The following is a paragraph from a PETA article that I recently came across about the Do’s and Don’ts of dining out as a vegan. The article was very informative, but one particular part really lingered in my head…daring me to blog about it.
DON’T harass the waiter about minuscule animal ingredients. You may be asking, “Are there any monoglycerides in the hamburger bun?” but what your waiter and your friends are actually hearing is “Being vegan is hard. Oh, and vegans are annoying as hell.”
DO take one for the team. Sure, the possibly animal-derived “xyz” in that hamburger bun may be gross, but you’re sending the message to your friends that being vegan is hard, meaning that you’re actually hurting animals instead of helping them on this one. Remember: Being vegan isn’t about purity—it’s about reducing animal suffering.
That last sentence is what resonated with me. It’s something I had felt all along, but had never articulated. When I’m at home, I am 100% vegan. When I’m at work, I bring my own vegan lunch from home. Even at holiday gatherings, I stick to my vegan diet. Dining out, however, is a luxury…It’s an occasion with friends or family that is meant to be light-hearted and enjoyable. If I begin questioning the waiter about every little ingredient in my meal, I’m actually hurting the cause by sending out the message to everyone that being a vegan is difficult…not to mention I’d probably be embarrassing everyone at the table.
As a vegan, I do feel it’s my moral obligation to lead by example. The goal is not “purity”…The goal is to end animal suffering. To make veganism seem hard is counteractive.
One of my favorite things to do is treat a friend to a vegan meal, (either home-made or dining out) and wait until the end of the meal to casually mention that it’s vegan. People always seem to be shocked that hearty meals can be derived from plant-based ingredients (as if mother nature didn’t know what she was doing!)
Whether you’re reading this as a vegetarian, full vegan or somewhere in between, here’s my closing thoughts for the day; Your decision to live compassionately is bettering the world everyday. The number of living creatures you are saving grows higher everyday. The health benefits of your food choices are thriving within you everyday. This is your journey, it’s not a competition. It’s ok if you need to make a slight exception for the greater good while out to eat with friends. Remember that you are not alone…our vegan community is quickly growing and we rejoice in your progress!
To read the full PETA article, which inspired this blog post, click here.