1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Calling all vegetarians

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Covey, May 22, 2010.

  1. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    There was a post the other day from a lady whose daughter was a vegetarian and who had just started the Camino Frances from Leon. The daughter was struggling to find suitable things to eat other than bread and cheese.

    I have met a number of vegetarians on the Way, mostly ladies, and it occurred to me that we might make up a composite "sticky" of advice regarding food and feeding for those who are vegetarian.

    Being a serious meat and fish man, I am obviously not qualified to comment (though it has never stopped me much in the past!!!) so I was wondering if anybody out there who understands the needs of a vegetarian could give their advice, especially those who have walked the Camino before and who have faced the problems first hand. Any advice for vegans and others who follow less orthodox dietary habits would also be welcome.
     
    Melissa, hindsfeet, T70 and 1 other person like this.
  2. Sil

    Sil New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    Home Page:
    I am a vegetarian and have walked a number of el camino routes. Sometimes it is difficult to find vegetarian food in restaurants and cafe-bars but I always managed to find salad ingredients, nuts and fruit, tinned or bottled vegetables at supermecados, You can buy boxes of soup or cup-of-soup. I travel with a spiral immersian heater and a camp cup and make my own soups, vegetarian pasta dishes etc. Instant lentils, rice, 2-minute noodles with vegetables - these all make a nourishing meal. I don't usually eat eggs but in Spain I found the Spanish tortilla good for carbo loading and protein and easily available. You might have to increase the volume of food, particularly protein and eat more cheese, eggs and legumes.
    Hope this helps,
    Sil
     
    T70 and ricitosdeplata like this.
  3. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    Brilliant!

    Last year in Zubiri a lady told the waiter she was vegetarian and could she have an alternative to the pasta with chiritso sauce starter and pork and chips main course, and was not too impressed when they served her a small plate of sliced tomatoes for the starter and a large plate of sliced tomatoes for the main!!

    I had forgotten about tortilla which is strange cos a coffee and a slice of tortilla is my standard Camino breakfast. Most supermarkets sell tortilla in the chiller cabinet which is useful if there are a number of you having a picnic lunch.

    I have to admit that the thought of walking the Camino fuelled by Pot Noodles would be a daunting prospect!! The effect on ones insides would be catastrophic!
     
  4. Sil

    Sil New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    Home Page:
    Enslada mixta usually includes corn and asparagus - and tuna! When I told the waiter that I do not eat fish, he said that it was atun, not pescado. When I suggested that atun was fish he said no it was'nt, that tuna came out of a tin! I just shook the tuna bits off the lettuce and ate the salad.
    On the camino I live on salads, vegetables, fruit, nuts, soups, tinned and bottled vegetables, lentils, beans and pastas. The cup-noodles are for emergencies - when there is nothing else!
     
  5. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    Do I gather that some vegetarians do eat fish and eggs?

    I was just trying to work out how we could present the information without the risk of upsetting those who might regard fish as "vegetarian". My niece announced she was vegetarian, but that only covered "red meat" and she would happily eat chicken and fish. Very confusing to a simple country boy like wot I am!!
     
  6. Sil

    Sil New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Durban, South Africa
    Home Page:
    Types of Vegetarians

    Vegans eat only foods of plant origin, no foods of animal origin; that means, no eggs, dairy products, or honey. Soyfoods, legumes, nuts and seitan form the protein building blocks, and are rounded out by grains, fruits, and vegetables.

    Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat as above with the addition of dairy products (lacto) and/or eggs (ovo). This, in common parlance, is the style of eating most often meant in America when people refer to "vegetarian." Lacto-ovo food choices, in other words, do contain some foods of animal origin, but no foods composed of the animal's actual flesh, or products thereof (for instance, if rice was cooked in chicken stock, it would not be acceptable to your typical lacto-ovo vegetarian).

    In addition to the foods above, pesce-vegetarians eat fish. (Most vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians do not, by the way, consider those who eat fish "real" vegetarians --- you see why definitions can create divisions between people?)

    I dont eat dead animals - nothing that had face or a heartbeat! I don't drink milk and I don't eat eggs - because I don't like them - but, if they are used in baking a cake or making a toritlla, I eat the cake and the tortilla!

