Friday, January 20, 2012

Traveling as a Vegan in a Land of Meat

This is my second time travelling for work since choosing to consume a plant-based diet.  Eating vegan is harder than you thing, and can be much more expensive than eating whatever is most convenient or cheapest on the menu.  To top it off, I'm trying to do this in Texas!  When I think of Texas, I think of cattle, beef, and steaks.  And I have to keep this up for a week and a half.

So here's how it's been going so far:

Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the airport: We stopped at the Alterra stand and at first I didn't notice that they have my ultimate favorite breakfast item ever, the Morning Glory Muffin, so I went for a vegetarian meal thinking I wouldn't know how substantial the rest of my meals would be for the rest of the day.  I got a veggie breakfast burrito (including eggs & cheese) and a chai with soy milk.  I feel slightly better about getting eggs & cheese from Alterra because its a local business that I know tries to use fresh local ingredients whenever possible, so that makes me feel *slightly* less guilty.  I used to worry about the research that has shown too much soy to be unhealthy for you, and even linked to infertility.  But I asked my RE doctor about it, and she said that estrogen in meat has been linked the same way, and if I'm not eating meat, soy was fine.  She also said it's fine for me to be adopting this more vegan lifestyle as long as I'm getting enough calories every day.  It was a relief to have my doctors "okay"!

Monday at the Cincinnati airport for a long layover I had lunch at an Outback Steakhouse.  I had a plain baked potato with a side of steamed vegetables.  Glad I had those eggs & cheese earlier...

For dinner that night, I ordered room service in my hotel room because I had a big project for work I needed to work on in order to submit it the next day.  There weren't any vegetarian items on the menu so I called them to ask what they suggested.  The chicken quesadilla, without the meat, and they'd add some grilled veggies to it.  Okay, fine, but I told them to go really light on the cheese, skip the sour cream, and add guacamole.  Cheese twice in one day... I paid for it later that night :/

Tuesday I ordered the most amazing sweet potato pancake with pecans, score!  For lunch that day I went to an Indian restaurant with on the advice of the concierge, in search of some substantial vegetarian food.  I found plenty of nutritious food (think lentils, chick peas, brown rice, whole wheat pita, and veggies), so it was great and I ate all of it.  Sadly though, it just confirmed my growing fear that I don't like the spices used in Indian cooking.  And I LOVE spicy food... just not this kind of spicy.  That night for dinner, I ordered chips & salsa with guacamole & went to bed with a full belly.

Breakfast on Wednesday was oatmeal, but the consistency was watery and I think it was more of the "instant" kind than the steel cut or whole grain kind.  Lunch was a Cliff bar and a Green Machine Naked Juice.  Dinner I splurged in the hotel restaurant (it wasn't close to anything and all other dining required cab rides) and ordered grilled veggies, brussel sprouts, and a pecan caramel  bar for dessert.  Went to bed feeling not quite so stuffed that night, but satisfied.

Yesterday I ordered the hotel restaurant's a la carte hot breakfast item, which was a six grain whole grain dish - it was AMAZING!  Wish I could eat that stuff every day!  I wasn't too hungry for a long time after that so I didn't eat lunch until about 2pm, when I just ordered a repeat of my veggified quesadilla, no sour cream, light on the cheese, add guacamole.

I had to switch hotels yesterday because I'm going to a different conference now, starting today.  This one is in downtown Dallas so I have a lot more dining options available to me.  Across the street is a Thai/Japanese restaurant called Zenna.  I had seaweed salad, miso soup, edamame, and one tofu roll.  Went to bed stuffed again and it was amazing!  May need to eat there again before I leave...

This hotel offers a hot complimentary breakfast.  When I first arrived, I noticed the "hot breakfast" consisted of eggs, sausages, and tortilla shells.  "Well," I thought to myself, "I guess this is going to be a vegetarian meal for me if I want any substance."  So I made an egg & cheese burrito with salsa, and then noticed the waffle maker.  I knew it wasn't nutritious, but it would be a fun treat that I could eat, so I poured some batter into the iron.  That's when I noticed the hot oatmeal with pecans.  Doh!  I need to learn to be more patient and observant!  The also had all kinds of bagels & breads with peanut butter too.  At least I know I can stick to my convictions the other mornings I'm here.  Today was just an exception I guess.  Oh well.

Dallas meatpacker investigated for illegal dumping of pig blood into river

I'm down in Dallas for a couple professional association conferences.  We don't get  cable at home so I've been soaking up all the TV I can get on my down time!  Late last night the local news was on and they had a short story about pig's blood being dumped into a nearby river.  

Of course it was from a meat packing plant!  I was horrified at first, thinking of all the horrible things that must go on in the front end of that slaughter house.  But the story wasn't about that.

You see, not only are these places horrible for their inhumane and disrespectful treatment of animals, they are also horrible for the environment!

The production and processing of animal products are the biggest contributor to waste and pollution on the planet.  Animal waste, gas, and yes, even blood contaminate our air, ground, and and water.

It's just one more good reason to adopt a plant-based diet!