Cruise Eating ~ What Most Passengers Will Probably Never Do

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RegentLet’s talk cruise food: on cruises, you eat often and well. Anything. Any time. From modest all-American hot dogs to heady caviar-lobster-prime rib blowouts. So here I was, Day 3 of a Regent Seven Seas Voyager journey around the Baltic Sea, already flat-lining from animal protein. Our agenda was two weeks of pig-out. Dare I go Vegan for a day?

Here’s what I was thinking: You don’t need me to write a “review” of this trip. Just Google your question and someone will have blogged about it.  Cruises are well-oiled machines, they produce a spit-spot experience for passengers. And yes, in my opinion, the food is fab. I wanted to write something different.

Recently, my cousin – vegan blogger at Hungry Hungry Hippie – had a meetup with fam in Europe. She had a rough time eating on that vacation. In fact, even at home it can be a challenge for her. Elise is a skilled brown-bagger. So I thought, if Elise were on this ship, would she be happy with the options? Wouldn’t you think “obviously yes?”  OK, let’s try…

Vegan collagePatti History: I was a vegetarian (not vegan) for 15 years. 1975 to 1990. Why I stopped is another story. But why I started was simple… I chunked up. Gained weight and hadn’t noticed. My problem? Hanging with guys who played a lot of sports. I didn’t play sports, but ate like I did. July 4, 1975, I caught a glimpse of my bikini-clad bod via a reflection in the window of my rented beach house. WHAAAA!! This, after consuming not one, but two beach-grilled burgers. I put down the beef.

Being a vegetarian is easier than vegan by a LONG shot. You have to screw your head on differently for vegan – best way I could think about it was, if a food had any ingredient with a “parent,” then it is not vegan. Pasta… made with eggs, it’s parent is a chicken. Soup made with chicken broth, another chicken parent. Something like pesto has parmesan cheese, a dairy… the parent is a cow. Get it?

Here is how my day went down. Coffee, banana, oatmeal. Then, salad, couscous (MAY have been made with chicken broth, hmmm), veggies. Hit the pool buffet and found rice-stuffed grape leaves and marinated mushrooms. Fruit kabobs for snack. Dinner… veg soup, salad with oil & vinegar, big pile of grilled vegetables. I put that dessert picture in there but didn’t eat – dairy and eggs lurking. Thankfully, wine doesn’t have a parent. But skip the bread. And those cookies. Forget the ice cream parlor (they probably had a sorbet, but I was losing steam.)

–> NOTE: if you are vegan, tell your cruise line in advance. They can provide you a selection menu to line up your meals. I didn’t do that, this is NO reflection on whether Regent did their job. They definitely did their job. I was playing a mind game with myself.

You need to lose weight? Become a vegan. Even being a vegetarian (I was an Ovo-Lacto, so I ate eggs and dairy) will do it, I slimmed down 25 pounds in about six months, and by the time I met Larry I had an almost Kate-Middleton-waistline. If you want inspiration, see the movie Food Inc.  It will really help.

On this cruise, I ate vegan for exactly one day. It was hard keeping the mindset. I admire the people who eat this way all the time.

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