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08/07/2013

How I Survived Business Travel As A Vegan And Raw Vegan

Business TravelBusiness travelers can maintain their vegetarian diet with a bit of planning. For two years I had a contract working off-site for a corporation located in Boston. I made frequent trips to Boston and traveled to other places around the country for conferences and meetings. Most months I traveled a total of about two weeks out of the month.

During my first year on the job I transitioned into a vegan diet. During the second year I transitioned into a raw food diet. While eating raw and vegan on the road was a challenge sometimes I was able to maintain my diet. Here is how I managed.

* To begin with, I investigated what restaurants and health food stores were located around the headquarters of the company I worked for. There was a Whole Foods within walking distance and numerous restaurants such as Thai, Mexican, Italian that I could easily find vegan meals. 

 * Similar to the post I did on traveling while vegetarian I would use the computer to research what was available in the city I was traveling to before I left home.

* The next thing I would do was make sure whoever was planning any meals knew that I was vegan or raw. I was always very clear to them about what I could and could not eat. I did this before I ever left home.

* Once I arrived, I would speak to the person in charge of meals again to find out what meals they had planned and to ask for substitutions or adaption as needed. More than once even after I had gotten confirmation that vegan meals would be available I had to have them make modifications once I arrived. 

* I would ask about the restaurants that we would be frequenting to find out what options were available. I might also make suggestion for places that I thought would be suitable for my needs as well as other people's desires.

* When attending conferences or other banquet style events I made sure to let them know well in advance what my meal needs are. And once again once I arrived I would follow-up to make sure that they had accommodated my needs.

* At the banquet event itself I would always speak to the wait person who was serving our table and make sure that they knew what my needs were. If what they were serving was not vegan I asked them to alter what they were serving to meet my needs.

*I generally made a trip to the health food store or grocery store as soon as I could to gather together things that I needed to supplement what was going to be offered. I would look for avocados, nuts, fruit, juice, granola etc. If I have access to a refrigerator I can pick up a wider variety of things. I might get carrot sticks and guacamole and salsa, cut up pineapple, California rolls.

* Breakfast was often the most difficult to find suitable food at whatever buffet was provided. I would make sure I had some juice or some fresh fruit or some granola or nuts or whatever I could find at the grocery store. Often I would run to the Whole Foods nearby right before the morning meeting to pick up my fruit and my juice and I could sit there and eat that while they were eating their donuts and bagels and cream cheese.

* There were times however when they really weren't able or willing to accommodate me especially after I was raw. I spent as much as a week eating nothing but iceberg or Romain lettuce salads every day for lunch and for dinner. I would do my best to get avocados or nuts or other things that I could find the local store that I can add to my salad to give a little oomph.

I decided that for that short period of time I could make do with what I could find knowing that once I got back home I could return to my gourmet delicious raw vegan meals.

* Fortunately as more and more people adopt vegetarian lifestyles, businesses and restaurants and hotels are offering more and more options to accommodate vegan and raw food diets. 

* I wish I had a Magic Bullet or Nutra Bullet like I have now. I would have loved to put that in my suitcase and then I would've been able to make smoothies in my hotel room.

So that is how I survived business travel as a vegan and as a raw vegan. 

I'd love to hear from you. What ways do you survive your business travel while eating vegetarian? Do you have questions you need answered? Offer your advice or ask your question in the comment section below.

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Supporting you by bringing you flavorful and satisfying vegan and raw vegan recipes, inspiration and online training and one-on-one coaching to help LOVE YOUR VEGAN LIFE! I am an educator and revolutionary who has teamed up with my physician/dietitian husband, Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA, to address the growing health problems in the Afrikan/Black community by building a Nation of Black Vegetarians and Vegans.

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