Main Street Vegan Academy Re-Cap: Day 2, Field Tripping!

March 11th, 2013 - filed under: Furthermore » Inspiration

Harlem is so beautiful! A lonely street on a very early, very frozen winter morning.

Day 2
Thursday began brighter and earlier, with a 7 am wakeup call. Lord help me! I grabbed a complimentary coffee on my way out the door, which helped to keep me warm on my walk to Victoria’s. Breakfast was a delicious oatmeal buffet which I washed down with black tea. Oh yes, I was caffeinating heavily.

The day’s schedule opened once again with Victoria, this time offering a special seminar entitled Working With The Overweight Or Food-Addicted Client. Believe it or not, Victoria herself is a recovering food addict/compulsive eater (and advises Overeaters Anonymous). Her personal experience lends her great insight into these complicated psychological issues. I certainly learned a lot!

Victoria gave the next presentation as well, but in between we took a break and I was able to chat with some of my classmates. Like that guy up there, Russell. Of all the people I met at MSVA, I think I felt the most connection with Russell, which is pretty ironic because if you know anything about me you know that I am very much an atheist, rationalist, not-so-spiritual gal. And Russell? Is a minister.

But we actually have a lot in common! We share the same strange (at times awkward) sense of humor, and he’s a fellow introvert. And, his story really touched me. Russell had bone cancer when he was 13 years old and his left arm was amputated. Then 26 years later, at the age of 39, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. That’s when he went vegan . . . and that was nearly a decade ago. I can’t even imagine what he’s been through, but it shines in his wisdom and humility. Also, he has “vegan glow-y skin” like woah – very impressive! Love you Russell!


After the break Victoria gave us a quick Intro To Ayurveda, which I found fascinating since I don’t know anything about Ayurveda beyond people frequently commenting that I have a “classic Vata body” (my classmate Cortney, a Jivamukti yoga instructor, had said just that the day before!). So this was a great introduction, and I have to say I really like Ayurveda as an alternative modality. It makes sense to me, and I appreciate that so many of the ancient techniques are borne out by modern science (such as oil pulling).

By 11 am we were bundling up and heading out, subway-bound for Brooklyn – the home of Vaute (formerly Vaute Couture).

The beautiful Margarita, and Russell giving me the evil eye.

Me, acting all blogger-like. (photo by Bonnie)

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, founder and owner of Vaute, gave us a passionate talk on the burgeoning vegan marketplace, her own experiences as an entrepreneur, and general tips on being a badass business woman (she also has an MBA). She said one of my favorite things I heard all week, which was: “The more authentic you are, the louder your voice will be.” Preech!

Me, like a kid in a candy store surrounded by (and trying on) ethical, vegan, eco-friendly fashion. // Leah and Lynette show off their Vaute coats! (photos via Lynette)

So, their stuff is amazing and I bought this and this and also this which is the softest and snuggliest EVER. Miiiight have gotten carried away . . .

From Vaute we took another subway back to Manhattan, and I was excited. Like, really, really excited. Because we were having lunch at a restaurant I’ve dreamed about and drooled over for literally YEARS.

The one and only Pure Food and Wine! An all raw gourmet restaurant which regularly wins totally-not-raw, totally-not-vegan awards, because it’s just that damn good. And oh, how it was!

I had the “Swan Greens” juice (cucumber, spinach, dandelion, pear, grapefruit, tarragon, spearmint, and yuzu) followed by the “S & M” salad (greens, avocado, hemp seeds, dulse, rosemary crackers, pumpkin seed, with lemon dressing). I also sampled my companion’s desserts, including the famous tiramisu, a lemon bar, and a malomar which completely blew my mind.

From Pure we were subway-bound again, but stopped to take a pic of the entire crew all together:

Thats (top row) Russell the minister, Margarita the holistic health coach, Victoria!, Bonnie the jewelry maker and badass activist, Melissa who works with underprivileged families, (bottom row) Leah, mother of three boys and raw foods chef/educator, Cortney the yoga instructor, Lynette the personal stylist, Marty and his wife Carin, both body workers, and moi! What a crew!

Our next stop was MooShoes, full of cruelty-free shoes and accessories. My class mates picked up many amazing pairs of shoes and many fabulous purses (seriously, check their site out – their stuff is great!) Also, I was thumbing through the books and was shocked to stumble across MINE! So cool! (and I majorly blushed and refused to make a big deal and take a picture with it, which I’m now totally regretting)

Bonnie was sweet enough to snap this though:


And around the corner from MooShoes . . .

Babycakes! All vegan, lots of gluten-free, amazingly delicious bakery. We all got afternoon treats, and most of us also got breakfast for the following morning, since our first stop would be “on location”. Babycakes is super tiny and super adorable.

Gluten-free vegan salted caramel donut.

From there we were supposed to tour a cruelty-free/vegan cosmetics boutique, but upon arrival we were told they were closed. Bummer! And by then it was getting dark, and getting late, and man we’d done a lot of walking that day. It was our “free night” but by the time we got back to Victoria’s, I couldn’t even imagine going out again. I was wiped, like totally and completely kaput.

