In Part 1 of this series, I explored how vegan food travel is normal and necessary. Specifically, I explored how it can be normal and necessary for vegan travellers especially if they are gluten intolerant or, like me, have been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. If those around us use terms such as ‘normal’ and ‘necessary’ to refer to a non-vegan diet, many vegans including those suffering from gluten-specific conditions may start to feel disconnected and alienated from the rest of the human herd. If you haven’t had a read or listen to Part 1, I suggest you do so by following the aforementioned link. Now, let’s get cracking to explore the final two N’s in this series – natural and nice!
Vegan Food Travel is Natural
Once I started to observe a vegan diet, it didn’t take very long for my newfound diet to feel natural to me. Those who don’t follow a vegan diet would, and still, lament over how ‘hard’ it would be to change to a vegan diet. I experienced anything but hard from a food perspective. Though, what was hard for me was grappling with the lives lost as a result of my intake of animal products before switching to vegan. After going on quite a few overseas trips both as a non-vegan and vegan, it occurred to me that people all over the globe possess different perceptions on what foods are natural to eat. In some parts of the world, such as traditional Batak tribal lands in Indonesia, eating anything with a face or whatever moves is ‘natural’.
Once I started to understand animal agriculture and the practises involved, killing another for food started to feel unnatural and violent to me. I was no longer experiencing a need or want for meat and animal products; the dilemma in taking one’s life to feed another dissipated once I turned vegan. In Australia, approximately 600 million animals are killed each year in order to feed the Australian meat-eating population. Scarily, this number doesn’t include marine life. In addition, travelling to many parts of the world and seeing how animals are treated, not just in my own backyard of Australia, emphasised these feelings. Going vegan was therefore the only way to go. Having to go gluten free so I didn’t feel sick and tired all the time was an added bonus. No one wants to feel sick all the time – this is not natural, either.
Vegan Food Travel is Nice
In the context of food and travel, we can perceive the word ‘nice’ a few ways. Being nice when visiting new countries or regions, we are more likely to be open to new experiences, traditions that are different to ours. As a result, we build lasting friendships with locals and other fellow travellers. And what’s different in my life – that doesn’t match the local tradition – is more likely to be met with curiosity and enthusiasm. Being vegan means you can exchange a tradition that may not be the local norm, and the local meals I’ve experienced as vegan versions have been incredible. Locals are curious to adapt their traditions and enjoy the equivalent for a one-off meal.
The incredible meals I’ve experienced, such as the Batak tribe that lives in the highlands of western Indonesia where some locals are known to eat anything that walks or has a face, equate to this nice-ness. Without your meals tasting nice, there is little hope that you’ll stick to a vegan diet. Nice vegan options can be found anywhere and all it takes is a little ingenuity, encouragement and enthusiasm to make it happen in places where options may not exist.
If there is curiosity and acceptance, there is unwavering possibility.
As an aside, it’s Coeliac Awareness Week in Australia from March 13 to 20. If you want to learn more about this disease, affecting 1 in 70 Australians, you can visit the Coeliac Australia website.
In the spirit of Coeliac Awareness Week, don’t forget to eat all the vegan gluten-free things!
Disclaimer: Fire & Tea does not have any existing affiliations with Coeliac Australia. I wanted to mention Coeliac Week and Coeliac Australia so as to bring awareness to the disease.