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Two New Boards: Vegetarian & Vegan and Special Diets

We've created two new topical boards on Chowhound: 'Vegetarian & Vegan' and 'Special Diets'. Vegetarian and Vegan is pretty self-explanatory. Special diets will cover gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free, allergy-specific, and strict low-carb diets like paleo.

Our goal is to create a place for people who are trying to blend their passion for great food with their eating restrictions to swap tips and help each other eat better. We've seen the demand for information on these topics grow over the years and we think it's the right time to give them their own space.

There will often be natural overlap between these boards and some of the topical boards, in particular, the Home Cooking (recipes and cookbooks), Chains (menu options at national chains), and General Chowhounding Topics (food products) boards. Because of the overlap, our general policy will be to leave things where we find them, rather than moving things to the new boards. Where we see threads that would fit particularly well on the new boards, though, we may ask the original poster if they'd like to have them moved over. We're not planning a mass move of older threads.

These aren't meant to be general weight-loss boards, nor to offer medical advice, but rather, to help people who are working within specific, known restrictions to find the products, menu items and recipes that fit their requirements.

Check out the Welcome threads for the new boards:

Vegetarian & Vegan http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844506

Special Diets http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844496

If you have questions about the new boards, please go ahead and ask them here.

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  1. I find this move discouraging. Finding recipes, tips, ideas will now mean three searches. I am fairly well-versed on some special diets, though I don't have to use them right now. I suspect that I won't make it over to this new forum to help with chemo and lowered immune-response queries.

    I rather thought we all played pretty nicely together on the homecooking board.

    To play the devil's advocate, what if we pick a Vegetarian book for COTM, do we move it to one of these forums?

    Just one [limited] viewpoint.

    3 Replies
    1. re: smtucker

      Finding recipes, tips, ideas will now mean three searches.
      not necessarily. when you select your parameters on the search page, just select "Topical" for Top Level Board Categories and "All" for Sub Level Board Categories. that will amass results from all of them in one search.

      as for your COTM question, it's actually a good point. but i imagine that if a situation like that was to arise, TPTB could just post a [locked] thread on the Veg board announcing that the COTM might be of interest, along with a link to the discussion in Home Cooking. that way, people could follow the link to join the discussion with everyone else on HC, and there would be no peripheral thread or tangential discussion on the Veg board that others might miss out on. just a thought.

      1. re: smtucker

        Hi smtucker,

        Thanks for your post. goodhealthgourmet is correct about the search feature - if you do a search of all the Topical boards, you'll still be able to find recipes, no matter which board they are on, with one search.

        goodhealthgourmet is also correct about linking a thread from one board to another. In fact, this is encouraged, especially at first as these boards get launched. If you want responses from two different boards, start the thread on the board you think is the best fit. Then, on the other board, start another thread, but instead of having a separate conversation there, link back to your first thread (just paste the address from the address bar into your post, it will become a link automatically) and ask people to post there.

        Anyone can post this 'pointer thread' - not just TPTB. In the case of the COTM, you could keep the main thread on the Home Cooking Board, and then post a pointer thread on the Vegetarian Board.

        Dave MP

        1. re: Dave MP

          i just meant that some "pointer" threads are probably best if locked and used merely as a directional tool so that the discussion doesn't get hijacked or splinter off too much.

      2. i actually navigated to Site Talk specifically to post a great big shout-out to you guys upon discovering our new boards, so....thank you, thank you, thank you!

        1. Thanks for ghetto-izing us vegetarians. I so very much appreciate it. (sarcasm, in case that wasn't obvious)

          3 Replies
          1. re: LNG212

            Our hope wasn't to ghetto-ize vegetarians, though that certainly was a concern we discussed beforehand, but to provide a supportive, central environment for discussions specific to people who eat limited diets.

            1. re: Jacquilynne

              I hope it is clear that vegetarian related cooking and travel discussions dont have to be transferred over to the new board since people who are not vegetarians are interested and participate in these threads. Its good if they are linked on the new board, however, and Im glad that CHOW was responsive in creating a space for folks with special diets to discuss their issues in depth.

