Happy Herbivore Blog

December 6, 2011

This Week's Ask Happy Herbivore

1. How do you deal with situations like being invited to holiday parties where there's absolutely no food for you?

Anytime I'm invited to dinner or a party, I always tell the host well in advance about my dietary restrictions, and then I immediately offer to help, such as bringing something.

If I go and there is still nothing to eat, I don't eat. It's that simple. I have to help myself, not someone else. I'm not going to feel good about myself or my choices if I do something I don't want to do out of peer or societal pressure.

It's also possible to decline and be polite about it... I've said things like "Thank you so much for preparing this, I really appreciate it, but I don't eat [food item]" but telling them BEFORE hand helps prevent the situation altogether.

2. Should I bend my dietary rules when meeting my significant other's family? I want to make a good impression, not that I'm picky.

I wouldn't - I can understand wanting to make a good impression, but you have to be yourself, and how you eat and why you eat that way, are a part of who you are. Let them get to know the REAL you.

Plus, it may cause issues down the line. If you bend now, they might expect you to bend later. "Why won't your partner eat this? they ate something like it last visit?!" I've also noticed that some people don't respect your choices as much if you cave.

3. I'm allergic to mushrooms is there a substitute?

Unfortunately, no. Mushrooms are one of the few ingredients that have no alternative. If you're allergic, you'll just have to skip recipes with mushrooms or omit them where possible.

4. Are your meal plans consecutive weeks? Am I too late to join?

Nope! Each week stands alone so you can join at any time. (Get this week's plan here.)

5. I don't like cinnamon or garam masala -- is there a way to season without using these ingredients?

Garam masala, not really -- it's essential to Indian cuisine and flavors. Trying to remove garam masala from an Indian dish would be like trying to remove oregano from Italian cuisine.

As for cinnamon, it would really depend on the recipe, but generally, I find it's necessary for the right flavor.

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