HOW TO AVOID BEING HANGRY ON VACATION
I went vegan in stages. I gave up meat, then dairy and then, years later, fish. I never ate fish at home, but when I was traveling it was my go-to on days I was hungry and couldn’t find anything else on the menu. I remember being in central Italy a few years ago, surviving off grilled eggplant and zucchini for days while my friends all ate pasta, prosciutto and parmesan. By the time we got to a coastal city I was starving and exhausted, so I had a piece of fish.
When I was finally ready to give it up completely, it was a pretty seamless transition because I had been planning it for months. Every trip I went on taught me something new and I hope that these five tips help you get through your first few holidays as a vegan.
Here’s what I do every single time I travel:
1. I pack all the extra help I can get. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t normally rely on vitamins and supplements, but when I travel I do the most in the vitamin department. I pack Moon Juice powders, B12 and Vitamin C. I have no idea if they make a difference, but it makes me feel better about not getting my usual daily intake of legumes and greens.
I also pack food for the flight and enough to eat the first morning after I land. Between delayed flights, jet-lag and strange restaurant hours, I’ve often found myself awake, starving and regretting not packing myself an emergency breakfast bar. Now I know better and I always take one with me. Worst case scenario is that it becomes a mid-day snack.
My favourite snacks for the flight are almonds, apples and something sweet that will remind me to drink a lot of water, like a granola bar. Bananas tend to ripen 100 times faster on a flight, so I’ve abandoned those. I take something easy to eat like a bran muffin, or some crackers for my first morning in the hotel, that way I have something to put in my stomach before I start my day.
2. Research! I may go overboard in this department, but I go crazy researching grocery stores, markets and restaurants in the vicinity of my hotel. If I’m going to spend more than a few days somewhere, I need to know my options. The last time I was in Paris, my hotel was right around the corner from a supermarket and a Lebanese restaurant, so I was able to pick up a few necessities and then have a delicious, leisurely lunch while I got my bearings.
3. Hit up the local markets. The first time I went to Hong Kong I was frustrated by the language barrier and lack of options. While on a street food tour (that wasn’t vegan friendly at all) I came across a really cool local market. I picked up a ton of fruit and veg (the best citrus I have ever had) that managed to keep me going for the rest of the trip. Now whenever I go anywhere, I try to hit up a local market and see what’s fresh and readily available.
4. Think outside of the box and look to different food cultures when choosing a restaurant. It’s easy to go somewhere like New Orleans and feel the need to only eat poboys and beignets, but that’s how you end up hangry and eating a side salad with fries for dinner. In most big cities you only need to scratch the surface to find amazing options that are vegan by default! I’m partial to Middle-eastern and Indian food, but Vietnamese, Ethiopian and Thai restaurants also have plenty of great options for vegans, so be on the lookout for them.
5. If you do drink alcohol. try to do so in moderation. If that doesn’t work, have a plan for how you’re going to combat a hangover when you’re out of your element. Most people crave salt the morning after, so pack some crackers and other comfort foods that you can have handy. There is nothing worse than waking up hungover, going to breakfast with a bunch of people eating whatever they want and having to get a fruit bowl. Trust me.