Being the only vegan in my family, I have to admit that sometimes going out can be a little stressful and/or disappointing due to the limited options available to me at certain places, say the beach. Here in Puerto Rico, the coastline where locals and tourists unite to catch waves and rays is dotted top to bottom with food shacks showcasing a variety of meats and meat-filled fritters.
So, when a college friend prompted me to schedule a beach day to hang out along with my older brother this past weekend, I found myself wondering: “What will I eat while my friend and brother are munching away on non-vegan treats? Will I fall into peer-pressure?”
I began preparing everything the morning before we set off on our little beach adventure. I packed some sliced mangoes and pineapple in separate bowls, I made some chickpea salad that goes great with tortilla chips or in a sandwich (it’s been a hit with my family and friends, so I always make sure to have a larger portion on hand to share.) and I grilled some sliced eggplant, zucchini, squash and mushrooms that had been marinated in herbs + olive oil + vinegar for a few minutes. Then I made sure to stock our cooler with bottles of water and make a quick stop to the grocery store to pick up some more fresh fruit. (8 kiwis for $2! score :). At the beach itself, I got some fresh coconut to drink and a plain flour fritter. And that was literally it.
I ended up with way more food than one person could eat, but nevertheless I did learn that being a vegan in social situations where options are otherwise limited can be a stress-free experience with minimal planning. And compared to other occasions when I wasn’t a eating this way, I didn’t come home with an uncomfortable stuffed feeling or a stomachache.
I ended up having a lot of fun with these two (see picture above as we were trying so hard to take a selfie but the wind and my afro wanted to defy the odds of our success.)
I encourage you if you’re a someone who has struggled in the past with going out in similar situations to not be afraid to plan ahead! Vegan food does not have to be complicated or extravagant. Pack stuff that will keep you filled + full of energy to be present in the moments you will encounter.
…Well, that’s the end of this food/photo diary. Thanks for reading!