In my line of business I find myself often having to wine and dine my clients. As a vegetarian, it was never an issue. As a vegan, finding yourself in social settings might seem cumbersome in the beginning. In the last month, this is the approach I’ve taken:
- Super casual Starbucks meetings: Iced coffee with vanilla soy milk (I am not a fan of soy milk, and don’t have keep it at home. I prefer almond milk). No baked goods, as I didn’t find a vegan option. I don’t usually need it, because the grande sweetened iced coffee (with soy milk), or any of the frappuccinos (with soy milk), are more than filling.
- Social events/parties: I’ll usually have a green juice before I leave my house. That way, I’ve nourished my body, and my appetite is somewhat curbed. I recently went to a party, and the vegetarian/vegan options were limited. I filled up on salad, and crackers and hummus. I had fresh fruit as well. Having a freshly squeezed juice or healthy green smoothie (minus the honey) prior to going out to a social party or event will more than fill you up.
- Dinning out: Opt for ethnic restaurants. Here are some examples from my own experience:
- Italian: If the rolls are egg free, I eat them while dipping in a mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Bruschetta as an appetizer. Green salad and a pasta dish topped with marinara sauce, or ask the chef to make you a fresh basil and garlic sauce. OR, my favorite— spaghetti putanesca. Topped with fresh tomatoes, lots of garlic, and black olives.
- Thai: Ask about the veggie rolls (instead of egg rolls). Curry vegetable dish with white rice. They usually have tofu dishes as well, but I am not a big fan of foods derived from soy.
- Indian: The choices are endless! Every Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to has multiple vegan options (and they are usually very understanding of you asking about ingredients in the dishes they serve).
- Middle Eastern: Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Eggplant salad, Falafel, Rice and peas, Grilled veggies (all served with fresh oven baked pita bread).
- American restaurants: If all else fails, ask for a combination of side dishes (usually comprised of veggies and possibly rice) as a main dish.
- Fast food: Not for social events, but in emergency, try Taco Bell. Ask for the bean burritos with NO sauce and no cheese.
- LIMIT your alcohol intake to two drinks, and be sure to follow your sips with water! Because you’re eating lighter, the alcohol is absorbed by the blood stream much quicker. This is why I pace my self. Sips followed by sips of water.
I’ll post more ideas and tips as I advance through my vegan challenge.