Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Hard to Find a (Vegan) Friend

Over the past months, I’ve become involved with Go Vegan Santa Barbara. Its founder, Carrie LeBlanc, is an activist who manages to be convincing without being annoying to non-vegans. She uses to organize events for vegan-curious people and vegans who need vegan friends.

I fall into the latter category: I need some vegan friends. Despite many attempts to convince myself otherwise, I have to admit that Twitter followers don’t count as friends. And don't even get me started on Facebook "friends" (just because I clicked on "accept" when I was bored one afternoon, doesn't mean I want to be bombarded with your angst in the form of song-lyric status updates).

It’s not that I don’t love my non-vegan friends. We’re not dinosaurs, after all; omnivores and herbivores can totally play together without one party (um… the herbivore) getting eaten up by the other.

But it would be nice to have some people with whom I could prepare a meal or go out to eat without feeling like I’m limiting their options because I’m a vegan. We could just assume that whatever we prepared/ordered would be vegan and I wouldn’t have that lingering sense that I’m coming off as some combination of snobbish and unreasonable.

Obviously, making friends as a grown up is hard. But making vegan friends is pretty near impossible; I can’t just go around asking people first if they’re vegan and second if they want to be my friend. Unfortunately, there is no vegan equivalent of “gaydar,” as far as I know… “vegan-dar”? Lame.

So yesterday, I went to the Go Vegan SB Summer Salad Potluck event with the hope of meeting some non-annoying vegans to be friends with. It was hosted by Marq (who is obviously awesome because he spells his name with a Q) and his partner Tom (who, despite his less exciting name, is equally awesome).

I brought a rather uninspired quinoa salad with olive oil and every random vegetable I had in my refrigerator mixed in. It tasted good because the vegetables were fresh, but it looked pretty boring next to some of the really inventive dishes other people brought:

As it turns out, vegans love salad. Did I just blow your mind? Well, it’s true.

Luckily for me, all these salad-loving vegans were pretty friendly. I think if I keep attending these meet-ups, I might get some real friendships out of them – at the very least, I’ll get some more delicious food.


  1. Two things:

    1) If you want to break the ice fast, try bringing vegan cocktails instead. Who was it whow said about meeting people, "Salad is valid, but liquor is quicker"?

    2) You're a blogger, you can change culture and make your own meat-less version of gaydar! I'd suggest ESV (extra sensory vegan-detection) or maybe VSP (vegan sensitive perception).

  2. I'm definitely in the same boat! Except that I just moved, so I don't have ANY friends here, let alone vegan friends. I'm hoping that joining a vegan meetup group will help. I'm a huge believer in making friends through food. :)

  3. Yes! VSP, Vegan Sensitive Perception, is totally happening. Awesome suggestion :)

  4. Yep, even veg tats can be misleading. My husband used to compete in bike races and saw a fellow cyclist with a huge bumpersticker sized VEGAN tatoo on his calf. Since meeting vegan cyclists in the midwest is pretty much unheard of, my hubby said hello and tried to do the veg conversation. The cyclist said, "Oh that, yeah, I used to be vegan." and that was the end of any vegan bonding. VSP, lol!

  5. Um,are you sure Twitter followers don't count as friends?Damn,you burst my bubble!BTW,I'm following you,as of last night.Remember me,@dwveg?(I really have to change that name,or is it called a Twitter handle?Whatever,it sucks either way.Maybe I'll just use my real name.)

  6. It's sort of like how I only have sex with gay people. I would totally have sex with straight people if I only didn't feel like I was limiting their options.

  7. oh i have the same problem down here in LA... i could use friends, in general, but veg-bonding would be awesome. :)

  8. I want vegan friends too! My goal this year was to find at least one vegan buddy offline. Time's running out, snort. Great post. :)

  9. tell me about it, well actually tell my friends about it, I have very good friends who are completely vegans and they always tell me that it's rather difficult to find vegan friends