A Foodie’s Dilemma

I have a dilemma. A HUGE dilemma.

I want to be more of a vegetarian. I don’t like the idea that an animal has to die just so that I can eat it and I would love to have the added health benefits of a healthy vegetarian diet. But…

Eating to my heart's content

Eating to my heart’s content

But I love food too much. Sometimes perhaps a little too too much (my seconds are often still my appetizers), but all the same, I love food. I love all flavors and textures. I love trying new cuisines and local dishes when I travel. To me, travel and experiencing the world cannot be separated from the culture of cuisine and eating traditions.

My problem is this: I can’t seem to get the two to work together.

One particularly challenging aspect is that a majority of places I travel to just aren’t that vegetarian friendly. They do, however, have amazing food which contains meat.

Grilled beef with peanut sauce over vermicelli noodies and fresh veggies, YUM

Bun bo: grilled beef with peanut sauce over vermicelli noodies and fresh veggies = YUM

Take Vietnam for example. Vietnamese cuisine is one of my favorites, but if I went all veggie, I would be eating cheese bahn mi, stir-fried vegetables, or just fresh herbs and white rice all the time. If I went all veggie, I wouldn’t get to eat the delicious meat-heavy dishes that Vietnam is so rightly famous for, such as pho, bun bo, and com tam.

Kashmiri pulao: aromatic rice with fruits, veggies, and nuts = DIVINE

Kashmiri pulao: aromatic rice with fruits, veggies, and nuts = DIVINE

Alternatively, you have countries like India that serve up some fiercely awesome vegetarian dishes in spades. With a multitude of options in terms of flavors, textures, and variety, I know I could totally go vegetarian without any problems (which I did the last time I was in India).

I want to have a heart filled with compassion and respect for all living things, but I also have a stomach that’s hungry for the different flavors of the world.

What’s a very conflicted flexitarian to do?

12 Comments

  • Casey says:

    I totally agree! I was vegetarian for a little while, mostly just to try it rather than because of any convictions. But whenever I travel I want to eat everything. Plus food is such an important part of culture I don’t want to miss out on it. I really admire those people though who have the self control to be vegetarian while traveling.

    • Connvoyage says:

      Yes, it is really admirable. I think for me, I’m going to eat vegetarian as much as possible and try not to beat myself up too much if I do indulge in meat, especially while I’m traveling. There’s just too much to experience with food and flavors!

  • I can totally relate to this! I LOVE food too, but also don’t want to be part of the “system” especially in the US. I found that I don’t need or care about a label and don’t know if I’ll ever be ‘vegetarian’ but i don’t buy any meat (of any kind) at home anymore and mostly avoid it when out. I do still eat it occasionally and when I travel I do…especially in countries where there is no industrial system and I know everything is ‘free range’ b/c they just killed it in the backyard! I don’t think it has to be all or nothing and cutting back a lot makes me feel better.

    • Connvoyage says:

      You have a great way of seeing things. I’m doing the same mostly. Just need to work on decreasing the guilt I feel whenever I do eat meat…

    • vegan miam says:

      Always cook your own meal if you’re concerned about ingredients, that’s what I would do, especially if one with gluten-free dietary needs. It’s hard to find where these ingredients come from when you’re traveling, but most countries nowadays carry organic/healthy small groceries, which is pretty cool.

      ♡ rika, vegan miam
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  • mi-an dela cruz says:

    yea this is hard especially when you travel. i love food so much too…especially seafood. but dating a vegetarian boyfriend has made things easier to have a more vegetarian/vegan diet. i don’t eat pork or beef here in the US (very rare like once in a blue moon). i think what’s important is to make sure where our food is coming from… organic, free range, etc etc. but you know once you really start having a vegetarian diet, your palate just changes and you start to crave meat less. good luck!

  • Victoria says:

    I am so on the same page! I like vegetarian food, but I have a classic case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in relation to all things including food! I minimise meat consumption at home and eat it when I’m out and travelling depending on how comfortable I am with animal welfare standards. It’s much better in a country where there is some respect for animals and you can be confident that what you’re buying has not been treated badly. Now I’m hungry though!

  • Carmen says:

    I feel ya! It’s so difficult to be a vegetarian when you’re obsessed with trying different cuisines like we are. We tried to eat vegetarian twice a week but it hasn’t really worked. Atm we are travelling through the USA and there’s so much great meat that it’s almost impossible to give it up!

    • Connvoyage says:

      I’ve been mostly vegetarian, but I’ve learned not to give myself a hard time when I do eat meat. And yeah, I know what you mean about all the meat in the States! Hope you enjoy it!

  • […] it’s not hard to guess one of the top reasons I love going to Chiang Mai is the amazing food. I’m a struggling (but getting better!) vegetarian, but there are so many delicious vegetarian options in Chiang Mai to keep my tastebuds and belly […]

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