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eating out & eating over

Eating out at restaurants & over at friends' is the biggest social 
adjustment any vegetarian will ever make, and it's twice as big for a 
fatfree-er!  Here are some useful coping strategies (& let me say that I'm 
not perfect at following them):

1.  Eating out. Spend time researching your local restaurants.  Call them 
during off hours and explain your situation, then test them without friends 
along so you can be embarrassingly inquiring with your server.  Pick out 1 
or 2 and become regulars, developing a specialty dish that they prepare 
often enough that they are used to it.   Restaurants, especially 
independents, will go a long way for regulars, maybe even altering their 

2. Eating over.  Try to convert gatherings to potlucks.  You can always 
bring a dish that you can eat this way.  You might find that eliminating 
that hideous formal dinner competition is heart healthy in itself!   If a 
potluck isn't possible, be honest, and tell your host your problem, and 
suggest that you solve it by bringing something that could be your main 
dish and a side dish for others - and coordinate with their meal.   If they 
will be offended, live with the dry salad or decline the invitation.

I have lots of SAD  and hf vegetarian friends & family, and I have a happy 
relationship with almost all of them.    The almost?  Well, I try to be 
polite and diplomatic, but at one point I realized that even Miss Manners 
expects some politeness in return.  I actually have some relatives who 
exercise their resentment of all things vegetarian by noticing when I am 
happily able to find acceptable menu items (Olive Garden) or when I could 
find NOTHING to eat (Red Lobster), and arranging to have all family 
get-togethers at the bad restaurant.  No kidding, it happens.  The couple 
in question, ironically, are so dependent on their cocktails that they 
utterly refuse to eat at a restaurant without a full liqueur license, 
shortening choice of restaurants more than I ever have!   Sometimes people 
can be bad for your heart, but you laugh and do your best.