Do you feel restricted with food options when eating out?

turtledove

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Often, when you're vegetarian, food options are very limited. This varies in different areas, but as a rule, there are some restaurants and eateries I just don't visit, like Nandos. Such places don't cater very well for vegetarians (or vegans, for that matter), which is quite irritating. It means that often when your friends are going out to eat, there's nothing there for you to eat.

However, recently I haven't found being vegetarian much of a problem when eating out. Most restaurants and eateries make it easier for people with different diets, and although there are some places I still wouldn't go, I generally have something that I can eat, even if it's not the highest quality.

Do you feel restricted with food options when eating out?
 

Josie

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It depends where I am. I don't typically eat out, but in my home town, you can't find a vegan restaurant to save your life. If you're vegetarian, it's pretty easy to find options from pretty much any restaurant. Vegan meals though.. it gets tiresome talking the options to death and in the end not being able to eat anything but salad lol. In the city I moved to, there's a vegan restaurant on nearly every corner.. pretty awesome, so no, not an issue.
 

Alexia

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I don't find it such an issue as I usually look up places beforehand and know what is on offer. I'm very flexible and I can always order side dishes or get an omelet.

Most places will adapt dishes, there are very few places that won't. I have only struggled in rural areas where restaurants aren't used to vegetarians or vegans, but I expect that when it's a burger and fries local dive.
 
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I find that it's not so hard because I'll usually just get a salad. That way I know that I won't have to eat meat and it's a much healthier option. Sometimes I do wish that these resturants would have something more like a veggie burger that I could eat. That way I would have real options.
 

JessieJJ

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I feel restricted when I go out to eat with friends. I feel that not many restaurants think about those who are vegan/vegetarian. Most restaurants should have a wide variety of food for many people who are on certain diets.
 

Onroda

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Pretty much depends on the restaurant. I relatively often dine out at some Vietnamese or Asian restaurants or even at dedicated vegan places. When I go out with omnivores, I try to make the cook prepare something vegan for me, if their is no feasible option on the menu. If that does not work out, I go for a salad. So yes, I feel restricted, since I would appreciate vegan options in traditional pubs and wine bars.
 
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winter.frost

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Not sure about bars but I find it very easy to get vegan food in pubs. Almost everywhere will have veggies at the back and does jacket potatoes so I tend to just ask them to prepare jacket potato with a veg filling (after explaining what vegan means) - sure, not the most exiting but still able to order it with chips. However I have noticed some Youngs Pubs now do a vegan main course option (it's a huge bowl of salad), but it might not be what you're looking for in terms of pub grub.
 

Onroda

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Good to hear that pubs in the UK are willing and even able to serve you vegan dishes. In German wine bars (or say: in the traditional weinstube), you might get a vegan salad or boiled potatoes and sauerkraut (which quite often contains some bacon). No jacket potatoes over here! :( I only know one traditional wine bar where I can order a lentil salad and skip the goat's cheese (no discount for that). The waitress always tells me that I am missing the best of the dish. And the ordinary German pub is even worse: plain potatoes might do, since fried potatoes (again) are likely to contain bacon. Even salad dressings may not be vegan unless you ask them to use a vinaigrette instead of these abominable yogurt or even mayonnaise dressings. So sometimes, when I crave for something "real" (my cravings tend to increase with the quantity of wine consumed), I choose "hand cheese with music" and bread. That's a very low-fat cheese soaked in oil, vinegar, onions and caraway for some days. Tastes delicious and is one the foods that is worth an occasional exception to the vegan rule.
 
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winter.frost

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No, I don't follow you there. Exceptions to veganism based on health, yes. Based on taste, not at all. But that's not an argument I want to get into.
 

Onroda

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Feel free to disagree. I for one am prepared to compromise on a few things outside my own home, because I feel I shouldn't jeopardize my relationship with my old omnivore friends by being too picky about what to eat (so I go for a vegetarian meal if there aren't any vegan choices). My wife (who strictly opposes my "diet") and I are invited to a birthday dinner tonight. The hosts don't even know what a vegan diet means and always forget that I would rather have the mushrooms without cream, for instance. I can imagine what you would do in my place. But I feel morally inclined to compromise here and there - for the sake of the cause (and sometimes for the sake of my own cravings... but I'm working on the latter).
 
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winter.frost

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I would say that your omnivore friends are more likely to try veganism if you can show them how it works. I wonder whether breaking the rules in front of them only suggests that it's a fad. In other words, I do not think you are helping 'the cause'. How long have you been vegan?
 

Onroda

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I try to show them, whenever I can. My birthday party two years ago was completely vegan. I did not tell anybody that the "meat" on the tramezzini was "fake" and with the rest of the food being inspired by Indian cuisine, nobody seemed to bother or even notice. Nobody complained until I revealed the secret, which I only did after everybody had finished. Then they said something like "oh, I knew it, I knew it, this sausage had a strange taste".

Most of our friends lack any understanding of "the cause". On the other hand, since they probably regard my being insistent as a threat to their "incarnate" life-style, they kind of like to see me breaking the rules, because that makes me one of them - once again. And I think this makes way for a discussion where my arguments can be heard by the other side.

However, if I had to start making friends and looking for a companion all over again, I would never even think of compromising. I have been a "vegan" for 3 years. In fact, I started on this very day in October 2012,
 
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winter.frost

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That's exactly my point. Your 'breaking the rules' is only serving to make them feel more at ease with themselves and placing the discussion more on their terms after witnessing your flaws too. I'm not convinced that your habits really mean that you're vegan - it sounds like you're a lacto-vegetarian who simply tries to eat vegan as much as they can. I was like that for about two years. Especially when you say you've been 'vegan' for three years now - you should have really 'ironed out the creases' in that time.
 

Onroda

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I don't care that you call me a lacto-vegetarian. I usually do not call myself a vegan either though I am 1oo% compliant at home and, while on my own, I always choose restaurants when eating out that offer vegan options. In my view, it is not essential to be 100% compliant, as long as you're following the right track.

I used to be very strict on many issues when I was young(er) but noticed that I was often fighting against windmills and making a Don Quijote out of myself. I am 54, male, trying to live up to my own expectations amidst a rather vegan-hostile personal environment. Yet I am sure that my influence on this environment is greater than the environment's influence on me.
 

Sally

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Baked beans on dry toast is an option. Don't say you are vegan if it is going to cause upset, just say you are intolerant to animal products, then people might be more understanding and helpful. Sometimes it is better to leave the banners at home.