27 Days Raw: Vegan Restaurants Really Need to Do Better


Fish Tofu:  Does this look remotely appetizing to you?

I have to be honest.  This past Saturday I was starving and had to go off of raw foods for a moment.  I figured, if I have to do cooked foods for one meal, I might as well make the best choice in cooked food possible, right?  So I went into a vegan restaurant.  I figured, how bad can it be — it’s all VEGAN!  I took a look at their ready-made cooked food choices:  starches — pasta, potatoes, rice; overcooked veggies, and meat substitutes made of soy.  Yes, all these choices are vegan, but it was all DEAD FOOD.  Their raw/cold selection consisted of a wheat pasta salad, a cucumber salad, and some type of faux tuna salad.

I decided to be adventurous as I usually am with my food and ordered a “fish” special.  It came with rice and peas and I selected an order of cooked collards and cabbage on the side.  The faux fish tasted, well, processed.  It kind of had an escoveitched fish flavor, dense like a piece of king fish steak (any Caribbean food lovers out there???).  It also had some kind of a faux fish skin on the outer edges of it.  I am guessing they bought this faux fish already processed as I could not imagine the restaurant preparing this “fish” themselves.  The taste???  SUPER SALTY!!!  The denseness of the faux fish absorbed a lot of the saltyness.  However the onions and peppers were not able to survive — they were inedible right along with the rice and peas.  The tofu sat at the pit of my stomach like a couple of bricks (even heavier than I remember meat to be…).  The cabbage and collards were delicious with just an added touch of spiciness.  But what was missing from this plate was that surge of energy I get from eating raw greens.  Quite literally, when I eat raw kale or collards, it’s like I took its vitamins, put it in a syringe, and injected all that goodness straight into my blood stream.  It really is the best feeling in the world!  Food is meant to be a source of energy and fuel so we can get through the day.  I ate this plate of salted tofu kindalikefish stuff and I wanted to go right to sleep.  I mean, I sat there in a coma for about 30 minutes — just staring out the window because I had no motivation to move.

I guess now that I am near the end of my raw food feast, I have learned to expect more from my food.  Food is not simply meant to taste good; food is nourishment for your body, mind, and spirit.  If your body is malnourished (and yes, even fat people are malnourished…), one or more of these three are going to be out of whack.  So I challenge our vegan restaurants to not just serve food that is a replica of meals cooked with meat and starch.  I understand that many vegan restaurants serve many non-vegan patrons.  However there is more to being vegan than deep fried Boca burgers, tofu, and pasta.  Try adding some raw foods that have some kind of nutrients in them and truly teach people how to eat well.