When you follow a vegan lifestyle you get accustomed to compromising what you want for what is available. This mostly happens when I’m in a situation that was unplanned. You know, an impromptu lunch with a friend, or mostly when I’m traveling for work and find myself in a small town with limited to no restaurant offerings – besides fast food. I’ve grown accustomed to that, and I can usually make it work. But I had a situation occur to me last week that really annoyed me.
I was at a local conference center for a business meeting, and when we reserved the facility we ordered lunch. We use this place all the time and its typical for us to request one vegan meal and one gluten free meal for another member of our team. I have to admit, this place has always prepared the best options for special diets. In fact, without fail, one of our team members will always look at my meal and wish they’d ordered what I have. So, you can imagine my reaction last week when the meals came out and the gluten and vegan meals were plastic containers with a mere side salad – they literally looked like they came from the deli at Publix. I’d ordered deluxe box lunches for the team with a variety of wrap options for them, which included side items of chips, fruit, and a cookie. When I questioned the server about our meals they confirmed that those were indeed the special diet items. Of course, I sent the meals back and requested meals of the caliber of the those we’d received in the past.
I was upset by this incident for a couple of reasons. First, I was really hungry and the meal was grossly inadequate; second, I felt they hadn’t given us any consideration. There was absolutely no thought to what they sent out. That really offended me, especially because we ordered our meals in advance, this wasn’t some impromptu request. Even if it had been they could’ve done better.
As everyone else was eating and I was waiting for our revised meals, I really pondered the incident. Was I wrong to be so upset? Should I have just taken the side salads and “made it work” in conjunction with the side items the other team members had? I came to the conclusion that I should not have kept the peace. Since becoming a vegan I’ve always tried to avoid being “radical” and PETA-esque. That was one reason I feared becoming a vegan and for telling people I was one because I didn’t want to be judged. That moment was a turning point for me. I decided that I would no longer care about what other people think. I’ve chosen my lifestyle and I don’t want to push my beliefs off onto others; but I won’t compromise my beliefs nor will I conceal the benefits of living this lifestyle.
Now, let me tell you the rest of the story. When we wrapped up our meeting and as I was leaving the building, the account representative who I work with at that center asked to see me. She wanted me to know that they were removing the gluten and vegan meals from our bill, but most importantly they would change their policy. She’d spoken to the Chef and they agreed that it was inconsiderate to not provide us with options. Typically at that center when you order special diet options you are at the mercy of the Chef. He can just prepare whatever he wants. Well, as a result of my incident, they will now offer three hot options and three cold options for both vegan and gluten free diets. So whatever meal theme we choose for our meetings we will have options that coincide with those. I have to say I was not expecting that, but it felt really good to know that I made a difference.
Until next time….
Peace, Love & Fitness