Thursday, October 28, 2010

Skinny Bastard

During My Vegan Quest I was filmed visiting Dr. Fuhrman ("Eat to Live") by Joshua, a cameraman, activist, and blogger about fashion, etiquette and "ethically handsome men." Clearly we were approaching veganism from opposite sides of the spectrum - mine was dietary, his was ethics. We could not be more far apart politically, spiritually, and socially, but he is a good guy, and we had some very interesting conversations. What could have easily descended into a political shouting match so often found with the vociferate spouters of opinion that have supplanted national, civil debate, we bonded over which are the best vegan restaurants, and vegan recipes. Don't laugh, the rough and tumble Vince Lombardi would read recipe books to relax.

This is why I so embraced the new world of veganism for six months, and have continued on a mostly plant based diet since then. It was the opposite of who I am, and more and more people who knew me suddenly began to look at this lifestyle in a positive light. Also, my new friend is friends with Rory Freedman, co-author of the wildly popular book, "Skinny Bitch." Basically, it is a book that teaches women how to lose weight by eating healthfully, avoiding animal products, and look great - all with serious attitude. I was most grateful the other day when Rory sent me an autographed copy with a poignant inscription in their follow-up book, "Skinny Bastard."

A sampling of their style and attitude found in the book "Skinny Bastard":

So you’re fat. Big deal. Chances are, you haven’t done so badly, despite the few extra lbs you’re carting around. (Women are so amazing—we can be madly in love with a man, despite how he looks.) But don’t kid yourself, pal: A hot-bodied man is a head-turner. So don’t waste your money on a stupid sports car to get chicks; a woman who cares about what kind of car a man drives is a vapid, shallow whore. Invest in yourself. (A woman who cares about how a man looks is also a vapid, shallow whore. But at least you’ll look good.) You have only one body to get you through this lifetime. So quit eating crap and abusing yourself! Even if you never look like Brad Pitt, if you’re eating well and exercising, you’ll be healthier, happier, and more confident. Chicks dig that shit.

Not you average self-help and diet book, is it? But, I agree with Rory -- don't think that it is only children that need to be tricked, cajoled, and "related to" on their level to achieve a well-behaved and healthier living. Yes, kids need to be promised ice cream so they don't act up in the yarn store. Yes, a baby will be more amused by the flying "plane" of apple sauce going into their mouth so they eat. And, yes, it is effective to play the "nap game," or the "quiet game," for your children acting like humming birds on crack. Why not men?

We are, at heart, still me, I rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the caveman infantry. Therefore, neither ethics, nor general health, nor weight loss will necessarily light the fire to eat healthier. Why? Because we lived an entire childhood hunting big game in our backyards with a sling shot. When guys get together we go to steak joints...the last vestige of that wonderful private club made famous in "The Little Rascals," the He-Man Women Haters Club! Do, we really hate women? Hardly! Try this experiment - get a bunch of guys around a big white linen table, piled high with sizzling steak in butter sauce, creamed spinach, and hash browns with cases of red wine. They will quickly resemble a gathering of 9th Grade boys in the locker room no matter their current age or station in life. They will grumble and gripe about their wives, girlfriends, and women in general (except that hot intern from Brazil). Now, supplant one of the typical, 55 year old, uniformed men who are the waiters in places like these with an attractive young woman, and watch how these cavemen elbow out each other with snarling ferocity to curry favor with this lady. Oh, and 70% of these guys have pot bellies, but they still manage to date attractive women. And, yes, Darla always managed to take over the He-Man club too. To get men to eat healthier you must apply the "Darla Principal." The current vegan PR campaign is atrocious, that is why I am going to do it more effectively.

So, what is the motivation to eat mostly a plant-based diet? What "Skinny Bastard" does is play to the hot buttons and insecurities of men. And what I plan to do with my book about My Vegan Quest is to serve as a 5th Column, if you will, within the ranks of cavemen to show them a better way, to live longer, to feel better, and to get that phone number of that beautiful waitress before your buddy does!

