5 Challenges of Being Vegetarian or Vegan in Spain

Spanish culture doesn't always make a lot of room for vegetarians and vegans

Spain is a beautiful country full of beautiful natural sights, incredible architecture, and centuries of rich historic tradition. But anyone who has dietary restrictions probably knows that traveling can present some unique challenges. And a trip to Spain may be particularly difficult for travelers trying to avoid meat, eggs, or dairy. If you're properly prepared you should still be able to enjoy everything Spain has to offer—minus the animal products. While there are an increasing number of restaurants and even hotels that cater to Vegans in Spain, there are certain things that might trip you up as you venture away from those havens. These are the five pitfalls to look out for on your trip.

The menu

Spanish cuisine

Spanish cuisine is famous for a number of things—few of them vegetarian, almost none of them vegan. Paella is usually made with both seafood and chicken broth (just to spite the pescatarians), and almost everything else is made with ham, eggs, cheese, or ham eggs and cheese. The good news is that many fruits are plentiful and cheap, with Valencia's famous oranges fresh-squeezed in restaurants all over the country for about 2-3 euros for a large glass, and you will probably develop a taste for gazpacho, even if the combination of cold and spice seems odd at first. The bad news is that there are about a dozen different words for various smoked meats, so you have to be on the lookout for lomo, sobrassada, cecina, as well as jamon iberico or serrano when you're ordering.

The surprise eggs

spanish tortilla

If you're struggling to find something you can eat on a Spanish menu and you figure at least an oddly pricey tortilla will be safe, you're in for some more bad news. The tortilla you probably know from tacos/burritos/fajitas nothing to do with a Spanish tortilla—also known as a Spanish omelette. The fluffy mixture of potatoes, onions, and eggs makes for a hearty breakfast for those of us who eat eggs, but if you don't want eggs, don't be fooled! Spanish tortilla is generally served either on its own or in a sandwich. Speaking of sandwiches...

The surprise tapas

bocadillos jamon

Let's say you've studied your meat vocab, you know to avoid the tortillas, and you feel confident that you can pick out the safe items on any menu. But right now you aren't even hungry, and you just want to relax with a beer or a glass of wine. You order your drink, but when the server comes back he's carrying a little ham sandwich on a plate. These little sandwiches—generally with ham, omelette (tortilla), or calamari—are called bocadillos, and they're a type of tapas that are often served free with a drink, particularly in the Andalucia region of Spain. Other tapas you may receive with your drink could include a small serving of gazpacho, or an ensaladilla rusa (a "Russian"-style potato salad that may or may not contain some shrimp). If your Spanish is good enough, you may be able to ask what the tapa will be, though the safest bet if you're visiting this kind of bar in Granada might be just to wave away the option with a simple, "No tapas, por favor."

The temptation of the helado

gelato helado spain

Depending on the time of year you're visiting, you may have to contend with the sweltering Spanish heat, well in excess of 40 C/104 F. Most Spanish cities provide a lot of shade for pedestrians, which helps a lot, but you can't keep you as cool as the sweet, dairy temptress of helado. In the summer time, stands offering colorful displays of ice cream more in the style of Italian gelato spring up wherever there's foot traffic. If you're lucky, these stands will also offer a flavor or two of fruit sorbet. If you're unlucky, you will just have to watch the other tourists enjoying their treats in tempting flavors like nutella, café, and crema catalana while you dodge violent shafts of sunlight.

The bulls

Jaime Reina/Getty Images

Chances are, if you're a vegetarian or a vegan, you're probably not on board with animal cruelty. You most likely won't want to go to see the bloody horror of a bullfight, and you probably aren't in the market for boots of Spanish leather, but Pamplona? The running of the bulls? It's such an iconic piece of Spanish culture, and surely the only ones who suffer as a result are the very foolish people who decide to put themselves in the path of wild, charging bulls. Unfortunately that's not true. While people are among the injured each July in Pamplona, the bulls are the real victims. Have you ever wondered how they get those bulls to charge so aggressively?

Every morning, during the annual San Fermin festival, a rocket blast is used to scare a group of six bulls into a frenzy that often results in gorings, tramplings, and broken bones, and frequently sees the bulls smash violently into walls. Where are they headed in their stampede? To the bull ring—the stadium where they will be stabbed with lances, harpoons, and finally a sword to the heart. The bulls are racing toward a gruesome death. The San Fermin festival also includes a variety of "kiliki" characters who roam around with giant papier-mache heads, terrifying children. So...just go see some Flamenco dancing or a futbol match instead.

Subscribe now

Related Posts

How Prima Helped Me Improve My Daily Routine

Primas hemp products helped my create new habits

The last few months of working from home and barely leaving my apartment have been tough. Everyone seems to be improving themselves during quarantine but I was just trying to adjust to the new isolated way of living.

