Cooking Vegetarian in Denmark

When I was planning to come to Denmark I never really gave much thought about how the move would impact my diet.

I have been vegetarian for about 7 going on 8 years. I made the change for health reasons and it has made a huge improvement in my overall well-being. For years I went to the E.R. 1-3 times a month for debilitating migraines, sometimes having to be hospitalized because they couldn’t get the pain under control in the E.R.. The week I became vegetarian that stopped.

You can imagine that kind of relief pretty much guarantees my devotion to a vegetarian lifestyle. Two months before moving to Denmark I even made the move to become vegan. I did find even more relief during those two months. Unfortunately I was not able to sustain being vegan once moving to Denmark.

Denmark has a most definitely meat heavy diet. Pork is a huge part of the food here. I have never seen any place that is so fond of their bacon and hot dogs, not even in the U.S. Every outdoor event seems to be accompanied by a sausage and beer vendor. It is definitely a challenge to find things to eat when my husband and I go out for a meal.

Trying to navigate menus when you don’t speak the language can be a huge issue too. Many places do offer menus in English but not all do. My husband is a flexigenarian, he eats vegetarian at home with me but will eat whatever is available when we go out. So for him it is not a problem if he orders something and doesn’t realize until it comes to the table that it is loaded with bacon or made in a meat broth, for me it could mean a night doubled over in pain praying for death.

Going to someone’s home is equally difficult. When Tony tells his friends that I eat vegetarian there is always the question, what does she eat? That always surprises me that it is a difficult concept for people to try to imagine a meal that does not have meat in it somewhere. It is becoming a habit to just eat before going somewhere or taking food with me.

People think I exaggerate my need to stick to the vegetarian diet. Most do not believe that eating meat or dairy could cause physical debilitating pain. I suspect that even my husband thought that when I first moved here with him. Many times we would go out to eat and he would try giving me foods I told him I couldn’t eat. He would hold his fork out saying, come on just a little won’t kill you. He did that until the day I gave in and ate what he gave me.

After eating just a small amount of mozzarella cheese, that he insisted would not hurt me, I found myself just a few short hours later doubled over in pain praying that there was such a thing as a bed/toilet combination. As much as I love my husband, on that day I think I cursed him, his family and his ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve. He have never once tried to feed me anything I say I can’t eat since that night.

I would love to go back to being vegan again but there are so few decent vegan products here in our small town that it is just too limiting for me to keep up with it. I am a foodie. I love, let me repeat that, I LOVE to eat, which also explains my weight issues. I could only find one brand of almond butter in one store here in town and I have checked over half the groceries in town.

For anyone who has done vegan baking you know there are numerous things you can use to replace animal products in recipes. My favorite egg replacement in baking is ground flax seeds and water. I saw flax seed in one store when I first moved here and forgot which store it was. While I can use banana or applesauce (which I think one store carries) to replace the egg it’s just not my favorite. I have always admitted to being a lazy vegetarian so is it any wonder I would be a lazy vegan too?

I am looking forward to the possibility of moving to Germany where they not only have a grocery that is entirely vegan, it is a chain throughout Germany with more stores to come.  That is the Veganz stores that I have mentioned in previous posts. I have yet to get to one but some day, God willing, I WILL GET THERE! It’s always important to have a goal in life.

Next up: Where to go from here?

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