If this sounds like I am objectifying women, it is only to appeal to the most debased elements of my species in order to get them to eat a more plant based diet. And besides, I already found the woman of my dreams and the only reason it has taken me 20 years is that I was hunkered down in a cave for the past two decades thinking that I conquered the world merely because I learned how to make fire.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Very New York Day

Last night I went to an industry party down on Wall Street and I knew they would not be serving vegetable hors d'oeuvres, so I planned ahead. Meeting my friend in Union Square to take the train downtown, I got there early and popped into my old favorite, The Coffee Shop. Instead of my requisite vegan wrap, I went with the veggie burger and avocado instead - obviously, more calories and carbs, but it was delicious! For lunch I went to Sapporo next to Rockefeller Center where I was one of three non-Japanese people in this over-crowded restaurant...a good sign. I had the vegetable ramen which was very good, but I am still partial to Menku Tei on 56th.

The party was held on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange which was very, very cool! I have never been and it was a real treat to go on the actual NYSE floor for a party! True to form it was the typical hors d'oeuvres of fried concoctions, with cocktail bars sprinkled throughout this bastion of finance. Obviously, the security was quite strict to say the least! My friend used to be a broker and he was explaining all the ins and outs of this intimidating room filled with monitors and numbers. He picked up a pad of buy slips, which littered the tables, and explained how the stocks or whatever were traded on the floor. I confess I took one of the small blank slips of white "Buy" ("Sell" are pink) pieces of paper as a souvenir.

It was a pretty fun event, and as I left I stopped to chat with a police officer who was munching on almonds - she offered me some, and I commented that it was nice to see a cop eating raw almonds and not glazed donuts...she thought that was funny.  My buddy and I then decided to stop off at the bar, Knickerbocker, to continue our conversation. There we met a fashion editor for Glamour magazine complaining about her photographer during that day's cover shoot which certainly added to the conversation. All in all a thoroughly New York City evening!

So, My Vegan Quest will live on past Nov. 1st. I really appreciate all the emails I received asking my to keep writing...thank you!

But, writing daily is just too much of too little to write about, so, after November 1st, my one year anniversary, I will be writing a weekly post in My Vegan Quest every Sunday night.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Riding Alone No More

Back during WWII there was an effective ad campaign that promoted conserving gas through car pooling by exclaiming that if you ride alone you are hurting the war effort. I was trying to think of an analogy about eating alone since for the past year I mostly ate alone when I was not entertaining clients (Guy friends don't do "dinners"). For me, it was effective since I did not need a cheerleader, or a buddy to help me through my daily vegan quest. When I rode alone I was happy enough and stayed true to eating a nutrient dense diet. Now, I am not riding alone anymore and virtually every meal this weekend was with the Tennis Star (who is not much of a star at darts I discovered). Eating with a girlfriend you become more interested in variety and tasting each other's meals. For me it is more of a challenge even though she is very careful about what she eats. So, when you eat alone you eat with yourself...that's about it, that is all I got from the creative department! Lack of creativity aside, my point is that having a girlfriend certainly adds a new dimension to my eating habits.

Sagaponack Restaurant

Friday night we went to a play at the Irish Repertory Theatre, "Banished Children of Eve." We were in the front row of this tiny theatre and it was quite good. For dinner we went to the restaurant Sagaponack on 22nd Street. It is a nice, new seafood restaurant named after the picturesque coastal town out on Long Island, and oddly enough is in a place that used to be a bar where I celebrated my 39th birthday in grand (read: unhealthy) style.

Here is the deal, I had some shell fish and a fish ravioli dish that was terrific. But, this weekend I simply had too much pasta - I was rather indulgent because I was not really concentrating on myself and my diet. It was not terribly by any means, but I certainly was not as disciplined as I normally am. I am not riding alone anymore and it is a terrific feeling -- now I just need to reconcile that with my goals and all will be perfect.

Il Gattopardo

Today had a client luncheon at Il Gattopardo which is a fantastic Italian restaurant in midtown. Their lentil soup special (made with vegetable stock) was exquisite. For an entrée I just could not pass up the eggplant ravioli - fantastic. Not sure why I have had a huge pasta kick recently, but I need to curb it quickly.

