Vegetarians to the back of the bus please!!!

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)

I am a vegetarian.  Well, more specifically, a pecto, lacto, ovo vegetarian, meaning I eat fish, dairy, and eggs (or fishetarian as my nephew and I joke).  It is one of the stages of vegetarianism that was depicted in a Time magazine article several years ago discussing the “five stages of vegetarianism.”  At least, I think it was Time magazine.  Truth is, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is the fact that our society has an increasing number of people choosing a food lifestyle without meat, for whatever reason.

For me, I chose to omit poultry, beef, and pork for health reasons that are not really relevant to the point I am trying to make here.  I don’t have a problem if people want to go hunting or eat bacon.  I don’t care how others choose to eat, so long as they don’t judge me and are willing to provide me with the same opportunities to enjoy culinary delights as they do my meat eating counterparts in society.

What is sad, is that there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of places that I cannot enjoy because they refuse to recognize a growing part of the population.  I cannot even imagine how my vegan counterparts manage to eat out.

I was moved to write something when I received an e-mail invitation to a series of luncheons with the hospitality students at the school I teach.  At least it gave the courtesy of letting potential attendees know that there would be no vegetarian option, something most places don’t bother with.  Yet at the same time it sent a clear message that we were not wanted there, even if the focus of the lessons for these luncheons is not on the food this go around (note that when I heard back from the director, who was sympathetic, I was invited to the fall and spring class luncheons which do offer a vegetarian option).

And now the only choice I have is to miss out on an opportunity to meet colleagues or simply pay money for a lunch I cannot eat.  Yes, I suppose it is a choice and I have to make it, but shouldn’t my dietary needs be honored in a place of academia that is supposed to recognize and honor diversity?

And what lesson is it teaching the hospitality students?  That only meat eaters without health issues are viable commodities in the world’s eating environment.  Shouldn’t we be teaching them that while there is a focus on one particular type of food, honoring requests to keep a person healthy and within their needs is a better way to go?  I mean, had they said, vegetarian options will be considered by request only, I would have felt more welcome.

And this is by no means the first time I have felt this way…. Once I was given the opportunity to substitute, but I would have to pay for both entrees and they could take the food I could eat off each of the other two entrees to create a new entree (for the price of two).  Suffice to say, I didn’t eat that day.

There are restaurants that get it right.  They never complain about checking ingredients and are willing to make substitutions, working within someone’s dietary needs, whether those needs are due to choice or necessity.  Restaurants such as those that put the customer first are the ones in my rotating list of places to go on a night out (for fear of excluding one place I won’t publish the list).

At the very least, a restaurant experience should be about equal access to a variety of foods.  I don’t like being forced to the back of the culinary bus!

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104 thoughts on “Vegetarians to the back of the bus please!!!

  1. I am a former vegan. The truth is I only lasted about eight months before I started to go through malnutrition because I couldn’t get the proper amount of nutrients. Being a vegetarian/vegan is all about location. In the Asian cuisine it is common to eat dishes that do not include meat because overseas it is very expensive. Also because the countries of Japan, Korea, and some of China are very close to the sea therefore fish is readily available. Among my travels I have found California to be very comfortable for a vegetarian due to the numerous inhabitants that are vegetarians.
    It is depressing that because we are the Midwest, and so close to most of the source (cows and pigs), there are very few options for those who are vegetarian. Eventually, though, as society is changing and more and more of the population are changing their diets for various reasons there should be an increase in good vegetarian food. Maybe one day in the near future I can become vegan again without having all the nasty side effects that lead to death.

    1. To be vegan is easier in Asia specially in India because it is also a part of their religion that they cannot eat meat. However, as the time changes and it affects everything it does affect religion too and I saw many Indians who start eating meat. To eat cows in their religion is forbidden but I saw Hindus eating beef too. It is not hard to be vegan but to be vegan I think it is more time consuming and expensive. For me I am also veggie lover but it always costs me more because whatever the vegetables I cooked they become shrink and then I have to prepare the next meal again. And also I have to make new salad almost after every third day. But to be meat eater it is easier to manage. Usually burgers are less expensive and if you cooked the meat you can freeze it but salads you have to prepare. So it is really hard to be vegetable lover. Though from my experience Indians cooked the best vegetables.

      1. I’m not sure about the European countries, but in America meat is easily accessible. You can buy it in bulk for realitivly cheap. Or hop over to Mcdonalds and get a burger for a dollar.
        Vegetables seem to be more expensive. A salad at the same place you got your dollar cheese burger is almost four times as much money.
        Also at the grocery store a single bag of good quality salad can run you more than three dollars.
        It just seems so unfair that our government is trying so hard to get rid of obesity, and yet the price for health foods, and even vegetables is so high it’s hard for even middle class people to afford.

      2. Yeah, I can see how Asian country’s can have a vegetarian diet, and yeah I totally agree with how prices on foods are so high. Asian country’s are filled with farms so it’s probably easy to access vegetables. The U.S. should change its ways of farming around areas.

    2. I totally agree with hatersgonnarotate that to be a vegetarian you might not get enough nutrients but that would happen when you eat only green vegetables.If you will see south east asian dishes then the majority of the population are vegeterians and those who eat meat and fish still vegetables is still their major dish.But to get enough essential nutrients you should have a mixture of pulses and rice and vegetables.There are certain vetables that we cooked and there are many we eat raw but then they will be deficient in proteins.So by eating pulses are alternatives of proteins.sometimes we combine different pulses and cooked then they are best to cover all essential nutrients that are needed by our body.

      1. I agree with you.
        In Asian countries it seems like they understand how to be vegetarian. While in America these things aren’t as accessible. I don’t understand how America can boast to be so rich compared to many other countries, and yet we don’t eat as healthy as many people in Asia do. It just doesn’t seem fair.
        Also it’s hard to get enough nutrients because we’re not educated to be vegetarians. When we are young we are taught that eating meat is the only way to get protein. Therefore when we become vegetarians it’s a struggle to realize that there are other options out there.

    3. I agree with alot of what you said. It is a whole lot easier for someone living in an asian country to maintain the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle than it is for someone living in America. America has a reputation for being a fat country. As a country we eat a lot of meat. It is very expensive to be a vegan. You cant buy the cheapest thing at a grocery store, you have to plan out things to buy and usually places that are more expensive like whole foods offers those types of food.

      1. I agree MatthewM, I am not a vegetarian but I am trying to eat healthier, start eating more organic but it is a lot more expensive to do that than go buy some meat. It’s easier to stop at a McDonald’s than to go to Whole Foods and prepare an organic meal and like you said we are known for being a obese country. It is also a lot easier to just eat what is in front of you rather than having to question what they put in the food and how it is made. It’s hard to be a vegetarian but not impossible and I give props to people who are because it’s not as easy.

