Biggest frustrations in being vegetarians - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-14-2015, 10:02 AM
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Biggest frustrations in being vegetarians

Hi everybody. I've been vegetarian almost two years. Best decision I've ever made. I enjoy better health and have more energy. But being vegetarian can create new challenges.

So I just wonder, what’s the biggest challenge or frustration you’re having with being vegetarian/vegan?
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#2 Old 11-14-2015, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by veggieplanet View Post
Hi everybody. I've been vegetarian almost two years. Best decision I've ever made. I enjoy better health and have more energy. But being vegetarian can create new challenges.

So I just wonder, what’s the biggest challenge or frustration you’re having with being vegetarian/vegan?
Honestly, nothing.

It's been so long (27 years), and it's just so much a part of my life...my very being, really, that nothing comes to mind at all. It would have been a very different story 27 years ago, though. Back then, living in Texas (don't ask why this Californian was living in the south...), it was MISERABLE. But not now!
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#3 Old 11-14-2015, 11:42 AM
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I can't think of any if you're okay with eggs or dairy.
Now vegan, that's a different story> I get OCD with times of stress, anxiety, staying on abudget with low income... Now yes, I eat mostly whole foods and cook, and love to read labels, but, there are times I practically have a meltdown in stores reading, comparing, wanting to know why Earth Balance has to cost so much more than Smart Balance margarine---and why doesn't Smart Balance say vegan on the label anymore.....Things like that. Why does CVS have algae DHA capsules-buy one get one free-in gelatin capsules!!! Should I buy bread from the awesome discount bakery for a dollar when I'm not sure of some ingredient sources? What's in the natural flavors???

I don't call myself vegan anymore because it's better for me to relax. Like I got this pretty great juice from Trader Joes called Calcium something dynamo... anyway, it had all kinds of great nutrition labeled including b12. I liked it, my son requested it, next time I went I bought 4 bottles. On the third bottle I looked AGAIN on the label and saw-for the first time-D3. that's crazy! I read that label so many times!
Another thing that gets me is I got tested for D levels and found I was very low, despite taking D2, so I got D3. I thought I'd just use it to get me levels up and then try vegan D3. No, everytime I look into vegan D3 pills I balk at the price and keep using reg D3

Then of course getting take out or foods at catered events. I always feel left out. You let people know you don't eat cheese or egg but are expected to pick it off because the other vegetarians are okay with cheese and it was too much to ask for another option, as if vegetarians are opposed to NOt eating cheese? then theres going to a restaurant you know has vegan foods and get served cilantro - which may be vegan, but to me tastes like soap. BOOOO Whaaaaahhhhh

It's okay really
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#4 Old 11-14-2015, 02:09 PM
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It was rough when I first became vegan (1991), because my mom felt like I was rejecting the years of meals that she had lovingly prepared for me. Now, everything is fine - no problems.
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#5 Old 11-14-2015, 06:39 PM
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My biggest frustration with being vegan is that everyone else isn't vegan yet.

Seriously though, the social aspects have been challenging. I love everything about veganism, and I don't miss the way I lived before. It has not been hard for me in regards to diet or plant based nonfood items etc. In fact my life has improved in these regards. But constantly having to justify my ethics and deal with criticism and indifference from the omnivore world at large is what really frustrates me.

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#6 Old 11-14-2015, 07:26 PM
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I don't call myself vegan anymore because it's better for me to relax.
This is why I don't call myself vegan! When I look at the food in my kitchen, it's basically vegan. But because I'm not 100% strict about dairy products the way I am about products that come from dead animals, I can't say I'm vegan. It's been ages since I bought eggs--and before I stopped I had only been buying free-range eggs for years--then I stopped buying dairy milk, and so on, but the occasional dairy product that I do eat rules out the vegan label. I think it's important that we tell ourselves it's okay, that we're doing GREAT things for animals as it is, and just cut ourselves a little slack.

