I have now been living and studying in Granada, Spain for about two weeks, and I have absolutely loved it thus far. Andalusia is a beautiful region, rich in opportunities to explore and learn. While I don’t feel completely acquainted with the area just yet, I know that I have selected the perfect study abroad location.
Prior to my arrival in Granada, I intended to focus my blog posts around eating a vegetarian diet in Spain. Personally, when I thought of Spain, I thought of the jamón (Iberian ham), and seafood paella famous to the area in which I’m residing for four months. I have never been a rigid vegetarian, but do eat an overwhelmingly meatless diet. I figured that my semester abroad in Spain would pose a unique opportunity for me to attempt full vegetarianism in place with such meat and seafood focused cuisine.
I did stay true to this challenge- for two weeks. I find eating meatless relatively easy at home; in the past, I’ve gone weeks without meat before noticing. However, obtaining a balanced and nutritious meatless diet here has proven difficult for me. I’ve found that there’s very little alternative protein offered, and that vegetables are more often fried than fresh. Unfortunately, a vegetarian diet is not going to be sustainable for me. Adjusting to the Spanish lifestyle and sleeping pattern has already proven difficult to maintaining my overall health, and not getting enough protein was making me feel constantly run-down and exhausted.
While eating meatless isn’t going to work for me during my time here, I have been surprised at the amount of vegetarian and vegan specifications at restaurants. I was expecting little to no accommodation on menus and I have been very surprised. I have noticed much more of an environmental awareness here than at home, and am still very interested and intrigued to learn more about vegetarianism/veganism in Spain and in Europe as a whole!