      2. I completely agree with you MatthewM. I am trying to eat healthier even though I’m not a vegan, and it is very expensive. Going to Whole Foods or other organic grocery stores is a huge difference than going to just eat a quick burger someplace. It is definitely harder to eat healthier, let alone be a vegan, in our modern country.

    4. hatergonnarotate makes some very interesting points about living so close to a large array of meats. This makes it very accessible. It is actually more difficult to find fresh produce in some parts of the city then it is to find fresh meats. With that in mind Americans have become accustomed to having the accessibility of meat products. Whereas other countries are used to not eating as much as us. This is why American restaurants are taking advantage of the large amounts of meat we produce in this country.

    5. It is difficult and that is a reason my doctor doesn’t encourage me to become vegetarian considering it is difficult to receive all the necessary nutrients you body needs. Since I am an extremely active person, it it even more crucial to be aware of what I am eating and that goes along for other athletes in the Midwest like myself. The comment you make about it being about location is so true, it you don’t live in a highly populous place of vegetarians is seems harder to be one.

      1. I must say, your doctor is full of it. Before I was a vegetarian, I was anemic, now as a vegetarian I am not. It absolutely takes due diligence to eat healthy and get enough protein and the like. I have known many a vegetarian who lacks strength and never gives their body what they need, but I also know many that are very healthy and well balanced. The secret is to find what is right for YOUR body. Eat whole non-processed foods that enrich you. And remember that there is a lot of protein in many vegetables.

      2. I would have to agree with Bonniejean that I don’t think Vegans lack nutrients, or so many people would not follow that lifestyle. I think that there is enough alternatives modern day, that with some hard work you could be a vegan if you wanted to. It takes time for our bodies to react to different lifestyles, but I don’t think it is impossible.

  2. I have to agree that they are not treated fairly. I am personally not a vegetarian, but my best friend is and we can only go out to eat at certain places because of it and it’s not fair. I do think more people are becoming vegetarian and switching up their diets so restaurants should look at this and think how they can change their menus to fit everyones needs. Vegetarians are normal human beings with different diets. Everyone in our society is doing diets to become healthier and they should be able to eat healthier if they want; they shouldn’t have to suffer because of it. Being a vegetarian is already not an easy thing to do and when you can’t find places to fit what they eat it’s even harder. We need to start recognizing the vegans out there.

    1. I completely agree with cathy that it is very hard to have the vegetarian food from outside in the restaurants unless they are south east asians then they have special meals for us.Now adays in order to improve taste they also add chicken flavors or chicken stalk without letting us know what is actually inside .Even the people who eats special meat like kosher it is hard to find the food in regular restaurants so most of them like me choose to have vegetables but usually when they hear we are vegeterainas they only give us green leafy uncooked vegetables.To be vegeterian does not mean to have only un cooked vegetables.We also eat cooked vegtables with rice,rotee,bread and pita bread .that is why there is a whole big population that is surviving and re veterians.

    2. I agree Cathy, it’s already hard for people to try and eat healthy and restaurants make it harder to dine out. Amber you’re correct to that vegetarians don’t only eat uncooked vegetables, it is a variety of foods but restaurants don’t have to for what, fear they won’t get enough customers. There is nothing wrong with trying to change up an eating style, trying to be more healthier or for what ever reason, it’s not illegal or immoral so I don’t understand why restaurants don’t make their menu more “environmental friendly”. I am sure many dinning places would make a lot more money if they expanded their menu to treat everyone fairly. I am not personally a vegetarian but I don’t see anything wrong with being one, full on support for those people and I like my organic food once in awhile, just hate the fact that it costs to eat healthy.

    3. It is so difficult to find places to eat and not eat just a salad that every place has. Vegetarians like actual food too! We may not eat meat but that doesn’t mean we just live off of lettuce. Their are healthy choices for us as well such as tofu, sushi, grilled vegetables, etc. Many restaurants to accompany these options, which is surprising because they should be keeping up with food trends to adapt to what people are eating so they receive more service. I think they should start to incorporate these options because it not only leaves the vegetarians and vegans happy, but they get more money out of it.

    4. I completely agree with Cathy. There are several different reasons that someone may choose to become a vegetarian, but they should all be respected. It not only impacts where that person (the vegetarian) can eat, but it also impacts where their friends and family can go out to eat with them as well, like here in Cathy’s situation. More places need to become aware of the changing revolution and adjust to satisfy everyone’s needs before it starts to impact their business.

  3. I have been a victim of this same issue before and it has changed the way I eat. For 2 years of my life I was a vegetarian, the most I ate was eggs and milk products. When I got to college the dorm life did not provide an adequate diet to survive on. All their dishes were meat based or contained meat product in the cafeteria, which I was forced to pay into meaning I had to eat there. I wasn’t able to eat accordingly so despite my beliefs and feelings I was forced to put meat back into my diet. I’ve also seen how restaurants do not provide adequate vegetarian dishes me and my friend were forced to survive on side foods, nothing to be considered a full meal. Our westernized/American lifestyle is although we say we are for equality truly act more in terms of capitalism. Saying this i mean we know most people in our culture do in fact consume meat and are proud to do so. So our restaurants in America meals are based around meat product because it will yield them the most efficiency and profit. Our capitalist mindset puts wealth first and equality second.

    1. I completely agree with socialkrew in the way that this country puts wealth first and equality second. Most Americans do have the mindset of being “proud” to eat meat. It gives them a sense of entitlement over those who don’t eat meat. I do feel that all restaurants should have at least one dish that would meet the needs of vegetarians. However due to restaurant owners struggle to generate profit, they must make dishes that will appeal to the masses. With that in mind, there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in the city especially. One must take into consideration the fact that the American cuisine almost always incorporates meat into our dishes. Whereas, many ethnic groups cuisines’ do not contain as much meat.

    2. I encountered this same issue when I entered college. My first semester of college I lived in the dorms and the food provided by the cafeteria was never vegetarian friendly or offered any kind of protein substitute. I definitely felt the impact it took on my body. The second semester I transferred (not because of the food, other personal reasons) and the college I lived at made sure to provide adequate protein and substitutes for those who did not eat meat. It was nice to see them thinking of others and an impact starting to be made.

    1. There are many reasons why many people decided to become vegetarians and choose vegetarian as their lifestyle. Some vegetarians do not eat meat because of religious or spiritual reasons such as Indian people, some vegetarians don’t eat meat to support the environment, but most of the vegetarians are concerned about their health. Vegetarians have to make sure they eat a good combination of healthy foods. A vegetarian diet is normally less expensive than a meat diet; a well balanced vegetarian diet is healthier than a diet with meat.

