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


-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! 🙂



A Vegan Goes To The Chew’s Ugly Sweater Party

sweaters The Chew is one of my all-time favorite cooking shows. They give great advice and I’ve learned a ton by watching their expert chefs. As a vegan who has to prepare most of my own food, I welcome any and all cooking tips. I’m always inspired by their creative recipes, and love experimenting to “veganize” what they make on the show. I was absolutely thrilled yesterday to get to attend a taping of The Chew’s fourth annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Party with my mom and our friend Lori! You can see me and my mom in our ugly sweaters and antlers, which were probably the least offensive ones in the audience, and some cool photos of the set because I’m a huge TV nerd.

There were three recipes on the show yesterday that could be so easily veganized, so I have to share them because they looked amazing (sadly, I did not get to taste any). First, Daphne Oz shared a caramelized carrot quinoa salad. Aside from the goat cheese which can be replaced with my almond cheese, your preferred vegan cheese, or simply left out, the recipe is completely vegan, gluten free, and soy free. I’d call that a win!

setThe second recipe was fried cheese tortellini from Clinton Kelly. While this would probably be a difficult one to veganize unless there is a packaged vegan cheese tortellini I haven’t seen yet (anyone know of one?), it did give me the idea to make fried mac and “cheese”. Get excited for that recipe coming next week!

The third recipe was a holiday rib roast with a rosemary-garlic crust from Mario Batali (with some help from the guest star Anika Noni Rose, who voiced my favorite Disney princess, but we’ll get to that later). While this is probably the least vegan of the three, it would be so easy to use tofu or seitan instead of the rib roast and still get all of the rosemary-garlic and mushroom gravy deliciousness. Switch out the beefstock for vegetable stock, and the butter for coconut oil, and you’ve got an Iron Chef-inspired vegan roast. How awesome does that sound?

I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here to gush about the unbelievably talented Anika Noni Rose, who voiced Tiana in the Princess and the Frog. I had a bit of a fan-girl moment when she was announced as the guest, because that movie is one of my favorites. Anika spoke about how amazing it was to bring the first African American Disney princess to life. Tiana is such a great role model for girls, working two jobs to achieve her dream of opening her own restaurant instead of just hoping to marry a prince (seriously, if you have not seen this movie, you should). I love the movie and the soundtrack, and am now really in the mood to make some New Orleans-inspired dishes—vegan crab cakes, anyone?IMG_3453

Seeing The Chew live was such an incredible experience, and I highly recommend adding it to your list of cooking shows if you don’t already watch it. It’s a great way to get inspired with new recipes and learn some tricks to make cooking even easier. I’d love to read about what inspires you to create new recipes in the comments below!