5 Tips for Traveling While Vegan

Veganism is the next big thing. It is easier now than ever before to pursue a plant-based diet either as a full-on lifestyle change, or as a method of incorporating more veggies into your diet. But what do you do while traveling? Chuck it all out the window? You don't have to! As a vegan of over 5 years and a lover of all things travel, here are my 5 tips for traveling while vegan.

by Unsplash

by Unsplash

1. Use HappyCow.

If you haven't heard of HappyCow, check it out! I absolutely love this website. Other vegans and vegetarians will add restaurant listings, which are approved by the facilitators of the platform, and add reviews. You can see whether or not a place is vegan, vegetarian, or sells meat but has some vegan items on its menu.

 I find myself veering towards vegan restaurants if I'm traveling solo, or with others that like vegan food. If not, then the veg-friendly option is super helpful! You can see what vegan options they have, and whether or not they're any good, from the reviews on HappyCow.

 Some of my favorite meals in my life have been from restaurants listed on this website, and I have yet to visit one country that doesn't have a listing on HappyCow. Try this out if you're new to being vegan while traveling. You won't be disappointed!

 

2. Go to the grocery store.

I find this the best piece of advice for my wallet, travel experience, and veganism. Why? Because grocery stores vary quite a bit depending upon where you are in the world. There is a wealth of information you can learn about a culture just by perusing the aisles of its grocery stores.

 If you're staying in a place with a kitchen, you can even pick up some food and cook, instead of eating out for every meal. I have saved who-knows-how-much money just from this travel hack alone. And, to top it all off, I've experienced grocery stores so different from mine at home. What a cool outing!

by Unsplash

by Unsplash

3. Be culturally sensitive—but stick to your guns.

There is a sometimes-heated argument about whether or not vegans should change for travel, in order to be culturally sensitive. I lean more towards no, because there are secretly vegan local dishes all around the world. Also, this is more of a personal choice, because I went vegan due to health issues. If I eat meat, I run the risk of becoming seriously ill. However, I still want to be respectful of my hosts when I travel. It can be difficult to balance!

 In my experience, it is best to be honest and forthcoming about your dietary restrictions, but not to compromise them. This is especially important for those of us with severe allergies, or stomach problems. At the end of the day, do what's best for you! If that means eating differently while traveling and adopting a vegan diet sometimes, then that's that. But, if you want to be vegan 100% of the time, it is doable while traveling, and you can do so without being disrespectful.

 This is another reason why HappyCow is so great! It helps you connect with vegans from the country you're visiting, because the overwhelming majority of the restaurants listed are locally-owned and operated. It's also a way to contribute to the local economy. I always like to take the opportunity to ask the staff their favorite places to see and things to do in the destination. Sounds like a win-win to me!

 

4. Try local cuisine made vegan.

Depending on your destination, there may be a plethora of vegan options available from cultures all around the world. I still like to try at least one meal, even if it's at a veg-friendly place, that is a local dish made vegan. I've found that some of my favorite meals are these!

 For example, I recently tried vegan haggis in Scotland. Haggis is a sheep dish that is very traditionally Scottish--I'd never heard of it before arriving to Edinburgh. A local veg-friendly restaurant had a vegan version of it, and I fell head-over-taste buds in love.

 Should you try that highly-rated Vietnamese fusion restaurant in Amsterdam? Absolutely! But, should you also try the vegan haggis in Scotland? Yes, yes, yes. Not only is it a culturally enriching experience, but it also appreciates and celebrates the uprising of the vegan community all around the world.

by Unsplash

by Unsplash

5. Engage with vegans from all around the world.

This also comes from trying local restaurants that are either all vegan, or have a few vegan options. Chat with the staff a little bit! Obviously, if they're busy, then they're busy. But, if not, then ask them about their hometown. I'm always happy to share off-the-beaten-path advice about my own hometown of Nashville, TN. Locals are a gold mine of information about places to see that you maybe never considered, and you can give advice based upon your own experiences in return.

 From using HappyCow and then traveling to different areas of the world, trying vegan restaurants, and chatting with the staff a bit, I have met so many incredible people. The owner of a vegan restaurant in Tokyo walked me through their whole menu, asked me about my experience as a vegan, and told me a little bit about day trips I should take. This was only my first night in the city, and I already had ideas for all the loose parts of my itinerary!

 There are vegan friends to be made all around the world. All it takes is for you to put yourself out there, and try something different.

 

There you have it, folks! I've learned so much about the world, myself, and my body as both a vegan, and a traveler. My experiences around the globe have been made so great by my interactions with the vegan community that can be found in every corner of the world. Veganism and travel have both brought me such balance and inner-peace. Vegan or not, I hope you find the same. Be well, and keep exploring!

 

 by Sarah from Sarah L. Travels

Sarah is a writer and blogger from Music City, USA with an intense case of the travel bug. On her blog, Sarah L. Travels, she writes about travel, veganism, and plain ole life. When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book or planning her next adventure.

 You can follow her & her adventures below:

Blog: https://www.sarahltravels.com/

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahltravels/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahltravels/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahltravels/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahltravels 

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Great Food in Florida - Cafe Evergreen in Nokomis, Florida

At Florida Fun Travel, we always are looking for restaurants that pay real attention to the food they serve and how it's served. This is not always easy, as most places cater to the Standard American diet. Imagine our surprise when we found this gem in Nokomis, Florida of all places.

