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Vegan in the Heartland

Plant-based eating is becoming easier and easier here on Bainbridge - and it seems as if every trip to Safeway or T&C brings a new discovery ("the Alpha” brand microwavable burritos and tamales at T&C are yummy!).

However, as I travel for work frequently, I find myself in all kinds of places that are, let’s say, less friendly to this plant-based lifestyle. Sure, you can always opt for junk-food to keep vegan, but six bags of pretzels and potato chips for dinner is a poor long-term strategy.

One of my recent clients is based in Scottsbluff, Nebraska - which if you haven’t been there, may be the poster child for ‘remote.’ Like much of that area of the country, it’s known for the basic Midwest meat and potatoes meals… with more meat, and extra cheese. The only brew-pub in town is call the Flyover Brewing Company (which gets kudos for the self-deprecation humor :-) but which carries wings, burgers and pizza only.

So what’s a West Coast vegan supposed to do? Get creative.

Breakfasts at the hotel were the easiest, a rotation of peanut butter toast, oatmeal, and (surprise!) MorningStar-brand soy sausages. Lunches tended to focus on salads (supplemented by my collection of plant-based protein bars from home). Dinners, especially with the client, were the biggest challenge, but even so - a salad, a non-meat/dairy based soup - and when there are no other choices, 2-3 sides as a meal. At the brewpub, it was a no-cheese pizza with all available vegetables. (No pineapple though, even when desperate I’m not a barbarian!)  

In the end, I learned some great lessons:

  • I can eat almost anywhere in a pinch  

  • Remember to pack snacks and protein bars in my briefcase

  • Be patient and creative and open to interesting options

  • Use Yelp to search for “Vegan Friendly” restaurants

If it can be done in Scottsbluff, it can be done anywhere. Thanks, ChefSteph!


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