Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

This week, my month-long experiment in not eating meat coincided with the Note 4 Roadtrip challenge which sent me across Australia. The end result was that I ate a strange mixture of fast food, airline lounge meals and supermarket oddities.

Other people would handle this differently, no doubt. I don’t like eating in restaurants on my own, so I didn’t seek out specialised local eateries. I was also aiming to carry as little luggage as possible and passing through multiple airports, which precluded taking any handy cooking gear (such as a knife to chop salads) with me. My sole effort in that line was a plastic fork, which did prove to have its uses.

My diet was probably less interesting than it had been the week before, but turned out OK.

The biggest issue proved to be the planes. Hot meals are a rarity these days, even on Qantas. Most of the time you end up with a “refreshment”, like banana bread, which is no problem:

In the case of the ham and cheese sandwich, I simply removed the ham:

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

That wasn’t going to fly with the ham and cheese calzone, though:

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

Nor would it help with the butter chicken wrap, which I would very happily consume in any other month:

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

At least there is always a salad in the Qantas Club.

For breakfast, I generally went for a pot of yoghurt, or a piece of fruit and a roll — all items I could buy the day before.

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

I had assumed I would eat the yoghurt with a teaspoon, but my very first hotel provided stirring sticks instead. So I learned that you can in fact eat yoghurt with a fork.

My other on-road breakfast staple is McDonald’s. No bacon, naturally, but hotcakes are fine.

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

For one day, I did have a serviced apartment with a microwave and cooktop. So I raided the nearest supermarket. This is what is described as a “street food” approach to fajitas. Me, I just fancied some rice and beans.

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

I also took the opportunity to satisfy my ever-present pasta cravings with some spinach and ricotta ravioli:

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

Surprisingly, I never ended up going to Subway. I had planned to on Day 1 of the trip, but the branch I picked was unexpectedly closed. So I ended up having to grab a pre-made salad at a supermarket instead.

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

I did indulge in the other lazy fast food vegetarian staple — the Hungry Jack’s Veggie Whopper.

Veghacker: My Week As A Fast-Food Vegetarian

The plane hassles aside, everything went well. But this week I feel like I’ll need to try harder with getting my greens and maintaining protein levels.


  • Good illustration of the fact that lots of people who are vegetarians are not particularly healthy: they eat as badly as everyone else.

  • Removing the ham from a ham and cheese sandwich? That’s one contaminated cheese sandwich! Not for me.
    Also, don’t the airlines provide vegetarian meals on request anymore? They used to.
    How about carrying some cutlery (ie a knife) in the non-carry-on luggage?
    The greengrocer would be my main urban food source: fresh fruit and vegies, followed by the bakery for fresh grain bread or rolls, then the supermarket or deli for such things as Jarlsberg or Masdaam cheese, olives, sundried tomatoes…
    Now I’m hungry!

      • I don’t mind if you imply that I’m a weirdo 🙂
        Hey, you’re not the madwog who once published “Container Deposit Legislation” by any chance?
        I guess there are lots of madwogs out there.

  • 100% you can ask for a vegetarian meal on any half decent airline, you just have to do it before the day of the flight. The meals are often better than the meat food anyway, I imagine because they’re made in smaller quantities.

    • That’s true of international flights, but not of domestic flights in Australia for the most part — especially on smaller regional hops.

      • It’s worth asking anyway. Sometimes flights carry vegetarian meals but only provide them on request.

  • Casting another vote for vegan (not just vegetarian) meals on international flights. I’ve found the “raw food” meals particularly to my liking. It’s the freshest food you can get on a plane, I think.

    • I’m vegetarian, and got quite annoyed that I got served Vegan instead of a vegetarian meal. I missed out on the really nice looking chocolate mousse. Why can’t the airlines understand the difference.
      Great thing about a special meal is that they usually get served first.

      • Because airlines shouldn’t have to cater for every little dietary nuance that exists. Vegetarians can eat vegan food, but vegans can’t eat vegetarian food. That’s justification enough.

          • Except that the vast majority of people aren’t vegetarian or vegan. So it makes sense to make a “special” meal for the vegos, while letting everyone else enjoy their regular meals. But to make special meals for vegetarians and separate special meals for vegans is simply more trouble than it’s worth.

          • As a meat-eating vegan (that is, in other words, someone with dairy and egg intolerances), it’d of course be ideal if I could get a vegan plate with a piece of lean protein. But since this is almost never available, I settle for just “vegan” and it suits me fine. What’s worse than a vegetarian being stuck eating vegan to avoid meat, is a vegan being stuck eating nothing, because places cater to people who don’t eat meat, but not to people who don’t eat egg or dairy. If I had a gold coin for every time I’ve had to explain why that vegetarian dish is not something I can eat….

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