As many of you who follow our blog know, Mrs Funmeister is a vegetarian. Naturally, this then figures in when we pick restaurants. On our first trip to Venice, we discovered The Cafe Evergreen. Based on rave reviews on TripAdvisor we decided to try it.


The restaurant actually is located in Nokomis, inside a former post office. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the floor plan works well. 

Cafe Evergreen

Cafe Evergreen

Both times we dined there, the place was packed. That being said the wait for a table was not very long. They also had a number of options including a lunch counter and outdoor seating for those more impatient.

Evergreen’s dining area has a lot of tables but is not cramped

Evergreen’s dining area has a lot of tables but is not cramped

The Food

The real attraction is the food. They use only the best ingredients to keep their food “clean.” By that, they mean house-made and no preservatives. Moreover, they look for no GMO foods, buy organic ingredients when possible and prefer to use local sources. 

Our dining experiences showed that to be the case. The first time around, I had the Buffalo Burger with superfood slaw, while Mrs Funmeister went with the Raw Avocado Sliders with sweet potato fries. 

combination – it tastes great and is simultaneously healthy

combination – it tastes great and is simultaneously healthy

Yes, the Buffalo Burger is real bison. It also is infused with Feta cheese, roasted red peppers and fresh herbs. Her sliders were served in taco-shaped dehydrated onion bread slices. The smashed avocado was infused with pico de gallo and micro greens. 

We were amazed and delighted at the diversity of the Cafe Evergreen menu, which included breakfast, lunch, dinner and even wine, beer and cider selections.

The Second Go ‘Round

Many times when you go to so-called "natural" or "vegetarian" restaurants, the portions are small and expensive. Not here, they are more than generous. In fact, we came back on a subsequent trip and were even more impressed.

Second Time Around at Cafe Evergreen

Second Time Around at Cafe Evergreen

On our second visit, I was captured by the Evergreen Club. This sandwich was voted “The Best Vegetarian Sandwich in the USA” by Restaurant Hospitality. How could you not try it? It is a compendium of grilled cheesy quinoa cakes, organic micro beans, pickled beets, carrots, tomato and pesto ranch.

 For a non-vegetabletarian, I will tell you this thing was delicious.

The Cafe Evergreen boasts four different varieties of Reuben sandwiches. She had the Roasted Beet Reuben. That’s made with the usual suspects – sauerkraut and thousand-island dressing – but with pickled beet instead of corned beef.

 Again, surprisingly good. The next time, we’ll try to have a breakfast, sit outside and try the ambience of the great outdoors.

Evergreen Outdoor Seating is just at the front door

Evergreen Outdoor Seating is just at the front door

Evergreen Outdoor Seating is just at the front door.

 Whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian or just a normal human diner, this place offers a great culinary experience. The portions are good, the service is fast and the price is reasonable. We gave them four stars on our TripAdvisor review.

Incidentally, it is just a hop, skip and a jump from Nokomis Beach – one of our better Gulfside experiences.If you want to find out more, come over to our web page at http://www.floridafuntravel.com or like us on any of our social media platforms.

It's always time to have fun in Florida

-by Florida Funmeister http://www.floridafuntravel.com

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A Guide to Hawaiian Cuisine

Hawaii is a vibrant and fascinating location, with the same applying adjectives to the island’s culinary history, which has led to a melting pot of cuisines. In 300 AD the first islanders arrived, yet there was hardly any edible animals or plants in Hawaii at the time. It is believed that the voyages brought dogs, poultry, pigs and plants to eat. They taro they brought proved to be a success story, as they discovered it was suited to the island’s humid and wet conditions, which is why it became a stable.

But, this only scratches the surface of the melting pot. Captain Cook introduced seeds for pumpkins, melons and onions, as wells English pigs and goats. When the Chinese came to Hawaii around 1850 to work in the field they bought their stir fries and woks, which influenced the cuisine. Portuguese people then brought their love of malasadas, chilli peppers and pork. After this, the Japanese came to Hawaii, adding another touch of cultural culinary flair to Hawaiian cuisine and this is why it is known as a melting pot of cultures and influences. 


Traditional Hawaiian Dishes

•    Laulau – Laulau is made using taro leaves. Pork is wrapped in these leaves and then it is cooked in a hot rock oven underground for a number of hours until smoky flavoured and soft.

•    Poke – This is a raw seafood dish. Poke is essentially the Hawaiian version of Japanese sashimi. It is served in cubes and many different types of fresh saltwater fish are used, although tuna is the most common.

•    Poi – Thick paste that is made from taro root. This is a must-try when you travel to Hawaii. The root is either baked or steamed. It is then pounded and water is added to create the right consistency. 

•    Pineapple – If you are going to embrace Hawaiian cuisine you definitely need to incorporate fruit into your diet and the islands are famous for their pineapple, making it the ideal choice.  

Given that Hawaii is such a journey away, a lot of people tend to incorporate this trip with visiting other countries around there. It is not uncommon to visit Central America, for example, a lot of people incorporate Los Angeles into their trip. You could go a bit further afield and visit some culture-filled places in South America too. Where should I travel to in South America? There are lots of amazing options, including Peru and Lima. the best thing to do is align with a professional company who can organise all of this for you. After all, you may even want to do a worldwide tour and venture into Africa and Asia too!


So there you have it: a glimpse of the amazing Hawaiian cuisine! It’s reason enough to visit this part of the world.