@Sugar_and_Ice It’s pretty easy to get raw sugar, at least here. That’s vegan. Stevia is also vegan I believe. There’s also something called monk fruit or something, which you can buy in a powdered form, but I’ve never tried that. I tend to put raw sugar in my coffee, and you could use it for baking too, but you could also substitute other sweet things for sugar, like agave nectar or maple syrup.
You’re right that it’s difficult to find things that wouldn’t be made completely vegan from a store or restaurant, unless they specifically make those things. Where I live, there aren’t many options for vegan desserts, but the few places I know of are small businesses, mom and pop type places. There are two cafes I know of where I live that have completely vegan muffins and will make you a vegan cake if you want to order one, but other than that, large chains (such as Starbucks) don’t really have any vegan treats.
It’s the same way with restaurants. There are no vegan restaurants in the town where I live, and only one vegetarian one, which does have quite a few vegan offerings, but that’s beside the point. And I live in a pretty big town. There are several restaurants which have at least one or two completely vegan entrees on the menu, but there again, most of these are small businesses, family run places. Although there is a pizza place here that’s part of a corporate chain which now offers vegan cheese, which is pretty cool.
I guess overall it’s becoming easier to become vegan, but it’s still pretty difficult, unless you live in like a huge city, which I don’t. It’s the biggest reason I’ve not been able to become completely vegan, no matter how much dairy I try to cut out of my diet. It can be really difficult. Milk and eggs seem to be in just about everything. I obsessively read all the ingredient lists when I go to the grocery store, so when I do cook I can make sure everything is vegan. But going out somewhere? That can get really tricky. Order a veggie burger? Nope, the bun is made with milk. Pasta? Nope, there’s eggs in it. I mean this isn’t every restaurant, but I tend to avoid places that don’t have a vegetarian/vegan section on the menu or don’t even have a mark next to it saying it’s vegan. Otherwise, I just assume it’s not.
I will tell you though, that you’re pretty safe at MIddle Eastern, Indian, and Thai restaurants. A lot of these cuisines have quite a few options that are completely vegan. I mean they make stuff with meat and dairy too, but in general, if you’re looking for a restaurant, these are your best bet if you can’t find a completely vegan one.