21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: Main Kickstart Forum: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Created on: 03/11/13 07:08 PM Views: 2291 Replies: 12
Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM

This is my 41st day on the program and I love it. Even when I've gone out to eat I've been able to adapt the offerings to my own new diet. I've visited with friends a few times during these 41 days, but they've all been very receptive to my new dairy-free, meat-free dietary inclinations. Now I'm about to have dinner with friends who would/will find all of this terribly rude and downright weird.

When I started the program I sort of defined myself as a plant-based eater, rather than as a vegan, and assumed I'd stray from time to time. It's important to me to not be a difficult or picky guest (even Peter Singer has noted the moral importance of community courtesy as a visiting diner), yet it feels nearly impossible to me to happily consume cheese and meat sauce.

Can anyone offer any advice? (Otherwise I'm going to plead a touch of indigestion and just play (albeit hungrily) with my food. Thanks--I'm actually kind of in a mild panic about all of this.

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Indigestion, allergies, religious sanctions, giving it up for Lent, whatever works!

Edited 03/11/13 7:35 PM
RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 at 7:37 PM

I have faced this exact problem and I decided to just do it... I told my friends that my family was eating this way and following a plant strong anti-cancer diet or something like that.
I offered to bring a Vegan Lasagna and guess what happened? They all scarfed it down and later after we left the most opposed who went out and brought gourmet pizzas back - knowing we couldn't eat it - actually made a Dr apt and asked her Dr if she should follow such a plan.

Your example can have a huge impact on others - someday they will look back and say you were right...

Edited 03/11/13 7:38 PM
RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Oh, I forgot to say that I feel just like you describe and don't want to be rude "ever" or have anyone think I am ridiculous. I have also been on the other side of it when I invited someone over and they accepted the invitation, even though I told them what I was cooking. When they arrived with separate meals I was really annoyed because it wasn't an allergy but one person just didn't care for what I was making.

So I feel for you... Eat a lot of veggies before you go there and try to have fun. I would ask if I cd bring the salad or something but if you feel really pressured there is no harm in keeping a low profile. I hope it all works out Wink
Best!

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM

What exactly is it that they are making? Can they make it mix'n'match - for example, have the meatballs/meat sauce and parmesan or whatever separate so each person can serve themself the exact amount of each they choose (LOTS of meatballs but no parmesan, parmesan only, etc). Definitely consider having a small meal of some sort ahead of time if you're certain that they'll be doing some sort of unseparable casserole - we've done that before family gatherings even before we changed eating styles simply because they tend to under estimate the meal time (One time they said dinner would be served at about 4-4:30 and we didn't sit down to eat until close to 7!!) Make a tasty vegan dessert to bring as a "good guest" - for example, a vegan chocolate pudding and fresh fruit trifle (strawberries and chocolate - no one is going to say no to that - and you don't even need to mention that it's vegan!) The pudding is basically plant milk, vegan chocolate bits, cocoa powder, vanilla, corn starch, and sugar. It's easy, fairly quick to make, and so delicious we've had non-vegans lick their bowls and request the recipe. That way you can at least share a dessert with everyone.

--DebR

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Usually I offer to bring a dish. Can you take a wonderful large salad to share?

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Usually I offer to bring a dish. Can you take a wonderful large salad to share? I put chickpeas on mine! you could leave them for the side.

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Being honest is the best policy I think. I have many friends that are not happy about my choice but hey you can't please the world. Letting them know you have made a life changing decesion in regards to your meal plans will be your best bet I feel. If you are planning to do this for the long run you will eventually have to let them know, might as well let them know now. Good luck!

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Last weekend I attended a wedding. I ate the salad, pasta and grilled veggies. There was also chicken and fish on my plate. (The catering staff asked if I was done because I left behind all the meat.) It wasn't a big deal since it was a special occasion and there weren't any choices as in a restaurant.

On the other hand, when I visit family for a week in another state, I can't bring that many dishes, as suggested. Even though the family member knows I'm eating a plant based diet, she says things like, "well, you can eat a little bit of meat." I don't make a big deal and just skip the meat but the rest of the meal is usually white rice and iceburg lettuce. I made a trip to the store and purchased a couple of meat substitutes. Staying in a hotel while visting does allow me to eat a healthy breakfast, at least.

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The most pleasant surprise I had when asked to dinner by friends in Paris was the hostess asking what we would like! She rattled off the normal fish, poultry or meat, and it was so easy to say just vegetables.

Maybe we should try to take a few cues from the French - inviting someone to dinner or as a guest is just as much making the guest comfortable as it is about our generosity, and for that matter, vice versa. One misstep does not a failure make!

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 12:50 PM

That was very nice of your French host. I don't hold out any hope for my family member, though. They ask if I'm still eating this way when I call. I think they think it's something that will pass even though I've been eating this way for years and have no intention of going back to the SAD diet.

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM

In some way you are reaching them . To be so irritated with you is more about questioning themselves . Scary for them!

RE: Visiting Friends for Dinner: Please Help
Posted Monday, March 18, 2013 at 9:23 AM

deborahjm wrote:

On the other hand, when I visit family for a week in another state, I can't bring that many dishes, as suggested. Even though the family member knows I'm eating a plant based diet, she says things like, "well, you can eat a little bit of meat." I don't make a big deal and just skip the meat but the rest of the meal is usually white rice and iceburg lettuce. I made a trip to the store and purchased a couple of meat substitutes. Staying in a hotel while visting does allow me to eat a healthy breakfast, at least.

Offer to prepare a meal (or take them out for a meal) maybe once or twice when you're there as a "thank you for your hospitality" kind of thing.
If you get a hotel room with a microwave and fridge, which might cost an extra small fee, you can eat dinner before you go eat dinner by buying and prepping easy and quick things - even just a coffee maker in the room (which is pretty much standard these days) can get you hot water for vegan cup 'o soups (I know folks around this forum can recommend good options/brands). That, plus some hearty bread and hummus for a spread can make enough of a meal that having a bit of lettuce salad and a spoonful or two of rice would be enough to fill you up. Cup o'soups and bread are shelf stable, a small container of hummus could even survive several days in the ice bucket, and an assortment of fresh fruits (apples, bananas, etc) and you're pretty set for some basic lunch/dinner pre-meal meals.

--DebR


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