Author Topic: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?  (Read 8541 times)

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Offline abegreene

vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« on: November 14, 2014, 01:11:02 pm »
Any tips for riding across the country on a vegetarian diet? I am basically a vegan but would make exceptions for cheese and stuff like that.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2014, 04:37:28 pm »
I'm vegetarian and rode cross country on the Northern Tier a couple years ago.  My basic advice is be prepared to carry more food.  I had a four pannier setup on that tour but I normally just use two front panniers and a saddlebag so I had a lot more space. I devoted the main compartment of my front pannier to food which let me carry a decent amount so I could stock up. I found, with only a few exceptions (East Montana for instance), there would be something close to a supermarket every four days or so. So I would stock up on my basics plus a few things for the next couple of days and then use the small town stores to supplement with more perishable things like cheese, fruit and vegetables (if available).  I carried dried things like rice and beans, but I like to spend time cooking each evening  (especially when you are camping at city parks and such where there isn't too much else to do)  so I carried staples that in a pinch could serve as a meal and supplement it with what I could find. This all could be done vegan I think, many of my meals pretty much were.

In the midwest on the Northern Tier, which I imagine will be similar to the Midwest on the TransAm in the tiny town stores it'd often be pretty hard to find much vegetables. So worth carrying more of those when you can find them.  I also found that even things like vegetable soup would usually be the kind with beef broth. You always can find bread, peanut butter and cheese of varying quality.  Tortillas are usually pretty available and less bulky then bread. Mac and Cheese is usually available.  Plenty of eggs if you are willing to eat those.  The other problem I had was finding veggies in small quantities, even the big stores in the midwest would only sell things like carrots and such in big bags.  Often I'd get those bags of pre sliced things so you could get less. Getting things like Tofu I could only really do in towns with a coop as if a big store even had it, it be some huge package.

At restaurants I think vegan would be harder.  Grilled Cheese can be had if you ignore what it's going to be grilled on. Pancakes, waffles, fried potatoes likewise.  That old standby salad is harder to find in the midwest and will usually be iceberg lettuce based. That being said I was occasionally surprised by some little town being hipper than you'd have suspected, or some random looking diner having a sautéed veggie sandwich, or a good coffee shop that might make pannis or some such.  But you can't bank on that at all.

Offline abegreene

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2014, 05:52:20 pm »
Thanks! very helpful! How did you cook rice and beans quickly?

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2014, 06:17:01 pm »
I didn't.  Rice takes a long time to cook on an alcohol stove.  But sitting in the city park in a town that only has hairdressers, a gas station and maybe a bar I had time.  I used dehydrated beans which are faster. Another tip for people who want to cook real food is that ziplock bags are your friend. Get the double locking freezer bags and then you can buy jars and cans of food and put them in those bags and discard the heavy, bulk packaging.

On my last long tour I switched from rice to a 'whole grain mix' made up of quonia, millet and amaranth. I'd top it off whenever I'd find a Coop with a bulk section.  That cooks much faster and substitutes for rice in most anything I made.

Offline sandwiches

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2014, 07:44:49 pm »
Aside from what has already been mentioned regarding ditching cans for freezer bags when it comes to beans, try instant boil-in-bag rice and couscous, which doesn't even need to cook. Just let it soak in cold water for 45 minutes and it's edible. Dry lentils also cook up in like 15 minutes, which doesn't take up much fuel. I like to take a little container of olive oil with me to add some fat to my meals. Also, McDonald's only cooks their fries in vegetable oil and is required (by, like, McDonald's franchise rules) to use a separate deep-fryer for ONLY fries. They've been a welcome treat on tours before.

Offline staehpj1

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 06:54:21 am »
Two different vegetarian friends handled it two different ways on the Trans America.

One a strict vegan managed by not eating in restaurants or accepting meals when staying with hosts.  In fact he mostly avoided staying with folks along the way.  He cooked all his own food or ate raw food.  He said it wasn't that hard with a little effort.

One decided before the tour that she would eat meat and animal products on the tour because she figured it would be hard to stay with hosts and not eat what was put in front of her.  She prepared by eating small amounts of meat in the weeks leading up to the tour so her stomach would be used to it.

Both were happy with their choices.  Personally I'd suggest the first approach if you find it to be a huge moral crime to eat meat and other animal products.  If you are willing to cheat a little anyway, which you seem to be, then maybe the second choice might be worth considering.  I know that for me, meeting the local folks and eating the local foods is a big part of a long tour.  Staying strictly vegan would definitely put a crimp on that IMO.

Offline Itinerant Harper

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2014, 11:23:25 am »
Yeah I should say I've had to turn down offered food which I always feel a bit bad about. Also because of that I never stay with Warm Showers hosts or anything like that.

Offline MattRuscigno

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 01:30:59 pm »
I've done all of my bike touring- probably about 12k miles now- while being vegan. It's all about preparation and not being picky. Sure, in Kansas I was made fun of for eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ("that's kids food") and in places like Chiapas we had to search a little harder but it's totally doable without being a pain in the ass.

Cooking- Oatmeal, couscous, ramen and parboiled rice are staples. Add dried or canned beans, any produce you can find. Boom.
Lunch- peanut butter, tortillas and fruit are caloricallly-dense and readily available.
Snacks- plenty of crackers, cookies, and other foods are available most anywhere. I rode Great Divide in 2006 and had no problems. I even found soymilk in middle america way back in 2001 on my first ever bike tour.

Eating out- Pasta with marinara is common, burritos and breakfast potatoes have been my go to foods. But honestly I prefer to cook to save money.

I've written a little bit about my touring here: http://truelovehealth.com/category/tour/.

Good luck and have fun!

cycling, nutrition and burritos -> www.truelovehealth.com

Offline sandwiches

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 05:25:33 pm »
Ooh I almost forgot! A really good high-calorie vegan food is Ultralight Joe's Moose Goo, but replace the honey with brown rice syrup and spread it on tortillas. It got me through many a bike tour and backpacking trip.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 11:17:27 pm »
Yeah I should say I've had to turn down offered food which I always feel a bit bad about. Also because of that I never stay with Warm Showers hosts or anything like that.

To note: WarmShowers makes this stuff easier than the random offered meal. You can indicate in your profile that you have dietary restrictions. And when I contact a host, sometimes they ask about dietary restrictions or I let them know what mine are. And I never had any problems! I think a host would prefer to make food for a guest (if they are going to make food) that the guest can actually eat. Remember that it's not always about vegetarianism/veganism, but it can be about food allergies too.

Offline maxton

Re: vegetarian trek on the transamerica?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 03:29:31 pm »
riding as a vegetarian on the TransAm is only challenging if you are not willing to eat junk food.  .
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