To say that life is difficult for vegetarians in the West is a bit of an understatement. I saw this first-hand during my five-year stint in the US when I had to travel and eat with vegetarian friends. Many a times, at a restaurant, they would order something like vegetarian fried rice only to find prawns or egg mixed in it. Not only are the choices for vegetarians limited but the concept of vegetarianism itself isn’t understood very well. To add to the confusion, there are celebrities like Madonna, who declare themselves vegetarian and then talk about how they eat fish at least once a week! Our friends at the restaurant got around their problem by picking out the meat from the food. That’s when I had an idea —I told them to mention that they were vegans [pronounced vee-gens] before placing their orders. That did the trick and they were never again served anything with meat.
This was only possible because veganism, a philosophy that shares a lot with vegetarianism, is a fairly popular trend in the US. It has been around for a long time, having emerged in Britain as far back as 1944. In fact there is also a day dedicated to it—the 1st of November every year is celebrated as “World Vegan Day”!
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A version of this was first published in the August 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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