10 Problems Every Vegetarian Faces During The Holidays

10 Problems Every Vegetarian Faces During The Holidays

Family dinner is much more difficult than you'd think.
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The holidays can be a great time for families to share stories and eat delicious food together. Having only recently adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, I didn't think twice about the impact my diet would have on my relatives. Little did I know, my meat-less diet came with some problems surely every vegetarian has experienced.

1. The shock settling in that yes, you are really not eating meat this year.

You can almost see their eyes widen as you politely wave away that plate of turkey.

2. The incessant questioning on why exactly you’re vegetarian.

Many people have different reasonings behind why they choose to not eat meat. Yes, I’d love to explain to you the rationale behind my choice, but it gets old after a while. How many more times do I have to explain that I just want to reduce my carbon footprint Aunt Janice?

Honestly, is it socially acceptable to just hold a forum at the beginning of dinner?

3. When Uncle Steve jokes, “You’re so brave! I could never go off meat!”

Really, it’s not that big of an adjustment switching to a vegetarian diet. I can still eat cheese and milk, I just find my source of protein elsewhere. Going vegetarian is definitely doable and you could stop eating meat too Uncle Steve if you put your mind to it.

4. Inevitably your very presence brings about a political debate you did NOT want to get into.

Yes, climate change is real Great Aunt Becky and yes I’m going vegetarian to help combat that. Can you pass the potatoes?

5. Relatives will take every chance to question you about your ethical choices.

Yes I know there’s gelatin in these gummy vitamins I’m taking and my purse is FAKE leather Margaret step off.

6. You don’t want to seem burdening so you don’t question the restaurant choice.

I try to be a very chill person because I know it’s hard to accommodate my diet sometimes. I feel bad and don’t want to make you stress unnecessarily so I say it’s not that big of a deal if you choose the restaurant we go to. But I mean, it can be disappointing when there is only two meatless options on the menu. Salads are good though, I’m not complaining.

7. You cook a lot of your own food during the holidays.

You never realize how meat is in all the meals your Nana makes for the family. Sometimes you gotta fend for yourself (which can be a struggle if you can’t cook).

8. You find yourself nervous to tell people you’re vegetarian.

It’s almost a curse word. Some people don’t even understand why someone would go vegetarian. How do I casually bring up that I just don’t want to eat the turkey Aunt Susan toiled over all day? I am never one to turn down food, but if it clashes with my diet please know it’s not a slight to you I swear.

9. People trying to tempt you to eat meat

Yes, I know it smells good Patricia but keep your bacon-wrapped pork to yourself; it’s not working.

10. Some meat-eating people openly worry that you’re going to try and “convert them”

First of all, that’s not how it works. And chances are, whatever I say isn’t going to sway you anyway. It’s a very personal decision and one only you can make for yourself. I honestly am not secretly judging you for eating meat, just like I hope you’re not judging me.

Whatever problems you face, keep rocking it vegetarians, and have an awesome holiday season. You’re helping make the world a greener place.

Cover Image Credit: Getty Images

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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A General guide to a perfect cup of coffee

Making that cup is half the experience. Don't miss out.

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A good cup of coffee is a treat in and of itself. The rich and earthy aroma of freshly ground beans when you wake up is a delight to the senses. Now I am not what you would call a coffee connoisseur, but like any other person, I am very particular about the coffee I drink… so much so that I had a Nespresso pod machine with me as I began my first year of college.

Now, most coffee aficionados would tell you coffee pods are a disgrace to the beverage and I agree. They don't capture the essence of the bean, the texture, or quality. But they are drastically better than instant coffee! Now that is horrendous. The coffee pod is a decent, minimally acceptable substitute. But I implore any coffee lover, to step out of Starbucks (that most definitely isn't good coffee) and quaint coffee parlors, and actually make an effort to learn about the beverage you consume and are delighted by.

I will be honest, I was never a coffee fan. I barely drank it to stay awake. Highly caffeinated tea was my poison of choice for late nights. My interest in what makes a good cup of coffee and my, let's say, pickiness when it comes to drinking it stems from my father's journey in making the perfect espresso, latte, ristretto etc…

Every process to make that perfect cup is crucial so let me paint a picture. Imagine freshly picked coffee beans sent in for processing and roasted at a range where it doesn't get burnt nor is it too blonde, a warm brown with undertones of red comes to my mind. For optimal extraction of the oils, the beans have to be used within 2 weeks of being roasted (so do not buy the beans from Starbucks usually). Instead of getting it grounded ahead of time feel as you grind the beans to the size you want because powder size plays a huge role in the bitterness and the very drip of the coffee. Finding the correct size powder is a crucial element to customize your coffee for your palate.

After the powder size has been recognized, a pressurized system lets the water seep through the powder. Whether it be an Aeropress because of its cheaper price tag and the opportunities for customizing it or a good old coffee machine, maintaining a good amount of pressure for the oil to be extracted is key.

Tamping is an important aspect if using a regular coffee machine, since it again determines the drip speed and bitterness as it packs the powder into compact form, allowing for maximum oil extraction for the espresso. And you can determine if the effort was worth it as you look at the thick creamy creamer on top of your espresso shot and breath in what should be a full-bodied and earthy scent.

If you are an avid coffee drinker, I ask you to give making your own coffee from scratch. If you don't like coffee, well, try making it your own. You might like it for all you know.

-Sincerely A Coffee Enthusiast

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