Travelling Vegan: It’s Not As Hard As You’d Think
“But how can you live without cheese!?” I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not as hard as you’d think.
Since the beginning of last year I have adopted a “flexetarian” diet in which I try my best to stay away from foods which have animal products in them for environmental reasons. While I am not yet a full vegan, my sister has been for over a year now, so I spoke to her about what it’s like to travel vegan. Although it’s commonly believed that it’s incredibly difficult, from what we’ve learnt together, it’s really not as hard as you’d think.
First off, let’s just make sure everyone knows what vegan is. It means no meat, no chicken, no fish, but it takes it one step further than vegetarians and means no products produced by animals – no dairy and no eggs being the main differentiating factors. There are many reasons for switching to a vegan diet, with some of the most common being ethical, health and environmental reasons.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay true to your vegan diet while you travel.
Download the Happy Cow App
The Happy Cow App is a great way to find local restaurants that cater to vegans and vegetarians. You can view nearby vegan restaurants in various categories, such as “Bakery,” “Chinese” or “Organic” and then can read reviews, bookmark the restaurant for later or use a map to navigate there. While there are plenty of restaurants in which you can ask specifically for a vegan meal, there’s something great about being able to order one straight off the menu – and this app will help you find places where that is possible.
Pizza is always an option
Whenever I tell people I’m going to order a vegan pizza they stare at me, baffled. “But a pizza without cheese is just bread and tomato sauce” is the most common response I get. This is where they’re wrong. Yes, a pizza without cheese is different, however, it’s just as good. Just top it up with extra vegetables and you won’t even miss the cheese. No matter where you travel, Italian is often available, so if you decided to order a pizza, just request it without cheese and there you have a wonderful vegan meal. As vegan diets are becoming more common around the world, many pizza places now offer vegan cheese as an alternative! French fries and falafels are also options that are widely available and normally vegan.
Keep vegan snack bars in your bag
Vegan snack bars such as the ones made by “Nakd” are a great back-up to keep in your bag for when you get hungry. Small but full of protein, these bars are a delicious way to refuel while on a hike or any time you’re out and about. Packing snacks for a day out is also a great way to save money on expensive snacks while you’re out.
Make a translation card to show waiters
If you’re traveling somewhere where you think translating your dietary requirements may be difficult, consider printing off a translation card where you state what you cannot eat in both English and the language of your destination. This card can be shown to waiters at restaurants so they know what you can and cannot eat.
Do your research
While you’re abroad, you may be in places where you find it difficult to find forms of protein that are common back at home. For example, humous, which is often eaten as a protein filled snack in the Western world, is almost impossible to find in Japan. It’s up to you to do your research and find out what local foods will provide you with enough protein.
It’s not hard!