a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jun, 2015

Vegetarian challenge: day nine. The biggest challenges to veg-related eating are…

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you

I was out of town yesterday and as soon as I set out I realized I was setting myself up for a potential failure. You see, although I had packed a lunch I was unprepared to face one of my big road trip habits: a stop at Tim Horton’s for coffee and a big meaty breakfast sandwich. I always get it to go, and then eat and drink in peace while happily listening to radio. It’s blissful.

As I sailed past the Timmy’s, wiping away the drool and dreaming of bacon, I realized that habits and food-related traditions are probably among the top challenges for vegans and vegetarians. After all, there’s a lot of comfort to be found in these traditions, whether it’s a drive-thru on a long trip or a big breakfast of fried sausages shared with the family on Christmas morning.

The pull was strong, but I managed. Interestingly, I felt a bit depressed about it, like I was missing out on something. Is it this feeling that causes people to cave and eat meat again?

It’s one thing to be a vegetarian or vegan in your own home, it’s another issue when you’re out and about, looking for a restaurant or visiting friends. I can toss together some leftover chickpeas with items from the veggie drawer…

June 16 #dailylunches - bowl o'grains, chickpeas, kale, cranberries, pecan bits and light lemon dressing.

… and have it turn out ok for the most part, but going out to eat is a whole other kettle of fish.

Vegans have the extra challenge of needing to know the exact ingredients that are in their food. For example, if they’re at a party, they’ve learned to avoid the dip because there’s probably eggs or dairy in it. Or they ask. Vegans always need to be prepared otherwise their choices are limited and they’re stuck with unhappy meals. I can’t imagine how exhausting this must be.

I asked Twitter vegetarians or vegans to finish this sentence: “The hardest thing about being a vegetarian/vegan is…” I thought it’d be interesting to share a few replies here:

Do you have anything to add about your personal experience? Good or bad? If so I’d love to hear about it, whether you define yourself as a vegetarian, vegan, or not!

1 Response to "Vegetarian challenge: day nine. The biggest challenges to veg-related eating are…"

1 | Kelly

June 18th, 2015 at 1:12 pm


Oh I can relate to this all too well. I eat mostly vegetarian (sometimes fish and steak, but only if I cook it myself). I am also mostly dairy-free (will sometimes have cheese, but no other dairy).

This combination basically leads me to vegan choices at restaurants and it’s TOUGH. I hate going places where I can only eat 1-2 things on the menu. My boyfriend’s parents took us out for Chinese the other day. It’s impossible to eat vegan chinese, for the record.

But anytime I go anywhere and need snacks, I have to prepare well in advance. I’m also trying to stay off refined sugar, so no pre-packaged snacks for me either.

I see you referencing the Oh She Glows cookbook. I have been making her Classic Glo Bars every week for over a year now. I have one every day with my morning smoothie. Such a quick and convenient snack packed with protein and seedy goodness. I highly recommend it :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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