Help with managing a vegan diet.

1.Don’t try to translate ‘vegan’; most people will look at you blankly. You can attempt to explain that you cannot eat anything of animal origin; “Je ne peux pas manger une seule chose qui vient d’un animal ou un poisson – y compris les produits laitiers”. They may not be able to comprehend this concept, because it is so alien to most French people, especially if you are anywhere outside Paris!

2.Don’t assume a salad is vegan. It will often come covered in a dressing containing eggs or cream. This is where the language skills become more demanding…

3.Similarly, vegetable soups usually contain meat stock, and may have been started by frying onions and garlic in animal fat.

4.Because the ‘menus du jour’ will rarely have a vegan option, and your waiter/chef might find it difficult to think of vegan dishes, you could make some suggestions. For example, a dish from their vegetable menu, instead of the set menu options, braised ‘flageolets verts’ or ‘haricots blancs’, pasta with a tomato sauce, or a vegetable pizza ‘sans fromage’. Make sure the waiter knows that none of these should be made with meat stock, though!

5.If you are in France on holiday, avoid a diet of salad and chips by bringing your own ingredients: humous, vegan cheese etc.

6.You can buy soja milk in France, but coffee shops won’t offer it, so you will need to have your own supply for café au lait. Soya milk is available in most French supermarkets.

If you have any good tips of your own, please let me know!

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