Vegan Travels: A Week With No Kitchen

Going vegan is easy when you have access to a kitchen and can make all of your own food. But what happens when you go away for an extended period of time, and you’re only eating at restaurants? If you’re going someplace where you speak the language, you’ll have an easier time adjusting any food orders. Going someplace you’re unfamiliar with or don’t speak the language, though, can be a little trickier.

Tomorrow, I’m going on a week-long vacation out of the country, and will be without a kitchen for the first time since I went vegan. If you’re looking for some ideas on traveling while vegan/gluten free, take a look at the guidelines that I’m planning to follow while I’m away. I’ll show you the snacks I’m taking with me too!

Language/cultural barriers:

If you’re visiting a foreign country, do some research before you go. You want to be able to clearly communicate your food preferences and avoid any awkward situations where you have to send back or refuse food, whether you’re in a restaurant or eating in someone’s home. Learn how to say specific phrases like “no cheese, milk, meat, gluten…” in the local language so you know how to order correctly.

Make your special request list: 

Eating at restaurants can be really difficult with food allergies, especially if it’s a price fixed menu or a buffet. You should have a list of easy-to-make foods that most restaurants will have on hand, and can probably make for you by special request. I usually order plain rice or pasta with olive oil and veggies when I can’t find anything to eat at a restaurant, because french fries alone are NOT a real dinner!

Still hungry? Pack some snacks!

When you’re eating every single meal at a restaurant, your diet can start to get a little bit unbalanced. Maybe you’re lacking in protein or you just didn’t get enough food, and a nice vacation is no place to get a visit from the hangry monster. This is why I bring extra snacks with me that are protein-rich, non-perishable, and easy to travel with! Here’s my list:

-Almond milk “juice boxes”: single-serving almond milk containers that I can pack in my suitcase and have each day with cereal, coffee, etc. (like this one, for example)

-Ziploc bag of gluten free rice cereal in case breakfast options are limited–my favorite are these “cocoa snapz”, and they come in an easy-to-carry environmentally friendly bag!

-1 small jar of almond butter to use on toast, fruit, or veggies if I’m feeling a little bit protein deficient

-Small bag of trail mix: cashews, almonds, craisins, and gluten free pretzels

-GoMacro protein bars (my favorite are the Banana + Almond Butter)

Vegans On A Plane

Plane food is just the worst. Airport food is usually not much better. So I pack a full meal for the plane, even if it’s a short flight. You might think it’s only a few hours of traveling, but you’ll still spend time going through customs, finding your luggage, finding a car, driving to the hotel…and by that time it’s been another three hours, you’re starving, and you’re thinking about eating your shoes. Instead, you can save your shoes and pack the following:

-Avocado/veggie sushi–it’s a no-mess lunch option and packs easily in your bag!

-Almond butter + jam sandwich–does not need to be refrigerated so it won’t spoil quickly, and has protein to keep you full

-Banana

-An orange for hydration–planes are very dehydrating, and an orange is a naturally hydrating fruit. Not to mention it’s got tons of immune boosting Vitamin C, which is a great thing for all the germs you come into contact with on a plane!

-I will also buy a large water and a coconut water at the airport to stay hydrated during the flight.

 

Whether you’re staying home or traveling across the world, I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday, and I’ll see you back here next year! 🙂

-Perri

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Holiday Survival Tips

So you’ve made this big change in your life, you’re eating healthier, you feel great, and now you have to go to a big family dinner where nobody understands your choices and will probably not be serving foods that you can eat. The holidays can be a stressful time even without the extra food restrictions, so here are some tips to avoid the stress that goes along with being a vegan in a non-vegan world:

1) Don’t assume that anybody knows what you can and can’t eat! They might not know exactly what your dietary preferences are. Be specific in your examples. When I go to a family dinner, I tell them I cannot eat milk, cheese, eggs, meat, or bread, but that I would LOVE some green beans with garlic and oil. I once told someone I was a vegan without giving examples–I got a dairy-free cookie with eggs in it, but I really appreciated the effort. They just didn’t know what vegan meant, and that’s OK! If you’re going to a non-vegan party, ask the host if you can see the menu beforehand, and let them know about any specific dietary restrictions. They might ask what kind of food they can make or order for you, or you can offer to bring your own. Your friends and family might even want to try what you brought! Choose something that travels easily and can be reheated and served in someone else’s kitchen with minimal effort.

2) Don’t get preachy. There’s nothing worse than sitting down to a dinner you’ve been looking forward to and having someone tell you how it’s terrible for you and how could you possibly put that into your body? You’ve made a choice to go vegan or gluten-free, but nobody else at the table has made that choice, and they shouldn’t feel bad about that. Offer your food as an exciting option: “Hey look! Cool hipster food! Try something new!” but don’t try to convert others at their favorite meal of the year.

3) Have your elevator pitch ready to go. If you haven’t seen your family and friends in a long time (or if you have recently seen them, and then they forgot they asked you already), be patient with their questions. They may genuinely be interested in why you chose this lifestyle, or they might disagree with it and tell you it’s silly. Either way, if you already know what your 30-second answers are to “why did you go vegan? how is it helping you? what can you eat?” you won’t spend the entire night trying to teach everyone about your food, since that can get a little exhausting.

4) Have snacks on hand for emergencies. If you’re going to a party that will have nothing you can eat, and something goes wrong with your food or the party goes on for a long time and you get hungry later, you’ll want to have a backup plan.  Pack some trail mix, granola bars, fruit, cookies, or a PB&J so you can avoid any blood-sugar related issues and you won’t be tempted to eat something you’re not supposed to.

5) Have fun! Enjoy spending time with your friends and family, and don’t stress too much about the food–with a little bit of planning, you can have a great dinner wherever you are!