In honor of World Vegan Day, I want to share a bit of my story and how I stay vegan on the road.

This isn’t going to be a vegan rant, I’m not that type of vegan.

But if you want to see something pretty eye opening, watch this video. It shook me to my core.

When my high school human anatomy and physiology teacher told us to look closely at the muscle fibers in our next steak dinner to make comparison to human muscles, I nearly vomited in class. There was something incredibly visceral to think of a piece of cow having similar muscle fibers as humans. From that day in my junior year of high school, I have looked at the consumption of animals and their byproducts differently. I became vegetarian and then transitioned to being a vegan over time. I’m not perfect and have strayed from my vegan diet at times, but have found ways to stay on track over the years.

I understand that food choices are incredibly complex from an economic, cultural, and health standpoint.  This is a post about how I stay vegan on the road, while remaining sensitive to others.

I’ve chosen to be vegan because of the environmental, health, and ethical issues that eating animals and their byproducts cause. My reasons for going vegan could be a post in iteslf, but I’d rather focus on HOW to stay vegan on the road. These principles could also be applied to other types of diets such as gluten free or otherwise.

Keep reading to learn more about how to stay vegan on the road.

Get ready for questions:
People might wonder why you’re vegan, so be ready to chat. You might even get the ever popular “WHERE do you get your protein?” question. You might not have the answers to everything and that’s ok, just do you best to contribute to a open dialogue.

protien

Be vocal:
If you’re going to be visiting friends or family on the road, be sure to remind people of your dietary choices. This is not to say you should expect people to make special meals for you, but it’s good to have open lines of communication. Letting people know about your diet ahead of time is important, which takes me to my next item.

Share away:
If you’re staying with non-vegans be sure to cook and/or bring tasty vegan foods. Share vegan desserts or make scrumptious vegan recipes to demonstrate that vegan food isn’t just rice and beans.

Plan Ahead:
When I’m traveling to a new place I always use HappyCow to map out vegan friendly restaurants and cafes to visit. Not only does this help me discover new places to eat, but I find that vegan restaurants tend to be in interesting neighborhoods which is a win-win situation. Good eats and nice places to visit.

corn
Cornucopia: My favorite vegan/vegetarian resturant in Dublin, Ireland

Pack snacks:
While you can plan all you want, things don’t always go your way. I try to keep snack bars, nuts, and fresh fruit in my backpack so I don’t get stuck sans healthy eats.

Make substitutions:
Many meals can accommodate both animal eaters and vegans. If friends or family want to eat meat, have it cooked on the side. Easy to prepare pasta or burritos makes it easy for people with different diets to dine at the same table.

Keep in mind the WHY:
Sticking to a vegan diet helps me feel good physically and mentally as well. I try to keep in mind why I’m vegan so that I am more likely to stick to it.

cow
I try to keep the animals in mind. Sweet cows in Northern Ireland, most likely destined for a dinner plate.

Keep an open mind:
Because food is so intertwined with culture, it’s important to keep an open mind. Case and point, I had breakfast with a pig farmer in Ireland. It’s not my place to tell people what to do, but to learn about their background and share my own. Keeping an open mind is key to staying vegan on the road.

Whether you’re vegan or not, I hope this post is helpful to you in showing that it’s possible to travel the world and stick to a particular diet. Being vegan has allowed me to live in a way that reflects my morals in addition to eating in a healthy manner. For more information about the reason to go vegan and other vegan related goodies, please see the resources list below.

Happy World Vegan Day!

Helpful resources:

NutritionFacts.Org: A look into nutrition

Bite Sized Vegan: Awesome bite sized YouTube Videos

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: Thoughts on being a joyful vegan

Gene Baur on The Daily Show: Who doens’t love animals AND Jon Stewart?

Will Travel For Vegan Food: The joys of being vgan and traveling

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I leave you with this food for thought.
food

Thank you for reading.

Written in: Eugene, Oregon, USA

How to Stay Vegan on the Road

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