Whatever your diet is, eating at home is never an issue. You are not only provided with healthier, hygienic and more pocket-friendly eating options, but also get to freely customize your food whichever way you like. The real problem starts when you have a plan to eat-out, and it gets tedious if you are a vegan. Dining-out is one of the most excruciating events for a vegan, and can be quite the cause of stress.
In a country like India, where 29-40% of the population follows a vegetarian diet, how difficult can it get to grab vegan diet outside of homes?
Clearing the air around ‘Veganism’
As is the case, many of us still aren’t clear about the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan diet. More and more people need to know that while everything vegan is essentially vegetarian; it isn’t vice-versa. Whereasnon-inclusion of any and every type of sea food, poultry and meat makes for a vegetarian diet, the same doesn’t apply to a vegan diet.
The word ‘vegan’ calls for the exclusion of any food item related directly or indirectly to animal by-products. So apart from the above, a vegan diet abstains from the usage of popular dairy products like milk, butter, and cheese too. A vegan diet is mostly rich in carbohydrates, magnesium, zinc, vitamins, iron, folic acid, and phytochemicals and so on.
So does it mean that the vegans have to order salad everytime that they eat out? Absolutely not. Veganism both inside and outside your homes can be fuss-free once you have a systematic approach up your sleeves. This includes –
It is not necessary that any or every restaurant includes vegan food items on their menu. So, to avoid any wastage of time and effort, it is better that you do some research on your part. Look online for vegan restaurants in your area or the place you are visiting, or atleast a restaurant that serves some vegan food. This will enlighten you with the options at hand. You can go through the menus online and get to know of the vegetarian food on the menu that can be effortlessly veganized.
Often, restaurants go for fancy names for the dishes on their food menu, or omit the small descriptions of the ingredients that follow the dish name. This makes it difficult for you to make out as to what is what. To resolve such issues, you can call up the restaurants and clarifyall your doubts. Besides, some restaurants also serve items that are not on their menu,all the more reason to call them up in advance. If you are the meticulous type, you can also book a table well in advance with Clicktable.
Ask around in your circle or check out the reviews
You can check out vegan groups on social media or similar online sites, food blogs and even food based applications for more information on vegan food availability. If the taste, service or quality is your concern, you can obviously checkout the reviews about them. You can even leave your own reviews or requests on the websites of the eateries you have already tried.
Go for easily convertible ethnic or classic dishes
Ethnic dishes especially in cuisines like Thai, Mexican, and Indian etc. can be easily customized as per your needs;like foregoing butter or ghee in the Indian cuisine called tadka daal or vegetable paranthasmakes them vegan. Something similar can be done to your burritos, soups, sandwiches, rolls, dumplings, grilled vegetables, tacos and so on.
Pay attention to the codes
Often, restaurants incorporate codes or symbols alongside their menu items to enlighten customers about the category it falls into. Like green dots represent vegetarian, and likewise, a green plant, leaf or twig symbol may be used to represent vegan food items on the menu.
Learn to play around with the food on offer
Eating out is not always about a clichéd course of appetizers, main course and desserts. Instead, scan the menu, and mix and match. For instance, you may try out some interesting drink if the food options are limited. Also, you could have some fun with the side dishes. As an added tip, check with the restaurants if a little swapping of ingredients is entertained.
Prepare yourself with these know-hows for a sumptuous vegan meal sans the worries, the next time you are eating-out.