Most people believe that being vegan or vegetarian is very difficult, the truth is that like any lifestyle it needs to become habitual to be lived well. Many vegetarians give up during travels with the assumption that it is hard to stay true to their principles while on the road or it is offensive to reject food. Here are some tips that come from a vegetarian traveler who has seen the world and stayed vegetarian while traveling:
- Plan ahead: read about the destination and the eating patterns of the place. Some countries have a highly vegetarian based diet such as South east Asia or India, but in others take a look to find common vegetarian dishes, there are some very good ones in any place.
- Do not be shy about your lifestyle: it is not true that people do not understand or they get offended because one is vegetarian. In my experience most people admire the discipline and the good effects of this way of eating and living.
- Cook a little more: during my travels I am always ready to prepare a lot of my food. I normally prefer fresh ingredients but my compromise goes toward eating more canned vegetables and grains along with local fruits, it is always fun to explore the regional products.
- Visit open markets and grocery stores: this in some ways falls under the category of planning ahead. Markets are some of the most fascinating places to discover local culture and one is able to find amazing delicious vegetables and fruits for very affordable prices. Almost anywhere around the world one can find a good grocery store, ask about it in your hotel or hostel.
- Visit vegetarian restaurants and do not be afraid to ask for substitutions in a normal restaurant: Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are becoming trendy and in most cases they are more affordable that regular restaurants. In a regular restaurant you may actually suggest a substitution in any given dish or ask for a suggestion, they always have been pleased to accommodate my requests.
- Carry some of your own food from home: before traveling I visit my local grocery store, and after reading about what can be brought to a country I pack my bag with a generous supply of the delicacies that I enjoy at home.