Thursday, August 13, 2015

Navigating small town {vegan} life

If you've ever lived in or visited a small town, you know that vegans and vegetarians can often have a hard time finding food to eat.  They may find that everyone else in the town they live in or visit eats meat.  That can be frustrating.  But, have no fear: As someone familiar with the challenges, I am here to do a little "hometown" talk about finding options when you live in or visit a small town.  Consider is a "preview" of what my travel ventures will be like once I get my journey on the road and go to other places!

So, having grown up in and spent a lot of time in Fosston, a small town in Minnesota, I'm gonna talk about that area, and give all you other small town people's some idea. 

#1: If you ever visit a small town in Minnesota, don't be afraid to tell people what you don't eat.  People in small town Minnesota will probably look at you like you are crazy, because they all eat meat.  But they will be nice to you!  I mean, seriously.  If you stop at a restaurant, and they just have salad available for vegans - that's okay.  Just let 'em know you don't want them with eggs or shredded cheese and you'll be good.

#2: You probably won't be able to go to a grocery store in a small town and find fake meats or nut milks, but you will find lots of good produce, tons of farmers markets, and some decent vegan sauce things if you snoop around.  If you ever find yourself traveling through the small town of McIntosh, Minnesota, go to the Mac Country Store (located on Highway 2 by the rooster) and get some nut milk there!  They also have Thai Red curry - who can pass that up?!

#3: Don't be afraid to stop on towns like Bemidji, Grand Forks, Crookston, or other "big cities" in the area.  If you don't live in Minnesota, and have no plans to travel there, you can substitute the names of the "big" cities in your state.  These places are usually full of Wal-Marts, Targets, or - in the case of Bemidji - food coops like Harmony, that sell all manner of vegan faux meats and other options.  When you get a chance to actually go to a "big city" in the area, it's a great chance to stock up!

#4: Avoid fast food restaurants in small towns.  Chances are, they fry EVERYTHING in animal fat, including the french fries.  So, if you were in the mood for a salty treat, that would be out.  You're better off going to a grocery store and getting a bag of chips to satisfy your salty craving.

#5: If, during your stay in small towns, you find you want a drink, have no fear: Pretty much every small town has a liquor store with enough booze for even vegans to find something they can drink!  So, even if you are just passing through - you can find a 6 pack or some vegan liquor to make your day!

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