Vegan Vs Travel

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Things That Vegans Surprisingly CAN Eat - like bread!

can vegans eat bread

Alongside the usual questions: "why are you vegan", "isn't it unhealthy to be vegan", "is it even possible to travel as a vegan" people often ask if vegans can eat certain things - like bread: "can vegans eat bread?". 

To most, what a vegetarian can't eat is very simple: meat tends to come as meat and isn't really hidden anywhere. But for vegans it's different - Dairy and eggs and honey are hidden everywhere. Thus the confusion. Don't worry, I'm here to answer your questions, like "can vegans eat yeast?":

What CAN vegans eat? - Surprising vegan foods

1. Can vegans eat bread?

can vegans eat bread

One of the first countries I travelled to as a vegan was Italy, and this is where the first weird "can vegans eat.." question was put to me: 

"Can vegans eat bread?"

Whilst it is true that vegans can't eat certain kinds of bread (any of the ones that have milk or egg in them like naan bread), that wasn't the reasoning behind my questioner's question. 

The reason they thought vegans couldn't eat bread was... because of the yeast!! Can vegans eat yeast? In a way it's logical, yeast is kind of alive right? 

But just like mushrooms, yeast comes from the fungi family, they aren't derived from animals and vegans can eat yeast (phew)!

What kind of bread do vegans eat

Vegans can eat most breads - but double check that label.. Easier said than done if you travel vegan and can't read the label. As a general rule of thumb vegans can eat:

  • Sourdough
  • English muffins
  • Bagels
  • Sandwich breads
  • Flatbread
  • Buns
  • Pita bread
  • Rolls
  • Loaves
  • Crackers
  • Tortillas

List of breads vegans can't eat

If you're not sure, and can't read the label and can't ask the baker/shop assistant, you should avoid 'squishier' breads because they contain milk/yoghurt/eggs, generally vegans can't eat:
  • Naan bread
  • Brioche
  • Challah
  • Honey wheat (and any other bread made with honey)
  • Crumpets (sob)

2. Can vegans eat mushrooms?

can vegans eat mushrooms

On that note, and for the same reasons, can vegans eat mushrooms? Yes, vegans can eat mushrooms. When I was in Budapest, a hotel manager asked me this very question, and when I said I could he concluded that I wasn't a very hardcore vegan. Haha. 

3. Can vegans eat cooked food?

can vegans eat yeast

Back in Italy, an Englishman once asked me if being vegan meant you couldn't eat cooked food. I'm asked this one quite often and again this one is kind of logical: there are lots of raw vegans who (you guessed it) only eat raw, vegan food. However, as a normal vegan, you can eat cooked food. 

The funniest thing about this guy, though and what makes him memorable, was he thought vegans could eat ANYTHING, as long as it was raw - aka they could eat raw meat. Lol.

4. Can vegans drink coffee?

can vegans drink coffee

This is probably the one I get asked most often - can vegans drink coffee? I'm not sure why people think coffee is non-vegan: perhaps because coffee consumption is bad for the environment, perhaps because people associate a vegan lifestyle with restrictiveness and no fun (and hence no coffee), or perhaps because lots of people take milk in their coffee. 

At any rate, what about black coffee, Americanos and Espressos? All vegan. And lattes or flat whites etc can all become vegan with non-dairy milk like almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, hazelnut milk or hemp milk. Lol. I get it if you don't like one of them with your coffee, but have you tried all of them yet?

I am actually trying to give up coffee, but only because it makes me too hyper when I drink it and grumpy when I don't #addicted Update: I've given up giving up coffee. 

5. Can vegans drink alcohol?

can vegans drink alcohol

Can vegans drink alcohol? Actually, there are lots of wines and beers that vegans can't drink: lots of wines use eggshell to filter, and lots of beers line their pipes with fish (why)?  - Note this is also true for some orange juices!

However, I think most people who are asking if vegans drink alcohol, are coming from a place of "vegans are restrictive, ergo no alcohol" rather than thinking about pipes and egg shells. 

Luckily, there are still plenty of wines and beers vegans can drink and as far as I'm aware almost all spirits are vegan (well apart from those ones with scorpions or worms in, but you know). 

6. Can vegans eat pasta?

can vegans eat pasta

This one also sort of makes sense, like bread and alcohol there are certain types of pasta that vegans can't eat. Lots of fresh pasta is made with egg which means it's a no for vegans. This includes lasagne sheets and often cannelloni. 

But like bread and alcohol, most types of pasta can be eaten by vegans, double check the label but as a general rule of thumb vegans can eat spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne, fusilli, bucatini and more. 

Luckily, there are more and more vegan restaurants offering vegan fresh pasta - there's even one in Budapest. 

7. Can vegans drink Starbucks?

can vegans drink starbucks

When we were in Dubai our friend asked if we could drink Starbucks. Not because he didn't think we could drink coffee (he'd already asked us that a few hours before), but because Starbucks isn't ethical. 

You don't have to be ethical to be a vegan (though you do have to be a vegan to be ethical). So vegans can go to Starbucks. 

Personally, I don't but only cause shitty coffee isn't my thing. 

Vegans can go to McDonald, KFC and Burger King, but I personally don't and this time it actually is for vegan reasons: these 'restaurants' are anti every reason that I am vegan: McDonald's treat animals and the environment appallingly, plus it's bad for your health. If we're out and about together and you want to go to McDonalds, I'll wait outside and judge you. If I've been drinking I'll physically stop you from going in (I'm a great friend and a model vegan). Hahah.

List of things vegans CAN'T eat

If you're still not sure, here is a list of things vegans definitely CANNOT eat:

  • Meat
    • Beef
    • Chicken
    • Lamb
    • Duck
    • Pork - bacon, gammon, sausages
  • Fish
    • Shellfish
  • Dairy
    • Milk
    • Yoghurt
    • Butter
    • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Honey
NB vegans also don't use anything made from animals e.g. silk, feathers, leather etc

Bonus: List of things vegans CAN eat

Before you freak out you'll have nothing to eat as a vegan/ nothing to feed your vegan friends, here are a list of things vegans can eat. Always:
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta (see above)
  • Bread (see above)
  • Spirits 
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes 
  • Chickpeas
  • HUMMUS (everyone's favourite)
  • Seitan
  • Chips
  • Falafel
  • Dark chocolate (double check for milk powder)

Conclusion: surprising things that vegans CAN eat

Did it have a face? No. Did it come from something that had a face? No. Then you're good, feed it to your vegan friend. I hope this clears up the 'can vegans eat bread' / 'can vegans eat mushrooms' questions. 

Initially being vegan is a lot harder than being vegetarian, there are so many foods you don't that contain eggs or dairy that you don't even realise. Like wine. But after a few months, you will adjust and it will be second nature. 

As for the crazy questions, keep them coming, I love the interesting way people think.

What about you? What's the strangest thing someone has asked you if you can eat as a vegan?  Which item on the list surprised you the most? I'll admit, I had to double check if vegans can eat yeast. 

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