Vegan Traveler or the Vegan on Patrol, NO NEED TO WORRY WHILST OUT AND ABOUT!

Wrights World Map

go-veganMany people say two things, well, lets expand lest I oversimplify my thought.  Many people upon hearing I am vegan seem to shift to a select group of themes regarding my dietary preference.  These usually come in the form of, A. How do you get protein, my natural thought pattern will usually tend towards –  gee I dunno, same place a damn Brontosaurus {Rhina, Elephant, Gorilla et cetera} did.  And, B. What about cheese, I would simply die without it, to which I think –  goodness, thank heavens you don’t have any big responsibilities on our planet, and many, upon learning of my bike ride, immediately ask what I do for food as though another country is now another planet with beings that do not eat food as we know it here on this one.  We wonder why racism abounds to this day… Sigh.  It is this last comment that I wish to address with this post as it would break my hear t to think that some of you actually forgo trips beyond your comfort zone, i.e., wherever you live or are at least sure to not have much of a break in your routine.

This will not be a complex article, and I am hoping that it serves the purpose of impressing upon you a near urgency to travel… very far.  Travel I fully believe is the one thing which will bring the madness we currently see and hear raining down about our ears to a halt.  many of you are vegan and or vegetarian, well, no real and or about that, one or the other, apologies, and you do so as you feel that aside from helping you lead healthier lives and that animals are not cruelly treated, though in the case of the vegetarians, unless you are going to farms that milk by hand, you are living in lala land, my point is this, many of you have these diets as you want to see a better world.  Well, don’t let your diet restrict you from actually seeing it.

The first thing I want to look at is the last word in the first paragraph.  Routine.  This is a tricky word and for many, even when you travel, if you are unable to do certain things with zero deviation from what you are used to on a daily basis, you begin to become unhappy and find yourself wishing you were back home.  This is sad and unfortunately very common.

Lets look at some ways around this.  For starters, and yes I am getting to how to eat when you are not surrounded by megaplex grocery stores and Starbucks, back to routine.  There is routine and ritual.  Ritual is having a cup of coffee in the morning.  Routine is having a cup of coffee in the morning from the same coffee shop, down the street in a certain way, for instance, every morning when you awake, you do your morning thing, go to the local – insert name here – speak to – one of a few names here – behind the counter and order your – insert drink here – .  THAT, is a routine.  Many of you have many of them and may not even realize it.  I mention this and will now compare to ritual as it is important to note where discomfort comes from so you do not inadvertently blame a country or city or town or village when it need not bear the brunt of your, how shall we say, intricacies.  Ritual is simply starting your day with a cup of coffee with no real attachment beyond that.  Could be instant from a street vendor, it is merely there to help start the day.  Please meditate on this as it is a very key factor for why many are seemingly unable to eat vegan when out and about.

Second, we need to understand some basics of economy and global finance.  I do this so that logic helps to dictate this and not simply my word which many of you have no clue who I am, so your logic will help lend credence to my next sentences.

Most countries have their own form of vegetarianism/veganism, let us simply say plant based diets, due to the relative high cost of meat and dairy.  There are not the windfall of government subsidies based on lobbyists, of which we here in the USA enjoy a ridiculous amount of, coming from both the dairy and meat industries, while the organic vegetables lobbyists all see to be held hostage in a yet to be determined location… Not that it would seem anyone has even begun looking for them except Monsanto and that is decidedly NOT a good thing for you the budding vegetarian/vegan.  My point is this, know that whatever country you are gong to, your odds of being able to be fed well as plant based eater are very high, UNLESS of course you go to some far out places like the Antarctica or a snow bound region during the winter months, like the Steppe region in Mongolia that doesn’t enjoy a glut of European or United States influx of foreign produce.

In Asia, you will hear tell of the Buddha Diet, aka, vegan or at the very least vegetarian as with India, where, yes they have their Ghee, but they have more vegetarian and ergo vegan options, once you learn how to dance so to speak with the locals.  Many religions are plant based as they see the supreme importance of not eating animals.  Even Christanity states in the very beginning of the Good Book, “I have given you all the seed bearing plants and herbs to use.”.  Buddhism, Hinduism, The Muslim faith, so many religions, as you become an adept and reach higher and higher levels, the import of not eating animals or their by products, example: Dairy, becomes a given.

Fear not, the rest of the world has been doing this long before you thought of it and lucky you!  Its already set up, you just need to tune in.

Ghee by the way is a clarified butter used in cooking, very popular in South Asia, India, Pakistan, Iran and other countries.

Things that will help greatly in your travel is an ability to cook or in other words, to feed yourself.  Being able to cook, allows you to look at a menu with vegan eyes.  This means you will be able to look at what is in other dishes and remake them in your mind into food for yourself.  It is so very easy in countries that use mainly vegetables and dairy as removing dairy is very easy, especially with your failsafe detailed just a bit further on.

