The Ghosts In Our Machine

LUSH Vancouver Ghost-Free Journey: Day 4, Part 1

Photograph by Rosemary T. Foos

Now that you have all been exploring a Ghost-Free lifestyle for several days, it’s time to take it to the road!  Tonight, as you dine on wonderful vegan food at GRAZE, we thought it would be a great topic to expand on.  The interpersonal and social aspects of being vegan can pose some challenges in our culture: within our family, work setting, dinning with friends in our homes or theirs, and how to select food in restaurants.  Have you encountered any social challenges this week?  Do you anticipate having some of these challenges?  We’d love to hear from people who have already encountered these challenges and how they have faced them.   Have a wonderful time at GRAZE !

For the Ghosts,

Coaches Rosemary and Donna

The opinions we express as GFJ Coaches are ours personally. We are not professional health practitioners.  Neither are we treating a specific health care issue.  That means we are not offering advice on health-care problems. If you  are experiencing a health-care problem, it is important to seek the advice of a health professional. However we are experienced, practicing vegans and we look forward to coaching you on your journey.


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  1. Laura May 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

    This is so timely! It is “Snack Club” in the office today, and I was debating yesterday asking the team if the snacks were going to be vegan-friendly. I felt weird about it, though, so I ended up making another batch of the chocolate peanut butter cookies I had made for Monday instead, so that if I can’t have what the others are having I can still have a treat. Stole that idea from the Vegan Dad blog (which Dan had mentioned) where if his kids are going to a party, he contacts the parents, finds out what they’re having, and creates a vegan alternative for his kids.

    Aside from that no issues! Although most of the people that I hang out with during the week are doing the journey with me, so it hasn’t had a chance to come up yet!

    • Laura May 16, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Also, for the record, the cookies turned out WAY more like the pictures this time (although I pressed them down instead of leaving them as fluffy pillows because I prefer that)! Very pleased.

      • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

        I was waitng with baited breath to hear about those luscious cookies! So glad they turned out great for you and everyone else who ate them.
        Have a wonderful time at Graze tonight 🙂

        • Laura May 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

          I was really happy with the way they tasted both times, and the second time they looked way more like the picture, too! (First time I didn’t have a couple of ingredients, so had to sub olive oil instead of vegetable and regular sugar instead of powdered… turns out they make a huge difference!). I would definitely recommend giving them a go!

  2. lizmars May 16, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Hi LUSH Vancouver!
    Here is the GRAZE menu.
    See you this evening for this culinary experience.


    Liz Marshall


    • Laura May 16, 2013 at 10:48 am

      This all looks SO YUMMY! I am so sorry I can’t make it tonight – I can’t wait to hear reviews! This place is walking distance to my house, so you can bet I will be getting my graze on soon! 🙂

    • Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Perogies!!! I am so excited 🙂

      • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        Elizabeth…do you know Pearl? She was asking about Pierogi’s the other day. Can you pass the info to her if you do?
        Have a great time tonight, and enjoy.

        • Jennie May 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm

          Luckily Pearl will be at the dinner tonight, so she will be able to enjoy these Perogies!!!

  3. Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 10:47 am

    The menu is fantastic! Donna and I will be on the first flight out of NY and be there just in time. Enjoy!

    • lizmars May 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

      We WISH you were both coming for dinner! You will be with us in spirit Rosemary & Donna.

      – Liz

      • Jennie May 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

        I agree, we’ll miss you at dinner tonight Donna & Rosemary. We are all so thankful for your support and advice!

        • Coach Donna May 16, 2013 at 7:30 pm

          Eat some extras desserts for us Xoxo

  4. Britt Arntsen May 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I have faced a challenge dining out since I started the journey but it was one of personal will power. I am sure many fellow Vancouverites know Bandidas on commercial drive- a fabulous vegetarian restaurant. I was eating there with a couple friends and was really looking forward to this amazing choclate cake that two of my fellow diners would not stop talking about. They had assured me that the cake was vegan and absolutely amazing. Turns out it wasn’t vegan. I was so disappointed, especially since I had to watch them eat it in front of me. I love cake and chocolate! I never deprive myself of dessert so I found it hard. Can’t wait for dinner tonight! I hope they have dessert.

    • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Britt…how disappointing that must have been. Now you’ll have to treat yourself to a wonderful vegan chocolate cake to make up for it! It’s challenging eating out sometimes. The photo on today’s post was taken when I was on vacation and we went to this fabulous place that prepared wood-fire pizza. Pizza to me is chocolate cake for you 🙂
      I asked the server to please have the chef prepare it without any cheese and they were happy (but perplexed) to do this for me. Cake is a different story, but I wonder if they had anything else? A fruit plate perhaps? Yes, I know…for a “chocolate-lover”, that won’t cut it, right?!

    • Laura May 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

      That’s so disappointing, I’m so sorry to hear it! Luckily there are lots of yummy vegan chocolate recipes… are you a baker? I didn’t see any desserts listed on the graze menu… 🙁

      • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

        I have made this simple WW2 cake many times, and everyone loves it. You can do many variations with the frosting!

        • Nina May 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

          I learned this recipe from my Granny – it is also called “Cockeyed Cake”(and is in my family cookbook)!

          • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm

            Cool! I love the old recipes and stories behind them, Nina. Someone told me you can even mix it up right in the same pan that you bake it in. Haven’t tried that yet. 🙂

    • Coach Donna May 16, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      oh, Britt. It is especialy disapoointing when you are anticipating something and you are geared up for it thinking everything will be just right – only to hear at the last minute that it’s not. I too am a cake fan – the good old fruit platter just doesn’t interest me if everyone else has chocolate on their plates. It helps if you know that you have some yummy coconut milk ice cream or vegan cookies that you can tear into as soon as you walk back into the your house. It’s more like postponing dessert rather than missing out on it.

    • Kendra May 17, 2013 at 1:49 am

      Britt- usually Bandidas is so good about having Vegan alternatives. They used to serve their equivalent of two-bite brownies that were Vegan and SO good. Maybe they just didn’t have them that night? But I’m sure the dessert didn’t disappoint you tonight–creamy chocolate peanut butter “ice cream”? Sooooooo good!!!

  5. Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I was going shopping with my sister last night for my nieces birthday party. She invited me over to her house beforehand so that we could have a quick dinner and then go. I immediately got anxious about not being able to find anything to eat at her house (This was post work and I was very hungry). She offered to make me something but I got worried that she wouldn’t read the labels and I would end up eating something that wasn’t vegan. I feel like I developed a trust issue haha She is my sister! I know she wouldn’t feed me something that I am not supposed to eat on purpose but I would feel bad if she made the effort to make me something and then I wasn’t able to eat it. Siiigh it was a bit stressful.

    • Melissa May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      I am with you on this one. Every time I go visit my parents they go to the trouble of cooking me my own dinner, which feels like trouble enough being vegetarian, but vegan is a whole other thing. (Especially when your mom buys you your own margarine and labels your name on it, only to read the label and find that it isn’t vegan!) It’s an uncomfortable feeling to know that someone goes out of their way to accommodate your needs, especially when you end up not being able to eat it.

      • Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm

        Aw she put your name on it! That would be really hard. Especially if she got really excited about getting it for you.

    • Jennie May 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      That does sound stressful 🙁 I usually either offer to do the cooking or to be the sous chef – it allows me to be sure that the food will be suitable and it helps take the pressure off the host, who likely hasn’t ever cooked a vegan meal before.

      What did you end up eating? Did everything turn out OK? It sounds as though your sister is trying to be supportive, which is great!

    • Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      This was kind of a last minute idea which was part of the problem. I didn’t really have time to go get anyting or plan anything. I ended up having pasta and marinara sauce haha Which was totally fine and hit the spot! She is being super supportive and an awesome sister! She already has to cook for a picky 2 year old, I didn’t want to stress her out by having to cook for me. Next time, I am coming prepared! I do like the sous chef idea! It is a great way of keeping an eye on things but not offending the person who is cooking for you.

      • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        The social aspect of being vegan can be tricky at times for sure. I really like what Jennie offers here !Elizabeth, it sounds like you worked this out very well, and how wonderful that your sister was willing to accommodate you. Melissa, your Mom sounds like a gem and she’s trying. In my opinion, we can only do our best, and when our friends and family make an honest attempt to honor our choices, I want to be gracious and accepting if there is a slight mishap with the food. In the back of my mind, I want family and friends to see that being vegan is fun, you get to try new food, and vegans are joyful and grateful. This happens to be my way of dealing with this particular social interaction and works for me, but everyone needs to find their own comfort zone with this, of course.
        It seems we keep coming back to this not being about perfection. The bigger picture is really about our choices spanning time, not one slip of a pat of butter on the green beans when we’re eating with our family. 🙂

  6. Jennie May 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Tonight’s dinner at Graze will be “family style” with lots of delicious dishes for us all to share! I thought I’d post the LUSH specific menu for you all to get excited about, you’ll be able to try many different dishes from the Graze kitchen!

    • Nina May 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Wow that looks like a sumptuous spread! Enjoy everyone!

  7. Melissa May 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I think that one of the hardest things for me is that I hate seeming picky so when I am in social settings, or if someone cooks for me. In these situations I am usually more likely to fall off track just to be accommodating to the people I am with. Even though I have loads of support, there are always those difficult times where it would just be easier to just eat what is served to me (dinners on my Greek side of the family, anyone?) I have a hard time explaining my dietary choices in settings like this as well because I have a tough time not coming off as preachy..

    • Elizabeth May 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Family dinners are soooo hard. I have come to terms with the fact that I will always cook my own dinners. In a way, I do like it because I will make something really yummy and then my family will ask to try some of what I am eating. They then realize that I am not eating “rabbit food” as my dad would so lovingly call it. I think one Sunday (family dinner day) I am going to offer to make them all dinner.

  8. Aimee May 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Attending a potluck tonight, with my kids. I’m making a quinoa salad to bring, it’s kind a Mediterranean influence of things I toss in, but am planning on replacing the usual mozzarella with white beans, instead. it’s at my kid’s new school for next year, so I figure we might as well introduce ourselves with some vegan fare–and maybe *fingers crossed* there will be other food I can chow down on.
    We are also hosting a b’day party in a few weeks and I just updated the invite to request any Vegetarian and Vegan rsvps, taking a cue from the Vegan Dad! Little by little, more and more thought and action coming together…

    • Nina May 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Aimee,
      That reminds me of a very fun “wine tasting” party I went to last winter put on by a local band that we have done some work with. Each band member provided one course with matching drinks. Two out of five courses were vegan – I thought that was pretty cool! (Though salad does not absorb alcohol that well, I have to say…)
      And I made new vegan friends!

  9. Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Colleen Patrick Goudreau is a wonderful resource in so many ways, but I especially admire her approach to the the topics raised today. Her manner is straight forward, clear, respectful,concise, and incredibly articulate about how to handle challenging social situations. Here is her website and a list of various podcasts.

  10. sasha May 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I’m really excited about dinner tonight.. yesterday we went to the Gorillas pub.. we had a nice vegan dinner and I got some vegan chocolate for the dessert.. yummy

    • Coach Donna May 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      sounds like a wonderful dinner, Sasha. You are lucky to live near such a great pub.

  11. Coach Donna May 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Everyone!! I must first apologize for not being on during the day. I don’t always get to break for lunch so as you can see most of my comments are at night and very early in the morning. I wish that I could respond to every comment that has been made here – I really love your enthusiasm, openness, curiousity and deep compassion. It has been 4 joyful days.

    As I read through the thoughts and concerns that are generated around social/family get-togethers, I am really struck by how loving all of you are and how you are surrounded by loving familes who do their best to make sure that you have something to eat.

    I completely understand not wanting to sound preachy when explaining what you do or don’t eat. If possible, it is best to talk about the food issue when you are not dining. People will feel less defensive if they are not eating something that you don’t eat at the time of the conversation.

    As time goes on, you will find your own style of how to be gracious and yet still true to your beliefs.
    And as Aimee said :
    “Little by little, more and more thought and action coming together…”