Author Topic: Another guest with dietary restrictions question  (Read 2539 times)

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LemonZen

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2014, 05:18:51 PM »
I don't feel like I have ever pushed her or even encouraged her to eat something non-vegan, if anything I'm usually the one pointing out that it's got eggs/butter/milk. We had a chocolate fondue not too long ago where she brought the chocolate (presumably it was vegan) and we all had fresh fruit to dip, as well as some cake. She asked me to pass the cake and I said "oh this cake does have eggs and butter just to warn you" and she said "oh that's fine, I'll have some anyway." That's usually how it goes.

I do love guacamole, I'll have to try to make that next time. The avocados at the store this week were not looking so hot so I didn't buy any.

TootsNYC

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2014, 06:30:01 PM »
I think I would try to have one semi-substantial thing is that is truly vegan. Something that would be filling (for me, fresh veggies or fresh fruit would count, bcs when I eat more than a little of those things, I can feel full-ish). And then have other foods, maybe even stuff I know she'd eat even if it isn't truly vegan.

Mikayla

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2014, 06:54:36 PM »
LemonZen, with the updates, I think you may want to consider having a more indepth heart to heart with her that goes beyond trying to understand her reasoning.  It sounds like she's a close friend, but it also sounds like you find this frustrating.  Guess what?  So does everyone else.  It's just not ok to claim you embrace a diet and lifestyle, and then ignore this when there's something yummy being offered. 

In other words, she can't take this act on the road or people will start getting annoyed.  Most of us are very happy to accommodate vegans and work with them, but if someone did this to me and I was close to that person, I'd want them to understand why this is problematic and why others might not be as accommodating as I am. 

blarg314

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2014, 07:28:06 PM »

I don't think etiquette requires you to be stricter about someone's diet than they are themselves, or to accommodate self-described food restrictions that make no logical sense and cannot be predicted.

Whatever she calls herself, she's not actually a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. Vegans definitely don't eat chicken. If I had to describe it, I'd describe her as a flexitarian - someone who is trying to cut down on animal products without giving them up altogether.

So what I would do is cook what you want to, tell her honestly what is in it, and disengage yourself emotionally from her choices, or her feelings about them.

I have a suspicion that she 'cheats' when it's something she really wants to eat, and is 'vegan' when it's something she doesn't care for much - she doesn't like creamy things like dip and whipped cream, so she can't eat those, but angel food cake is just fine.


purple

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2014, 08:59:56 PM »
I'm a vegan.

A person who eats chicken once a week and chows down on pastries that are full of eggs is not a vegan.

Therefore, in this scenario, you are not eating with a vegan.  You are eating with a person who decides day by day depending on how her mood is, what 'diet' she's on today.  So, IMO, you are not obligated to cater for especially for her 'just in case she's vegan today'.

That said:

As a vegan, I would still be ok at your gathering eating the veges and (probably) the pita.  As far as I'm concerned, that's fine.  I recognise that not everybody is a vegan and I always manage to find something to eat!  If a host goes out of their way to provide a few vegan options, then I think that's just the coolest thing ever!  A lot of the time, my friends and family will pull me aside at their party and say 'this and this and this are all vegan, enjoy!'.  They don't make separate food for me, they just point out the things on the table which are ok for me to eat and, honestly, that's more than I would ever expect - I think that's great!

NyaChan

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2014, 09:13:56 PM »
This is a scenario where I'd have no problem responding, should the guest point out that they can't eat something, "I'm sorry you can't eat that.  I am having difficulty keeping track of your dietary restrictions.  Let me point out what you can eat…"

darkprincess

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2014, 07:43:35 PM »
This is a scenario where I'd have no problem responding, should the guest point out that they can't eat something, "I'm sorry you can't eat that.  I am having difficulty keeping track of your dietary restrictions.  Let me point out what you can eat…"

I would actually do this with a twist, especially if we were in front of the group.  "I'm sorry you can't eat that. I am having difficulty keeping track of your dietary restrictions. Can you please tell us what your dietary restrictions are?" Then we could all hear and act accordingly.

