Tips For a New Vegan

Tips For a New Vegan

A friend of mine has recently cut dairy and eggs out of her diet and I'm so happy for her!! She's trying it for health reasons, but I'm hoping I can convert her once she learns of all the other reasons :) Her and her boyfriend watched Forks Over Knives the other night and she was so surprised that he wanted to eat more plant-based meals! 

My friend has SO many questions, and it made me remember how little I knew when I first went here are my top 3 tips for new vegans.

Top 3 Travel Tips

It's a nice feeling when you have the vegan landscape figured out in your own hometown...but what about when you travel!? It can be a little intimidating to think about at first but don't worry - here are my top 3 tips for travelling as a vegan!

1. Research

Before I go anywhere I always check to see what my options are going to be like. I think that the number one rule of veganism is the same as girl scouts: always be prepared. There's nothing worse than assuming that you'll be able to find a vegan-friendly restaurant easily and then being stuck. 

If you don't have the Happy Cow app, download it NOW. It costs 2.49 from the App Store, but it's SO WORTH IT. You can enter any destination and then you're able to search for either different types of cuisine, or you can search more generally. I always check to see what 'vegan only' restaurants there are in the area first, and then I'll check the vegetarian restaurants list. If all else fails, they even have a 'vegetarian-friendly' section - there's a comment section so you can read what other vegans thought about the restaurant and what they ordered . This app saved my life so many times when I was in New York City! There were an insane amount of vegan restaurants, but I wouldn't have known about most of them.

A quick Google search never hurt either. Search something like 'vegan restaurants in London', and see what comes up. Obviously larger cities are more likely to have vegan restaurants, but you'd be surprised!

2. Pack Snacks

Do you know how people always complain about the food at all-inclusive resorts in Cuba? Try being a vegan at one... 

We went to Cuba last December, and we had very low hopes about the food options for vegans (...we were right). It wasn't a problem though, because we were so prepared. We packed a ton of Eat Nak'd and Clif Bars, 4 boxes of crackers with a jar of peanut butter, apple sauce, Vega protein packs (normally I'm not a fan of added protein but we weren't sure what we were walking into, so figured it was best to prepare for the worst), Oreo's, and fruit leather strips. 

We ended up packing way more snacks than we needed (but no regrets, because it's way better to have too many than not enough), and survived on rice, beans, fruit, and the salad bar (and our snacks, of course). 

Even if you're going somewhere more vegan friendly, I still always pack snacks. When you're exploring a new city the last thing you want is to stop and worry about where you're going to be able to find some quick vegan snacks. 

*** Pack snacks in your suitcase, but also buy a few bars from the airport for the flight. You never know what snacks they'll serve on the flight - there's nothing worse than being hungry on a flight and not being able to eat anything. 

*** If it's a long flight, I'll also buy a veggie pita or something like that from the airport. It's so risky to assume that there will be a vegan option served on the flight, so it's great to have something as a backup. And if they do happen to serve vegan option, then you have two lunches - bonus! 

3. Grocery Stores  

Grocery store will save your life. One time I was in a tiny village in Southern France, and I survived off fruit and bread from the grocery store - it was great.  Not only is it WAY cheaper than going to a restaurant, but you can get exactly what you want. If you're lucky to be in a city where there's a Whole Foods, you've hit the jackpot. Just go to their food bar section, and go crazy! They always have things like rice, vegetables, fruit, falafel, salads, potatoes, guac, soup, pasta, etc. 

Pictured below: One tiny example of the food bar at Whole Foods.