From Frugivore — As my gradual transition from carnivore to pescatarian to vegetarian has happened rather quickly this year, it has been a challenge to keep seafood out of my diet in “meaty” situations. Frankly, I’m the only non-meat eating date, friend, daughter, or sister in my close circle. When I’m eating in a restaurant or food court that only offers salad as a vegetarian option, I truly feel discouraged from sticking to a vegetarian-only lifestyle. I love delicious food and hate for my diet to cause my palette suffering.

But sometimes, a little persistence and searching can go a long way in finding a scrumptious vegetarian meal. Recently, I was walking around a popular food market in Philadelphia that’s saturated with soul food and sweets. Just as I was about to succumb to another salad, I saw a packed food stand that catered specifically to vegetarians. As I waited in line for a vegetarian philly cheesesteak, there were multiple conversations occurring between strangers. Some were simply happy to find a vegetarian spot in a market full of meat-serving stations; others shared their journeys toward becoming vegetarian. When I thought about it, I realized that my decision to go vegetarian didn’t arise purely out of nutrition, it also was the community and its strength in promoting health as a lifestyle. It’s always good to find other vegetarians in the least expected places.

Vegetarians: what motivates you to keep strong in meat-dominated eating spaces? Weigh in.

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  • This is well-timed. I’m currently in New Orleans for the Essence Festival and am faced with this exact issue. I anticipated the lack of vegan options and packed groceries for the trip. I will have a peanut butter and jelly in my bag at all times to stave off hunger.

    I’ve honestly learned that the foods I cook in my own home and more healthy, more flavorful, and more delicious than many of the questionable foods served at restaurants. By the time I’m finished asking the server about preparation questions, I don’t even want the dish anymore.

    Sidebar: I’m making an avocado cream pasta today or tomorrow and it sounds delightful. I really don’t understand why more restaurants don’t carry vegan/vegetarian options. Is it because it requires more thought and preparation time than it does to throw a hunk of beef in a skillet?

    Such is life. It matters not. Moving on.

  • Rhuebekah

    Great Article! As a vegan, I have it even harder. But as the years go by I have found myself eating at more and more exotic resturants. Such as thai, veitnamese, and mediterranean. They have wonderful options and have no problems making you something yummy without animal parts! As far as the friends and family members go, don’t worry they will catch on and they will start to support you. Some of my friends have even become vegetarian after knowing that anyone can do it. Some have even started eating less meat. Let them sample some of your own creations they will beg you to make it again!

  • Tatiana

    I think you’ll soon learn being vegetarian is more than just eating salads! I’ve tried SO MANY delicious new foods since becoming vegetarian that I would have never even dared to try back in my meat eating days. Indian, Jamaican, Greek and new twists on old favorites like veggie and bean burgers, etc.

    The support you get is also astounding. Vegetarians have a way of finding eachother and are always happy to share a recipe or a favorite place to eat. And I’ve found people who aren’t vegetarian are understanding too. I’m Puerto Rican so I was WAY nervous when I told my mom about my new diet. Thankfully her and the rest of my family have been really great about it and she’s even learned a couple new recipes to make for me when I come over. :)