Is Your Meal REALLY Vegan?

November 24, 2018
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Difference Between Vegan and Plant-Based Diets

There are many diets that come and go in the world of nutrition. But one of which that has stood the test of time and still maintains a high level of popularity is the vegan diet. Although today, it is commonly more known as a “plant-based” diet, the two terms are not synonymous.

Both involve the voluntary avoidance of foods or beverages that contain animal products. But plant-based strictly consists of anything that is not processed.

For example, one who eats cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, candy bars and pie that do not contain animal ingredients would be a vegan.

Someone who eats non-animal foods that are strictly derived from plants and are from whole-food sources would be following a plant-based diet. Think in terms of whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

All specifics aside, if you follow either of these paths, you know firsthand how important it is to find the right fare when you are eating out at restaurants. The sad truth is, you can’t always be 100% sure that your meal really is vegan just because there is a “V” next to it on the menu.

You should still do more investigative reporting to be on the safe side. Of course, this would also hinge upon how serious of a vegan you actually are.

If you are more hardcore, then you should take note of things to watch for when eating out. And here is a little more insight to guide your journey.

Restaurant Specificity

Planning ahead is always going to be your best option. Really, the only time you can never go wrong is when you eat at a restaurant that is specifically vegan. And this is a great place that the HowUdish app can come to the table. No pun intended.

Often times, vegan restaurants also have an abundance of raw dishes too. This makes it a better news because they are packed with nutrients. If stress-free dining is your jam, find yourself a raw or vegan place and you won’t go wrong.

Hidden Dangers of Soup

You’d be surprised how many times soup is labelled vegan but actually isn’t. Although it is supposed to be free of milk and meat when it says it’s vegan, you can’t always be sure.

Even vegetable and tomato soups are often made with milk, beef or chicken stock. Some of them may have a form of cheese added. Even if it’s a small amount, it still disqualifies them from being vegan. Just be on the lookout for this and make sure to ask for clarification.

Contamination

You do not have the convenience of seeing your food being prepared at a regular restaurant. That being the case, you also have no idea if your black-bean quinoa burger is being prepped on a grill where seconds ago, a greasy cheeseburger was just made.

Or, there is another chance that your black-bean quinoa burger was prepared on a grill dedicated for vegan options. But seconds later, it was placed in a warming area where an animal burger just sat.

Your faux burger just got exposed to animal juices, thus cancelling it out as 100% vegan. Get the lowdown to ensure you are not being duped.

Crossover Effect

Side dishes are great to add to a well-rounded vegan meal, provided there is no funny business going on. For example, at first glance, you would think a hummus and veggie platter would be a safe bet.

But, sometimes they will be served with a little splotch of feta cheese. Unless the waiter has a really steady hand when he brings you this dish, that cheese could possibly get rattled and end up landing on some of the veggies.

They just got contaminated and now you have to avoid them. So you got short-changed on your meal.

Keep your eyes open for this type of thing to happen on all side dishes because it definitely can.

Final Words of Advice

Overall, your best bet when eating out is to ask your waiter a plenitude of questions. Find out how the soup is prepared or how the vegan burgers are cooked. If there is any cheese that comes with hummus platters and the list goes on and on.

Don’t be afraid to speak up, and if the establishment honours your business, they will gladly give you the answers that you’re looking for.