Meatless Monday: Eating my way through Japan
Being vegan and a foodie means that my whole trip and each day is usually planned around when and where I'm going to eat. I've been sticking with vegan restaurants I can find on Happy Cow whenever possible. The street system here is crazy so finding a restaurant usually takes an hour and asking 4 people on the street. But it's been worth every minute and I'm not in any hurry so I don't stress out about it. The food has been delicious. I haven't really been anywhere that I didn't enjoy. And having a kitchen to cook in at my hosts house is always appreciated and makes eating vegan very easy.
Here's a video I did for the last 2 places I visited in Kyoto.
People keep asking me how easy is it to be vegan in Japan. To be honest, it's not that easy. After being here for 3 weeks I realize how spoiled we are in the United States. You just can't find ingredients like maple syrup, tempeh, Coconut Bliss and Daiya cheese (not that I want to eat Daiya, I'm just stating the facts). In the big cities where I can find vegan and macrobiotic restaurants, that is the only place I go to eat. Or if I have a kitchen available to me, then I buy veggies from the store and make soups and stir-frys. Easy peasey. In small cities like Taiji, it can be harder especially since I don't have a kitchen here and I'm staying/eating with others. I know how to ask if there is fish or dashi in anything, which is my main concern. I would never intentionally eat anything with fish or meat in it. But the bread that I had at the free breakfast, I'm not exactly sure if it was egg-free. Some of you will say that if I don't know I shouldn't eat it and I would have to agree with you. But, I've already spent my budget and wasn't going to turn down the free toast. It's not the end of the world and I will make better choices from now on. I'm not perfect and no one is no matter how elitist and snobby vegans get. It's really easy to be vegetarian here, and mostly easy to be vegan. Just being honest. I realize now that I should have planned better and had a proper budget for my food costs, but I wanted to see, eat, and support as many vegan/macro restaurants as possible (and those are not cheap!). Lesson learned.
I am eating plenty of fruit, but nothing is organic here. I've consumed more pesticides in the last 3 weeks than I care to think about. So I'm trying to do my best, and make conscious decisions about what, when, where, and how to eat. And that is all I can do really. In general, I don't think I'm eating all that well or getting all my nutritional needs met. I really need to find a way to up the veggie content. Maybe I will just eat fruit and raw vegetables for the next week. I'm slightly scared about food contamination, and my system hasn't been as regular as it usually is unfortunately. I know when I get to Southeast Asia my healthy vegan food choices will be greater and I'm looking forward to that!
I leave for Thailand on October 7th and look forward to experiencing new foods, what I've been told is the most amazing fruit and coconuts out the wazoo. I can totally live on coconuts 😉