Will We Soon Have Too Many Choices?

If you’ve gone vegan or vegetarian within the past five or ten, or even three, years, you’ve seen some incredible changes. Whereas in the past it wasn’t abnormal to struggle to find non-dairy alternatives within a mile, now it’s no shock to see mini Silk chocolate almond milk cartons at your local gas station. We’re reaching something of a vegan renaissance.

But there is a down side, at least psychologically. In the past, we’d be extraordinarily lucky to find one straightforwardly vegan option on a restaurant menu. That made it easy: although we didn’t have many options, we didn’t have much of a choice, either. We had to get that one thing, no thought required.

Now it’s common to find a restaurant — depending on where you live, of course, but it’s becoming increasingly common just about everywhere — where there are five or even ten vegan options. That presents a dilemma of its own accord when we go to a new restaurant: Do we pick a favorite dish — say, vegan mac and cheese — that we frequently inhale elsewhere anyway, or do we go for something novel — like buffalo cauliflower wings — since we might not have the opportunity to come back?

It sounds dumb, like the kind of first-world problem a spoiled brat would complain about, but it’s something to think about. In the past, going to a new restaurant meant trying their vegan option — if they even had one. Now you have to consider things like:

“Am I going to come back here?”

“What am I in the mood for?”

“What if it’s not good here?”

Even if you’re the type of person that hates other people who struggle over these questions, you won’t be able to help yourself at times. For people like me who went vegan after decades of non-veganism, it can be a struggle to learn to have to pick something off the menu again.

While I doubt that people like me will tell future vegan youngins stories that start with back in my day, followed by an improbable anecdote of walking three miles to find an egg replacer, uphill both ways, etc., there is perhaps no better indicator of how far veganism has come than the fact that we will soon have to learn to pore over a menu once again. For lazy people like me, the downside is that we will soon have to think about what to order.

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