April 28, 2009

I’m the first to admit it: my job is incredible, full of amazing people, food, wine and spirits, places… but it also really takes its toll. No matter how much I ride my bike, walk, do yoga, and eat flax cereal and whole grains and organic vegetables at home, my body can’t hold up to the physical pummeling of dinner and events and drinks six nights a week.

I started noticing that I was “giving up” on eating light or healthy since it seemed futile to even try, with temptation at every turn. I have consistently been putting on weight since I started writing about food seven years ago, and the options in my closet have been getting smaller (while my waist size keeps getting bigger, WTF). My metabolism also isn’t what it used to be–it’s an unfortunate reality. And I have a strong constitution, so I tend to push my luck. But if I am going to continue doing this gig, I need to find some balance and instill healthier habits, because I don’t want to end up like Jabba the Hut, and damaging my body.

I was intrigued about this ~THREE-WEEK CLEANSE/DETOX~ that was going to be launched in partnership with my yoga studio. After some persuasive discussions with the practitioner, Lawrence Kampf, I decided it was a good idea to give my body a break from all the fat, booze, meat, and carrying on for three weeks. I did a more intense cleanse for three weeks about four years ago when I went to Lake Tahoe, and I gotta say, I was lookin’ and feelin’ good.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of giving up my morning espresso forever, nor my Manhattans (those are at night, mind you), but for three weeks? Yeah, I can do that. I am also saying “ciao for now” to all alcohol, fish, and meat. I’m not going to be eating 100% vegan, but I’m going to try. I will be eating only organic and whole foods, no processed foods, and trying to eat as much seasonal, local, and raw food that I can (yay for spring fruits and vegetables).

During the next three weeks, I’m really not going to be going out too much–I’m going to be using this time to be in control of my diet, to cook, exercise, and write my book. But I won’t entirely be on lockdown: I’ll also be exploring some places in the City that are focused on offering organic, healthy, and clean food that fits into my program–or places that at least offer a few options. I’ll be sure to share my findings in the coming weeks, whether it’s a cool food product (like I am loving my Mighty Leaf detox herbal tea), or a restaurant, or a resource.

Truth be told, I’m excited about this “hard restart”–sometimes you just gotta shut off the computer to make it run better.

In the meantime, here’s a hodgepodge of health-related local news and more:

The timing on this opening couldn’t be better as far as my culinary calendar is concerned, and I plan to try it out in the next week: the first ~BEAUTIFULL~ “foodspace” opens in Laurel Village this Wednesday April 29th. (Cass Calder Smith i-s the architect.) According to the press release, the location “will be offering tasty, healthy, and convenient prepared food that is fresh, natural, and whole. Customers can dine in at the location, take out, stock up for the week or have the food delivered to their homes or offices. The company has been selling its prepared fresh food entrees and side dishes online and in several Bay Area grocery stores for many months. The company, founded by entrepreneur Eric Greenberg, is based in Emeryville and provides food in retail stores such as Blue Fog Market, Berkeley Bowl and Real Food Company and through home delivery.” Hours are 7am–8pm daily. 3401 California St. at Laurel, 415-728-9080.

I didn’t have time to check this out, but according to a tablehopper reader, ~INDULGENCE~ has opened (it’s in the former Popolo space on Bush Street near Belden Lane). Here’s what the reader said, “Stopped in yesterday on my way elsewhere, just have coffee and tea now, say they are adding breakfast and lunch soon, all healthy eats. Looks like your typical Fidi spot.” 375 Bush St. at Kearny.

Another reader confirmed that ~ENJOY VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT~ has opened its second location in Chinatown last weekend. Here’s more: “Like its Sunset District location, it offers [an] awesome 125-item a la carte menu plus $7.50 lunch specials with soup, rice, and spring roll. While the Sunset location is closed Mondays, the Chinatown location is open seven days a week.” 839 Kearny St. at Washington, 415-956-7868.
Got word that vegetarians now have the option of ordering from a separate, meat-free menu at ~ZARÉ AT FLY TRAP~ in SOMA. A highlight of the new menu is Hoss Zaré’s vegetarian kufteh, one hundred percent vegetarian “meatballs” made predominantly of bulgur and beans such as lima, fava, or adzuki, then stuffed with sautéed seasonal wild mushrooms and roasted garlic–he spent a lot of time developing the recipe. The featured dish costs $17 and includes two baseball-sized vegetarian kufteh flavored with Persian spices such as coriander, cumin, and harissa and served with seven-spice carrot-verjus emulsion and Mediterranean avocado salsa on the side. Other items on the menu include salads, roasted beets, crispy polenta, arancini, braised Italian eggplant, portabella mushroom kebabs, and marinated chickpeas. 606 Folsom St. at 2nd St., 415-243-0580.

I wanted to let you know about this event before it sells out: coming up is an ~URBAN DESSERT SOIREE~ with VegNews Magazine on May 21st at CandyBar. It's going to be an evening of vegan desserts by CandyBar's pastry chef (five courses!), libations (sparkling wine, lattes, Italian sodas, etc.), guest-of-honor and green chef Ani Phyo, and much more. All uests will also receive a complimentary copy of Ani's just-released cookbook, Ani’s Raw Food Desserts, and hear her secrets for living an eco-fabulous life. 6pm–9pm. Details and tickets can be found here. 1335 Fulton St. at Divisadero.