My top tips for living a plant based lifestyle with ease
Food can be a large portion of a culture, food can be an identifier, ones diet reflects who they are as a person. If you think back to when you were a kid invited to spend dinner at a friends house, do you remember experiencing different daily traditions, different spices, different vegetables or meats? Moments like those were our first indications that food is not the same to any one person, favorite meals, cravings, likes/ dislikes and even the time frame in which we consume food is not the same for any one person, we are all different.
Knowing how different and food diet are for each person/family/culture I find it shocking how much the world around me cares that I am vegan. A common vegan joke is that vegans cant stop talking about how they are vegan, however I find the opposite is true- anyone who finds out I am vegan is instantly obsessed with anything I put in my mouth. Every single item gets questioned and even if I am not eating the numerous questions on a regular basis about my food habits surprise me.
I am lucky to have an amazing support system in my food choices however even typing that sentence seems a little ridiculous. Why do I need my friends, family and coworkers to support my diet? The answer to this is not uncomplicated. As I mentioned above food choices can be a means of identifying oneself, and by extension how someone chooses to Identify you.
Suggest restaurants BOTH parties can eat at. It has never been easier to be a vegan, most restaurants have at least one really good vegan option. When making plans to go eat with family, friends or a colleague search restaurants in the area that are vegan friendly. This way both parties can eat happily and you can get away without even telling the person about your dietary restrictions. Great options are Mediterranean, Japanese, Mexican or Indian restaurants.
Don’t be picky. Like it or not, you have chosen a restrictive diet and it is unreasonable for you to assume that maintaining this diet is as important to your family as it is for you. This means you need to make some sacrifices, if your friends really want to try out a new restaurant that you know you can only order fries or a really sad garden salad at go anyway! Order those fries you can eat something better at home, enjoy the time with your friends don’t expect them to sacrifice their wants for your diet.
Be Creative. When I get to a restaurant and there are no obvious options the next thing I do is see what I can remove from any dish to make it vegan. sometimes removing one or two things or substituting a sauce can give you a really good meal.
Inform the host. It is always polite to let your host know in advance about any dietary restrictions, you cannot show up and just expect them to accommodate you on the spot. Let tour host know the moment they invite you over, this way you can form a plan together on what you will/ can eat.
Offer to bring something. This can be a full meal in a Tupperware or simply a side dish that will be the main portion of your meal. If they are ordering in you can order from the same place or even a different location.
Keep it simple. When having guests over to your house for dinner keep it simple, make something that will be easily enjoyed by all. Pasta, chili, soups, salads, every day meals that almost everyone likes. While tofu, tempeh, beans and whatever else you may eat on a daily basis may be normal and delicious to you these are food items many do not like or are afraid of.
Choosing to follow a plant based lifestyle should not be complicated and it shouldn’t hurt the relationships around you. The most important thing is to remember why you are doing this, and that it’s really not that big of a deal. Definitely plan ahead but don’t let your diet choices define every other aspect of your life. Please comment below if you have any other tips or tricks.
Suggested recipes to try:
Stuffed ricotta shells : https://lazyfitvegan.com/2019/07/02/ricotta-shells-with-pesto-and-tomato-sauce/
Potato Salad: https://lazyfitvegan.com/2019/05/29/vegan-potato-salad/
Arabiatta pasta: https://lazyfitvegan.com/2018/07/30/vegan-arabiatta-pasta/