Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Imperfect Vegan: Socializing

Many people equate being vegan with being perfect, or pure. I really can't say it better than vegan guru Colleen Patrick-Goudreau:

I'm not looking to get imaginary certification, but I am trying to make the best decisions for my body, and, of course, the animals I love so much.

That being said, one of the hardest things as a vegan is going to social events that involve food. In my field (I recently entered real estate), it's hard to avoid socializing. The other day, I was invited to a gathering and, not wanting to be a bother, I didn't mention my diet and just "pre-ate" a protein bar. I didn't realize how awkward it would feel to be the only one not eating! The wonderful hostess said I should've mentioned it ahead of time and pulled out a yummy veggie tray. In a split moment decision, I added a spoonful of ranch to my plate of vegetables.

In talking it over with one of my favoritest people later that night, she suggested that I figure out solutions for the future to avoid last-minute decisions I might later regret. So I began brainstorming and I thought what I came up with may be useful for other newbie vegans:

1. Bring one or two dishes to luncheons/pot lucks.

A few dishes that came to mind were tempeh pâté and better-than-tuna salad from The Vegan Table. Bring an assortment of crackers or a loaf of french bread and you're good to go. Fruit salad is always a good option too.

2. Bring my own ranch (aka plan ahead)

Okay, this is a little tongue-in-cheek, but I do bring my own creamer when I go out to breakfast- I've even brought my container of Earth Balance (vegan butter) to Einstein Bros! If you have to attend an event at a restaurant, look up their menu online and even call ahead to find out more information and plan what you can order.

3. Speak up!

When I go out to eat, I have no issue with speaking up as a vegan.

But when you are invited to someone's home, it's hard not to feel like you're being a burden. I think I expect people to be antagonistic or defensive when I bring up my veganism, but in reality, my in-person interactions have been extremely positive. Most people are curious and usually ask wonderful, respectful questions. Truly, the only negative interactions I've had have been online.

Any vegans/vegetarians out there who have been through awkward social events? What is your solution?


  1. not a vegan, but I have a friend who is allergic to many things, including soy and a friend who doesn't eat meat but eats fish, and then I have a friend who's kids can't eat gluten, and honestly, I am not annoyed by it and I prefer to know about their food things, so I can have something they can eat. I think most nice people feel this way, and the others, well, they are probably just crabby in general.

    first time here, saw you blogger post....

    1. I definitely agree that most people will want to accommodate your dietary needs- I know I would! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment!

  2. I am vegan and run in to these issues at potlucks too. The ones we used to have at work were the worst - nearly every dish had meat! Ha ha! I do the same as you - bring my own food, eat ahead of time, or talk to the host if I feel that's appropriate :)

    1. Those situations really can be hard. Have you ever checked out It's simultaneously funny and sad...because it's true. :P