Over summer I was lucky enough to go on a lot of holidays, but I was fairly apprehensive about how I would stick to veganism whilst away, with all the temptation of ice-cream and also not always having the ready available vegan substitutes. However, I was determined to not let my decision rule or negatively impact my holidays. Whilst I had all good intentions to stick to my veganism as best I could, I was not going to make it the focus of everyday, nor did I want to make other people worry about me and what I was going to eat. I feel that as soon as you see veganism or any lifestyle change as a restriction instead of a choice, you can begin to resent your decision and struggle to stick to it even more.
Holidays are my favourite times, they’re times to do, see and eat out of the ordinary things, with people that you don’t often get to spend lots of time with, this was going to be my focus. I generally hate people fussing over me, especially if my eating choices have affected their enjoyment of eating because they are worrying that there is nothing on the menu for me. With this blog post I intend to demonstrate how with a bit of preparation and extra thought, veganism is easy on holiday (most of the time).
My first piece of advice is to invest in an app that my best friend Kate recommended to me. It’s called Happy Cow and it can be found on the app store for £3.99, which might sound steep but realistically, it’s about the price of a coffee! This app changed the game for me whilst I was on holidays. You can tailor it to you, being able to choose whether you want a solely vegan or vegetarian place, or whether you just wanted somewhere with vegan or vegetarian options. I think the latter option is great, since I don’t know about anyone else but when I take someone to a vegan restaurant I always feel under pressure for it to be amazing so that the person (often a non-vegan) that I have taken there is not disappointed and lives to resent/disagree with veganism even more! This option eliminates that worry, since all of us can eat the food we choose, everyone is happy.
This app is great because it not only shows you what eateries are nearby, but it also is a place for previous customers to post pictures and also written reviews about their experience there, which can really affect your decision. Kate said that she’s even used this app in Vietnam, so its obviously useable worldwide, which just proves how worthwhile it is! I’ll include some pictures of the app which will probably show you better than I can explain how easy and useful it is to use!
Probably the most useful tip I have when going away is to take porridge sachets with you. From personal experience, when away, the most vegan friendly breakfast option you will find is beans on (often butter-less) toast! Whilst this would be fine on the odd occasion, with porridge you can be sure to have something tasty and sweet every day, not to mention being able to bring your own toppings or buying some fruit to customise it! I normally take some Bourneville with me (completely committed to the “you’re on holiday, ‘treat yo’ self'” mind set) which just makes the sometimes mundane porridge extra creamy and indulgent. Taking porridge really does make things so much easier, although prepare to feel a little bit odd when everyone is sat eating breakfast and you’re not, something I don’t think Mat’s mum Julie liked too much, after asking me loads of times if I wanted beans on toast (love you Julie)!
This next piece of advice links with the previous one well but for times of hunger and without the ability to find a quick fix, breakfast bars will be your best friend! I always take a variety with me just so that I never run out and I’m never stuck for choice, which I find just stops me feeling limited and therefore not resenting my vegan choice!
This tip may seem obvious but you’d be surprised just how easy it is to ‘vegan-ify’ meals! Just make sure you read the menu properly, there will always be something you or the kitchen can do. Maybe even look to have several starters instead of one main, I love doing this because as those who know me well will know, I’m a grazer at heart! You can have your own version of tapas every meal, why have one meal when you can have 4?!
The final piece of advice I have I see to be the most important, just relax! Holidays are meant to be enjoyable, so please don’t waste all of your time worrying and feeling guilty. I try to be vegan whenever I can on holiday, but it is not the most important thing whilst being away. Instead of getting myself down about something having milk or cheese in, I remind myself of the amazing decisions I make on a day-to-day basis to be vegan. Instead of dwelling on the 1% of the time where it’s not possible, think about the 99% of the time where it has been. Whatever changes you make still make a difference, one non-vegan meal does not undermine the 1,000’s of vegan meals you have eaten, so just remain rational and remember that you are trying your best.
Until next time,