I guess, in the end it is only fitting that this new lifestyle of mine, started 1 year ago has paid terrific dividends in my health and general well-being, and now in my personal life.

As someone recently said about me, "You are now Terry 2.0." Indeed. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Living on 9th

Today I made myself to a diner on 9th Avenue for breakfast for some oatmeal and bananas and a side of cantaloupe. Looking at the characters in the heart of Hell's Kitchen slurping down eggs and bacon - some who looked like they are paying for the meal from pennies collected on a street corner in an old coffee cup - gave me some perspective. Cheap food that is not good for you may satiate, but it does not nourish. But, if you are just happy to have a meal  for the day what does it matter?

I met up a friend after work and then went to a going away party for someone in the industry where I saw some old friends. I had a drink but continued to think how I would have been a year ago - chasing fun, over-indulging, and choosing to make myself happy with food and drink. I met a sweet girl who, when discussing my vegan quest with an old colleague of mine, exclaimed with Elaine-like enthusiasm (from "Seinfeld"), "Get out! I've heard about you!"  So, in this small industry it got around that a "normal" carnivore went vegan for six months. I take satisfaction that I keep bringing normality to a plant-based diet amongst people who not only would never consider such a thing, but would think negatively of such an endeavor until they realize one of their own accomplished it.
When I left I was filled with energy and walked home from 13th and 9th Avenue - 3 miles. I walked through the hip Chelsea neighborhood, the barren 30's near the Post Office, the once debaucherous and now re-surging 40's, and up through my old neighborhood, the now very  popular 50's before heading east. I must have passed 30 restaurants on 9th Avenue alone and each one of them was packed. I wish I could give some sort of intelligent insight into the restaurants along 9th Ave., but other than the sheer variety of them, all I can say is...there are alot of people in New York City!

I was starving when I got home and made myself some spinach pasta with Patsy's tomato sauce. Yeah, not a good idea with the carbs - especially so late.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Upcoming Event

On November 9th, the Tennis Star and I will be enjoying "A Very Veggie Thanksgiving."

This special event will be at the Braeburn at 117 Perry St. (Greenwich St.)

Join chef Brian Bistrong as he prepares a special twist on traditional Turkey Day fare with a five-course vegetarian feast paired with wines at his innovative West Villager. Designed to show you what veggies can do, chef Bistrong's menu will tempt your palate with items like roasted beets with petticoat lane apples and walnut purée, creamless trumpet royal soup with celery leaf, herb gnocchi with roasted squash sauce and chestnut stuffing with slow poached egg and Brussels sprouts. Your pre-holiday host will then send you on your way with all the recipes so you can bring them to your Thanksgiving table.

I would love it if you are a reader of the blog, living in the city, and would like to join to reach out to me ( It would be fun to meet new people at such a great sounding dinner event.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday Twosome

Yesterday, I knew I would be working through lunch so I loaded up on a late morning breakfast with two orders of oatmeal and bananas. Didn't get too hungry late in the day either.

I met up with the Tennis Star in the lobby of her office (for the first time) and she definitely had her game-face on -- stern female executive, and not the smiling, sweet new girlfriend. Pretty comical, but I played along. 

We had a date at one of my favorite vegan restaurants in NYC, my friend Benay's place (she's the COO), Candle Cafe. Being that Candle Cafe is on 3rd and 75th, and I met the Tennis Star on 47th and 5th she naturally suggested we walk the almost 2 miles on this cool, crisp Autumn evening. I could not agree more! However, it was not until around St. Patrick's Cathedral on 51st Street, sufficiently far enough away from her work and co-workers, that she allowed us to steal a kiss, and her Thatcheresque stiff upper lip and rigid corporate spine then softened, morphing into that bouncy Co-Ed skipping to tennis practice.

Because the restaurant manager recognized me, from the last time, we were seated rather quickly on this very busy Tuesday night. These are the little things that stack up in a young, well, used to be young, suitor's favor.

