Let's take a quick moment to talk about something important: What food/cooking items to bring from home!
Everyone's tastes and cooking habits are different, but when it comes to being vegan (and, in my case, gluten-free) on the Camino, there are some things that you can do without or find along the way, and there are other things that are essential to survival (or at least basic happiness).
After a lot of online research and educated guesses, this is what we ended up packing:
From left to right:
In the baggie in front: Truvia (a brand of stevia-based sweetener), some powdered greens & protein mixes, tea
Dried fruit (apricots, dates and figs)
Nutritional yeast (in a bag, and more in the tupperware jar with the green lid)
Chocolate soy milk
PB2 and PB2 Chocolate (powdered peanut butter) (2 more jars on the right)
A travel bottle of olive oil (leftover from A's airplane salad)
2 Tubes of vegan pate
In the green travel bottle: TVP (textured vegetable protein)
Soy milk powder
A small kitchen knife with a plastic case
In the tupperware jar with the purple lid: homemade Gatorade/electrolyte juice powder
Our general rule for bringing something was that it had to have a high nutrient/calorie content compared to its weight. Most of these items can also be purchased in Spain, and easily replenished (ex: the dried fruit and nuts, as well as rice/corn cakes).
Some thoughts on our essentials:
- The PB2 was AMAZING. It's just peanuts that have had the oil pressed out, leaving a fine, protein-dense powder. And, most importantly, it's lightweight! Each jar weighs 6.5 ounces and reconstitutes (with a little bit of water) to the amount you would get from an 18 ounce jar. AMAZING. And wonderful for making an apple or a sandwich a little more filling. (Our personal thought was that the regular PB2 is pretty bland on its own, but you can't tell when you're eating it on something else.)
- The TVP was great for making our dinners more filling, and again, is something that is lightweight and goes a long way when reconstituted.
- The soy milk powder was... disappointing. Firstly, because it was GROSS. Very chalky. Secondly, it was not super necessary. We realized that we were burning so much energy that we could easily go through a 1 liter bottle of soy milk (or more) per day. Also, soy milk is super easy to find.
- The kitchen knife was really great because it didn't take up much space, and there were a lot of times when we needed it to cut bread or peel fruit on the road, and even some times when we found ourselves in an albergue kitchen that had no cooking utensils at all.
- The Gatorade powder was not essential, but it definitely came in handy for mid-afternoon energy boosts, and for giving unsavory well-water a better flavor.
Typically, we would pick up fresh fruits, vegs and bread for the day when we entered a new town, and a bag of rice, pasta or lentils when we needed it. We tried not to carry more than we would use in the next day or two, because the food weight really added up.