In the world we live in veganism and plant based diets are seen as extreme and unusual. That’s just the way it is; we live in a non-vegan world, and we have to recognise this and adapt.
It’s tempting to visit another country and just cook for yourself as it’s easier, but food is such an integral part of every culture, you’d really be missing out on such a fundamental experience. I’ve travelled to countries where the word “vegan” isn’t recognised and been to restaurants where no one spoke any English.
One example that springs to mind is pho in Vietnam, which is a bone broth usually served with beef, vegetables, and an assortment of greens, all in one bowl, with rice noodles on the side. I decided to try it while I was there and it was honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten in my life; so good I went and had it again a few more times. I don’t regret it one bit, even if itwasn’t plant based.
I’m of the opinion that experiences are worth more than strictly adhering to a certain diet and lifestyle. Of course the line is in a different place for everyone, and that’s completely up to the individual; I can only speak for myself and share my experiences. And my experience says it’s ok to “break the rules”, in fact it might even be healthier to break the rule on occasion rather than sticking to something so rigidly if it causes you anxiety or makes you unhappy. You might even surprise yourself with the amazing things you experience! For example, me trying pho led to me trying to make a vegan version in a cooking class and developing a recipe to share with you lovely people (coming soon!).
Holidays are meant to be for relaxing and enjoying yourself, not for stressing about food. I so strongly believe in this that when I went on holiday with my family to St Lucia this August it didn’t even cross my mind to make any special arrangements food-wise before I got there.
I want to encourage you to be flexible and if you’re drawn to something new and exciting in a foreign land that isn’t vegan, don’t feel guilty or force yourself to stick to something you don’t want to. I actively choose to be plant based 99% of the time. That 1% might occur when it’s someone’s birthday, or when someone has really tried hard to make something vegan for me and accidentally forgotten about one ingredient (more on this here), or when I’m somewhere exciting like Vietnam and I really want to try the local foods that are so integral to their culture.
For me that 1% is vitally important to maintaining a healthy relationship with food, and to avoid spiralling into orthorexic tendencies. By no means do I believe everyone should do this, (it might be different for ethical vegans) but I think it’s definitely worth considering in this non-vegan world we live in, because #balance. 😉
What do you think? Do you agree that some experiences are worth sacrificing being 100% vegan/plant based? Let me know!