We started with the mezze plate appetizer which really is fantastic! It comes with hummus, quinoa tabouli, lemon-date chutney, marinated olives, parata bread and zataar. Delectable. I also had the magical miso which was similar to miso I typically have but with thin slices of carrots and onions.  The Tennis Star had the special -- mushroom risotto which she really enjoyed, in fact she had to take some home it was such a large helping.  I went with the Chile-Lime Grilled Seitan with Roasted vegetable quinoa pilaf, sautéed greens and an avocado salad. Served with a black bean sauce and chipotle coulis. It was fantastic. The seitan had a great texture and spicy kick. Oh, and Benay stopped by to say hello, especially since explaining that she had noticed days before that I changed my Facebook status to, "In a relationship with..." A major step to say the least, not to mention, the vegan community is similar to a sewing circle as far as gossip is concerned!

Then, I watched the Yankees lose spectacularly, again. The Tennis Star was very consoling, however. Well, as consoling as a die-hard Red Sox fan from Boston can be, which is not at all.  I mean, she did say, "I'm so sorry," before falling onto the ground in a fit of laughter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Changed Life

Imagine, I debated for a long time whether to order chicken or not. It was recommended, and I decided to try it at Freemans restaurant in the Lower East Side. Althought the decor would be an anathema to PETA, the restaurant is a good, hip place. I ordered the vegetables and side of brussel sprouts which were good, but again, too oily (I even ordered light on oil).

My date had the scallops which were tasty as well.

It is quite remarkable that in this current life of mine the big deviation of the norm was a chicken dish. For the old me, that would have been the healthiest thing I ate.

The rest of the weekend was rather healthy - save for the cigar and rye Saturday night while pitching woo.

Which brings me to me next topic. I met someone very special who was an outstanding tennis player (once ranked number 1 in New England) in her youth, and loves exercise and healthy eating. Part of the reason I was negligent in writing in the blog was because I spent the weekend with the tennis star doing things like walking in the park.

Also, I am fast approaching a year on my vegan quest and aftermath. What more can I write?

So, as I continue to eat healthfully, and live a life dedicated to life and not immediate gratification, and with a wonderful burgeoning relationship I feel like I will just be repeating myself. My goal weight is another month and a half away I figure, and my life has changed so much for the better.

I think I might end this blog on the anniversary of my Vegan Quest which is November 1st. I am really not sure what else to write about? Excercise tips and eating tips can be found in multiple places, so I guess I have just run out of things to say.

I will end these final two weeks strong with my thoughts on vegansim, healthy eating, and how I continue to navigate a very social lifestyle.

There are some who like to email me, so PLEASE continue to do so!

Today, surprise, I had oatmeal for breakfast, edamame and miso for lunch, had a moderate work-out after work, and vegetarian powerhouse salad from Chopt for dinner.

Oh, and I watched my beloved Yankees get pummeled.

Friday, October 15, 2010


So, this week has been incredibly busy and I have simply had no time to write!

Really the highlights has been the moderation I have exhibited. One night I went to a rambunctious fundraiser with all my friends and sipped two cups of beer through the night and had a great time. Another is when I sat in a French café on a first date and talked for three hours over one, just one glass of wine. This is huge for me because I kept thinking that in the bad old days I would have ordered some pate' and cheese, downed a bunch of cocktails , and while glassy-eyed try to pitch woo. Those days are dead.

Food wise it was not a vegan week, and I even had some sausage in this pasta dish I had, but the thing is that I really didn't enjoy it. I really love the way I am living -- really, really love it. But, yes, I have some work to do to get to my optimal weight. Pretty much harder and stricter exercise will complete this mission!

I will say that I got terrific inspiration this week from a fabulous new show on Broadway called "Lombardi." It is a portrait of the great Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi. No one motivated like Lombardi, and after watching this play I was glassy-eyed alright - because I was so moved! The acting is sure to win the Tony Award. Amazing!

Lombardi is famous for countless quotes (and having the Super Bowl trophy named after him!), but here is just a few to take with you into the weekend:

"Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit."

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

"Success demands singleness of purpose."

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This is Frightful

From Yahoo News:

Vladimir Lenin, King Tut and the McDonald's Happy Meal: What do they all have in common? A shocking resistance to Mother Nature's cycle of decomposition and biodegradability, apparently.

