Socializing with other human beings is a beautiful act. Sharing moments and learning from one another can be one of the most enjoyable experiences in life. A huge part of spending time with loved ones is sitting down and sharing meals. Eating activates our brain and it’s feel good chemicals. In return, we become overwhelmed with pleasure (literally a high from food). Indulging on special occasions is perfectly normal in today’s society, but for a vegan it can sometimes feel a little awkward or intense. It’s not necessarily the people around us that creates the intense feeling of seclusion, only the pressure of fitting in while being surrounded by foods which we choose not to consume; knowing that eventually the question “Why don’t you eat animals?” will become a topic of discussion. Which is not always an awkward conversation, but depending on who you are talking with it can go one of two ways.
Recently, my husband and I were invited to a friend’s house who are not vegan (we do not know any other vegans in our personal lives). We spent the afternoon relaxing, chatting, eating, and creating. It was a beautiful day and anything but awkward. Both my husband and I choose to eat a very clean plant-based diet. Eating whole foods in their most natural state is what makes us feel our best. While we choose to live a compassionate, healthy lifestyle it is important to recognize that everyone is on their own journey; living and learning at their own pace. It is not our place to judge or make anyone feel less of themselves for being on a different page in life’s quest.
I would like to share our evening with non-vegan friends, tips and tricks on how to stay vegan in social settings, and what you can do for the situation to be more than just food.
Bring a Snack that Everyone can Enjoy!
Tip #1: Bring a snack that everyone can enjoy!
By bringing something that everyone will likely enjoy takes the pressure off of being singled out. It’s unlikely anyone will notice that it’s vegan (or think about it being vegan) when your tasty treat is just to damn good to resist.
Note: It’s not wrong if you want to preach veganism, but when others are in their territory or trying to enjoy a day off it can be off putting and feel as an attack. If someone is genuinely interested in learning more about the subject and the ethics behind veganism, by all means spread awareness (but try to do it somewhere not surrounded by others who may easily take offense).
I decided on delicious “Date Balls” as my tasty little treat to bring. Here is the recipe!
- 20-25 Medjool Dates
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 4 tablespoons coco powder
- shredded coconut
Put all the ingredients into a food processor (minus the shredded coconut). Pulse until everything is combined together, almost like a batter texture. Roll dough into about 8-10 balls and lay the coconut on a flat surface. Roll the balls in the coconut to coat them.
Whether you are having a fancy feast or a casual get together, there will more than likely be some type of appetizers. On this get-together we decided to have a low maintenance dining experience that was simple yet delicious. Our theme was Mexican, I brought ingredients to easily whip up some guacamole, and our wonderful friend Micayla plated some veggies and hummus for us to munch on. This brings me to my second tip.
Tip #2: Choose a dinner theme that caters to both vegans and non-vegans!
Dinner themes such as Mexican, Italian, Indian, Thai, or Japanese are vegan friendly with small effort. A night out/in with friends should be fun not stressful. Finding foods that can be cooked together and only the “meat” dish is separate takes stress of both parties. For example: This particular night, we created tacos. We were able to engage in cooking with one another by chopping vegetables, and preparing toppings. Everything was able to be placed together except for the “meat” fillings. My friend cooked chicken, I used a separate (I actually brought my own) pan to cook my faux meat “Beyond Meat”. Any type of dairy toppings that our friends decided to use was safely plated away from the vegetables.
Tip #3: Don’t focus on food!
Find an activity, game, or hobby that interest both parties. Yes, food is fun but food is not everything. Every individual has something to offer, why not share that with others? Finding like minded friends is important as well as being open to trying new things. For instance, my husband is NOT a gamer. When we minimized our home the video games were the first objects to go. While he may not be into gaming at home, he is still able to enjoy zapping away some zombies while getting some guy time in.
Micayla and I have a lot in common, we both enjoy doing craft projects and she also pours her soul into her beautiful garden. I feel refreshed watching her care for her plants as if they were her children.
We made homemade (vegan) candles from scratch. Using soy wax, recycled glass jars, and essential oils. They turned out to be as beautiful as they smelled.
I have one final tip to share.
Tip #4: Relax & Have fun!
Isn’t the point of hanging out with friends/family to relax and have fun? When I first became vegan, I found that it was very easy to isolate myself. I felt like I had the answer to life’s problems and not a soul was there to listen. I found truth and I wanted to share it with the world. Until I was faced with a hard reality and I realized that not everyone is ready or willing to accept or listen to the truth behind the meat and dairy industry. While this can be upsetting, it is not healthy to live a life of recluse when there are so many talented, beautiful souls out there with gifts waiting to be shared with the world. Relax, let go, and most of all have fun!
Stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Be authentic. Love everyone.