Traveling vegetarian

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I’ve seen so-called “vegetarian passports” before, which basically have “I’m a vegetarian/vegan” in a number of different languages, so that when traveling to another country, you’re covered. But I’m mighty impressed by this Vegetarian Passport site, which has over 70 languages represented. Clicking through each language takes you to a GIF image (or in some cases, text) with two sections, the first for lacto-ovo vegetarians, the second for vegans. Print it out, take it with you, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will have any questions about what you do and don’t eat. Here’s the English:

1. I am a vegetarian.

This means: because of my beliefs I don’t eat anything obtained from a killed animal.

So I don’t eat: red meat (including minced meat, all kinds of sausages, etc) fish, shrimps, mussels poultry (including chicken, turkey, duck, or goose) any other meat products

But I do eat: vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, mushrooms, rice, fruit, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, corn and corn products, etc. Soups and sauces may be made with vegetable stock, but not with meat or chicken extracts. Frying and baking may be done in vegetable oil, vegetable margarine, or butter, but not in any other animal fat.

2. I am a vegan.

This means: because of my beliefs I don’t eat anything of animal origin.

So I don’t eat: red meat (including minced meat, all kinds of sausages, etc) fish, shrimps, mussels poultry (including chicken, turkey, duck, or goose) any other meat products any dairy product (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt) eggs honey any other product which comes from an animal

But I do eat: vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, mushrooms, rice, fruit, corn and corn products, etc. Soups and sauces may be made with vegetable stock, but not with meat or chicken extracts. Frying and baking may be done in vegetable oil or vegetable margarine, but not in butter or any other animal-derived fat.

Looks to me like they have all the bases covered. I may be going back to Vietnam for a few weeks in the coming months, so here’s a note to myself: take the Vietnamese page along in my wallet.

Note that the images displayed on the page may not be the proper dimensions. Load the image individually before printing to make sure it all prints at the right size.

Preparing for Thanksgiving

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I picked up my special-ordered Tofurky roast from Healthy by Nature. Unfortuantely, I wasn’t very specific when ordering and only got the roast rather than the whole Vegetarian Feast (with drumsticks and Tofurky Jerky wishbones). Healthy by Nature, as I’ve mentioned before, is my favorite health food store in the area. Others I’ve been to have placed special orders and never gotten them in. HbN has a number of friendly employees and is always well-stocked with vegetarian/vegan items as well as organic fruits and vegetables. Plus they’re the only place in the area that carries the mint Tofutti Cuties. :)

It should be an interesting Thanksgiving: this will be our first family Thanksgiving that we’re hosting. I’m the only vegetarian in the bunch, though, so there will still be a turkey on our table, unfortunately.

I also picked up some gravy as well, which I tried last year and really enjoyed.

Commonly asked question

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One thing I’ve heard a lot since I’ve become vegetarian (and which I imagine others have as well) is the question: “Why would a vegetarian, who doesn’t eat meat, want to eat fake meat? There are so many of them in the stores.”

My answer is simple, and one I’m surprised I have to say so frequently. My choice to not eat meat wasn’t because I hated the taste of meat. In fact, I bet that almost every vegetarian liked the taste of meat when they gave it up for either ethical or health reasons. So, just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean that I miss the taste of a Big Mac or cheese-stuffed chicken on occasion, so that’s why I appreciate the meat alternatives, for when I’m in the mood for that taste. I’m just glad that products as versatile as the soy bean can be used to create such a close-tasting replica to the “real thing” without any animal suffering involved and with significant health benefits.

A close call

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I had a close call this weekend: I was offered a bite of a bagel with egg. As I bit in, I noticed something… with my mouth full I mumbled, “What the hell is this?” pointing at bacon that was hiding under the egg. I proceeded to spit my mouthful into the trash.

It was just an honest mistake with no actual intention of trying to “turn me back.” :)