            2. re: LNG212

              I thought that too, at first. But, there is one clear advantage to the Vegetarian board: when posts dissing a vegetarian's choice, even when it's wrapped with seemingly on-topic "helpful suggestions," it's very clear that post should be removed. When those helpful suggestions" are on a general board, the need for pruning is less obvious.

            3. Dave and I have added some threads to the Vegetarian / Vegan board to hold pointers to local discussions of interest to Vegetarians and Vegans.

              We've populated them with a few recent threads from each board, and we'll ask the mods to post pointers in those threads as well, when they move local discussions to local boards. If you know of a great report on a vegetarian restaurant in your area, or a great thread discussing the vegetarian options, please feel free to jump into those threads and post your own links (you don't need to follow the format we're using). We hope those threads will form an index to the Vegetarian threads on the local boards.

              Right now, we've created one thread per geographic group of boards. We thought a single thread for the whole site would be too crazy to be helpful to people, but a thread for each of the 70 or so regional boards would be overwhelming. As we see how much they're being used and what's getting pointed at, we may try to split out individual cities / boards or make other adjustments.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jacquilynne

                Not a bad idea. How about something similar for the Special Diets board? Here's a good start:


              2. What's the policy for threads on the Home Cooking board that are relevant to the Vegan / Vegetarian board?

                For example, this thread about making vegetarian gravy might be of interest: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/744678

                1 Reply
                1. re: ElsieDee

                  We're not generally moving old posts. If there's a currently active thread and someone brings it to our attention, we'll email the poster and ask them if they'd like it moved.

                2. Can we get the subtitle edited on the Special Diets board? I'm a paleo eater and low carb does not remotely define the diet. Removing grains, legumes and often dairy - eg. removing lectins and anti-nutrients and eating nutritionally dense food? That defines paleo. But there are a ton of paleo eaters who can eat their weight in fruit and veggies, and those are carbs. If you want some reference points, I'd suggest a quick review of Mark's Daily Apple or Paleohacks or Clothes Make the Girl or the Whole 9 folks (etc). Low carb correlates to paleo, but it isn't what paleo is.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Vetter

                    I'll look into this a bit more later this week or next week, and I can probably change it. My idea would be that it would instead read: ,"Use this board to discuss gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free, allergy-specific, paleo, and strict low-carb diets."

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      I think that's more accurate. Thank you!

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          I'd suggest eliminating "strict" as a modifier for low carb, which is practiced along a fairly wide spectrum of anywhere fromn 10-150 grams of carbs per day, though under 100 grams per day is the typical threshold.

                          1. re: Dave MP

                            these things keep proliferating - I would take out the word "strict" and add "and other special" before diets at the end

                            1. re: Dave MP

                              I updated this subtitle. Thanks!

                              Dave MP

                          2. I have not had a chance to read through all the comments, but just want to do a shout-out to say that giving a special place for special and vegetarian diets on CH is a good move.

                            However, my first reaction and concern, as shared by many others already, is that there will be massive overlap across boards. What if I am an individual looking to source ingredients for my special diet in my area? And what if these ingredients also commonly used in Vegan/Vegetarian diets??

                            May I suggest the idea of cross-posting (or multiple tags), which might be able to remedy some of these concerns and confusion? Will this concept be possible in some future of CH?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: vil

                              It would require a pretty large upheaval of the way our software works to do automatic cross-posting, so it's not likely in the short term.

                              If you're looking for ingredients or restaurants locally, please do post on your local board. If you'd like to attract the special attention of V/V board posters, you can post a heads up on the V/V board (there are a few threads already started for precisely this purpose).

                              Use the V/V board for discussing nationally available products, dishes at chain restaurants, recipes and menus, and other issues specific to vegetarianism and veganism. Think of the V/V board as a combination of the other boards in the "Topical" board group (General Topics, Chains, Home Cooking, etc), with a focus on vegetable-positive lifestyles, rather than a cross-over with the local boards.

                            2. Yet again people are posting about meat on the vegetarian/vegan forum. This is at least the 3rd time in the last couple of weeks this has happened.

