Questions and Answers

by on June 8, 2007
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A friend of mine called me last night, saying “You haven’t blogged all week.” “Well,” I answered without thinking, “I haven’t eaten anything all week!”

Of course I have been eating. What I meant was I haven’t eaten anything new or anything interesting. I’ve mainly been eating plain fruits and veggies in an attempt to shed a few pounds before summer temperatures force me out of long pants. So, since I don’t have any interesting food to blog about, I thought I’d take a few minutes while E. is at the swimming pool with friends and answer a few of the questions that I’ve been too busy to answer.

By email, L. writes:

How do you maintain your veganism around friends and family that don’t eat this way? How do you go out to eat when people visit? My husband still eats meat, and his mother is always bringing meat products and processed foods I cannot stand into my house. I cannot control what he eats, but it is very difficult for me to avoid some of these tempting foods, and I am a difficult person to go to a restaurant with unless I go vegetarian. I have been only vegetarian for the past few months due to stress and travel and I feel terrible. I am gaining weight and feeling depressed.

So please tell me, is your husband a vegan? Was he before you began this lifestyle? How do you deal with restaurants and visitors, grandmothers and others that would gift you food. I am really trying to get back on track and would love to hear how another mother deals with this.

Dear L., I’m sorry you’re having a tough time of it. I think it can be very hard in the beginning, before people realize that you are serious about your change in diet. I’m very fortunate in that my husband stopped eating meat during the first year that we were dating. Even before he gave up meat, he ate very little of it and didn’t cook it for himself, and he was already sympathetic to vegetarianism before we met. So I have never had to deal with some of the struggles that you are going through.

I do have an extended family that is not vegetarian, but to various degrees they’ve accepted our diet and try to accommodate us when we visit. When others visit us, I have tried to enforce a strict policy of “no meat in my house,” but in practical application it hasn’t worked. We’ve had people stay with us during hurricane evacuations and on friendly visits, and I can’t ask people who eat completely different from us not to bring the foods they are used to eating. I do ask that they keep them in coolers, rather than in my fridge, and generally they do not expect to cook them on my stove.

Can you ask your husband to speak to his mother about your diet? Perhaps if you tell him how much stress it is causing you he will understand. Can he be persuaded to eat meat only when he is out of the house? Then he could visit his mother to eat the kinds of foods she wants to bring him.

As for dining out, I’m in the “make do” school of thought. Usually when I’m eating with other people, they will ask for restaurant suggestions and I steer them toward places that have something vegan on the menu. If I get to a restaurant and nothing’s vegan, I’ll ask if something special can be prepared. If that fails, I’ll sit and have a drink and enjoy the conversation–I can always eat later. Also, if I expect that I may have trouble finding something vegan on the menu, I eat before I go; often just a couple of pieces of fruit is enough to keep me from pouncing on someone’s french fries.

Do any of you have some suggestions for L?

In the comments to the Roasted Vegetable Napoleons post, Teresa asked:
“What else do you have growing in your garden?”

Teresa, I don’t have a very big yard, but I’m trying to make the most of what I do have. This year, we added a new vegetable patch on the side of our house where we’d had to cut down a tree. In that patch, I have four kinds of tomatoes (plum, cherry, grape, and yellow), two types of bell pepper (red and chocolate), poblano peppers, okra, japanese eggplants, rosemary, and lavender. They’re all kind of crowded together, and the tomatoes are taking over.

In the backyard, I have a patch that’s about 10×4 feet, and it contains two heirloom tomatoes, more peppers, okra, and eggplant as well as several perennial herbs (oregano that wants to run wild, parsley, French tarragon, and rosemary) and one red cabbage left over from the fall. In containers I have at least 5 different types of basil and one tomato plant.

Here are a few photos:

Eggplant Plant
I love the purple stems and veins of eggplant plants.

This is E’s tomato plant, the one that’s planted in a pot and the only one that has a tomato close to ripening (that orange color you see in the back).

Dark Basil
This basil is called “Purple Ruffles.”

Variegated Basil
Here’s a variegated basil that’s so pretty that I haven’t been able to bring myself to cut and eat it.

What do all of you have in your gardens?

Hannah asks, “Do you always make your own non-dairy milk? Do you think it is cheaper?”

I’d love to be able to say that I make all of our soymilk, but unfortunately I haven’t found time to make it at all lately. Yes, I definitely think it’s cheaper, if you just consider the money. But, if you figure in the time it takes to make it and clean up afterward, I’m not so sure. I’ve been finding soymilk on sale a lot recently, and I always buy a ton and stockpile it. I use the kind in the aseptic containers, which keep for months.

Well, that’s all I have time for today. I apologize to anyone who has asked a question that I didn’t answer. I love getting your emails and I always intend to reply, but sometimes just don’t get around to it. Also, I have a very aggressive spam filter that often mistakes real messages for spam, so if you write and don’t hear back from me, do try again. Unless you’re trying to sell me something, get me to try or link to your product, or convince me to eat meat, I really don’t mind if you keep writing until I remember to write back!


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1 Muriel June 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

For health reasons, I have been on a vegan diet since Nov. Fortunately my husband is content to mostly eat meat when we go out. My family and friends are meat eaters. I tell them not to worry about whatt I can eat when the meal is focused on meat. I just take marinated portable las along with enough for others to try. I haven’t brought any home yet.
In restaurants, if there is nothing else, I ask for salad without any dairy. Usually, they will do a vegetable plate.
As to L, I think your suggestions seem the most appropriate way to go. Perhaps L should relax and just do her thing. I find relatives become curious and ask to sample dishes. Probably her motherinlaw doesn’t understand anything about vegan ism. Maybe she thinks she is helping by bringing these items in to Ls home.
In time she will adjust.
By the way,I just found your site a few weeks ago. It is wonderful.


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