Vegetarians and diet pop

I had a temp job last week, as you know if you read my “I’m back!” post. I was working with two other temps: a guy and a girl. On Wednesday, there was a mini-convention on the ground floor, and the regular staff told us they would bring us some of the lunch buffet. When the food was first brought in, we were also instructed to help ourselves to one can of pop each. I went down there, and there was cola, orange and citrus galore, but no diet. The pop selection hadn’t been picked over, either; it had just been delivered. When the staff went downstairs, they told us they’d bring back our portions, and we could eat in the break room.

“What do they have down there?” the girl asked.


“Oh. I’m a vegetarian.”


“Well, do they have sides?”

“Sure. We’ll get you potato salad and cornbread.”

“Thank you.”

“Nice of them to think that there might be vegetarians here,” said I.

“Well, they can’t think of everything,” said the guy.

“But this is California. And it’s a health fair they’re having. You’d think they’d have considered the possibility that some of the people attending the convention would be veg.”

“Well, in any group, vegetarians are going to be a very small minority. In fact, in many groups, there aren’t any vegetarians.”

“Not in my experience.”

“Or in mine. And there also wasn’t any diet pop. That’s ridiculous.”

“Well, you’re getting a free lunch, whaddaya expect?”

“I know that, but there may be people downstairs who don’t eat chicken and do drink diet. They should have thought of that, especially at a health fair.”

I just didn’t like his attitude, or the implicit attitude of the company. Vegetarians are not some freakish minority, especially, as I said, in California. And diet pop drinkers may actually outnumber regular drinkers, although both are probably overshadowed by water mavens.

No real question here, just wanted to share and hear from others.

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

In my experience, the job of arranging catering for a medium to large company function usually falls upon an already overworked underling. In the case you cite, I doubt there was a commitee formed to determine how many vegans and dieters there might be in attendance; probably just some poor woman (a man would quit if he couldn’t shirk this kind of duty) trying to accomadate the majority and get back to her more important day to day duties. The only thing she cares about is whether or not the boss likes chicken and orange soda.

Elmer J. Fudd,
I own a mansion and a yacht.

I am a vegetarian and never have any trouble getting food at school-sponsored events (the only kind I go to, pretty much). My Hillel often has vegan dinners, in fact, just to make sure that everyone will be able to eat.

It should be mentioned that I live in Santa Cruz, CA, AKA The Hippie Twilight Zone.


“You couldn’t fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine.”

So get another catering comp.

I live near Monterey, Calif, which is hippiedom & yuppiedom.

I don’t think vegetarians are freakish, but I also think you may observe from a skewed data set, living in California. I’ve lived in many different parts of the country and the only people I ever knew that were vegetarians were some colleagues at graduate school (and several of them were just going through a trendy phase).

Diet cokes are a different matter, I think. I’ve always known a whole bunch of diet drinkers no matter where I’ve been. I’m one of them.

I agree with you about the need for a vegetarian option. The more people bring it up, the more event organizers will remember to provide it.

I don’t agree with your implication that diet drinks are somehow healthier. They still have the same acid content, phosphates (for colas), and caffeine (usually) of regular sodas. They simply replace the natural sweetener, sugar, with the chemically synthesized and highly suspect aspartame. I’d say that regular sodas are healthier for you, but if you are really interested in health, avoid sodas altogether.

BTW, chocolate is healthier than carob too.

I think that from the point of view of someone who isn’t supposed to have sugar, a diet soda would have been nice. However, at a free lunch I’ve been known to just smile politely and skip the drink, or ask for a cup to get some fountain water. I’m sure no one meant to offend, just didn’t think of everything.

If lunch was free, and the choices weren’t to anyones liking, they could do what I would. Skip the food, thank them anyway, and eat out somewhere. No biggie.

Work a little bit harder on improving your
low self esteem, you stupid freak!
Click here for some GOOD news for a change Zettecity

As a veg in the South, I don’t expect the option, but voice my drutthers pleasantly as to “next time”(in an event setting). As for diet sodas, water’s better for ya; if you need the fizzies, most soda fountains will give that at the push of a button…ask your servers.

Understandably, though, it sounds as though the event planners weren’t forethinking. Help 'em with that, in a brighted-eyed helpful manner. SIGH. Wink…

i’m a vegetarian too, and i sympathize with your problem. whenever i happen to be in the same situation and mention that i’m a vegetarian, people act like it’s the weirdest thing. “you’re a vegetarian??” “how can you stand life without meat?” “not even chicken?” “so how do you get your protein?” vegetarians aren’t such a novelty! though we are a minority, it’s nothing new to be a vegetarian. people sure are silly.

“I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe.”

