Vegans have to live in a non-vegan world. While most people understand and respect each others dietary choices, it’s easy for your vegan views to come in conflict with the rigid positions of others. We at Wild Radish decided to pick out the most frustrating, and common vegan situations, and offer our own personal methods for dealing with them:
Turning down non-vegan food at a friend’s house
This will inevitably happen. You go round someone’s house for a meal, and even though they’re fully aware of your veganism, they overlook some product (butter, sprinkled cheese, stock) and add it to the dish. Some less-strict vegans might not protest if the meal itself is vegetarian, but should you really have to eat something you don’t want to?
Solution: Whatever you do, don’t throw the food away! It’s antithetical to the goals of veganism, and very disrespectful to the host. Your only genuine option is to politely affirm your position and say to the food. If this is someone you’re desperate to avoid, in future try to:
● Ask your host about the menu, paying attention for ingredients that may be overlooked.
● Get involved with the cooking. That way you can politely interject if they’re about to throw in something non-vegan.
Maintaining your veganism abroad
Some countries make it easy to be a better vegan. Some...do not. The problem here is two-fold: how do you keep yourself well nourished and fed on your visit, and how do you embrace a culture that is routed in meat and dairy?
Solution: Pack or buy plenty of small, vegan favourite foods. Bananas are perfect for travelling vegans, but beans, whole grains and nuts should also be easy to find wherever you are. This is particularly important if you intend to go along to non-vegan food events (like bratwurst tastings or a local fishmonger in Costa Rica) and experience its cultural significance, without partaking in the main course.
Vegans get asked a lot about their diet. More often or not it comes from a place of genuine curiosity. Sometimes it can be a little rude. When the questions do touch the realms of disrespectful, it’s important that you respond in the right way.
Solution: Never reply with a snarky or spiteful remark. Instead, put yourself in their shoes and respond with your own re-phrased question, one which asks them to confront the details. This makes your answer easier to swallow.
“Would you still be vegan on a desert island?” = “You mean, would I eat meat or dairy if it was necessary for survival?”
“If you’re vegan, why aren't you skinnier?” = “Are there any vegan foods you enjoy that aren’t healthy?”
The most important thing to remember in all awkward vegan situations is to always take the high road. A lot of people start with strong, if not full-on negative opinions on veganism. The more we try to shatter the myths and create an aura of pleasantness, the more people will be open to veganism...even to the point of trying it themselves.
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