HOW TO TO SURVIVE - OUTSIDE OF YOUR KITCHEN
Happy Meatless Monday! This week I would like to talk to you about being (and staying) vegan on the road. Enjoying the life of a vegan, at home, is easy. You are in charge of what is brought into your house, so you don't have to worry about accidentally cooking your Vegan Grilled Cheese in Burger juice... but (unless you're striving to become agoraphobic) you can't stay home forever.
Living in Los Angeles is a wonderful thing, but - I'll admit it - living in Cleveland, as a Vegan is pretty darn special too. Once upon a time, I thought Cleveland wasn't so hot in the area of "Vegan Food" - and then I drove across country, and spent the night in places like Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico - let me tell you... it wasn't easy.
As you enter "Cow Country" you run out of places to eat very quickly (and people look at you like you announced you at human flesh. Actually, part of me feels they would be more accepting to that, than being a plant eater). So what will you do?
First - know there are resources available.
We live in a golden age of technology. Ever connected by the internet - you can find free wifi at gas stations, hotels, overlooks and more. So, hop online. There are websites that dedicate all of their time to inform you about where you can an can not eat. Does a restaurant have a Vegan option? They'll let you know - my favorite is HappyCow.net. They span the U.S., allowing vegans and vegetarians the option to eat something other than french fries and a side of apple sauce.
Second - when resources stink (there are parts of New Mexico you can see straight to Neptune, the sky is so clear.) So, now you don't know what is around you - all you DO know is there is a place called "Dagnammit Beer and Grub" and you're starving... They're called "side dishes". I know you already know that side dishes save lives in the vegan world - but always remember a few other things:
- All you can eat Salad Bars are a mirage in the desert
- Children Menus are created for picky eaters
- Breakfast, sometimes, is severed 24/7 and fruit is an option
- Talk to the cook. S/he may look at you weird, but chances are they'll be up for the challenge.
Third - The good old "Chain" Restaurant
Subway is a life saver.
Denny's as a veggie burger (it's not vegan, but it's not beef either)
Peta has a list of major chain restaurants and fast food restaurants that have vegan options. Check it out before you go - memorize - and have fun. (or you could just print the list...)
[Eating Vegan at Fast Food Chain Restaurants]
Fourth - (by far my favorite) - Farmer Stands!
As you drive down RT. 66 - keep an eye out and buy fresh (and amazing) fruits and veggies as you amble by. This is also a wonderful way to get to know the area you're driving through. Most people I've met are friendly, and willing to chat you up about local places to eat, stay, things to do, and even a little history if you're into that sort of thing. (which I am)
Becoming an "At Home" Vegan/Vegetarian is really an easy thing, but leaving the house... that's when it can become difficult. But don't let it sway you - if you want to travel the world, you have options! Worst case scenario? Find a grocery store, stay at an Extended Stay, and learn to travel with camping cookware. What? It's better than the alternative!