Should I Accommodate With Non-Vegan Meals?

Question: There are work lunches catered only with halal but no vegan choices, and there are gatherings, for which I do not wish to cause inconvenience to others’ food choices. As an aspiring vegan, I simply follow the crowd but struggle in trying to avoid the meat parts of the food. What do you think?

Answer: Having been a vegetarian (and later vegan) for more than two decades, my diet choice has never caused a single person any inconvenience. For group meals, here are the solutions. [1] Choose your own food early (e.g. ask for dishes without animal products). [2] Buy or eat elsewhere first, later, or even with the rest. There is no need to be secretive or shy at all, as it is noble (compassionate and wise) to openly and actively play less, if any part, in feeding the supply-demand cycle of killing-buying. Just as it is seen as a religious right to ask for cooked animals killed the halal way (though no animals ever wish to be killed), you can ask for vegan food due to your religious reasons (as no animals ever wish to be killed).

You should learn more about the veganism and be happy to announce your new way of life. It is good to keep updated with information available on the benefits of going vegan, to be able to talk about it confidently and clearly if asked. Do like the Buddhist Vegan Fellowship page for more tips: www.fb.com/buddhistveganfellowship After others know your diet, they usually will let you take turns to choose places to eat or cater from, and you can recommend good vegan places, while not insisting all to follow. As the main thing most crave in food is taste, ‘concerns’ about nutrition are often misplaced. However, you should still learn about nutrition to answer queries. If non-vegan group meals are chosen by others with no option for you available at all, cheerfully say you will settle your meal, or even occasionally suggest an entire free vegan spread for all, to show how delicious vegan food can be. This can win some vegan converts too!

Related Articles:

Why Go Vegan Over Vegetarian?
How A Vegan Diet Can Save 8 Million Lives & The Planet


  • In addition, I feel that we should encourage people not to waste food. I see a lot of people around me wasting food while there are people in other parts of the world who are dying of hunger.

  • There was once I attended a dharma talk conducted by a renowned venerable and during Q&A, a devotee clarifying with the venerable as to whether she can, being a vegan, buy non-vegetarian food (fish,pork, etc..)from the wet market and cook for her family members,(parents,husband, children)as they rely on her, being a homemaker, for the daily three meals; venerable replied: “why not?”else who would cook for them to eat?

    It’s not easy to convert them to vegetarian/vegan or asking them to settle their own meals

    What would be your advice?

  • This is how I would reply instead –

    ‘Why not learn to cook delicious, healthy and kind vegan food them, that is so tasty that they will never ever miss the flesh of animals? If you can’t cook that well yet, buy well-cooked vegan food for them. Add mock meat if “needed”. This is skilful practice of compassion with wisdom.’


  • I have seen unbelievable large amounts of cooked food being thrown away after several days of offering during the Grand Puja hosted at monasteries!

    “In 2014, Singapore generated around 790,000 tonnes of food waste, equivalent to two bowls of food per person each day. Only 13 per cent of that amount was recycled.

    Over the past 10 years, the amount of food waste Singapore generates has increased by about 48 per cent, and the number is set to increase as the country continues to grow in terms of population and affluence.

    Singapore has only one landfill left – Semakau Landfill – and it is expected to run out of space if habits do not change”

  • Do feel free to offer feedback directly through the websites of the organisations that do waste food.

    From observation, much dry food is re-offered to charities. Amituofo

  • With regard to Vegan:

    The old adage: one man’s meat is another man’s poison

    What is good for one person may be bad for another; what is pleasant to one person may be unpleasant to another.

    Even among Buddhists, everyone’s aspiration is difference

  • [1] With regard to veganism, no one’s vegan food ever becomes anyone’s poison, while meat and other animal products DEFINITELY come from torturous exploitation and killing of countless sentient beings, who do NOT get to live their natural lifespans fully, as can be seen at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/94/33/13/943313e0f11805e1cbc4cecacfc1ed10.jpg

    [2] Eating of animal produce also leads to many disease, such as cancer: http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/diet-cancer/facts/meat-consumption-and-cancer-risk

    [3] In this sense, being non-vegan is POISONOUS to the well-being of sentient beings, both animals’ and humans’.

    [4] Veganism is good for all humans, capable of saving millions of lives, including humans’, as can be seen at http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/vegetarian-diet-could-prevent-millions-of-deaths-by-2050-study-finds-a6945691.html

    [5] Even Mr Universe 2014 is a vegan: http://metro.co.uk/2015/09/24/vegan-bodybuilder-40-aims-for-mr-universe-title-as-he-says-meat-free-diet-has-made-him-stronger-than-ever-5351168/ This shows how veganism is super healthy.

    [6] As every sentient being finds suffering unpleasant, it is good to consider giving up eating sentient beings. More can be learnt through the posts at https://www.facebook.com/buddhistveganfellowship/ Do comment further ONLY after looking through the posts there. Thank you.

    May all sentient beings be free from harm and danger. May all sentient beings be well and happy.

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