I have the misfortune of being a vegetarian, and a non-caffeine drinker. Usually, the cafeteria at my college will have something without meat that I like, but sometimes all I get is limp, overcooked broccoli. The beverage selection, on the other hand, is great. On yet another hand, when I go to a restaurant, I can get something meatless relatively easily, but as far as non-caffeinated beverages go… I get awfully sick of lemonade after a while. If I want something hot, there’s always hot chocolate, but then I always forget to ask them not to drizzle whipped cream over it. Do I look nine years old to you? Plus, they usually serve it in the same cups as the coffee, and then I have to fend off the wait staff who try to refresh my “coffee” when I’m not looking. Back when I worked for a living, company picnics were hellish. Hambrgers, hot dogs, and… I’ll have a bun, thanks. That’s right, just a bun.

I don’t have any moral objections to eating meat (or drinking caffeine), it’s just something I do in the interest of health. I expect to be very healthy in the coming years. Unless, of course, maintaining this lifestyle gives me an ulcer.

“That’s entertainment!” —Vlad the Impaler

No diet soda?! AAAHHHH!!! I think when lunch is free, you don’t get to complain.

That is lame, but remember, the converse is vegetarians asking me “You eat meat?” “How could you?” “You know how that cow lived?” “Would you eat your cat?”. Just as annoying.

Live and let live, I always say. Even for you deoxyhexanoicacid-deficient vegheads. :slight_smile:

If I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I’d be at home with a pack of cigarettes and a short length of hose.

Even in restaurants, the only diet choice is a cola. Once I gave up colas, mostly, I’ve been stuck with sprite, 7 up and water. Company events of course never have beer. I work in an old company. In the early part of the century the German American workers hauled a barrel of beer every day from down the street, especially in the summer. Now we have free coffee that was started in part to get them to quit the beer.

I work in midtown Manhattan, in the book publishing world, which is about 80% women. So the soda offered at lunch meetings is PREDOMINANTLY diet, although most people opt for bottled water.

Plenty of vegetarian food available on those occasions, too.

Has anyone else noticed that San Francisco, which one would THINK would be the US capital of vegetarianism and healthy eating in general, has a helluva lot of German restaurants? Do the natives periodically throw off their chains and dive into huge bowls of bauenwurst and sauerkraut?


U.I., you forgot the great swiss restaurant called “The Matterhorn” in San Francisco (on Van Ness.)

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry

As an official San Franciscan ™, let me just point out that SF has 3,000 restaurants or so, which means that there’s something of everything. I must admit that I have never noticed a single German restauarant, nor have I ever eaten at one. Most common, IMO, are Chinese, Thai, and other Asian foods, and then Mexican.

I’m going to the City tomorrow…must go to 24th St. to get some pandulce…yummy.


“You couldn’t fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine.”

Hm… In all my years here, I can only recall one German restaurant, and I only know it because the owner was friends with a former boss. I must be hanging in the wrong 'hood! Really? We have a lot of German restaurants?

Judging strictly by what I’ve seen walking down any given street in SF, I’d say that Chinese/Thai/Japanese/Korean restaurants made up the bulk of the restaurants, with “California cuisine” (whatever the heck that is) and Mexican in a tie for second.

As far as SF being a place where healthy eaters congregate… Eh… we’ve got our share of coffee/booze drinkers, meat eaters, and cig smokers, just like everyone else. In fact, I don’t think SF has a particularly “healthy” reputation at all. The town was founded by very wild and woolly individualists, rough and tough, entrepreneurial types who said and did pretty much any damned thing they wanted to (with minimal restrictions). Place hasn’t changed that much…

I am too in shape! :::muttering::: Round is a shape.

Poop. Here I’d gotten my old SF Zagat’s out, ready to tear into you guys, and I only find three German restaurants listed.

Sorry. I retract the statement. One of my old buddies used to park cars for a famous old German restaurant up on top of Telegraph Hill back in the '50s (used to live above Tommy’s Joynt, too)…I may have been laying a transparency of 1950s Frisco on top of the real thing.


StoryTyler: Yeah, I never even knew there
was such a thing as “California Cuisine”,
and having lived in the land of fruits and
nuts for 17 years you’d think Id have picked
up on it. But then I move to Europe and
find a slew of “California Cuisine”
restaurants, in a variety of countries. On
closer inspection, they offer what I’ve
always thought of as “California-ized”
Mexican food - that is, chicken burritos
with bean sprouts, organic tortilla chips,
that sort of thing.

Lyxdesics of the lowrd untie!

BTW, the only restaurant that can turn me
into a non-vegetarian is Tommaso’s, by
Kearny and Broadway in SFO. Their homemade
spinach-and-beef ravioli gives me a
mouth-gasm every time.

Lyxdesics of the lowrd untie!