Posts Tagged ‘Cheap Eats’

Cheap Eats Vegan

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

written by Christina Roylance

Think being a vegetarian means expensive specialty restaurants, and lots of drama when you go out to dinner with friends? Do you feel that you’ll have to be the most finicky customer of all time and waiters will hate you? This could not be further from the truth.  Living in NYC is getting easier and more enjoyable every day to be a vegetarian or vegan.  There’s tons of options, and you don’t need to drag everyone to your all-veg restaurants; there are simple ways to get cheap awesome vegetarian food by being knowledgeable about good places and keeping a few things in mind.
NYC is a mecca of different cultures and backgrounds. Ethnic foods abound in the city, and there’s often cheap, local places for whatever foreign flavor you want–Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, whatever.  Many of these cuisines are sensitive to vegetarians, and can easily be requested vegan, as long as you know what to ask for.

Middle Eastern food is a great resource for vegetarians.  Falafels are cheap, vegetarian fast food sandwiches: deep fried tahini balls with hummus and veggies!  It’s a great, simple, yet filling option.  Aldiwan Lebanese restaurant is located on A if you want a sit-down Middle Eastern dinner.  It also has a great selection of vegetarian appetizers, as well as a tasty vegetarian Mousaka entrée that’s big enough for two.

At lunchtime, there’s always Indian food all-you-can-eat buffets for cheap.  Indian Taj on Bleeker has a $10 deal that’s even cheaper with a Campus Clipper Coupon.  Indian food is hearty and flavorful, and you can just ask the servers which dishes do not have any meat or cheese.  These buffets are usually huge, so there’s bound to be a selection of vegetarian things to eat.

Thai food is a personal favorite of mine.  Entrées tend to be large so you can cut the cost by splitting dishes.  There are always a great deal of vegetarian options, but just ask if there are any eggs in the dish and it’s easy enough for you to be accommodated.  Boyd Thai on Thompson has great vegetarian options, and vegan treats and desserts available as well!

Mexican cuisine is great because if that’s what you’re craving, you can either get fast and cheap take-out style places or sit down to dinner.  Vegetarian and vegan burritos are easy since you often custom order them.  With rice, beans, veggies, and guacamole, (and cheese and sour cream if you’re not a vegan) a vegetarian burrito is filling and quick.  Try grabbing one from Burritoville, and use your Campus Clipper Coupon to save $1.

Surprisingly, lots of sushi restaurants can accommodate vegetarians as well, with veggie filled sushi rolls. It is important to make sure the restaurant doesn’t use fish sauces or oils in the preparation though if you’re a strict vegetarian.  Sushi Yawa on 8th street has tons of vegetable rolls (cucumber, avocado, sweet potato, spinach, and more!), and a bunch of vegetarian appetizers as well.  Plus, everyone I know loves sushi, so non-veg friends will be happy to accompany you.

Italian food is everyone’s favorite–who doesn’t love pasta?  It just takes a few easy questions when ordering your pasta dish to know if it’s vegetarian or vegan.  Just ask if there’s meat in the sauce, request no parmesan, and ask for your food cooked with olive oil instead of butter.  Most dishes are prepared that way already, but if you just check it should be easy to make any changes.  Grotta Azzurra in Little Italy has an affordable $10 prix fixe for lunch, as well as a Thursday night ladies night, with free appetizers and half-off on drinks!

So just because you’re vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean eating out has to be boring or expensive!  You can still eat your favorite things; just be a little conscientious and ask the right questions.  You don’t have to miss out on any great deals or fun nights out just because you have different dietary needs.  So remember to use Campus Clipper coupons to get the best deals, and be sure to experiment and have fun.

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VegEats! A Rationale

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

The poster for the wonderful documentary by Robert Kenner - a must-see!

VegEats is a Campus Clipper column where we discuss the benefits of vegan/vegetarian-friendly eating in New York City and find ways for students to eat healthy and be environmentally friendly with their food while still saving money.

I want to share with you why I went veg. I am not trying to tell you to make the same choice. But most students who move to New York City encounter a much larger number of vegetarians and vegans than they have before, and I want to offer an idea of why someone might have chosen this diet/lifestyle. And for those of you who might be considering going veg, I hope to give you some things to consider and some advice. I went veg because I researched and educated myself about how eating animals and animal byproducts affected my health, the health of the planet, and the life of the animals. What I learned upset me and made me not want to use my money to support a system that has so many negative consequences. (If you would like to educate yourself, there are a abundance of resources online. I would personally recommend the site goveg.com, as well as other resources like Robert Kenner’s excellent 2008 documentary Food, Inc.)

But I think the reason I was successful in going veg and have felt so good about the decision is I didn’t make any changes too quickly and allowed myself to work at my own timeline. There’s a term in psychology, cognitive dissonance, which means the uncomfortable feeling you get by trying to maintain two contradictory ideas simultaneously. I was brought up, like many others, believing it’s okay to eat animals. But as I learned more about the consequences of this action, I increasingly found reasons why it wasn’t. Over time, months and months, my discomfort grew so that when I ate meat or cheese or eggs, I didn’t feel good about it. The food didn’t seem satisfying anymore.

