Good Sources of Protein for
The Vegetarian Houseguest

As a vegetarian houseguest, tactfully accessing enough good sources of protein (besides fatty cheeses) can sometimes be a challenge. So, whatever advance planning and prep you do will likely pay big nutritional dividends and possibly keep you from eating your (non-vegetarian!) body parts out of sheer starvation. Or from munching your way through your host's flowers and shrubs like a goat...which s/he Likes but you may not.

Perhaps, then, it would be useful to develop a few travel tricks for the care and feeding of you. Even as they help ease the path of a vegetarian guest in omnivore households, they also help mitigate the nuisance factor for the hosts. "Picky" guests often wear out their welcome pretty fast...

Coping Gracefully

First and foremost, be as responsible for your “nonconforming” dietary needs as possible. For example, figure out ways to either take some good sources of protein with you or ensure that you’ll have them once on site. Just below are a few possibilities. If you reflect awhile, you can probably come up with some more ideas.

 Dehydrated Proteins

If you’re driving, seitan (only if you're not gluten-intolerant) and tofu will travel nicely in a cooler and store easily at your destination. Both make excellent vegetarian road food. If you’re flying, dehydrate these first; when dried properly, they can keep for weeks. Moreover, dehydrated seitan makes a dynamite trail mix when combined with seeds, nuts, and perhaps a bit of dried fruit...(and a few M&Ms!). Click on the link for some tips on dehydrating seitan.

I’ve even heard of people dehydrating cottage cheese, mainly for camping trips, although I’ve never tested its keeping qualities for myself. (Any day now, right?) If you can work out a tasty and stable recipe yourself, though, it could be a super protein snack when away from home.

For example, try blending dry cottage cheese, chopped and well-drained tomatoes, and fresh basil or a little pesto—with maybe a few seeds or nuts. Spoon in small rounds onto parchment sheets sized for your dehydrator shelves, and press flat. Then, slide the shelves into your dehydrator and process until fully dry. Although the amount of time varies from dehydrator to dehydrator, my rough guess would be somewhere between 8 and 20 hours. As for the heat required, you'd need to experiment.

You could also make this recipe with spinach or even fruit instead of tomatoes...lots of possibilities here. But—please use some caution with this particular "road food," promising though it appears. For example, keep it under refrigeration after drying, just in case.

When you're actually traveling, keep your cottage-cheese wafers in a cooler; at your destination, keep 'em in a refrigerator if you can—a cooler, if you can't. Why take chances with your tummy on a holiday, right? (If you don't have a dehydrator, here's the one I'll probably get when our own croaks.)

 Other "Good Travelers"

good sources of protein, boiled egg, vegetarian road food

Boiled eggs are another good fall-back for the vegetarian traveler; these you could even prepare yourself after arrival if you’re on informal terms with your hosts. (Wish I’d thought of that myself a few times!)

And be sure to take some protein bars along, as they can be a lifesaver when the host larder includes minimal vegetarian protein.

              Travel Munching Etiquette

When traveling with or visiting others, I find it works best to soft-pedal things to the extent possible. When people make their vegetarianism a burden to others (including hosts) and/or a tool with which to manipulate others, it grows old quickly. Imagine having to watch or listen to someone...

  • Refusing on vegetarian grounds to go to the restaurants everybody else is dying to try. Why not give the buds a break now and then instead?
  • Throwing a hissy when the menu of the chosen restaurant has no vegetarian options; we both know it’s nearly always possible to work out a solution in such cases.
  • Expounding (unasked) upon the negatives of a meat-based diet and/or factory farming, particularly while people are perusing the menu, waiting to order, or actually eating. Yes, we're all entitled to our principles/preferences/choices, but why be the ghost at the feast?

Ah, but non-vegetarians can be obnoxious twits, too, so try not to freak when people (one hopes not the ones you're traveling with) comment at unbelievable length upon your gustatory choices/principles. Why do people act like such jerks, you ask? Beats me, kid, but quite a lot of them do, so don't let them yank your chain. Flip 'em off (under the table, please) if you must, but don't let the dorks get you down.

At the same time, do remember that even as your dietary choices are your own business, so too are they your own responsibility. In other words, don’t lay those on others. That way, everybody gets to have a good time...which is why you're traveling together in the first place, right? So, let the good times roll!


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Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.

Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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