As a Jewish American living abroad and traveling all over the world, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many other Jewish travelers.
One thing I’ve heard more than once is that many Jewish people change their eating habits when they travel to honor their desire to keep kosher.
There’s a wide range of observance, and one’s ability to keep kosher really depends on where you’re traveling. (In Europe, for example, it’s easier to find kosher restaurants and kosher meat and dairy products than in Southeast Asia.) Depending on the level of observance, people may eat only in vegetarian or vegan restaurants (to avoid eating non-kosher meat), travel with pots and pans to cook their own food, or eat meat only at kosher establishments.
It’s a phenomenon in our community and it got me thinking:
What if you used kosher travel as an opportunity for eating more plant-based foods?
When you travel and honor kosher laws to stay aligned with your level of observance, you can further support your health by eliminating meat and dairy and eating more plant-based foods (since it’s difficult to get kosher meat and dairy products).
People are already doing this–and we know that eating less meat and dairy is good for our health–so I’m inviting you to try eating a plant-based diet when you’re already outside of your normal environment.
I believe this option is available for anyone with the willingness to try it. If you’re traveling and already want to avoid eating non-kosher meat while traveling, eating plant-based can take it one step further. This meat and dairy-free time is a natural, intuitive opportunity to improve your health.
This does mean a shift in focus from finding kosher meat and dairy to focusing on plant-based foods during the travel experience.
Below I’m sharing my tips for eating healthy while traveling and kosher travel food ideas.
Top 3 Tips for Kosher Plant-Based Food Travel
First, a definition to frame these tips: Whole-food, plant-based eating is centered around whole or minimally-processed plants.
These includes fruit, vegetables, tubers, legumes, and whole grains. It avoids meat (including fish), dairy, and eggs, as well as refined foods like bleached flour, oil, and refined sugar.
#1: Do research
about the local food specialties and options
for the places you’re going ahead of time that serve plant-based food. This will help with your experience on the ground and being faced with options that aren’t palatable to you or are unfamiliar to you.
#2: Use resources
like the Happy Cow app—where you can find vegetarian or vegan restaurants from your phone when you’re on the go—and message boards addressing topics like airplane food and the most veg-friendly cities in the world.
#3: Rent an apartment with a kitchen
so you can make meals at home. (You may even be traveling with your own cooking pots.) This had the added bonus of being able to explore the local grocery stores and farmers markets, and cuts down on the costs of eating out for every meal.
Supporting your health and body while traveling is essential for a good experience and plant-based diet is my favorite solution for our community.
Your turn: In the comments, tell me your favorite tips for kosher travel.