      1. I agree with you kareemz, it is definitely a healthy lifestyle and more and more people are becoming vegetarians to better their health. I’ve heard people say that they are not as healthy because they don’t get the meat(protein) they need in their bodies. I personally disagree, I am no vegetarian but I’m sure they figure out a way to keep themselves healthy and receive the protein they need. Meat is not the only way to get protein, there are other ways. It’s not easy to eat healthy because McDonald’s is on the way home but it is definitely better than that. Being a vegetarian is a personal choice and I support anyone who is, so why is it a big deal that restaurants don’t always have a menu for them.

  4. I agree with you. Personally, I am no vegeterain in fact, my mother is a butcher, and my father and I hunt every year (we use the meat and hide, no game hunters in my family!).

    I give tours at SXU, I’ve had several families ask about the vegetarian program offered by SXU/Chartwell which we do not have. With people coming in that want to be vegetarians but do not have the option, it lowers the rate of people that will accept school’s offers. But even without having a vegetarian meal plan, there isn’t much to offer for people who have allergies to food like gluten. That just seems completely unfair not to mention the prices are just ridiculous.

    1. Just to add to your complaints about the school’s options, my girlfriend attends Loyola where they offer food plans (like any college does). However, they do not mention that they only have 2 or 3 vegan-friendly options, some of which were not even vegan come to find out! On top of it all they wouldn’t let her opt out of paying over two thousand dollars for the food vouchers that she cannot even use.

      1. I don’t agree with Loyola Noah B. I don’t think it is fair they don’t allow her to opt out. That is something I personally get angry about, is schools taking advantage of their students. You think they would have a separate alternative to those who may just not even want vouchers at all, vegan or not. Questions of policy in schools regarding vegans an even people with food allergies has been something floating around for many years. Hopefully one day someone will get fed up enough to take a stand and take legal action.

  5. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I still agree with you. I have friends and family members who are, and it is very difficult for them to go out to a restaurant and enjoy themselves. They can only go to certain places, and that is few and far between. I have noticed that some restaurants now have “vegetarian dishes,” but then there are only one or two options under that category. With so many people being or becoming vegetarians, you would think that restaurants would have menus to accommodate their personal styles. Everyone is entitled to their own styles, and it is sad that other people cannot accept these.

    1. I agree with KO. You would think that having Vegan alternatives would be a gold mine for restaurants. You would think they would offer healthy alternatives and not charge fortunes for them. It is also funny to me that grocery stores charge incredible amounts of money for fresh foods, yet processed foods that take more labor and ingredients to make, cost less. If that isn’t an issue itself I don’t know what is.

  6. Unfortunately eating healthy and good is expensive. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but I have noticed that it’s very difficult for those people to find locations to eat out; I’m not sure about grocery shopping but I’m sure it’s expensive too. Many restaurants that are throughout the midwest have little options– as you have already pointed out– for people with alternative diets. I personally get tired of eating the same crap everywhere I go loaded with cheese or bacon. It seems on my budget I have a hard time trying to eat healthy without breaking my wallet. I have no intention on becoming vegan or a vegetarian but I do want to eat a healthy balanced diet. I don’t understand why some of these salads out there are too expensive considering the portions size and quality, yet the burger is cheaper and advertised everywhere.

    1. My brother and sister are both vegetarian so I noticed also how expensive and difficult it can be for them to eat right while eating out. It seems to be the trendy thing to do, to be vegetarian but there is still a lack of options at restaurants. I feel like in Chicago you have to search hard to find a good restaurant for vegetarians and non vegetarians to both enjoy their meals

    2. You make some great comments about trying to eat right and eat healthy. It seems that restaurants (and indeed society) are geared towards massive portions of fatty, carb-loaded, inexpensive food. This is partly why Americans are one of the most obese nations in the world. It is a shame because it is relatively easy to switch out greasy bacon burgers for a fish dish or vegetarian pasta dish (loaded with veggies). It doesn’t have to be super expensive (buying organic is when it hits you hard in the wallet). I know I was really shocked at the portion sizes and low quality of food offered in some (not all) restaurants when I first moved here. I think it is time we re-asses what we put in our mouths!

    3. I understand that it is less expensive to process meat that to ship sushi or more healthful foods, but we need to find a way to help out those that are wanting a balanced diet. Our society encourages people to eat healthy because America is one of the most overweight countries, yet we don’t provide reasonably priced healthful foods that anybody could afford. Even organic foods are crazy expensive, so we need to find a way for healthier foods to be more affordable if we are preaching that people need to eat better.

  7. I’m not vegan but i understand how you guys are left out on the menu. I was hosting an event on my college campus and I told them to please make sure they include at least ten veggie burgers because we have some vegetarian students whom i was willing to accommodate so that they would be willing to attend the event. When the even was all said and done there was no veggie burgers for the vegans and we were asked a couple of times, it completely upset me because it seems as if they are left out. I don’t like the fact of leaving any one out especially since I’m a picker eat and don’t eat meat on some occasions.

    1. I’m in the same situation as you. I myself am not vegan, however my girlfriend is and we run into this same problem all the time. It can get really frustrating when people are inconsiderate and really don’t care about if she can eat anything or not. I understand that it is her choice and I don’t expect people to go through too much hassle, it would just be nice to have some options rather than her going hungry.

  8. I totally sympathize with what you are going through, Bonniejean. Or is it empathize? Anyways, I am a meat eater, love the stuff. But my girlfreind is vegetarian, and seriously- I can’t take her out anywhere. Very few places have vegetarian options on their menu. And if they are vegetarian approved, they are usually deep fried or something, like breaded mushrooms or jalapeno poppers. And I think what vegetarians are going for is that healthy approach. And that’s hard to do when everything is a loaded heart attack waiting to happen. One good thing they have started doing is making veggie burgers a LOT more availible, I have seen them in restaurants more prevelantly, and even in grocery stores. I also think it’s starting to become ‘trendy’ to be a vegetarian for some reason. I think that- you will not be at the back of that culinary bus for too long, Bonniejean.

    1. I agree a lot with what you said Kerry. My brother and sister are both Vegetarians and I am not and I feel your pain. It is very difficult to find places that satisfy them as vegetarians and my parents and myself who aren’t vegetarians. I also agree that it becoming very trendy to become a vegetarian. My brother currently lives in Austin, Texas and there are plenty of places that are strictly vegetarian menus. But I feel like that is one of the problems… There is usually places that only offer Vegetarian dishes or there are places that offer none or very little options of vegetarian dishes, so with a family of a mixture of vegetarians and non-vegetarians, it makes for a hard time when you want to go out to eat.

