A Vegan Diet Doesn’t Mean Skipping the Omelette Bar?

Years before becoming vegan, I used to love omelettes and especially the hotel omelette bars that can make even stressful business trips feel like a vacation-if only for a few brief moments.

But during my most recent stay at Waikiki’s Embassy Suites, the promotional copy on the room-key card was taunting me:

“How do you like your eggs? Free or complimentary? Complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast every morning.”

Part of following a whole foods plant-based diet means resisting most of the food that’s out there, often “free” for the taking, such as the all-you-can eat breakfast buffets included with your hotel room.

Not that I miss eating eggs at all, but since becoming vegan I felt that by forgoing the omelette bar I was missing out on something I paid for. And who doesn’t appreciate the luxurious feeling of someone preparing something just the way you like it?

While on my high-protein kick in my 20s and early 30s, I would order 3-egg western omelettes. As I grew concerned with high cholesterol, I began to request the omelette chef discard a yolk, then 2, and eventually ordered egg-white omelettes–believing that was healthy–even though I still added lots of cheese.

Although I’ve cooked all varieties of eggless omelettes and other comfort foods at home, it wasn’t until the 2nd day of my most recent hotel stay it occurred to me to visit the omelette bar for a no-egg omelette. What could it hurt?

I helped myself to the vegetables–mushrooms, onions, chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, and lots of baby spinach–from beside the omelette station,  then brought some cubed tofu from the salad bar, and handed them to the omelette chef.

Surprised at first, he happily complied, first tossing the vegetables in the pan until they began to sweat, then stirring in the tofu, and garnishing my plate with oranges and orchids. I grabbed a bowl of oatmeal and some fresh fruit for a satisfying and healthy breakfast.

Upon entering the dining room, I noticed all the other guests eating eggs, pancakes and waffles, covered with butter and syrup, with bacon or sausages–just as used to be my morning ritual. And, like most people eating the typical Western diet, most everyone could benefit from losing a few pounds.

Each day that followed, my visit to the omelette bar became more exciting, and Tomas seemed to enjoy the chance to prepare something out of the ordinary, too. I share my story here only to help others realize there is no need to sacrifice taste in pursuit of greatly improved health.

While the Embassy Suites’ breakfast buffet had lots of raw vegetables for salads and omelette-making, the next hotel I stayed in, Hyatt Place, had no vegetables in their breakfast buffet. A good reason to inquire with hotel ahead of time about its healthy breakfast options, if you have a choice of where to stay.

Most hotels bakery items are also full of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, white flour and processed oils, and should be avoided, whenever possible, in favor of whole grains (i.e. oatmeal), fresh fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, I had prepared by purchasing a box of Ezekiel Sprouted Grain English muffins at Down to Earth, and ran one through the hotel’s conveyor toaster.

Instead of spreading the toasted muffin with the assorted gourmet-looking jams and peanut butter (read the ingredients and you’ll find jams contain high-fructose corn syrup, and the peanut butter contains processed oils, sugar or other sweeteners, and added salt), I topped it with a mixture of blueberries and raspberries placed out to accompany yogurt.

Almost 7 years after adopting a vegan diet, I’m still discovering how to improvise to eat healthier and easier. If you’ve also been trying to become healthier, don’t let travel derail your diet or exercise routine.

Rather than making eggs or other animal products your main dish as you are accustomed to, resolve to eat more fresh green leafy vegetables and other natural, plant-based whole foods, and avoid processed foods, today!

This post is also available in: Japanese

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