An Olympian’s Top 5 Tips for Ordering Vegan at Restaurants

Posted on 05/15/2018 by Left Coast

We’ll be at Veg Expo next weekend! It’s Canada’s premier vegan and vegetarian expo… and brand ambassador Olympian Julia Murray will be there too!

Julia headed into the Vancouver 2010 Olympics with fresh knee injuries, but that didn’t stop the daughter of famed downhill skier ‘Crazy Canuck’ Dave Murray from competing. These days, she’s a Registered Holistic Nutritionist focused on healthy plant-based eating and helping others stay healthy through her blog, Hooked on Plants.

 We chatted with Julia about being vegan and her top menu hacks to eating healthy:

1. You’ve been completely vegan for over 2 years now. What made you initially make the change?

Becoming a Holistic Nutritionist opened me up to the idea of plant-based eating being the healthiest way to eat for longevity, weight maintenance, energy and digestion. After watching the Earthlings documentary, I decided I wouldn’t be eating animals again. There’s an abundance of amazing plant foods, and vegan versions meat and dairy products available these days, so there’s really no need to eat anything that comes from an animal!

2. What’s the best part of running your blog, Hooked on Plants? 

I created Hooked on Plants (HOP) to help people see the ease, deliciousness and fun of cooking with plants. The best part is seeing getting tagged on Instagram by people who have made my recipes, or hearing they’ve transitioned to being vegan because of HOP!

Some of my readers’ fave recipes are: the Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Curry Tahini Sauce, the Vegan Omelette and Cashew Hollandaise Sauce, the Vegan Spinach Artichoke White Bean Dip, and more!

3. Aside from being vegan, what else do you do to be environmentally friendly?

I’m happy to be doing the number one thing to reduce my impact by living the vegan lifestyle. I  do my best to minimize plastic (ie. avoid plastic straws, re-use bags), water use, and bike and run when I can. We ahave a veggie garden to keep the food as local as possible, bring my coffee mug to cafes, and wear sweaters and slippers before cranking the heat. I still take flights, forget my grocery bags sometimes, and occasionally drive. No one is perfect, but we’re all doing our best!

4. What are your top 5 tips to ordering vegan?

Ordering vegan from restaurants used to be more challenging, but it’s getting easier!

  1. There’s an App for it. Find a vegan restaurant through the Happy Cow app (find veg-friendly restaurants in your area)
  2. Check out Ethnic Cuisines. Indian, Thai, Viatnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian… These all have tons of vegan options.
  3. Ask for Vegan Versions. Don’t be afraid to ask for a veganized version. The more people ask, the more likely it will be on the main menu for the next time.
  4. From Side to Side. If there are no vegan menu options, look at the side dishes.
  5. Order Off-the-Menu: Go through the ingredients on the menu and create something from what’s available in the kitchen—if they can accommodate! A go-to is pasta with veggies and tomato sauce, a Buddha bowl, or pizza with avocado instead of cheese.

Ordering Tip: Be your awesome self when you’re asking for changes, and always give thanks to the server and the chef if he or she is available.

Traveling Tip: Order the ‘vegetarian pure’ meal on long flights! Your meal comes first, and it’s usually fresher and better than everyone else’s 🙂

5. Which is your favourite Hippie Snack, and what do you love about em? 

I love the Chili Lime Coconut Clusters! They’re just so unique, flavourful and perfect for traveling!

For more healthy vegan recipe ideas, follow Julia on Instagram: @hookedonplants 

And for weekly nutrition tips, recipes, a free guide to get Hooked On Plants, sign up for Julia’s newsletter

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