Going vegan is a great decision. Vegans generally enjoy better health, a more active lifestyle, and are a lot nicer (for some strange reason). But being vegan in a meat eating world can sometimes be tough, especially at work. Here are some tips for maintaining your vegan lifestyle at work.

Things to tell your co-workers to make things go smoother:

  1. Let everyone know that you are vegan. Tell them that this is a final decision and you need their help in both understanding and supporting your choice. This means that any food they offer you needs to be vegan-safe and that if you turn down anything offered to you because they are not sure, they should not take it personal.
  2. Bring in your own vegan snacks so that you are sure to have food in the office that contains ingredients you can eat. And make sure that your co-workers know they are yours, or you might disappear (remember, meat eaters can eat vegan but not the other way around).

Tough scenarios for a vegan, and how to deal with them:

You are Asked to go out for a Meal with a Group from Work

There are many people with diet restrictions and food likes and dislikes. You probably never noticed a co-worker saying he does not like a type of food or prefers one restaurant over another. This may be because of food allergies or reasons other than one restaurant’s style of food. So your letting co-workers know that you have restrictions on your diet may not be such a big deal. Tell them in advance that they need to choose a restaurant that accommodates diners who diets are dairy and meat free, and the chances are they will go out of the way to make choices that fit within your food lifestyle. And since you are probably a cheery person anyway, if you are happy, chances are that everybody else will be happy.

Doing a Meeting Outside the Office, Where Lunch Will Be Catered

The thing to do is to act as soon as you find out about the meeting. Tell the meeting organizer that you are vegan and there needs to be vegan food options at the meeting. You might need to explain that your diet excludes eggs and dairy as well as meat, poultry, and fish. And make sure they know the vegan rules, so that they don’t use a meat stock in a sauce, or something sautéed with butter, or serve bread/pastry with milk in the dough. You might also have to suggest some caterers that can deliver vegan food (these places will also deliver non-vegan food), which shouldn’t be difficult. Nearly all caterers are able to accommodate food restrictions or choices in the cooking and they more than likely be happy to accommodate special diets.

When Out to Eat, There are No Vegan Choices on the Menu

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If there are no vegan options available at restaurant, talk to the server or chef about making a vegan meal. This has probably happened many times before and most chefs love the challenge of creating something that’s not on the menu and completely vegan. Another option is to order side dishes, a lot of times they are vegan, just check for mashed potatoes as they will contain butter or milk. Turn it into an adventure and invite you co-workers to try the new creations made just for you. The vegan meal that the chef makes for you can also be a great conversation starter. You might even get them to add the new items to their menu.

Being vegan in the workplace may never be totally easy, but it with a little creativity and thinking in advance, everything will be fine.