Dwayne BondTravelComment

Traveling and Being Vegan or Vegetarian in a BBQ City

Dwayne BondTravelComment
Traveling and Being Vegan or Vegetarian in a BBQ City

Last week, for four days, I had the privilege of being with some amazingly gifted men learning how to grow as leaders. Specifically, my role was to teach on holistic self-care. Let’s face it; leaders need reminders to care for themselves and not just for those they seek to serve and lead.

After our time of learning, we toured the National Museum of Civil Rights located at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in 1969. Every time I tour this museum, I’m reminded of the ever-present struggle for racial equality but at the same time of the enduring spirit of my ancestry. A phenomenal tour! My heart and life were encouraged! Thanks Memphis.

Known as a city with some of the best BBQ in the country, many of my friends wondered how I would maintain my vegan lifestyle in “the city of meat.” Frankly, BBQ doesn’t tempt me but how do I find vegan food as you hang with those who may not be vegan?

What I want to share with you are a few tips that will help you stay the course while on the road.

  1. GOOGLE in advance to see if there are any restaurants or health food stores in the area that you plan to visit. I knew that there was a Whole Foods in Germantown, TN, near my hotel. If I could get there, I’d be good.

  2. DRINK at least 24oz of fresh water before your flight. It’s known that flights dehydrate the body. You want to have enough fluid in your body to avoid dehydration. Frankly, the water that they offer is typically a low PH (Dasani - 5PH; Aquafina - 5PH). If you have your own water bottle with you, many airports have a purified water dispenser or you can ask Starbucks to give you a large cup of water.

  3. PACK a few apples or your favorite fruit or snacks for the flight. To avoid having to scrutinize the ingredients on every snack that they offer, I bring my own. The amount of snacks that I bring depends on the length of the flight. Bring your favorites and make everyone around you jealous! ;)

  4. VISIT the nearest health food store as soon as you get off the plane. Knowing that I had a fridge in the hotel room, I went to Whole Foods with the fellas and purchased fresh OJ (yes!), dates, apples and bananas. This food was for late nights, in between meals, and a backup if I couldn’t find enough vegan food when we went out for lunch and dinner.

  5. ASK for vegan options at the restaurants that you visit. I never have a problem asking servers and chefs to give me their signature vegan dishes. Most menus these days have vegan options. In those cases in which I couldn’t find vegan options, I asked the server to give me steamed (but seasoned) veggies and/or make something that was non-vegan, vegan. Don’t worry about whether you look like the oddball making a big stink about what you want to eat. It’s your health, life and body. Personally, it does help to be around people who give you room to be you. My bros were just that. They were so patient and gracious with me even though they cracked jokes.

  6. ENJOY being with people more than your food preferences. When I was out with my friends, I wanted to enjoy them as well as my food. We had a blast. They tried much of my vegan food and even expressed interest in the vegan lifestyle and making slight changes in their diet. That’s priceless to me! Going out to eat with friends and family isn’t just about the food, it’s about the people. We are blessed to live in a country where veganism is becoming more mainstream. You’ll be ok with your meal; enjoy people - they matter more!

I hope this was helpful! If it was, share it with a friend and consider posting it on your social media platform.

Have a healthy day and enjoy your travels!