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Traveling While Vegetarian
By Sporty Afros
I learned a very valuable lesson on my road trip to Austin this past weekend. It’s HARD to maintain a vegetarian diet while traveling! It’s one thing if you’re on vacation and have access to transportation and restaurants, but if you’re staying with friends and/or family with limited transportation, it’s a beast. This past weekend, my BF and I helped our newly engaged friends move into their new house. My BF drove us down there and used his car most of the weekend to help his friend shuffle things back and forth from their old house to their new house. I was at the house helping his friend’s fiancé, so I was car less. Don’t get me wrong, we were glad that we could help our friends move into the next phase in their lives, but it was challenging for me to stick to my diet. The first night I got there they ordered buffalo wild wings for dinner. I didn’t want to be the annoying person who didn’t eat what everyone else ate, so I just kept my mouth shut. Eventually, I had to admit (to a room full of black folk) that I was a vegetarian *gasp*. I got some funny looks and a few questions, but overall everyone was pretty supportive. As they were grubbin’ on some wings, I realized I was freakin’ starving with NOTHING to eat. What’s a vegetarian to do? Here are my new set of rules when I travel to friend’s and family’s houses from now on! 1. Be Prepared If you are a part of an African-American family, most likely they are all meat eaters and are going to ask you a myriad of questions about your “alternative” diet/lifestyle choice. Don’t be offended. Be prepared with information about why you made the decision to become vegetarian. Know your facts. The reason why people make a big deal about something they don’t understand is because of their own ignorance. Take it upon yourself to educate those that are receptive to the information. Who knows, you might plant a seed and help someone make healthier food choices. 2. Plan Ahead Think about where you will be going. Will you have access to transportation to get food? Will there be things you want to eat at the house you’re staying at?Planning ahead is an important step to make sure you adhere to your diet and aren’t starving. 3. Pack your food! This is critical! If you’re traveling by car, pack a cooler with your favorite snacks and maybe a few small containers of your favorite portable meal. I know it sounds a little strange, but you will thank yourself later when you’re stuck at your friend’s/mom’s/aunt’s house with no car and a kitchen full of food that you don’t eat. If you’re traveling by plane, hit the local grocery store and buy yourself a few food staples before arriving at your destination. Sure, they might look at you funny for bringing your own food, but at the end of the day you won’t be hungry and you won’t be a hassle to your host! Hopefully, these few tips will help some of you new traveling vegetarians/vegans .