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Vegan in Europe & End of Month Special

October 29, 2011

It is a 2 for 1 deal! For the price of one blog, you get 2 entries!

I know it has been almost a month since the last entry – based on the title you can figure out why.

Europe

So in October, I took on the final of my 3 major challenges when it comes to Frank vs. Veganism – travel. I had done some minor trips (Montreal, Vegas), but this was different. How would I handle being Vegan in countries that I am not even sure Veganism exists (Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Germany). In a word – Spectacular. As in Spectacular Fail! Let me explain:

Our first night, we arrived in Prague. Now, after wandering around, we decided to stop at a local restaurant. Part of the reason I love travelling is the food. I love to eat what locals eat. We entered a restaurant. It was an old school pub like place. We were seated. The only other people in our room was a young couple from England (you can tell by the accent, not that I spoke to them or anything). They took our drink order (I already know the beer is Vegan through research, so I get beer). Then they took the food order from the English couple. The guy explains to the waitress that his girlfriend is Vegan. She does not understand. He tells her that she does not eat meat and cheese. Can they bring her something.

They do – a bowl of steamed veggies. That is it.

Now, I did not spend 8 hours on a plane, plus 6 hours on a bus (our connection got cancelled, had to bus to Prague), to eat steamed veggies. Heck, I don’t eat like that at home! So I did my best. I ordered a garlic soup, that according to the ingredient list was Vegan. Then I ordered some other things, that even though they didn’t list it, they had cheese. Oh well, need to eat.

The next day, we explored Prague, and decided to check out a Vegetarian restaurant. We found it, and it turns out that it is a Hare Krishna place. The food is Indian. It was good, but again I travel for the food. I could be okay (avoid the yogurt and cheese and tofu, and it would meet my criteria)

We also started to discover that whenever a restaurant was advertised as Vegetarian, it was Indian food. Now I like Indian food as much as the next guy, but if I wanted to eat Indian, I would have gone to India, not Eastern Europe! So at that point (Day 2) I made the decision to be Vegetarian. I would avoid meat as much as possible, but eat everything else. This made my life and travels much better.

There were times when I got stuck (like walking in the middle of nowhere, running low on energy, stop at a cafe, and all they have is pre-made sandwiches, and all they have currently is ham), but for the most part, for the first week, I was 90-95% vegetarian. Generally speaking, I added cheese to my diet. Which is funny, because cheese is the food I miss the least. But at least it is a protein boost.

On the second week however, I got really bad. Essentially, we were in Austria and then Germany. I have been to this area before. I know what the food is – schnitzel and brats, with lots of beer. I happen to love the food in this part of the world. So I decided that I kept vegetarian for a week, I proved to myself that I could do it (and really, had I wanted to be Vegan, I could have eaten Indian or just cooked in our apartments). So now it was time to celebrate. And celebrate and indulge did I ever!

However, I did keep it together. Sometimes, I was bad. But if there was an option on the menu (or if I had sausage for lunch), I would go back to vegetarian for the next meal. In fact, our last meal in Germany (the last night), we ended up at a great little Mexican restaurant (I know, how can I go for Mexican after complaining about Indian). We were craving spices and vegetables. So Veggie Fajitas it was – and man was it amazing!

Since then, it has been back to strict Vegan again. Got to shed those pounds from the food (and the beer served by the litre – did you know they are 1 litre beer mugs? That is like drinking 3 beers at once! And the beer is really good, and CHEAP!)

End of Month

I realize that the end of the month is not today, but Monday is Halloween. I plan on being busy handing out candy to kids, and watching scary movies, so blogging won’t be a priority. I figure, why not now.

As stated above, I failed in Europe. I expected to however.

As we wind down this challenge, I have learned many things, especially this month. I have learned that I can be Vegan anywhere, it just takes work. I have learned that my energy levels have been good. I found while travelling that at the beginning I had tons of energy. However, as I started introducing my old eating habits, my energy was not as good. I had to take naps (7 minutes of resting my eyes) to keep up.

I also found that despite what people keep saying, I never got sick because of the food. I did not eat something, and then had to find a bathroom for a long time. That simply did not happen. So yeah, I am looking forward to my big filet mignon to celebrate the end of the challenge! I did find that when I was eating bad, it made me really gassy however. Those poor people in crowds and museums. I would walk by and poor them! LOL! (I am kidding, I am not that rude)

The big thing that I have found is that I am looking forward to ending this challenge. For example, in November I have a camp to attend. I am really not looking forward to having to cook my food for that camp ahead of time, versus just eating with the rest of the people. It is so much work. Additionally, I have meetings at work coming up, and there are dinners that I will not be attending, as I can’t eat the food.

If this were a health thing (it sort of is, but not in an allergy thing), then that is one thing. But this is something entirely different.  I am looking forward to keeping Vegan at home, but then being out and getting to do whatever everyone else does.

That is all I got at this point. Thanks for reading!

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From → Vegan Frank

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