What to feed dinner guests? And what about pets?

So what do you do at your next dinner party when most of your guests are still eating the typical western diet? And what about pets? What can you feed them that doesn’t require you to support the meat industry? Joanne, who recently read our book, posed these two questions and inspired this blogpost. She wrote:

Dinner Guests. Although you gave suggestions for dining at restaurants and at someone’s home in your book, you did not cover the situation in which you would have people dine at your own home. For me, that seems to be the trickiest situation.  We try to do Mexican or Oriental type dishes that do not have meat and that might satisfy others. I would like to know your ideas.

My response. Hi Joanne, Here are a few blogs that I have written on this topic. I think the first one deals most directly with your question. Here is a brief excerpt from the first article below:

In my case, at least 90% of my local friends are still eating the typical western diet and all of them know about my own preferences. When I am in their homes, I never expect anything special, I simply choose the plant-based options and try to be as inconspicuous as possible. When they are in my home, they seem to be following the same protocol — they just eat the food that I provide and the absence of meat and dairy has never even been mentioned.

(A great entree that everyone seems to love is the one listed second; it was inspired by a recipe in the Engine 2 Diet.)

Cute picture, but I doubt that your kitty will be very happy with this kind of dinner.

Joanne asks about pets. What about feeding pets? I have a greyhound. Although we have been giving him vegetarian food as part of his diet, he also has been eating canned meat varieties. To my knowledge, dogs are not vegetarian and require meat products.

I do feel uncomfortable buying him meat products both because I question how healthy the product is as well as the inhumane issue of killing the animals that go into the product. Additionally, there is also the issue of the tremendous amount of land it takes to raise meat products as you talk about in your book. Do you have a dog, and if so, what do you do?  

My response. I don’t have a pet myself so have no experience. But I did hear recently that there are some 70 million dogs and 70 million cats in this country. That’s 140 million animals, most of whom are probably natural carnivores. In the wild, they would eat small animals, but what about in your house?

I wrote in the book about the fact that humans are the only species of animals in the history of the world who no longer live in harmony with nature. But now, there are other species. That would be our 140 million pets, the ten billion animals we eat each year and our zoo animals. So what can you feed your pet and not be supporting the harmful, wasteful and cruel meat industry?

Just doing their best to eat a natural diet for their species—in an unnatural world.

My advice. Go to the internet, learn all that you can and then do what you think is right. A quick search yielded this Huffington Post article about pets eating vegan diets.

They say it’s easier for a dog than it is for a cat. But if you have an indoor/outdoor kitty, they’ll do their own hunting of small animals to supplement their vegan food that you may give them.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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5 Responses to What to feed dinner guests? And what about pets?

  1. barbaraH says:

    I started to feed my dog a home-cooked vegan diet about 4 1/2 years ago. She’s ten now, and still races around like a puppy, while her kibble-fed doggie-peers are dying or succumbing to disease. It’s very sad.

    The food I make is one half lentils (other legumes would work too) and the other half a mix of whole grains (rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, cornmeal, oats) and vegetables (carrots, corn, winter squash, tomato, greens, parsley). I also add in some ground flax seeds, peanut butter or tahini, a bit of molasses, and some dulse granules every once in a while. I cook it until it’s really soft and puree it with an immersion blender if there are any large pieces, since dogs swallow their food whole. I don’t add oil or salt or onion or garlic. (Dogs can’t eat onions and garlic). My dog loves it. I give her enough so that she maintains the right weight – if she starts getting to thin, I give her more. It’s not that complicated. I also give her some vegan treats that are fortified with vitamin B12, although she probably gets enough of that from drinking out of rivers.

    The first week I started to feed her this diet, her coat stopped smelling and became really shiny. Even though she’s tested positive for things like Lyme and giardia, she’s been symptom free.

  2. Lisa says:

    I have a few staples for dinner guests. One of my favorites is Vegetable with Whole Wheat pasta or Quinoa (I usually fix both and let them choose). I sautee mushrooms and onions (adding a little of the tomato or veggie broth and soy sauce to keep from sticking(soy sauce gives the mushrooms a meaty flavor), then add garlic. Then add a can of petite cut tomatoes with jalepeno, then zucchini and fresh basil. You can do any vegetables you like. Serve with a delicious, simple baby green salad of course. Engine 2 diet has an awesome plant based lasagna recipe (as well as many other delicious recipes) and Happy Herbivore has many fantastic recipes also (her teriyaki chickpeas (I serve with brown rice or quinoa) and her chickpea tacos, which I make as a salad instead of tacos, ading corn, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, lime juice are two of my favorites). I have found that my guests welcome eating a very healthy, flavorful, animal-free meal.

  3. Jean Myers says:

    For dinner guests, I like to make a Mushroom Stroganoff as it’s a little fancier and higher in fat than our usual fare, but for more casual events, I often serve Mexican Lasagna http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/07/mexican-lasagna-or-enchilada-casserole.html
    plus a big salad and chocolate mousse with strawberries for dessert
    Everyone always enjoys the food, and I’ve heard no complaints at all. In fact most people are happy for the opportunity to eat healthy when they go out for a change!

    We had a beloved crazy, bearded collie for 11 years and fed him Nature’s Recipe vegetarian dog food. Since dogs are omnivores, it’s not too difficult, but with cats it’s trickier as they are true carnivores. Some say they do all right if you supplement correctly, but we did not go that route.

  4. ~Kyrena says:

    On the subject of dinner parties – we host multi coursed wine dinners fairly often. I serve all kinds of dishes, most heavily plant based but some with meat. Everything has the NoMeat/NoDairy option and our guests often pick the “vegetarian” choice as the evening progress. This astounds my partner and tickles me!!! This may seem as more work (and it is – just a little) but it’s worth it to me as I can introduce others to the 4 Leaf Plant Based way in an unassuming, joyful social atmosphere.

    On the subject of pets – We have two dogs (yellow lab and weimaraner) that do eat a dry kibble but they really like their grapes, carrots, bananas, oranges, celery, mushrooms etc every chance they get. They get first dibs before the compost. One even helped himself to a whole cantaloupe the other day! Rascal. I’ve been told, it’s my fault they like fresh plants so much because I feed it too them all the time. Yep, that’s right, I accept it 🙂

    • lisa says:

      Dogs should not eat grapes, they are toxic and can cause kidney failure. Here’s a link of foods dogs should not have. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/people-foods.aspx. I feed my dogs vegetarian dry food and often add warm water with foods like no-salt canned green beans, canned pumpkin, whole grain oats, pureed carrots, apples, blueberries, cucumbers. Dogs can thrive on a vegetarian diet. I have a 16 yr. old lab to prove it. Just do the research on the internet to be sure the people food you give is safe. Also discuss with your vet.

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