You might think that being a vegan can make your life difficult if you are traveling to a Mediterranean country. Countries such as Greece and Cyprus are known for their local cuisine that consists of meat dishes and deep fried or baked cheeses that can make your head spin.
However, there are a number of options available even for people who decided not to eat animal products (such as eggs, dairy, honey and meat). Let’s take a look at some of the obstacles and options at your disposal should you consider visiting the Mediterranean.
Obstacles of being vegan
- Even though Mediterranean countries are known for their sunny beaches and fresh fruit and vegetables, people like to put cheese or meat in everything they eat – this can cause a problem if you are vegan.
- You will have to opt out of trying local cuisine in a majority of places since people are still not used to serving vegan options of traditional dishes. In most cases, the meat or cheese is irreplaceable due to it being the main ingredient.
- Carrying a home-prepared salad box or cooking food in your room if you are planning to be outside for a while might be a good idea. There are also dedicated vegan restaurants in major cities that can serve you if you look hard enough.
- People might accidentally mix veganism with vegetarianism and offer you food that includes animal products. Don’t take it personally, since these countries still didn’t fully embrace veganism as a lifestyle. Check the ingredients and thank them for their offer if you notice anything suspicious.
Living the Vegan-Mediterranean Life
Luckily, adapting the ingredients, spices and vegetables that the Mediterranean has to offer is quite easy. You can safely mix these new and exciting flavors into your everyday meals and still make the most of what these countries have to offer.
- Mediterranean countries are known for their use of olives. Virgin olive oil is an amazing substitute for the fats in your meals, ensuring that every dish you eat retains a specific flavor and aroma. Consuming olive oil can enhance the absorption of protective compounds, meaning that you can eat tasty food and make it healthy to boot!
- Vegetables are a number one priority for you as a vegan. The Mediterranean is booming with the fruit and vegetable industry and these are very cheap to buy and easy to prepare. You can also ask for plain salads with grains and spices without the added cheese or topping should you go out for food.
- Use nuts, seeds and spices wherever you go! You can pack up on local spices and keep them in your backpack for future use wherever you sit down to eat. These freshly ground spices and local nuts can make your meal healthy and give you an extra layer of flavor.
- Supplements of Omega-3 fats are important for vegans who don’t consume fish as a part of their diet – this is what makes the people of the Mediterranean so lively and healthy. Using supplements in the form of capsules or food additives can make your food taste better if your family or friends decide to eat fish in a restaurant. Ordering a salad and spicing it up once it arrives is nothing to be ashamed of, since this will happen for the majority of your stay in the Mediterranean.
- Depending on whether or not you consume alcohol, you should definitely opt for local wine choices and steer clear of bottled stuff. Wine is a popular in the Mediterranean which is full of family vineyards and breweries. Choosing not to taste red wine in the Mediterranean is doing you a huge disservice, but it all depends on personal preference.
If you are traveling to the Mediterranean as a vegan in hopes of eating a lot of different exciting dishes, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. While some restaurants and establishments might offer substitute dishes of traditional cuisine, most of them will look at you in confusion.
Regardless of that, travelling along the Mediterranean coast should be more than just about food, and the local history and beaches will make you forget about the lack of variety when it comes to vegan cuisine. After all, you are used to cooking for yourself by now, so make sure that you are stocked up on local spices and ingredients and give new combinations a proper try!
About the Author
Brand developer in the past. Mom, educational blogger in the present. Freelance writer for www.topwritersreview.com by trade. Hiking fan by choice. Desperate inspiration seeker all the time.