A New Vegan’s Introduction Restaurant Food


Monique Nelson

Founder at Choose to Cook
Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.

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I had brunch today with one of my best friends. It was a very interesting brunch, for many reasons.

For one, it was the first time I had eaten food that wasn’t prepared at home since becoming Vegan. As you can imagine, I’m sure, one of the things I had prepared myself for as a new Vegan was the reality that eating out would be a difficult thing and probably not even an option in certain circumstances. But, this was a birthday brunch so I was determined to rise to the occasion!

I didn’t really know what to expect, especially considering our plan was to go to a nice pub for brunch. I ended up having an incredible Minestrone Soup and an Candied Pecan and Apple Salad – hold the cheese, please! It was not only delicious, but it was also super filling! I realized once it was served that Minestrone has noodles in it, and I’m not sure they were Vegan, but this is part of the learning process for me, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I’m merely going to learn from this experience and always ask in the future!

I have given myself permission to make mistakes, because there is so much that I don’t even know I don’t know, but my commitment is to learn from them and grow my Vegan ways accordingly! Today I learned that quite a few beers are not Vegan, which was a bit traumatizing at first. I ordered one anyways and then Google searched when I got home to do more research. Turns out, Salt Spring Island Brewery is Vegan friendly, whoop whoop!

Aside from the food choices, it was a very interesting brunch because my friend was not very impressed with my new Vegan ways. Before you start in with the Yay’s or Nay’s, I need to elaborate.

This friend is one of my absolute most trusted advisers. I respect him more than just about any other person in my life. Remember when I mentioned I started eating organically because of one single conversation (in this post)? Well, that conversation was with this friend. He is incredibly knowledgeable on all things health and fitness and learning from him is literally one of my greatest pleasures in life. He is frustrated by most diet fads which aren’t based in nutritional fact, but trendy trends – as am I. He believes in the power of nutrition to heal – as do I. He understands the danger of toxic food additives – as do I. He lives and breaths health and he shares all his knowledge and learning with anyone who is interested because he truly and deeply wants to help people become healthier in their every day lives – as do I!

So I’m sure you would imagine that I would love to have his input, and maybe even blessing, on my new Vegan lifestyle. But I wasn’t expecting it. Not one bit. I was expecting a lively debate though, and I got one!

I want to discuss two main points that we covered, and share with you our opposing platforms, which I will do in two subsequent posts (otherwise this one would go on WAY too long!) that will hopefully be enlightening for others who are interested in why I believe in the value of a Vegan lifestyle.

  1. Environmental Impact of Animal Agriculture
  2. Vote with your Grocery Bill

After our lovely conversation and meal, I went home to cook and clean and enjoy my Sunday. As the afternoon wore on, I received a text from another very good friend of mine inviting me out for beer and appies that night. I had had such a great experience eating restaurant food earlier that day that I thought, heck, why not!?

The second experience was not nearly as welcoming to a new Vegan! I was once again at a pub, but this was a much more alcohol centered environment, whereas my earlier meal was at a more restaurant-style pub. The secondary focus on food, apparently, means much fewer options. On the menu I could find one salad that I could probably eat, hold the cheese please. And that was it. I ended up ordering a side of fries, which wasn’t even on the menu, but wasn’t hard to get. Normally, fries are NOT part of my diet as I try to avoid deep fried, nutrition-leached foods, but I was desperate.

Because I want to be entirely candid with you, I am also going to share with you a slight moment of weakness I experienced. Cooking for myself, I never felt denied anything. I have been in love with all my amazing foods in a big, big way and didn’t feel deprived at all. When I couldn’t have the chipolte mayo with my fries, however, I felt a sad moment of loss. I don’t like ketchup and I don’t really eat fries. I used to really, really like chipotle mayo though, so that was a bit rough. But, in the grand scheme of things, I had a great evening out with friends and I will learn from this experience and move forward a stronger, better Vegan!

Do you have any eating out tales of woe or excitement? Please, share them below, along with your favorite vegan pub fares!

Post Author: Monique Nelson

Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.

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