The Daily Beet

22 Aug Plant-Strong on Vacation!

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You’ve got your checklist to make sure you have everything you need to have the best vacation possible. If you’re plant-strong, that list may include a list of restaurants and their menus in your destination to save the stress of finding somewhere to eat, or the plant-strong convenience foods you plan on packing in case you’re not able to find something substantial. Recently, I found myself in this position as I was preparing to go on an extended vacation to Whistler (British Columbia, Canada), Maui and Kauai.
I have to admit that I took my planning to the extreme since this was my first family vacation since becoming plant-strong. I spent hours, maybe days, building a binder filled with menus from restaurants in the areas where I would be staying and packed a whole suitcase filled with items such as Eden Organic Beans and Rice, McDougall Right Foods Soups, boxed soymilk, freeze-dried fruit, Wasa and Ryvita crackers, oatmeal packets and bags filled with the dry ingredients for Rip’s Big Bowl. It’s safe to say that I was expecting that I would not be able to find even the simplest of things.

Oh boy was I wrong. The grocery stores we visited in Whistler, Maui and Kauai had the basics covered and even more. In Whistler, found an abundance of local produce (specifically several varieties of berries), unsweetened non-dairy milks, Ezekiel bread and even a HUGE tub of nutritional yeast. Maui and Kauai were a little harder to navigate, but I made it work. Since grocery prices on the islands are INSANE and their produce isn’t the freshest (most of it comes from the mainland over 2,000 miles away) ,I opted to buy frozen fruit to have in the mornings. I was able to find unsweetened non-dairy milks on both islands as well.

At each place I stayed at, I had access to a kitchenette which included a full-sized fridge and freezer, microwave, etc. Breakfast was self-explanatory; Rip’s Big Bowl or oatmeal with fruit, whether it’d be fresh, frozen or even freeze-dried, in the room each morning. However, lunch and dinner were less predictable. I knew that most places we would eat at would at least have a salad I could customize, but a salad alone would not fill me up. With that said, I carried a cup of McDougall instant soup and crackers with me whenever we went out to lunch or dinner. If we were going to be on the road the majority of the day, I packed a bag of raw veggies that were at the grocery store, a can of rice and beans, plastic silverware and a can opener to go with me.

Just because you’re going on vacation doesn’t mean that you should stray from your plant-strong lifestyle. I cannot tell you how many times on vacation that I wanted to cave in and have something that wasn’t plant-strong. I didn’t crave meat, eggs or dairy (never have), but I passed up several vegan entrees just because they contained oil or high amounts of fat or sugar. I didn’t cave in and instead kept myself on track at my weakest moments, even if it meant eating a salad for lunch and dinner for several days in a row. The biggest thing is to have a plan ready to go when you’re eating out, and if you’re able to eat all your meals at your hotel/condo, stock up on the basics.

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Michelle M

Michelle is 17, and a junior in high school she has been plantstrong for 6 months. You can read about her plant-strong life over at: txvegteen.blogspot.com and @txvegteen on Twitter.

  • Ginger
    Posted at 08:44h, 22 August

    How wonderful that you stuck with your resolves! We discovered it is easy to make veggie nori rolls in a hotel room even without a kitchenette to take on the road or eat at the beach. They pack nicely, are very filling, don’t need refrigeration, and taste amazing. We like them very colorful with brown rice, purple cabbage, spinach, red and yellow bell peppers, jicama, avocado, chili paste, ginger paste, wasabi powder, and a bit of South River miso tamari. We cut up the veggies at the hotel or bring them in little containers in a cooler.

  • Denise
    Posted at 13:02h, 22 August

    That’s awesome and good timing, I will be going to Maui in a couple of months and have been researching on what to bring and what I am allowed to bring on planes and stuff.

    • Michelle (txvegteen)
      Posted at 13:19h, 22 August

      I didn’t specify this in the blog but it’s something you need to know if you’re going to the islands (if you don’t already): I was able to bring produce such as potatoes and apples to Hawaii, but could not take any produce that I had bought there back with me. I bought purple-fleshed sweet potatoes at the grocery store and almost cried when they were confinscated from my luggage.

  • Jon P
    Posted at 13:28h, 22 August

    I’ve been vegetarian for over a year and vegan for about 6 months. I will be spending 3-weeks in the Philippines and Hong Kong and am afraid I will starve there. Are there any good resources on how to stay plant strong in these countries?

    • Engine2Team
      Posted at 14:09h, 22 August

      It should be easier 🙂 Rice and beans are staples!

  • Vicki
    Posted at 13:40h, 22 August

    Great job, Michelle! You’re an amazing plant strong woman!

  • Tara :)
    Posted at 13:53h, 22 August

    Michelle, I agree with you in that just because you are on vacation, it doesn’t mean you should stray from your plant-strong lifestyle. I was in Kauai this past winter, and my sister kept getting on my case about not trying to local, fresh seafood. Many people believe that trying the local cuisine is part of the experience of being abroad, and I understand that. But at the same time, I feel like I can experience the culture of an area without eating their traditional cuisine. There are lots of other things to embrace!

    To John: The Phillippines and Hong Kong both have rice as a staple in their diet. And both places incorporate lots of vegetables into their meals as well! Like Michelle said, plan ahead and be prepared in case you can’t find something plant-strong. Be sure to pack some foods to take with you (such as non-dairy milks, oats, beans, etc) in case you can’t find them at local grocery stores, but I really wouldn’t worry too much about not being able to find food once you are there. I think that you’ll be surprised what you will be able to find! Maybe you will even discover a new vegetable or grain that you’d never heard of before! Basically, be prepared, but don’t stress 🙂 Enjoy!

    • Michelle (txvegteen)
      Posted at 14:31h, 22 August

      I wasn’t going to not try local favorites, but I just stuck to the ones that were plantstrong (molokai sweet potatoes, passionfruit, guava, etc) 🙂

      • Tara :)
        Posted at 09:01h, 24 August

        Exactly! 🙂 Sorry, I guess it seemed like I meant not eating any of the traditional cuisine. But while some foods might not make the cut, others might be! And sometimes there are variations of a particular dish. You can still get the cultural food experience while staying plant-strong 🙂 Thanks for the clarification, Michelle 🙂

  • Kirsten
    Posted at 06:45h, 25 August

    This is perfect timing…I’m going on vacation in October (ok…a little far away), but am starting to plan my meals and such. I’m going to check out McDougall’s soups…cause I love soup, but hate the sodium! I’m definitely bringing a big batch of Rip’s Big Bowl ingredients!

  • Cecelia
    Posted at 10:10h, 03 September

    I commend you for all your efforts to stay plant strong. Way to go girl! Do you have any suggestions for tent camping? nut butter and sugar free jam and refried beans can get old.

  • kathy
    Posted at 18:56h, 16 February

    Thanks so much! I am vacationing in Vancouver & Whistler in September and glad to know that the re is plenty of plant-strong food in BC.

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