That's the disturbing point brought home by the latest project of New York City-based artist and photographer Sally Davies, who bought a McDonald's Happy Meal back in April and left it out in her kitchen to see how well it would hold up over time.

The results? "The only change that I can see is that it has become hard as a rock," Davies told the U.K. Daily Mail.

She proceeded to photograph the Happy Meal each week and posted the pictures to...record the results of her experiment. Now, just over six months later, the Happy Meal has yet to even grow mold. She told the Daily Mail that "the food is plastic to the touch and has an acrylic sheen to it."

Read this article in full before your next trip to McDonalds.

Now, I am not anti-McDonald's, I ate there probably weekly growing up and I was quite thin. The company donates millions to good charities, and the Ronald McDonald House for sick children is a wonderful organization. They have every right to not just be in business, but to be wildly successful too. The food is cheap, and there are plenty of exceptional, loving, and intelligent parents who feed their kids McDonald's. However, this is just a public service you know what you are putting in yours and your children's bodies? Shouldn't natural food spoil over a short time, especially without refrigeration? At least that's what I remember from Science class and studying Louis Pastuer in school.

Not Exactly Ponce de Leon...

But I am back from Florida where I found the fountain of unhealthy living...if I open up a healthy restaurant in the middle of  Pensacola, and market it just right I can retire there in grand style!!

I love feeling awful.

My body is so conditioned for healthy food void of most all animal products that when I eat terribly, when I eat like the average American, when I eat like I used to, I feel sick for days.

And so it was this past weekend on the beaches of Florida for one of my best friend's wedding. Part of the reason I went totally booze-less and back to veganism the past 2 weeks is because I knew that at this particular wedding, and all the events surrounding it, it would be a rather unhealthy weekend. Another excuse? Hmmm, perhaps, but in a city with a million excuses to live unhealthfully, I am going to chose a wedding, where you are the best man, as acceptable.

Flounder's Chowder House
 Plus, it was in Florida where they fry everything. The only time there was a moderately acceptable diet plan was in the morning at the hotel buffet. In addition to fake looking eggs and greasy sausage and bacon there was oatmeal and fruit. But, the oatmeal was instant and I could taste all the sugar in it right away. I mean, sure, I get why they put sugar in oatmeal - so kids would find it more appetizing. But, hear is a novel idea, don't sugar up your kids from the get go and they'd be just as happy with regular old corn flakes, or non-instant, sugary oatmeal.

There was plenty of peel and eat shrimp, which I do love, being that fish is really the only animal product I have anymore (almost never meat or dairy). But to be honest, when you cook shrimp for 100 people they almost always boil it too long. You want good shrimp? Go down to Chinatown, buy fresh ones and cook it yourself. As it was, the shrimp was too mushy and I am afraid I may not have an appetite for it anymore.

I tell you what I absolutely don't have an appetite for anymore (not that I really did before), was anything fried. Like a smoker in shock therapy, I am absolutely repulsed by anything fried anymore. Seriously. I never ate it that much when I was at my unhealthiest, and when I had some fish and chips in Ireland it was pretty tasty. But, when I had just a few mouthfuls of a friend oyster sandwich (really my only choice for a meal one night) it just sat there in my stomach like an army of miniature, ancient Greek soldiers refighting the Penopolesian war. I was dying for some fruit and vegetables which were not to be found in casual beach restaurants with names like Pegleg Pete's, Flounders, or the Crab Shack!

But the wedding was an awesome time, and the camaraderie was second to none. The beaches were beautiful and the water was warm and clear - I'd like to say I swam a lot, but the beach day was basically 30 people standing around in the water, laughing our heads off and with an empty wastepaper basket floating about and being passed was filled with ice and beer.

I did get a good workout in, however. You know I studiously avoid any high-impact exercise on my thoroughly weakened, bone-on-bone, knees? I try to stick with bikes, and elliptical machines. Is dancing good for my knees? Nope! Did I care? Nope! For 2 or 3 hours Friday night I danced my head off with the rest of the group. But for some reason I just never left the dance floor - I was having too much fun. Even my trainer Chris, also in the wedding, asked why can't I move like that in his class? The work-out was great, but my knees were suffering the next couple of days.

