Review: Sacred Chow Vegan Brunch (New York)

We’re back in New York (from our Miami trip)! More on that later though. The other day Bobby and I ended up going Sacred Chow, a vegan restaurant downtown.

Sacred Chow is organic, fair trade, sustainable, kosher, and vegan. And relatively inexpensive for what it offers. I cannot wait to go back. It’s located near NYU on Sullivan Street (between West 3rd and Bleecker). It’s right near Quantum Leap, Peanut Butter & Co., and probably a bunch of other cool places.

I was a salad girl and got the Tapa Salad ($12), which is their standard humongous salad (seasonal greens, shredded beets, shredded carrots, cucumbers) and a choice of any tapas dish. I got the honey mustard dressing, but it was just okay. I didn’t use much and instead used the dip that came with my side dish.

For my tapas side I chose the sauteed shiitake mushrooms, which were tender, juicy, and meaty. They came with a wonderful gluten-free South Indian Dip. I used all of it (for dipping and for my salad). So good.

Bobby got the Breakfast Sandwich ($12.75), which is a soy biscuit filled with tofu scramble (which spills out – there is so much) and tempeh bacon (actually yummy, even though I normally hate tempeh). It came with the largest side salad I have ever seen. The salad was a smaller version of mine.

Sure enough, after finishing (!) this, Bobby says, “Wow, I’m full.” Yes sweetie, that is what happens when you eat a salad. They honestly are filling. And not in that unpleasant too-many-carbs-filling way; salads fill you up in a comforting veggie-full way.

The scramble was the best scramble either of us had ever had, so we will definitely be going back. We also couldn’t get enough of my mushrooms. Next time I think we’ll get a few tapas (grilled western tofu, bbq seitan, root vegetable latkes, marinated raw kale) or maybe go for some of the other brunch selections (biscuits and gravy, omega-3 waffle).

Useful links:

Unfortunately we are currently laid up with the flu, so we are missing my coworker’s wedding. I’m getting better, but Bobby is now hitting the worst of it and is probably contagious. I’m sure it’ll be a beautiful wedding and they are so sweet. They’re honeymooning in Hawaii (just like us).

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Healthy Eating In Miami

We are on day 2 of our Miami trip (we got here Tuesday night; we are in town for Bobby’s sister’s high school graduation). So far eats have been fantastic, but unfortunately I have a cold. I’m recovering, I think!


  • Breakfast: blueberry yogurt with blueberries, strawberries, and wheat germ
  • Snack: fresh papaya
  • Lunch: Japanese bento box from Matsuri – this was ordered off the special Japanese menu, thanks to my future MIL. She knows I love hijiki so she suggested it. It came with grilled saba (mackerel), hijiki salad, salad, miso soup, sukimono (pickled vegetables – in this case cucumber). (Picture source.)
  • Dinner: papaya salad (papaya, tomato, shrimp, calamari, mussels) and Thai basil chicken from Lan (with friends). (old pictures)
  • Dessert: a cookie that I made with my friend (chocolate chip and pecan! recipe coming soon maybe…) + a bite of the bagels we made (cinnamon raisin)
  • Late night snack: fresh fruit (grapes, cherries, papaya)

Today has been great so far too. We are headed off now, but I had oatmeal with blueberries, wheat germ, and honey for breakfast (Bobby’s mom had oatmeal too) and then we snacked on papaya.

We are having such an amazing time here. It’s so good to be with Bobby’s family (my family now too), who we don’t get to see very often.

How often do you see your family?

Phone blogging! Review: Wai Cafe by Union Square

I am blogging from the tarmac at JFK right now. I took blackberry pictures of our meal the other night so now is the perfect time to review Wai Cafe, a cute little restaurant a few blocks away from Union Square (East Village, 1st Ave between 12th and 13th). Wai Cafe is cheap, healthy-eater friendly, and very cute.

I ordered a cobb salad (hold the blue cheese) with a delicious carrot dressing. It had all the usual suspects (egg, chicken, turkey bacon, half of an avocado, tomatoes) and was honestly the best cobb salad that I can remember having. It was around $7 (the lunch one is even less – around $4) which is shockingly cheap for New York. Fresh and satisfying.

Before the salad Bobby and I split gazpacho (a favorite – we almost always order it to share when it’s on a menu). I think this was $3. It wasn’t the most gourmet gazpacho I’ve had, but it certainly was worth $3! It was smooth but still had lots of yummy chunks.

I forget what Bobby got – something with chicken, rice, and vegetables – but I do remember being impressed that it came with brown rice and lots of veggies. He says it was Lemon Chicken (just looked over my shoulder) and that it was good. It also came with a salad and a glass of wine for a dollar.

We’ll definitely be back. Can’t wait to try more of their healthy options! I may have to get that Cobb Salad again though – it was just that good.

Do you order the same thing when you go out? Or do you switch things up?

Experiment: My IBS Management Plan

This title sounds like the title to some kind of report I might write for work. Or school. I hope it goes as well as some of my papers did for school 😉 I used to do fairly decently in my classes.

