I’m often asked questions about dining at restaurants, gatherings with friends (because everything down here revolves around food), and cooking for my non-vegan husband and kids. I want to address each of these separately in hope that you will see how truly possible it is to be a vegan in our non-vegan world.
When it comes to eating at restaurants, I don’t often have an issue finding SOMETHING to eat. Occasionally I have to settle for a salad (I say settle because if Im going out to eat I want something different than what I usually make at home) but most times I can find something different to eat and that is a winner. As more restaurants recognize the needs of their patrons, were seeing new and exciting options on the menus.
Lets just take a sampling of a few restaurants in the town where I live:
BJ’s Brewhouse offers a vegan lentil soup with ancient grains and its very tasty!
Mellow Mushroom offers plenty of options including tofu and tempeh.
Chinese, Thai and Mediterranean cuisine are known for using lots of vegetables, tofu and chickpeas in many of their main dishes so I usually can get a great vegan meal at any of these types of restaurants.
Tip: Take a look at the menu ahead of time if you are not sure that a restaurant will offer something for you. Almost every restaurant has a website these days. Or I often inquire with the waiter as to what the chef can prepare for me. I’ve always been pleased with what the chefs have offered when I made a special request.
Gathering with Friends
Since all of my friends and family know of my vegan lifestyle, they are incredibly accommodating and want to be sure that there is something there for me to eat for a snack or the main course. I really appreciate that they want to accommodate me and make sure I have just as great a meal as everyone else!
It’s always a good idea to offer to bring something and then you can be sure you have something to eat. If chili is on the menu, I’ll bring a can of Amy’s chili because that brand makes a yummy vegan chili. If it’s a BBQ I’ll bring my own veggie burger or vegan sausage to eat with everyone. Field Roast makes a great vegan sausage! For movie night bring your own popcorn with a butter alternative and snack away. A little preparation always goes a long way.
Cooking for the Hubs
I’ve mentioned before that my husband and daughter are not vegan.
One thing that I absolutely love about my husband and that I appreciated about him when we first started dating was how accepting and accommodating of choices he was. Once he understood what I did eat and what I did not, he always went out of his way to make sure I had what I needed and in return I am accommodating of his choice to continue to eat meat.
When it comes to cooking dinner I usually prepare one dinner with two proteins. Lets take a simple supper like chicken, vegetables and rice. I would cook the chicken breast for him (yes this is my least favorite part) and prepare the vegetables and rice in a vegan preparation meaning I would use Earth Balance butter and vegetable stock for flavoring. I would then prepare some baked tofu for myself and season it in a similar way to how I seasoned his chicken so we are all essentially eating the same meal.
For dinners such as casseroles where ingredients are all mixed together, I will typically make two entrees. For a lasagna, I would prepare a meat lasagna and a vegan lasagna. Yes, there are more dirty dishes to clean up but after years of doing this I really have it down pretty quickly and don’t find it that much trouble at all. The kitchen was going to get messy if I make one dish or two!
One thing that I really cherish from my childhood is sitting around a table all eating dinner together. I really strive to have us all eat dinner together and by preparing that dinner in a similar manner for all of us shows my daughter the importance of that time together but also of eating a healthy balance meal.
I hope that this has shown you that with a little preparation, planning or assertion, you can ablsolutely be the vegan in a non-vegan world and eat very well while doing so!