Vegan struggle – how to avoid unhealthy event food when the temptation is real

avoid unhealthy food at networking event

There must be some sort of healthy-ish plant-based food at the networking event…

Well even if there isn’t, I should be able to just refuse them…

Even if I just eat a few chips, I surely won’t stuff myself with oily snacks and voluntarily destroy my fitness goals…

. . .

Having these thoughts, I went to the career networking event for women in technology with full confidence, and here is my EPIC FAIL

. . .

The networking event was at a rooftop bar – nice vibes, loud music, everyone was already holding a glass of alcoholic drink when I got there.

I looked around the room, there was not a single person who wasn’t holding a glass, oh well I guess I’d be the first one as I really am not a fan of alcohol.

I started talking to people and Canapé started coming out one after another, populating the tables and making the whole place smell a m a z i n g.

catering food

A huge sushi platter came out first, without any dietary labels, it seemed to be a mix of meat, fish and potentially vego ones?

Busy in conversations, I couldn’t get the chance to talk to the staff to figure out whether anything was vegan, so I kept talking, but my eyes kept drifting to the food, judging whether they might be vegan or not.

Then a plate of deep-fried snacks came out: spring rolls, curry puffs and some Asian dim sims, accompanied with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream. I knew I shouldn’t eat any of those but as soon as someone said it is a vego/vegan platter, my eyes lit up.

spring rolls

I reached out for a spring roll, dipped in the sweet chili sauce, only a little bit, holding onto my last bit of rational thought that this deep-fried thing with processed sugar sauce wouldn’t make my body happy afterward (I’m very sensitive to bad food).

It tasted so good that I couldn’t help but reach out to the curry puff beside it, this time dipping a large chunk of it into the sugar sauce.

My rational brain is ringing the alarms but my primitive reward center is being overwhelmed by flavor and the impulse to just eat more.


Look at those sweet potato chips, they look so tempting. Surely they are at least healthier than the normal chips because look at them, they are the SPECIAL SWEET POTATOES!


I immediately took one. Wow, it didn’t feel too oily! Next thing I knew, I was taking one after another, non-stop.

“Rainie, stop.” – my rational brain

“It’s made from plants, though.”

“But it’s deep-fried and look at that salt!”

“But it’s the best thing I can find here…”

My mouth is talking (and eating), my brain is also talking. I felt unstoppable, totally out of control.

cant stop eating


Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, a whole plate of chicken wings and beef pies came out at the same time.

fried chicken

The people around me were excited, clearly wasn’t expecting so much yummy food at a free event.

I obviously was not going to eat any of that, but felt I had to eat something else instead…So I reached for more chips, spring rolls and curry puffs…

Finally, I couldn’t do it anymore. I’ve stuffed myself with a bunch of deep-fried finger foods, half bowl of the chips – what an epic fail.

I said to the people around me I had to use the bathroom and left the event. I didn’t know what’s going to happen had I stayed longer.

. . .

You can probably imagine the story from here, I was so disappointed with myself – the total lack of self-control. I thought…I thought I’d be able to behave better! I thought my taste buds and brain have changed to not be tempted by those foods!


That curry puff tasted a bit like meat, was it even vegan?? Why did I feel embarrassed to ask? stomach is really not happy now.

I spent 2 hours feeling terrible, physically and mentally.

So I went on to a Facebook group “How not to die – Dr Greger 2.0” and asked for advice.

I am so glad I did. The responses I got were so supportive and educational – I realized so many people have gone through the same struggle, and we could do better!

be positive in life

7 tips on going to events and not end up like me

1. Eat something beforehand, never expect food at these events to be as healthy as what you can make at home.

2. Take some snacks with you – apples, nuts, homemade cookies etc.

3. Give the venue a call and ask for the menu before the event to be prepared.

4. (This one is my favorite) “You can always pull it out and ignore the sometimes rude looks or comments and know my health is more important than worrying about how I look not participating in the SAD (Standard America Diet) “.

5. Be mindful – try and think about the feeling you will get after eating that way. It never feels good right? Remember that guilt feeling.

6. (I also realized this one is so important)Be ok with the idea that occasionally you’ll be less than perfect – like Dr gregor who says some days he doesn’t get anywhere near his own dozen and there are situations where it’s just really hard to put together a healthy meal. Diet health is more about the long term not the odd snack or meal”.

