As we all know, eating out as vegans can be a real headache, when trying to get a meal made with no animal products. When you are within your own locality, country and environment, you get to know the places you can go, like the vegan-friendly eateries. You also knows what products you can buy in shops, etc. But what happens when you have to travel abroad and still try to stay principled? That is where the "Vegan Passport" comes in so handy.
How many of you here have one of these, or have heard of it?
First published in 1996 by the Vegan Society in Great Britain, this wonderful little multilingual phrase-book is about the same size as a normal passport (maybe a bit thicker). It is very portable, and it explains the principles of veganism in 73 languages (This includes Esperanto! Does anyone even speak Esperanto? I've yet to meet them.) I was given this book recently by a friend, and I am thrilled with it, in part because I am a linguist.
When travelling to other countries, we have to take into account that many people abroad will not understand what veganism is, and there may be a language barrier. What we eat may need to be spelled out to them in their own tongue. Veganism is not a concept that is familiar at all to many peoples, particularly not in developing countries, where many people often don't have enough to eat at all. (Eating only certain types of foods may be a luxury many people don’t have!)
Although vegetarianism is gaining a foothold in many countries now, (which is encouraging), the practice of eschewing all animal products, is often more controversial. The principles of our lifestyle often need to be elaborated to people, which is the explanatory message on the title page of the Vegan Passport. The English text says:
“I am a vegan/We are vegans. On principle, vegans do not eat anything of animal origin, - for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
So we do not eat: meat (including minced meat, sausages, etc.), poultry (including chicken), fish, shellfish, or other animal products such as honey, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, or other dairy product.
But we do eat: potatoes, rice, pasta (non-egg), beans, vegetables, tomatoes, fruits, nuts, mushrooms; breads or pastries made without animal fat; cereals and cereal products, etc. Soups and sauces may be made with vegetable stock but not with meat or chicken extracts. Only pure vegetable oil or pure vegetable margarine may be used in cooking, not butter or any other animal fat
Please, can you provide a meal which meets our requirements? THANK YOU VERY MUCH."
They seem to have covered all the bases there, not much excuse for anyone getting it wrong! On all of the other pages, the above statement is then translated into 73 other languages, which should be enough to communicate with over 95% of the world's population (and they even have pictures, if you still can’t explain it in words!) There is a also a note at the end which says: “The Vegan Society is always pleased to hear of any corrections or improvements to the translations in this book, and to receive any offers of translation into languages not already included.”
I was given my passport by a friend as she now has a more recent edition. This one is slightly out- of-date. But I am sure it will suit my purposes admirably, if I ever get to travel again! (I haven't done any globe-trotting for years, and the last time I went abroad I was vegetarian, not vegan, so I am very glad to have this passport. I am aware travel food will be more of a challenge in the future!)
I am just waiting now for Providence to give me the opportunity to use my new gift.
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