Vegan food, not only for vegans


Sarah Craft

Local grocery stores stock a multitude of vegan and vegetarian options.

Sarah Craft, Staff Writer

In recent years, when someone goes to a party, buffet, or potluck, usually there is food offered that is vegan, vegetarian, nut-free, and so on. While these foods are offered for anybody to grab and put onto their plate, some hold the belief that if anybody with no special diet takes food with those dietary restrictions, then they are being inconsiderate. 

For example, if someone at a party was taking a piece of cake that was designated as gluten-free despite the fact that they can eat gluten, then they are taking away food from anyone who is gluten-free. Or if there is someone who cannot eat food processed with nuts, then taking a nut-free brownie is limiting their already limited options.

While at face value the concept does come across as immoral and seems like people are stealing food from those who already are limited in options, when put into a realistic context, nobody should be shamed for eating food whether or not it aligns with a certain dietary restriction. 

When people are going to a gathering or buffet, the quantity of every dish is enough for people to have several servings if they wish. No one person can realistically eat all of a certain food in that quantity for a single meal. With this perspective, if somebody does take a nut-free brownie, that one person would not be taking all of the brownies, leaving more for someone who did follow that particular restriction. To shame anyone for “stealing” food that takes into account different diets is an undeserved response because people with those diets will still have a good amount of food to consume.

Another point of contention in this dilemma is where the line is drawn between foods only for a certain group of people and foods for everyone. Some dishes like salads can be friendly for vegans and vegetarians, but salads are seen as a common dish that people include in their meals. Does that mean that people should not eat salad anymore because it is a more viable option for vegans and vegetarians? Or, what if there is a type of candy that is classified as nut-free, does that mean that any kid without a nut allergy should not be allowed to have that candy? No. If we start reserving food in this way, the result will be irate individuals who can no longer enjoy many of their favorite foods.

The only exception when food being reserved for people with dietary restrictions is okay is when it is evident that the amount of that dish is not enough for everyone. For example, if there was only one slice of vegan pizza at a party, it would be immoral to eat the pizza if you are not vegan because that slice is obviously not meant for everyone. However, this example is an exception and should not be considered the social norm. More likely than not, there is a large quantity of every dish offered at public events. 

While the argument that people should not take food that accommodates dietary restrictions seems, at first glance, realistic and morally right, the argument falls apart when considering the amount of food that is offered at a gathering and the extent to which food should be reserved. To shame anybody for eating food because it is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and so on is an extreme response because people with certain diets will realistically have enough food to eat on most occasions.