Lunch at Monty’s and a Whole Foods Salad

Ah, summer. Offering endless daily possibilities, brilliant green grass, stunning gardens (including that of my mother, thank you very much), and welcoming outdoor weather, every other season positively pales in comparison.

My Sunday morning began as most all of my summer mornings do: greet the sun shining through my window at 7:00, eat a satisfying breakfast while happily completing the newspaper’s crossword puzzle and sudoku, and work out on my elliptical machine for 20 minutes. Today I opted not to do any ab or leg toning because I wanted to save my energy for yoga later in the day.

Frankly, I eat basically the same breakfast everyday. I know, I know, it’s a bit boring of me, but what can I say? I’m set in my morning meal ways. The Ali Breakfast Formula is such: 1 frozen banana+1/2 cup fresh fruit+1/2 cup granola+a couple pieces of dried fruit+1 tbsp nuts+1 cup soy milk=happy Ali is ready to conquer the day!

Today’s breakfast bowl featured a frozen banana (a necessity), strawberries, Ezekiel brand sprouted grain and flax organic granola, 2 dried apricots, and Edensoy Extra organic soymilk.

 

 

Breakfast Checklist: Protein–soy milk and granola. Whole Grain–granola. Fruit–banana, strawberries, apricots.

Obviously, I try to pack as much nutrition into every meal as possible, but breakfast is a never-fail, in-your-face-healthy dish. Bananas deliver a potassium-packed energy punch; strawberries house large amounts of antioxidants which offer cardiovascular support, blood sugar regulation, and cancer prevention; apricots are filled with vitamin A (beta-carotene) which improves eyesight and combats heart disease, plus they offer a great dose of fiber. My Ezekiel granola contains four different sprouted whole grains plus two different sprouted beans (can you say protein-packed cereal?), while my favorite Edensoy Extra is enriched with vitamin A, D2, B12, E, and calcium. B12 is only found in meat and dairy but is incredibly necessary for the body, so vegans tend to fret about it (with good reason: deficiencies can result in depression, heart palpitations, and death). I always feel at ease when I can start my day checking 50% of my daily B12 requirement off my list of required nutrients with my Edensoy! How could you not feel great after eating this breakfast?

Now that I’ve aptly bored you with my nutritional spiel, let’s talk about lunch. At 10:30, I headed over to Inner Fire Yoga for 75 minutes of my Sunday Advanced Power Flow class. After sweating a sufficient enough puddle from twisting and turning in a 95 degree room, I returned home for a refreshing Kombucha drink, a relaxing crossword puzzle, and a rejuvinating cat nap until Maria whisked me off to a 2:00 late lunch at the East Side institution of Monty’s Blue Plate Diner.

Here’s the thing about Monty’s: I used to detest this restaurant. My mother ingrained in me a deep resentment for all the Food Fight restaurants in Madison after being disappointed time and time again by Tex Tubb’s and Bluephies (she attests to eating the worst salad in existence at the latter about five years ago and has been boycotting Food Fight since). After recieving a plate of overcooked, rubbery sunny-side-up eggs and a dry buttermilk biscuit back in my non-vegan days at Monty’s, I was certainly inclined to take up a Food Fight boycott, as well. Try as I might, my fellow vegan Lisa lured me back to the diner, animatedly insisting on the quality of their tofu scrambles, sweet potato hashes, and walnut burgers. Deciding to humor her and her silly Monty’s-excitement dance, I accompanied her for a mouthwatering vegan brunch, and thus began my love affair with the Blue Plate Diner, much to my mother’s dismay. Sorry, mom.

Once Maria and I had sufficiently debated and fretted over what to order, Maria zeroed in on the Artichoke Sandwich with a side of bean salad (of which I ate more than she did. Beans, corn, peppers, and celery in a tangy dressing? How could I resist!), while I opted for the “Heathen Vegan Shoplifter’s Delight:” a succulent pile of marinated grilled portobello mushrooms, smoky tempeh, sweet sauteed red onions, and creamy avocado drizzled in a lemon-tahini dressing. When I requested the sandwich on whole wheat bread (supposedly not the sturdiest ingredient vessel), instead of the usual sourdough French, our delightful waiter raised his eyebrows and warned “Get ready for a messy sandwich!” Oh, don’t you worry. I can handle me a sandwich.

 

I also ordered a side salad in an attempt to fulfill my goal of eating leafy greens at every meal, which came with a deeply-flavored roasted tomato balsamic dressing in which I probably could have bathed.

Meal Checklist: Protein–tempeh and beans from Maria’s stolen salad. Whole Grain–whole wheat bread. Vegetables–mushrooms, onions, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce. Leafy Green–pretty weak, but lettuce.

Happily satiated, Maria and I left Monty’s, always anticipating our next guaranteed-tasty eating extravaganza.

For dinner, my mother sweetly returned home from her middle-aged people yoga class with a box full of tantalizing goodies from the Whole Foods salad bar including Mediterranean kale salad, tabbouleh, marinated mushrooms (I certainly had my share for the day!), spicy beets, artichoke hearts, giant white beans, and roasted red peppers. Plopped in my favorite salad bowl and tossed with an extra handful of greens (I needed to make up for my chlorophyll-lacking lunch), another Whole Foods salad bar box provided a vegetable-laden, yummy dinner. Gotta love that store.

 

Meal Checklist: Protein–white beans. Whole Grain–bulgur from tabbouleh. Vegetables–quite the medley! Leafy Green–kale and salad mix.

Although a little guilt crept though my inner chef for only preparing one of my meals, I felt that I still had an adequately healthy (and fantastically scrumptious) day.

Until next time, Ali.

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