Traveling Vegan: Ordering Food Out

I have been MIA for probably close to a month it feels like. I am not sure, I probably should’ve check my last post date. Either way. I have had a lot on my mind, changed jobs, and then had a huge fight in my family. Part of it had to do with my being vegan. Now if you have just started reading today, I am not vegan by choice. That is why I blog, so other beginner vegans can get through the hard part I didn’t know how to get through. The part where you want a cheeseburger and you don’t care about the damn animals. Well as you get deeper into being vegan a little part of you starts to care about the animals and then perhaps a big part of you (me) will eventually.

I got sick. I had an organ removed. So I am forever vegan. Period. My brother and his wife do not embrace this lifestyle and that is totally fine and up to them. No matter what the animal rights people say I will not push my lifestyle on them. But I would like a little compassion.

When I go out to eat, I have to be detailed and explain my dietary boundaries as a diabetic or gluten allergy person would. Explain what I can’t eat, what I can eat, and why so they understand I am not just being a pain for some new skinny diet. I really cannot eat that stuff and if I do there are major consequences. That being said, I do not go out a lot. I hate it, It’s hard, and stressful. Unfortunately, I have to (sometimes) for family events. During a recent family meeting my brother and his wife brought up how this makes them feel. To a very extreme degree. They deemed me annoying and impossible and that my discussion with the waiters was needless and ridiculous and too detailed. They do not seem to understand what happens when I get sick. Last year an ORGAN was removed. That is a pretty good reason in my book to take the time to explain in detail what I can’t ingest. However they do not agree and asked me to not do this and basically just order and hope for the best so they do not have to hear about it. My sister in law also went so far as to scream at me and repeat the comment that my food choices are “GROSS”. Well my darlings, this is where I must become less than pleasant.

When you go out to order your food, remember…. it is not gross, your order is not annoying, and your reasons (whatever they are big or small) are valid. If your order takes twenty minutes and they need to bring out a short hand court reporter. Let them. You should not have any food forced on you. This leads to food issues. Either overeating, undereating, or resentment. Be happy, be healthy, and tell those folks to go away. I hate food nazis. I don’t want to be told to be vegan, be vegetarian, or be omnivore unless it is by a doctor who has a reason.

Moving on.

So here are my other eating out and ordering tips:

  1. If you have an Apple IPhone: Apps are my best friends! Try the following: Calorie Count (it tracks nutrients), VeganXpress (it tells you by restaurant what you can eat there), HappyCow (it helps you find restaurants that are veggie friendly!), Specialty Produce (tells you what to do with those pesky unknown veggies you got in your CSA package), Dotti (also known as DWLZ.com, this helps you find out nutritional info for healthy choices), and Vegan Steven gives some great recipes too!
  2. Some places can tell you if there is hidden dairy. The Cheesecake Factory now has a lower calorie menu that includes a little milk symbol!
  3. Ask your waitress or waiter about ingredients if you couldn’t find it online. I go to the website of the restuarant before I leave the house. If it isn’t on there I then ask the wait staff. One restaurant brought the box of frozen veggie burgers out at a airport to let me read the ingredients. It was amazing how kind they were!
  4. Most people know someone who is vegan. They will be compassionate and understanding if you take it all with a sense of humor. Say something fun like “I seem to be allergic to everything! Can you help me with the ingredients of this menu item?”
  5. Never back down. If they have the ingredients chances are they can make you something you can eat. Most places have veggies, pasta, rice, bread, and fruit. Ask for something simple like a pasta dish or rice sautee. They will accomodate you.

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