In Los Angeles, beautiful people are everywhere.
They come from all parts of the world to seek out that dream of becoming a movie star, singer or dancer. But with the blessing of beauty for these fine specimens, comes great responsibility. One must eat right, exercise and as I like to say it…. lead a boring life of sugarless latte’s and gluten free dinners with no dessert!
Lets face it friends, I love my food. So the very thought becoming a typical “LA Vegetarian” or giving up carbs is like nails on a chalkboard to me. But don’t get me wrong, I wont ever underscore the importance of eating healthy, I just don’t know if I could go cold turkey!
I once famously gave up a steak dinner on a “Matchmaker” date and I made sure that was last time that ever happened. After all, when it comes to sharing commonalities in your ideal mate, food shouldn’t be the deal breaker.
Or should it?
When we review our list of “Dating Non Negotiables” – can little things like being vegetarian, really be the end all? Or, can two people with extremely different pallets actually have a long lasting relationship?
To explore my curiosities a bit further, I met up with Mark, an advertising executive from Los Angeles. Mark recently transformed himself by losing over 100 pounds simply by changing to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Mark wrote to me and shared his challenges about dating and finding someone who will understand his health kick, but not hold it against him. Mark feels people disregard him as a potential partner simply because he’s vegetarian, even though dating one does not factor into his own personal selection process.
To test this theory on “Dating Natural Selection”, I arrange to meet with Mark at one of LA’s most famous health conscious restaurants, M Café. I wanted to challenge myself and see how I would fare in a meatless world of a health conscious dater.
The consulting chef of M Cafe, Lee Gross used to be Gwyneth Paltrows personal chef and everyone in Hollywood has come knocking at his door ever since the restaurant opened. Gross and his team of cooks at M Cafe, make everything from scratch, ensuring the high quality, flavor, and integrity of every dish. M Café is widely considered to be the best macrobiotic cuisine in all of Los Angeles.
But with pomp and circumstance aside, I will admit that I am still a bit skeptical that this spin on taste could change my outlook on eating, as well as my opinion on “Dating Non-Negotiables!”
We arrive at M Café on Melrose, a hop and a skip from West Hollywood. It’s a hot summer afternoon and the place is packed! People of all shapes and sizes have filled the tables and are enjoying the cool air and scent of fresh made juice being squeezed in the background.
Mark is all too familiar with M Café and quickly orders a trio of their newest menu items, including a “Zucchini Noodle Salad”- which is layered with pesto, sundried tomatoes and chunks of almonds. I take quick note that the noodles are actually made from Zucchini so there is no pasta used in salad.
“You’re going to try all of these” he says to me.
Startled by his aggressiveness, I can only respond with a “Yes Sir!”
I’ll be honest, in the back of my head there was a bit of fear about what he had ordered. But I digress.
With the encouragement of the friendly staff, I come to a decision and proceed with my brave attempt at trying something new. I excitedly order a Gado-Gado Tempeh Salad.
I have had tempeh (a meat substitute made from Tofu) before, but I have no idea what Gado-Gado means. I am silently saying a tiny prayer that I made the right decision.
As I take my seat at the table, I begin to Google my entire order. (Yes, I am that person.)
With the fear of ordering behind me, Mark and I start chatting the usual “What’s new with you” song and dance before we get to the nitty-gritty.
“Go easy on me” he says.
I can sense the tables have turned on who’s uncomfortable now.
He informs me that he is still single, dating and still searching for the right person.
We are not even a few minutes in when he makes light of my choice of restaurant given my affinity for the carnivore lifestyle.
“I am hoping the meat eater in you is going to love this place, it’s my favorite!”
I think he’s trying to change the subject so I use this as my opportunity to steer the conversation back health and dating.
“Would you ever consider dating someone who is doesn’t share your affinity for eating healthy?”
“Yes- of course” he immediately replies
“Being vegetarian is a part of a lifestyle that I chose. I would never force that upon anyone”
“So would you make a steak dinner for someone you dated?” I ask more aggressively hoping to strike a cord.
“Sure! Although, I’m not confident that I would be a good cook.“ he laughs
“Look, being vegetarian is not about the other person. It’s more about me and how I choose to live my life.” He says
I immediately feel silly about my suggestion.
“Vegetarians are perceived as being these hippy crazy people that take ten minutes to order a meal. Every person will have different reasons for choosing this lifestyle. But, I chose it because I wanted to get healthy and live a long life. I would want that for my partner too, but I will not force him to join me. Sadly though, I feel as a dater people shy away from dating me for fear I will try and convert them.”
As Mark continued to share his wisdom about his diet and food choices, our server delivers our order to our table.
In front of me, is a not just a presentation of food, but a presentation of color, texture and aroma.
Mark is excited for me to taste each plate and offers me a sampling of everything in front of us.
‘What about you?” he asks
“It doesn’t matter much to me.” I respond
“Naturally, there will be different levels of commitment to a lifestyle. Just like with anything else. Whether its yoga, vegetarianism, sports or books- to me its just part of someone’s personality.”
The food in front of me is now almost gone. I am shocked at how tasty every dish on our table is. It’s a jarring wake up call to my feelings about eating vegetarian.
I came to the conclusion that we as daters must be careful about what we chose to add to our list of “Deal Breakers” when we date. Sure, the idea of dating someone with many things in common is great in theory, but in reality sometimes we fall in love with someone much different from who we are.
My lunch with Mark educated me on many levels, but most especially the idea of opening up my mind (and my stomach) to trying new things. Allow yourself to be sensitive to the possibility that taking a few things off that list could open you up to a world of potential partners.
Eating at M Café and indulging in the delicious macrobiotic or vegetarian cuisine was an absolute treat. I recommend everyone to check them out. It could very well be the eye opening experience that you needed to kick-start a healthy life change as well as a healthy love change.
Until next Adventure,