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then theres going to a restaurant you know has vegan foods and get served cilantro - which may be vegan, but to me tastes like soap. BOOOO Whaaaaahhhhh
Oh, yes, the cilantro issue! I remember that from another thread. UGH!!!! DOUBLE UGH UGH!!!
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#7 Old 11-14-2015, 11:08 PM
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Honestly, I find it easy. Even the social aspects don't really bother me, as I tend to rather enjoy confrontation and I find that my own convictions are stronger for having articulated them in debate with another person. There were some non-vegan foods that I missed at first (like egg foo young) but when I think about eating them now, I feel disgust. I guess I wish there were more vegan shops and restaurants in my town, but I can't REALLY complain about that either because I'm a ten minute train ride from Brighton, the vegan capital of the UK.
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#8 Old 11-14-2015, 11:41 PM
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because I'm a ten minute train ride from Brighton, the vegan capital of the UK.


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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#9 Old 11-15-2015, 12:35 AM
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Physically everything is better bar beyond the stretch of that term to include the physicality of picking raw foods up and putting them in my mouth - I should eat more salads and fruits but I'm improved on what I was and it's a work in progress.
Mentally I've found I've had to show conviction in some situations to resist temptation or to wait to get something to eat due to a lack of viable options. I've found that the smell of raw meat or some forms of cooking meat has become utterly sickening and repellent to smell. I find that foods really aren't as nice as your mental memory of them (there is the odd exception). On days where I have crossed back over the line I have felt like it's had a negative impact on my physical/mental well-being i.e. I had a pizza with meat on it and the next day I felt aching from head to toe like I had overdone it at work, I don't know if that's anything more than a figment of my own imagination but it's worth mentioning.
Socially, while I have changed some friends perceptions of vegans and veganism, truthfully the most negative experience has involved other vegans. If there is a high-horse for them to be sitting on you can bet they are judging your efforts, morals, ethics and knowledge as being inferior while generally being stuck up wankers and overly sensitive in a fashion that reminds you why you were totally put off by the concept of being vegetarian for years etc etc. I can honestly say there is a strong attitude of "We have a club and you must agree with what we've decided is right or you don't get in". Examples of this are when you pose a moral/ethical dilemma and the responses you get are blind dogmatic rhetoric met with cheers of mass agreement yet the answer/opinion given was simply dogmatic rhetoric. Alternatively some people think that wool is horrific bondage or that all leather items can be replaced easily (when they can't) and as such both cannot be used at all ever yet the same people and their smug self righteousness cannot provide alternatives which are affordable, available, suitable, and which in reality cause less harm to animals and us all (speaking specifically of the pollution cause by petrochemical/synthetic derived clothing) . There's loads of examples of this stuff I've faced but my personal favourite was being on the Happycow website where I was basically shunned off it's forums for having the audacity to state that I didn't agree with the popular social movement of feminism in Western countries - I laid out my reasons in a respectful and logical fashion based upon personal experience but apparently even my local dialect was offensive to feminists on there and in turn I wasn't vegan and was being shunned off the site, this worryingly I have found to be existing on here to some degree, I won't go into it but some people decide they don't like you disagreeing with them or raising controversial points and their first thought is to have your posts blocked and have you removed from the site. I fully understand why people mock vegetarians and vegans because frankly there is a lot of people that have a stick of ego-filled righteousness right up their arse and not enough people who speak and converse like Dr Michael Greger MD, Unnatural Vegan, Bite Size Vegan etc etc to counter the perception that 'all vegans are utter arseholes who need a burger to fill their empty hate-filled little lives'.

So yeah on the whole from a personal perspective I've found the experience physically and mentally positive with some challenges which have been challenging, I have faltered and I probably will again but it's been a bit of a revelation for one and I'm glad I ignored the public perception of vegetarians and vegans to actually give it a go and judge from open minded personal experience and from evidence supported information. Not even the overwhelmingly negative experience of conversing with other vegans has took the shine off it, the world is changing and veganism is very much becoming mainstream when the chef in a pub in Scotland is willing to make you an ad hoc vegan dinner and come out of the kitchen to check it's ok. The world is changing when the shops are an embarrassment of choice for vegans with ingredients and food from around the world in a town of merely 10,000 people. It's just been good and I'm glad I've tried it. I'll be at Glasgow's first ever Vegfest next month to show my support in attendance and to see just what all is on offer, maybe meet some people too - looking forward to it.

