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Special Food Requirements

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Hawkwoman, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Hawkwoman

    Hawkwoman New Member

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    I am seriously considering hiking the Camino next year. My number one concern is that I have a lot of food sensitivities. And it will be next to impossible to dehydrate and carry all of my food for the entire hike. Question is, will I be able to find meals/food that are compliant with my personal needs? I follow a strict AIP/Paleo diet for health reasons. Would love to hear from others who have experience in special dietary needs. Thanks!!
     
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  2. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi Hawkwoman....My first Camino is coming up in April, so I can't help you with first hand experience on eating on the Camino. But I have a friend that is on the Autoimmune Paleo diet.
    She said that she is very strict on what she can put in her body. She makes most of her food, but eats grass fed beef, seafood, shellfish, eggs, fruits and vegetables. It is my understanding that the seafood is amazing in Spain. I am sure that it will be somewhat difficult for you, but I sure hope that you will be able to work it out and start your Camino next year. I try to eat mostly raw foods...so I am hoping on fruits, veggies, avocados. I am used to juicing everyday, so it will be an adjustment for me. Wishing you the best! I am sure that there will be imput from seasoned Pilgrims on this Forum that will benefit you!! :D
     
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  3. Hawkwoman

    Hawkwoman New Member

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    Hi Hindsfeet! Thanks so much for your feedback pertaining to my dietary needs. Just concerned about food availability on the hike. I'm sure there will be many veggies and good sources of protein along the way. I just have to be diligent on how it's prepared without offending anyone since my body really doesn't like certain things. I'm looking forward to beginning future preparations for this lifelong dream of mine. And I wish you all the best on your hike in April, have a wonderful experience!!
     
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  4. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    One question is – Can you speak Spanish, as if you can’t then trying to explain your dietary need to the waiter / restaurant owner might be another problem.



    Food choices can be quite limited with some of the smaller stops not having any restaurants and pilgrims eating communal meals in the Refugio.



    One of my regular Camino walking mates is a vegan and has quite a hard time in Spain as although she can survive, there is often a huge lack of variety.



    Sorry if this all sounds a little negative, but I can see you potentially having a few problems on “The Way”



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  5. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Hawkwoman and welcome to the Forum

    I would have to agree with RJS. My experience on the Camino has been that in certain places (smaller villages etc) and at certain times of the year (e.g not the main walking times of May to October) food and dining choices can be quite limited. During our 9 day walk in March/April this year there were times when we were pushed to find anything to eat at all and in one town had to put with what appeared to be very old frozen pizzas.

    In the albergues, although the hospitaleros we met were friendly and very accommodating the communal meals were usually without any choice. Don't get me wrong the food was invariably good but there was no choice on the menu.

    You may have some choice in the larger towns but I wouldn't necessarily guarantee it.

    Some albergues provide cooking facilities. I'm not sure what is included in the AIP/Paleo diet but outside of the main towns it might be difficult even to find ingredients which you could cook for yourself.

    Sorry I can't be more positive.

    Greg
     
  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Hawkwoman - After reviewing what is and isn't allowed on the AIP/Paleo diet, I would conclude the same as Greg and Rob and Hindfeet that eating on the Camino will be a challenge. As was mentioned above, the food is great that pilgrims get to experience, but highly different from your very strict diet. In Galicia, the seafood is excellent, but you will have to be concerned about how it is prepared. I'm not sure how easily it will be to find grass fed beef or other meats in Spain. Of course, in the cities you will have more options, but most of your Camino time will be spent out in rural areas. The easiest part of your diet to achieve will be the fruit and vegetables. Again, the preparation of vegetables in albergues and restsurants may or may not present a problem so doing your own cooking, and many albergues offer kitchen facilities, might be your best option most days. Best of luck and Buen Camino!
     
