Does being vegan affect your social life?

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Since becoming, in his terms “almost vegan”, people don’t ask Adrian Chiles out for dinner any more.

Has the presenter just got fickle friends, or does being vegan truly affect more than your diet? Does it have an effect on your social life too?

These vegans have told us how they navigate the issue and give tips for anyone else thinking about a plant-based diet.

‘So … where CAN you feed? ‘

Amy Robson, 28, has been vegan for three years. She says: “What usually happens when you’re the vegan in your friendship group is that you end up picking the place you go.

“I think you have to take its own initiative and never presume others are responsible for your food selections. Look at restaurant websites in advance so you know what you can have. And for things like barbecues, bring your own food as it’s a great opportunity to engage people.”

Image copyright Amy Robson Image caption Pizza – very much part of a vegan diet

“A lot of it is fear of unfamiliar cuisine, as if someone told you, ‘I’m merely eating Jamaican food from now on’ and you didn’t know much about it.

“I really try to demystify it. There were two things I won’t eat, animals and things that come from animals.”

Amy, who spoke at last weekend’s VegFest in London, adds: “People tend to think ‘well, where CAN you feed? ‘ but the answer is ‘pretty much anywhere’. You can even go into places like Wetherspoons, Domino’s and Beefeater now.”

‘No one wants to be told off’

Ellie Brown says Chiles’s commentaries are saddening and definitely don’t reflect her own experience.

“But I have to caveat that by saying that I live in east London, which is very vegan friendly, ” she goes on.

“What assists is that there are lots of places with lovely vegan options. And some friends are actually up for the challenge of cooking something vegan.”

Image copyright Helena Murphy

Ellie, who’s the founder of Kinda Co, which makes vegan cashew-based cheeses, adds: “It probably depends on how you go about your change in dietary habits.

“I know some people will be very outspoken about being vegan and might reprove person for eating a steak, which is like having a go at someone for their political faiths. It’s not very nice to go for dinner with someone who tells you off.”

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Media captionFrankie McCamley explores potential impacts some of the most popular vegan foods have on our planet

Gemma Tomlinson, 33, who has written a vegan recipe book, says that when it comes to eating out vegan as part of a group, merely be friendly, polite and accept “there will be rare occasions you have to cobble together a snack from starters and sides.”

“I’m happy to do that if I’m in good company and I’ve yet to go hungry.”

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