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Plant-Based in the Bahamas

Updated: Jul 15, 2023


My family loves to travel, and after a forced two year hiatus because of the covid pandemic, we were happy to get back to visiting the world again. After travelling to Las Vegas in July 2022 for the World Ninja Championships, for which my wife and I qualified, it was time to bring the kids on a family trip. I had a conference which lined up perfectly with their school's march break and so off we went to the Paradise Island of Atlantis in the Bahamas.

Travelling while eating a whole food plant-based diet isn't always easy. It requires some pre-planning, but I love making sure that we can stay on track even on long vacations. For this particular trip, we had to spent a day in Toronto and then connect to Nassau the next day. Our adventure starts in the Moncton airport, then the Pearons airport. We then spend the night at the airport Sheraton Hotel. The next day, we head out to Pearson's International Airport again, and then off to the Bahamas where we spent the week. In this blog post, I'll detail how we pre-planned for this trip and how we managed to keep it plant-based!


 

Pre-Planning For A Trip

Our plant-based journey started as soon as we confirmed our booking. We went straight to the Atlantis website to explore the restaurants and quick eateries and what types of foods they had to offer. Luckily for us, there were plenty of vegan and vegetarian options in both the quick take-out restaurants on the island as well as the dine-in restaurants. Step 1 was complete. Often, we even email the restaurants or the chef and inquire about the option of veganizing certain meals on the menu. Worst case scenario, most restaurants do have salads, french fries and other options that can get us out of a jam. But we are plant-based foodies and we love to test out new culinary creations. When it comes to finding food, we aren't overly concerned since we are pretty easy going when it comes to eating out. We eat pretty much everything and anything that doesn't have eyes, or a mother and father.



At The Moncton Airport

We always make sure to bring some snacks in our carry-on luggage as a back up plan. Protein bars, nuts, seeds, trail mix, dried fruit, cookies and other dry snacks are always stuffed in our luggage in case we need it. And we often do. Airports aren't always vegan-friendly or great at providing healthy food options. Once at the airport, we routinely search for smoothie bars or any other place that sells fruit. Some of the sit down airport restaurants do have plant-based options. In Moncton, we were out of luck. Our super small airport can't support the minority of people on plant-based diets, and so we had to dive into our carry-on luggage for snacks. The airport Tim Horton's did offer almond milk for our coffee, so we had to show support! On the Air Canada flight, I was suprised to find a vegan Chickpea Curry Wrap and a whole food salad with brown rice, edamame, corn, beans and a raspberry vinaigrette. Planes aren't well known for their healthy options, but our Air Canada flight did have some!



Arrival In Toronto

Since we had a full day of layover at Pearsons, we decided to stay at the Airport Sheraton. We ate at the hotel restaurant and surprising for us, they did have vegetarian options that could be veganized and also had vegan options. We decided to have grilled tofu and shitake mushrooms on a bed of Jasmine rice. It was delicious. They didn't have any vegan desserts, but we would've been way too stuffed anyways! Then we crashed for the night to get ready for our travel day. We decided to wake up early and head directly to the aiport for breakfast there. We knew Starbucks had oatmeal with toppings and soy milk, so we rushed over right after passing security. We typically look for Booster Juice for smoothies, but since we were on an international flight other than those going to the USA, Booster Juice was on opposites sides of the airport and too far from our gate to risk it. They did have a store where you could build a burger, including plant-based ones that used Beyond Meat as a meat substitute, but eating a burger for breakfast isn't really our style. While waiting for our flight to depart, we stocked up on dry fruit, trail mix with nuts and seeds and also purchased pretzels and hummus dip, as well as fresh fruit for the flight. Again, they did serve plant-based options on the flight, but since we already had purchased snacks, we decided to skip the chickpea wrap.



Plant-Based In Bahamas

Once we arrived in Bahamas, we headed to Atlantis with quite an appetite built up. We had luggage filled with back-up plans, such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, protein bars, and our new favourite, Holos. These are oats, muesli and seeds, all in a convenient single serve package that you can mix with water or plant-based milk to create a delicious overnight oats recipe. Holos makes a ton of different flavours, like apple and cinnamon, to chocolate vanilla. These came in very useful, mostly for breakfast, since a bowl of oatmeal, although readily available, was super expensive at our resort. We decided to not go into downtown Nassau for a grocery, although in retrospect, this would have been a great idea. On most trips, we do research grocery stores close to our hotel and most places do offer a delivery service for groceries.