Now that the hardest part is hopefully behind us, I'm ready for some self-improvement. After months of WFH followed by binge-watching Netflix and binge-eating junk till 2 am, I've got to make a few changes. I took some advice from my sister who told me to pick three areas I'd like to makeover and then form new habits to help me achieve my goals.

She also suggested that I try hemp. She's been in love with all of Primas products for the last month and claims they've made a huge difference in how balanced she feels throughout the day. She said that Prima's hemp stands out from other brands because it's the highest quality hemp and rigorously tested to ensure potency and purity. But I was all about the new habits, so I ignored that advice.

Here are the three new habits I've added to my daily routine:

  1. Make time for me!

This one may seem silly after nearly three months stuck in the house alone, but what I mean is quality time for me. I needed to integrate activities that are mentally and physically constructive. I heard yoga was great for your mind and body and with so many tutorials on youtube, I added 20 minutes of yoga before breakfast to my morning routine.

2. Exercise

I don't like gyms and that's never going to change. So I needed to refresh my exercise options. I love being outdoors so I added an evening walk weeknights and long hikes on the weekends. The fresh air clears my head after a long day and I can start hitting those 10K steps we're meant to do every day!

3. Less Screentime

This isn't just for kids! I realized I was on my work laptop all day, and when I wasn't looking at that screen I was watching TV on my phone. My eyes were never getting a break and neither was my head. I had to limit the crazy amount of time I was spending on my phone. I got a free app that alerts me when I'm on it too long, like an alarm that kicks me off. Then I ordered some novels to read instead of scrolling through Instagram and Twitter in bed. Now I read a few chapters and nod off.

My new habits took a while to get used to, but after two weeks of constantly reminding myself, they're part of my routine that I'm just loving. I'm definitely sleeping better and feel more motivated in the morning. However, I still felt like there was something missing. And my aching neck started to get worse. I thought the yoga would help but once the afternoon hit, my namaste had completely vanish-tayed and my neck was in bits by bedtime! I even sorted out my home office with a new chair and keyboards so I wouldn't be bending it so much all day but I think the damage was done.

That's when my sister jumped in and reminded me that I should try Prima's hemp products. For my neck? I still doubted that was the solution. But when she promised me Primas R+R recovery cream would help my neck, with her husband also vouching for it I gave it a go.

Once it arrived at my door I tried it every night a week for bed. The first night I felt a little difference but I just put that down to the cooling effect of the menthol. I was surprised hemp was just one ingredient among so many really amazing ones such as menthol, eucalyptus, and marula oil. Along with the botanicals tea tree, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint which are great to encourage total relaxation. While on their site, I couldn't believe the variety of hemp products they have.

By the end of the week, I really felt the magic of Primas R+R cream and it has become the most important part of my nighttime routine. I forget what it was like to have neck discomfort thanks to Prima.

I loved it so much that I couldn't help treating myself to their award-winning Night Magic Serum. I can't wait for my glowy skin!!

I never imagined I'd become a hemp fan, but Prima is the perfect piece to complete my revamped wellness routine that makes me more mindful and balanced. I'm so glad my sister introduced me to Prima, it's my new favorite habit that I will be keeping!

Ready to Be Your Best Self? You Have 30 Days to Try Prima & Fall In Love, or Send It Back - No Questions Asked! PLUS Free Shipping on Orders Over $75!

Offer Expires In


What's Up with All These Fireworks?

New Yorkers have been hearing constant explosions throughout the night. Is it a conspiracy?

If you live in a large metropolitan area like New York City, Black Lives Matter protests likely aren't the only things you hear making noise in the streets.

In the past couple of weeks, as Black Lives Matter supporters march in memory of George Floyd and countless other Black people killed by police, the sounds of fireworks can be heard virtually every weekend. More than just your average Fourth of July shindig, these explosions often trail into the wee hours of the morning.

According to Gothamist, there were 6,385 total "311" complaints about fireworks in New York City from June 1 to June 19—up from 27 during the same time period last year. "This is not the simple firecrackers and little small toy-type rockets, but it was very elaborate," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told Gothamist. "That in itself is raising a high level of concern with me... When you see the large displays along Brooklyn and in Manhattan, Upper Manhattan, you're seeing extremely sophisticated type fireworks displays that can be extremely dangerous in the hands of the wrong people."

Anything more powerful than a sparkler is illegal in New York, but that hasn't stopped regular folks from buying the type of fireworks you'd see in a professional display. But who is buying these fireworks, and what are they trying to accomplish? There are some wild theories.

