I am still jetlagged since returning from lovely Uganda two days ago, but I wanted to share my experiences with vegetarian travel in Uganda.
If being a vegetarian, and even more so vegan, is uncommon in the U.S., it was even rarer in Uganda. Someone who had spent a lot of time in Uganda said I should say I was vegetarian because of allergies, since the other typically listed animal rights, environmental and health reasons would be misunderstood. I told the truth to those questioning my vegan diet: I don’t support the way the animals are treated in the U.S. in factory farms, and gave a brief overview of the environmental and health reasons, and was surprisingly met with little skepticism.
What challenged people more was what to feed me. I spent several days with two Ugandan cousins in their early 20s. The first few times I asked the male to join us for dinner, he refused, finally admitting he did not like vegetables. By the next day, he had harvested vegetables out of the garden he was tending and told me he loved eating them, to my excitement. The female enjoyed experimenting with things she normally wouldn’t make: cabbage, local greens and avocado from their garden, sweet potatoes, beans and rice, and for breakfast, millet porridge.
Bananas are big in Uganda, as well as matoke, cooked banana (not sweet, but filling). Often I was eating too much starch, including pasta, rice, potatoes and so on, but I made the best of it and brought protein bars and vitamins to supplement.
Soon I will reprint an article I am working on for VegDining.com that will include more details on the beautiful East African country and restaurant info for those doing vegetarian travel to Uganda in the future.