What about when you travel? 🍕 ✈️ 🏃♀️ 🍇
When people hear that I’m vegan (whole food plant based) there are a lot of “what abouts”. What about when you travel is a big one so I thought I’d share a recent trip. I’m very fortunate to have loving parents who let me accompany them on their European adventure. We flew to Geneva where we rented a car and drove to Annecy, Cannes, Antibes, St. Tropez then back to Annecy to round out the trip. Being plant based abroad was easier than you might think! Thanks to the internet and apps/sites like Happy Cow we were able to find wonderful options. It’s a joy to find and eat at vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants. With a compassionate mission driving their business, I’ve found that they are more than just the food on your plate. When you eat something that was made with love and intention, it just tastes different and feels better in your body. Thanks to Happy Cow, I found restaurants Granny Smith in Annecy and Graze in Antibes and got to meet the chef and owner of each. Connecting with these passionate and incredible chefs was a highlight of my trip. You leave with a sense of community and your heart (and belly!) are full.
When vegan restaurants are scarce to non-existent, most restaurants these days have a vegan menu on request. If there’s no vegan menu and the only options are sides, you can kindly ask for a meal made without animal products - which usually ends up looking more fun and appetizing. Many times when my meal arrives the non-vegans comment that they wish they’d ordered what I did. As an example, if there’s pizza, ask for it without cheese, but add extra toppings. Fortunately, in the veg world, options and combinations are endless. I quickly learned that classic bread in France is vegan so hitting up a boulangerie became a daily ritual for my mom and me 😋🍞🥖. We were noshing on fresh, warm whole grain bread, olive bread, dried fruit and nut loaves on the daily and loving it. Shopping at grocery stores saves money and guarantees you can eat whole food plant based (WFPB)! Beans, greens, potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies, bread, grains, nuts, seeds, fruit, dried fruit, and much more will keep you satiated and energized for your adventures. More and more stores carry vegan meats, cheeses, yogurt, etc; it was so cool finding these products in grocery stores throughout France. Airbnb makes it easy to stay at a home with a kitchen so you can make meals and pack snacks. At a hotel, ask for a hot water boiler for morning oatmeal. John and I always travel with a bag of oatmeal and spices like cinnamon for a reliable, quick and filling meal - just add water! Top with fresh fruit from the store like banana and berries.
The plus side of eating whole plant foods is having loads of energy to get over jet lag, sleep well, and get out to sightsee! My favorite way of exploring a new environment is by running. By eating this way you reap so many benefits including less inflammation, which means feeling fully energized to enjoy each day (on a side note, I haven’t gotten a cold since going fully plant based over a year ago! As a pediatric nurse working with kids, I used to get colds at least quarterly. This has been a huge benefit!). I’ve been asked what I miss the most now that I’m vegan. And the answer is honestly, nothing. Because I’ve gained so much more and I never feel deprived. I feel better than ever, I’m able to run for hours without fatigue, inflammation or pain. I get to eat delicious food and meet incredible, inspiring people and connect with a compassionate community. I no longer see animals and their secretions as food. When I see meat, eggs, and dairy I see suffering and exploitation. But when I see plant based foods I see health, vitality and wellness.
It is much easier to stick to something when you’re intrinsically motivated and you’re doing it for something greater. After educating yourself on how eating animals destroys our health, the environment, and of course the animals; the “what abouts” disappear. The scenarios where you once pictured restriction and missing out are now filled with delicious new life giving experiences. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for many reasons, and the new joy and adventure it’s brought to traveling is one of them!