Victoria gave me the low-down on her favorite neighborhood Indian place, and I had it delivered to my hotel room. Feast, FaceTime with Waits, face plant into my pillow. ZzzzzZZZzzz.

The rest of the story:
Day 1
Day 3
Days 4 & 5

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  • Lydia

    I just found your site a few weeks ago and have become completely obsessed- I’ve read an embarrassing amount of your archive, and am constantly nodding and right-on-ing and forwarding your posts to friends. (I totally feel you with the higher-fat diet, I swear I’d be a crazed lunatic without ample plant fats. I agree that every body has it’s own needs in terms of macro-breakdown, and it’s unfortunate how much hard-and-fast “information” is out there that can’t possibly apply to everyone.) I’m so bummed you were in NY before I knew who you were, there is a pretty good chance I would’ve run into you at Babycakes (fangirl status)! Anyway, just wanted to share some vegan love and empathize with the “oh em gee we would totally be like besties!” feeling you had with Gena (whom I also admire).

    Looking forward to learning more about vegan academy, seems like an amazing program.
    All best!!

  • Kathryn B.

    I cannot tell you how happy I am that your back! I moved back into my morning hot tea, reading your blog, nobody bother me until I’m done, routine!

    I love reading about your experience in New York and meeting new people. (I love NY! A friend of mine and myself got to go, just the two of us this last fall). I know your feeling about religion and I’m so glad that you and Russell hit it off! I love knowing and meeting people of different backgrounds. I feel that it helps me to have more compassion in this world for like minded people. Talk about not judging a book by it’s cover. I would not have read some fablous books and would not know some amazing people if I did.

  • Cammila

    Holy cow, SO MUCH! I would have been exhausted after all of that too! Sounds like a ton of informative AND inspiring talks and experiences. I’m so glad you’ve been documenting it. :)

  • skeptk_vegan

    So amazing! So, SO loving this. I’ve added it to my list of credentials. Currently working on my degree in Dietetics.

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  • Sayward Rebhal

    Aw, thank you Lydia! I’m so glad you like the site, and WELCOME! =D

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh thank you Kathryn, it’s so good to hear from you too!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Camilla, yeah she really doesn’t mess around, and packs A LOT into every day. A whirlwind, a very very fun and delicious whirlwind. ;-)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh I’m considering a degree in dietetics (in the far future). What do you think, as a vegan and as a health minded person? I’ve heard it can be hard because you’re pretty regulated as to what you can say/promote and where the corporate sponsorship comes from. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • skeptk_vegan

    I’m very much an “against the system” type of person. As anyone with a forward mind might be. I have recognized in the field of nutrition that people with degrees in Dietetics not only have more pull and respect with the public, but with government bonded specialists as well. I’m referring to people in the EPA, FDA, USDA, and government funded associations of the like. A masters degree honestly has a minimal impact (as far as pay) but it’s still on my list, along with a Phd. My method is to beat the FDA/USDA at their own game. I think it’s TOTALLY worth it, and honestly, I question myself A LOT. It’s hard, most people around me do not support a vegan diet. However, I know that by implementing myself into the root of the issue, with the credentials they recognize, I can have more of an impact on society as a whole, versus being an independently certified vegan specialist. I do desire to make changes to the way people in hospitals are treated with nutrition, and even schools, and I don’t feel that anyone without government recognized credentials can have as much of a chance in doing so. Dietetics hardly requires more nutritional schooling than getting a degree in basic nutrition. However, the FDA accredits the programs/internships required to become certified as a Dietitian therefore recognizing them as an expert. It’s very unfair, and I sometimes want to take “the easy route” in getting a nutrition degree, but based on what I have witnessed, getting a degree in Dietetics is the BEST way to have a solid impact on community, government, and private consults. I think so many people operate on mainstream ideals and regulations that sometimes we have to go that route a little bit to be recognized as reliable. It’s tough, but so worth it. I absolutely see you going this route, and it’s the one place that’s made me really learn to speak my mind. You will excell, and in doing so, it will give you grounds to speak your mind and most importantly, your arguments. It reminds me so much of your “fats” issue in New York. Bringing new/different ideas to the table is a powerful thing, and that’s why I want to be as well-rounded as possible in my professional approach to coaching nutrition! Hope my rant helps to bring perspective. :)

  • Pingback: Main Street Vegan Academy Re-Cap: Days 4 and 5, Goodbyes, and More Travel | Bonzai Aphrodite

  • rebelgrrlkitchen

    This seems like such an amazing program! I’m a huge believer in Ayurveda (#totalpitta), so I’m glad they talked about it there! What fun!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Wow, thanks lady! I agree with everything you said, too. Gotta get ‘em from inside the system! I really do hope to get my RD some day. Some day! Good for you, you’ll be able to do so much good. =)

  • Rachel Jacobs

    I have only read a little about Ayurveda (i’m a Kapha).

    Looks like a fun/full day. I have heard about all of those places and they would be on a go to list should I ever make it to NYC.

    Hope that Waits did ok with your absence.

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