I have been a vegetarian to varying degrees for the past eight years. For most of that time, I was pescatarian- meaning I occasionally ate fish. Other forms of meat, including pork, beef, and poultry in any form, has not touched my plate for the entirety of those eight years. Recently, I have cut down on fish and all of the lacto-ovo indulgences I partake in as well. I do not consider myself a vegan by any means, but I rarely choose to eat milk, cheese, or eggs anymore and I haven’t had fish in months.
We are in Central America, a place whose delicacies often include some form of meat product. Many fellow travelers who hear that I am vegetarian, bordering on veganism, and traveling in Central America smile and say “good luck with that!” But the truth is, I haven’t had any problem being vegetarian as yet in Central America. In fact, my decision to further limit my lacto-ovo indulgences and stop eating fish (for the most part) came after we began this journey.
So what do I eat? Well, lots of stuff! (And no, I have not been surviving on beans and rice!) In fact, being vegetarian helps lower our food budget while on the road, allowing us to travel for less.
Finding ingredients for my vegetarian meals has been no trouble at all. The markets in Central America are plentiful with fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices.
Part of what has certainly helped me is our decision to travel slow. Renting a place with a kitchen for more than a few nights allows me to experiment to my heart’s content with vegetarian and vegan dishes. Knowing that we are going to be in one place for a bit means I can buy herbs and seasonings without worrying about wasting them when we move on.
Even eating out has yet to pose a problem. Every place from the nicest restaurant to the local taco stand can make a vegetarian version of their specialty without effort.
To my fellow vegetarians….. don’t worry, you do not have to gobble down plate after plate of rice and beans to avoid starving in Central America! There are plenty of yummy options to be found without too much effort. As a bonus, you will probably find ingredients and taste combinations you didn’t know you loved!