Saturday, January 01, 2011

GO VEG IN 2011
"The compassion must extend beyond the pets" - Sri Dharma Mittra

Thinking about giving up meat?

Chicago has many vegetarian restaurants, and my recent guide to changes in the local non-meat scene makes it easy.

One of my recent discoveries is Karyn's on Green - a gorgeous restaurant that features live and cooked options (including southern comfort food) but doesn't rub your face in the fact that it's meat-free. Paulie Zink and I checked it out in November, and it was amazing:

This upscale vegan restaurant in Greektown opened in January 2010 and is the latest addition to Karyn Calabrese's vegetarian restaurant empire. The elegant, Zenlike interior features a wall waterfall, a Buddha bamboo garden, a super-high ceiling, an upstairs lounge, and a 22-seat bar serving organic cocktails and mocktails. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday plus Sunday brunch, the eclectic menu includes the best of Karyn's other two vegetarian restaurants; live food and soul food. Dinners can be ordered as small plates ($9 to $13) or large plates ($12 to $20) and include pizzas, soups, salads, and sides such as kale slaw and raw crackers. The plates range from raw pasta to marinated portobello steak to fried “chicken” legs to chorizo sliders made of portobello “bacon,” frisée, cheddar, chipotle aioli, and tomato-pepper jam. The menu is annotated with (R) raw, (GF) gluten free, (SF) soy free, and (NF) (nut/seed) free items; the desserts include chocolate terrine, peach cobbler, and sweet crispy polenta with thyme ice cream . We loved the tofu gumbo, pumpkin risotto, and massive side order of crisp, perfectly seasoned steak fries. The menu is organic whenever possible, and there's an eight-top communal table that seats single diners. Closed Mondays.

See the rest of my Yoga Chicago guide here.

If you're still not convinced, here's an excerpt from my 2010 article about going veg. gradually (and saving the world):

I began eliminating meat from my diet in 1987, when I started feeling sorry for the cows (I grew up on a farm that had cows, and eventually their soft, innocent eyes got to me). First, I cut out the big mammals--beef and pork. I made do by eating a lot of poultry for a few months--until a sweltering summer day, when I saw a truckload of chickens crammed into crates and gasping for breath. I immediately gave up eating anything with wings. A few months later, I cut fish out of the diet; after all, they suffer too. For me, the diet stuck because I did it gradually; I have many friends who went vegetarian abruptly and fell off the wagon, hard, a short time later. At first, my diet was not good; I ate a lot of grilled cheese, enchiladas, French fries, and other vegetarian "junk" food. Then I got a job at Chicago Diner and learned how to eat and prepare healthy meals. Finally, many years later, I cut out eggs.

Many experts agree that it's easiest to eliminate one type of meat at a time. Or, simply eat one meal a week without meat. One easy way to transition is to substitute tofu, tempeh, or other meat alternatives in your favorite recipes.

Read the rest here.

Click here for a complete list of my vegetarian restaurant reviews.


Tattoo pic courtesy of this website, which states, "Vegetarians will appreciate this animal rights-themed tattoo, in which a cow, pig and chicken hold up signs that read 'If I barked… or purred… would you still eat me?'"


  1. Anonymous3:15 AM


    I couldn't agree more. I've been a vegetarian for almost two years now. Although I respect carnivorous yogin like Sadie Nardini---I just couldn't justify my yoga and my old diet. Besides that: I'm healthier now than I was then.


  2. Dharma says, "Without Yama there is no yoga."

    A lot of people don't want to hear that.

    (They also seem to bristle upon hearing that Brahmacharya means celibacy).