Now here comes subsection B to this, you need to learn to work with people.  In this case your wait staff, whether they be a young boy in the middle of Thailand, or the middle aged gentleman in the top story of an exclusive Singapore Hotel.  You must be personable, and this I believe is where most of the trouble comes in for people who complain of not being able to eat vegan when they travel.  We are simply, I speak now as one raised in the USA, not used to being kind and understanding of cultural differences, much less actually working through them with patience in order to get what we want, i.e. F O O D.  That we are hungry merely exacerbates said situation and the result can be catastrophic, well, I digress, the result can be missing a meal, which, if you are unable to work with someone to feed yourself, perhaps missing a meal will bring you back down to earth a bit, considering half the world does this an a daily basis.  Hmmm=]

VeganPassportOne method which is rather failsafe is the Vegan Passport available from the Vegan Society.  This book covers roughly 95% of the earths languages and says the same thing in all of them, please feed me, I am about to die and I do not eat anything that comes from animals.  Im kidding….=]  Its a wonderful little book and can be used when all of your miming and charades are seemingly getting you no where at all.  It is written with the most eloquence available and is sure to NOT have you trussed up and plopped into a vat of boiling oil!  It even has the failsafe section – vegan failsafe




Now we’re getting somewhere!

I have traveled to many different countries, The from the Mid East, to Asia, Australia, Europe, never a problem, there are simply no problems eating if you are a nice person willing to take a bit of time, not be an obnoxious rude tourist and take things with a grain of salt.  As we said before, one of the reasons for this diet is to have a more peaceful planet, remember that when you order a meal.

If when ordering you see that your explanations are not working, that the people do not care for your thoughts on animal cruelty or your holistic meat and dairy free approach to the diner table, not time to make them “See the Light”, no, in fact it is time for you to pull out your ninja card…

“Oh, Im terribly sorry, you see, I am actually allergic to dairy and after my stomach surgery, for some strange reason I can no longer digest meat of any kind.  I will simply die right here on the spot in a most horrible fashion, so, whaddya say we try this again?”.  Be full of smiles and understanding, touch your stomach from time to time, make it real.  It isn’t your job to convert people to the Vegan lifestyle, it is your job to eat, enjoy what you are eating and have an enjoyable time wherever you find yourself.

If you are in a very poor place, be prepared to pay for a meal you did not eat if it came out not according to your liking.  Not because you have anything to fear from the locals, but because you are compassionate and you understand and can identify.  In all of this, identify with your fellow humans as much as you do the animals you are refraining from eating.

Sometimes a plate of beans may come out with cheese sprinkled on it, scrape off the cheese, thank them and ask for another spoon or two of beans and RE-emphasize the no cheese request.  You must be willing to go with the flow.  As soon as you start getting upset you are not being a good vegan.  Your goal, again, is to eat and show that world that we are not assholes.  That is how you convert people. Vegan

If you find yourself in Asia, mention Buddha, or the Buddha diet and bring your hands together in a prayer position when you say the name.  Buddha is a safe God to speak of even if you are in a country that worships another God.  This is a consideration which is why I bring it up, you start spouting off about Christ in the middle of some places it may not fare well.  Don’t forget the amount of people that have died because of certain religious names.  To date, the monks who worship Buddha have yet to strike out and seek to convert the world to their way of thinking.  This is important and you would do well to show respect!  Now when I say this to you, I am not making light, I am being serious, you are vegan as no animals are used in your food, this is benevolence, by invoking the Buddha in Asia, you must not be flippant, do you understand, take it to heart and mean what you say and everything works out great.

You will want to take a few things with you, these will be superfoods and will fill in any gaps that may arise from an incomplete choice of fruits, vegetables, legumes [beans] and whatever else does not come from an animal.

1.  Nutritional Yeast.  Very light weight, extremely potent, covers your B’s intake which is supremely important [lack of B’s have resulted in misdiagnosis of Alzheimers, depression, a slew of unneeded complications], zinc and some other vitamins and minerals.  Very inexpensive and extremely powerful.

2.  Spirulina.  This is an algae in comes in Pill and powder form.  Basically a natural multi-vitamin.  I recommend the one from Hawaii, partially because I actually saw the place and met the people and it comes pre-packaged with Aloha and that is always a great thing!

3.  Cordyceps Mushrooms.  I have only ever found it in, obviously its natural form, and that of capsules.  Cordyceps are a powerful immune and overall enhancer for the body.  Very powerful!

4.  Maca Powder or Peruvian Ginseng.  An androgenic compound that keeps you ninja, click on the title for full information.  This is a luxury, take it if you have the room, otherwise, I have listed them in order from most important to carry to the least.

Check back in a week or so and I will have this updated.