On the road we sometimes forget how important food is for us and tend to eat cheap and quick. Pre sliced hams/cheeses, the usual canned food, readymade tomato sauce and other processed food on the shelves, are easy options. Sadly, all of these are empty calories that won't give you the energy you need, so you'll have to compensate by eating more. On top of that, processed food and meat based diets will damage your health in the long term.
Meat dishes are cultural and they will often be the masterpiece of a dinner. When people have welcomed us, it could appear rude to refuse when they have kindly cooked for us... And for us, food is strongly connected to the culture of a country so we will always make sure that we taste the typical food of the region. But in our day to day diet we will choose a vegan, or when not possible, a vegetarian diet.
6 reasons to be on a vegan diet for bicycle touring
- Meat is not the only source of protein
- Creative opportunity
- Make the most from regional and seasonal specialities
- Reduce waste
Meat isn't the only source of protein
We all associate meat with - protein [complete protein]. At least this is what we are taught in school... and by the media... this has highly influenced our opinion concerning a healthy diet. Since we reduced (more than 2 years ago) and finally cut meat out of our diet on this tour, we haven't felt a lack of energy or recovery. We are concerned about a balanced diet and we try to make sure we eat from a wide variety of non animal products. Legumes, nuts and seeds are a fantastic source of protein and we have been using them in many different ways from salads to stews..
Most of us know that meat contains strong bacteria that could potentially make you really sick or even kill you in extreme situations (Salmonella, E-coli..). Meat needs to be stored at a certain temperature and requires thorough cleaning - not always so simple with a camping kitchen...
You may be used to your usual dinners at home, from the standard rotation of a few dishes. Challenge yourselves to use what is local and available then and there and do something a little different. Keep it simple, get some fresh ingredients to add and make some tasty dishes.
Make the most from regional and seasonal specialities
The beauty of bike touring is that you pass by the fields on your journey. It's great to be able to support the local economy, but also to taste what is typical of the region at that time of the year. Cycling through Portugal in spring we saw a change of colour in the fields and also in the local markets.
The cost of meat can really add up on the daily shop. Beans and vegetables are a low cost option and these little savings will give you the freedom to treat yourselves with a coffee or a sweet!
Eating fruits, dried fruits and nuts as snacks compared to wrapper covered options are far better as they're widely available (at least in Portugal and Spain) and biodegradable. Most of the time, we don't have to worry about carrying a bin bag with us, as we can leave the apple cores and orange peel to decay, providing a meal for that spots' soil.
Some of our recent meals
Bean salad - any beans mixed with some local vegetables. A squeeze of a lemon, a chilli and some spices.
Broccoli pasta - nice and creamy pasta made from mushroom, broccoli, onions & garlic and a splash of the cooking water.
Cauliflower asian salad - Crumbled cauliflower, with ginger, herbs, onions and garlic.
Couscous with orange - Simply mixed together with few onions, chickpeas and vegetables.