Wendy Werneth Has Fun Sampling Vegan Eats Around the World
Have you ever anxiously wondered, when planning a trip, how you would find plant-based meals to stay full, energized, and happy? I found Wendy Werneth’s free ebook, 9 Steps for Easy Vegan Travel, so useful that I contacted her to learn more about her journeys. Here’s what Wendy told me when I asked her about becoming a vegan travel expert.
You seem like quite an international citizen. Where were you born, where did you grow up, where do you live now (and why did you choose to live there)?
I do see myself as a global citizen these days, but that wasn’t always the case. I was born in Mobile, Alabama in the US and lived there until I was 18 years old.
I then went to college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and a few months after graduating I headed to France to work at Disneyland Paris.
I was supposed to come back home after six months, but that was more than 17 years ago, and I’ve been traveling the globe ever since. I’ve been based in Geneva, Switzerland for the past six years, but at the end of 2016 I’m planning to move my
home base to Lisbon, Portugal and also get back on the road and start traveling long-term again.
What kinds of foods did you grow up eating?
Oh gosh, terrible stuff that nowadays I don’t even think of as food! Basically, everything I ate came out of a box or a can, and we never had fresh vegetables in our house.
Throughout my childhood, a typical day of food would consist of a bowl of sugary cereal with cow’s milk for breakfast, a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli for lunch, and then my Mom would make some kind of Hamburger Helper meal for dinner.
I also ate loads of Little Debbie snack cakes. I had a terrible sweet tooth, which is really just a euphemism for a sugar addiction.
What kinds of foods do you eat now?
I eat very differently now. My palate has completely changed, and nowadays I genuinely crave healthy foods. I eat a bowl of oatmeal and a green smoothie just about every day. I love them so much!
My husband usually cooks our dinners, and they’re often a bit more elaborate. Our travels have hugely influenced his cooking, so dinner could be anything from Italian to Thai to Indian.
And then, every night without fail, I finish the meal off with two squares of 100% dark chocolate. I still love chocolate as much as I ever did, except that now I prefer it without all the milk and sugar!
When did you change to a vegan diet?
I first heard about veganism in May 2014, when I listened to the Food Revolution Summit – a series of interviews hosted by John and Ocean Robbins. It took me a few months to transition, but by September 2014 I was fully vegan.
One of the biggest things holding me back had been my fear that being vegan would ruin travel. We’d booked a three-week trip to Greece, so I decided to give vegan travel a trial run on that trip.
I quickly discovered just how easy it was, and so from the moment our plane landed in Athens on September 10, 2014 I’ve never looked back!
What made you change to a vegan diet?
I initially became interested mainly for health reasons. My father had passed away from diabetes complications a few months earlier. I had watched him suffer so much in his final days, and I knew I didn’t want to end up like that.
As I continued to educate myself, though, I was very affected by what I learned about how animals are tortured and killed by the meat, dairy, and egg industries, and I didn’t want to contribute to that anymore.
The animals have definitely become my main motivation for adopting this joyous lifestyle and encouraging others to do the same.
What motivates your love for the nomadic lifestyle?
Even while growing up in Alabama, where most people seem never to leave their
home town, I was always fascinated with faraway places. I knew I wanted to travel when I grew up, but I didn’t realize that it would become a way of life.
I soon found, though, that I felt truly alive when I was on the road, discovering and experiencing new things, seeing the world through a thousand different windows. The more I traveled, the more I learned about still more places that I wanted to visit!
I was very fortunate to find a life partner who loves travel as much as I do. When we first became friends while working as tour guides in Rome, our mutual love for travel was what bonded us together. That was in 2001, and we’ve been traveling the world together ever since.
On your wonderful blog and free e-book: what do you want people to know about your blog? How did you come to collaborate with HappyCow on your e-book?
I created my site The Nomadic Vegan to share with people the amazing discovery
that being vegan doesn’t ruin travel – it actually makes travel even better! I love uncovering all the naturally vegan local specialties in the places I visit and sharing them on the blog.
I aim to show people that they can be vegan anywhere and spread compassion everywhere.
Before launching 9 Steps for Easy Vegan Travel with HappyCow, I had written an earlier version of the book and was offering it as a free download at my site.
I wrote a few guest blog posts for the HappyCow blog, which was how the ebook caught the attention of Eric Brent, the founder of HappyCow, and he suggested that we update and expand it and then give it away to both our audiences. So that’s what we did!
What’s your favorite country to visit for enjoying vegan food, and what makes it your favorite?
There are so many great destinations, but if I had to choose just one it would be Italy. It’s a country that’s always held a very special place in my heart. As I mentioned, my husband and I met there, and a few years later we returned to get married there.
Most people don’t realize it, but there are dozens if not hundreds of naturally plant-based dishes in Italian cuisine! I didn’t realize it either until I started researching it. Once I started I couldn’t stop, and now I’ve got enough material to
write a whole book!
And so, I’m now writing a vegan guide to Italy, which will be my first full-length book. I’m so excited to help people rediscover Italian cuisine through a vegan lens. You can sign up here for updates and be the first to find out when the book is published.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to share about another exciting new resource coming out.
In Autumn 2016, Dr. Pamela Popper and Michal Siewierski, the director of the film Food Choices, will be launching the Food Choices Academy for Health Studies. The Academy will offer a number of courses from experts in different fields related to plant-based nutrition and the vegan lifestyle.
They have asked me to teach an online course on vegan travel, and I can’t wait! I’m really excited about this opportunity to dive in deep with people and work through the situations that they find most challenging, like traveling for business, traveling with non-vegans, or going home to celebrate the holidays with family.
There’s no doubt that these situations can be challenging, especially for new vegans. But there’s always a way to make it work, and I look forward to helping people find the way that works for them.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read this post on where in the world people are most likely to live to 100 and beyond, thriving in good health.
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Post written by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet: How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy Now With Six Kinds of Whole Foods. This book will show you whole foods, plant-based eating choices you can enjoy in your travels .