One thing that really gets in the way of enjoying summer is these ugly guys. If you’re anything like me, you get your blood sucked and then suddenly you’ve got a big, swollen, itchy red welt. If not, then you have mosquito superpowers and I’m infinitely envious of you. For those of you that get terrible welts, I’ve discovered a really easy solution that works for me every time, way better than any after-bite ever did, and it’s pretty much the easiest, cost-friendly choice.
For the duration of this article, I’m assuming that you won’t have access to a microwave or any cookware, or fancy gadgets – though if you have things like a juicer or a portable blender, that will make your travel experience even easier and more fun. You should have basic cutlery, a plate, bowl and something to cut on, and if you don’t have a fridge, then it’s important to have a cooler, unless you plan on buying food fresh every day. If you’re in a hotel, you’ll either have a fridge, or access to ice, as well as a bathroom sink where you’ll clean your dishes.
Of course, you can always enjoy regular cereal too, but as a good vegan I recommend scoring some granola from a health food store if you can. You’ll pay a lot of money for it, but it’s far better than the cheaper, sugar-laden stuff. Have it with milk, and maybe with some fresh fruit sliced in there.
If you have access to hot water, then you can always opt for quick-cooking oats. Mash a banana into the oats for sweetness, and if you’re at a place where you can get those little packets of jam and peanut butter, those can also help lend some flavour to your oats. If you happen to have some maple syrup and cinnamon as travel companions, even better. 🙂 Adding a diced apple to a bowl of oats helps quite a bit with adding some natural sweetness, and also adds a nice textural element. If you absolutely need to buy those little packets of instant oats, they work in a pinch too.
For those not lucky enough to have hot water, don’t fear, Angela’s overnight oats are here! Just whip it up before bed, stick it in a fridge or cooler, and voila, you have oats for breakfast! You can get chia seeds at most health food stores, and are important because they absorb a lot of liquid and really thicken the oats, giving them a pudding-like quality. Chia seeds are also a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is handy for vegans everywhere.
If you’re looking for a grain besides wheat and oats to give you nourishment, you can buy couscous, which is delicious and only needs to soak in boiling water for about 5 minutes. As long as you have a bowl or container with a lid to keep the steam in, all you need to do is pour 1c boiling water over 1/2c of grains, let it sit, covered, and then floof it with a fork. If you have access to spices, great, if not, salt and pepper cuts it. You can also squirt in some fresh lemon with a bunch of minced herbs like mint and basil, and stir in some fresh or frozen peas. If they’re frozen, they’ll thaw quickly from the couscous’s heat. You can mince any sort of raw vegetable into the couscous and it’ll be delicious.
If you’re travelling alone or with a vegan companion, it’s easy to make good food choices. Things become a little more complicated if you’re travelling with one or more omnivores, because it means that no matter the situation, someone is going to have to compromise – unless your omnivore friends/family are very okay with eating animal-free meals. It’s important for your travel companions to respect your dietary considerations, and understand that it’s not always going to be easy for you to find food. If you’re all going out to a restaurant together, try to select one that will have choices for everyone. Compromise a little, but remember that it isn’t fair to be dragged around to every steakhouse in town if you’re vegan, and your friends and family should understand that. If they desire a greasy burger and fries, that’s okay – just make sure you also make a detour for a vegan sandwich or stir-fry. Speak up! It’s not too much to ask to share meals that everyone can enjoy. And if it’s that big of a deal, you can accompany them to whatever place they want to consume animal parts from, and they can join you on a trip to a health food store for a soup and sandwich. It’s not ideal to eat separately, but it’s better than starving or compromising your values.
Recently I was asked if I found enough variation in my daily eats by being vegan. This question caught me off-guard, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t do a very good job answering it – I tend to only find an answer I’m happy with long after the question has been asked. However, now that I’ve had time to ponder the question, there’s quite a bit I want to say about this. I definitely understand where the question is coming from – when one is used to eating animals and their fluids on a daily basis, it’s hard to perceive anything aside from perpetual hunger. The part that gets me is that I eat a more varied diet than most omnivores I know.
For many people, you’ll find the same 10 meals appear over and over again, on a daily basis. It’s possible to make a top 10 list and cover 95% of what people eat on a regular basis. Back in my vegetarian days, I had my very own list of foods perpetually rotated:
6. Veggie dogs
9. Pizza – mostly take-out, sometimes with cheese, sometimes without
If you’re the kind of person who orders take-out and eats in restaurants a lot, you’ve likely noticed there are usually slim-to-none vegan options on a menu. Your average restaurant tends to focus on meat and cheese, with vegetables often an afterthought. From this perspective, of course a vegan diet seems limiting. As an omnivore, you can choose anything off the entire menu, having sometimes more than forty choices. As a vegan, you’re lucky if you can find one option without ordering ‘off’ the menu.
Being vegan DOES seem limiting when you look at it in this way. Some may say it seems like a downright pain in the ass. However, there is a very, very MASSIVE plus side to this that many people do not realize.
Until next time 🙂