Stressed? Just because you are having dinner with a vegan? Trust me, vegans eat. It really isn’t that difficult if you just follow a few easy guidelines.
- If it comes from something that had a mouth and eyes, vegans won’t eat it.
- If it is a byproduct that comes from an animal, vegans will avoid it.
To make it a bit easier here is a list of what to ALWAYS avoid.
Meat – frozen/fresh/fried/baked/grilled. Absolutely no meat. And, yes, chicken is meat…so is pork!
Fish – or anything with fish sauce. For example many traditional Chinese dishes use oyster sauce (yep, oysters are animals).
Milk – check those labels because an astounding percentage of the products on store shelves have added some type of milk or whey…even in most types of popular bread crumbs! Also be on the lookout for milk derivatives including butter, casein, buttermilk, lactose, lactalbumin phosphate and lactulose.
Gelatin – this is generally made from cow or pig bones, skin, tendons. Instead, opt for one of the vegan versions which are agar agar and most Kosher gelatins.
Eggs – since becoming a vegan, a lot of people have questioned me as to why not eat eggs because the chicken isn’t being harmed. If you want to learn the true facts, please click this link. However, be forewarned…it is not pretty, but sadly true.
Honey – Yes, honey has been around for centuries but it was in the 20th century that bees were turned into factory-farmed animals. If you are looking for dinner conversation, read more about the mistreatment of bees here. Plus, bees are dying at an alarming rate and without bees, the planet’s survival would be at risk. Here is an article on bees that can help you understand more of the crisis at hand. The great news is that there are so many vegan alternatives including Maple Syrup and Agave.
There are a lot of vegan recipe ideas on my blog or if you don’t feel like cooking perhaps check out the ready-to-eat varieties of vegan options at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.
I live in Southern California and fortunate to have access to a wide range of vegan restaurants. In addition many traditional restaurants now also have vegan options.
Some of my other local favorites include Sage, Crossroads Kitchens and Au Lac, that also has a location in Orange County.*
If you are lucky enough to live in So Cal, otherwise known as one of the country’s vegan havens, definitely check out Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa, located at The Camp. Literally every dish I have ever had there is spectacular but the Tomato Soup and Old Town Grilled Cheese are as close to comfort-food-perfection as possible.
There are a few Native Food Restaurant locations but the one in Costa Mesa is probably my favorite due to the warm atmosphere and friendly staff.
In addition, for some yummy, albeit not always the healthiest food, there are several Veggie Grill locations throughout Southern California. The company has an aggressive roll out plan for other locations throughout the United States in the coming year.
A restaurant that caters to both carnivores and herbivores is Nirvana Grille in Laguna Beach. Be sure to ask for the vegan menu. It is a bit pricey but perfect for a special occasion.
Done! Dining with a Vegan, simplified. Relax…you’ve got this!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me below or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*NOTE: I prefer the Orange County location as the menu is more extensive.