Going Vegan doesn’t have to be as complicated a lifestyle transition as some may think. Often the hardest challenge is finding yourself in environments where there doesn’t appear to be many options.
Here are some simple tips on how to navigate life as a plant-based person in a world that is still catching up.
So valuable is this tip, we could end the article right here. Knowing your environment is the single most important aspect of being able to fit into environments that might not appear compatible to a Vegan lifestyle. For instance, your work might be throwing a function or a business meeting at a local cafe, or perhaps your friends are down for a meal. Even if you’ve eaten there in a previous life, it pays to do some research and see what menu options are available. Unfortunately, some establishments will only have a ‘side salad’, a serving of fries or some fruit that they can certify as ‘Vegan friendly’. Better to find out now, than be sitting with a rumbling tummy and unable to concentrate due to hunger!
If you find out there are few (or no) menu options, address the concern by playing the dreaded ‘dietary requirements’ card. Just kidding, most workplaces are very welcoming of those with allergens, intolerances and ‘lifestyle’ dietary needs including religious requirements, and will cater to your plant-based demands. For bonus points, see if you can get involved in picking the place to eat. If you find somewhere that food that is tasty chances are the team will want to go back, and you might even get some converts who ‘don’t mind that Vegan stuff’. It all starts with them asking that opening question, ‘is that Vegan?’, followed by, ‘can I try some?’…
Life is random, and you may not always have the luxury of a future date to plan towards. In that case, it will serve you well to always be ready. You might be delayed, stuck in traffic or find yourself en-route to an unfamiliar place. This can be especially distressing if you are in between meals or in a location where you are uncertain where you can find plant-based foods. In these moments, snacks are your best friend.
Some of our go to snacks that we keep handy:
- Nuts and Seeds, such as Almonds, Cashews, Hemp Seed and Trail Mix
- Fruit, including Banana, Apple and Oranges
- Raisins, Goji Berries and Dates
- Protein Snacks like Clif Bars or Lenny & Larry’s Cookies
Remind Family & Friends
So, you’ve told your family that you are now Vegan, but do they know that chicken isn’t Vegan? Or fish? Will they be cool if you politely refuse something they’ve been cooking for hours? The important part of this tip is to strike a balance between education and preaching – after all, we are seeking to avoid awkward family encounters, not start them! Where possible (and gently), remind your future hosts what you can and can’t have, or even offer to bring a meal to make it easier. It’s equally important to offer some suggestions for what they could serve you, or even point them in the direction of one of your favourite Vegan chefs for inspiration (or a cheeky challenge).
You may find that your host will embrace the ability to cook with a more extensive library of foods and start getting creative in their quest to craft you a plant-based meal.
Soon enough you won’t need to remind Aunt Sally, she’ll be calling you for more recipes or even whipping up some Vegan delights for the rest of the family in place of less cruelty-free staples. You may find that your host will embrace the ability to cook with a more extensive library of foods and start getting creative in their quest to craft you a plant-based meal.
The same is true of friends and co-workers – just because you have declared your Vegan-ness (ala Michael Scott in The Office ‘declaring’ bankruptcy via yelling into the void), that doesn’t mean everyone will intuitively know or understand what that means. Be patient, and help to educate them in a friendly way, as you are more likely to be supported if you support them.
We hope that these tips can help get your out of any awkward situations where you are without nutritious Vegan options, and making sure you aren’t left hungry as you debate whether or not napkins are edible (they aren’t).