I grew up in an Indiana town. (Sung with Tom Petty’s Mary Jane’s Last Dance) 🙂 Sometimes I get so frustrated living in the Midwest because being vegetarian can be challenging, but being vegan is like being an alien. If you’re from the Midwest you know what I’m talking about. If not, I envy you.
These last 13 days being vegan has really made me appreciate the “diet” the way I used to. I’ve been asking myself why I fell off the vegan bandwagon in the first place. All I hear back is all the excuses I used to make. “I’m not home enough.” “It’s just too hard when I’m working” “If my friends would stop eating cheese I wouldn’t have this problem” “My family puts cheese in everything” etc. etc.
Well you know what? I’m over those days. I’ve been hanging out with my friends more these last 2 weeks than I ever have in the last 4 years. Being with friends means going out to eat more. Now I’m a huge believer in home-cooked meals and would never complain if someone banded me from eating out ever again, but this is real life. We have friends; we socialize; we entertain; we…. eat out!
Vegan Friendly Dining
1. Panera Bread. Cliche maybe, but there are 3 things that are vegan straight from the menu. Pesto veggie soup, black bean soup, and the classic cafe salad. I’m sure you can have your way with any of the salads and a few of the sandwiches too.
2. Red Robin. Shhh don’t tell. But seriously every now and then I get a craving for those big fat burgers! Not the ones with actual meat, but just a big messy burger-esque sandwich. Red Robin has vegan burgers that you can sub on any of their burger options. I asked for them to special make mine, ya know sauteed onions but not in butter… and they were totally cool! They also have one called, keep it simple, and it’s all vegan.
3. Taco Bell/Mexican. Yes my dear friends dragged me to taco bell. Not something I like to admit, but I was thinking about it and I think it’s really important for new vegetarians/vegans to know that it is out there. Taco Bell you can get a bean burrito fresco with no cheese. It’s pretty good for $.99. And almost any mexican restaurant you can get veggie fajitas with salsa and guacamole and be the happiest little vegan ever! Do be careful ordering refried beans or rice. The refried beans are often cooked with lard. And the rice is often made with a chicken stock. Just ask to be sure. (The ones at taco bell are lard free believe it or not.)
4. Italian Restaurants. Pick your pasta. Add your marinara or red sauce or sometimes a white wine sauce. Load in the veggies. Skip the cheese. Easy. 🙂
Don’t be a clammed up vegan. Get out there. Eat and be merry.
What are you’re favorite vegan meals out?
As a little bonus, I want to give you an update on my challenge. First, I’m still a little salad challenged. Second, I have a new favorite smoothie. I call it blueberry pomagranite slam. Third, I’ve lost 2 pounds being vegan! I’m 5 foot and 112 pounds. It’s a big deal. And I feel great! Fourth, I LOVE hula-hooping. I’m spreading the trend everywhere I go. Check it out.