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  7. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    On camino in 2008 I enjoyed walking with a Canadian from Vancouver BC who was bitterly disappointed in the lack of vegetarian restaurants and options along the Way. He fortunately had hooked up with a young vegetarian couple from Australia who were cooking in the albergues each night, but he was overjoyed when he found vegetarian restaurants in a few of the larger towns, notably Leon and Santiago.

    I'm a non-red meat eater (former vegetarian) and was relieved to find fish and/or chicken nearly everywhere, as well as the ever-present ensalada mixta with atun (funny that the waiter, Sil, didn't think of it as fish!), though often heavily salted in the kitchen. Lunch for me every day was bocadillo con queso y tomate plus an apple or orange. I regret that french fries are technically ok for vegetarians, because I had far too many of those. Plus tortillas -- not an entirely healthy mix. My French failed me one night in Atapuerca and I discovered I had been served lapin, which stretched beyond the breaking point my no-red meat standard. I had pity on the poor rabbit and convinced myself it tasted like chicken -- only the 4th time in 23 years I've knowingly eaten red meat.

    Vegetarians need to adjust to the idea that cured legs of animals will be seen hanging in many fine bars and restaurants throughout Spain. But if they're willing to cook in albergues and graze from supermercados, they'll be fine.
     
  8. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    I knew this was going to be complicated!!

    The problem seems to be sorting out which foods are readily available, and the specifics of life on the Camino, where cooking facilities are highly variable and what might be in the shop/s is a complete lottery.

    If you are a regular carnivore, life is OK, the only problem being quantity and trying to eat a balanced diet, where the energy demands on our bodies are outside the usual norms, and for an extended period of time. Lots of fruit, eggs, pasta, chocolate etc etc keep us going, yet we all seem to lose weight irrespective of what we eat.

    If you are the HuskyNerd version of being a vegetarian, it is doable without too much effort, because he can still eat chicken and fish and that still covers most of what is normally available to the Pilgrim (excluding the Chiritso sauce on pasta)

    The Sil version of being a vegetarian is much more difficult, as all the energy has to come from fruit, vegetables and cheese plus nuts. It would seem that you would need to bulk up the quantities quite substantially from normal life, to compensate for the continuous energy burn.

    I don't see how a Vegan would survive for very long on the Camino Frances. The cooking facilities in most Albergues are basic and are geared to quick cooking. Whilst fruit and vegetables are freely available everywhere, the energy burn is still there, so where does the energy come from? You can manage at home where you can bulk buy specialist foods and cook and store, but most of that is just not practical on the Camino.
     
  9. Gazza

    Gazza Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    On the note of diet....... My wife has issues with Garlic.

    Is this a big issue on the Camino & the Spanish cooking ways??

    Gazza
     
  10. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    Most of the Pilgrim Menu meals tend to be salad, grilled meat & chips and ice cream, none of which usually involves garlic. If you go for a nice meal in one of the main cities garlic might well appear in casserole dishes, but the standard pilgrim meals sadly never seem to involve casseroles.
     
  11. Gazza

    Gazza Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    Thanks Covey, thats a relief

    Gazza
     
  12. voyagermoon

    voyagermoon New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Home Page:
    Well, as a vegetarian who walked El Camino and from Rome to Albania on a diet of bread and cheese - I can only say c'est le vie. These journeys caused me to seriously evaluate my dietary habits - towards the end of the Camino I was a breath away from stealing my son's spaghetti bolognaise - but after 33 years of no meat I couldn't do it. The reality is you can cook your own food - but if this option is worthwhile you have to carry the basics (for a while on El Camino I had a deal with my son - he carries the rice, olive oil, tamari, beans, taco shells etc and I'll cook him a great dinner every night). The good news is Spain has great bread and cheese (and wild herbs by the roadside if you're willing to ignore the diesel and dog poop). C'est le vie :)

    Bon Camino!
    www.voyagermoon.com.au
     
  13. Franky

    Franky New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm pretty much veggetarian, I would be 100% but I consume Fish about once a week. I'm 25 years old and I'm a endurance athlete (ironman,ultramarathons) I'm a bit worried because I have to eat alot of fruits, nuts and veggies to maintain. from what it sounds like is that the majority of the dishes that I will find on my path will be mostly meat.

    Is this the case? or do they almost always offer fish also?

