In 2014, the Humane Research Council interviewed a large group of former vegetarians and vegans. When probed about which elements of the lifestyle had proved difficult, 60 percent of former vegans said that they disliked that their diet made them “stick out from the crowd.”
Dining in restaurants can be challenging for new vegans precisely because it tends to evoke that feeling of difference. The ideal restaurant scenario is one in which a menu offers ample vegetarian or vegan options. Depending on where you live, you may have access to many such places already, and they’re multiplying quickly.
At the moment, though, eating vegan at a restaurant often means asking questions about ingredients and preparation methods, and sometimes it means having the courage to request modifications — all while respecting a kitchen’s limits, a chef’s vision, and a server’s time and energy.
But I’d argue that willingness to ask for modifications and creatively pair together different menu items is often the difference between accepting a paltry appetizer salad (or the dreaded roast vegetable plate) for dinner, and having a truly satisfying meal. Vegan restaurant dining is... Read more