  7. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Hawkwoman, exactly as above. I haven't had that experience of requiring restricted foods, but perhaps you could carry a store of dehydrated food packets (that will add backpack bulk that you may not want, though) to supplement when there isn't enough AIP/paleo food available at a meal. It might be possible to establish ahead of time whether larger grocers in the intermittent large cities carry dehydrated food packets. As you would expect, pack weight and bulk are huge deals when hiking so far.

    Pilgrim and communal meals tend to be carb-heavy with a piece of meat or fish added. Sometimes there's a choice of dessert that's between flan/creme brulee/pudding vs a fruit cup, so at least the fruit cup might work and maybe the meat or fish. You'll see lots of rice and bread, and bocadillos/hoagie-like sandwiches are ubiquitous in the rest stops/bars/cafes, along with slices of tortilla espanola, but many places have fresh fruit along the way also. There are often small stores selling fresh fruit and vegetables in smaller towns also. And there are tins of tuna usually also, although these can get heavy.

    Unsolicited, I know, but just by way of reassurance, other than the Meseta, it isn't too difficult to find bathrooms, and it's usually not hard to find the open-air kind behind stands of bushes in case something is eaten that isn't working out so well (everyone seems to need them at one point or another). People just bring an extra zip-lock plastic bag to pack the old toilet paper back out.
     
  8. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Depending on how you find the food supply, it might be reasonable to buy a bunch of acceptable food when available and use the pack forwarding service to send something a couple of days ahead. Hopefully a small note attached to the package will keep it for you for a day or two until you get there. I have never tried it but it might help. Speaking at least some Spanish will help.
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey UnkleHammy - I agree with you guys about the Spanish. Regarding anything technical, knowledge of the language will really help!
     
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  10. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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  11. Hawkwoman

    Hawkwoman New Member

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    Thanks so much for all of your feedback, really useful and honest. I've backpacked here in the states and carry dehydrated food with me and it works out well. However, I'd have to bring my stove and fuel, might be a serious issue. Especially the fuel. And I'm not sure wether I could locate it upon arrival.
    Yes, definitely have to brush up on my Spanish, it will be important to communicate my dietary needs, critical for guaranteeing a wonderful experience. My body is very sensitive, right down to the pan or grill food is prepared with.
    Thinking that if I carried at least some dehydrated food to eat when traveling through rural country and eating fresh when I can will probably be the way to go. And maybe I could leave the stove and fuel home, borrow a pan and stove to prepare my food. There is also things like Epic brand jerkey I get along with that I could carry. Definitely have to plan carefully.
    Thanks and love reading all of your helpful suggestions!
    Hawkwoman
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
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  12. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    In general fuel may not be taken on an airplane.
     
  13. keithlundy1

    keithlundy1 Member

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    Hi Hawkwoman
    All the things the guys are saying are correct, I think eating and choice is one of the daily problems most pilgrims have to deal with without special diets. Not all Albergues have cooking facilities, most of the Albergues that offer a pilgrim meal is usually the same and little choice for veggies. I'm a chef and it wasn't easy for me and I can throw meals together very easily. I think Rob offers a good suggestion, I'm not sure what they can offer but it's a place to start. There is also something to take into consideration and that's cost. Most of the guys will tell you the average spend for a bed and a meals with the odd snack and drinks through the day is about 35 euros, with your special diet that may increase quite a bit but like Rob said contact the Camino Ways. Good luck. Buen Camino. Keith, Norfolk
     
  14. ToussantFrend

    ToussantFrend New Member

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    Hmm, I will keep this in mind as well, for future reference.
     
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  15. Galloglaigh

    Galloglaigh Member

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    Have just returned from a week with Camino Ways as part of a group. The organisation was very good and they do accommodate most requests. As with any commercial organisation, there is a cost but it is a trade off between knowing it is all there when you arrive in the evening or taking the chance.

    A group of Texans I met used Macs Adventures (Edinburgh) and were able to make changes by phone while on the Alto de Perdon so there is a mobile signal on most of the route.

    Best to have the details worked out before you get there as some parts of the route are pretty remote.
     
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