Tuesday, 17 May 2011

For the vegan in your life and the life in your vegan

I have no idea whether anyone reading this blog fits the demographic I have in mind - those who aren't vegan, may or may not be interested in veganism for themselves, but have one or more vegan friends they want to do stuff with without hassle. (Of course if you're vegan and agree with this list it could be something to refer your friends to!)

Anyway, here are a few hints for being a friend to a vegan:
-Give their favourite cafe a try - if someone has been vegan for any length of time they will have some good ideas of where to go.
-If you're going for a meal, be prepared to check the menus of a few different places - there are some really good vegan options out there, but sometimes they need looking for.
-Vegan food is food everyone can eat, vegetarian food is food *almost* anyone can eat, so don't get too scared by the prospect of going in a vegan or vegetarian cafe.
-Likewise, don't be scared if your vegan friend invites you over to dinner. You can guess that at least we don't bite. Of course I can't guarantee that they are a good cook, but veganism certainly doesn't guarantee that they are not!
-You may have questions about the whys and hows of veganism, especially if this friend is the first vegan you've got to know well. It is fine to ask questions. Try to do it constructively and not get upset at the answers. Mealtimes aren't the best place for these discussions. Dialogue is cool, a fight isn't.
-If you're cooking at home, you don't have to make everything vegan (although you may like to) - however your friend might feel singled out if they are limited to a plate of lettuce. The 'net is full of vegan recipe sites - you can find a few in the sidebar here. There are a fair few recipe ideas on this blog, just click the tag marked 'food'. You may also find Activeg's Special Guests useful. The Co-op is the best UK supermarket for labelling of vegan alcohol, followed by Sainsbury's - Tesco is ok but you have to make do by spotting vegetarian wines that don't list egg or milk as allergens. (NB if you aren't the one who cooks in your house, let your significant other/roommate/parent know ahead of time that there will be a vegan there, I have a dear friend who sprung this on his wife a couple of hours before I was due...)
-New vegans can sometimes be a bit like newborn vampires in their enthusiasm for vegangelising, this is generally motivated by genuine compassion for animals and a desire for a better world, so try not to let it get to you. Although if you do feel inspired to go vegan, that's a very good thing indeed. ;)

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