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vegan out

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yeah, so as most of you know i stick to a vegan “diet” but i prefer ‘lifestyle” (57 health benefits to eating vegan). the most frequently asked question i get is, “what do you eat!???” well…when i eat at home, it’s easy because i like to cook and i make lots of different tasty vegan foods (check out the Mr. Kate recipe section). eating out at restaurants and on-the-go is a different bag, but not at all impossible!!! here are my tips for eating vegan out:

Mexican
this is one of the easiest cuisines to navigate vegan stillo. see the Chipotle burrito (above) which i indulge in sometimes while on-the-go. grains (rice, corn/flour tortillas), beans and veggies are staples of mexican cooking. **tip: just make sure you ask if there is manteca aka lard in the re-fried beans, which there often is, but sometimes you get lucky. if there is, see if there is a black bean option.

i usually order whatever i want and ask them to hold the cheese and sour cream. i then ask for extra guacamole and salsa, since i like things creamy and saucy, the extra quac makes up for the lack of cheese and sour cream.

what to order:
– bean and rice burrito and add fajita veggies, corn, lettuce, salsa and guac
– vegetarian tostada salad, hold the cheese and sour cream
– veggie fajitas
– Chipotle and Qudoba have great vegen burritos with grilled veggie options

Sushi/Japanese
another very easy vegan-friendly cuisine. if you can find a sushi place that has a brown rice option, even better! Crazy Fish in LA is my fave!

what to order:
– miso soup – sometimes they use fish stock in their soups so ask, if you care. i always get my miso with extra seaweed because it’s so good and good for you!
– any kind of vegetable roll – get creative, ask them to make you a mega vegetable roll and use all the veggies they have, or go simple and get an avocado roll (my fave).
– veggie tempura – some restaurants use egg in their tempura batter, so ask, but this is a good option and also tempura rolls!
– seaweed or cucumber salads
– soba or udon noodle soups
– sauteed or grilled veggies like broccoli or shitake mushrooms
– side of rice with ponzu sauce yum!!!

Italian
it takes a bit more deconstruction and “hold the ____” when eating Italian food. but mediterranean is very vegan friendly if you know how to order.

what to order:
– salads
– soups – lots of vegetable, lentil, minestrone and vegetable purred soups can be really tasty and vegan. just ask if they use veggie or chicken broth and if they use cream in the purred soups.
– pasta – ask if they have a whole wheat pasta option, some restaurants do, but regular pasta is good too. if it’s not on the menu, ask for a vegetable medley pasta, often times the chef will welcome the challenge. if they don’t want to make something special then just get plain pasta with a side of red sauce and some goodies like, olives, capers, fresh basil, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, etc. to add to it!
– pizza – just get a mega veggie pizza without cheese!
– side dishes – when in doubt, look at the side dishes which are usually veggies, get some steamed or sauteed (in olive oil not butter and garlic) spinach or mushrooms, roasted veggies, etc.

Greek/Middle Eastern
very vegan friendly. the land of hummus and falafel!

what to order:
– falafel with tahini and hummus and mega veggies – yum!
– tabouli
–  great dips like hummus and baba ghanoush (eggplant)
– plate of olives
– greek salad, hold the feta but get extra kalamata olives to make up for the loss of saltiness from the cheese
– grilled veggies, pita bread, etc.

Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese/Indian
any asian cuisine is really easy to order vegan because they don’t use a lot of dairy so you usually can order anything without meat and sub the meat with tofu! **tip: indian food is really the only asian cuisine that uses dairy in some curries and ghee or butter on their naan etc. – just ask them to hold it or ask what their dairy free dishes and breads are usually Poori or Chapati.

what to order:
– tofu pad thai or pad see ew
– coconut milk curries
– tom kha gai soup
– veggie dumplings or pot stickers
– sauteed veggie dishes
– vegetable mushu (hold the egg)
– vegetable samosas
– veggie dosas
– lentil daal or chana masala dishes

American/Fast Food
probably the hardest of all cuisines to navigate, goes to show you where our priorities lie! side dishes and salads are sometimes your only option. sometimes if all else fails i’ll order whole wheat toast with a side of avocado to spread and garish with a little salt and pepper and a salad with oil and vinegar.

what to order:

breakfast:
–  oatmeal with soy milk and fresh fruit or raisins
– hash browns and hot sauce or ketchup
– toast, avocado and tomato
– fresh fruit
– toast and jam

lunch/dinner:
– veggie burgers, lots of places have veggie burgers now (Burger King and McDonalds) just ask for no cheese and mayo.
– sandwiches – veggie sandwiches loaded with veggies, avocado and mustard (Subway, Quiznos and Togos are great options for on-the-go sandwiches – i always get the veggie sub from Quiznos with no cheese, it’s great! – Togos has hummus too)
– salads with a vinaigrette dressing
– side dishes like a baked potato, spinach or other veggies sauteed (in olive oil)
**tip: look at the meat entrees and see what side dishes, (rice, veggies, etc.) they are served with and ask if you can get an order of just the side dishes.

hope that helps you understand what i eat and that it’s doable to eat out vegan. if you have any comments or recommendations, please comment below!!!

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