Yesterday I explained my dislike of 'meat substitutes' like tofu sausages etc. I mentioned that you shouldn't have feelings of regret and cravings once you have made your conscious decision to be vegetarian. I remain on this point and want to add that it is still true, even if you are sitting with friends in a restaurant and don't find any acceptable vegetarian options on the menu! Don't feel bad or even guilty about your choice of lifestyle!
Many vegetarians know this feeling: you go to a place to eat together with friends. You open the menu and the only thing that could be eatable for you would be a tomato salad. If you don't eat onions, like me, even that is not an option. There is no single dish without dead animal in there.
What to do? You can either take the tomato salad and plan for another snack to still your hunger once you come home or you can start asking the waiter for vegetarian options. Depending on the person in front of you and the flexibility of the restaurant kitchen, that can be a rather lengthy discussion. You will get incomprehensive glances and maybe even stupid remarks. In the meantime, you start feeling more and more uncomfortable, wondering whether your friends feel you are making a fuss and are getting impatient because you cannot just place a simple order.
The result: you feel guilty and bad. If your meal arrives and it turns out that they have only picked out the bacon from the sauce and you still see the rests, it gets worse. Should you complain, embarrassing your friends further? In the end, your evening is definitely not as pleasant as you hoped for.
I tell you something: you have to take some decisions. If you know that you will go for dinner, tell your friends that you need a place that has vegetarian options or you won't go. Nothing that they need to feel bad about and nothing that you have to feel bad about. If you want to do something together – and you friendship should be more important than the choice of restaurant – you can go to a place that has something to eat for you, too! After all, these days vegetarianism is not anymore such a strange thing! Restaurants should cater to this need as well – and if they don't, you should not bring them business and definitely not blame your own decisions.
Another option is to invite your friends to your home! Cook something together or simply invite them when you have cooked one of your favourite dishes. Show them that vegetarian food is tasty – maybe they will then agree on finding a good place with you that does have vegetarian meals!
I am lucky to live in the country that has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world – which means that there are always vegetarian restaurants somewhere close-by available. I am faced with another issue sometimes: I don’t eat onions or garlic. But I have lots of experience in the food question – and I think I will write more about my personal experiences tomorrow.