Plant Based Bride

One woman's thoughts on the science and morality behind the choice to live without animal products. And possibly a blog post or two about centrepieces.

Vegan At Sea: My Top 10 Tips!

You know how to be vegan at home.  You’ve learned what you like, found a local farmer’s market, frequent your favourite restaurants and have a routine.  So what happens when everything gets shaken up?  Maintaining a vegan diet in restrictive circumstances can be difficult, something I know all too well from working on cruise ships!

I have spent a cumulative 7 months at sea, and I can tell you it hasn’t always been easy.  I hope that my top ten tips for maintaining a vegan diet at sea (or wherever you may find yourself) can help you on your journey.  Let’s get started!

Vegan At Sea: My Top Ten Tips! // Plant Based Bride

1. Take a deep breath.  More damaging than all the eventualities you have begun imagining is the stress and anxiety that worry brings.  You are vegan for a reason, and you have the fortitude to remain true to your values no matter the obstacle.  The more you get centred, grounded, and believe in yourself the easier it will be!  Try meditation.  I am definitely no expert, but I find even a couple of minutes a day make a huge difference in my ability to handle stress and anxiety! (Headspace is a great introduction to meditation!)

2. Ease up.  I understand that 100% vegan is the only way for you, it is for me as well.  But is oil free just as important?  Or high carb?  You may need to take a step back from your ideal dietary habits when you’re away from home and focus on keeping it vegan.  I’m not saying you should through nutrition and health out the window, but don’t hold yourself to such a high standard that everything falls apart!

3. Remember why you’re vegan.  When times are tough, it’s important to keep your motivation in plain view.  My favourite way to do that is to continue to work on my blog and to listen to vegan podcasts (check out my resources page to see my recommendations).  Perhaps for you it’s bringing along your favourite book on veganism, loading up a hard drive with documentaries, or volunteering in your free time.  Whatever it may be, keep your inspiration close!  You could even make a page with all of your reasons and put it up where you’ll see it everyday.  Here are my reasons as an example!

Reasons for being vegan // Plant Based Bride

4. Take it back to the basics.  The longer we’re vegan, the more our tastes evolve.  We become more adventurous, try new ingredients and combinations, and get into the latest superfoods.  When you don’t have access to these foods it may feel restrictive.  I suggest you take this as an opportunity to go back to basics.  Simple is definitely the way to go!  When I’m on the ship I eat a lot of whole fruits and vegetables, both raw and steamed.  A typical day would be lots of whole fruit for breakfast, a large salad with beans and some fruit at lunch, fruit for snacks, and rice and beans with vegetables and a salad for dinner.  It may not be exciting, but it’s healthy, satisfying, simple, and nutritious.  (Feel free to print out my vegan food pyramid to keep with you!)

5. Remember to practice self care.  it can be difficult to be constantly surrounded with people consuming animal products, believe me, i know.  Remember to be kind to yourself and take time for yourself to deal with the stress tat can bring.  Be understanding and gentle with yourself, and try to focus on what you're doing to help rather than on the suffering on others’ plates.  I love to maintain a daily yoga and meditation practice while living on the ship to feed my soul and find peace amongst many stressors. // I personally recommend Banana Blondie's yoga videos and Claire from Self Taught Yogis!

6. Take advantage of opportunities.  Have a day off?  Find a vegan or vegan-friendly restaurant and treat yourself to a great meal!  Grab a smoothie or fresh juice on your break.  While these may be costly and feel like a luxury, it’s important to treat yourself and reward your dedication!

7. Find like-minded individuals.  There are more vegans, vegetarians, flexi-tarians, and dairy-free folks than it may seem.  Focus on your similarities rather than your differences and engage in meaningful discussions about the things you’re passionate about!  You never know when something you say in passing may plant a seed in someone’s mind or heart!

8. Eat enough!  This one can be tough, but is so important!  I don’t need to tell you that as a vegan you need to eat a higher volume of food than someone eating a standard omnivorous diet, but for some reason we forget when we’re dropped into a new environment (me included!)  It can be almost embarrassing to eat far more than your peers at every meal, I completely get it.  But it’s also kind of awesome!  Not only can you eat far more than them consistently and maintain your weight (or even lose), you are promoting far greater health!  Once again, you never know what kind of interest you may spark in someone else by eating huge quantities of fresh, healthy, delicious looking food and maintaining a slim figure and vibrance!  

9. Be prepared.  If you can, always carry fresh fruit or another whole-food plant based snack with you.  It’s far better to be prepared than to end up hungry with no vegan options! 

10. Keep it in perspective.  For most of us, a change to our routine such as working on a cruise ship is not a permanent one.  Remember that, while it may feel difficult in the beginning, slight inconvenience for you is nothing compared to the suffering you are preventing!  Hold your head high and keep on making that difference!

And there you have it!  My top ten tips for keeping veganism simple while in less-than-ideal circumstances.  I encourage you to print the resources I created for this post to keep with you.  You never know when they may come in handy!

I also ask that if you have any further questions that you leave a comment below or email me at plantbasedbride@gmail.com so I can help you out!

Until next time,

Plant Based Bride