Every day, there’s already a slew of vegetarian problems, but in the summer, they can cause a lot of sweating, as we head out into the heat.

Summertime should be a time of care-free lounging by the pool, heading off on vacation, and forgetting that school even exists. Even for vegetarians, it may seem like paradise, with fresh produce galore and a break from the holidays with the big, fat turkey in the middle of the table.

There’s always salad in the summer though, so it can’t be too bad.

1. The dreaded barbecue

vegetarian experiences

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After catching up with friends and family or taking a dip in the lake, it’s finally time to take on the never ending buffet of barbecue food. Sure, there’s corn and heaping bowls of fruit salad, but leave it to Aunt Cathy to ruin the fresh salad with bacon.

Even worse is the absence of main dishes as you breeze by the racks of ribs, stacks of cheeseburgers, and rows of hot dogs. Sometimes, you’re that person who brings their own veggie patty to grill up, but when the grillmaster uses the same tongs they just used to handle the burgers, what’s the point?

Looking for an upside to all of this summer meat mania? The dessert table is probably safe, so please feel free to stuff your face with everything there, especially these 11 stellar blondies.

2. Less access to specialty foods

vegetarian experiences

Photo by Katherine Baker

Depending on how well your school’s dining facilities treat you, coming home for the summer can either be a chance to finally eat like a real human again or completely miss the dining hall.

Tofu and other meat substitutes are becoming more and more prevalent as vegetarian and vegan diets become more popular in America. Now, it’s easier to find food with proper nutrition as you sit down for lunch.

A 2012 study found that college students are often at the forefront of food trends, meaning colleges are catering to more diverse dietary restrictions. Your parents, however, may not be so open-minded.

If you’re spending the house in a summer full of meat eaters or the nearest specialty store (Trader Joe’s heaven) is 20 miles away, you may actually find yourself missing campus food, which you never thought you’d actually say.

3. Picnics and parties mean more people to be offended and perplexed by your choice to not eat meat

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“How do you get your protein then?”

“How do you live without bacon?”

“Are you one of those treehugging freaks?”

As vegetarians, we’ve all been asked these questions, plus a slew of other comments that seem to be completely unnecessary. Waving ribs in my face won’t change my decision to live a meatless life, nor will the snide “plants are living too” aside persuade me enough to overhaul my current lifestyle.

The number of people genuinely offended by vegetarianism and veganism is absurd, considering the negative effects raising livestock for human consumption are having on our environment. Some individuals choose these diets for health reasons, not because they’re a “hippie.”

Let the haters keep talking, as you obliterate the entire veggie platter or your third helping of mashed potatoes, because your happiness is all that matters.

4. S’mores are a no-go

vegetarian experiences

Photo courtesy of @live_outdoors_co on Instagram

Campfires are the perfect way to enjoy the season without the sweltering sun beating on your back or hoards of children at the local pool – just make sure you use some bug spray. And what would a campfire be without some marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers?

You may have heard that marshmallows are not vegetarian, which is totally true, so if your friends whip out the bag of pillowy goodness, you’re out of luck. The treats contain gelatin, which is derived from the skins and bones of pigs, cows, and fish.

Although ice cream is also mostly safe, check the nutrition label before you dive into that giant scoop of mint chocolate chip because some brands use gelatin instead of a plant-based additives. Agar and carrageenan are common, safe additives, but the latter actually has some problems of its own.

While s’mores can be next-level delicious, it’s a bummer when one of the key ingredients just isn’t working for you. If you can get your hands on some vegetarian gelatin, making your own marshmallows is a pretty easy task.

Now, with your safe-to-eat marshmallows all ready, you have a reason to try out 31 different ways to use that fluffy magic. See, being vegetarian isn’t so bad.