    Thanks
    Also any advice on my trip I arrive in Madrid on July 10 and make my way to Pamplona and begin from there. I understand that its a busy month to do this, but I will be going solo and have a 1.5month window to complete it. I main concern is that I do not plan well or do the technical parts to well! I rely on my physical abilities.

    My question is can it be done during this month simply by starting and figuring it out as I go? I'm abit overwehemld but I speak spanish so that helps.
     
  14. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    Hi Franky ~
    Yes, you can do this! First thing to do is order the Brierley guidebook from either the Confraternity or via Amazon.com: A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago: St. JeanÂ… . This will greatly ease your fears since it has maps, planning guides, daily suggestions, albergue listings, etc.

    As far as pesco-vegetarianism, you'll find fish at restaurants in the mountainy areas like Navarra and La Rioja. There's a long stretch with little fish on menus (except in bigger cities) as you go through the Meseta. It's heavy there with beef. Once in Galicia you'll start to find fish again, especially the omnipresent Galician pulpo. Usually in stores along the way you'll find a helpful assortment of fresh fruits, veggies and nuts. I don't think I ever saw a whole grain bread in Northern Spain. If you eat eggs, you'll find the Spanish tortilla at bar/cafes almost everywhere, which'll give you some good protein.

    You can do train or plane from Madrid to Pamplona, with train being much, much cheaper. Check Renfe for timetables.

    Good luck and buen camino!
    Sandy Brown
     
  15. voyagermoon

    voyagermoon New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Home Page:
    Hi Frankie,

    You will find lots of fish along your way (farmed and lying very flat on your plate). Best, though, to surrender what you think you need to the road. That's the point of El Camino. You are about to get to know all the voices in your head very well! Especially the ones about what you eat and don't eat.

    Also, regardless of who you are and who you believe yourself to be, El Camino will have its way with you. You don't need to plan. 1.5 months is plenty of time. Just follow the yellow arrows or, failing that, the tide of humanity heading your way. And be prepared to be amazed as you find yourself on a level playing field with people who are not athletic and not even fit.

    Because El Camino is a reckoning of self. That's all and that's the point.

    Surrender to the road - to a diet of bread and cheese and fish and overcooked vegies and chocolate and fruit - and have fun while transformation has its wicked way with you :)

    Bon Camino!

    Stephanie Dale
    Author, My Pilgrim's Heart
    Voyager Moon
     
    hindsfeet and gdavisfe like this.
  16. Franky

    Franky New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Farmed : ( "cooked" veggies suck to oh well!

    Your books sound Just like my type of books, veggie hunter is a view i've always wondered about
     
  17. dutchee

    dutchee New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm a vegan, though I don't plan to be vegan while I do the Camino this summer. I'm trying to decide whether to go vegetarian, or maybe add non-red meat, or become a total omnivore and eat whatever comes my way. But my main question is: Should vegetarians bring any sort of cooking equipment? Like a gas stove?
     
  18. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    Albergues have stoves. No need to bring your own.
     
  19. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    Dutchee, you will find all the vegetarians in McDonald's in Leon. After two weeks of bocadillo and Ensalada Mixta most pilgrims are gagging for some burger and chips served piping hot for a change.

    The Spanish along with many other continentals invariably serve hot food on cold plates, so you end up eating a succession of luke warm meals.
     
    ricitosdeplata likes this.
  20. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    Never heard a Brit be so particular about food before. Most are just happy to be outside the UK to get a good meal.
     
  21. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    Steady Rock Star, steady! There are a few of us Brits who are in to good food, and hot plates, and hot food on a cold plate rapidly ceases to be good food.

    Our reputation for poor food years ago was well deserved, but things have improved, led by Metro Man in the kitchen.
     
    gdavisfe likes this.
  22. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    If only it had improved sooner, perhaps we Americans would still be British.
     
    gdavisfe likes this.
  23. Covey

    Covey Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,173
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    London
    We sent you a boat load of tea and look what the ungrateful types did with our generosity!
     
    gdavisfe likes this.
  24. Oak

    Oak New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Hereford, England
    You'll have to wait for April then I'll let you know, the other half, sorry better half is a vege & I usually go with the the flow & go without meat, but on a trip like this all hell will let loose, freedom. Seriously though will report back how she has feared good & bad! Now she loves 'wake-up', going to surprise he & put it in my sack!!
     