Anyway, back to healthy living! And not just because I know intellectually it is better for me, but because my body is craving my healthy lifestyle. I'm only too happy to oblige.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been in Florida at a wedding since Thursday! Arriving back tonight and will post something new tomorrow AM~!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We All Need Cheerleaders at Times

This weekend I enjoyed eating vegan, and eating healthfully, and not drinking. I hung out with friends and had a good time. I think one of the strongest feeling is a sense of power - to have power over what I eat. That makes me feel great.

While watching the Giants beat up on the Bears Sunday night at my friends bar, and sipping water, a guy I know who really struggles with weight starting talking to me. It was sort of touching in a way. I mean this guy is rather obese and he just wanted to talk. He bragged that he normally orders the quesadilla, but he just ordered the chicken and vegetables. Now, looking how the chicken and vegetables are made it was not a banner dish health-wise, but it was much better than a extra cheese covered quesadilla. I congratulated him, and I encouraged him. He was searching for answers, and being human, I think he wanted easy answers. But, also, I think he needs some cheerleaders.
Many people it seems want some sort of a teamwork and encouragement with their weight loss. To use a friend, or stranger, or a host of people to help them stay motivated to lose weight. Many want cheerleaders. My pal in LA has repeatedly asked to have a joint weight loss competition between the two of us. I think that is a great way to stay on track.

However, I am more of a lone wolf in that regard. Even though I write in a very public forum, and love the teamwork of my workouts (though the weather is prohibiting me from going tonight - I'll go to the gym instead), when it comes to my personal weight loss I prefer to go it alone. People who are trying to quit smoking may need others as support, and certainly those who need to quit drinking for good definitely need a support group. So it makes sense that those who are trying to lose weight use a support group or person to help them through the rough patches.

For me, I just go it alone...unfortunately like some of our biggest American golfers in the Ryder Cup where lack of leadership and team cohesiveness was one of the many contributing factors to their loss of the Ryder Cup to the Europeans!

Last night because of the weather I skipped the Central Park training and went to the gym. Today I feel tired, but actually psychologically much thinner. It is amazing how effective movement is to continuing the weight loss!  You simply feel better afterwards. Not one to quote Nietzsche, I do agree however with his quote, "What does not kill you makes you stronger."  Yes, it is an extreme example, but tired and achy muscles from proper sustained movement (or exercise) is better 100 out of 100 times than a tired and achy body because of over-eating, eating junk, being hungover, or just from sloth-like behavior.

So, find a cheerleader from within, or recruit from the outside world. Does not matter, just find motivation that works!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Still in the Driver's Seat

"And no one's getting fat, except Mama Cass."    I could not get that song, "Creeque Alley" by the Mamas & the Papas out of my head as I was shopping. On one hand I was thinking of how 45 years ago that was a big deal - to be over weight, and on another I was thinking how I wish changing your weight was as easy as changing your hair style.  Well, I have had the same hairstyle since 1992, and it works, well, for me anyway. But my weight was not working for me. 

Since I decided to go back to being 100% vegan and 100% booze free for two weeks it immediately brought me back to my 6 month journey -- it's easier. Easier because I was taking the guess work out of my diet. Urges can be incredibly strong, but when you make stark choices then, well, you have no choice but to eat healthfully. So, I guess, I would suggest for anyone having trouble with their diet to just take a week and make healthy eating totally unambiguous. Just do it. I have found that urges pass infinitely quicker than guilt.

I have not been weighing myself, however, I have been measuring my belly -- not altogether the best way to measure your success, but for me it makes me happier. For instance, when I started this Vegan Quest last November, my belly protruded to an Arbucklesque 51 1/2" inches around! I finished in May at 43 1/2" inches! Now it's 44 1/4" and shrinking.

Since going out on my own there is no doubt that the reintroduction of alcohol, plus some decisions I made reversed my success. This past summer it was a bit of a see saw for me, and if I had reached my goal of losing 75 lbs that would be OK, but to come up short and then wrestle with weight gain and loss is not acceptable.

Anyway, I've been on a rather good trend, and I have accelerated it so I feel great!