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows

NYPD, FDNY appear to let illegal fireworks show play out, video shows nypost.com

As author Robert Jones, Jr. pointed out in a lengthy Twitter thread, antics by "bored Black and brown kids" tends to be the general assumption made by most mainstream media. "My neighbors and I believe that this is part of a coordinated attack on Black and Brown communities by government forces; an attack meant to disorient and destabilize the #BlackLivesMatter movement," Jones wrote.

One goal Jones proposed was that white people were the ones setting off the constant fireworks in an attempt to "stoke tensions between Black and Brown peoples." Many have voiced their frustrations online about the sheer volume of the fireworks they hear, and a shared annoyance is growing.

Another motive Jones proposed was that the fireworks are being used as a desensitization method to acclimate citizens to the sounds of the blasts—which often sound like gunshots. "When they start using their real artillery on us we won't know the difference," Jones wrote. "It's meant to sound like a war zone because a war zone is what it's about to become."

Police don't seem too concerned. The New York Post shared a video this week of fireworks being set off behind an NYPD precinct in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. No officers appear to deter them. A similar video in Harlem, Manhattan also shows a flock of police cars—none of which seem to mind the explosions.

Another video shows what appears to be Brooklyn firefighters setting off fireworks:

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn

Video shows FDNY firefighters light off illegal fireworks in Brooklyn nypost.com

Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was forming a task force to combat the illegal fireworks. "Illegal fireworks are both dangerous and a public nuisance," he said. "We're cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep."

But if over 6,000 complaints have been made about fireworks to seemingly no avail, it seems a task force won't merit much of an improvement.

Many seem to agree with the theory that inconspicuous government officials have been offering fireworks to Black children, newly on summer vacation and hungry for ways to ease their quarantine boredom. As with many issues going on in America, these constant fireworks will probably be just another way for the government to further discriminate against marginalized groups.

At least we can always rely on memes to spread the good word.

I don't know about you guys, but working from home has taken a serious toll on me. It started off really well. I was sticking to my usual routine as much as possible, but I've been slowly becoming less and less productive.

I noticed my sleep schedule had completely changed. I was rolling out of bed a few minutes before I was due to start work, and sometimes even working from my bed. I ate lunch at the desk and worked straight through my scheduled breaks. I was sleepier throughout the day, unable to focus as much, and just feeling less motivated overall.

So I looked into what I could do that would help me out of my slump. I tried a few things. Some were so simple I never thought they'd make much of a difference, and some I wouldn't have thought of at all, but now I'm back feeling more productive than ever.

Here are my three tips for working from home:

1. Get up early

Yes, it seems so simple. But it's super important to stick to a normal routine if you can. Not only do I get up early, but I shower every morning and cook myself a nutritious breakfast before I start work. This definitely helped me feel more energized and motivated throughout the day.

2. Have a designated workspace

This is important because it separates your work from your home. Our homes are associated with relaxing, so designating a space that will be used only for work will help you concentrate on work while you're in that space. I also found that doing this helped me actually take appropriate breaks. When I left the space I was in relax mode, and once I came back, I was ready to work again.

Premium CBD Supplements
You Have 30 Days To Fall In Love
Try Prima Today

3. CBD supplements

When looking into ways to improve my focus and sleeping patterns, I came across an article about CBD supplements, specifically a brand called Prima. I'd never bought into the whole CBD craze, but when I read that you can try Prima's Rest Easy, Go-To, and Brain Fuel elixirs by purchasing their Trifecta for just $26 with shipping, I thought why not?

The elixirs are powders that you can mix into any beverage. The Prima Trifecta has a few samples of all three. The Brain Fuel elixir is to be taken in the morning, so I mixed it into my coffee, and I was awake and alert and able to throw myself into my working day.

Their Go-To elixir should be taken around noon. My daily midday productivity crash had gotten so much worse while working at home, but taking this elixir helped keep me sharp through the remainder of my work day.

The Rest Easy elixir is taken at night to help you get a good sleep. Since I started taking this my sleep schedule has greatly improved. It was so much easier to get up early again. It left me feeling well rested and ready to start my day.

I never realized how much simple things, like setting out a specific workspace, and getting up early would help me escape my unproductive rut. I wasn't expecting Prima's CBD supplements to help as much as they did, but they definitely had the biggest impact for me.

After trying the Prima Trifecta, I ended up buying the full size of all three elixirs. If you're having problems with sleep, focus, and productivity like I was, I'd recommend ordering the Prima Trifecta.

Ready to Be Your Best Self? You Have 30 Days to Try Prima & Fall In Love, or Send It Back - No Questions Asked! PLUS Free Shipping on Orders Over $75!

This is a real testimonial.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.