      1. It is difficult for vegetarian alone, then when you mix in families mixed with vegetarians and non-vegetarians it almost makes it impossible to go out to family dinners. I don’t understand why the food business doesn’t keep up with this trend considering they keep up with the new healthy eating craze as they put calorie count of everything. They are doing extra to accommodate those who are concerned about their diet, vegetarians are the same in a sense, so why can’t they put in the extra effort for them…

  9. Though I myself am not a vegetarian, I don’t often like to eat red meats. I’ve never known what it is about it, but I don’t like the taste. Every chance that I get, I will choose a pasta plate or fish plate over any sort of red meat. Even without the fact that I don’t like red meat, I’m still a rather picky eater (something I’ve been trying to shake because it does restrict me to only a few choices at restaurants). Most of the restaurants that I’ve been have been rather accommodating at making special requests for their meals, but I’ve also been ones that won’t change what they have on their menus at all. Now, I know that they have every right to deny this, but like you stated, it wouldn’t be so bad if they even considered changing them for certain people. I also think that it would be a good idea for catered events to start having an option besides chicken or beef.

    It’s similar to the way that people are discriminated against because of their religion or the color of their skin. And I think that it has gone too far.

    1. Amanda I completely understand where you are coming from, I knew I could not be a full vegetarian or even a little of a vegetarian, but I tried my best to at least cut red meats out of my diet. I choose to cut red meats out of my diet for purposes most do not consider, for environmental purposes. Though red meat if ate too much is really unhealthy for you, so I guess it is a good thing you are a picky eater and I have my environmental issues. Though it really does limit your chooses where ever you go, but you probably would not want a meatless sandwich if you could go with something with chicken or fish.

    2. Amanda,

      Your point about catered events made me think about my work’s Christmas party. We had a set menu at the restaurant and us vegetarians (only a handful of us) could not have the canapés as everything had meat in it. Then the actual meal itself, there was a choice between duck or beef. So I was given a glass of tomato juice as my appetizer. I was not very impressed. It really would not have killed them to have a vegetarian option. Is it just laziness I wonder?

  10. Honestly I give so many props to veg- heads as I call them. My best friend is a lacto-ovo vegetarian, so if we are out to eat I make sure that she can get a decent meal. We do eat pretty terrible, so a meal for us could consist of cheese fries. Honestly though what bothers me, is when people look at her when she just asks for a sandwich with no meat. It is not like she is from a foreign planet or anything; she is just ordering no meat on her food. Being looked down upon for that is just stupid or even told they cannot do that for her. One time at a McDonald’s the girl told her she could not just give her bread or sell it… and I nearly had that girl’s head. My best friend kindly explained to her that if the meat touches the bread she cannot eat it, and she said she would pay full-price for the hamburger. The girl then finally agreed and I never took my business there again.

    1. I agree Ashley. I give mad props to people that are able to be a vegetarian. I could never see myself giving up cheeseburgers haha. People do seem to view vegetarians in a weird way. My brother and sister are both veg-heads and if its not a vegetarian restaurant, they get weird looks when they order things without the meat. It is very difficult for vegetarians to stay healthy while choosing that life style so restaurants need to be able to provide more vegetarian options.

    2. The lack of compliance from some people never ceases to amaze me when it comes to vegan ordering. I know that when I place my order the chef is going to have to start a new meal and that he will use new ingredients. Depending on the restaurant of course, the chef is not simply taking a meal from under a heating plate and serving it to us. That being said, is it really so hard for the chef to use a few different ingredients when he is making the dish? I am not asking him to go back and change his hard work, I am simply asking him to adhere to dietary restrictions.

      1. I don’t know if it is about compliance so much as respect. I will give my limited money to restaurants that choose to treat me like a valued part of their “family” by respecting my health needs and personal choices. I do tend to frequent places where they know me to ensure my body, my temple, is given only what it needs. Allergies and food dynamic choices are hard enough to deal with without being treated as if a second class citizen.

  11. Matthew, you make a good point about restaurants needing to adapt and cater for vegetarians. I am a vegetarian, I do eat fish, but no dairy products. I did try veganism but that was impossible – i had friends telling me I couldn’t come over for dinner as they couldn’t cook anything for me! My vegan trip lasted two weeks. I think the issue is that vegetarians are in the minority (right now) and as we know, minority groups get overlooked in society. Vegetarianism is growing, year on year, as people realize the health benefits of a predominantly vegetable diet. Eventually, this will filter down to the restaurants and they will be forced to provide what the customers are asking for. This is a bit like social change: if enough people make a noise they will be heard.

  12. I agree that in terms of equality, a majority of restaurants do not do the best job providing an elaborate array of foods for both vegetarians and meat eaters. However, it has become clear over the past few years that vegetarian options are starting to pop up in certain restaurants. Apple bees and many other chain restaurants are starting to meet the needs of individuals who seek to eat in their own way. With that in mind, one must also consider the point that restaurant owners must put things on the menu that will sell. Since the majority of the U.S population are meat eaters, restaurant owners would loose revenue if they bought ingredients for a dish that didn’t sell frequently.

    1. Hi Michael,

      To your point on restaurants losing revenue if they have dishes that aren’t so popular, I think if there is one dish that caters for vegetarians on a menu, it could be a preprepared frozen dish or something like a frozen veggie burger. This way us veggies would have at least one option on the menu, and the restaurant has no risk of throwing out produce as it is frozen. Restaurants (and venues which serve food) can do better. Case in point: when I go to the Cubs games, there are no veggie options for me, which is pretty depressing as you can’t take food in and you are in Wrigley Field for hours and hours. Would a veggie burger be that hard to provide? They sell them at the Sox games ( and they are really tasty too!).

      There, I have had my rant!

      1. Hi Zoe,

        Your point on having a single dish that could be kept frozen is very valid. I didn’t really take into consideration the advantage of freezing foods in my last comment. It is unfortunate that such places as Wrigley field don’t provide a vegetarian option since it draws in so many people. I agree completely about your point of restaurants having the ability to do better. However, I wonder how much thought a chef actually gives to trying to come up with a vegetarian dish. Before any vegetarians can say that restaurants don’t respect them or don’t accept them there, they must take into consideration if that restaurant has even thought of having a vegetarian dish in the first place. Maybe the chef simply never thought to add one to the menu, not that he doesn’t respect vegetarians, he just simply never thought to include it.

      2. I think you are right when you say that chefs do not give it much thought. Maybe this is a training issue. It really depends on the establishment you are eating in. Some classier places will always think of vegetarian options, simply because it allows them to use fresh locally sourced ingredients. Some of the bar and grill places will not be aiming at the vegetarian market so will not even give it a second thought. I tend to steer clear of bar and grills to be honest, but it would be nice to have the option now and then! Are you vegetarian? Or know any?

