Sunday, December 5, 2010

5 Tips to Enjoying Your Holiday Office Party as a Vegan

The holiday office party. A cascade of awkwardness and fun melded into a single afternoon (or evening). An occasion to perfect your one-liners and reflect a year at the office. A time to bond with your fellow cube-mates. And when you’re a vegan, you have more to worry about then just what reindeer jumper you’ll be wearing. So here’s a few tips to help you through the holiday office party hustle and bustle.

1. Ask your admin. There’s a reason why you have an administrative assistant in your area. They get paid to help and they’re good at it.

Yes, they’re good at figuring out why your computer hates you and tends to die everyday at 5pm, or how to make a Fedex label because you’ve locked yourself out of the online service center three times (whatever, it happens). Or even how she has bewitched the budgeting system to work magically on command. But the real thing good admins are good at is networking.

Admins know people, if you know what I mean. They know the keepers of the soy milk and the salad bar. They know the contact for tofu. They have friends in every department and wave to every person in the hallway. So make your office party experience more enjoyable by asking them to use their resources. They can help!

2. Ask for what you want. If you want the company party to be at a special venue because they have a hummus platter the size of China and vegan chocolate cake then ask. If the company is looking for menu suggestions, tell them you want a setian and tempeh feast! If you know the only way you’re going to get a veggie dish is by calling ahead… then call ahead. Do not assume people will take your dietary needs into consideration. We’re all adults. Ask for what you want and it has a better chance of being delivered. 

3. Be specific. Now that you’re going to ask for what you want, the more specific you can be the better. So instead of saying, “Oh anything vegan is great” and ending up with a dish of southern fried rice and peas. Instead say, “Yes, I would like a green leafy salad with tomatoes, onions, olives and grilled tofu. Thanks!”

4. Know what you’re going to say. Be prepared to give an answer when somebody asks you about Veganism.

Sample Questions & Answers to think about:
Q. You’re a Vegan? (This is a perfect 10 question.)
       A. Yes.

Q. How do you get your protein? (The star question.)
      A. I get protein from a variety of souces. Plants have protein, but some other great protein sources are tofu, seitan, tempeh, lentils, nuts, quinoa...really I could keep going…

 Q. Why are you vegan?
     A.  I’m vegan because:
  • I really want to live a healthy life, I care about the planet and I love animals.
  • It’s a choice that I decided to make X number of years ago because of ethical and moral reasons.
  • Because I like hugging trees, eating trail mix, and would rather live in a field somewhere. How do you feel about that? (Just kidding! Don’t say that. Particularly not the person putting your name on the payroll…unless they have a sense of humor of course.)
Q. Is it hard to be vegan? 
A. Sometimes it’s challenging to take on a vegan lifestyle, you really have to plan ahead. It might take a little extra effort, but I find that it’s worthwhile in so many ways. 

5. Make Something: I have no idea how many vegan food blogs there are on the internet, but the number must be enormous. If you’re genuinely concerned about what you can eat, want to know every ingredient in the dish or want to show the office meat-eaters that vegan food is yummy too - then make something! Co-workers will appreciate the effort and your tummy will be happy you planned ahead.

Good luck and have a safe, happy vegan-friendly holiday party!


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