  25. Katherine

    Katherine New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Vegetarian food along the way.

    Hi, I've done a little researching and my walking partner (my mum) is currently in Spain exploring the area on a trip with my dad and has said that most of the food has some meat or fish in it. I was wondering whether any other vegetarians had done the camino, and what their experience with finding vegetarian food was like. I'm not a fussy eater other than being a vegetarian - and am thrilled to be travelling through Spain but understand that vegetarians don't have a particularly easily time finding food...

    Any info would be great...
     
  26. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    Re: Vegetarian food along the way.

    Hi Katherine ~
    Your mum is right -- it's not that easy to be a vegetarian in Spain. I'm a partial vegetarian (only occasional fish and fowl), but my son, with whom I walked this year, is a lacto/ovo vegetarian. For dinner in restaurants the cooks generally are willing to prepare fried eggs, which are teamed with the omnipresent french fries. That makes a fatty meal, but with all the walking I still always lose weight! The other choice is generally pasta (e.g. spaghetti) with a simple tomato sauce. A person can order a big ensalada mixta without tuna almost anywhere.

    There are a few vegetarian restaurants scattered around in big cities on the camino. I know of veggie restaurants in Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon and I've heard rumors of one in Santiago.

    If you're going to be a healthy vegetarian in between big cities the best solution is to buy your own food and cook it in the albergue kitchens. This is quite common and a good choice for when you tire of fried eggs and pasta. Buen camino!
     
  27. Atlantic

    Atlantic New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have to say I'm a little bit astonished on the issue of vegetarian food on the camino.

    I can only say if it were me, I'd carry a gas stove and a pot and cook for myself: I wouldn't expect to find vegetarian food served in Spain. Bars and restaurants are not obligatory.

    Be free, be independent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  28. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    Hi Atlantic ~
    I'm curious about what you mean exactly. Could you expand on your thought?
     
  29. Atlantic

    Atlantic New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2011
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi H

    There's not much more I can say really.

    If I were vegetarian and found that it was difficult/impossible to find suitable food in restaurants and bars (which it is) I'd carry a camping gas stove and cook suitable food for myself. I don't know what else could I do?

    I'd buy lentils, cheese, pasta/rice and then cook it -or whatever suited my diet. I would then be free and independent of bars etc which had nothing I could eat. I would eat then what was right for me, cooked by myself.

    Any further ideas on this? It's not easy.





     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  30. HuskyNerd

    HuskyNerd Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    841
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, United States
    Home Page:
    Ahhh, I understand and basically agree. I'd just suggest to vegetarians (and other quasi-vegetarians like me) not to bring a camp stove. Most albergues have some sort of kitchen, generally equipped with enough utensils to make a go of it for a vegetarian dinner. And most towns, even small ones, have some kind of supermercado or alimentacion so a person can buy relatively healthy, protein-balanced ingredients.

    For those who wonder how a vegetarian makes it -- especially those like me who are too hungry or unskilled to cook very often -- here's what I and others do:
    • Breakfast is coffee and a croissant or pastry of some kind -- good energy for walking;
    • At breakfast ask for a "bocadillo con quesa y tomate para llevar" meaning a cheese sandwich with tomato, wrapped "to go". This can last much of the day and is a good backup inside your pack;
    • At lunch (if I didn't get a bocadillo to go at breakfast and if there's a bar/cafe) I ask for a "bocadillo con tortilla frances" which is a hot omelette in a baguette. A variant is to add "queso" for more protein/fat. This is very often available at bar/cafes along the Camino Frances. Then of course there's always the tortilla espanol, which is the Spanish potato/egg torte that is omnipresent and fully ovo/lacto approved.
    • At a restaurant for dinner, as I mentioned above, a vegetarian generally has only 2 options -- fried egg or pasta. At the albergue kitchen you can of course cook whatever you want -- if you're not too tired or impatient.

    Whether we like it or not, restaurants on the camino are a big part of the pilgrim scene. Fortunately there are usually some options for those who don't have an appetite for the vast quantities of beef and pork the Spanish enjoy with gusto!
     
    BenL, T70 and gdavisfe like this.
Loading...
Similar Threads - Calling vegetarians
  1. greta M
    Replies:
    23
    Views:
    2,985
  2. Debilicious
    Replies:
    8
    Views:
    3,197

Share This Page