      3. Hi Zoe,
        I agree that the veggie burger could solve lots of problems for vegetarians. I think you guys got down to the center of the problem by saying that the problem comes from the culinary training. The issue has to be addressed at the true beginning of it which is at schools. Promoting healthy vegetarian menu should be one of the required classes at the culinary schools.

  13. I could definitely agree that some of the more classy places tend to put more vegetarian food on the menu. I attribute that to the fact that an amazing executive chef is trained to prepare all types of foods well, and efficiently. Also, that chef knowns how to make simple ingredients shine in any dish. I myself am not a vegetarian, however i know multiple. They are not the most healthy of vegetarians, but they most definitely do what they can to try and stick with it. However, my family does go out to eat a lot at vegetarian indian restaurants. To be honest it’s such good food that i don’t even miss the meat.

    1. Michael,
      You brought out very interesting point about going to the Indian restaurants. It made me ask my friend, who is originally from India and doesn’t eat meat, about it. I found out that Indian restaurants have plenty of vegetarian options and it’s very common for people who dine there to have dishes without meat, not upon a special request. Does it mean that America, the country of multiple cultures, is still behind?

  14. A very good point was brought up in this article. I would have never even thought about this problem many, like you, face these days had you not brought it up. I feel like we as a society are blinded by the norms of what the typical American is. The typical American is thought of as one who eats meat and who is infatuated with their looks. We as a society seem to generalize everyone into this group, which is where this problem that you speak of stems from. I have seen in a few restaurants where they do have a vegan section on the menu. Can that be called making progress? We need to be more aware and accommodative to the various diets that are out there today.

    1. Hi Bobby,
      I like the fact that you have brought up about the meat eating stereotype that people have of typical American diet. Where did it even come from? America is a country of mix of people from all over the world, so also mix of their culinary habits. I think the problem is not even generalizing everyone into one meat eating group. The problem is the goal of the restaurant, which is to make money and serve what sells without even considering aspect of tolerance.

  15. I can’t imagine being food discriminated in the restaurant. I associate eating out with being free of any thoughts and worries, because I don’t have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. I’m shocked that they (I guess cook in the restaurant) weren’t willing to make you a dish without meet free of charge, not with double charge. I think you should post the name of that restaurant, because their success belongs to the public. I’m sure they have lost you as a costumer, I believe others would follow. As far as the luncheons in the academic setting, I find it wrong that you were asked to pay for lunch that you couldn’t eat .I wonder if you have asked them to wave the fee, since you had to bring your own lunch or go without it ?

  16. This article brings up many good points that I really had not thought about. Since I eat meat, this issue that does not seem to apply to me. The majority of the population does not think about this so that is why there are very few all vegetarian restaurants or even a section of the menu that is vegetarian. I believe though that the amount of vegetarians and vegans are on the rise and this issue will soon be addressed by simply supply and demand. In America we live with a mixed capitalist economy meaning that we can choose to run a business if we think it will thrive. I believe soon that their will be strictly vegetarian restaurants and especially vegetarian sections on the menu because the public calls for it.

    1. Hi Nernst02.
      I totally agree with you on the fact that probably soon there is going to be more and more vegetarian options on the menu in the restaurants. Making the menu more applicable to everybody’s need, will bring more clients to the restaurant. More clients equals to more profit. I agree that the problem of discrimination will be addressed soon and somebody will make a big profit out of it.

  17. If you eat a seafood you are not a vegetarian.
    About the article title-Please don’t compare a diet choice to the racist police state that the entire African American community had to endure until the late 60s. Having a hard time ordering at a restaurant is very different than being treated as less than human and denied your civil rights.

    1. According to an article in Newsweek from 10 years ago, as well as several other sources, a pecto lacto ovo vegetarian, one who eats fish, dairy, and eggs, is a level of vegetarianism. And it is not a CHOICE for me… I have to eat as I do for health reasons. Due to allergies and the like I am subjugated to eat as I do for fear of death. And for me, the blatant discrimination I have faced due to my dietary needs has been tantamount to racism. Thus my comparison, which I have a constitutional right to make. Sorry if I offended you Beth. Thank you for your thoughts.

  18. I know quite a few people that are struggling with living in a world with different dietary needs than the rest of society. Going out to eat with them is a challenge. Family members have to bring separate dishes to weddings because some caterers do not offer gluten free options. Some have dietary restrictions due to allergies and others make the choice for their own personal reasons. Some cannot have gluten and have made the choice to omit meat from their diet as well. It’s usually easier to ask them where they’d like to eat since they know who does and does not serve food that they can eat. Sometimes eating in is the smartest choice because we have complete control over what we consume.

    1. I agree, it is easier to ask the vegetarian where to eat rather than choose a place yourself. I know more and more restaurants are opening up and creating vegetarian options/menus but it is still very difficult. Besides that point, it shouldn’t be just the vegetarians choice as to where you go, you both should be able to have a mutual agreement and it can’t always be that way with how little is offered at some restaurants.

  19. Bonniejean, I couldn’t agree more with the things you discussed. When I was in 8th grade I set a goal to be a full on vegetarian by the time I became a freshman in college. I am now a freshman and I am not a vegetarian and for a while I didn’t realize why. It is the exact reason you stated, I don’t have many options. It is sad to see that people have to go out of their way to enjoy a dinner out (as a vegetarian). Even though being a vegetarian is an option for me it doesn’t mean I should be forced by society to eat what the majority eats.

  20. This blog was an eye opener to me. I’m not a vegan but I still respect peoples preferences simply because it’s their life and they can do as they please with it. I myself enjoy eating steak and chicken simply because I like to body build my muscles with them. As I read this blog a lot of things came to mind. There is a huge increase in people becoming vegetarians. Maybe after college I should open up a restaurant simply for vegetarians. That is a good idea because of the rise of people becoming vegans. Finally, one should never judge another person at all. Whether it comes to food preference, or race, or whatever.

  21. I tried being a vegetarian once because I wanted to lose weight. I think I lasted all of about 3 months before I felt I couldn’t do it any more. It is truly hard to find restaurants that will comply with the vegetarians diet. I do feel it is unfair also. I think anywhere we go there should be different options that are suitable for all different types of eaters. What troubles me more than anything, is that all of the unhealthy food is convenient, cheap, and right at our finger tips no matter where we go. Can you imagine a world where it was just the opposite? There would be so much less obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and so on… It’s frustrating when a person wants to eat healthy, and that person is shunned away because people don’t want to take the time to prepare options suitable for the healthy eater. With that being said, yes I think it’s incredibly unfair to not accommodate vegans at any event, or restaurant.