We did find quick take-out restraurants, like "Shark Bites" and "Pita" that served veggie burgers, french fries, falafel wraps and garden salads. The main lobby did offer a great buffet service that included a chickpea Chana Masala, on-demand stir-frys, all sorts of salads, yams, plantains and a large variety of steamed veggies. The one downside was the complete lack of any plant-based desserts. Back home, we still indulge in plant-based desserts, like black bean brownies, or sweet potato brownies. We love fruit with maple syrup, or smoothies and smoothie bowls. We love banana "Nice Cream", or ice cream made from cashews or oats. These were nowhere to be found on the resort. We also love desserts containing coconut milk, or cream or dark chocolate, but again, none were available. This is likely my biggest complaint. We found plant-based options, but by default, and not because I felt they were tending directly to those who consume healthy vegan diets. Major tourist destinations like Disney world have really stepped up their game when it comes to offering minimally processed plant-based options when it comes to those who are vegan for ethical reasons or for those who consume a plant-based diet for health.


Fine dining options did include Nobu, a Japanese restaurant, or Chop Stix, a Chinese restaurant which offered tons of vegetarian options and different veggie and tofu dishes that could easily be veganized, as well as Olives, which offered signature Mediterranean dishes.



My Overall Impression

Unfortunately, it's always going to be easier to eat unhealthy processed foods and animal products while travelling. Our food environment prioritizes profit, convenience and shelf-life over health and wellness. Hyper palatable foods will often outwit fruits and veggies and Mother Nature has trouble competing with foods that have been engineered to contain the perfect ratios of salt, sugar and fat. That being said, if you've read this far, you're likely one of them who values health and recognizes that your health is no one's responsibility except your own and that it all starts with food.



When you really believe in something, there is no amount of friction that can hold you back. And I believe in the power of evidence-based nutrition. I do make calls and send emails prior to travelling. I take notes and check menus beforehand. I come prepared with luggage filled with healthy snacks and oats and bars. I make sure to inquire about plant-based milks and the possibility of veganizing certain options on the menu. I don't mind eating the same thing twice and also love to indulge in plant-based or vegan comfort food. But no matter what, I do my best to stick to my guiding principles, without being overly extremist. A black or white perspective, for me personnaly, doesn't punish anyone except myself. That being said, I'm still training with the goal of qualifying for the UNAA World Ninja Championships in July 2023, so proper nourishment is important for me on many levels. The only place where I'd really would like to see more drastic changes, is in the availability of more plant-based desserts and improved accessibility to healthy fruits and veggies, without them costing an arm and a leg. We can all dream right? Demand creates supply and if the people ask for more soy milk, the people will get soy milk. So be mindful that eating plant-based, or even simply eating healthfully, isn't without its challenges on vacation, but it's a challenge that I'm 100% willing to tackle.


I hope this blog has helped you and provided you with a few tips on how to travel while still eating a plant-forward and healthy diet. I can't wait to travel again to a new location where I can keep tasting new plant-based foods! If you'd like to learn more about plant-based nutrition, check out my free website plantbaseddrjules.com where you can download my free recipe eBook, which comes packed with over 20 of my family's favorite plant-based recipes.


Look for me on the socials, @plantbased_dr_jules on Instagram and go like my Facebook Page, Plant-based Dr. Jules. If you’re looking for some fitness motivation and are curious to see what a plant-based athlete can accomplish, follow me, @maritimeninja, on my fitness account on Instagram or check out my fitness group on Facebook, called Maritime Ninja Warrior. I'm a two-time world championship qualified athlete and you can follow my fitness journey there! You can even access the resources section by becoming a member. It's free and there, you can download free resources like my plant-based recipe eBook!


You also check out my YouTube channel here for more tips and tricks on how to embark on a plant-based journey!

My largest plant-based community can be found on my facebook page "Plant-Based Dr. Jules".

Take care, and I thanks for supporting and engaging with our plant-based community!

Jules





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5 Comments


That is great that you were able to find some vegetarian food that worked for you. I would hope that a resort such as Atlantis has a wide variety of dining options.

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Elizabeth McCarron
Elizabeth McCarron
Mar 12, 2023

Thank you for sharing your vacation food preparation/experience. We are not totally plant based but it is part of our healthy eating plan. There is far too much salt and sugar in prepared foods. Whenever possible we pick up lunch supplies and milk at grocery stores. Preparing our snacks for road trips makes a huge difference in staying on track. We feel much better for doing so. Thank you again for your tips.

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CA Bourque
CA Bourque
Mar 10, 2023

Allo Doc Jules


Ta famille et toi ont fait un beau voyage, une belle aventure pour vos filles. Oui, essayer de manger en santé n est pas toujours facile mais ca beaucoup changé, baby steps. Il faudra mettre des désserts dans vos valises. Lol

J ai remarqué que durant mon séjour à Varadero, Cuba, il avait beaucoup de fruits frais et en abondance, notre serveuse avait toujours un bol plein à notre table. Le buffet avait beaucoup d option végétarien.

Merci d avoir partagé votre aventure aux Bahamas.


Cécélia Bourque

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plantbaseddrjules
plantbaseddrjules
Mar 10, 2023
Replying to

Super!! Merci de partager. Bizarrement, des fruits frais étaient difficiles à trouver au Bahamas!

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