By Chloe M. Brown
SAN ANTONIO—Being vegan during the holidays, especially in San Antonio is not easy. As one of the few people on campus that don’t eat meat and the only one in the office that is a vegetarian, I am the now the guru on all non-meat topics. So how does San Antonio stack up as a vegan-friendly city?
According to Harris Polls, San Antonio ranks number 72nd for the most vegan-friendly city in the U.S and only 71 in vegetarian-friendly. Cities that accommodate to plant-based are some of the major cities like New York, Portland, Orlando, and San Francisco.
However, San Antonio is the seventh largest city, it outranks Austin who is only the 11th largest city. As the logic follows, San Antonio should be a friendly place for those who choose to not eat meat. The problem is that often people just don’t know what to do with non-meat eaters.
To spread awareness about those who don’t eat meat, there are three important categories to define. None meat eaters are either pescatarians, vegetarians or vegans.
A pescatarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, but they will eat fish and animal by-products. A vegetarian doesn’t eat any animal meat but will eat animal by-products. Following natural progression, a vegan doesn’t eat any animal meat and they don’t eat any animal by-products.
Why is this important to know? This is important because often vegans have more dietary restrictions than other non-meat eaters who have more lenient guidelines to their diet. Vegans don’t eat dairy products which cut out around 50 percent of the options out there for vegetarians.
All of the cheesy noodle pasta, cheese pizza and any other non-meat side dish that are loaded with dairy are just something that Vegans can’t eat. I can’t tell you how much pasta I have eaten since I came back to school, because non-meat equals cheesy pasta. While I can’t deny that I love a good pasta, there has to be a better solution since veganism isn’t a new concept.
Here are some simple solutions to help San Antonio become more vegan and vegetarian-friendly. First, tell us if the restaurant offers vegan or vegetarian options. There is nothing more disappointing than ordering something that mentions no meat at all in the entry and then they bring you back a bowl of bacon bit soup.
Second, add a little bit of protein in there. Don’t be scared of tofu. It’s actually easy to use and makes everyone happy.
Third–burritos. As a largely Hispanic and Latino locale, I’m not sure why there aren’t more burrito options for the non-meat eaters. Burritos are universal food that anyone can eat. If you don’t eat meat, take it out of the burrito. Burritos are kosher, vegan-friendly, gluten-free delicious on the go meals. Yet, San Antonio has yet to utilize this beautiful gift of food.
This isn’t a bitter guide to ruin a meat eater’s day. This is about creating opportunities for everyone in San Antonio to be able to eat and understanding that not everyone eats meat products.
There are a few vegan/vegetarian groups active in San Antonio. The San Antonio Vegetable Eaters hold weekly meet-ups. Find out more at SAVE.