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#10 Old 11-15-2015, 12:45 AM
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The social aspect for sure, but I wasn't good at socializing to begin with People trying to convince me that I'm doing harm to my body is a big annoyance. Another would be when a new vegan item comes out and they don't have it in the stores for me to try.
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#11 Old 11-15-2015, 02:21 AM
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my personal favourite was being on the Happycow website where I was basically shunned off it's forums for having the audacity to state that I didn't agree with the popular social movement of feminism in Western countries - I laid out my reasons in a respectful and logical fashion based upon personal experience but apparently even my local dialect was offensive to feminists on there and in turn I wasn't vegan and was being shunned off the site
To be clear, by "local dialect" do you mean the use of misogynistic slurs? Maybe if you didn't take every opportunity to speak ill of women and feminists, even when utterly irrelevant (as in this thread, right now), you wouldn't face such hardship.
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#12 Old 11-15-2015, 06:29 AM
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I've been vegetarian for 32 years and the social aspect is worse now than it ever was!
I have never been tempted to give up or anything like that, but it has never been easy.

When I read here of others enjoying foods and labels that aren't even on offer where I live
(Northern Ireland) and when you talk about Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants and being
spoiled for choice, well, frankly my dears, it staggers me!!

I was and still am the only person in my whole family, and come to think of it, friends as well,
who became a vegetarian all those years ago. That includes my wife and 2 sons.

Eating out here can be a nightmare for someone like me (believe me, after 32 years, you do get
fed up with salad/lasagne/stir-fry) and social events like anniversaries, weddings, birthday parties etc
all bring their own unique hassles. From the usual incredulous stares, to the same old questions
about "Why on earth would you not want to eat meat?" and "Oh yes, I'm a vegetarian too, I only eat fish!" etc.

Then again, there is the vegan school of thinking, that vegetarians aren't really helping save animals because they
are still eating their by-products! I've even heard it stated by a vegan that vegetarians are still dooming animals to
lives of torture and suffering by not becoming vegans!!

Believe me, when I became a vegetarian 32 years ago, noone had ever heard of vegans and vegetarians where some
crackpot group of hippies that didn't know what was good for them! So yes, being a vegetarian does indeed have its challenges...

Vegetarian since October 1983
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#13 Old 11-15-2015, 07:21 AM
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This thread only highlights the disparity that exists between vegetarians and vegans!
To me, I give 'vegetarian' a good bit of leeway- eggs, dairy, not so strict on by-products in general. For vegans I have high standards.

I used to keep really high standards when I identified vegan. I'm really bad with that... I've been like that since high school, obsessing over things. I have to ease up or it just increases anxiety. All the ingredients that could go either way, but don't get identified, the products that really are vegan but you cant be sure till contacting company because they just label as vegetarian. the duck feathers, the urea, the enzymes, vitamin D3, the palmatate, and then theres the whether something is fair trade or environmentally sustainable esp. coffee, chocolate and palm oil. And things that so much expensive using comparably plant stuffs.

This thread is useless unless it differenciates vegetarian or vegan

Oops---- in some countries! Sorry Rad14!
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#14 Old 11-15-2015, 10:22 AM
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I've been vegan for about 8 months and the biggest struggle has been social situations, traveling and eating out. This is especially the case when trying to find something that works for everybody is considered unreasonable.

I traveled for a family event and basically lived off of dried fruit, cliff bars and nut butters for 3 days... at the family event I stuck with the beverages and had a salad with no dressing.

It is also hard eating at restaurants... I will often suggest a meat-serving but vegan-friendly restaurant that everyone can enjoy but even that is considered pushy. When we inevitable go to a regular restaurant I will end up having to adapt a menu item (usually a salad) and hope it is vegan.
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#15 Old 11-16-2015, 10:49 PM
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As a fairly new vegetarian, I think my biggest frustration so far is having to go to the bathroom a lot more!
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#16 Old 11-17-2015, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Rad14 View Post
I've been vegetarian for 32 years and the social aspect is worse now than it ever was!
I have never been tempted to give up or anything like that, but it has never been easy.

