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Vegan Temptations at Work

Posted on the 13 January 2014 by Chuck Underwood @brandnewvegan

Hello everyone!  How was your week?

Mine was pretty grueling as it was my first week back to work after my extended holiday shutdown.  I’ll tell you, having 17 straight days off was soooo nice, and having to go back to a 4 day (12hr shift) week …. NOT so nice.

And if being back to work wasn’t enough torture – they (my company) decided to throw us a holiday dinner one night.  A thank you dinner.  That’s usually bad news for us Vegans, as it usually means some highly tempting, highly processed, fat laden, high caloric junk meal….ie doughnuts,  pizza, steak, etc.  And this time was no different – they catered in BBQ.   Pulled pork, brisket, ribs,  the works.   Pounds and pounds of BBQ’d meat.  Ugh!

I say ugh because when I DID eat meat – there was no greater delicacy than a good chopped beef sandwich.   I lived in Dallas/Ft Worth for 5 years and let me tell you, I KNOW my BBQ.  So what better way to tempt me than to cater in a dinner with all my favorite foods.

This will happen to you too you know.  Temptations.   It may be a party, or a thank you for a job well done, or maybe even just a catered luncheon, but it will happen.  Will you be prepared?  How do you prepare? Here are just a couple of ways you can stand up to Vegan Temptations and not get left out in the cold.

Shout Out – Hey!  I’m Vegan!

First of all, let the powers that be KNOW you’re Vegan and see if they can also include some Vegetarian/Vegan options.  If you’ve been hiding in the vegetable closet all this time it’s seriously time to come out.  Vegan is the new cool!  Don’ be embarrassed about it.

You may think you’re causing extra trouble for somebody – but hey – you have a right to eat too.  Don’t you?  And if they are spending all this money on food for everyone else – aren’t you just as important ?  Let them know I want to be included too!  Be it a Veggie Pizza you can pull the cheese off of, or a frozen veggie burger on the grill, there’s always an option.

Make a Meal of the Sides

I’ve done this many times.  While they’re gorging themselves on the main dish, I check out all the yummy sides.  Granted – they usually aren’t going to be 100% legal – but it’s better than giving in to the meat and feeling horrible (emotionally and physically) about it later.

Yes there’s probably mayo in the coleslaw, or butter in the mashed potatoes – but I don’t make a big issue out of it and eat what I’m comfortable with.   Rolls, salad, potato salad, baked beans, green beans, raw veggies, whatever.  There’s usually enough sides – especially a starch of some kind with some added veggies that you can fill up on.

BBQ Time

In the summer months we have cookouts at work on occasion.  If you know one is coming up, ask if they can plop a couple of veggie burgers on the grill for you.  Or make a few pre-formed patties at home the day before and bring them along.  Oh sure you’ll probably get a snicker or two – make some lame Vegan Joke – but we’re used to this by now – aren’t we.

The point is – don’t go hide in a corner.  Make sure they include you.  Show them you can stand up to any temptation and stay true to your beliefs.  They’ll respect you a whole lot more if you do.

Bring Your Own

If all else fails – bring your own.  You do it every day anyway – right?  No biggie.  In the case of our BBQ I did just that.  As it turns out there was lots of yummy sides I could dig into, AND they brought some veggie burgers too.  So I just saved my lunch for the next day.

Don’t Give In

Vegan temptations will always be out there.  Just make sure to always be prepared.

And if your company has a food function coming up, politely ask to be included too.  We have just as much right as the next guy.  Don’t be left out.

In the case it’s just a box of doughnuts, well then we have no other option than to just do without.  But don’t go hide in a cubicle.  Bring out your bag of veggies and plop yourself right down there with the rest of them.  They may laugh and make fun – but so what.  You may just get a few approving nods or a quick email later asking about your diet.

Just remember the WORSE place you can be, either at work, on the go, or even at home, is to not be prepared and totally starving.  Trust me, you’ll eat anything at this point, and sometimes everything!  It’s not a happy place.  Don’t go there.  Be prepared!

Good luck!


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