View Full Version : Going abroad and adhereing to a vegan lifestyle

lauren rae
Jan 20th, 2006, 02:59 AM
I'm going to Brazil for the first time in march for 2 weeks and was wondering if any of you guys have been there before and if you were able to keep it vegan during that time. I kept it vegetarian in Nasau and Puetro Vallarta this year, but it was hard... Curitiba is the city I'm going to. It's like a 4 million person metro-city.

Jan 20th, 2006, 05:15 AM
One of my best friends is from Brazil and is veg. She's there right now, visiting family. We have talked about having a retreat there and have discussed the vegan climate extensively. It WILL be possible to be vegan there (or just about anywhere else really!) you just have to plan ahead and familiarize yourself with some basic language etc. Have a great time!

lauren rae
Jan 20th, 2006, 11:39 AM
Well...I guess I can bug my a couple of my portuguese speaking friends and see if they can help me figure out how to ask about ingredients and such. Pretty good idea. I just don't want to be stuck eating nothing but salads and pina coladas like I did for 5 days down in mexico. Stuff if good, but really boring after like...2 days.

Jan 20th, 2006, 12:58 PM
well pina coladas arent vegan. (i do wish they were, they were my favorite pre-vegan drink) but many others are! (well, there are a couple of mixes to make pina coladas with that are vegan, but in restaurants and such, they use milk to make pina coladas!)

lauren rae
Jan 20th, 2006, 03:22 PM
good thing I was still just vegetarain then. my aunt made some really good vegan frozen drinks while I was there though. I might have to whip out my blender and figure how to make a kickin' vegan-friend pina coladas now.

Jan 21st, 2006, 09:15 AM
Pina coladas aren't vegan? I thought they used coconut milk, not cow's milk...:confused:

I've only ever made homemade ones, though, they only contained coconut milk, pineapple, and ice (well, and rum... duh). I guess I could see how a restaurant would use regular milk as it is cheaper than coconut milk, but how can it be a pina colada without coconut?

Jan 21st, 2006, 11:42 AM
because they use pina colada mixes. ive been to many many restaurants in my day and have ordered hundreds of pina coladas, and they always have dairy in them.

Jan 21st, 2006, 03:47 PM
Are you going to be eating mostly at restaurants? Or will you buy your own food from stores and markets? I'm sure Brazil would have delicious fresh vegetables and fruits you can get...

lauren rae
Jan 21st, 2006, 07:07 PM
I'm not really sure what will be going on because I'm going with a group from school. I doubt well have kitchens in our hotel rooms though. It'll probably be okay. I'm just going to figure out what all the words for the different kinds of animal products are in portuguese so I can but things at the store. I did that in mexico and it worked pretty well with the little bit of knowledge I have of that languagel.

Jan 21st, 2006, 11:16 PM
Well, if you're going on a school trip, you'll probably have an escort or a teacher there who speaks Portuguese, right? Maybe you can ask him/her to help you out when you're eating, so you don't accidentally order something with animals in it. Also, if you're in an area where there are a lot of tourists, it might not be very hard to find someone who speaks English and can help you out.

May 5th, 2006, 06:12 AM
I am currently mulling over my choices that i have to study abroad in spring of 07. so far it is down to:

1. Tibetan Studies in Dharamsala (the Tibetan government-in-exile) with excursions to the Autonomous Region of Tibet and Nepal (or Varanasi and Bhutan if for some reason circumstances prohibit the travel to those areas). If His Holiness the Dalai Lama is there and has time while the students are residing in Dharamsala we will get a chance to meet with him privately!! He has been on my wall above my mirror since the 6th grade - that might just complete my life and ever since I can remember (even elementary school) on those surveys/worksheets that say if you could go anywhere where would you go I have always put down Tibet.

2. Cameroon - I know someone who will be going in Spring 07 and I will be able to internship for my ISP and stay with that internship during the summer when I will be joined by my best friend who will be also doing an internship in Cameroon.

3. Fiji or some other Pacific Island. I just think this would be a cool cultural experience.

Right now I am definately leaning toward Tibetan Studies. However, Tibet has a very harsh climate and the ground is frozen 8-10 months out of the year and so vegetables can't grow. Their diet is based on Tsampa (ground barley), meat (usually from a yak or possibly sheep), yogurt and tea. it would be extremely hard to stay vegetarian nevermind vegan in such an environment and on the study abroad web site they say that in order to avoid offending your host families (im not worried about eating out but we live with a host family in exile) you should at least put the meat on your plate.