    1. I agree with you Jordan, it is so much easier to pull up to a fast food place to eat than have to be starving and waiting until you get home to make your food. They should make organic or vegetarian type of fast food places, which would also turn our obesity world around. I’ve actually thought about becoming a vegetarian for the healthy food and becoming more fit in nutrition but I see how hard it is and it is just not in me to go through all of that. I try to eat healthier but becoming a vegetarian is just not in the books for me so I do give props to all those people out trying struggling but fighting through it, it’s not easy. Restaurants should accommodate their menus for all types of eaters so it would attract more customers. It’s more common to be a meat eater but it is not the only type of food that people eat and restaurants need to recognize that more and more people are becoming vegetarians.

  22. I’ve tried being a vegetarian before but it didn’t go so well. I was the only one in my family and to be honest it was difficult. Everywhere I went there was meat; even at home I wasn’t safe. For me it was so much easier eating meat than staying vegetarian. I felt like getting access to meat was much easier simply because of the so many fast food restaurants out there. I remember my Creative Writing teacher saw me eating a fruit salad and asked me if I was a vegetarian. I told him I was and he congratulated me. But I did get questions such as “why aren’t you eating meat?” or “is that all you are eating?” from fellow classmates. Like if I was doing something wrong.

    1. I used to be a pesco-lacto-ovo vegetarian when I was in junior high, mostly because I saw a horrendous behind the scenes video on YouTube of animals getting abused, for lack of a more explicit word, while at a slaughter house. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I couldn’t believe what the world had come to I wanted to absolutely change my life and be one less person to eat an animal that had been cruelly beaten for the sake of my eating. So I did it for a couple years. Had to stop because I was in sports and needed the protein and vitamins and minerals meat has that is very difficult to find in other foods. And everyone I knew gave me a neck cracking response when I told them I didn’t eat meat. Very close friends, everyone in my family, everyone I talked to. Can’t people just do their own thing? I feel you on the pressure you took from classmates. I also had that beam of uncertainty crawl up my spine from others.

      1. I also remember seeing those documentaries on where food comes from. After watching a few of them, I completely quit McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants. It disappointing when someone doesn’t respect your decision for to change for the better. Why is it funny when someone wants to be a vegetarian? Society doesn’t accept anyone who wants to better themselves and its sad. The cruelty that goes behind making the food we eat is simply sickening and should prompt others to become more aware of what they are putting into their bodies.

      2. See how moving it can be! That’s awesome you made that decision though, I see your point on discrimination against vegetarians too. I also agree that if someone wants to change their lifestyle and eating habits for the better, why should other people comment or even worry about it. I mean, if you are going to judge or comment, it should be like hey great job hope it works out, not ew why are you making that decision that’s dumb. Like, mind your own business..if your gonna be negative. And really, when I saw that video, I was serious about never eating meat again. I would go into details but it’s absolutely horrific. I try not to think of that stuff when I’m eating meat products. I wish there was another way to eat meat so innocent animals don’t have to suffer.

      3. Those movies really gave me a good scare! Exactly, why can’t people be supportive of someone’s decision to become a vegetarian? Simple things like that would make communicating much easier and would boost the self confidence of the person who is changing their habits. Yeah, I know exactly how you feel. Thinking of where my meat comes from disgusts me. I wish for the same thing. Thankfully, there are movements that protest against animal slaughter for food. Even poor chicken are fattened up much more than they were 10 years ago, just for our benefit! I would happily continue eating chicken even if the pieces were much smaller! I feel like it’s the neediness of society that causes the inhumane treatment of animals.

    2. Being a vegetarian, I have had the same issue. All of my friends/family are quite the avid meat lovers and so often I get made fun of for it or teased to consume meat, which I do not do. It is very to tough, especially to begin with because you really have to think of what you are eating and manage a healthy diet. Before my vegetarian days, I use to just grab a slim-jim or various other meat items as a snack not thinking about how it was meat and getting use to that was difficult. It is a huge accomplishment because of all the life changes and I don’t think anyone should look down or discriminate against vegetarians.

  23. It’s extremely unfair when others judge how you choose to live your life. At times, I understand that a restaurant can’t always offer a substitute, simply due to the fact that it might throw them off track or that they don’t have enough to substitute to keep your taste buds enlightened. While others are fully capable, maybe having substitutes set aside for “just incase” purposes. Honestly, I don’t know how restaurants function, but when it comes to the school luncheon, I felt very disappointed. The fact that an institution that supports diversity doesn’t even offer a vegetarian option truly exhibits the lack of consideration we have for others and their life style choices.

    1. I side with you, who is anyone to judge. And yea it would be great if restaurants that actually Could make a difference and think about other lifestyle eating habbits of people to make their service more broad. I dont know why more companies havnt dont that, it would attract more people im sure and it would be greatly enjoyed by the people that are actually vegetarian or vegan or what have you. This added option could be life changing in the retail businesses. I mean, even if they just tried it. Just for a while to see how it goes. That would be cool. And then see how people like it. I mean all these restaurants really dont give a sh*t, I know because I work at one but ours is actually not bad. I can tell you this though, more consideration for customers, more $$$ for the company in the end.

      1. I think it would be awesome walking into a restaurant and knowing that they would respect your vegetarian choices by substituting your meal! I absolutely agree, it doesn’t hurt to try it out for a little while. Society would recognize that restaurants efforts and spread the word about their variety. I’m sure there are a lot of vegetarians out there that would like to go to a regular restaurant with their friends and not have to worry about whether or not they will receive substitutes. You working at a restaurant gives valuable perspective because you would experience it first hand.

  24. I was both shocked and disappointed to hear that a vegetarian lunch was not offered nor provided for you. In my opinion it comes across as disrespectful and even ignorant. People going into the food business need to be fully aware that the number of people becoming vegetarian (no matter the kind) is increasing all the time. Their goal should always be to meet the needs of their customer or person who they are serving. Regardless of the place in which the vegetarian is eating and regardless of the reason in which they have specific dietary needs, their needs should be met. People in the food industry should want to please everybody they have the pleasure of cooking for. If they don’t..who knows what could happen to their reputation? Something very important for them to consider.

    1. I really like a lot of the points you made. Reputation is pretty much everything in the restaurant business. One bad reputation can have a significantly negative ripple effect and cause a dramatic decrease in customers. A restaurants disregard for vegetarians truly shows their lack of care for someone’s personal eating habits. Restaurants are going to need to step it up if the number of vegetarians is increasing, or else it could mean the end of that business.

