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I am aware that special diets are not provided for and from what i’ve seen from the few menus i found there seems to be alot of meat om the menu, like every day. It would be interesting to hear if there are any vegetarians onboard and what they/you think of the food. Is there enough to eat if one don’t eat meat, without making it for yourself?



  • Yes Martin, there is meat on the menu every day. The majority of our crew require protein from meat. Also the local workers (day crew) and patients do not get this protein often enough in their diet. The meat protein helps patients with healing faster after surgeries. 

    That being said, we try to separate/break down our meals to not mix protein/meat, sauces, starch, and vegetables. So more combinations are available to individuals with the following considerations...>>>

    This is what you don't see on the menu: 

    Every Day - (depends on supplies and local availability)
    • Fresh Fruit (locally)
    • Lettuce
    • Tomato
    • Cucumber
    • Carrots
    • Onions
    • Peppers
    Most Days - (at least one or two meals...example yogurt comes out at breakfast, soup at lunch time...)
    • dried fruits
    • various nuts
    • yogurt
    • Soup (mostly made with no meats in it)
    • Rice (provided almost everyday with every lunch & dinner no matter what starch is on menu)
    • Cheese
    • Peanut Butter
    • Hard Boiled Eggs (not sure if that falls under your definition of vegetarian)
    Various Days - rotates with available supply (available from cans/dry storage)
    • Olives
    • Artichokes
    • Chick Peas / Garbanzo Beans
    • Beets
    • Pickles
    • Red Beans
    • Mushrooms
    Starches we use:
    • Potato
    • Rice
    • Pasta
    • CousCous (pasta)
    • Sweet Potato
    • Plantains
    • Rice Noodles
    • Corn
    Vegetables can be local, frozen, can, or dry such as beans. We cook a lot of beans: Pinto, lentils, peas, white beans, red beans...

    Bread is made here on board (white, wheat, rye...) and sometimes purchased locally: shawarma, pita, crescants, buns...

    It really depends on how creative you can be. We have a Dutch family on board who eats vegetarian and they were pleasantly surprised at the choices. And we also had a lady from Belgium who complained that she had to eat salads everyday.

    Hope this helps Martin!

  • Thank you so much for your reply! This helps alot.

    Though i was wondering if this about ”requiring” meat protein is your personal opinion or mercy ships official views?

    It may influence my decision to join mercy ships.

    And because it just isn’t true, nobody requires or need meat protein, most people may want meat but human beings have no need for animal protein. Just ask millions of vegetarians or vegan, there are even lots that point to that vegetable protein is more easy accessible to the body than meat. Plus vegetable based food leads to less strain to the environment, tons of less water use. Less risk of heartdisease, nothing had to die producing it... and so on...

  • Hello Martin,

    "Require" is not a need. Because most of our crew eat meat (their own personal decision) it is required that meat is available as part of the meal. It is their decision whether they eat it or not. But it is a requirement of my job position to provide it. Both to the crew and to the patients. Since I am not a doctor I can not "argue" the healing properties of protein after surgery but it is required that I make it available to those patients who want it.

    SO although it may not be a need, it is a requirement of my department to provide it at meals.

    Personally, what influenced me to come to Mercy Ships was helping provide free healthcare to thousands of the world's poorest people by using my skills and talents to support and serve the mission. This organization is unique in that it supplies the needs of basic living and some of the "wants" as well, which makes it easier to focus on helping the people we came to serve.

  • SarahBurdetteSarahBurdette Posts: 16

    I know this is an old post, but I am a vegetarian on my way to Mercy Ships for service next month and this helped me know the options available. It wouldn't have hindered me from service - I can eat a salad and beans for two weeks if I need to - I don't expect my minority diet to be catered to. I'll just skip the meat. Thanks for clarifying what's available!

  • heatherpetersonheatherpeterson Posts: 81 admin

    @SarahBurdette - I hope you enjoy your time on board!

  • EmilyHislopEmilyHislop Posts: 8

    My last service was 5 weeks in Cameroon and I got a little bored with soup, salad and rice and beans. I will say that I did lose a little weight being a vegetarian on board. Not that I mind the unintentional dieting, but this time I'm bringing my powdered "Huel" to help supplement. I'd recommend bringing some sort of nutritional supplement if you're vegetarian/vegan and going to be there awhile, even some whey protein powder is easy to pack.

  • CatherineLloydCatherineLloyd Posts: 5

    Hi Emily, thanks for your input, what is Huel? a protein supplement? I am also vegetarian, although I do eat fish and eggs, I have a lot of dietary intolerences and will likely be on board for 2 months, so it is a good tip

  • Thank you, Tyrone, for your detailed posting. I appreciate and am stunned at the myriad of choices. Very exciting. I am willing to try the local fare, like probably goat or camel? I may revert to pudding and salad, but will always plunge off my comfort platform and try anything. Of course, dropping 10 pounds would also be a bonus. Thanks!

  • EmilyHislopEmilyHislop Posts: 8

    Don't get me wrong, the food on board was very good, especially pancake breakfasts and when the Gurkhas (security guards) made us some traditional Nepalese! YUM! I just got a little bored with the vegetarian options because I'm pretty picky. So I probably wasn't eating a very balanced diet.
    Huel is a nutritionally complete meal in powder form (you add water/ice). Their rival company is Soylent, maybe you've heard of them. It's something I use at home too because it's an easy breakfast and easy to pack for lunch at work. But basically its like a vegan protein powder except with all the macronutrients and 27 vitamins/minerals that you need daily. Keeps me full and its an easy way to know that I'm getting what I need. They have a gluten free version too I believe.

    @VIRGINIASIMMONS I think climbing up and down all the stairs on the ship, day after day, probably helped too! haha

  • TeniahHowellTeniahHowell Posts: 2

    Really appreciate all of these comments. I'm happy with beans and rice! But super interested to look at maybe bringing a supplement with me as I usually eat pretty much whole foods/plant based. Always appreciate hearing what others do and how it works when you are there for longer term. I'm going to take a look at that Huel.

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