The Village Independent Democrats held their monthly general membership meeting at Greenwich House on Thursday, November 8, 2007. At the meeting New York State Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick gave her Albany report. Assemblymember Glick, of the 66th assembly district, is the chair of the committee on higher education.
Before she gave her Albany report however, she shared with us her opinion on the office of New York City mayor. She feels that our current mayor is attempting to, with some minor success so far, create an elitist city. New Yorkers have a high opinion of Mayor Bloomberg, she says, because so far things seem to work. But they could be working better and Assemblymember Glick underscored the importance of electing a Democrat mayor in 2009. She stated that Democrats will have to make a few key points if they want to have a chance in winning the mayor’s office:
In her Albany report Assemblymember Glick talked about the MTA’s proposed fare increase. (The MTA is a state agency.) She thinks it is a bad idea, she considers it a tax on working New Yorkers, and if it is in fact a tax then we should at least wait until the governor comes out with his state budget in a few months before considering fare increases.
Then she talked about higher education, the committee she chairs. The committee is mostly about CUNY/SUNY, but private universities are disproportionately represented among members. The committee wants to raise tuition. She opposes increases in tuition without trying seeing the state budget first and trying to seek out other sources of funding. The committee also wants to implement a differential tuition pricing scheme in public schools. Assemblymember Glick is flat out against differential tuition in the SUNY system.
Today my self-imposed meat and dairy abstention comes to an end. The past week has given me a lot to think about in terms of how much I need much I need to eat meat or dairy. But first, my meal roundup: For breakfast, I had an apple and some sunflower seeds. I thought a lot about yogurt and cheese. For lunch I had Indian food, just lentils and beans. I thought a lot about saag paneer. I snacked on some hummus in the afternoon and I had a cup of split pea soup. For dinner, I went to Moto and had fondue and pork ribs.
Ok so I ended my experiment a meal early. But I think the fact that I tried to go a whole week without meat or dairy was more valuable than whether or not I stuck to that the entire time. I was talking to my roommate Alice about this and she was telling me that she doesn’t deal well with restrictions, I think I am the same way. Telling myself no more of item X made me obsess over item X more than if I were to just moderate my intake of that item.
The past week I found myself thinking more about cheese and ice cream than I usually ever do. Interestingly, I did not think about meat at all. I thought about eggs a little. This experiment proved that I can definitely live without eating meat, and that I can definitely reduce my dairy intake but I think quitting ice cream forever is a bad idea.
I ate meat again today. I was with a friend and she cooking us a meal. I did not get a chance to explain my dietary experiment to her and before I knew it, she was serving us plates of cooked salmon with beets and pasta.
For dinner I concocted a big pot of steamed vegetables with wild rice. I put a bunch of olive oil in the pot. Then I added garlic, chopped tomato, chopped fennel, leftover arugula found in the fridge, onion, kale, and rice. I seasoned it with crushed pepper, serrano pepper, salt and cardamom, then added about a cup of water. Then I covered it and let it simmer on low. It came out fantastic! The sweet smell of the fennel mingled well with the cardamom and peppers.
It’s Saturday, and that means it’s the farmers market day at McCarren Park! I woke up early, eager to beat the midday crowd and sink my teeth into locally grown produce.
Look at that tomato! It wasn’t puny or sickly like the ones in the supermarket, I fell in love then I ate her. With tofu, of course. Other wonderful produce of note: the tiniest pears ever, flavorful and aromatic apples, three foot fennel and red beets. Beets are fun because they make your poo turn fuschia. Fuschia is a fabulous color. I also picked up concord grapes, broccoli, kale,
red onions, and bee pollen.
So I cooked for lunch half of the tomato with tofu and garlic with olive oil on low-medium heat. For dinner I had mostly chips and salsa because I was feeling lazy. I did not have any nuts or beans today, I hope I got enough protein with the tofu.
Going to the farmers market is always a treat. Usually there are a few guys playing live music, a fun up-tempo “old timey” style sound. There is the large vegetable zone. There is the woman who sells the honey and pollen from her bees. And then there is the baked goods area, the guy who usually works there is trés beau.
Today was particularly rough and I have a confession to make. I deviated slightly from my meat/dairy abstention. It happened at school, we had a guest speaker and they provided free lunch. I picked up what I thought was a falafel sandwich, took a bite and quickly realized I was eating a fishcake in a pita. A fishcake in a pita, can you believe that? I was disoriented and confused. I grabbed a brownie and shoved it in my mouth. It was a bad scene.
I have been feeling lightheaded all day. I’m not hungry all the time anymore, just most of the time. Not eating meat or dairy is very difficult, at this point in the experiment I am thinking that perhaps I will not continue this dietary lifestyle after my week has passed. I don’t think I could abstain from dairy products forever. However, I do think I can continue not eating meat.
The lightheaded feeling is not a bad thing, it’s more like a lightness of being that I feel. My stress levels are also surprisingly low considering the overwhelming amount of work I have to do.
Wow, what a day! The gas has decreased and overall things are moving more regularly “down there.” For breakfast I had a responsible serving of leftover beans and an apple with natural peanut butter.
For lunch I improvised a dish that I will call “Tofu, Fall Wardrobe.” I pan fried extra-firm tofu, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil seasoned with salt. Then I put it on a bed of spinach with a dollop was also craving sweets today and popped into the Vitamin Shoppe on Broadway and Astor Place to pick up a vegan snack bar. While in the store I inspected the ingredients of various snack bars and found three that did not have meat/dairy:
Organic Northshore Smackers Chocolate Coated Spirulina Patties, $1.29
180 calories, 8 grams fat, 23g carbohydrates (of which 12g are sugar!) 4g protein.
Organic Optimum Rebound Energy Bar, banana nut matcha and flax flavor, $1.39
190 cal, 4g fat, 33g carbohydrates (20g sugar,) 10g protein.
Organic Food Bar Active Greens Chocolate, $2.49
310 cal, 15g fat, 35g carbohydrates (24g sugar,) 12g protein.
Of the three I liked the chocolate-coated spirulina patties best because it had the highest ratio of chocolate-to-healthy crap. I think the manufacturers coated them in chocolate because the spirulina is an unappetizing green color. But despite the gnarled-spinach look it tastes rather pleasant, like amaretto. Also the patties had the lowest amount of sugar of the three bars.
I was not too crazy about the other two. The Rebound Energy bars were too sweet and I could not taste all the flavors, mostly it tasted like banana and I do not even know what matcha is supposed to taste like. Also it had that squiggle of frosting-esque sugar stuff on top of it so you think you’re eating a cupcake or something that you wouldn’t ever buy at the Vitamin Shoppe.
The “Active Greens Chocolate” bar was a trip. It had a granular texture that left my mouth dry and did not really taste like chocolate, despite its brown color. I wonder what makes the greens active. The texture combined with the name would almost make me feel like I was eating something healthy were it not so sweet tasting. Also there were these little crunchy things, I encountered it once every other bite. Like a rice crispy or a fried ant.