When I read here of others enjoying foods and labels that aren't even on offer where I live
(Northern Ireland) and when you talk about Vegetarian and Vegan restaurants and being
spoiled for choice, well, frankly my dears, it staggers me!!
I feel for you. When I went veg in '88, I was living in Dallas, and it was MISERABLE. Restaurant staff looked at us like we were Martians! We were constantly confronted with having to explain that a vegetable, such as green beans, are NOT vegetarian if they contain chunks of dead animals and that, no, the dish doesn't magically become vegetarian by picking out the chunks of animal flesh.

Once I moved back home to Southern California I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. Zillions of vegan/vegetarian restaurants, even MORE zillions of vegan/vegetarian choices at regular restaurants, and every other person I meet is veg*n. If you're ever planning on a trip to the US, definitely make California a stop! You'll be amazed.
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#17 Old 11-23-2015, 07:58 PM
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Silva I do love your posts!!

Living in Austin TX now there is so many vegetarian/vegan friendly places to eat that it is unreal. When I lived on the outskirts of Houston not so much. But the biggest issue was making people understand that bacon is not a vegetable and just because I am vegetarian does not mean I want it all smothered in cheese! Some places either want to stop your personal plumbing up or have it overflowing abundantly.
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#18 Old 11-24-2015, 07:39 AM
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My biggest frustration is and always has been my mother. Her latest annoying move? "Daughter, I know we'll be having a vegan Thanksgiving at your house on Thursday, and I'm sure it will be wonderful. But since you make the very best stuffing, would you make some extra that I can take home to feed your father on Friday when I cook him his turkey breast?"

There's always this underlying implication that men need meat and that despite my efforts to create a big, delicious spread for a crowd, they'll go home and do it right the next day.

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#19 Old 11-26-2015, 11:00 AM
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Poppy I think that is more a generation thing than a vegetarian thing. My mother caters to the men in her life as well. Even though she won't admit it. She still calls her self a feminist and is an old school lefty. I think it is a reflex in that generation it is the way they were raised. Anyway, my big frustration as a vegetarian is the judging and nastiness that goes on online. I have withdrawn from almost all vegan groups because of the bullying and abuse, not to me personally but to others that I have witnessed. I can stand up for myself but I refuse to watch others be abused. Other vegetarians are the worse offenders. I can expect it from the meat eaters because they don't know any better. I will never be vegan enough to match those people's standards. I don't know anyone who can and frankly if they are examples of vegans I don't want to be part of that group anymore.
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#20 Old 11-26-2015, 11:55 AM
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I'm naturally a loner, so the social challenges my fellow Vegans face is unknown to me, but I do have those OCD habits Silva has. Constantly wondering if and or what is in a product I'm holding drives me insane sometimes. Like this can of black beans I was buying didn't have any of the non-Vegan ingredients I avoid on the small can, but when I checked the larger can of the very same brand of beans it had MILK in it. -_-


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#21 Old 11-26-2015, 04:39 PM
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I would say that having to explain to someone that I am vegan. Most people can't tell by looking at you, and often overlook signs such as not consuming animals as a trend. When I tell people that I am a vegan, it frustrates me when they don't seem to "absorb" the information. I've noticed a lot of frustrations the school, because I've seen visible reactions in people's faces that made me question their sanity. I told one guy and I swear I thought he was going to explode with anger, but then he just blew it off. Seriously, I don't understand the anger when I tell someone I'm vegan. I become socially isolated.
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#22 Old 12-02-2015, 05:58 AM
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For me, the biggest frustration is the general lack of places to eat out at in my area. When I travel to places with a larger population which means more vegetarians, there are more vegetarian options when you want to eat out, but where I live, I am definitely in the minority.

Plus - going to parties with friends. When they prepare the nibblies for the party, they generally tend to forget that I don't eat meat and I often get stuck with a limp salad or something else equally dodgy.

All in all though, I don't feel any urge to go back to eating meat.
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#23 Old 12-14-2015, 11:01 AM
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...... then theres going to a restaurant you know has vegan foods and get served cilantro - which may be vegan, but to me tastes like soap. BOOOO Whaaaaahhhhh
It's okay really
That may actually be genetic Silva. I love cilantro, my husband hates it. I think there's a 50/50 split on that, genetically. He tastes 'soap' too, I don't. To me it has a crisp, vibrant taste, and is great in things like Pico d'Gallo.

