When I found out I’d be going to Las Vegas for work, I knew I’d have to make some sacrifices in the form of the types foods I’d be putting into my body. The usual homemade hemp milk in organic local coffee would be traded for double roasted, chemical laden vanilla soy lattes from Starbucks. But these were sacrifices I was willing to take in order to continue my education. I went with this understanding and high hopes for new, exciting vegan options.
As I negotiated with my colleagues about which cuisine to choose from, I wondered if I’d actually be able to order off the menu, without them creating a new dish for my ‘special’ diet. Unexpectedly, I found many vegan options right away. Seaweed salad, kimchi, avocado rolls, all foods I make in my kitchen 1,000 miles north. As our order was delivered I became less-nervous about the trip, remembering at the core of each meal is healthy, delicious plants which I’d be able to find at any quality restaurant.
Throughout the trip I occasionally settled for an apple or banana for lunch because the volume of food at each meal seemed extraordinary. Supplementing the options offered at the hotel, I brought organic almonds, oats, chia and pumpkin seeds, and carrots from the garden which allowed me to eat on my own schedule, not the schedule of others (this is something I have found helps when traveling to small towns around the West, when you don’t know if you’ll find a gas station in the next town, let alone an organic grocery store..).
Along with my desire of wanting to find fresh food while on the trip, I also wanted to continue my daily yoga practice. The nicotine residue on the walls of the hotel room wasn’t the pleasant, fresh air I wanted to be filling my lunges with while practicing pranayama or breathing. So, I went in search of greener pastures.
My 5:45 am wake-up time allowed me to hit the gym and get in a yoga session before spending the day listening to presenters while seated in non-ergonomic chairs. I asked the front desk staff where I could go to practice. The kind woman pointed me to the wedding chapel, near the pool, where I was able to roll out my mat, strike a pose, and get centered before the day began. ‘I guess no one’s getting married at 6:00 am today,’ I thought to myself.
The area I was directed to use was manicured, with trees scattered along the walls, and water trickling through. And as I moved from Downward Facing Dog to Mountain Pose I saw the first rays of sunlight hitting the hotel and felt grateful I was to be able to see this, get out of my little bubble, secluded in the mountains of Idaho, and experience life as others do. This experience allowing me to break the invisible walls between my life and the lives of others to better understand the problems, difficulties, and habits our society faces. Throughout my practice, I noticed the plastic sheen of the grass. ‘Plastic grass,’ I thought, ‘Only in Vegas..’.
Overall, I found it quite easy to eat a vegan diet while in Las Vegas. Despite not having organic, homemade hemp milk with my morning coffee, I had many delicious, nutritious meals.
Thanks Vegas for the good times, but I’ll take Idaho over the big city any day. Next up, juice cleanse!
The highlights are as follows: Steamed green beans with a chopped salad (minus the cheese and dressing) at the Double Barrel in Monte Carlo, kimchi and veggie rolls at The Grand Wok at MGM Grand, and tofu stir fry at the Beach Cafe in the Tropicana.
Until next time, Cheers!