On Friday morning we all met up at a supermarket around the corner from Victoria’s apartment (not the market pictured above) for a guided grocery store tour. The idea here was that Victoria would teach up how to help people shop their local, non-fancy, non-hippie grocers. This is something I’ve done to help friends who are going veg*n, and it’s one of my very favorite transition tools.
We went all over the store of course, but I stopped snapping pictures after produce.
Leaving the market, we were off and field tripping again. This time, to the East Village for a stop into High Vibe, one of the oldest raw foods shoppes in New York. This is Anna Banana the raw dog!
High Vibe is owned by Bob Dagger (coolest name, right?!) who is just this incredibly genuine guy. Sweet and helpful and full of knowledge, he is tops and this place is amazing. SO MUCH exciting raw goodness (may I recommend the strawberries? I brought a bag home for Waits because they were just so epically amazing!). I also snagged some chocolates and snacks, plus some Dr Cow cheese which I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try, plus some non-food items like a nut milk bag and a dry skin brush. Whew!
After High Vibe we swung by the Indian Spice Market, which, holy wow. Rows and rows and rows just brimming with herbs and spices and powders and curries and . . . I was so overwhelmed! Seriously, it was almost too much for my brain to process. I nabbed some Amla powder as a thank-you gift for my dog sitter (highest antioxidant index of ANY food in the entire WORLD), then hung out sniffing incense while the rest of the crew finished up. No pics, sorry!
Back to Victoria’s apartment, we snacked on my nut cheese while lunch was being set up, then dove head first into some delicious potato-corn chowder and a massive Caesar salad. Yum!
Finally, after a day and a half of [educational] adventuring, we were back to standard sit-down classes. First up was Jennifer Gannet, who I’d actually met back at Vida Vegan Con in 2011. Jen is a recent MSVA graduate, a fellow vegan mama, and the outreach coordinator for Veg Books, a website which acts as a resource for parents and teachers who want to support vegetarianism in children (she reviewed my book here). For our MSVA class, Jen delivered a talk entitled Supporting Mixed and Transitioning Families.
Helping families has become the focus of Jen’s coaching – specifically, families where not all members are on board with being vegan. Because a very particular dynamic develops in those situations, and it can be hard for the vegan/aspiring vegan to navigate. Her talk was packed full of useful tips and suggestions, all gleaned from her personal experience. Also, Jen is sweet and funny and a great public speaker, so I was happy when Victoria allowed her to go over the allotted time.
Our last speaker of the day was supposed to be Michael Parish Dudell, but he happened to be stuck in a snow storm in another state that evening. No problem, Victoria just worked a bit of rescheduling magic – Michael was moved to the following morning, and Victoria spent the rest of the evening teaching us her M.E.N.D. program.
I’d like to tell you more about Victoria’s Miraculous M.E.N.D. Program, but you know, trade secrets and all. What I will tell you is that these are Victoria’s personal rules for growing younger, and the M.E.N.D. approach can be used for a sort of “wellness reboot” kind of coaching. And I, too, could learn a lot from revisiting these handouts every so often and trying to implement some of these techniques in my own life.
That night, there was supposed to be a fun and fancy PETA cocktail party, but the organizers had to cancel because they all had the flu. BOO on you, winter!
You know, it was kind of okay though. Once again I was practically asleep on my feet. And although I could hardly believe I was letting another opportunity to eat out in New York pass me by . . . I grabbed some chips and hummus (and beer!) at the market (same one from that morning) and ate them along with my Indian leftovers back in my room. I don’t regret it. It was the right decision, for keeping my strength up and my mind sharp.