Meat, meet un-meat.

by | Apr 3, 2013

One of my favorite vegan spots, Peacefood Café, has recently opened in the East Village/Union Square area and I am thrilled! There are so many creative savory and sweet options to choose from there, mostly made with meat substitutes like tempeh and seitan, but there are also some whole food dishes, like roasted or steamed veggies, green salads, and that sort of thing.

For our meal the other night, my bf and I shared The Other Caesar Salad with tempeh “bacon” bits and a plate of deliciously spicy Chickpea Fries as starters, then he ordered the Penne Un-chicken Parmesan for his entrée and I had the PFC Un-chicken Basket (meat-substitute chicken fingers) served with a mild chipotle “mayo” dipping sauce on the side. I barely ate my meal since I couldn’t stop picking at my bf’s dish, so I ended up having it packed up as leftovers. Our dessert was a shared slice of peanut butter dairy-free cheesecake, which was a little on the gummy side; I might have preferred one of the monster cookie options instead.

The issue with vegan foods is that not everything is healthy, so, if you’re opting for one of the meat substitute dishes (which are, technically, processed) or anything that doesn’t resemble a whole or raw food, just be sure your tummy can handle whatever’s in the recipe—like deep frying, soy, or wheat gluten—and be sure to ask your server if you’re not positive about what’s in the dish.

For me, this kind of vegan eating is a treat as I have a very sensitive stomach, so I can’t overdo it; otherwise, it’s the same as someone eating a gallon of ice cream when she’s lactose intolerant. Since I’ve been on a liver detox cleanse the past two weeks, I probably should have waited it out before stepping into Peacefood Café, but I gave into temptation and, unfortunately, ended up paying the price for it—a sour stomach and a raging headache. Was it worth it? Probably, but I’ll definitely mix it up a little more next time and not eat something so heavy and processed in all three of my courses.


I’m Dina R. D’Alessandro, MS, RDN, CDN. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York City, and I provide nutrition counseling to women.

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