  25. I do think that restaurants should have more options to substitute meat. I am not a vegetarian , so I never noticed how much it could really affect someone life style. I do feel like the email they sent you was a little disrespectful, inviting you to a dinner and then basically saying you are not welcome there. More and more people are choosing this life style and it could benefit restaurants to have some sort of vegetarian menu.

  26. Not trying to be offensive here but I think this whole article is kind of ridiculous. Ok maybe the lunch in part is understandable because at lunch ins there is usually only a few options then yea one of the options should be for vegetarians. But to complain that restaurants don’t have enough vegetarian options is where this article lost me. Restaurants have the right to put whatever they want on their menu so complaining that they don’t have a vegetarian option at a restaurant is like going to an Italian restaurant and complaining that they don’t have Chinese food. If you don’t like what a restaurant has on their menu then don’t go there. It would probably be smart to have vegetarian options at all restaurants to expand your customer base but expanding your menu also cost more money so you cant expect every restaurant to be vegetarian friendly if they don’t specialize in vegetarian food.

    1. I am on par with you here. A restaurant has the right to serve whatever they want. Its there restaurant. So with that said if you do not want to go here then don’t go to a vegetarian restaurant. Also I do not see how someone can not eat meat but eat eggs and fish to me it is a little oxy moron. But that is there own personal life choice.

    2. I agree that it is unfair to demand that restaurants adhere to every specific dietary restriction. But, I do wish they would be more accommodating when it is a simple fix. Sometimes a meal can easily become edible my simply removing one or two ingredients, yet the waiters/waitresses look at you like you were born with some kind of horrible deformity.

  27. This could apply to a lot of people with other different dietary needs. My younger sister cannot consume gluten or dairy due to severe allergies. From experience, I know that it is very difficult to find a place that can cater to both of those needs. While I feel that nobody should have to miss out on an experience that involves food because of dietary restrictions, it seems unrealistic to me that a restaurant should be required to have food that meets her needs. In my opinion, it is the prerogative the person or restaurant to choose what they serve and that includes whether or not that place can be made available to people who must eat a certain way.

  28. I completely agree, restaurants should be more respectful and helpful when it comes to peoples dietary needs. These needs are very serious for some people and being vegan, vegetarian or whatever it may be is a lifestyle choice that should be respected and honored. I think the problem at hand here is laziness. Meeting the strict dietary needs of some people can be a big inconvenience to restaurants. In some cases food must be prepared completely separate from any other ingredients or meats that are cut out of said diet. This means more work in the kitchen. Although this may be a reason for being “pushed to the back of the culinary bus,” it is NOT an excuse. A huge part of the restaurant industry is about hospitality and the comforts of eating out—having a night free of dishes and clean up after a meal. Those luxuries are being taken away from customers when their diets are not accommodated. Not to mention the fact that these people are a paying customer just like everyone else. These needs should be met.

  29. I agree with this article. I am not vegetarian (though I go without eating meat for weeks at a time sometimes). I don’t eat pork or shellfish because of the way I was brought up. I even enjoy vegetarian meat which is made with soybean. It is very frustrating to go to some restaurants, most especially for restaurants where the only meat they have is pork. If I attend a potluck I always have to asks what’s in the dish before eating it and when I pass it up, I sometimes get strange looks. And most people after finding out my eating habits react in a way that always get under my skin, like “you’ve never had porkchops!” or “are you Muslim or something??” I feel what a person decides to eat is there business and when they eat in public they shouldn’t have to worry if the menu will be in their favor. Most people don’t eat what’s good for them and they aren’t viewed any differently, but when a person doesn’t eat what is bad for them people begin to wonder why… kinda backwards to me!

  30. Although I myself am not vegetarian, my girlfriend, Michele, has been vegan (does not eat any animal byproducts) for almost 3 years. Having been with her for almost 2 years, I wholly agree with the author’s complaints and have had them myself. Michele and I are restricted to mainly 2 or 3 restaurants in the suburbs that can somewhat easily adhere to the vegan diet and it would be fantastic to have more options. She attends college at Loyola University in Chicago and while there are more vegan options in the city, the choices are still sparse. In fact, Loyola cannot even feed her, yet still requires her to pay over two thousand dollars in cafeteria privileges. The one time she went and looked over the vegan options, all 3 of them, she found shrimp in the apparently vegan pasta! Needless to say the number of vegetarians/vegans are on the rise and the public needs to provide more food options for the growing demand.

    1. Oh so true…. there are many restaurant that will work with you. Rock Bottom in Lombard will make any substitutions needed, often for free, to make items Vegan. The chefs are awesome there… just tell your server and ask for a manager to check ingredients.

  31. I think that not a lot of places offer different foods because those places are older. when I was younger my mom never asked me what I wanted for dinner. She made whatever she wanted. Sometimes it had meat, sometimes it did not. I ate whatever she made. If did not like what she made then I closed my eyes and pretended it was something else. back then people ate meat as their main course but now more and ore people do not eat meat. I guess it is just a phase but it is new and it will take take time for restaurants to accept and plan for it.

  32. I’ve had some of the same experience being gluten free and lactose intolerant. I have celiac disease, so I can’t eat gluten without getting sick. Do I look down upon people who can eat things that I can’t? No. (I am extremely jealous that they can eat pizza, though.) But my problem is that, in the past year or two, there has been an influx of gluten-free products. At least, the products claim to be “gluten-free”.Most of the products in stores claiming to be “gluten-free” are not. I no longer trust when a restaurant claims to have “gluten-free” items because I have had too many experiences of ordering a “gluten-free” item and it is not gluten-free at all. If you’re going to go through the trouble of labeling something “gluten-free” actually make it “gluten-free.”

    1. I have seen this too with vegetarian items. For instance certain cheeses aren’t actually vegetarian (yes I know they are not vegan) despite the claim that they are. You see, products made with animal enzymes are not vegetarian because they have to kill the animal to get those enzymes. It needs to say microbial enzymes (or rennet) to be vegetarian. But I worry about dishonest practices. I have been out right lied too by servers who either just want to make the sale or are too lazy to find the truth – thank God ot wasn’t my life threatening allergies. I have to be really careful and generally only buy items from the store that I am absolutely sure of. My husband gets annoyed with having to read so many labels.

  33. I think the vegetarian and vegan options have been trending more and more at restaurants and places. They are just sort of now seeing that a lot of people have chosen that lifestyle but I don’t necessarily think its the right way to eat or the wrong one. Nor do I think being a carnivore is right or wrong. EVERYTHING on this planet is good in moderation (unless you have a allergic problem with food obviously) .. But more and more I have seen a place that once never had vegetarian options have them now. Obviously there will always be people who buy genetically enhanced or tainted food but that is only because the world revolves around money and that is a whole other story.

