Book Review: The Vegan Guide to New York City

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 30, 2011.

When I decided to switch from a lacto-vegetarian to a vegan diet in the fall of 2010, I had already booked my flight to NYC for a 10-day research trip in May 2011. I was very anxious about this trip. It’s no big deal to stick to a vegan diet for short trip, but ten days away from home require a bit of advance planning. Sure, I can get a salad anywhere, but healthy nutrition isn’t just about the vitamins. We also need protein, calcium, iron, and numerous other nutrients and trace minerals to ensure our health, and vegans have much fewer options when eating out.

I needed to plan ahead, and find restaurants that would serve dishes with beans, lentils, and tofu, so I could get all the protein I needed; broccoli was also high on my list, as I need extra calcium due to a chronic illness (and some nasty medication which draws calcium from my bones); iron is a concern for vegans (beets are a good source), and complex carbohydrates are necessary for energy (they are also a good source for protein – think brown rice, quinoa, and amaranth).

I knew I wouldn’t be able to find dishes with many of these and other vital ingredients at regular restaurants, so I purchased a copy of The Vegan Guide to New York City several months before I left for my trip and spent countless hours reading and re-reading the restaurant reviews.

The Vegan Guide to New York City was first published in 1994, and is being updated annually. It’s researched and written by Rynn Berry, an author, who is also the historical advisor to the North American Vegetarian Society; Chris Abreu-Suzuki, a vegan and professor of Mathematics; and Barry Litsky, an intellectual property lawyer. It’s published by Ethical Living in the United States, I bought my copy on Amazon.

The Vegan Guide to New York City proved to be an invaluable travel guide. I ate at many of the restaurants reviewed in the book, and rarely was disappointed. A couple of the listings were outdated, as I purchased the 2010 edition shortly before the 2011 edition was published, so make sure to buy the most current edition available before you leave for New York.

The guide lists restaurants and shops, and they are listed according to their location: Upper West Side, Midtown East, SoHo, etc. Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx are also covered in the guide. There are additional sections, like “Top Ten Juice Bars,” “Raw Food Resources,” “Best Vegan Bites,” or “Cyberspace,” which I also found helpful.

I carried the Vegan Guide with me at all times, and – with a little advance planning – was almost always able to eat at vegetarian and vegan restaurants, or shop at organic supermarkets. I highly recommend this travel guide for all vegans or vegetarians traveling to New York.

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