it!