He also hates parsley, cilantro's direct relative, and to me parsley tastes much different than cilantro. When I taste parsely I still taste that 'crisp,' but also something earthy, which I enjoy.

If I mix a salad that has bits of parsley in it, I see that 'hrumph' face and he doesn't finish it. And I put very little parsley in it, so he really can distinguish it. Now I just toss our salads separately.

I guess taste (as has been said many times before me) is just subjective, but now they are proving it's also genetically-linked. Interesting.
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/...e-in-your-head

*He does love my breath though, and that's due to the parsley or the cilantro, lol.

I always eat the garnish.
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#24 Old 12-14-2015, 12:22 PM
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I've been a vegetarian and part-time vegan for more than 32 years now and things have become a lot easier since the 80's. there are now a heck of a lot more vegetarian and vegan products available. Back then the only vegetarian stuff you could find without an exhaustive search were the basics; fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and tofu. There are some markets that still carry pretty much only that, like Vons and Ralphs for example. But even at those you can sometimes get lucky if you look hard enough.

My biggest issues these days are still the usual social ones; Rude, hostile relatives who just refuse to get a clue, and the occasional intolerant/ignorant co-worker or party guest/host. Also going out to eat when I can't choose the restaurant is still a problem. There are still many restaurants in my area that have not gotten on the band wagon and added more vegetarian/vegan items to their menus besides a basic salad or a frozen veggie burger, or they just haven't updated their menus in decades like Denny's or IHop. An example of this is my upcoming work Christmas dinner. It is being held at a chain restaurant called Eureka which is new to our city, but, has had establishments elsewhere for sometime. There is only one vegetarian/dairy free choice on their menu beside a basic salad; the ubiquitous veggie burger. If it turns out the veggie burger contains egg I am going to be left with only a salad again.

I also think that cilantro tastes like soap. And since I live in Southern Ca where there is cilantro in practically everything, it is hard to avoid. I once read somewhere that cilantro tasting like soap is a genetic variation, but, I forget where I found that. I prefer to substitute parsley when possible.
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#25 Old 12-20-2015, 01:59 PM
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I think the biggest frustration for me has been having to explain my choices to family... and I'm not even the first one to become vegetarian. :/

Literally, they are the only people I feel uncomfortable talking to about my diet. I have no problem telling my friends or the people I meet anymore, even when they try to preach to me about how "necessary" meat is and that I need to at least include fish and chicken (ha). I can't explain it. It's still new to them since I don't visit home that often so I get that, but they don't have to turn up their nose anytime I mention tofu, either...

Otherwise, no frustrations or complaints with it. I'm a much happier person than I used to be.
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#26 Old 12-20-2015, 02:01 PM
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"Bacon though" "You eat fish though, right?" "But what about CHEESE? I could never give up cheese!" and comments like that. Kills me a little more each time I hear those comments. (I get cheese being hard to give up, it's just in the sense they aren't willing to TRY.)
Don't forget the infamous "But where do you get your protein?"

Vegan and cruelty free. No honey or refined sugar
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#27 Old 12-20-2015, 03:34 PM
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The most beautiful yarns are made from animal fibers. That's frustrating for a knitter.

Also, there's no such thing as a really good vegan cheese.
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#28 Old 12-20-2015, 05:20 PM
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Biggest frustration have to be snarky people around me telling me why I'm vegetarian. I also hate those stupid jokes: ''How do you know if someone is vegan/vegetarian? Don't worry they'll tell you.'' because most of the time people that bring that subject out of nowhere are meat eaters who have to ask hundred questions and look at you like you're crazy if you don't want to eat meat. And when you answer to them on why you think it's wrong eating meat after they frustrate you for like 10 minutes, then they almost always reply by saying you're so smug. It really annoys me
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#29 Old 12-30-2015, 05:08 PM
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Sometimes, I miss really good sandwiches. I have not found a way to do veggie sandwiches that is as satisfying.
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#30 Old 12-31-2015, 01:13 AM
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Sometimes, I miss really good sandwiches. I have not found a way to do veggie sandwiches that is as satisfying.
To be honest, I struggle with sandwiches too. What on earth should I put in there? I've been meaning to try chickpea "egg" salad sometime.
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