Sometimes people ask me what’s like to be a veggie legend when you travel a lot. Is it easy? Is it hard? Have I eaten any animal products while traveling? My answer to all of them is yes! And I don’t mean to sarcastic but even you vegan Queen that started rolling your eyes, I’m sure you’ve eaten something too. So shut it, Linda! (Cough cough)
Now, these days I don’t call myself vegan or plant-based anymore, because I’ll have the occasional egg and sometimes cheese on my pasta. I guess I went back to being vegetarian, however, I’m going vegan but won’t label myself ever again. The reason why I hate labels is that everybody is so quick to judge when you deviate from your “label”, and I get it, I’ve done it before. Yes, I was once one of those hardcore vegans. I remember when Kalel went back to eating meat, I was so quick to talk about how I didn’t understand it, perhaps because she was the reason why I started looking into veganism and the impact on the animals and the environment.
Long story short, I thought I’d come clean and say that even though I’m preaching the World vegan month, I am vegetarian. Satan in the eyes of some vegans, just kidding! So this is the reason why I titled it being “veggie” and not vegan.
Now don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that veganism is healthy when done correctly like any other lifestyle. But I also think that little changes in everyone’s diet would be super beneficial for our furry friends and the environment, by just reducing the consumption of animal products you’re helping a lot. We are all discovering ourselves, in the path to growth and I genuinely believe that someday a greater percentage of the world’s population will be eating a veggie diet. Look, there are 11% vegetarians and vegans in this world.
Now that I rambled a butt load and threw myself in the spot. Let’s talk about how I eat veggie while traveling, I’ll also talk about little mishaps that I had along the way.
Now, your travels all start at an airport, train or coach station. Those tend to be the easiest point to get some veggie food, there’s usually plenty of convenience stores, restaurants, and cafes in or around the area, so I won’t even get into it.
These are hard dude! I can’t count the number of times I’ve been hungry on a train or coach because I did not bring anything with me. Most trains have a bar onboard, however, the choice of veggie food is either small or none. Once I traveled from Porto to Lisbon on an intercity train with literally nothing on board that I could eat, the sandwiches were filled with chicken, ham or salmon, pretty much no other snacks apart from some traditional pastries with ham in it.
Do not rely on the onboard bar, because if they even have veggie options they tend to run low on stock and chances are that by the time you want one they’ll be sold out. Plan and pack food, whether you’re taking a bunch of fresh snacks or you good ol granola bar, but pack something for the journey.
When booking a flight check if they cater to vegetarians or vegans (same goes for intolerances or medical conditions), most airlines nowadays do and you can even see the sample menu online. If they do, then you don’t need to worry that much but pack a couple of snacks. Real story, once I got given a bag of celery with no dip as my snack on a long haul flight when everybody else had cake. I ain’t even kidding guys! In some airlines, you can notify them straight away when you buy the flight, but beware that a few airlines will only allow you to choose the diet on the day of check-in.
The thing with cruises is that they have options for everybody, they have multiple restaurants on-site that cater to everybody’s needs. So cruises are an easy one, just be sure to email them beforehand letting them know your restrictions so they can advise you which restaurants and bars will cater to your lifestyle.
Do you speak vegetarian?
When traveling to any country I try to learn a little bit about their gastronomy, culture and a few words in their language before I arrive. Vegetarian or vegan, alongside with hello, thank you and goodbye are words that I try to learn and write them down on my iPhone notes. This provides me with a little bit of confidence when buying street food or even when eating at restaurants that have no English menus. Plus when you show that you at least attempted to learn their language, people tend to show you appreciation and go the extra mile to help you out.
Learn about their traditional dishes beforehand. I’ll be in Vietnam when this post goes live, but before I boarded the plane I googled and read other blogs to find out about the Vietnamese cuisine. Now, this is very important, because if you know the names of the dishes you can and cannot eat before you travel then you’re pretty much secure that you won’t eat animal products. However, always ask before you order.
Technology is your second best friend.
Yes, I mean it. There are plenty of apps that you can download that will recommend the best veggie and vegan places based on your GPS locations. My ultimate favorite is Happy Cow, I’ve used it in multiple countries and it’s pretty much foolproof. It not only tells you all about the best veggie and vegan places but it also shows you the regular restaurants that have vegetarian or vegan dishes. It also has a cool feature if you’re into healthy foods or if you have intolerances, it shows you supermarkets or health shops that will cater to your needs.
I’ve read about other apps such as foursquare and zomato, however, I’m not quite sure if they wok in every single country. So I have my trusty Happy cow on hand all the time on my travels, and so should you! I’m not sponsored but I love it!
Be nice and don´t be a fussy eater
Don’t get upset if you cannot find anything that is veggie or vegan on the menu. Some countries aren’t big on vegetarianism or veganism, however, if you are nice and explain your needs most times people tend to help out and make some changes to the dishes to make it veggie for you. In these situations you cannot be a fussy eater, people are trying to help you out. Try it, taste it, allow your tastebuds to get used to it.
If all else fails, seek help in the veggie community. Look up online for bloggers that have been in the same country as you are, comment on their posts to seek answers, look up on TripAdvisor or even when you find a veggie cafe ask them for recommendations on what to eat so you can get a taste of the countries gastronomy.
If you have any thoughts on the veggie vs vegan controversies please let me know. And if you have some more tips comment them down below so we can all learn from it.