As with any special dietary requirements or restrictions, preparation is key in making sure you don’t get caught out in a hungry spot. I’m not deathly allergic to anything – thank God – but I do have a dietary regime that I try to stick to. It is in line with my values and my preferences.
In my home environment, I’ve got a store cupboard and freezer full of foods with the green light. These are the delicious, nutritious ingredients needed to create healthy vegan meals. I also live in a part of the world that caters to this lifestyle and so there’s always something edible that I can grab while out and about in town.
The problem I face again and again, however, is how to keep up my veganism when I’m out of town. There are two problems that repeat:
- How to do my thing when I’m around non-vegans (in particular when staying with family and friends)
- How to immerse myself fully in a place and culture if I feel restricted
When you’re being hosted
This is an awkward one for me. If someone is kindly putting me up for a night, week, or however long I feel pretentious for even thinking that I should request a vegan meal just for me. If my host is cooking a big batch of dinner for us all (including animal products), surely I’m being more wasteful by creating an entire separate dish just for the sake of not consuming those animal products? Surely if I persue veganism from an environmental standpoint, I would be better off to use what’s there rather than be all Princess with her Pea (or Pork Chop as the case may be)?
Perhaps what works for me is assessing each situation independently and seeing what the most ethical and logical choice is in any particular situation? Maybe that’s where I am right now with things.
How to do travel
As I mentioned at the beginning, when you’re at home amongst the comfort of the familiar, you can tailor your eating to suit you. But what about travelling vegans? I don’t want to restrict my choices in travel location solely to vegan-friendly towns and people. What about the opportunity to stay with a tribe in the rainforest, catch my own dinner and watch the tribe use every single part of that dead animal for their survival? I mean obviously this is totally on one end of the spectrum of extremes here, but I hope you get my point. Do I let this disciplined eating habit dictate where I may roam?
Perhaps again it is about being loose enough to assess each travel spot and scenario and determine what would make me happiest then and there. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? I make particular eating choices because feeling like I’m making a difference empowers me and makes me feel happier about who I am becomming in this life. But if in any given scenario there is something that would make me happier than sticking to these vegetable guns, shouldn’t that be the obvious choice?
I definitely feel a certain kind of pressure by calling myself vegan to maintain standards of perfection. But I must shout to the world that “I EAT MEAT FROM TIME TO TIME! I BUY LEATHER AND I CONSUME GOAT’S CHEESE ON OCCASION!!!” almost as though I need to lift a weight off my shoulders and just keep on flying along like a fart in the wind.
I’m doing what I can. I really am. And I think perhaps I need to give myself a bit of a pat on the back and say, “It’s OK. You’re trying and that’s what counts.” One thing I know for sure is that if I want to do this, I have got to get myself a decent food processor. So that’s a step in the right direction, hey? I’ll prepare an array of snacks next time I’ll be away from the fort, so at least I’ve got that department covered. Small successes.