If you haven’t heard the news, veganism is on the rise! Some give up meat for ethical reasons and find it cruel to take the lives of animals. Others are motivated by the health benefits of eating more plant-based foods. Still, others are driven by environmental concerns and want to distance themselves from the pollution attributed to meat and dairy farming. Muslims are also seeking out more veggie options when dining at home and abroad, especially when halal options are limited?
So, if you happen to be vegan, Muslim, and traveling, here are five tips to make your trip enjoyable, purposeful, and easier for the next traveler to tread!
1. Begin with your intention
[caption id="attachment_18896" align="alignnone" width="900"] Nasi Goreng in Indonesia[/caption]
To account for the money, time, and effort we spend on travel, we should squeeze the most out of the experience by making praiseworthy intentions. Visiting family and friends, learning and reflecting on the history and culture of a new place, as well as journeying to places of religious or spiritual significance help us to secure unseen rewards in our travels. When it comes to religious obligations, intend to establish your prayer, pursue the healthiest and least doubtful halal food a locality
has to offer, and avoiding places of sin. Like every day of our lives, every trip is an opportunity to seek and spread good, so don’t miss out!
2. Research the cuisine
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Kenyan Swahili Food in Oman[/caption]
Before you start planning where to dine, do some research to find out if the country you’re visiting already has an abundance of plant-based options. This is most important in countries where certified halal options might be lacking. Cuisines that are generally veg-friendly include Pan-Asian, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Turkish, Ethiopian, and Swahili. Be particularly cautious of cuisines that often have hidden meat products like Mexican, Filipino, or Caribbean. Great dining resources include Have Halal, Will Travel (of course!), Happy Cow
, Vegan Travel
, and Vegan Wanderlust
3. Reserve your flight meal in advance AND confirm
[caption id="attachment_18898" align="alignnone" width="900"] Mostly Vegan Meal on Sri Lankan Airlines[/caption]
From the time you book your flight, select your non-dairy, vegetarian meal (Airline Meal Code: VGML) or vegetarian vegan meal preference (Airline Meal Code: VVML). Be aware that other vegetarian meal types may include dairy or cheese. Also, confirm your meal request 2-3 days before your trip. Starting your journey hungry is no fun, so be sure to pack protein-rich snacks to balance
out the commonly carb-heavy meals. Remember, don’t assume that the airline attendants won’t add non-vegan desserts or dressings to your meal tray.
4. Be a visitor of conscience
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Macaque Monkeys in Singapore[/caption]
In almost every major city around the world, zoos and animal parks are major attractions. Take the time to learn how animals are used for entertainment and consider options that protect endangered species and allow animals to roam freely in their natural habitat. The earth is vast enough for us to learn about other species without uprooting them from their homes. Also, be considerate of souvenirs made from animal products, including those that are illegally acquired. And, if you find vegan options in Muslim-owned establishments, spread the good news and show your support! Don’t shy away from the critical conversations that need to happen in our community about animal rights, environmental responsibility, and excessive consumption.
5. Enjoy the vegan scene
[caption id="attachment_18900" align="alignnone" width="900"] Vegan Jamaican Breakfast[/caption]
When halal eateries lack vegan options, you might find yourself eating with an eclectic and diverse group of diners. In my more than ten years of vegan travel, I’ve broken bread with Rastafarians, Buddhists, Hindus, secularists, anarchists, punks, etc. While we may have both
common and different motivations regarding our diets, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the company and fellowship of one another. As always, do your best to embody Islamic values of kindness, respect, and tolerance. The world needs as many ambassadors of peace as possible, so never belittle the part you play! We all have a responsibility to eat responsibly and voice our concern for the planet and the creation, for the sake of the Creator.
Being vegan and Muslim may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s important to distinguish a vegan diet from a vegan philosophy. Just because an individual chooses a plant-based diet doesn’t mean that they are necessarily condemning another for their dietary choices. Halal food is more than just kebabs and kunefe. It’s also beans, greens, and many other delicious foods that we can all enjoy. Even if we all don’t eat the same foods, that doesn’t mean we can’t share in the same feast together!?
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