It was to be the year without shortbread cookies, cheese balls and Noel Nog ice cream for the holidays. Fresh from my pledge from World Vegan Month (November) and with an upcoming trip to a tropical destination, I was going to be mostly vegan all of the time. (I do like my honey though. Sorry bees, but I am stepping in to be your Queen-bring me the best flower nectar!)
It was to become my Christmas challenge – traveling the island of Jamaica as a health-conscious vegan. My experience suggested the invention of a possible new diet plan, what I like to call Ja-vegan or more generically the Travellers’ Vegan Diet.
It is fairly easy to eat a low-fat diet with moderate amounts of food when you are vegan. No buttered toast or indulgent pancakes and French toast for breakfast, an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and very little packaged foods, makes being vegan on the road an ideal approach to eating healthy. (This was not such a stretch for me, though, as I have traditionally avoided the consumption of eggs and dairy when abroad.)
Being vegan in Jamaica is very easy to do. The land is fertile and many fruits and vegetables abound here. Every town I went to had at least one dedicated vegetarian restaurant. Apart from eggs and dairy served at tourist hotels, there was very little of it to be found in the areas that the locals go. Of course, there is a lot of meat here but it is easily avoided.
Jamaican patties (hand-pies) have become popular outside of Jamaica and within the country itself, you can find 2 patty shops throughout the island: Juicee and Tastee. Though they serve vegetable patties, the dough is often made with beef suet. Ask to be sure, take your chances or avoid them all together; there are many other dining options available for the vegetarian/vegan.
For the entire month of January, Meatless Monday will feature various vegetarian/vegan perspectives on food in Jamaica. Next week…typical Jamaica fare.