Tips on dining as out as vegan, this is another question I get asked a lot. Contrary to what most people think, we don’t get to prep-meal all the time (read my post Why Vegan). While I feel comfortable making or cooking our own food at home, sometimes we can’t help but eat out. I have to tell you, Hawai’i is not yet vegan-friendly as far as restaurant choices go unlike New York, Portland or even LA. Yes, vegetables and fruits abound here albeit exorbitantly-priced, unfortunately I can only count in my fingers full vegan restaurants here. Where I live on the west side, there is none, sad isn’t it? So here are some practical tips you can follow when you are out and about:
7 Tips on dining out as vegan
1. Use Yelp or Happy Cow. Yelp is free for consumers to use and read reviews while Happy Cow is an app that you have to pay for $3.99. Happy Cow is very helpful if you travel a lot because it will tell you which nearby restaurants or stores are full vegan or offer vegan options.
2. Call the restaurant ahead or check the menu online to save you trip.
3. Request for vegan options or guide the waiter as you order. For example at California Pizza Kitchen, you can request to have the meat and cheese taken out when ordering salad or sandwich.
4. Request for substitutes. For example in a Thai restaurant I recently dined in, I asked to replace meat with tofu and vegetables for green curry (of course this is making sure that they use non-animal ingredients in their seasonings).
5. Skip buffet and opt for sit-down menu. There is really nothing much you can do with buffet so your safer option is to order from the menu.
6. Bring vegan snacks or food you can eat if all else fails. Bananas, grapes, carrot or celery sticks, bread. protein bars, at least you know what you’re feeding your body (read accidentally vegan)
7. Explore fast food. While not my top of mind when it comes to vegan places but you’d be surprised that some do offer vegan options, of course very limited to say the least. Jack in the Box has salad, just request for balsamic dressing. Wendy’s is the same, request to have cheese taken out. Taco Bell has veggie bowl, replace sour cream with guacamole or pico de gallo. Domino’s offers vegan cheese now.
Have fun! You’re doing your health and the animals a huge favor by embracing a vegan lifestyle so don’t allow the inadequacy of the outside world disrupt your inner harmony. It’s catching up as more and more people now are becoming aware of the amazing benefits of vegan diet.
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