  34. My best friend is a vegetarian and once I move out of my house I intend to be one too just because my parents won’t allow it when I am such an active swimmer and believe I need meat for protein. It is a lifestyle choice and some people aren’t given the choice when it is for medical reasons. I am finding more and more vegetarian options out there, but in places like public schools, who should accommodate for everyone, don’t offer a wide variety of options for vegetarians. Its upsetting that it is becoming more and more popular to eliminate meat from their lives and restaurants/ food businesses should be catering to that for their benefit as well as ours. I don’t expect restaurants to stop serving meat, so why can’t they add onto their menus and adapt to modern day society where some people won’t or can’t eat meat (ex. medical, religious beliefs, etc.).

  35. This is a good and growing topic that me and my brother talk about frequently. He is a sous chef in a hotel kitchen and it is what would be considered a fine dining experience. Before he came into the line, the restaurant offered no alternatives to the menu. After he got into his position, and he made an alternate for almost every dish that he could, business and popularity rose greatly. It goes to show that the exclusion of this growing culture could completely make or break a business who is trying to make it in our modern world. Food should connect everyone, not set barriers between us

    1. This is exactly the point I was trying to get across. Whether cultural, health, or otherwise, food choices should be available to all lifestyles as best as possible. Breaking bread together truly is the best way to find a middle ground.

  36. Such amazing points made. I am a vegan and I find it incredibly difficult to eat out as well. I don’t understand why restaurants have not opened their minds to the idea of diversity. people are more willing to adjust their menus for allergies and such and while being vegan and vegetarian is a lifestyle choice that most are not forced to choose, I think it should be respected just the same. If restaurants were to diversify their menus with many options for vegan and vegetarian customers it could possibly even bring in more profit for them in the end.

  37. I agree with the points the author presented. I personally am not a vegan, but I’ve known people who are. I can’t imagine how hard it is to try and eat out as a vegetarian of any kind. It seems that modern menus all consist of meat, meat, and more meat. I feel bad for those that may be excluded and I don’t think restaurants should be able to discriminate against those who eat differently or have different ideals. This is relate-able to the past, where we as Americans used to discriminate based on color, now it has become based on ideals. You would think restaurants would have different vegan menus, this would probably bring more revenue to them and popularity as a whole.

  38. Being an avid vegetarian for the last 7.5 years, I completely agree with all of this. It is especially difficult being a college student who works full time and I don’t always have time to pack a lunch in the morning. I rely on take-out some days and the pickings are slim to none. Not only is it difficult, but it is offending as well. Restaurants are made to respect various types of religions and cultures and even make adjustments for people with allergies, but when it comes to adjusting for a vegetarian meal, it’s the most difficult thing possible. It is purely a form of discrimination and segregation.

  39. I feel like many people are not as informed on vegetarianism as they should be. Being a lacto ovo vegetarian along with my immediate family for the past eight years, I have encountered many people who would grant me unwanted advice or disapproval of my dietary choices. Coming from a Filipino heritage, where the typical Filipino diet consists of rice, vegetables, and tons of meat, my relatives are not only unsupportive, but disrespectful, for they attempt to mash up meat in my food many times, claiming that it isn’t what it really is. What makes it frustrating is when these people clearly haven’t done their homework on vegetarianism, yet think they can argue against it. Not only do we veggies tend to get the ignorantly classic comments such as “What do you even eat? Lettuce?” but also get limited options from many places, when I think it should be more even. As you pointed out, our country is brimming with diversity and it would be smart to cater to all types of eaters and eliminate this exclusion.

  40. I am by no means a vegetarian, I couldn’t imagine excluding meat out of my diet. That being said, my best friend is a vegetarian and we recently went out to eat with my family and had quite an experience (which I literally was sitting right in the middle of the action). My little brother is deathly allergic to peanuts, therefore every time he comes out to eat with any of us we need to make sure to ask the waiter for a manager or chef to come to the table so we can let them know of the allergy. Well, every single one of the nine of us ordered a steak besides Mena, my friend who is the vegetarian. After the waiter took our orders, he came back to the table and told Mena, “Just so you know, the chef is sure there will be no peanuts or tree nuts in the steak.” We all chuckled a little bit because she wasn’t the one with the allergy, after telling him that he once again looked to Mena but this time he said, “Sweetie, you know your at a steakhouse right? What’s the point of coming if you’re gonna eat like a rabbit?” Well, Mena is a very shy and quite girl, me on the other hand, not so much. I was furious, the poor girl was trying to spend time with us, what does it matter if she wants a salad or not?! It was just completely ignorant, and very frustrating. There is no need to disrespect someones life choices just because it isn’t the same choice you’ve made.

  41. I tried to be vegetarian for a while but it was hard becuase all my life I have eaten meat. I also agree that there aren’t a lot of choices for vegetarians and vegans when it comes to restaurants. This should change because the world is becoming more accepting with things because of the internet. I also think that there should be restaurants that serve foods from around the world though it would be hard to do. I also think that people should be more aware of the benefits of being a vegetarian and a vegan have on the environment and our bodies.

  42. I believe people are afraid of change and don’t want to accept the facts that you can get your necessary nutrients by replacing meats with other things. I still eat meat and love it, don’t get me wrong. There’s many cases where people discriminate against others who don’t eat what everyone else is eating. They may take it the wrong way by assuming their dish was nasty but in reality that person may have just been vegetarian and couldn’t eat it. Most vegetarians I know are pretty confidential about being vegetarian because they don’t want the attention on them. Just because they eat a different way doesn’t make them any more different than you. People will look for anything to one up one another in this day and age.

  43. I don’t think that culinary students or even the creators of a restaurant should get attacked at for not having a different option for customers. Some people are just told what to make and the creators that is just what they envisioned for their restaurant. Thankfully there are tons of new places to get food that serve vegetarian options and their are now vegan restaurants. Though if that food place someone goes to doesn’t have what they serve there are always alternatives. Just know for next time not to go their anymore.

    1. They are not being attacked because of an opinion, just called out for ignoring a growing segment of the population (that I, interestingly, no longer belong to). Honestly, I still feel that a restaurant, and restaurant, that blatantly dismisses a group is going to have trouble staying in business. I especially feel troubled at a teaching restaurant, the whole purpose of which is to prepare students for real life issues that will come up in restaurants. And to note, they do better now overall, but with the special meals to which these dinners refer, they still have it prepared as one dish won’t few alterations. In the end, it was more about how I was treated (like o had no right to choose a particular way of life) when I spoke to someone about it as opposed the lack of accommodations.

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