One of the problems I've encountered while changing my diet was the "fear of social food." I dealt with this more often when I was dealing with my gluten sensitivity more than anything else, but at times it can still be a problem.
When friends and family go out to eat, what do you do, then?
Recently, my boss wanted to take a few of us out to lunch to discuss a project at work. When I saw his restaurant choice pop up (Buffalo Wild Wings) I knew right then and there that I was either going to get a bland salad or go without. Neither sounded appetizing to me.
So, I graciously said, "Um, I don't eat meat or dairy." And guess what? Everyone was happy enough to switch restaurants. We chose Red Robin and away we went.
But, wait. Red Robin? Isn't that a burger place? Deep fried french fries and oily goodness?
Many restaurants these days are providing vegan and vegetarian options for the more health concious, thank goodness. In fact, Red Robin not only offers a regular Boca Burger (made with egg), but they also offer a Vegan Boca Burger (with no egg). Their garden burger comes with a mayo derivative sauce, so when I go I always ask them to forgo the sauce and just put Dijon Mustard on it. Whole Wheat bun, Vegan Boca Burger, veggies, and mustard! And it's really good.
Some of my other favorite mainstream restaurants that will happily make vegetarian/vegan options for you include:
Sub Zero Ice Cream (They do NON-Dairy Ice Cream)
Those are the chain places/generic places available around my work area. In Ogden, I also delight in places like:
A Good Life (25th Street)
And more. In fact, this isn't around my work or my home, but if you're in Salt Lake you HAVE to go to Bud's. It's AMAZING!
And you know what? It's way easy to check most restaurant's menus before you go out. And if you don't know what they have, or they don't offer something, it's easy to call ahead of time and ask if they'd be willing to make something vegan/vegetarian for you. Most restaurants will bend over backwards to do they best they can to feed you (as long as you bring your money).
So, get out there and explore! Let me know what other restaurants you find! (OH! And I also suggest downloading the YELP app for your tablet or smart phone. Just search for vegan, and you'll get a huge listing of vegan restaurant options in your area!)