July 18, 2012

Plant-Based Rock Star Traveling Tips

So I know I promised y'all my recipe that I threw together the other day (on Facebook) - I'll post it, but first I need to talk about my travels lately.

We returned last week from Hilton Head Island, where our family has vacationed for the past 22+ years.

Love it there.  

I have to say, one of the best parts of vacation for me?  NOT HAVING TO COOK!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cooking most of the time.  But there is something that is so, super indulgent about having someone else serve you a plant-based meal.  I don't think flesh-eaters understand just how wonderful is it to be able to eat something that you didn't have to make yourself - because they seem to have more choices.

However, this is becoming less and less true.  While traveling this last time, I found so many more vegan-friendly options than I ever have before.  Even at LaGuardia airport, there was hummus and pretzels, vegan wraps, vegan salads, and freaking buffalo tofu!!  Bananas! (Oh, and bananas).

So friends have mentioned that they don't have the "willpower" I have to stay completely whole-foods, plant-based while traveling.  While that's a nice compliment, I don't really think of it as a question of willpower.  That makes it seem so "diet-y."  Remember, this isn't just a "diet," this is a lifestyle.  So sure there are non-vegan treats that might be calling your name....

.....but you have to put on your blinders - that food is not for you.  Not for plant-based rock stars.  Soon, you'll only "see" the plant-based stuff.  Trust me.

So here's a run down of the food I ate while on vacation:

Traveling

  • Pack Stuff - I always pack a bunch of stuff for road trips.  I filled a large cooler with cut fruit, carrot sticks, quinoa salad, vegetarian sushi, and water (but not too much water because we have a strict "don't stop until we need gas" road trip policy).  I also packed munchies like Larabars, trail mix, and pretzels.

Quinoa salad for the road trip!
  • Fast food - I've posted about this before here and here.  Chipotle is a great choice, as well as Wendy's, who now has sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and steamed broccoli (remember?).   Subway is always an awesome choice!  This time, on the way home, I even got some apples as a side!  
Restaurants - Dinner
  • Most restaurants nowadays have vegan-friendly options.  I had very little trouble when eating out, with the exception of once (see below).  We went to a Mexican restaurant (always good for plant-based rock stars!) where I got black bean soup and a taco salad with beans, instead of meat.



  • At another restaurant, they had a portabella mushroom burger with roasted red peppers, and for my birthday dinner, we went to a restaurant that had a few vegan items on their menu - and by items, I mean actual meals, not just sides.  I got the Black Rice Stir Fry - which was amazing.  We also ordered pizza one night - which was easy - veggie pizza, no cheese, extra sauce.
  • I'd say the most difficult meal was when we went out for 4th of July, and they only had burgers and hot dogs.  But again, it wasn't the end of the freaking world.  I just ordered a burger, hold the meat and cheese, extra lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onion.  And a crapload of ketchup.  My favorite part of burgers was always the toppings anyway.  You won't miss the flesh and clogged arteries!


Breakfast & Lunch
  • At home, my breakfast is usually oatmeal with cinnamon, honey and fruit.  But I was on vacation (aka lazy), so I just had good old cereal with rice milk and fruit.  Easy peasy.
  • For lunch, my family usually likes to get lunch meats and cheese in for sandwiches.  This year, I was able to convince them to let me make veggie sandwiches with hummus!  So good, just as easy, and WAY healthier - whole grain bread, hummus, lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado.  BOOM!  Lunch.


From Hilton Head, I flew with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law up to NY for a wedding.  It was super fab (a celebrity wedding!) and super fun.  The first night, I went out with my cousins - and had a blast.  We went out to eat at this great little restaurant that had a huge menu.  I was so excited because I knew I'd be able to find something!  But no.  Nothing.  Not a single freaking thing that was vegan besides salad (boring!).  So I just ended up getting a salad and sweet potato fries.  Very disappointing.  However, the wine, the tequila, and the company, made me quickly forget all about that!!

Love my cousin!

And this one too!
I got breakfast the next morning and had a soy iced mocha and a bagel (because when you're in NY, you must eat bagels.  As many as you possibly can).  



Onto the wedding.  Weddings are usually pretty hard for plant-based rock stars.  Usually, even if something happens to be vegetarian, it's made with cheese.  So I usually prepare by eating beforehand,  packing a Larabar, and crossing my fingers for an open bar.

Ceremony - beautiful bride and handsome groom!!
After the ceremony, I walked up to the cocktail hour and sitting before me was a large bowl of guacamole.  Yes, guacamole.  I knew at that moment that everything would be okay.  I parked myself in front of that bowl and celebrity-watched.


For the dinner, there was a beef and fish option (typical).  I was pretty full from the pound of guacamole I consumed, so I wasn't hopeful for dinner.  When I told the waitress I was a vegan, she said there was a vegetarian option.  I thought to myself, "Yeah, okay, probably something loaded with butter and cheese.  Whatever, I'm drunk, who cares."


However, to my delight, the meal was vegan!  Hooray!  Curried couscous with roasted vegetable skewers. AMAZING.

I was in vegan wedding heaven.  I ate every last bite on my plate, which was good, because I needed to sober up.

We stopped by my cousin's work on our way to the airport.  Did I mention she's NYPD?  Yup, our very own family hero :)



I have to admit, it was nice having the break from cooking, but I really did miss it.  I have been cooking and baking all week long....so be on the lookout this week for Carrot Cake Muffins, and Roasted Vegetable Quinoa recipes!

So tell us, do you have travel plans this summer?  Where do you go?  What foods do you eat to stay healthy while traveling??

Love & Kale,
Ali


2 comments:

  1. We leave next Friday and I have to say..I am nervous as hell trying to figure out what I will eat all week long with 20-30 meat eaters who do not understand. Lots of vegan burgers and fruit for this girl! I will survive, but it sure is not as easy as just being home. I am so ready to relax I might forget to eat anyway!

    Love and relaxing,
    Jami

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    1. Lol - Love it Jami! Hope you guys have fun! Too bad you'll be with people who don't understand, but I'm sure there are a few that will be supportive of you. Yes, it's harder than just being home, but that doesn't mean it's impossible! You can do it! Plus, you'll feel better in your swimsuit too :)

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