7. You can always do better next time. It is a journey. Do the best you can in any situation. Don’t beat yourself up. Next day you can go back to whole plant-based foods.

. . .

I got up the next morning and read all 22 comments, feeling empowered again. Yes, I did worse than I wanted to. But I learned a valuable lesson and am stronger than ever. I made myself a healthy, beautiful oatmeal bowl and I feel great again.

healthy vegan oatmeal

Being healthy and plant-based is a life-long goal, it may not be possible to be perfect every day, but it should make you feel happy, healthy and fulfilled most days. If your will is not strong enough today, just learn from it and be a better version of yourself tomorrow. Reflect on your progress often, share your struggles with the community, and never burn out on your own.

I learned a great deal from this experience, and hope you can too (without going through the chips and spring rolls yourself haha…)

If you have any experience or advice to share, Vegan Palette is more than happy to be your platform!

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Have you checked out our comprehensive Vegan Health & Nutrition Resources page? I’ve compiled my gifts, knowledge and tips regarding thriving on a vegan lifestyle in this page, including a dietitian guidebook, grocery shopping list, lifestyle checklists, and the best vegan websites I recommend, all for you for FREE.

The best tool every vegan should use to talk about veganism

iron veganism cartoon

How to respond to the ignorant and hurtful comments on your “non-filling”, “deficient”, “flavour-less” vegan meals is probably one of the most annoying things that every vegan has to prepare for at some point.


Have you ever wondered why it is still so hard for vegans to eat in peace, despite all the documentaries, research, slaughterhouse videos, celebrities, news articles all talking about veganism loud and clear?


It is still generally considered that vegans have to give up many enjoyable things in life to love animals, locked away from all the yummy foods. Why?


Miki Mottes, a vegan illustrator who made Simple Happy Kitchen, raised a good point. Maybe all the public is seeing is the disturbing despite truthful images of slaughterhouses, but not so much of the enjoyable, and nutritious food we have.


If you think about it: how did the meat, tobacco or milk industry lure us into buying their products? – Relaxing, sweet and fun campaigns. The milk ads often involve adorable babies, the cigarettes ads often elicit a relaxing feeling and the meat campaigns do it the best – they zoom right into the splashing juice when grilling a steak. Aren’t these just irresistible?


If there is a more gentle, fun, and easy way to tell your friends, or the haters, about veganism, how will you feel?


I would be so relieved. I don’t have to waste my time showing the truth for the 1000th time to that colleague who just never wants to take my words! I don’t have to go find some corner and eat my lunch alone just to avoid communication on this topic!


Miki understood that for more people to understand our lifestyle, and that we don’t suffer from just eating plant foods, we have to show them veganism is fun, simple, and nutritious.


SO..She turned


She turned this boring bar graph


Her illustrations are simple, uplifting, evidence-based, and easy for anyone (even the stonehearted) to take in, bits by bit.


And guess what? If you are struggling to explain vegan nutrition to a friend, your little one, or simply anyone, Miki has cool illustrations like this one:


Now. Do you think people will feel we are suffering from this vegan diet? Do you think people will say we are just imposing our beliefs onto them?


For the health of humans, animals and the planet, we need to keep doing the good work we are doing telling the truth, living the life, but also showing how enjoyable this lifestyle can be!


We need to be intelligent at the approach we use to spread the love, and Miki has offered us great tools!


You can freely download Miki’s Protein, Calcium and Iron printable posters here, even in different languages!


We should thank all the vegans out there for doing the great work protecting the animals, the planet and human health. If you would like to support Miki’s gentle approach, check out her book How to go vegan – the simple happy kitchen.


I hope you all find this tool helpful, and keep spreading the love!


*All images in this blog belong to Miki Mottes and can be found on her website – Simple Happy Kitchen


You’ll love these

Have you checked out our comprehensive Vegan Health & Nutrition Resources page? I’ve compiled my gifts, knowledge and tips regarding thriving on a vegan lifestyle in this page, including a dietitian guidebook, grocery shopping list, lifestyle checklists, and the best vegan websites I recommend, all for you for FREE.


About the author


Raymond Setiadi is an Australian Accredited Practising Dietitian and is the founder of Vegan Palette,  a Brisbane-based dietitian practice.

As an expert in whole food plant-based nutrition and fat loss strategies, Raymond has a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between food,  human physiology, goal-directed psychology, and how they all play a pivotal role in one’s pursuit of optimal health.