Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The Traveling Vegetarian
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years and for me traveling is still a challenge. Yes, it has gotten easier over the years, however it still requires a bit of work and sometimes it makes me downright grumpy.
My main challenge is twofold - the quality of the vegetarian options in restaurants and the general lack of availability. Why do so many chefs either have too much imagination or not enough imagination? Why do they think that for every item that is removed from their dishes (in this case meat), they have to add another oily sauce or pat of butter. Or, why do they think that a vegetarian can be happy dining on a salad and a piece of fruit? Don’t laugh. I’ve been offered dinners that consisted of one or two canned veggies and a side of applesauce. And on highways that are heavy with fast food joints, the choices are so few and far between. I guess would be fine if I were content to eat a slice of cheese on a white bread roll, maybe topped with some shredded iceberg lettuce, because that’s about all these places have to offer. Most people still don’t understand that vegetarians eat more than just what’s left when the meat is taken away. We really don’t graze along the side of the road.
Since hubby and I travel a lot, we’ve learned to be very creative. We look for places like Panera Bread, Crispers and Whole Foods that have a number of vegetarian options. (Check out the delicious grilled portobello mushroom sandwich in my picture). We look for new “healthier” type of Mexican restaurants that offer burritos with beans, avocado and veggies. We love Italian food and are always happy to fill our bellies with pasta and marinara sauce. Asian restaurants are always an option, too, but only if the staff understand the concept of “no animal broth.” Greek restaurants make me literally jump for joy! There are a number of choices. We just have to try a little harder to find them.
This rant leads me to my first rule when traveling - Never leave home without your jars of peanut butter and jelly!