We moved house last November to a completely new area so met lots of brand new friends, and usually when I meet people for the first time (or as I get to know them) there are some questions about veganism that I get asked alot, especially as I'm sometimes the only vegan the person has met. So I've been really wanting to write these posts for a while. There are so, soooo many vegan questions people ask, from the serious to the bizarre! If you have any questions you've ever wanted to ask about any aspect of veganism then please ask in the comments below.
I should point out that all vegans, as with all groups of people, are individual and have different views, thoughts and opinions on things...my posts are just going to be my own answers based on my personal experience.
So without further ado, my first vegan FAQ is....
1. How do you get around issues with eating out? Especially when so many dishes have even traces of dairy?
Lots of places these days are really great when it comes to special diets, and many have a 'special diets menu', that categorises or lists what is in each dish so you can check if it'll be suitable or ask for it to be made slightly differently.
For lunch I like taking a picnic (especially as it's cheaper and you get to eat it in the great outdoors!) but there are usually some vegan options in coffee shops, Boots or Marks & Spencer! And there are also some great veggie cafes where I live.
When I plan to eat out in the evening I'll usually ring the restaurant in advance to let them know that a vegan is coming to dine (fanfare!) and ask them if they have anything on the menu that is vegan. If they don't, every restaurant I have ever spoken to and eaten in has been really accommodating and said they will either adjust something on the menu to make it vegan, or that the chef will create a fantastical dish for me! I then ring on the day to remind them.
If I want a more spontaneous dining out experience that hasn't involved ringing ahead (which doesn't happen these days because of Eric!) I'll go somewhere that I know is good at accommodating vegans, like Wagamamas, Tam Popo, Pizza Express, Las Iguanas or Zizzi, etc. Often I will take a little tub of grated vegan cheese with me so I too can enjoy a delicious cheese pizza just for me by just substituting that!
If we're getting takeaway we usually get Indian as I'm not a fan of Chinese food (so if any vegans want to share how good Chinese takeaways are at accommodating you, please comment below!), and I'll just check on the phone if what I'm ordering contains ghee or any dairy products, and if it is I ask for it to be made without.
If I'm going to a new area or travelling overseas I usually check out Happy Cow or Veggie Places to have an idea of where to go.
Sometimes the meal I'm given can be a bit more of a miss than a hit, but I think that's the case whatever your diet is!
Yesterday I had my lovely vegan friend Fiona from Pea Musings and her family to stay and she was telling me about her experience of vegan dining on her honeymoon. She and her husband had gone on an amazing honeymoon, but hadn't really even considered the food until they got there. They went to the restaurant and having realised they hadn't checked if there'd be anything they could eat, they resigned themselves to having to eat chips the whole time they were away. When the serving staff came to their table they explained they were vegan but not to worry if there were no vegan dishes, that they would just have chips, but the member of staff protested and immediately went to get the chef. The chef asked what exactly they could and couldn't eat and made them a lovely meal. When they got back to their room that evening, there was a scroll on their bed, and it was a vegan menu designed just for them, with lots of different vegan dishes for them to order from for the week! Apparently a highlight was a pudding where they were presented with a chocolate egg, onto which they had to pour hot chocolate sauce, which melted the outer egg, revealing a golden inner egg filled with mango sorbet. AMAZING!
I've been a vegan for nearly 5 years now, and even in that time I think it's getting better and better as the years go on and people become more aware of veganism. So it's really ok being a vegan and eating out. I don't worry about it or even think about it anymore, I'm used to it and it seems normal.
Comment below with your experiences of eating out - I'd love to hear your tales of the good, the bad and the plain bowl of peas! And please comment if you have any vegan questions for my next FAQs