Even once I decided to actually change my diet, I did it in baby steps: I gave up red meat, then waited a few months, then gave up turkey, then waited; and when I began to consider veganism, I went on “practice runs” every few months for over a year, adopting a complete vegan diet for longer and longer periods of time. During both of these process’, I was careful to note what cravings I had and what foods assuaged them. For example, when I went vegetarian, I kept a jar of crunchy peanut butter within reach at all times – I even had one under my bed with a spoon! Whenever I was feeling sluggish or craving a cheeseburger, I ate a big scoop of crunchy PB. Almost immediately I trained my body to crave peanuts when it needed protein instead of meat; it’s amazing how quickly and easily the body will adapt to changes we make as long as we are attentive to it and make sure it gets what it needs.

I paid attention to how hungry or not hungry I felt, my energy levels, how well I was sleeping, my mood, everything. Diet is probably one of the easiest ways to change your whole life, for better or worse; making huge sudden changes and expecting your body to immediately adjust is a recipe for disaster. By the time I was fully vegetarian and fully vegan, I no longer had any craving for those foods – I knew what my body could use to replace them, and I liked being able to eat food that was not only delicious but good for me, animals, and the planet.

If you are interested in going vegetarian or vegan, that’s great – I’ll have more advice about that in future posts. But even if you’re not, college is an important time for your diet. For many of us, this is the first time we’re deciding what’s for dinner, and that’s actually a really important decision. The quality and quantity of food you put into your body affects you physically and in a multitude of other ways – underestimating the importance of a healthy diet is a huge mistake too many students make. Please research your food – where does it come from, how is it prepared, what nutrients, fats, and calories does it contain, and how will these properties affect you. Knowledge is power, so do what you came to college to do: learn.

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VegEats! An Introduction

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Veggies: delicious, nutritious, and cheap!

Hi everyone! My name is Jon, and I’m going to be offering some guidance into the wonderful world of vegan/vegetarian-friendly eating in New York City. For those who aren’t sure, a vegetarian is a person who restricts consumption of meat and animal byproducts. There are several types of vegetarians: pesco-vegetarians, who include fish in their diets; pollo-vegetarians, who include poultry; ovo-vegetarians, who include eggs; and lacto-vegetarians, who include dairy products. These prefixes can be combined. For example, when I officially started identifying myself as a vegetarian three years ago, I was a ovo-lacto-vegetarian.

About two months ago, I began identifying myself as a vegan, which is a strict vegetarian (absolutely no meat or animal byproducts) who extends this philosophy beyond diet into other parts of life. This means vegans don’t use products made from materials like leather, silk, or wool, because these materials rely on animals and animal captivity to be made. Vegans also only use man-made sponges and avoid substances like gelatin, an ingredient in most marshmallows and derived from collagen found in animal bones, or beeswax, commonly used to make candles and produced over a long period of time by bees as an essential part of their home. This lifestyle may sound a little extreme to those who have not encountered veganism before, but when adopted mindfully for the right reasons, it can be a wonderful positive change for many people.

So you may be saying to yourself, well, now I know what they don’t eat; what DO they eat? I eat primarily fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, as well as artificial animal-free products such as tofu. When eating out, I often go for Indian, Chinese, Israeli, Thai, or Mexican, as these cuisines offer lots of delicious vegan options, or I go to one of the multitude of vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants in New York City. Many people when hearing about this diet have concerns about health, primarily about protein and iron deficiency. Vegetarianism and veganism are actually very healthy as long as the practitioner eats a variety of foods, pays attention to intake of nutrients, fats, and calories, and stays active, (which is true of any lifestyle.) In fact, studies have shown that limiting meat and animal byproducts can significantly lower your chances of major health problems, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, diabetes, even Alzheimer’s! The average American eats nearly double the amount of protein they need per day, and veg-eaters have numerous alternative to meat and animal byproducts to find protein, iron, and all other essential nutrients.

I’m so excited to help you find ways to eat healthy on a student’s budget. New York can be expensive, but there are lots of tricks to up your nutrients, help the environment, and keep your wallet (and belly) full. To get you started, Campus Clipper has wonderful coupons for great veg-friendly restaurants like Atlas Café, Indian Taj, Monster Sushi, Tahini, Wild Ginger, and many more! Check them out on the coupons page! Happy Eating!

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In the City that Always Eats

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

For a city that never sleeps, New York City is where you can find food at every corner. Whether you find food at a street vendor, a sidewalk cafe, an upscale restaurant, or the latest popular burger joint, you will inevitably be faced with daily decisions of which of the thousands of restaurants you will travel to for something delicious, something budget friendly, or something to give you endurance for a long night of studying. As a student in the big apple, these choices may seem overwhelming, and tempt you into turning the $1 pizza store across from your dorm into your go-to place for all meals. In today’s technology age, there are so many great resources for finding great deals and budget conscious ways to keep you from being a starving college student, that you can surely have a diverse culinary experience while in New York.

Before resorting to the internet to start frantically searching for great lunch deals and hot date spots, use your eyes to spot places you may want to dine. You will quickly learn that living in New York City means you can always “window shop” for clothes, food, jewelry, and anything else you may need. As you use your feet to get around, instead of a car, you have the opportunity to gaze into the restaurants you have heard so much about already, and get a real-life sense of what your dining experience may be like. And, walk around with a pen and a notepad. Some of the best restaurant and food deals are not advertised on their websites – they are advertised on chalkboards right outside of the restaurant! Take note, and add it to the to-do list.

Soon, I will share more specific details on how to dine out on the town in this fabulous city that always eats. But for now, I encourage you to be aware of your surroundings, and take note when you see a slice of pizza that is extra cheesy, a quaint neighborhood cafe, or a bustling hot spot. There are 365 days a year, and 4 years of college. Just think of all the great eating you can do!

-Kerry H

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