Being a Vegan Day 2: Dining Out

So yesterday was my second day of this vegan challenge. I’ll start off by going through what I did for my meals:

Breakfast:

Bagel thin with Smart Balance Peanut butter, and Strawberry jam

Water & coffee

Lunch:

Veggie burger with mushrooms and sweet potatoes

Cold Couscous Salad with red and yellow bell peppers, black olives and avocado

Water

Dinner

Shrimp tacos with shrimp and cabbage and avocado with rice.

Summer Shandy (Is beer vegan?)…. according to PETA’s list of Vegan friendly beers apparently not.  Well crap. 

Anyone else see what I might of went off track here??

Yeah I thought so….

Shrimps are definitely not vegan. I attribute my success with following this on the first day on careful planning and that is exactly what I did not do yesterday.

Here was the sitch. My sister moved into her new place yesterday in Chicago so I went up to see her after work. I was unfamiliar with the area and the restaurants and I was with a group of people.

Everyone decided on a Mexican restaurant with a menu that did not accommodate my veganism.

I decided that going for fish instead of red meat was my best choice it was also one of the healthier choices too.

So not only did a feel bad- I felt like I cheated, but it got me wondering about how “real life Vegans” manage situations like this. I obviously, can only hypothesize since I am not an actual vegan.

I mean depending on the reason behind going vegan- maybe some people do have the occasional steak or fish etc. I know of some endurance athletes (from my “Clif Cast” listenings) that said they very gradually became vegan and feel more comfortable fueling from plant protein but still have the occasional meat treat. I suppose others who chose this path for reasons of believing animals are harmed or mistreated probably would not have done what I did.

And for those who are apparently much more steadfast than I guess I am- there have to be plenty of options out there.

So as I often do in times of thought or trouble I turned to the Apple App Store –

20130515-082540.jpg

And as per usual the App Store did not disappoint. The first app is for recipes it is called Vegan Yum Yum- it seems to have a lot of recipes and is easy to use.

The only downfall to this is there is no serving size/nutrition information.
– I will likely end up deleting this… I do not foresee myself using it.

In terms of dining out- an app called “Healthy Out” seems to be ideal in terms of aiding in dining out.  It is likely an app I will use following this 5 day challenge. 

You begin by selecting your “Dietary Desires”, then you also have the choices to filter calorie amount, specific cuisine, ingredients, type of dish, then by delivery/take out/dine in. 

Healthy Out Interface

Healthy Out Interface

My current settings are: Vegan & 400 calories & and there are 279 “dishes” near me that meet these requirements.  The above picture is just a sample I found on google images. 

Pros:

-I like that you can select specific dietary desires such as vegan, low sodium, glucose control, etc, and you can select multiple ones. 

-It’s a free app

-If you select a dish it gives you the nutrition info break down. 

-It is user friendly, and easy to change your filters/desires

-You can set it to do “near you”

-The numbers I got in terms of fat/calories for these dishes match the website, of the stores’ nutrition info- so it seems legit for all intensive purposes

Cons:

-As of right now I don’t see any.  It’s not “buggy” it doesn’t freeze.  So far I say all systems a go!

The last one I have been playing with is also free app called “Animal-Free”.  It basically lists the different types of additives/ingredients that are not-vegan or vegan friendly.  Some foods when they are processed are sometimes processed using types of animal products therefore not making them vegan- according to this app for instance- sugar (yeah white cane sugar) is not considered vegan- and it provides an explanation as to why. 

Because I am new to this- I am not sure how evidence based this is.  Again I’m from the school of everything in moderation… But again people go vegan for different reasons and if you are set on not using ANYTHING made from/derived from animals/animal products then this would be quite helpful for you. 

You can also scan barcodes of foods you are eating and it will tell you if it contains ingredients that are not vegan friendly, and if nothing comes up you can add it into the “Vegan friendly” area.  I did this earlier with a KIND Bar which did not contain any “non-vegan ingredients”. 

One of the fortunes of living in a big city like Chicago is there are A LOT of restaurants, and some are completely geared toward being meat free, and catering to Vegetarians and Vegans, one of the more well known places in Chicago is the Chicago Diner- they have proudly been “Meat Free since ’83”.  According to Yelp they have excellent reviews, and in addtion to that there are at least 20+ more vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Chicago. 

The bottom line to this is that dining out can be difficult for anyone- people trying to maintain weight/lose weight, people with health problems who are watching salt/fat/carb intake, and those who avoid certain products such as vegans and vegetarians.  It’s not impossible, but managable.  Vegans just like people who are watching for other things in the their meals (salt, fat etc), – if dining in a group will need the support of their dining companions in selecting restaurants, and choices.  

 

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