The problem: I’ve been eating well recently (meaning not much late-night eating, minimal overeating, not too many salads, etc…), but my stomach is really bothering me. It’s been worse than usual ever since I moved to New York back in November. I was diagnosed with IBS ages ago, but never took it seriously – so I’m doing some research.

The solution: use diet to treat and manage my IBS. I’m reading Heather Van Vorous’s book, The First Year: Irritable Bowel Syndrome . While it’s not my first year, it’s the first time I’m actually going to try to treat it. The book has rave reviews on Amazon and I picked it up at Borders this weekend with my 33% off coupon.


People with IBS have very sensitive digestive systems. The slightest things can set us off. Here are the basic things that I *must* follow if I want relief.

  • Don’t let myself get too hungry
  • Never eat anything but soluble fiber on an empty stomach (more on this below)
  • Follow a low-fat diet, high in soluble fiber, being careful with insoluble fiber, and avoiding my IBS triggers (like whipped cream and frozen yogurt)
  • Keep stress levels low (includes doing yoga and getting enough sleep)
  • Drink herbal tea (peppermint, ginger, chamomile)
  • Soluble fiber supplements

Let’s talk about soluble fiber. Soluble fiber foods are things like white bread (not wonder bread!), sourdough, white rice, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes (white and sweet), squash (yay! kabocha squash), turnips, carrots, beets, applesauce (or peeled apples), papayas, and avocados. These are supposed to be the basis of an IBS-er’s diet. Eat these before anything else and your stomach will thank you. They should make up more than half of each meal.

As for insoluble fiber, you should only eat this after eating the soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber would be things like whole wheat breads, bran, popcorn, berries, oranges, greens, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower… you get the idea – non-starchy veggies, basically. And these should preferably be cooked before eating for easier digestion.

Fats – be careful. Avoid them in large quantities. Stay away from fried things, dairy, red meat. I already stay away from most of these things; the fats I eat a lot of are butter and nut butters (and whipped cream, which really really makes my stomach hurt).

Let’s look at today’s lunch as a good example of an IBS-friendly meal. I went to Burger Heaven with Bobby and I got a baked potato with sauteed veggies (broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and cauliflower). I started off with the potato. It looked pretty much like this, but more humongous:

I had some plain, then added a little butter, ketchup, and pepper. After I let that settle into my stomach, I ate the veggies, which were delicious. I didn’t stuff myself (I took part of the potato home, but ate it almost as soon as we got back). I had the soluble fiber first, then the insoluble broccoli et al. I am pretty sure broccoli is another trigger for my stomach acting up.

I will *definitely* keep y’all updated on this.

I’m feeling hopeful. I want my stomach to feel great while we’re in Miami visiting the family 🙂 I am so tired of missing things because of my tum!!

What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend? (We have a wedding to go to – my coworker’s.)

More Tips for Beating IBS: Soothe Your Tummy

I had no idea my “help your tummy tips” would be so well received. I got so much wonderful feedback that I want to go on about this a little more.

Go Dairy Free book

(My review of Alisa’s book here.)

Many people suggested that I might be allergic to something – and you are probably right. I spent most of last year dairy-free (my macrobiotic experiment), and during the dairy-free times my symptoms were much less severe. I also tried food combining last year, which helped as well, but for various reasons I stopped doing that.

So I’m going to try something yet again. One commenter (hi Kim!) has a great website about how she deals with her IBS. When I was diagnosed (back in 2004, when the cafeteria food at college made my stomach a writhing mess) I kind of ignored it. My doctor didn’t tell me there was anything I could do; he just suggested that I stop eating the cafeteria food.

The longest respite I had from the syndrome was from 2005-2007. To solve my problems I just didn’t eat much. Great for my digestion, but not that healthy in general – I was too thin.

Now… I’m going to buy a book Kim mentioned on her site called Eating for IBS. From what I can tell, it’s about food combining (but not in the raw sense), trigger foods, and having a happy stomach. I will come up with a plan and post it – if you have IBS too maybe you can try it out as well.

And here are more tips that you all had for calming IBS and pissy stomachs:

  • Don’t overdo the fiber
  • Drink tea (peppermint is particularly helpful)
  • Get checked for food allergies (dairy, gluten, etc…)
  • Stress is a trigger… so chill out
  • Small snacks can help, but don’t snack too much
  • Don’t eat past the point of fullness
  • Careful with whipped cream
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Rubbing your belly in clockwise circles
  • Get some exercise each day – get moving to get moving one might say 🙂
  • Cat/cow yoga stretches
  • Don’t forget about probiotics (supplements)

I am going to try to follow them!

Tonight I have a date with Bobby (I have hardly seen him all week) and tomorrow I’m going to New Jersey to do some wedding tasting with my 2 best girlfriends, my sister (my MOH), and my mom (my wedding savior). Bobby and I are going to Miami next week (oops – think I forgot to mention this) so I need to get lots of stuff done this weekend (work and otherwise).

What are your weekend plans?