                              I have no "beef" (teehee) with omnivores but I expect to not encounter discussion about meat on a specifically vegan/vegetarian section of the site when there are multitudes of other CH sections on which that topic would be welcomed for discussion. I really wish that there was a specific sticky or top-of-page guideline about this.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: antennastoheaven

                                You can Flag those and we'll take a look. A couple of times it's been threads that were moved to that board from elsewhere, but we'll remove them if we can do so without disrupting the conversation significantly.

                                It's also possible people have seen the post in the footer of the page and clicked through without realizing it was in the Vegetarian/Vegan category.

                              2. These boards are over 2 yrs old now. Plenty of time for users to discover them. Yet posts about vegetarian, gluten-free, and other special dietary restricted recipes are still cropping up on Home Cooking on a virtually daily basis. Almost none that are flagged are moved to these "new" boards. If you CH honchos aren't going to support these boards by moving inappropriate HC threads to them, why even bother creating such boards in the first place? It's not like there was a groundswell of demand, and even if there had been, it's not like you accede to posters'
                                requests with any sort of consistency.

                                Personally, I don't care whether recipes appear on 3 boards or 1, but the inconsistency is hypocritical.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  We don't consider threads about vegetarian, gluten-free, or otherwise restricted dishes or menus inappropriate for the Home Cooking board, and are fine with them living there or on the specialized boards, according to the original poster's preference. It's true that some posters are unaware of the Vegetarian & Vegan and Special Diets boards, but others who are familiar with them have specific reasons for posting their queries on Home Cooking, such as wanting greater exposure or, in the case of vegetarian queries, being interested in omnivores' input. Therefore, we won't automatically move flagged posts; rather, we'll often email the poster and ask if they'd like us to move the thread, and do so if they indicate that preference.

                                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                    THANK YOU!! I never understood the issue folks have with vegan, GF, etc requests on home cooking. Many folks request these types of recipes not because of special diet reasons. Why limit it?

                                    I am neither vegan, veggie, GF, etc but I love to cook and many recipes that I am looking for, while technically fit the "special diets", are not the reason I am searching. I am searching good food that will please many, and hopefully please my non GF, vegan, diabetic, veggie, etc friends/family. I find the special diets unwieldily because you have to wade thru so much ad hoc medical advice. If you or a family member/friend are newly diagnosed have it but for everyday meals? Home cooking is the place to be.

                                    Also, because I have no dietary restrictions I rarely frequent the special diets boards however I am damn good cook who happens to have family members that do require special diets. I think its great for those seeking recipes to cook at home to use the home cooking board so they can get input from folks like me not just those who want to tell why their diet will cure all that ails them.

                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                      Then you shouldn't have established those boards. It's obvious that unless you move such threads TO the V&V or SD boards, people will continue not to know those boards exist.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        I like the safe haven of the V&V board. I also like that the Medical Opinions board is segregated so much of the anti-doctor, anti-pharma rhetoric is obscured.

                                        Also, you forgot to include Kosher threads on Home cooking in your tirade.

                                        Edited to add there are times when I want a larger audience for my vegetarian cooking questions, so I may post to V&V as well as Home Cooking.

                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          I definitely see your point, but as MplsMary notes, the "safe haven" aspect of the V/V board is valuable. I'm neither vegetarian nor vegan, but I still find it very disheartening when requests for advice about preparing vegan dishes or pleasing vegan guests are met with derisive jokes about people who refuse to eat anything that casts a shadow, yuk yuk, amirite people? amirite? This is just a tiny sample:


                                          Posters who tell this joke once tend to tell it multiple times, whenever they can find a place for it, 'cause it's so high-larious. So even if the V/V board sometimes seems superfluous, it's still a welcome refuge, since it's unlikely to be visited by people who can't wrap their heads around why anyone would choose not to eat meat.

                                          1. re: small h

                                            I couldn't agree with you more! I do not think the V&V or SD or Kosher boards are superfluous, but I think CH honchos' failure to move threads dealing with those categories to the pertinent board.

                                            1. re: greygarious

                                              I think there's an argument to be made for having two options. I'd post on Home Cooking if I wanted more people to see my question about, say, mac & cheese, or gazpacho. However, I also share your desire for clarity and neatness. Quandary!