So heres the ethical dilemma - what does one do? for me much of my vegan roots lie in my hatred for food globalization and food corporations controlling research and dietary guidelines and therefore not wanting to support them, also factory farming etc. of course. however, in tibet one family can get by on one yak per season and they never kill more than necessary and they have certain rituals that must be followed etc. i also have read somewhere that they cant actually do the killing themselves since it is against the buddhist belief.

what would you all do if you were in a situation where you were living with an indigenous family that does not follow western normative traditions when it comes to food and follows more of a traditional hunting/gathering approach to food? would you risk offending them (and i feel like due to the humble nature of most tibetans it is easy to offend them if not humble and grateful) or put your own ethical beliefs aside for the time being seeing as the culture is completely different and the harm that is being done is also greatly decreased? :confused:

May 5th, 2006, 07:06 AM
i guess that is really up to you, wishin'!

but if it were me i would want to try to do it vegan. you are there to learn about thier culture. not to become it.

they are sharing thier culture with you, share some of yours with them.

see if you can set up regular deliveries for the time that you will be there from someone or some place (online store?) to bring you vegan nessecities. while it may not be in thier culture to eat tofu, they probably get mail.

it probably would be expensive, but it may be worth it... (i personally dont even think of meat as something consumeable by humans in general, muchless myself!)

i wish you luck with your desicions!!!:D

May 5th, 2006, 07:33 AM
It would be extremely hard to stay vegetarian nevermind vegan in such an environment and on the study abroad web site they say that in order to avoid offending your host families (im not worried about eating out but we live with a host family in exile) you should at least put the meat on your plate.

Hi Wishin, I was in a similar situation once. I was supposed to tour in Japan, and was told that I had to start to get used to eat fish if I should join the tour. When I said that I wouldn't eat fish, they said that many Japanese people I would meet would find this offending. My response was that I don't think they would: they are familiar with Buddhism, and killing is considered to be against their beliefs. I also said something like 'If someone wants me to follow their lifestyle - with all due respect, it's their problem, and not mine.' :)

I don't expect Hindu Brahmins to eat cow's meat if the visit Europe, and I wouldn't wear a kilt if I should visit Scotland. The tour was cancelled for other reasons, but my experience with people in any country, especially countries that have religions with focus on non-harming and respect for life, is that they have strong respect for people who in their eyes live (more) according to their beliefs (than they do). I've been visiting lacto-vegetarian Hindus who not only have respect, but who are almost impressed by the fact that vegans not only avoid meat, but also other animal products.

It's true that there are Tibetan Buddhists that eat meat, but get someone else to kill the animal for them. IMO nothing would be better for these people if they had a chance to meet people who were going further in their lifestyle decisions than asking someone else do to something for them that they found to be against their own ethics....

what would you all do if you were in a situation where you were living with an indigenous family that does not follow western normative traditions when it comes to food and follows more of a traditional hunting/gathering approach to food?

I would do exactly what they do (or at least should do): live according to what I think and feel is right and wrong. If I would have been a meat eater, I would definitely not be impressed if a vegetarian Buddhist, Taoist, Jain or Hindu would visit me and eat meat to please me...

I had a meat eating period after I decided to drop animal products. In this period I had an Indian musician (a Hindu) visiting me. He was (of course) not interested in eating what I usually did at that time, and cooked brilliant vegetarian food while he was at my place, which helped me see and remember that I had lost focus.

would you risk offending them

Tibetans don't drop their religion if they move to the West - on the contrary, they often create Buddhist Centers where they teach Westerners about their religion and lifestyle. I don't think they would be offended - really. If one of them would, I'd find a translator and make sure they would understand that I am just like them: I don't want to ignore my ethical values only to please others' habits or beliefs!

(Here's (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=641) a thread about a related topic.)

I wouldn't worry if I were you - I think it's more likely that they'll treat you like a Holy Woman than anything else. :)

May 6th, 2006, 05:30 PM
Just for the record Korn, I'm Scottish and won't be offended if you don't wear a kilt if you come to visit!
BTW its only really worn for weddings and national football matches, not everyday wear! hehe

Iv never been abroad but im planning to go to europe this summer, im going to take vitamins in case i dont get a balanced diet, but there should be enough fruit, veg and bread and nuts to live on easily available I hope.

May 7th, 2006, 12:48 AM
I live abroad and adhere to a strict vegan lifestyle. It's certainly doable. I think that it's easier than TRAVELING and being vegan though, because if you stay in one spot long enough, you get to know all the ins and outs of a place, know where to shop and where not to, AND you have your own kitchen and can prepare your own meals. That's the biggest plus because you might find yourself in a place where you can't eat out--ever.

I'm looking foward to eventually moving back to America and seeing what it's like to be vegan there. I turned vegan while in Korea and haven't even visited the States in the meantime.

May 6th, 2008, 04:10 AM
Excellent points, Korn! I was asked a similar question by a friend back when I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian. She asked me, hypothetically, what I would do if I lived with a family in a predominantly meat-based culture. I told her that a) I chose not to study abroad in a place where I'd have to do a homestay because I didn't want to put myself in a situation where it would be difficult to find vegetarian food and b) I would never consider eating meat, since I've only tried it once in my entire life and I consider it to be "food" as much as I consider dirt to be food. She didn't get it, and I really wished I'd had a better argument/explanation...so thanks, Korn! If she asks again I know what to say. :)

Aug 21st, 2008, 07:11 AM
I agree that it's easier to live veganishly when staying abroad than when just passing through, though if you do some research ahead of time, it's less a problem. I made the switch when I was in Poland, and I lived there almost two years. It was a bit hard at first, but I got to know the foods there quickly enough and it became not problem. One thing you really should do is learn at least certain words. It's no coincidence that my first Polish words included the Polish word for milk, eggs, meat, gelatin, etc.

ludisia discolor
Sep 14th, 2008, 08:46 PM
if anyone else is interested,I'm from Brazil and know many vegan options,including in Curitiba(actually,it's one of the best places for vegs round here.)