All this time that I have been vegan, the most difficult part (aside of living with a non-vegan) is to remain vegan when I have to go to a non-vegan restaurant, a family or friends gathering, or a work event, whatever it is, if the food was not made with vegans in mind, it represents a challenge.
On this post I’m going to give you tips to remain vegan when there is not an apparent meal option for you.
Image courtesy of www.ilovevegan.com
The most important thing you need to do as always with this lifestyle is to educate yourself.
If you have to go to an event where there is food and you have never been there ask the person organizing the event what type of food they will have. More than likely the person who invited you is the organizer and thought of you when creating the menu, but in the event he or she did not, asking will help you be prepared.
In a situation like this, the best option is to bring your own food. By this, I do not necessarily mean to take with you a bag full of containers with food. Balance is the key. Depending on the type of event you can take with you some snacks for you to munch on so you don’t pass out and save some time until you are able to go back home and eat whatever you want.
This tip applies for birthday parties, or for when you are out hanging out with friends at their place or when you have to go to a short work event.
Now you also have to keep in mind that if somebody wants you somewhere, they should take in consideration your needs. The tip I just gave you is for situations where you are not well known by the organizer of the event.
When you are going out to a restaurant with family, friends or your special someone, look at their menu online before going. Again, your loved ones are supposed to keep you in mind for this type of decisions, if they don’t, you should voice you opinion and suggest places too. Now, when you are on a road trip and its time to stop for a meal, usually the rest areas do not have many options but you can still make it work. In this case, you can use the first tip I gave you and bring your own food, but if you want to travel light, keeping your eyes open for vegan friendly options is the trick.
Most of the fast food restaurants have salads, which you can order without meat and dairy. Burger King has a veggie burger, which you can get without cheese and mayo. Taco Bell has vegan options as well, and they are coming out with more. If you are in a place that does not have veggie options get creative and create your own combo. Start adding and removing things from a particular meal. If you find yourself in a restaurant that gives you no chance to play with (which its almost impossible to happen), stop by a grocery store and get some fruits and nuts, or bread and hummus or anything that will fill you until you arrive to your final destination.
Now, going back to when in a non-vegan restaurant. Look for the side items. Most restaurants have vegetables as side dishes. Just make sure they don’t put butter or any dairy to it. You can accompany your sides with a house salad, again, making sure they add no cheese or any other dairy product to it or soup. I do that most of the time and it is always enough food to fill me up. This is in an extreme case though, because the most popular restaurants have vegetarian options, which you can convert to a vegan meal.
In summary, remaining vegan is a matter of being prepared and being creative. Before you arrive you can save yourself time, energy and chaos by investigating what type of foods they have; if it turns out they don’t have options for you, bring your own food or eat before leaving. There is nothing wrong with eating before leaving your house and just order a vegan drink, which is simpler to find, when you arrive to the place, after all, the point of the gathering is to spend quality time with each other, not the meal.
Creativity is also key to remain vegan. Look through the menu and see what can you create with what they have, but again, doing your homework before leaving can save you some time at the moment of ordering your meal.
Hope these tips help you stay strong in your vegan lifestyle. Prevailing is not only important for your health and the planet, but also for your reputation. Once you announce you have decided to become vegan, the first ones watching you to see if you fail, are those closer to you. And that does not mean they don’t love you, its just human nature. And when you fall, they will be the first ones to discourage you and the first ones to stop believing in you. It only takes one fall, and they no longer will take you seriously.
But remember what I say about falling, just keep on rising, it does not matter what anybody else thinks, you are still making a difference by trying; however, if you follow these tips, it will be easier for you to keep on going and be victorious.
Please take the time to look at this YouTube video of Tiffany, from Healthy Vegan Life. It gives other tips to remain vegan in different scenarios.