The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

Vegan On Ragrai- Tips?

I’m a strict Vegan wondering about how I will navigate Ragbrai this year- my first (2016.)

To be clear- I eat no meat, no eggs and no milk products. This is part of my treatment program for Cancer (which is working amazingly well- I’m very healthy) so I don’t deviate from the diet plan. Aside from eating every imaginable veg, fruit and whole grain avail, I get my protein from Soy, tofu, beans etc. BUT NO MILK, CHEESE, EGGS. My diet is also low fat and I try and steer clear from sugar as much as possible.

I’m signed up w/ Pork Belly Ventures which is is taking care of my camping accommodations. Any thoughts/ tips… only real concern is getting enough to eat on the rides itself. I’m going to stock up on high protein bars, instant bean soup and buy tofu etc when I can etc.

Any tips???

10 Replies

bradcss, July 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Good idea to bring that stuff w you as you mentioned. You will find a lot of smoothie options, but not a lot of fresh veggies & fruit, but keep your eyes open. You can always hit the neighborhood grocery store to restock on essentials. Typical Ragbrai food staples: pork chops, turkey legs, pies, fry pies, pancakes (there u go), Farm Boys can whip up a veggie-only breakfast burrito for you, beer (there u go again). but there is also too much random variety to mention so keep your eyes open.

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ZacFisher, July 5, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Thanks Bradcss. Yep, I plan on drinking a lot of beer and breakfast burritos sound like just the ticket. Pancakes, not so much, since then have eggs, milk and sugar in them. Same w/ Pie and most other fun things.

I’m sure I’ll be just fine though a little envious of my much-more omnivorous fellow riders.

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mclousing, July 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm

HYVee will be your friend, or most local grocery stores. Also on day 1 pay attention to the vendors, there are some that acutally serve food that are vegan friendly.

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Erik Ferguson, July 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

I’ve met a few vegans on ragbrai, and they seemed to be doing alright. One bit of advice I would give to everyone is to look for Hispanic food markets, and buy avocados. They are a great way to get a lot of energy for a buck or so. Bananas are also easy to come by, cheap, and great for you. (Hardboiled eggs also, but obviously, not vegan.)

One other note, when I did the ride in 2003, the church supper options for vegetarians were very slim. In 2014, they were actually pretty good! Usually there was a decent salad, and the pasta with vegetarian sauce was often full of real vegetables.

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Heather, July 6, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Unfortunately I think it will be very difficult this year. We are going to a lot of small towns that probably will not have tofu in stores(at least I would’t be expecting them to if it were me.) There was a mexican vendor that offered vegetarian options, but I don’t remember if they were vegan or not. I had been a vegetarian for 18 years and there was one night that I remember walking around for about an hour trying to find some vegetarian food for me. So the best advice I have is to be prepared for not finding much.

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navychief01, July 7, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Two things:

First, I’m enjoying reading that a VEGAN signed up with PBV.

Second, my team is staying at two different churches. They’ve told me what their menus are and they seem to have some veggies and fruit offerings. PBV has a good reputation and I bet they’d be able to help you source what you need. I don’t think it’s uncommon for vegetarians to be riding, so someone must be catering to their needs. Your situation is a little more difficult, but it seemed to me that there are a huge assortment of food options.

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mniaaz, July 11, 2016 at 7:48 pm

I do eat eggs, so Farmboy’s is a staple for me. If I’m remembering correctly I think they offer “bowl” option, too if you don’t want to do the tortilla. you could fill up on beans, veggies, rice. They have a posting of where they’ll be setup on their facebook page. They always have signs well in advance, too. I last rode in 2014 & in the overnight towns there was an Asian grill that had a tofu option. I stock up on lots of protein bars, nuts/dried fruit, stick a banana in my jersey pocket. And, as mentioned above HyVee is probably your best bet for vegan friendly grocery store. Overnight towns may have more options, but out on the road during the day can be a bit harder. Some vegans cyclists I know get those little individual peanut butter packets & toss in their bike packs for a protein boost. Also, do check into the church dinners – you never know what they might serve. I had the pasta with veggie sauce at a church in 2014 and it was awesome!

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Juan Medium Moose, July 12, 2016 at 11:07 am

Check with Farm Boys, if you can. In 2014 they had a separate table at one of the stops that was all fruit. There were fresh strawberries, blueberries, mango slices, grapes, and watermelon. The fruit was off to the side and most folks in the Breakfast Burrito line didn’t notice it. I got some jealous looks from my friends when I sat down with a big cup of cool fresh fruit on a hot, sunny morning.

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Tom Young, July 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm

There is a HyVee grocery store in each of the stop over towns. They certainly offer good Veggie, portabella’s and fruit choices, soy milk and almond milk. Might want to bring your favorite Balsamic vineger. You should be able to do this with out too much inconvenience. Plus, many local restaurants do very well helping you with your dietary needs.

Tom

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mniaaz, July 13, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Carbo Hut just posted their schedule for the week on their facebook page……Yay, Carbo Hut!
Saturday- Glenwood- Red Beans /Sausage
Sunday- Tabor- Shrimp/Vegi Tuscana
Monday- Corning- Sweet & Spicy Thai Udon
Tuesday- Mount Ayr- Gr. Beef/Vegi Marinara
Wednesday- Humeston- Sweet & Sour Chicken
Thursday- Blakesburg- Garlic Chili Chicken/Vegi
Friday- Sigourney- Teriyaki Chicken/Vegi
Saturday- Columbus Junction- Chicken/Vegi & Noodle or rice

Mac&Cheese and Baked Sweet Potatoes served daily
Tofu can be substituted for the meat on any meal.

We are proud to be featuring Tofu from Old Capitol Food Co. this year. It is made locally (in our home town of Iowa City), is organic and gmo free. Visit them at- https://www.facebook.com/oldcapfoodco/?fref=nf

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