Last week we flew to Colorado to visit friends and family. I thought I would share our food diary to demonstrate how easy and inexpensive it is to be vegan on the road.  Here is our schedule:

O’ Dark Thirty Tuesday AM: Coffee and forced myself to have some pre-made steel cut oatmeal cooked with almond milk, apples, and raisins. Gathered up pre-made sandwiches and sliced apples and oranges. Packed in carry on.

Airport: No time, had some water, still full from breakfast.

Mid Flight: Ate sandwiches, was eyed jealously by seatmates. Sliced oranges freshened air and satiated lagging energy.

Drive to Airbnb: 2 hours in the car was a bit temperamental as we were boiling hot leaving a cold climate. Water and sliced apples much appreciated.

Dinner: Thankfully going to new friends and their college aged daughter made vegan spaghetti, with crusty bread, and salad yay! VERY GRATEFUL.

On the way back to our accommodations, we stopped at local, mediocre Safeway. It was not exactly fantastic but adequate. We bought almond milk, tons of fruit, bread, peanut butter, good non-sugar jelly, cold cereal, and coffee (oh yeah).

Wednesday Breakfast: Coffee, cereal, fruit for me. Howard had that + peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Lunch: BIG Surprise it snowed!! We were greeted with 10 inches of wet spring snow! OMG! Plans changed. We were able to carefully navigate to Subway (veggie patty sandwich is not all that bad really) to buy a picnic. Walked over and visited other friends located really close by.

Dinner: Snow melted and it was OK to drive. It was my turn to cook for the new non-veg group so I popped into Trader Joe’s. A nice person helped me find all the ingredients needed to whip together a veggie lasagna for this non veg group. I was able to pick up enough stuff to make it work. Whew. Ran to make lasagna and salad with good bread. Everyone approved. Catch breath.

Thursday Breakfast: Same.

Coffee dates: Super easy and wonderful all week long. Half Caf Soy Latte yes please. So fun!

Lunch out: Easy. We were in Boulder and had Mediterranean so the big group + kids were happy.

Dinner: We were so lucky to get invited back and college aged daughter made black bean tacos – sooo good! Essentially she made mashed spicy black beans, brown rice, guacamole with lime & cilantro (yum) and roasted diced spicy sweet potatoes ALL inside corn tortillas. Delicious! Love this girl. Want to see her again!

Friday breakfast: Same; surprisingly not bored and very happy to be eating in front of a wood burning fire! Really! Some snow still on ground.

Lunch: Girls day out! Woo hoo! It’s easy at restaurants to request plant based, sauce on side, meals. Just ask. Servers want to oblige. My portabella sandwich was big, fat, tasty, and juicy.

Dinner: Out at a big box, shopping center type place. I was very pleased to be able to order a veg pasta + big salad with dressing on the side. Despite being traditional Middle American restaurant I found the food was really good and server very patient with my questions. Happy! Took leftovers back to Airbnb.

Saturday Breakfast: same ~ I know we are boring! But we are happy, healthy, and FULL!

Lunch: We were running around and picked up simple veg sandwiches. There were not bad but not good. Again, so busy decided to focus on what was most important. I was not unhappy yet not delighted with the food. So what. Log me into the First World Problems Website!

Dinner: This was a challenge. We met up with yet a different couple and went to their local place. Being Northern CO it was full of dead animal heads and bodies. I decided not to look at them and to focus on the people and not the dead animals. It was pretty creepy. I was able to find a veg wrap + salad. It wasn’t bad; I’m being generous, but they tried!  Seriously, how awesome to have a dedicated mausoleum, dead animal place even recognize that some folks don’t want to eat that way. Kudos to the hunters for acknowledging another way exists. My focus was people not food; I decided I didn’t care so I could focus on the people I was with.  Yes, I wanted to leave but seriously, are my needs more important than another’s? No.

Sunday Easter Breakfast: same … sorry guys I wanted to get online and do stuff before we went back out. Need coffee!

Lunch: We had the chance to go back and visit the non-veg family. I had left overs + fresh salad, veggie pizza, all sorts of yummy fruit, and fun. All good. Emphasis on lots of fun!

Dinner: Back in town we opted for Chinese. I was craving lettuce rolls. Nice, cheap dinner at local spot. No frills. Tasty and satisfying. No surprises. Fun to walk around downtown.

Monday Breakfast: Since we were having lunch at 11:30 AM I opted for coffee. Howard ate EVERYTHING. OMG his metabolism is amazing!

Lunch: We met up with longtime friends in Denver at a big, fancy seafood place. As soon as he walked in, Howard said very loudly, “What do you have that’s vegan?” Of course I was embarrassed but seriously at 11:30 AM who cares? We are paying retail.  They said “A pasta dish!” and everyone was happy. Well, that worked. I scanned the menu and was pleased to find a big beautiful Greek salad and ordered that with dressing on the side. Huge, fresh and delicious, it was truly crunchy and delicious, heavy on the capers.

We had a wonderful, interesting, stimulating lunch and then drove to the airport. Time to say goodbye to beautiful Colorado.

Airport: Car rental return was a total drag. The wind was horrific! I was parched, cranky, and tired. The car guys were sullen. Contacts were shriveling. Finally … we got though the security and I spied with my little eye TCBY! OMG! I set up my phone to charge and ran over. The sign said “ask about our non-dairy options” so I did. Humongous smoothies were delicious! Strawberry-mango cool deliciousness ensured.  Ahhh. I felt better.

9 PM Home AT LAST! When we got off the plane, we took the train for an hour and then were so pleased to get a ride vs taxi home. On the train we calculated how long it had ben we had eaten. It was 7 hours! OMG would we die?? This was a long time!!  I found an old granola bar; we ate that + 2 travel weary clementine rescued from the depths of my bag. We would survive. Again, please contact first world problems website. How self-centered and spoiled are we?

Thankfully, I had 2 cans of lentil soup, bits of Daiya cheese shreds, and 100% whole wheat tortillas to make quesadillas served with pickles (I know, so weird), a bowl of cherry tomatoes that still looked alive + and even more clementine’s in the frig. I wanted to sing My Darling Clementine. We were happy and very full. Time for nighty night.

Traveling while veg is not hard. It takes some thought, sure. Life takes some though too! It really is not hard.  When you are about to travel, spend a few minutes organizing where you will be and what your options are. Plan to make a plan. I could have been way more creative and spent way more energy around food but chose not to. I could have packed way more stuff. I could have searched online beforehand to scout out cool places to go. I could have could … could have … could have. Full Stop. I didn’t have time. I didn’t want to. Get a grip. Stay flexible. Do the best you can. How memorable and bizarre that even being in the cowboy taxidermist hall of fame, I was able to eat enough to stay focused on my friends. Actually I love that! Eating only plants is not that hard.

PLEASE please please remember the important thing is to eat enough so you can stay clear headed and focused on who you are with. It is not about me. It is always about my friends and family.  Happy Eating!

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