By Published On: 15 March 2014520 words2.6 min read

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Responsible Consumption: Dining Out as a Vegan

By Linden Mackey, Guest Contributor

[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”1px” class=”” id=””]I[/fusion_dropcap] came home last week from an evening out with two friends at a neighborhood restaurant feeling absolutely horrid – stuffed full of grease and salt. Completely my own fault, as I knowingly consumed a plate of French fries and half a plate of onion rings. I really need to move onto the next phase of responsible consumption.

One benefit often touted on becoming vegan is that of ‘effortless’ weight loss, the idea being that if one cuts out major categories of food such as meat and dairy, one should theoretically lose weight. I am one of the seeming minority that has not lost a single pound by changing to a vegan diet. Not that weight loss or even overall health was my primary motive – but I find it interesting and a testament to the saying “No matter where you go, there you are.” That is, merely changing the players isn’t going to necessarily change your overall relationship to food.

One reason that I haven’t lost weight, which sometimes is surprising to non-vegans, is that there really is just so much you can eat that is delicious without meat and dairy. Admittedly, it helps if you enjoy cooking. Also, in the beginning days, if I found something especially good that I enjoyed eating, I was so pleased I would eat a lot of it. Deep-fried tofu especially, as I wrote about in my early journaling:

Ugh.  I am completely stuffed … I really have got to rein in my new addiction to deep-fried tofu with luscious chili sauce served at the company cafeteria.

This fried tofu became my crack the very moment they began offering a trough of it in the salad bar.  It is incredibly irresistible to me, and just like other narcotics, I need more and more of it each day.

Whereas I once was satisfied with three or four pieces, now I routinely take about 8-10 – and frankly, if I could just take the entire trough up to my cubicle, I’m sure I could polish it off by the end of each day.  I have no shame about my addiction – and although I imagine other salad bar patrons are vaguely disgusted at me greedily piling these little tofu treasures in my to-go box, I just refuse to meet anyone’s eyes.

Nevertheless, it’s amazing how often the only things I can eat on the menu at a restaurant are salad or French fries. I actually get fairly angry about this, because it seems unacceptable and ridiculous that restaurants cannot manage to create even a few items that aren’t primarily meat or drowning in cheese/cream/butter.

I pick French fries because I want to have something that is a guilty pleasure when I’m at a restaurant – but I realized the other night a better alternative would be to just start being more vocal about insisting on vegan-friendly places to meet up with friends, instead of doing my philosophy and body this disservice in the name of going along.

Photo credit: William Jones

By Published On: 15 March 2014520 words2.6 min read

Share This Story!

Responsible Consumption: Dining Out as a Vegan

By Linden Mackey, Guest Contributor

[fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”1px” class=”” id=””]I[/fusion_dropcap] came home last week from an evening out with two friends at a neighborhood restaurant feeling absolutely horrid – stuffed full of grease and salt. Completely my own fault, as I knowingly consumed a plate of French fries and half a plate of onion rings. I really need to move onto the next phase of responsible consumption.

One benefit often touted on becoming vegan is that of ‘effortless’ weight loss, the idea being that if one cuts out major categories of food such as meat and dairy, one should theoretically lose weight. I am one of the seeming minority that has not lost a single pound by changing to a vegan diet. Not that weight loss or even overall health was my primary motive – but I find it interesting and a testament to the saying “No matter where you go, there you are.” That is, merely changing the players isn’t going to necessarily change your overall relationship to food.

One reason that I haven’t lost weight, which sometimes is surprising to non-vegans, is that there really is just so much you can eat that is delicious without meat and dairy. Admittedly, it helps if you enjoy cooking. Also, in the beginning days, if I found something especially good that I enjoyed eating, I was so pleased I would eat a lot of it. Deep-fried tofu especially, as I wrote about in my early journaling:

Ugh.  I am completely stuffed … I really have got to rein in my new addiction to deep-fried tofu with luscious chili sauce served at the company cafeteria.

This fried tofu became my crack the very moment they began offering a trough of it in the salad bar.  It is incredibly irresistible to me, and just like other narcotics, I need more and more of it each day.

Whereas I once was satisfied with three or four pieces, now I routinely take about 8-10 – and frankly, if I could just take the entire trough up to my cubicle, I’m sure I could polish it off by the end of each day.  I have no shame about my addiction – and although I imagine other salad bar patrons are vaguely disgusted at me greedily piling these little tofu treasures in my to-go box, I just refuse to meet anyone’s eyes.

Nevertheless, it’s amazing how often the only things I can eat on the menu at a restaurant are salad or French fries. I actually get fairly angry about this, because it seems unacceptable and ridiculous that restaurants cannot manage to create even a few items that aren’t primarily meat or drowning in cheese/cream/butter.

I pick French fries because I want to have something that is a guilty pleasure when I’m at a restaurant – but I realized the other night a better alternative would be to just start being more vocal about insisting on vegan-friendly places to meet up with friends, instead of doing my philosophy and body this disservice in the name of going along.

Photo credit: William Jones

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  1. Linden March 16, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Hi,

    First of all, my sincere condolences on both your unemployment situation and having to live with a relative who causes more issues than not. I have been in both situations before — very stressful.

    I had to laugh at your comment about shouting “I KNOW FAT VEGANS!” and throwing truffles and champagne — so very true. You clearly have not let your circumstances diminish your sense of humor, and that is a positive thing!

    I myself just had to attend an employee recognition workplace event that had dry lettuce, some asparagus, and bread that I could eat. And you are right — vegans do not necessary like every single thing that is vegan. It gets irritating for people to assume that it would be fine for us to eat the same thing every meal, every day — likely a salad.

    I hope that you survived the work party … and treated yourself to something delicious and vegan afterwards if necessary!

  2. The Hill March 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I have lost a lot of weight recently – I don’t think it is connected to my veganism, it is a combination of a year of unemployment so no money followed by a year of living with my horrible brother so misery, but everyone thinks I am thin due to being vegan. Although I am naturally slender anyway so putting weight back on is not that easy. It’s irritating being chastised, sometimes by people I barely know who think vegan = malnourished, when I hardly want to go into the personal problems that have actually led to my weight loss. Sometimes I just want to shout ‘I KNOW FAT VEGANS!’ and throw truffles and champagne at them.

    I am going to a work party this weekend at a restaurant who don’t provide a vegan option. I am dreading this. I had to explain what I don’t eat to my boss. Not as in what vegan means, which is what I thought he meant, but as in out of all food in the world that is vegan, what don’t I like. In the end all I could think to say was I wasn’t too keen on tomatoes and I don’t like soup. Otherwise if it is vegan, I will eat it. Who knows WHAT I’ll end up with tomorrow.