If the next week she showed up and ate something she previously said she couldn't I would repeat. "I am having difficulty keeping track of your dietary restrictions. Can you please tell us what your dietary restrictions are?"

I wouldn't do this to call her out, or embarress her, or anything but if her restrictions have changed then I think you can ask what the changes are. You could even do it in casual conversation. "Ooh I thought you weren't eating eggs. Great, now that I know that you are I can make my yummy Quiche for the next event."
If next week she changes her restrictions again, ask again, and then feel free to make snack based on the last thing she told you. If she can't eat anything this is on her for not updating the host.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2014, 07:53:43 PM »
I agree it's nicer to to let the other person help you with it, it's their restriction so they know how to work it best.

At my wedding, we had no guests with diet restrictions until my MoH decided to go vegetarian for health reasons. We had set the menu as alternate drop chicken or steak for main course, entree had a salad which was fine. I asked if she minded eating chicken, and she said she was. Had she not been fine with it, I would have asked for a vegetarian alternative from the venue.

sweetonsno

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2014, 08:23:44 PM »
This is kind of a tricky situation. She's clearly not vegan, but she could genuinely want to be. It is admittedly tough to be in a situation where there's a huge spread and the only thing on offer that fits your dietary needs is plain crudités. Will it kill you? No. But it is a bit of a test.

I don't think you need to go out of your way to make something special, but it definitely would be nice if you could think of something that is vegan and a crowd-pleaser. People have already mentioned guacamole and hummus. Bruschetta is another.

Whether you decide to add something vegan to your menu, or swap out a non-vegan item for a vegan one, I think your only obligation is to let her know what the hidden ingredients are so she can make her own choice. It would be gracious of you to give her a heads-up in advance and/or invite her to bring something else if she wants to, but I don't think it's strictly necessary.

LemonZen

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2014, 09:51:42 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. She ended up being sick last night so she wasn't there after all.

I'm pretty sure she thinks she is vegan and doing well at it. She doesn't have any animal products in her own house from what I know. It just doesn't seem to bother her to eat things when she can't see them. She wouldn't touch scrambled eggs but angel food cake is fine, and to her there doesn't seem to be a conflict in that.

She is very sensitive and extremely self conscious so it's very hard to call attention to her diet (either publicly or privately) without making her uncomfortable. Any attempt at that would probably result in her leaving the group, which I would hate to see.

I guess things will just continue as if for now. I won't have to worry about it till my next hosting turn.

sweetonsno

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Re: Another guest with dietary restrictions question
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2014, 11:30:59 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. She ended up being sick last night so she wasn't there after all.

I'm pretty sure she thinks she is vegan and doing well at it. She doesn't have any animal products in her own house from what I know. It just doesn't seem to bother her to eat things when she can't see them. She wouldn't touch scrambled eggs but angel food cake is fine, and to her there doesn't seem to be a conflict in that.

She is very sensitive and extremely self conscious so it's very hard to call attention to her diet (either publicly or privately) without making her uncomfortable. Any attempt at that would probably result in her leaving the group, which I would hate to see.

I guess things will just continue as if for now. I won't have to worry about it till my next hosting turn.

My guess is that one of these things is true:
1. She doesn't actually understand what the word "vegan" means and is misusing it inadvertently.
2. She dislikes the flavor/texture of eggs and dairy, or wants to limit them for other reasons, but feels awkward explaining the specific, so uses "vegan" as shorthand.
3. She's moving towards veganism, but still eats non-vegan food in social situations because it is easier/more comfortable. (Maybe she doesn't want to inconvenience hosts.)

I think whatever her reason, your current MO is a good one. Just let her know what is in the food so she can make a decision. You can either use the term "vegan" in your explanation or not, as you prefer. I probably would. "The sugar cookies aren't vegan, I'm afraid. They have eggs and butter in them. However, the chocolate chip cookies are vegan. I used Earth Balance and coconut butter." That way, if you ever have a guest who is vegan (or who strictly avoids eggs/dairy for another reason), they won't think a food is "safe" because the "vegan" is eating it. That happens sometimes.