Better Acceptance Among Peers & Eating Out As A Vegan (Athlete): On learning how to communicate your priorities with simple tips and tricks
Better Acceptance Among Peers & Eating Out As A Vegan (Athlete)
On learning how to communicate your priorities with simple tips and tricks
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All Key Points
You might find it difficult at first to find ways to enjoy vegan food at parties and gatherings.
Going against the athlete’s choices can negatively interfere with their performance, and it is perceived as lack of support.
Be sure to directly communicate your needs and priorities and ask for emotional support.
Be straightforward with people and ask them to respect your choices.
If they do not understand you, consider leaving the conversation.
Given that they’re open to it, you can slowly introduce them to vegan food, recipes and, eventually, the vegan lifestyle.
When eating out, you can always ask the restaurant or host for vegan alternatives.
Quick fixes for when you’re in a hurry can be; fruit and veggies, mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruit, pre-packaged salads or other meals etc.
Whenever I’m invited to social gatherings, I need to decide, “Do I tell them that I’m vegan and maybe cause extra work for them, or am I keeping quiet and risking that they notice that I’m not touching the food at all?”
Then again, I could always bring up some mortal allergy excuse sounding like, “I’ve got an all-animal-proteins-and-even-honey-allergy”, but that’s not nice either, especially when they find out that the only allergy I have is against fake jewellery. Really, I have a nickel allergy.
Vegan food options are not always available at events, making it difficult for fellow vegans to enjoy food and drinks the way their non-vegan acquaintances do.
In addition, trainers and people working closely with the athlete often support the idea that animal protein is essential for any athlete for muscle strength and health reasons.
When interfering with the athlete’s choices, all of the above are perceived as a lack of support. This can have a negative impact on the athlete, causing stress and unwanted emotions to the point where even their performance could be badly influenced.
That is why you should communicate your priorities and your needs clearly. Good nutrition, as well as emotional support, are essential for an athlete, and any human, to thrive.
Tips for better acceptance
If people around you are hesitant about your decisions, try these things:
Be straightforward with them and directly ask for their support. When you ask people for help, they rarely turn you down.
If it doesn’t work, ask them to at least respect your adult choices.
If that doesn’t work either, not everyone will understand your judgement. It’s best to accept that early on and give up trying to make them agree with you. But you can try again once some time has passed.
When you’re dealing with people who are unwilling to take in what you’re saying or even listen to what you have to say, consider leaving the conversation and reserving your energy for more important things.
Most importantly, do not isolate yourself. Build a network of people who are happy to see you care for your body, soul and mind. Since finding such people in your vicinity can be challenging, you can try out safely talking to people online who have a similar lifestyle.
Team members, partners, and coaches can all react differently to your vegan dieting, some positive and some negative.
Depending on their openness to receive such information, you could slowly introduce them to vegan food, recipes and, eventually, the vegan lifestyle.
Who knows? In time, they might also end up shifting to a plant-based lifestyle.
Tips for eating out
Regarding events and meetings, you might actually find vegan-friendly foods and drinks, even if they’re limited. Asking works wonders, and you might even be surprised. Be brave; ask the host kindly.
If you’re a small group or a pair, you can suggest going out for something other than a meal or choosing your preferred restaurant.
If you go to a restaurant you don’t know, you can search for an online menu upfront to see what you can expect.
You can also call the restaurant and ask which foods can be veganised to avoid confusion at the site. They’ll be happy to help, especially when you’re not stressing them with special wishes on short notice.
Grilled veggies seem to be very common, but of course, they won’t fill your belly and aren’t considered a balanced meal. Consider combining sides to one meal and be ready to compromise for that day.
My go-to strategy for spots I know won’t have what I like is; to eat at home before. I eat healthy and satiating foods at home, and then I’ll order food to taste. This is a very elegant solution, in my opinion, because it doesn’t cause stress, and no explanations are required except “I’m not that hungry”, and you can even order, e. g. just dessert. Also, it saves money when you’re on a budget.
Another idea is to invite people to your place and show them how tasty vegan eating can be if you’re a decent cook. Ask them upfront if they have dislikes.
Quick fixes for when you’re in a hurry
Fruits and vegetables are a healthy and quick solution
Find satiating salads with grains and other (healthy) ready-to-eat meals at most supermarkets
Always have a snack like a seed, nut and dry fruits mix ready and in your bag
Consider wholemeal bread with spreads or toppings of your liking
Meal prep (also saves time and money)
Consider a quick oatmeal or yoghurt with fruits, seeds and nuts