I’ll probably make a few of these pre-vegan posts over time.
Since I haven’t always been vegan, I travelled a lot while being on a somewhat regular diet. I’ve been allergic to dairy my whole life, so that’s always been something I’ve had to avoid. And I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance when I was about 25, so did a little bit of travel before that became an issue to contend with as well.
But in my years, I’ve usually been travelling with a friend who is vegetarian (and sometimes decides to go vegan). She does this based on an ethical lifestyle choice as an animal lover, so if she gets served animal products she gets angry, but it’s also not the end of the world. So I’m going to comment on just a couple of my experiences of travelling with my vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) friend before I became vegan myself.
Peruvian food in my experience was usually some combination of meat, potato and corn. While I wasn’t vegan at the time I visited on holidays (been back since for work), I was travelling with a friend who was vegetarian. And between her not eating meat and me not eating dairy, we usually ended up trying to find vegan food so that both of us could eat it. In Lima, finding vegetarian food wasn’t a big deal. Plenty of fresh fruit, salads and fish (I was a huge fan of ceviche at the time). Cusco was more into the whole meat, potato and corn diet. But still, it wasn’t hard to just order the potato and corn without the meat. Both of us spoke enough Spanish to communicate our dietary requirements. Then we went trekking and did the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu. Thankfully both of us had done our research before we left home and had specifically found a company that we knew could provide us with vegetarian and dairy free food along the trek. I suspect it probably cost a little more than average for the trek, but they offered a product that suited our needs, so we paid it. In the end we ate a lot of potato and corn, and we drank a lot of Inca Cola and peppermint tea while we were hiking, but it was only 4 days, so it wasn’t really enough time to get too bored with the lack of variety. Had a great time though! Love Peru!
My pre-vegan food adventures in Cusco…Roast guinea pig!
I found Kenya to be very hit and miss in terms of finding suitable food. Oddly enough, we had more success with it when we were out on safari and away from the cities than we did when we were in Nairobi.
Before departing on safari from Nairobi, we spent a few days in the city. At the time, I was still eating meat, so one night I convinced my friend that we should go to a restaurant called Carnivores. Neither of us were expecting her to be able to find much to eat – we were right. There were a few token vegetables put on our table, which she ate, but they were drowned in butter, so I couldn’t eat them due to my dairy allergy. Other than that night out, she struggled to find anything to eat except for potato fries. The Kenyans really did seem to have a diet that was almost entirely meat-based.
Dinner at Carnivores in Nairobi…Meat and a few token lettuce leaves!
After departing Nairobi for our safari, things actually became easier. The cook and kitchen hands on our safari were actually pretty good at dealing with various dietary restrictions. I had to explain up-front that my dairy allergy wasn’t just lactose intolerance (a common assumption) and that the “lactose free” milk they wanted to buy still wasn’t going to be suitable, but after that everything was fine. To make things easier for all of us, I just ate vegetarian while we were on safari so that they didn’t have to make 2 lots of meals for us. We got fresh fruit every other day, and there was always salad and vegetables. Was actually kind of nice!