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Religious Dietary Traditions That Make Vegan Travel Easier

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Quite a few religions have dietary restrictions that make their restaurants or religious institutions perfect destinations for vegans. Unfortunately, it can be quite confusing to know which brand of the particular religion provides a vegan diet and which one does only partially, since it may vary from country to country and at different times of year.

The following info is an attempt to systematize the information per religion and per country:

70% of Sri Lankans are Theravada Buddhists.
70% of Sri Lankans are Theravada Buddhists.

Buddhism:

Mahayana Buddhism:

Mahayana Buddhism
Buddhism

Countries: China, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan

Restrictions: all animal products.

Exceptions Allowed: none, 100% vegan.

Extra Restrictions: garlic, onion, asafoetida, shallots, leeks, coriander.

Time Of Year: all year, or 1st or 15th of the lunar month.

Tips: Look for “Pure Vegetarian” food in and around Buddhist temples.

Theravada Buddhism:

Countries: Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri-Lanka, Myanmar.

Restrictions: no real restrictions on animal products but vegetarianism encouraged.

Time Of Year: all year.

Tips: food served in and around Buddhist temples is often vegetarian.

Zen Buddhism:

Theravada Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism

Countries: Japan.

Restrictions: all animal products.

Exceptions Allowed: none, 100% vegan.

Extra Restrictions: garlic, onion, asafoetida, shallots, leeks, coriander.

Time Of Year: all year, or 1st or 15th of the lunar month.

Tips: Japanese Zen monasteries are vegan and sometimes serve food

Vajrayana Buddhism:

Countries: Tibet.

Restrictions: no real restrictions on animal products but vegetarianism encouraged.

Time Of Year: all year.

Tips: Tibetan monasteries are seldom vegetarian.

Christianity:

Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church

Religion: orthodox church.

Countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Ukraine.

Restrictions: all animal products.

Exceptions Allowed: In Russia and Ukraine fish is allowed.

Time of Year: lent 40 days (7 weeks before Easter).

Tips: Many mainstream restaurants serve “Fasting Foods” during lent.

Hinduism:

Hindu
Hindu

Countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka.

Restrictions: all animal products.

Exceptions Allowed: dairy.

Extra Restrictions: for Brahmins (priestly cast), restrictions on who prepared the food and how it is stored.
“Pure Vegetarians” in India means dishes need to not have touched meat. Sometimes it means vegans who eat honey.

Time of Year: all year.

Tips: 30% of Hindu population is vegetarian.

Ghee (clarified butter) is the main
issue since it cannot be detected.

Dishes can usually be easily veganized upon asking.

Jainism:

Jainism
Jainism

Countries: India.

Restrictions: all animal products.

Exceptions Allowed: dairy (except for yogurt).

Extra Restrictions: garlic, onions, root vegetables, vegetables non-native to the country, alcohol, caffeine drinks, multi seeded fruits, fermented foods.

Time of Year: all year.

Tips: Easily veganized.

Rastafarians:

Rastafari Lion
Rastafari Lion

Countries: Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ivory Coast,

Restrictions: all animal products.

Exceptions Allowed: fish.

Extra Restrictions: salt, alcohol, caffeinated drinks.

Time of Year: all year.

Tips: essentially vegan. ask for no fish.

Judaism:

Jewish Hanukkah
Jewish Hanukkah

Religion: Kosher.

Countries: Israel.

Restrictions: some animals may not be eaten at all, including pigs,
shellfish, rabbits, and reptiles.

Extra Restrictions: total separation between dairy and meat products, at least
for 3 hours (mixtures of meat and dairy are prohibited).

Time of Year: all year.

Tips: “Parve” means no meat or dairy (but may contain eggs or honey).

Mahayana Buddhism -Taiwan
Mahayana Buddhism Taiwan

Traveling Around the World, the Vegan Way

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