So it has been just over a year since Victoria and I started dating and I have learnt quite a few things about what it is like to be a vegan, but also for someone with dietary requirements as well in Northern Ireland. I am not professing to be all knowledgeable in the world of veganism as that would be bad form seeing as I am a meat eater and all that. But I have learnt enough to make some observations and you lucky people get to read them (sorry). Shall we?
Cooking for a vegan is a lot easier than I imagined
Over the past, wonderful year Victoria and I have always tried to keep a mini-tradition going as best as we can and that is “Vegan Mondays” Though to be fair due to work and other situations, this can change week on week and sometimes more than a couple of times in one week. Which is great for me as I love to cook, so hopefully Victoria likes it too! There have only been the odd mistakes made so far and I would consider that a win for a year’s worth of cooking…
One thing I have wanted to do for Victoria is to provide as wide a range of meal options as possible. I like to experiment and see what I can do in the kitchen, so to get the chance to flex those culinary muscles is always good for me! I would look at a recipe and see how I could alter it in a way that was good enough for a vegan who also needed the meal to be free from gluten, soy, carrots, potato and chocolate (luckily cacao can be used in place of that) It is challenging but definitely rewarding as, when it works I get to realise that there is another meal that I can make her. This week alone I have been able to mix it up with a few alternatives for Victoria and myself to enjoy.
Making a meal look “normal”
I spoke to Victoria about this when we were on a little trip to Dublin, but as mentioned I prefer to make a meal that would look and taste as good for a vegan as it would for a meat eater. So by just changing a few aspects of the meal I can make it just look like a standard meal. I have seen so many images of vegan meals that look vegan or at the least “healthy”. Why can’t it look like a normal meal? I almost always see an abundance of leafy greens etc. I love me some leafy greens, but Nah. Not doing that. So here is a little list of meals I have made for us.
Sweet and sour with falafel’s, chow mein, sweet potato burger with parsnip chips, chilli con carne, lasagne, pizza, spag bol, Thai curry, korma, Sunday roast, Christmas dinner (with nut roast and stuffing) to name a few.
But, why are restaurants still… Restrictive on their menu choices?
I love that I can do this for her, but when we go out to eat and it is in a non-vegetarian/vegan/health based cafe or restaurant the menu in standard places is much more restrictive in their offerings. For example, we found that a lot of places do offer something for Victoria, but I would like to say 80% of the time it is a Thai curry, which is great as she is becoming a bit of a connoisseur about that type of curry. It can be a little boring for her (in my opinion). So I have to think, that if I can alter a meal pretty easily for a vegan with some other requirements, why can’t a restaurant have altered options for something easy as a chilli? I get it is a little more difficult for the gluten aspect (though that is also going down as the numbers of gluten intolerant people is ever growing). But it appears that these places are just offering the cheapest version they can do.
Which is frustrating as I would love to go places where she has actual choices and not just be limited to one option.
Research is needed in new cities
I had planned a little impromptu trip to Newcastle (County Down) to go to Slieve Donard hotel so Victoria could have a little chill day at the spa. But I knew I had to research if there were places we could go to eat, as it would be a bit boring for us. So some research was done and we found a couple of places.
But as is usually the case for us, we decided to explore more of the town to see if other places offered anything else for next time. So walk around the town we did and happily, we found a few places, so instead of being limited to just the restaurant at the hotel (though their food was lovely AND they were able to accommodate Victoria at the breakfast buffet!), we knew we could go elsewhere for lunch etc.
Although I do love a good exploration dander, I feel that some places are really missing out on not promoting their vegan or even veggie options more. As said I am a meat eater, but I know the demographics of non-meat eaters is growing, so why wouldn’t your business add two or so meals and promote it, then, when visitors or people who live in the town who have these beliefs they will know to go straight to you. Social media promotion every so often is all that is needed. and I feel not only would it help that business with the new footfall they would gain, but help those who are vegan (etc) do not have to ask and then completely change an order just so they can eat.
Well, that’s it for another post, I didn’t want to babble on any further to make you bored, if you are interested in these type of posts let me know!
I have made a few posts about dating a vegan, check them here!
Dating a vegan/only eats plant based foods
Veganism: My first encounter with cooking a vegan meal.
Vegan and dietary need cooking: When you mess up
Let me know if you enjoyed this post! If you want to chat more about any of my posts, please follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to also receive updates. Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope to see you again soon!
Been chewing on the idea of eating vegan occasionally and found this helpful! I hope to come back for the other articles later this week 🙂 thank you!
One of my best friends was vegan in college and I can’t believe how far we’ve come as far as options.
I totally agree that restaurants should expand their menu with vegan items. Love reading your post and thanks for sharing.
I looove that you do this for your girlfriend. I think this is the sweetest thing ever. So many people are not open minded to veganism or even vegetarianism but like you said it can be totally easy and look normal. I definitely agree that restaurants need more options! Food in general needs to be more vegan-friendly. Great post!
This is such an interesting perspective on veganism and what you’ve learned. =) It’s too bad that Thai curry is one of the only dishes offered at non-vegan restaurants when there are so many delicious vegan recipes they could feature. Thanks for sharing this post! Loved it.
Restaurants will soon have to rethink meal structure to cater for growing number of proud vegans.
Thankfully in India , getting a vegan meal is not much of a challenge but I can understand how things must be in the rest of the world where meat and dairy are very important part of the meals.
I’m a vegan, too! I really need this because sometimes I want to try a different recipe. I will definitely read your future posts and thank you for sharing!
It looks like there is a lot of things to “catch” about it, that it’s not so simple. But, like I see you did it. Sometimes it’s not bad to try something new 🙂
I’m glad you found a way to work with each other’s dietary preferences. All of these meals look so good too. Unfortunately, vegan options aren’t widely offered because of supply and demand.
it’s so lovely and refreshing to see vegans getting along with non-vegans. I’ve been vegan for the better part of my life and my boyfriend is not one. Yes, it’s so much easier to cook vegan meals than most people think right?
I’m going to share your post with my eldest daughter as she is on her journey toward becoming a vegan. Thanks so much!
Great article! I was vegetarian and partly vegan for a long time. I don’t want to take you down but please make sure your are having regular blood test. All the best
My hubby is a meat head. Lol. My challenge is to make him meat for dinner every night!
This is an amazing read, had been thinking of doing this, we are starting slowly, can’t ditch the meat just yet.
I am a vegan and I agree that restaurants should improve on their vegan menu.