Weekend Things and a Vegan Dining Out
And so commences the second last week of fall semester. I’m not sure if the world is actually spinning faster on its axis, but it feels like time is passing so fast! My massive to-do list is finally earning some checkmarks as I hand in my final papers and complete presentations. It feels good, but sensing the end is bittersweet.
You would think that with being in a specialized program such as nursing, that I have my future planned. Not this girl! In all honesty, I really have to idea where I see myself going post-graduation. Since beginning to write hello, veggy!, it has become clear to me that I have many interests I want to pursue. Recently, the stresses associated with my program have tainted my view on nursing as a desired career; that was until this weekend.
Saturday was the Nursing Student Conference at my school. It’s a yearly event organized by students in attempt to expose us to the vast possibilities in the profession. It was well attended (here I am with my pal Jess, and her super-awesome lunch box she won in the raffle. Jealous!) and there were some great speakers that gave great advice and validation for nursing as a career. The conference couldn’t have come at a better time; my faith in the utility of my education has been restored! One of the biggest things I took away from the speakers was that my path will inevitably by bumpy and unpredictable, but I just need to go with it! Easier said than done, especially for someone who struggles with going with the flow…
A Vegan Dining Out
This weekend, several social occasions provided me the challenge of dining out while eating a vegan diet. Nearly a year eating this way has provided me with tons of learning experiences on how to do so successfully; today I share my secrets with you One of the comments or questions I get most often about eating vegan is how to do it on-the-go. My secrets are really not so difficult, and can apply to any adapted diet (eg. gluten-intolerance, allergies, extreme dislikes). Enjoy
- Do some research–> Get a sense of what will be available. I knew that the conference was being ‘fully catered’, but this was as far as the description extended. My educated guess was that breakfast, lunch, and snacks would be provided. What exactly those consisted of, I could only imagine.
- Call/Ask ahead of time–> We were able to submit ‘dietary requests’ along with our application for the conference. I marked ‘vegan’ on my form, but I have learned to not assume this as a guarantee. Don’t be shy to ask about the options presented, and if an alternative exists! It doesn’t hurt to research a nearby café or restaurant as a backup, too. Happycow.com is an excellent resource for this!
- Bring something you will want to eat, or eat before–> I was hungry before the conference, so I ate breakfast at home. I’m glad I did, because not only was the vegan dining selection sparse, but the toasters were browning the bagels at a snail’s pace. I also packed a couple of items with me: a container or nuts and a Clif bar, just in case.
- Supplement like a boss!–> By the time lunch swung around, I was a hungry, hungry hippo. Unfortunately, vegan options were as elusive as a Sasquatch; even one of the salads had cheese on it! Le sigh. All hope was not lost, however, because the other salad looked fabulous! I piled a plate full of the leafy greens, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette. Quite sneakily, I added a nice handful of nuts and dried fruit. It was delicious! I also snacked on my Clif bar and some delicious catered fresh fruit.
See, not so hard! I understand that bringing your own food can be intimidating, especially when visiting a restaurant. Coincidentally, I also had a challenging vegan dining experience this weekend! I recently won a gift card for a local burger joint called The Works; just because I choose to eat an adapted diet, doesn’t mean I’m going to give up free food for fear of lack of options! Bring on the burgers!!
- Look up the menu online–> I did this and discovered that many vegan options were available, including two choices for burgers and a ton of toppings, too!
- Ask the waiter… nicely–> Our waiter was awesome at answering all my questions. In my experience, waiters unwilling to help are a fallacy; just remember to say please and thank you
- Don’t worry!–> It’s just food! If worse comes to worse, order a drink, a vegan-friendly side, and enjoy the company of your dining partners