“So… you can’t have any fun?”
If anyone has ever made the choice to go vegan, or cut out wheat or sugar or even just become vegetarian, you have probably heard that from someone. My own choice a few years ago to go on a nutritionist-mandated diet that included no wheat, low sugar, low fat, no red meat, no onion, no garlic and very low quantities of alcohol took a long time to come around to, and was not exactly met with enthusiasm. Many thought I might soon be giving up going out all together so I could enter a monastery to worship wheatgerm and lentils.
I was pretty sceptical myself. My social life BRD (before restricted diet) took place in a pub or around a brunch table. Having to always eat porridge instead of croissants and Quorn instead of sausages, it did feel like I was constantly missing out. Even when I went on dates, and I'd ask the waiter for specialist food options, I definitely felt inner eye rolls. Potential partners shuddered at a future filled with quinoa.
Luckily, I probably picked the best time in UK food history to start restricting myself. Veganuary
UK now lists over thousands of restaurants across the country which offer vegan options, including chains like Carluccio's and even Nando's. Finally I learnt that the only thing standing between special diets and fun is a little research.
Restaurants, cafés and now even pubs are happier than ever to accommodate with gluten free, low sugar, vegetarian and vegan options. Finding new restaurants and trying new dishes that fit my diet became a great hobby and even, dare I say it, fun. Now, though I’m not so strict, I do always have to check the menu before I go to a restaurant. But I also have tried more new dishes than ever before and discovered ingredients I would never have considered previously. My friends don’t call it my no-fun diet any more, they don’t call it anything – they’re too busy trying to steal a bite from my plate.Click through to see our picks of where to have fun if you're vegan